Once the magazine comes out, we will devote an entire department to gear reviews, as in the end we are nothing but boys with expensive toys. I have always kind of taken gear reviews with a grain of salt as most are glorified press releases or written by someone who used the gear in question for a total of one afternoon (if at all). In that vein, we are going to try to use all the gear we review for as long a period as possible before we pass judgment in print. In some respects this will hamper our ability to review the newest and raddest gear as soon as it hits the market but on the other hand, when SCOF makes a gear recommendation, you can be rest assured that there are a lot of river miles behind it. The Gear Review in the first issue will be called Sack Up: A Gear Bag For Every Southern Situation, and we just got our first bag to test… yay. The first entry into the SCOF bag bonanza is the Piney Creek Technical Pack (retailing for $169.00) from fishpond.
This bad boy is the leading candidate for our favorite backcountry creek bag. We were looking for something that had the capacity to carry backcountry essentials like water, rain gear, Snickers bars (at least 12), and maybe even an adult beverage or three for our aprés “slaying it” celebratory imbibing. What we didn’t want was an overly large “fishing” section of the bag since our Southern backcountry trout don’t require more than a couple small boxes, one or two spools of tippet, and a couple other essentials. On first glance this bag is gonna fit the bill well with a detachable chest pack that can be worn up front for fishing and in the back for walking. You can also stash the pack when you get there and just use the chest pack so your ninja-like boulder hopping skills remain uninhibited. The pack itself seems to ride nice fully loaded, and comes with all the bells and whistles that fishpond has become known for (rod tube sleeves, hydration bag slot, net retainer ring, etc…). Fishpond states that the pack material is waterproof and I really hope that this is the case because getting caught in a downpour is bad enough without adding the insult of a wet sack as well. All in all, I am quite pleased with the Piney Creek out of the box, but like everything else in life, time on the river will be the true test of its worth.