Al Campbell, Field Editor

September 13th, 2004

J&W Outfitters Fishing Backpack
Al Campbell

I'm the kinda guy who's always looking for new stuff, but not always willing to pay the price for that new stuff. In other words, I like new stuff, but often think it is overpriced or somehow lacks the components that make it worth the price tag attached to it. The product I'm sharing today is one of those items that might fall into that overpriced category; but then again, it offers some things I feel make it worth the price.

That was the case when I was sent the J&W Fishing Backpack (Scientific Anglers). When you first look at this daypack, it looks like a pricey $100.00 daypack that with anybody else's name on it would cost less. However, after looking more closely, it looks a lot different. If features make a pack, this one was made for fishing. Just about everything about it is designed for fishing and comfort.

The first thing is the harness and backpack. The harness is the stuff that holds the pack to your back. It is padded and contoured to fit your shoulders with comfort and weight bearing ease. It is also long enough for a long bodied person like me. The inside of the pack (the part that rubs on the back of the user), has a padded surface that will handle the load without stress, or discomfort. It also has a waist strap and torso strap for non-movement while walking. The waist strap has little zippered pockets on each side for whatever you want to store in it.

When I opened the inside compartment, I noticed a fold up type of bag. This is a bag that will keep your gear dry when in a wet situation, or when you might be kayaking or in a canoe. It is also big enough for a pair of wading shoes or waders, if you need that.

There is an outside compartment that is breathable and will hold a set of waders, shoes or anything else you might put there. There are cargo straps on both sides to keep the cargo secure and close to your back while walking. They can also be used to secure a fly rod or two for a long hike into a remote location. There is also a strap on the top of the outside compartment to secure that flyrod.

To top it all off, there are two breathable compartments (one on each side) that will hold large water bottles (or whatever you choose to carry). They will easily hold two, quart-sized bottles of water for your day's hike. Of course, you could also cram those pockets with goodies to eat. It is your choice.

I had to try this pack before I was convinced that it was worth the bounty they were asking for it. Not everyone will be thrilled enough to try it, and I can understand that. However, if you do try it, you'll find that it is about as comfortable and well laid out as any pack made for fishing. And, I think you'll like it.

For more information, contact Scientific Anglers at:

Scientific Anglers
3M Center, Building 223-4NE
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000
Call 1-800-430-5000 for the location of your nearest dealer.
~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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