Written By: Jamie Keown – Photos By: Justin Dobson
A sling? A hip pack? Or the best of both worlds.
I’ve spent the better part of 20 years and a small retirement plan looking for the perfect pack. At some point I was a vest guy, a chest pack guy, a backpack-chest pack combo guy, and a minimalist sporting only a lanyard. While I still use the backpack-chest pack combo at times I’ve finally found my true identity… I’m a hip pack guy! That being said I’ve spent a large amount of time searching for the perfect hip pack. While it’s no huge secret, you ultimately end up choosing a pack of any kind by deciding on what features are the most important to you vs the ones you feel you can live without. Two of the most important features to me are organization and ample space. A lot of the manufactures seem to do a good job at giving customers one of these options while ultimately falling short on the other.
Enter the Fishpond Delta Sling. I received the Delta sling as a gift from my awesome girlfriend for Christmas and had actually not seen it in person until receiving it for Christmas. Upon first inspection I have to say I was blown away by the size of this thing. While Fishpond doesn’t specify the actual size in cubic inches on their site, this thing is big. The two zippered pockets are huge and the addition of the eagles nest travel pouch in the rear compartment was a nice bonus. According to the Fishpond site a pistol can be attached to the velcro in the back compartment in place of the travel pouch. There is also a zippered compartment under the magnetic closure in the front with places to attach items on the outside and an additional zippered compartment on the outside of the magnetic closure. In addition to all of these compartments Fishpond has started to reintroduce zippered pockets on the shoulder straps of most of their packs. These pockets are super convenient for stashing tippet spools, weights, or any other items you need quick access to. Another standard feature on most of the new Fishpond packs that is also found on the Delta Sling is the integrated net slot built into the back of the pack. I carry the midsize Nomad/Fishpond net when wading and the net slot holds it perfectly. A few of the other unique features to this pack are the tippet cord attachment rings and the addition of the retractor dock on the top of the sling strap. The Delta Sling is made from Fishpond’s new fabric called cyclepond which is made from recycled commercial fishing nets, is very water resistant and has been very durable so far.
After using the pack for roughly two months I have to say one of the biggest surprises was how comfortable the pack rides. While touted as a sling pack, in my opinion it actually sits and rides flat on the lower back like a true hip pack. My only complaint so far is the lack of organizational features on this pack. By my own admission I am a neat freak. I feel like each item I carry should have its own special pocket and while I know that’s just the OCD in me, I feel like Fishpond is missing out by not adding pockets for miscellaneous items. Other manufactures such as Simms have improved organization light years by incorporating velcro inside some of their packs with pockets to hold flotant, tippet, and other misc. items. The bonus of velcro is that the items can be moved around and organized by the individual angler.
All in all I feel Fishpond knocked it out of the park with the Delta Sling. I am huge fan of Fishpond products in general and I think they are at the forefront when it comes to innovation. While I’ve only had a small amount of time on the water with the Delta Sling I hope this helps some of you who are in the market for a new hip/sling pack.