Review: Patagonia Stormfront hip pack

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Patagonia Stormfront.

As with most of my reviews the product in question is usually something I’ve purchased to solve a problem. The Patagonia Stormfront was purchased to do just that. One of my biggest problems when out fishing was the ability to carry a camera which could provide top notch images. Obviously most bags are able to adequately store a camera, but my problem was ingress of water.
Firstly I tried a waterproof DSLR camera bag solely for the camera, which I carried separately to my fishing bag. Although this solved the problem it now added another, too many bags. Unfortunately I now knew I’d moved into the expensive region of fishing bags. So after some time spent scouring the internet I came across a review which appeared to state the Patagonia range of bags had solved the same problem for someone else. Not wanting to wear a rucksack whilst fishing my decision was to go with the 10L hip pack.

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Tough, versatile and most importantly ‘Waterproof’

Finally a bag to serve my needs.

Initially the bag took some getting used to. My previous bags had separate pockets for fly boxes and other items. where as the main compartment is large and open inside the Patagonia Stormfront with only one small separate pocket. I presume this is to limit the amount of stitching or welding thus adding to its waterproofing.

After placing all my equipment into the bag I was pleasantly surprised at how much room was left. Enough to easily add a bottle and a waterproof coat if needed. With some organisation this bag is capable of carrying everything needed for a days fishing and most importantly keeping it dry.

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Plenty of room for everything needed for a day out fishing

Exterior of the Stormfront.

I opted for the bag in the grey finish but it is worth noting it is available in Grey, Black or Orange. The bag weighs in at 554G / 1lb 3.5oz with shoulder and waist strap attached. The bag is made from a Nylon core with TPU coating making it 100% waterproof. As with most products that are waterproof the exterior has a plastic feel to the material, but don’t be fooled into thinking it feels cheap. The quality of the bag is obvious upon touch and feels as though it’ll easily stand up to the rigors of fishing.

patagonia, patagonia stormfront, hip pack, fishing luggage, fishing, angling, fly fishing, the tree trout, darrell upton

Nylon core with a TPU coating keep the water out

The padding is slim and minimal yet more than adequate to be comfortable, even after a full days use. Throughout my use I’ve noticed the padding on the rear of the bag doesn’t take on much water if any at all. As with the padding on the pack, the padding on the shoulder strap is a similar story. Just enough to add comfort but not enough to be affected by water. As visible in the picture below, the shoulder strap is removable unlike the hip belt which is welded into the bag.

patagonia, patagonia stormfront, hip pack, fishing luggage, fishing, angling, fly fishing, the tree trout, darrell upton

Minimal padding for just enough comfort and water repellency

On the outside of the bag is an additional pocket which is only water resistant not waterproof. The pocket features drain holes for those times when you’ve been deep wading. This pocket is large enough to fit a Tacky original fly box with a few other bits and bobs thrown in there.

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The Patagonia Stormfront also comes ready with multiple exterior attachment points. On each side of the bag there are two loops for attaching gear, I particularly like these for attaching carabiner’s. Just below the exterior pocket and on the underside of the pack two pairs of lashing strap points can be found. both of which are great for attaching rod tubes or like my self a small camera tripod.

patagonia, patagonia stormfront, hip pack, fishing luggage, fishing, angling, fly fishing, the tree trout, darrell upton

Plenty of exterior attachment points to choose from

With the main Key feature of the Patagonia Stormfront being 100% waterproof it is worth looking at the opening of the bag. There are a lot of waterproof bags available in and out of fishing with a lot coming with a roll top closure. This was something I didn’t want to have on a bag which I’d open quite frequently. Fortunately the Patagonia Stormfront comes with a ‘Tizip’. In short this is a heavy duty 100% waterproof zip. The opening and closure of the zip takes some getting used to, as its quite stiff but with good cause. At the closure end of the zip track there is a housing which requires the metal piece to sit into which in turn seals the final part of the zip. Supplied with the bag is a small tube of zip grease which should be applied every now and then to aid in the zip being waterproof. The zip works so well that once sealed any air inside is trapped. That is another great thing with this bag, once the air is trapped inside, the bag floats and sits on top of the surface if the waist strap isn’t too tight.

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Housing for Tizip.

Interior of the Stormfront.

The interior is the most featureless part of the bag. The inside is a 10L compartment with one mesh pocket attached to the back. The mesh pocket has a small clip attached inside which is handy for keeping your keys separate from the rest of the gear in your bag. I’d say the mesh pocket is a similar size to the exterior pocket and will hold an original Tacky fly box as well as a few other bits and bobs. The size of the main inner compartment is large and can easily hold enough stuff for a full days outing, whether that be drinks bottles, food, camera or additional clothing as well as all the usual fishing tackle.

 

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10L inner compartment 100% waterproof

Conclusion.

I’ve now been using this bag for around 8 months and it is yet to let me down. I used this bag out in Slovenia and packed it full of stuff I needed and more. It got dragged down rocks and pulled through undergrowth and then dunked under water yet keeps performing. Here in the UK it regularly clings to my side whilst being pulled through brambles and undergrowth and on a few occasions has been unfortunate enough to of been sat on by myself. Yes the inner compartment can’t be organised like a Simms or other fishing bags can, but it can withstand water unlike the others I have previously owned. And that trade off is one I’m willing to have. I can remember many occasion returning home to have to dry everything out that was in my bag, but that is now a thing of the past. This bag has made my life that little bit easier, for once I can go fishing with everything I need and have no fear of anything getting wet.
Something I’ve always tried to avoid whilst fishing is not having the means to take a picture of your hard work. Like a hunter takes the head of a prize kill, I take a picture. And the Patagonia Stormfront has made this possible for me.

The price tag for this bag comes in at an average of about £180 but if your lucky I’ve seen it for as low as £150.

Want a bit more info? take a look over at: Patagonia.com

 

patagonia, patagonia stormfront, hip pack, fishing luggage, fishing, angling, fly fishing, the tree trout, darrell upton

Zipper closure made accessing camera quickly an easy task

 

 

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