The best thing a piece of gear can do for you is go unnoticed untill that crucial moment when you need to rely on it. Gear bags are a lot like Janitors or drummers, you only notice them when they screw up. So i got a chance to put the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack to the test on a three week trip to the Bahamas stalking bones and messing with permit, sharks, and cudas and the hip pack was a key element in my very peticular order of gear. Normally when i'm wading from the flats to Bear Trap Canyon i go the minimalist approach. I got rid of my vest and began to cram fly boxes in the oversized fishing shirt chest pockets, well sometimes that works or if you want to commit to soley fishing streamers it's fine. Eventually i just looked like a botched surgically altered model from Silicone Valley and spent way too much time looking through pockets for flies and not enough time fishing. It became apparent i needed some organization and i don't need another backpack so i'll try the hip pack.
When you know relatively nothing about a pack's features and go to reach for something, that as a fisherman innately you believe should be there, and it's instantly in your hand then, that is a well designed piece of equipment. The pack is called the Stealth pack for a good reason as it weighs in at 1lb 2.6oz which seems like nothing once strapped in place. I was confused for the first day why i couldn't make the shoulder sling longer as at fully extended had the pack riding two inches above my waist but the next day on a particularly shallow flat casting from your knees or lower became imperative. Once i shook off the crazy eye of staring at tailing bones for hours i expected the bottom of my pack to be soaked in saltwater, nope bone dry along with all it's contents. The removable foam fly patch is easily accesable when you sling the pack around in front to rerig or change patterns and the minimalist inner pocket help keep all your extra tippet, leaders, pliers, or lunch organized. Can't wait to fill up the bullet holsters for floatant and dry shake and pretend i'm a spring creek bandelero. The secret pocket on top that folds in a protected compartment for an extra pair of sunglasses complete with a lens cleaning microfiber cloth was pretty sweet too. Constructed with some seriously tear and water resistant material this pack let's you know that you will most likely spend many days or years fishing together. At a retail price of $89.00 it is competively priced with other top brands and to me seems worth every penny. The pack is designed and marketed towards the minimalist angler but i feel completey comfortable that it will hold everything i need and more for the day without me hardly ever even noticing it's there.