Headwaters Backpack from SIMMS Fly Fishing

SIMMS’ Headwaters Backpack
Last year I reviewed Simms’ Dry Creek backpack after tooling around southeast Alaska for king salmon, sea-run cutthroat and steelhead. And I found the pack to function great, with a lot of storm protection for my camera gear and food.

Then, on a trip to British Columba’s Dean River in July I watched lodge owner Andrew Bennett hike through the Enchanted Forest and ride quads through the woods with Simms’ Headwaters backpack over his shoulders. He wore it on his back while throwing a spey rod, too. And I had to have one.

So I phoned Simms, which was generous enough to send a Headwaters pack to Seattle so I could pick it up my way to Alaska. And, after almost two recent weeks in The Great Land, carrying that pack everywhere—meaning on boats, on beaches, and around town—I have no complaints. I think the Headwaters pack is a sweet angling tool made with quality materials.

For instance, the stitching seems excellent and the carry handle held up despite placing an SLR 35mm body, a 17-35 lens, a fixed 60 lens, an 80 to 400 lens, an 18 to 200 lens, an external Speedlight flash, and a fisheye lens in the bag. On top of that I carried a rainjacket, two rod tubes, two reels and a couple fly boxes. The bag was heavily overloaded and probably weighed 30 pounds, maybe more. As mentioned, all stitching held. And I wasn’t uncomfortable carrying that gear because the pack comes with adjustable chest, waist and shoulder straps. It’s set up for a water bladder, but that would have been supreme overkill in my gear-junkie case.

The only thing I found a little difficult to negotiate with this pack is that the large storage compartment is deep but not wide. I had to dig deep each time I wanted a new lens. But how to solve that without making a large pack that defeats the purpose of a smaller, more comfortable pack?

Simms touts this as acceptable for a multi-day trek, but I wouldn’t carry it for a backpacking trip—too small. For day trips, however, this is tough to beat. Here are some additional features:

The pack uses ballistic fabric to avoid wear in high-wear areas

An air-flow chamber on the back panel provides ventilation and comfort

Lots of compartmental storage on smaller front zippered storage area

Bottom of pack is made with Dry Zone and a small pocket carries a pullover rain guard

Overall size is 2,640 cubic inches

Check out full details at www.simmsfishing.com

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