First up, and straight out of the mailbox, the new Simms Dry Creek ‘Simple’ day pack is indeed a simple design that looks both very water-tight and as tough as nails. It’s also incredibly light.
Basically, the build of the bag features one main compartment of 25 litres with a fairly large vertically zippered outside pocket on the back and an open internal stash pocket with one zippered section for stuff that needs a little more security. There’s two wide padded shoulder straps with a couple attachment points each, an adjustable for height chest strap, a docking station for nippers on a retractor and a small carry handle up top.
A large opening roll top closure is the best example of the simplicity in the design and these are -generally – considered more secure and ultimately more waterproof than a zipper. Also, it’s possible to compress the pack more if you’ve got less onboard by rolling the top down tighter with the side compression straps that hold it in place. Got a tonne of stuff ? While the roll top might take a second or two longer to open than a zipper, it is a fool-proof and very solid arrangement that won’t require the maintenance that waterproof zippers do in my experience.
Also worth a mention, the compression straps have a clever little velcro arrangement to stop tham flapping about when buckled down.
The lack of any waist belt I would mark down as both a plus and a minus. On the plus side, there’s less flapping around when wrangling the pack in and out of the car or on and off your back over the stream and, of course, less weight. On the minus side, a waist belt, particularly a wide padded one, is great for distributing weight and makes it possible to adjust a load off your shoulders and onto your hips or vice-versa through the day. With the weight of my cameras this can be very important, but then again, most people don’t carry anything like the weight of my cameras while fishing and if you keep the load realistic, this simply isn’t going to be an issue.
While there’s not a lot hanging off the pack in keeping with its simple mantra, there are two exterior attachment points down the side for holding a spare rod tube. Cinching straps are available for a few dollars as an accessory should you need, but are not included.
The waterproof material is a fairly flexible PU coated 300 Denier rip-stop nylon with seam sealing throughout the bag and while we didn’t have any rain during the testing, I did set the pack down in running water for an extended period during photography and the inside of the bag remained, as expected, bone dry.
Of course, I haven’t had the pack long enough to properly comment on its potential longevity, but based on previous Simms performances in this regard, I’m not expecting it to fall apart before I do. Generally, Simms gear is well made and very fit for purpose and the Simple pack looks like no exception.
As properly waterproof day packs go, the Simple is comfortable, the perfect size, relatively inexpensive and, in my opinion, going to be way more fun in the pissing rain than any non-waterproof pack. Also, unlike a lot of fly fishing specific packs, with this one you won’t look a tool in public if you’re using it as an everyday carry and that trust me is always a good thing.
*Note – the pack should be available