Patagonia Stormfront Waterproof Backpack

Here’s a fact. I’ve tried every combination of daypack, vest, shoulder bag, sling and minimalist wishful thinking imaginable in trying to comfortably combine photography and fly fishing, with mixed levels of success from none to not-even-close. Here’s a couple more facts: both bankable, cameras and water don’t mix, and ‘water resistant’ isn’t resistant enough when you need it the most. 

Most of the current crop of day packs are probably pretty good in terms of comfort, and there’s some clever designs around for sure, but the waterproof offerings are drawn from a smaller gene pool.

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The main feature that separates the Patagonia pack is the big, easy pull, waterproof zipper into a main compartment. It’s incredibly easy to open and close compared to others I’ve tried.
Internally, the pack’s design is fairly simple with only one small zip pocket inside. I’ve fitted mine with a padded camera compartment from an older camera pack, though there are also lots of new options for camera inserts around if you’re carrying serious cameras too.

Externally, there’s one flat zippered pocket on the back that’s big enough for a couple of fly boxes or other small stuff you might need quickly, and a couple of compression straps that can hold a rod-tube, jacket or tripod that can be moved around the 10 attachment points to suit your own uses. There are also a couple of tie down points and a rear D ring that would suit a net. At 28 litres there’s more than enough room for day trips and non-fishing activities as well.

The harness is very well thought-out with a very wide waist belt featuring a couple of small stretchy stash pockets and lots of adjustability in the shoulder straps, making it easy to fit up and adjust on the run. On the shoulder straps there are a couple of D rings and attachment points, as well as a (rare) height adjustable chest strap.

The $319 price tag puts it at the top end of day packs, but thanks to the brilliant design, best case-zipper and top-shelf build quality, it’s worth the extra coin. For around $100 less there’s a 30 litre version available with a simple roll top closure that’s still totally waterproof, but perhaps a little slower to get into.

I also like this company’s attitude towards our environment as they give 1% of sales, or around 8.7 million dollars a year to various environmental groups around the globe including several in Australia.