So, at my sister’s wedding rehearsal the other day, my brother approached me about sling packs. He was in the market, and was wondering whether I could make any recommendations, post a review on the blog, or otherwise point him in the right direction. I got home and had an opportunity to check my email. I found a promotional email from Allen Fly Fishing, plugging some clearance sales on their softgoods (branded ‘Exterus’) selection. I hadn’t had an opportunity to check out the Exterus selection yet, so, like any good brother, I found myself over at the website with a few items dropped into my digital shopping cart.
The Ebb Series Sling
I figured that for Jason’s needs, the Ebb Series Sling would be the best bet, and when it showed up at my house the other day, I was pretty excited to check it out. My brother is a pretty casual angler, so we weren’t exactly looking for anything that a guide might use day-in and day-out, but we’re still looking for quality gear here. What we got exceeded all of those expectations.
Sling packs are usually pretty uniform in construction, but there are a few differences in the Ebb. While some slings offer a single pocket (with or without dividers), the Ebb offers two large pockets. Each contain mesh dividers with and without zippers, respectively. There are also some other pockets that we’ll discuss below.
There are a few things that work really well with the Ebb. Let’s start at the front. Right in the middle of this pack there is a hardbody pocket that can fit just about any flybox you want to throw at it. Possibly several if you’re using something compact like a ‘Tacky,’ or even more if you adhere to the altoids method. Your flies are literally front and center, right where you need them. No smashing up your PB&J shorelunch, no bouncing around inside a larger pocket. When the fish are rising and you just broke-off, you don’t want to be scurrying around. That’s why I think this is such a great feature.
Next to the fly pocket is the beverage holster. This isn’t a revolutionary feature, but the thought of hot tea on a winter stream brings enough relief to my mind that it’s worth mentioning. The holster has a mesh/zipper seam, which changes the pocket’s circumference. Essentially, your skinny bottles won’t be falling out streamside, and your big boys will feel quite cozy as well.
Rounding out the miscellania:
- This pack seems to fit nicely. Obviously this depends on your height, weight, and packing tendencies, but all your options seem to be there. Both straps (sling and waist) are adjustable enough that most bases should be covered.
- There are plenty of attachment points for all your accessories which, admittedly, we fly anglers buy in excess. Moreover, they’re exactly where you’d want them to be. You’ve got a D-ring on the sling-strap itself, directly above where you might hook your tipped spools or nippers. Additional loops can be accessed when you’ve rotated the pack to your chest, next to the fly pocket.
- The back-facing surface should breathe pretty well, but… it’s my brother’s pack, and I haven’t put it through its paces just yet.
- Zipper pulls are ergonomic and… look pretty.
- Did I mention that I bought this pack for $30? I’m literally trading it for a case of beer… so… that seems pretty reasonable. High-value.
What You Might Be Looking For
All product designs are going to involve tradeoffs, and the the Ebb isn’t an exception. There are a few features that could take this bag to the next level, but were likely excluded to make this pack more accessible to all anglers. Here are just a few quick thoughts:
- This bag could really use a waterproof pocket. With Allen Fly Fishing being an online-based retailer, it seems to reason that the majority of their market might be carrying smartphones or cameras streamside. While not a necessity, this would have been awesome to see.
- I’ve excercised the zippers quite a bit, and although they haven’t jammed, there have been some times when they needed a bit of gentle coaxing. This could possibly be something where there is a break-in period… I just don’t know.
- Honestly… not much else.
Overall, this is a solid bag. I’d definitely consider one for myself. I can’t wait to update you guys once my brother has an opportunity to put it through it’s paces. I’ll let you know! Pictures below!