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Apparel & Fly Review

Tired of traditional fly vests? Sportgear's Tulli Chest Pack offers anglers of all types a novel alternative

Date: 12/29/03
Tackle type: Fishing Apparel
Manufacturer: Sportgear.CA
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.83

Fly-Fishing vests are at times the very best tackle storage option, and are a great way to remain mobile with your gear. Unfortunately traditional vests can limit your storage, and can become uncomfortable when fully loaded with tools and gear. Sportgear introduces an innovative alternative to the common vest, the highly adjustable Tulli Chest pack, designed to increase your overall storage capacity, and make it easier to organize your tackle, while still allowing anglers the greatest freedom in movement.

Sportgear.CA Tulli Chest Pack Specifications

Color Brown & Black combo
Base Material Nylon
Size Adjustable, 1 size fits all
Storage 14 Pockets
Attached via Zipper & Buckle straps
Water Resistant Yes
Options Hydration Pack, Cell Phone Holder
MSRP $74.95

About Sportgear: Sportgear.CA is based in Canada, and has a simple mission; To design and build gear that enhances all your outdoor activities. Sportgear.CA is the parent company to a number of brands, including Hawkeye Tackle, and the River Otter Bag company. Through these brands they have released a number of exciting products including their Azen stormproof lighters, tackle boxes, leader boards, River Otter waterproof pouches, and the Tulli Chest Pack.

The Tulli Chest pack looks similar to a fly fishing vests, but boasts increased storage capacity and more freedom of movement

Vests just make good sense for fly fisherman. Being mobile, at times waist deep in water, there are few better ways to store and organize tackle. Tackle boxes and backpacks are often too cumbersome, and sit too low in the water making it difficult to keep your gear dry. In addition packs are difficult to access while holding a rod. Sportgear has created a alternative to the traditional vest, one that offers all the ease of use of a standard vest, but with the expanded functionality of a conventional pack.


Every zipper has a high quality cord "pull" and the pack's main zipper features oversized teeth for reliability


When I first took a look at the Tulli Chest Pack I noticed that it resembled a vest in size, but the design was more like a hiking pack. The large pockets are held in place not with material, but via buckles and straps. I could tell right away that this pack was toughened to be more durable then the customary vests I was used to wearing. In all areas that are meant to expand there is generous material reinforcement. The last thing I noted before the actual field tests was something you just don't find on vests, front and back padding to help cushion the fully loaded garment against your body, a big plus.


Open the pack reveals the interior compartments (a retaining strap makes it easer to access pockets, keeping the compartments in front of the angler)


Real World Test: Testing the Tulli was as simple as spending the day fishing in the backcountry. We decided to test the mobility of the Tulli by choosing two extremely tucked away tight streams, where freedom of movement would be a definite plus in terms of both reaching the coveted spots, as well as casting freedom for positioning of the most delicate flies.


Talk about large capacity, the Tulli fits Plano 3500 boxes in the main pockets!


Design: Within minutes I began to appreciate the Tulli's well thought out design. With vests you have to buy the size that fits you best, and still make sure to pick a vest that rides high enough to stay dry in the majority of situations you hope to encounter. The Tulli is put on just like a vest, snap it into place, zip it up, and you are ready to go. But unlike fly vests it can be further adjusted to be looser, tighter, or ride higher. All of this is done via four main straps which adjust the length and tightness of the main cords.


All the buckles are made of high impact plastic, and Sportgear made a excellent choice with the implementation of a oversized zipper. This zipper is easy to use, and the enlarged teeth make it resistant to jamming as a result of the introduction of uninvited grit or sand.


The back of the pack is well padded and has a large mesh pocket designed to hold a hydration pack or your lunch


Storage: This pack has all the conventional pockets and features of a good number of the fly vests available, like the removable fly patch and velcro pockets, but it also has some extra storage capabilities that really stand out. You can access the contents of the chest pack by opening the large pockets on the front of the pack, or via one the many smaller compartments. The two main pockets on the front of the chest pack are bigger then those I have ever seen on a typical vest. So big in fact that anglers can actually put in Plano 3500 size boxes! This is perfect for spinning outfits, as the boxes are large enough to hold spinners, plastics, and crankbaits. Fly fisherman can store backup spools, or extra boxes with no difficulty.


There are multiple mesh pockets on outside of the vest for quick access items, and for added security there are also netted storage and enclosed pockets on the inside of the pack. These are accessed by unzipping the front of the Tulli. Sportgear wanted to make sure that even when open it was easy to access the interior pockets, so they added a retaining strap which helps keep the pockets in front of you when fiddling around the inner sections. Overall the strap design is quite clever and allows users to upgrade the pack with a variety of additions like a cell phone holder, GPS, wading staff, and basically anything else you capable of clamping onto a strap.

To top it all off Sportgear made the back of this pack functional as well. Sure there is the traditional loop to hang your net, but the Tulli also features a large denier reinforced webbed back compartment. This huge pocket is built to handle hydration packs, and is big enough to carry lunch in. Because the Tulli is well cushioned and the webbing pouch expands outwards, even when loaded the pack remains very comfortable, even when hiking short distances.

Every pocket in the Tulli is easy to access and provides generous storage room

Comfort & Freedom: At first examination I was concerned about comfort, as I envisioned a overloaded bag putting a great deal of pressure on two straps, which I thought would dig into my shoulders. I couldn't have been more wrong. The Tulli is designed so the padding actually extends over your back to cover your shoulders completely. the straps remain vertical and the weight is evenly distributed over the soft reinforced padding. Fully loaded the bag feels like form fitting body armor. My biggest complaint about standard vests is that when fully loaded they flop around when hiking from one location to the next and while casting. Because you can adjust the position and fit of the Tulli it can go from loose to a comfortable embrace over your shirt or waders. The ability to adjust looser also makes the Tulli a better solution on cold days when it can be properly fitted over bigger jackets & shells.

Greater freedom and range of motion is definitely afforded to anglers that wear the Tulli. Imagine being able to carry enough tackle so you can avoid carrying around a tackle box. The Tulli's overall capacity is generous, and plenty enough for any type of on the move fishing with fly or spinning outfits. Another positive about the Tulli is the lack of material on the side of the body. Because the chest pack is held in place with four cords it barely moves when fishing, allowing you to cast naturally.


It was easy to hike and wade to even the most secluded areas with the comfortable Tulli chest pack

Applications: The Tulli is a flexible storage solution that you can wear. The ease of use and customizable fit makes it a great choice for both fly fisherman looking for further storage and freedom, and spinning anglers looking for a better way to lug tackle. I was pleased with how well the Tulli could be adjusted to fit, and the abundance in storage area offered by this pack. Shore anglers that usually fish with a backpack will find that the Tulli offers enough storage via two Plano 3500 boxes, and will save time by being able to access lures in the front rather then having to remove a backpack and search for their desired tackle.


The pack is not 100% waterproof, but it is water resistant, and moisture wicks away from the surface of the Tulli. But unlike ordinary vests the Tulli can be adjusted to ride higher, and stay out of the water, making it a great choice when you need to carry a little extra tackle and venture out into any unfamiliar conditions.



Sportgear.CA Tulli Chest Pack Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Overall the construction of the Tulli is top notch. Use of high quality denier webbing and thick material help make this chest pack a durable performer 9
Performance The Tulli performed well in all our tests and proved very durable in all our stress tests. The enlarged zipper and reinforced pockets ensure that your valuable gear is well protected within the Tulli's thick pockets 9
Price Quality fly vests can cost 99.00 and up, so for 74.95 the Tulli is very reasonable price 8.5
Features Increased storage and a enlarged back compartment for a hydration pack make this garment into a full blown mobile storage solution 9
Design (Ergonomics) The Tulli showcases some great design engineering. This vest alternative does everything a traditional vest can do, but offers more storage and adjustability. It would be nice to have at least one more color option 8.5
Application The Tulli is not just for fly anglers, spinning fisherman will find it has enough capacity hold essential tackle as well as full blow lure boxes. It is a great tackle solution for anglers that enjoy fishing the shore and want to be able to access boxes quickly. 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great Design L Only one color option for now
J Large Capacity L May be hard to find in some areas
J Comfortable & Adjustable  
J More freedom of movement  

Conclusion: Originally designed for Steelhead anglers this is a pack that can be used for just about any angler on the go. One third fly vest, one third backpack, and one third pure innovation, the Tulli is a outstanding pack for anglers who are looking for a way to store and organize all their essential tackle, and still remain highly mobile. Major plusses of this vest alternative include the clever design, added storage capacity, and the ergonomically adjustable fit for each and every application. The added storage and flexibility of this chest pack make it a good choice for a variety of angling applications that go well beyond just fly fishing. If you enjoy wading or walking the shore the Tulli Chest pack is a mobile storage solution certainly worth considering.


Until next time...Tight Lines!









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