New Zealand Trout Adventures

Patagonia Stormfront Rolltop Backpack

This is what they say;

100% waterproof, fully-welded construction with a single-side TPU coating Padded shoulder straps and adjustable waistbelt are lined with 100% polyester 3D spacer mesh Exterior lash points and rod tube holders Exterior quick stash pocket Shoulder straps are designed to accept the vest front from our Convertible Vest (sold separately) Pack: 11.75-oz 800-denier 100% nylon, with a TPU single-side coating and DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Front mesh pocket: 4.5-oz 100% polyester 3-D spacer mesh 807 g (1 lb 12.8 oz)

This is what I say;

As a guide/fisherman who spends 150 days a summer out on the water, I need to know I can keep my gear dry. This season I have started to lug around a bulky Canon DSLR camera so that I can record client captures with high quality photographs. This camera was not a cheap item to buy! Had I not invested in this pack I simply would not be taking that camera out – period.

backpack-02I have used the Stormfront pack for the past summer and found it to be not only completely waterproof but also roomy enough for all the gear that a guide needs to take along for a day. I can fit a couple of rain jackets, large camera, lunch, clients fleece jerseys and a few extra fly boxes full of secret patterns. I can also have my first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, locator beacon and car keys in the completely waterproof extra pocket on the back. The added bonus of straps on the back for a rod tube is invaluable. It means you have the ability to carry that extra rod… nothing ruins a fishing day faster than a busted rod!

It is comfortable to wear with fully adjustable straps, which is great on those days where you have pushed the limits in the backcountry and walked a few Km’s furthar than you intended. I have been using the pack in conjunction with the Fishpond Westwater waterproof chestpack. The chestpack can be threaded onto the chest strap of the Stormfront pack. This combination has been very effective. The Stormfront has a waist strap which stops the pack from moving around as you jump from rock to rock in the riverbed.

So one of the main features that attracted me to the Stormfront was its waterproofness (is that a word?) I have yet to see a drop of water inside this pack! I have been out in rain that you would not believe down on the Westcoast and yet not a single item inside this pack got wet. As with all outdoor adventure companies the safety of our clients is paramount. Often people do not come prepared for New Zealand conditions. On a wet day hypothermia is never far from my thoughts. The fact that I can have a spare set of warm dry clothing inside this pack means my clients and I can have some peace of mind and get on with what is really important…. THE FISHING!!! To test the Stormfront to see how waterproof it was, I spent an afternoon fishing a heavily flood swollen river. I knew there would be a few big fish out in the shallows feeding but also knew I would need to cross the river to get to them. So I stripped down to my undies and placed all my clothing into the Stormfront and rolled it down the recommended 3 times and put it on my back and proceeded to swim across the river in a longer and slower pool. Upon reaching the other side I was able to put my completely dry cloths back on and begin fishing in comfort.. The other feature I discovered on that swim was that if you fill the bag with air and roll it down, the trapped air inside turns the pack into a buoyancy aid – now that could come in handy!

The only 2 things that could make it a little better would be a D ring for a landing net (this is available in the slightly smaller Stromfront pack) and maybe a little more structural support to distribute the load evenly throughout the pack. It would add a bit more comfort when taking large amounts of gear.

Overall the pack has been a real find and I give it my full endorsement. After 150 odd days in both fresh and salt water there are no signs of deterioration and at $229.95 rrp it represents good value.

Anton Donaldson