Over the weekend I hit the Yellowstone River for fishing before run-off but I also took a couple new pieces of gear to beat up and test. Spring is a perfect time to see if gear is worth its' salt. The weather can be all four seasons in one day. I got three out of four while fishing and camping.
A couple places I wade on the Yellowstone can eat a rod fast if you lose your step. For getting from point A to point B when not fishing I brought along a Scientific Angler Rod Sleeve. I used the half sleeve to carry my 11'6" switch rod broke in half. The sleeve made hopping through boulders more manageable and I wasn't afraid of breaking the tip on a tree limb. It only took a few seconds to remove and get to swinging. I also used it when the rod was in my interior rod rack. It kept the two halves of the rod from knocking and rubbing against each other. The rod was silent in my roof for the first time while driving a couple dirt roads. That will help keep me sane!
The next piece of gear, my bad back loved! I waded for three days with the Rising Lumbar Pack. I've been searching for a replacement for a discountinued fishing backpack I have used for years. Most either couldn't fit the amount of gear I carry , or they didn't fit me right. I'm picky with packs because I have an old damaged back. When I loaded my gear I was suprised when it fit more than my backpack. I liked this but I feared my back would pay the price. After three days my back was in no more pain than any aveage day. The way the Lumbar Pack tranfered the weight to my legs relieved my back of any extra stress. The versatile shoulder strap system also helped distribute weight. I set them up to wear on both shoulders, they never felt like they were pulling down on my back. If you don't need to use the straps they are removable.
It was a weekend of on and off rain, perfect for testing the packs water resistance. The main compartment is a lined roll top dry bag. After standing in rain for two out of three days my gear was bone dry. I was very happy to see these results since I carry a 35mm camera and need a pack that stays dry. My flies can get wet, I really hope that they don't, but god forbid my camera gets wet. Since the Lumbar Pack is bigger than a traditional fanny pack I didn't open and access the pack while in the river. If I needed to get something out I took a seat on the bank. But since all my jacket pockets were usable again I kept needed flies in my jacket so I could make a fast fly change mid-river
Carrying nets, how and where is always an issue. Not with the Lumbar Pack. On the back of the pack is a pass through net holder. While I was wading I carried a Blue Ribbon Canoe net without any problems. It was easy to access and never got hung up on anything because it sits in the middle of your lower back. If you need to carry one for some reason, it even fit my boat net.
These are two new items I know I'm going to get a lot of use from over the coming season.
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