Off season cabin fever?
Possibly, as through winter, it’s rained so much around northeast Victoria that I did seriously consider wearing a sheet and becoming the second half baked Australian to build an ark.
Not sure what stopped me, the fact that animals don’t like me or that I’m a rubbish carpenter or that if I wore one of the sheets my wife would kill me.
The good news though, is that all this rain has reminded me that the new hip pack I think I must have, needs to be waterproof as the rain doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.
I’ve been thinking about a waist pack for a while and after a little trolling around the web came across the Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack.
After a quick conversation about the quality of Australian rugby with Chris at Manic Tackle in New Zealand there’s a sample on the way over for review.
As an overview, the Simms Dry Creek hip pack is at the larger end of the size spectrum having an internal capacity of 10 litres or a little over 600 cubic inches.
That makes it roughly half the size of an average day pack, but still about right for day trips unless you’re a hopeless tackle tart or a photographer or both, god help you.
It’s dry weight, no pun, at 21 Oz is quite low.
For testing I jammed my entire vest, all pockets loaded, into the pack along with my light rain jacket and heavy camera and found it quite comfortable on an active day working my way up one of my favourite mountain streams that was running hard thanks to the rain.
It’s a physical place being steep, with lots of boulder hopping and bedrock scrambling.
If you don’t have child bearing hips, or like me, no hips, you will soon appreciate the shoulder strap that keeps everything at waist level no matter how active things get.
Like a good back pack, it’s possible to shift the load through the day from hips to shoulder as needed and the shoulder strap is easily removed if it’s not required.
The weight of my camera means my shoulder strap will always be there, but if you don’t carry that sort of weight, you probably don’t need it.
The submersible roll top of the Dry Creek hip pack is probably not as stylish or as quick as a zipper, but from my experience with them on other bags, I can say the roll top will likely last longer and remain watertight even if you regularly beat it.
To test the integrity of the seal, I put a small towel in the bag and left it outside on the back deck for 2 days through about 60cm of rain over the opening weekend and it remained bone dry inside.
On the day I photographed the pack, I had it in a couple of inches of running water for nearly an hour with no problem.
The very wide, easily removed and very solidly padded waist belt is so comfortable it could be used stand alone as a lumbar support for wading and will probably end up in this role when I fish out of my kick boat while the bag itself serves as a small boat bag.
There’s a zippered mesh pocket on one side and two elastic toped mesh pockets on the other side for tippet spools, Gink or other bits and pieces that you don’t want to dig into the pack for.
There’s a small velcro patch on the outside pocket of the pack that can be used as a stand-alone fly patch or you can stick one of the Simms foam fly boxes or fly patches on.
The large front zippered pocket has drain holes cut into the bottom so obviously isn’t water proof but it is a good place for a knife and spare tippet spools and anything else that’s not a bother if it gets wet. The drain holes can be used to feed tippet through or to dock a pair of haemostats or mount a zinger with line clipper.
The front velcro patch on the pocket can be used as-is for a fly patch or allows for the adding of a velcro backed Simms foam fly box of foam fly patch.
Inside, there’s not much to speak of other than a zippered pocket and 4 mesh stash pockets to help organise the small things.
Like all things Simms I’ve owned or tried over the years, the Dry Creek hip pack is well designed and very fit for purpose. It’s versatile thanks to the modular set-up of the shoulder strap and waist belt and spot on for size and weight.
Simms say it’s tough and while I haven’t had it long enough to confirm that, I will give them the benefit of the doubt given how much my waders get hammered season after season and still don’t leak. On that same logic, if they claim it’s odour proof, we may have a problem.