PODCAST: Vest, Pack or Something Else? Carrying Your Gear — S7, Ep8

by | May 28, 2023 | 16 comments

 The Troutbitten Podcast is available everywhere that you listen to your podcasts.

** Note **  The Podcast Player, along with links to your favorite players is below.

What’s the best way to carry your gear? Should you use a vest, a chest pack, hip pack, sling pack or something else?

How you choose to carry gear is a personal and situational choice. It has everything to do with what you need to carry, and how far you like to walk. Do you need to carry extra layers and a raincoat, and how many tactics do you want to be ready for? Streamers, nymphs, dry flies and wets . . . or just dries?

We have more choices than ever before, but it pays to think about efficiency when selecting a carrying system. Because a big part of being versatile on the water is having easy access to whatever you need, right when you need it.

We Cover the Following
  • Best to have one system or many?
  • Carrying a net, water, and other heavy items
  • Minimalist setups
  • The disaster of a sling pack
  • The benefit of everything up front
  • Storage and convenience
  • Large pockets or many pockets
  • What about getting wet?
  • . . .  and much more

READ: Troutbitten | Pack or Vest? Why I’m a Vest Guy
READ: Troutbitten | 100 Day Gear Review — Simms G3 Guide Vest
LISTEN: Troutbitten | PODCAST — The Efficiencies that Waste Your Fishing Time
LISTEN: Troutbitten | PODCAST — The Versatile Angler

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Next Time

Season Seven of the Troubitten Podcast continues with episode nine, next week. So look for that one in your Troutbitten Podcast feed.

Fish hard, friends.


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Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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  1. Two things:

    1. The William Joseph Confluence pack is no more, but an excellent substitute is the JMC Competition Chestpack.

    2. You guys briefly mentioned the Richardson Chest Box, but you didn’t kneel and bow like you should have. There are many of us for whom the Richardson is like his hair to Samson.

  2. Have any of the team researched or used a combination fly vest and inflation life preserver? I have used one of each during higher waters and have started looking for an all in one that can provide the efficiency and storage in the fly vest functions your team values.

    • Hi Bill,
      I have tested a few different lifejaket vest and have not cared for any of them. My best solution on a boat when I need a life jacket I find a slim one or inflatable one and wear a lanyard over it.
      I have friend that uses an NRS one and likes it but being bigger guy it get in my way roaring or casting.

  3. Hello Troutbitten crew,
    I’m a long time listener and look forward to the podcast every week. I really enjoy the technical aspects that this podcast covers, and the fun banter keeps me coming back.

    I live in northern Indiana and my local stream is spring fed. The river was actually dredged and straightened in the past and only a couple of sections have been restored. The trout population relies pretty heavily on stocking. My question is, what are your thoughts on exploring all of the water in rivers like this? Do you think it’s worth while? Or am I better off staying in the small restored sections of river that are clearly better trout habitat. I hear you guys talk about exploring all of the water and constantly moving and don’t know if that is something I would benefit from.

    Thanks guys!

    • Hi Conner,

      “what are your thoughts on exploring all of the water in rivers like this? Do you think it’s worth while?”

      DO IT! You have nothing to lose. Be an explorer, and you might find something very special.


  4. I enjoyed this episode, especially the universal dislike of the sling pack…worst purchase I made when I began fly fishing last summer. I’ve been using a chest pack, but picky Bill may have sold me on the lanyard with a fly box. Can someone point me to the lanyard he mentioned? I don’t recall the brand name.

    • C&F Design CFA-830 Universal System Chest Storage. This is the new model than mine.

      You can still find it if you look hard for a decent price

  5. I carry more than I need but I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. What percentage of the stuff you guys carry do you regularly use in a day fishing?

  6. I’m interested in taking a stab at making the custom pack design talked about at 29 minutes into the episode. Making packs and outdoor gear is one of my hobbies.

  7. Okay weird take on the sling pack here. I have been fishing weekly pretty much year-round with the fishpond summit sling pack for 2-3 years now. I have solved most of the issues mentioned in the podcast by simply not moving the sling around to the front while on the river. I can reach all of my gear by just reaching around back with my off hand. My tools and tippet holder are easily accessible on the front of the strap.

    I do agree that the lack of organization within the large pockets can be annoying, and the single shoulder strap is uncomfortable by the end of a long day. However, the sling pack has solved more problems than it has caused me.

    I personally can’t stand having gear on my chest, and I hate things swinging around. I really try my best not to have anything on my pack hang down when I bend over, swing around while hiking, or catching in my fly line. I think the sling pack does a great job of containing all my gear in this manner while keeping it very accessible. I completely agree that accessibility is most important, and I strongly believe my setup does not make any sacrifices in this category.

    Loved the podcast as always. Thank you to everyone at Troubitten for putting out so much great informational content. No hard feelings on the sling pack hate lol.

  8. I don’t believe I have ever commented. And I know this podcast is down the line on older. But wanted to piggy back on Austin’s comment about Greg Hoover. I grew up with Greg’s brother Todd’s kids. And just like Greg, Todd passed away with the same medical issue much earlier. I had met Greg at Todd’s house while he was dealing with this issue and he was unbelievably welcoming to me. We sat and talked fishing for a good while at the Hoover residence. I had him sign a article he had written in a book I own called Limestone Legends and even though he couldn’t make it he graciously offered me his invite to the Harrisburg Fly fishing club. I only knew Greg from that time meeting him and exchanging emails but I can honestly say the Hoover family is one of the best families on the planet. They amount of stuff they did for our community, the way they treated me in their home, and just the quality people they were to everyone was monumental to me. It really brings a tear to my eye to see this family deal with so much loss. Rip Greg, Todd, and Jaren Hoover. I hope they’re up there continuing to crack jokes on each other.

    • Would love to see Bill’s C&F lanyard setup! I’d like to combine this with my Thunderhead lumbar pack (sans shoulder strap).

      I see you, Dom, with the thunderhead in your last video… nice!!!

  9. Dom,

    I see you wearing a Thunderhead lumbar pack in your Golden Ratio video!!! Nice!

    I would love to see Bill’s C&F lanyard setup. I love my Thunderhead lumbar pack but I need something a little closer for my tippet and most frequented flies. I do not use the shoulder strap on my Thunderhead and think a combo of the C&F and the pack would be perfect!


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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