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The Fanny Pack - Fly Fishing's Next Fashion Statement

Updated on December 8, 2012
A classic fanny pack.
A classic fanny pack.

They Were the Rage in the Early 90's

Few things scream early 90's more than a fanny pack. They were popular for both sexes. By the mid 2000's I was using mine to house a bulky digital camera with different size lenses, cleaners, adapters, and AA batteries. It was a great camera bag for family vacations or visits to theme parks. It had a certain utility look to it. My kids, teenagers at the time and painfully aware of fashion, had an entirely different view of it. They were relieved when I upgraded to a more compact camera and left my fanny pack at home. My fanny pack stayed in a drawer for several years.

Wet Wading and Cell Phones Don't Mix

I do a fair amount of wet wading when I fly fish. I was able to stuff enough of my equipment in my shirt and pants pockets to be functional, but never felt totally comfortable about how secure the items were. When I wet waded to my waist and forgot that my cell phone was in my pants pocket, I realized that I had to change tactics. I have a fly vest that I've had since a teenager, but given the Florida heat, putting it on over any kind of shirt didn't have much appeal. I looked at chest packs and equipment lanyards, but the idea of having equipment hanging right in front of me where I landed fish seemed awkward. Rummaging around my drawer I found the fanny pack by accident. I though why not? It proved to have far more utility than I ever imagined.

Roomy, Functional, and Dry

What amazes me is how all the compartments fit typical fly fishing gear. I am able to carry a reel and spare spool, fly box, nippers, tippet, and Leatherman in the fanny pack. In addition, I can carry my wallet, cell phone, and car keys. All of the pockets fully zip and secure the equipment. I can carry it on my waist with the pack in front of me (classic 90's style) and when I get to the water, sling it over my head and shoulder. With the pack on the opposite shoulder of my casting arm, I can shift the pack to my back where it stays. This keeps my front free and the pack well above the water line. When I need to change a fly, I can keep the pack on my shoulder and shift it around to my front and access all the contents. It is all very simple and light.

If you are a fly fishing minimalist and not fashion conscious, the fanny pack may be for you.


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