Friday, April 27, 2012

Gear Review - Nimbus Guide Pack

Truth told it's been six or seven years since I last wore a fly fishing vest.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with them but as I have added a full size camera and lenses to the essentials of fly boxes, tools, leaders, tippet spools, lunch, drinks, and everything else for a day on the water, I have found that gear bags, backpacks, and even large lumbar packs have become more my style.

Last fall at IFTD I was able to put hands on the soon to be released Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack and the initial off the shelf impressions were very positive.  The pack was simple, roomy, and not over designed and complicated with to many pockets and nooks.  The empty weight was just a few ounces and the construction looked to be quite solid as well.  In short, I wanted to take one home with me from New Orleans.

Fast forward a couple months and Fishpond graciously sent along a Nimbus Guide Pack to demo and review.  I have used it for most of the winter and spring trips that I've been on which have ranged from redfish hunts to steelhead drifts to backyard warmwater fixes and have found the Nimbus Guide Pack to be well suited for the gear that I typically carry.   

From the outside looking in the Nimbus Guide Pack is pretty clean in design with just two exterior zippers which open to a large center storage area and a smaller outer pocket, two bottle pockets, waist straps, a carry strap, and a few well placed cinch straps to custom fit the pack for comfort.  

The exterior construction of the Nimbus Guide Pack is of lightweight nylon fabric which the Fishpond product page calls "waterproof" but I would drop that down a level and instead call it highly water resistant.  Over the past few months this pack has been covered in boat spray and sat for hours in the pouring rain in a drift boat and though I was very surprised at how dry the innards were, I can't say that it's completely waterproof.   This pack will take on water through the seams, zippers, and fabric if in standing water but in most conditions should keep everything dry. 

In my opinion most vests or packs these days are a bit over designed and every pocket has an inner pocket or fabric dividers or more zippers and it can really get confusing where gear item are at times.  This is not so with the Nimbus Guide Pack at all and is has almost 600 cubic inches of easy to access space with large pockets and the lack of any extras to get in the way.  The exterior front pocket is perfect for tools and tippet spools.

The large cavernous main pocket has a thin nylon divider on the backside of the pack to tuck a few leaders   or fly box and then a good sized pocket with zipper on the outside wall which is perfect for keys or a cellphone.  The main pocket is large enough to hold several fly boxes, miscellaneous accessories, and a DSLR camera body too.    

Fishpond did the lumbar straps correct and they are wide enough top to bottom for a secure fit around the waist with the belt straps made of a thin ported foam covered with a thin mesh to aid in moving the pack from around your body when worn as a lumbar pack.  The pack slides with ease from back to front and back again. 

I typically opt to treat lumbar packs as a gear bags and with the Nimbus Guide Pack tuck the waist straps behind the foam and mesh back pad, snapping the straps together securely and cinching the straps tight to stay out of the way.  The Nimbus Guide Pack is comfortable to wear in this way and if there was anything that I would change it would be to have a little wider sling strap and shoulder pad.  The included one is fine but it would be nice if it were a bit beefier.

Also of note on the backside of this pack is that a net slot was sewn in to carry a long handle net and keep it secure against the body. 

The underside of the pack has another set of straps to tuck a raincoat or other apparel item and elastic loops keep the straps from dangling when cinched down.  The elastic loops are used with all the exterior straps which is a smart design idea since it's amazing how a loose strap or two can get wrapped up with fly line if they are just left hanging.

The bottle pockets on the Nimbus Guide Pack are large enough to carry liter size bottles and have also doubled to hold camera lenses housed in cases too.  When not in use the bottle pockets can be cinched down  with elastic cords and straps to keep them out of the way.

A genius choice by Fishpond was the use of large, and easy to open and close, zippers on the exterior of the Nimbus Guide Pack.  I don't understand why large teeth zippers aren't standard on fly fishing gear these days since they certainly make accessing zipped compartments so much easier.   

The Nimbus Guide Pack is priced right at just over $100 and is an excellent choice for anglers who are looking for a well thought out, yet simple in design, waist pack that can also be just as easily be worn as a gear bag as well.

Check out the Fishpond website for more information. 


Average Outdoors said...

I rock the Fishpond Waterdance Guide Pack and it also has room for a DSLR Body and lens in the main compartment though it can get tight fast. I may just fave to look to upgrade to the Nimbus for the extra room!!

Matt said...

That pack has been on my radar ever since Michael Gracie's review came out on it. The sheer amount of space and lack of line-catching dangly bits are great. The ture genius of the pack lies in the integrated net slot.

Kirk Werner said...

Good review of a nice pack. I also reviewed it and there is an awful lot to like. The determining factor in a pack for me is the true waterproofness, so my go-to unit is the Sage Typhoon DXL large waist pack. The truly waterproof, submersible pocket for items that absolutely cannot get wet (camera, phone, TP) seals the deal. If the Nimbus were truly waterproof, it would be hard to beat.

Cameron Mortenson said...

AO...I don't think that you'll be disappointed.

Matt...MG's review was an excellent read and he and I see eye to on this pack for sure.

Kirk...I agree that it could be more waterproof. Water resistant is good enough for me typically but if I lived in the PNW I'd think waterproof would be needed.

Devin Angleberger said...

Been thinking of getting a nice pack, I might just save up for one. BTW, nice review, it was really thought out.

Cameron Mortenson said...

David...thanks for the kind words. When I get a piece of demo gear I don't get the reviews out as quick as I should but when I do, I try to make sure they are complete.