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Apparel/Gear Review

Lightweight and Convenient: The Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Hydration/Lumbar Pack (continued)

Alongside each pair of outer orange loops is a Velcro strap that can also be used to hold items, but I simply had nothing to store in them so I never really used them for anything. Small black Hypalon tabs along the outside of the main pack feature holes to enable you to attach items, but since I seldom carry small accessories I didn't use them much either. Finally, there are also a couple of fabric loops on the outside for even more areas to clip or attach things. The outer storage capability definitely exceeded my simplistic needs!

Water bottles fit easily into the convenient side pouches.

The water bottle holders on each side of the pack are a huge convenience. Generously sized and adjustable via small bungee cords, they easily hold any average water bottles in place. They are nice and deep so bottles stay put, and I never even felt the need to use the bungee adjustments. There is also a small drain hole at the bottom of each bottle holder so water won't pool up.

A closer look at the water bottle holder adjustment cords.

The Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Hydration/Lumbar pack features two main pockets, both with openings slightly over six inches long. Each pocket has a zippered enclosure with a pull tab on the end for easy gripping. Both zippers work extremely smooth and feel solid. The outermost zippered pocket is somewhat small, but it works well for items like tippet spools, a small digital camera, or other similar accessories. The main pocket has an inner fabric divider and is where I prefer to put larger items like a fly box, larger line spools, or even a small snack. Though the main pocket features generous depth, the size of the zippered opening makes it tough to stick your hand all the way inside. The compartment also fills up rather quickly with just a few standard items. Unfortunately, the water bottle holders on each side take up any extra room that could have been used to enlarge this compartment, so it's a bit of a compromise here. You certainly want to pack light when using this bag!

The outside is both clean and functional.

I found it both surprising and refreshing that Fishpond makes their Cyclepond material entirely out of recycled water bottles. Even though it's not advertised as being waterproof, I tested the material by running portions of it under the faucet and found that no water seeped inside. You don't, however, want to use this pack in heavy rain because the zippered openings are definitely not waterproof!

A top view of both the main and outside pockets.

Price and Applications: At a price of $69.95, the Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Hydration/Lumbar pack is pricey. It is certainly not the only expensive waist pack out there, but there's a good number of them on the market for far less. What you do get for this price is a quality made pack that should last for many years. Lesser packs I've owned in the past have had all types of quality issues, but this pack is definitely a massive improvement!

Each zipper features a handy elongated pull tab for an easy grip.

This is a pack that you can use for more than just fly fishing. If you enjoy conventional angling on foot, this makes a fair to good choice. For bass fishing, I found it to be just fair. I prefer to carry several types of lures when I bass fish, and since bass baits are often larger in size, the storage space gets used up very quickly. Throw in a few bags of plastics along with a box of small hardbaits, and it can be downright tough to make it all fit. More than once I had to leave a few things home because they simply wouldn't fit along with the other gear I was hauling along.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Hydration/Lumbar Pack Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality This is a very well constructed pack with no defects or errors present. 9
Performance It performed pretty good in the field, but since it IS a wading pack, it would be nice if it was fully waterproof. I never had any rust issues with the zippers, but I always washed the pack off after saltwater exposure. 7.5
Price Priced at about 70 dollars, Fishpond quality doesn't come cheap! 5
Features I really liked the water bottle holders and a few other features. There's lots of outer storage, but the main inner pocket and its opening could be a bit larger. 7
Design (Ergonomics) Nice job here. The pack is both lightweight and very comfortable. It stays in place and the waistband breathes a bit in the heat which is awesome during a Florida summer. 8.5
Application The pack can be worn for various hiking and fishing adventures as long as you don't need to carry a ton of stuff. 7.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Lightweight - Main compartment is a bit too small
+ Comfortable - Price
+ Looks great  
+ High quality construction  


This pack is not just for fly anglers!


Conclusion: In many instances, staying mobile is the key to successful angling. The Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Hydration/Lumbar pack helps you achieve this, offering a small, lightweight package that will hold your essentials. While many freshwater river anglers continue to favor the traditional vest, those who target saltwater flats or fish in other hot regions need to keep cool and travel as light as possible. Waist packs are the perfect piece of equipment in these environments, as they give anglers a minimalist means of storage while not being bogged down by a hot or clumsy piece of gear. While this Fishpond pack may not be totally perfect for all situations, it's a solid pick for the angler that's looking for top quality and a good level of functionality.










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