Gear Review: Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack

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By Spencer Durrant | TMTB Managing Editor
January 29, 2018

 

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack looks like a fanny pack.

But it’s a helluva lot more utilitarian.

I’ve always been a vest guy. I’ve tried sling packs and never found one I liked much. I’ve had the same Colombia PFG vest for half a decade now (birthday present from my dad) but the zippers are shot. I’d gone back and forth on what to replace it with, but decided to give a hip pack a try.

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack has the advantage of being waterproof, light, comfortable, and it stays out of the way (for the most part). Surprisingly, I didn’t much like it at first, but it’s grown on me in the month since I bought it.

But is it the right choice for your day on the water? Let’s break it down and take a look.


Image courtesy simmsfishing.com

The Nitty-Gritty

The Good

100% Waterproof

Some days it feels like I spend more time behind the camera lens than I do with a rod in my hand (though I’m nowhere near the level of Ryan Kelly, one of the best photographers I know). The only problem there is that water and cameras don’t mix.

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack is the solution for anyone who wants total assurance their gear is as waterproof as it’s going to get.

The first day I had the Dry Creek Hip Pack, I took it out to Lee’s Ferry in Arizona, filled it with all of my favorite fly boxes, reels, and other gear, and dunked it in the river for a good 30 seconds.

Everything was bone-dry. As long as you get the roll-top closure system tight, you don’t have to worry about losing a camera, phone, or walkie-talkie to the water ever again.

Comfort

I’ve always loved a vest because it’s such a comfortable design. That’s a big part of the reason it’s endured for so long.

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack is surprisingly comfortable. The padded shoulder strap helps reduce arm fatigue, and the padding on the belt and body-side of the pack itself are soft enough.

Add the waist belt and cross-shoulder strap to the equation, and you have a much better balance of weight than with a vest. Instead of weight hanging from your shoulders, it’s spread across your upper body and into the hips when wearing the Dry Creek Hip Pack.

Roomy

I’m always the guy who brings “too much stuff” on a fishing trip.

Yeah, like that’s possible.

But the Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack has room for all your boxes, and then some. Seriously, the interior space may not look like much at first, but you could easily fit a day’s worth of food, a backpacking stove, matches, emergency blanket, and water bottle in there alongside a few boxes of flies and tippet.

The Not-So-Good

No Comparments

I may be picking at nothing here, but the trade-off you make for all the room in this pack comes at the expense of no compartments. Aside from an outer zippered pocket (which Simms has very loudly labeled not waterproof), and two internal mesh pockets, the rest of the pack is completely open.

All that room makes it easy for tippet, small boxes, floatant, split shot, and anything else to end up on the bottom of the bag. Digging around to find the gear you need isn’t fun, and it takes away from time on the water.

Needs adjustment

The first few times I took the pack out, I knew I’d tinker with tightness of the shoulder and waist straps. A month later, I’m doing the same thing.

It’s just the nature of how Simms built this pack; Velcro nylon stoppers keep the nylon buckle straps from tightening past your chosen setting, but it doesn’t keep them from loosening. Likewise, the shoulder strap always seems to need a tweak or two before it’s ready to rock.

Final Word

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack is a stellar piece of gear at a reasonable price. $129.95 isn’t too much to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your gear is always dry. It’s comfortable, has more than enough room for all your flies on the water, and you could use it as a day pack if needed.

The only knocks on it are the lack of compartments and need for constant adjustment. If you think this is the pack for you, visit your local fly shop to try one on.

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Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, outdoors columnist, and novelist from Utah. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, Hatch Magazine, TROUT Magazine, Sporting Classics Daily, and other national publications. He’s also the managing editor of The Modern Trout Bum. Find him on Twitter/Instagram, @Spencer_Durrant.