Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Dry Backpack
By Patrick Pendergast

I am not a gear hound, I like to keep my kit simple – form follows function for me. I appreciate well designed and constructed gear that is not overloaded with a bunch of eye candy to make it look cool. When my waterproof backpack of many years bit the dust last year, I was in the market for a new one and decided to give the Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Dry Backpack a go.

Pat Pendergast holding a triggerfish in the SeychellesI was headed to the Seychelles, hosting a group of anglers on Providence Atoll for a week and a mandatory piece of gear is a waterproof backpack. One, you need to keep your gear dry and out of the saltwater when you are wading the (sometimes deep) flats, which you do all day. Second, you need a way to carry a second rod on your person, one for geets and one for tailers like bumpies, triggers, bonefish, etc. You can accomplish storing your second rod by putting the butt of your rod in your front shorts pocket (left side for right-handed casters) and then using the velcro strap on the backpack’s waistband to hold the rod tight to your hip, the tip sticking up over your shoulder.  The Wind River looked to fit the bill.

Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Dry Backpack sitting on the side of a riverHere’s what I liked about this backpack. First, it is built with heavy duty waterproof material that I see lasting for many years. The welded seams are kept to a minimum – less chance of a blowout, or delaminating. The shoulder straps are contoured and padded with plenty of locations to snap a carabiner or tool. There is an adjustable sternum strap that keeps the pack locked on your body, and the foam molded back panel is comfortable and allows for air circulation to minimize back perspiration. The waistband is like those you see on internal frame backpacks – wide, sculpted to your hips and padded but not too soft, so it retains its function of distributing weight on your hips and taking pressure off your shoulders. The waistband buckle is beefy and the tensioning straps are easy to adjust. There are two velcro lash points on each side of the waistband you can strap a set of pliers to, for easy access. You can also remove the waistband if you like, but why would you? There are two sets of lash-down points, port and starboard, that perfectly fit Fishpond’s extra sticky Lariat Gear Straps – love these. At the top of the pack there is a heavy-duty, coated haul handle that won’t slip out of your hand.

Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Dry Backpack and Nomad net laying on the rocksThe stretchy front mesh pocket is super handy, the perfect place to put all your stuff when clearing airport security – love how it expands to your needs. I went with the roll-top model because…well, zippers fail. Call me old-fashioned, but the extra 10 seconds it takes to roll down the top and fasten the side buckles is worth the extra effort of not having to baby a zipper. I am sure the zippered model is great, but like I said at the start, I like my gear simple and foolproof.

Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Dry BackpackThere is a clear, removable, zippered pouch inside the pack that is perfect for your passport, cash, chargers, earpods, etc. Close inspection of the pack shows that all the stress points are bar-tacked and double-stitched with seam tape over the edges – a quality design.

That’s it in a nutshell.  This is a bomber pack, well-designed and constructed and I expect to get many years use out of it.  It will be my go-to carry-on this summer with trips to Canada – Ontario for muskies and the Northwest Territories for giant lake trout.  If you are looking for a well-made, simple, waterproof backpack, I would highly recommend the Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Dry Backpack.

Patrick Pendergast
Director of Travel
The Fly Shop®