Do I need a chest pack?.
Through out 2016 I’ve mainly used a Simms hip pack. Large amounts of room plus added storage for things like, bottles and jackets seemed to make this pack unbeatable. That was until one fishing trip I was left with quite a bit of water damage to items within the bag. I guess with the weather conditions worsening and river levels rising this problem of the pack hanging low increased. With 80 – 90% of my fishing done using nymphs, fished Czech or French style. I spend a lot of time stood in rushing water especially when Czech nymphing. I began looking into the idea of purchasing my first Chest pack. With so many brands to choose from I stuck with what i knew and purchased the new Simms Waypoint chest pack.
Did it solve my problem?.
The simple answer is yes it did. I was surprised at how high I could set the bag, eliminating entry of water. I also love the ease of use, stood up to my mid in the river I can now safely access everything in my pack. Hopefully throughout my review you’ll gain a better idea of how the Simms chest pack works and decide if it’s the pack for you.
Chest pack exterior.
For those of you who already use packs from the Simms range. You’ll notice that the chest pack is basically the small waypoints hip pack. Its exterior dimensions are; width 24 cm, depth 11 cm, height 21 cm. The pack weighs in a mere 17 oz (dry and empty). The front panel is compression molded so when unzipped forms a work bench. Velcro panels on front of the pack allow for things like tippet holders and floatent holders to be attached ( both of which are supplied). On either side of the bag are tool ports to attach zingers and store forceps etc. On the top of the chest pack is a zipper compartment which is great for holding either your phone or a small fly box. This pocket holds my phone which is 8 cm wide and 15.5 cm long (Samsung S7). There is additional room for a wider phone but maybe only an extra 1-2 cm in length otherwise zip may not close. Please remember water can enter this pocket so its is worth putting your phone in some sort of dry bag. Finally all the zips have large molded pullers which work great even with gloves on.
Rear exterior of chest pack.
The rear of the pack is made from a breathable sort of mesh. Which is quite comfortable especially when wearing just a t-shirt. The adjustable straps come out of the corners from behind the mesh back. Furthermore The tag ends of the straps can be tucked back down inside to make a much neater set up.
The waypoints chest pack offers 4 litres of interior storage space. The molded fold down bench flap offers great space and versatility whilst changing flies and retying tippet etc. On the upper edge of the fold down flap there are two tool clip points, one either side. These are great for clipping additional zingers too, I like to have my leader straightener attached to one of these.
The centre divider houses the largest storage pockets internally. This was my biggest worry because looking at other online pics i couldn’t be sure if the fly boxes i already owned would fit. I currently use the original Tacky fly boxes, and they do fit. The measurement for these boxes are as follows; 18 x 10 x 2 cm. Id say this is about your maximum size box you could fit in the compartment. Each compartment is elasticated and grips the boxes securely, a tab is located on each compartment with holes to attach yet more zingers. Divider can be Velcro’ed to the back of the chest pack when working on the fold down bench.
Rear internal storage.
Behind the divider is 4 pockets, 2 deeper pockets and 2 which are shallower. Again tabs on each pocket are made to attach zingers. Along with the pockets is also a clip to attach keys or other similar items. The pockets are large enough to hold all the items you need on a day’s fishing trip, the larger pocket i use to hold my Battenkill 1 reel.
Simms chest pack attaches to your body using a clever harness system. This was one of the key deciding factors when I made my purchase. I sometimes find with your normal sling type attachment on packs that throughout a long session my shoulder can become fatigued. With the Waypoints chest pack harness it feels very similar to wearing a back pack with two shoulder straps, and as a result i feel less fatigue. This style of attachment I feel allows for great adjustment, allowing the angler to set the bag to the desired position easily. It is attached to the bag with 2 magnetic clips which locate very easily and are held by the magnet and lipped recess. Noteworthy, I have never had this come undone on its own accord. The lower two straps which mount underneath the anglers arms to the bottom of the pack are attached with your standard clips seen through out most pack types. All 4 straps are individually adjustable. On the rear of the harness is a small loop which is great for attaching a net magnet when not wearing a backpack.
When I first used the pack I quickly identified a small problem with the adjustment. The two upper straps are made of a thick almost rubber textured material. I’d set my desired position pulling the top of the chest pack close to my body, and within a few hours these would have slipped. It became a problem the more they slipped because the bag moved away from my chest. With a bit of tinkering i came up with a solution, which is to pass the tag end of the strap back through the clip which in turn locks its self off (please see photo below). The two lower side straps are quite hard to adjust on the move but very rarely do they need adjusting once the bag has been initially put on.
I almost forgot to mention, if all the above features aren’t already enough. Then the Simms waypoints chest pack is also compatible with there Waypoints backpack. Removing the harness system from the chest pack you then attach to the shoulder straps on the back pack. Very neat idea, my only criticism is the backpack is only available in large and is too big for my needs.
Anyone who Nymph fishes a lot will eventually consider a chest pack. And with the Simms Waypoint it feels as though it was very much made by anglers for anglers. Everything has gone through a very thoughtful process, even down to the zippers which can be unzipped with gloves on. Though the colours maybe a bit garish to some people, they certainly aren’t bad and add a clean modern look to the pack. This pack will stand up to use and punishment and will definitely last a long time. Which is a key thing to consider because most packs cost around the £100 mark. All in all I’m very glad I made the move and purchased this pack. It has already served me well and I’m sure it will continue to do so. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this pack to anyone. I don’t feel there is much more that Simms could of added to it. Finally I hope my review will give you all the information you need to help decide if its right for you. If there is anything else you would like to know in relation to the pack then please leave a comment.
Check out the pack on Simms website