Monday, April 8, 2013

Fishpond Westwater Boat Bag Review

It has seemed that over the past few years I am wading less and spending more time in kayaks and boats.  This isn't a bad thing at all and I'm finding that I much prefer a boat or gear bag of some sort to keep everything organized and ready for trips.  Having the extra space is great and the availability of waterproof items in this category makes some of them especially functional as well.

While at IFTD this past fall I met with Kara Armano of Backbone Media and where we spent the most time during our meeting was at the Fishpond booth looking over the new Westwater Collection.  There are almost a dozen pieces in this series and overall I was quite impressed.  A couple months after the show Kara was kind enough to send along the Westwater Boat Bag for review and it's been banging around a mix of boats and kayaks ever since then.   

For whatever reason Fishpond hasn't dubbed the Westwater Collection as "waterproof" but after a couple days last month on the Pere Marquette being rained on all one day and snowed on all day the next, I can tell you that it is without fail.  The TPU welded construction is a excellent barrier from the elements and coupled with highly water resistant zippers this bag keeps everything inside dry as well.  The oversize zipper pulls make it easy to access the interior of the Boat Bag and the hard molded lid makes for a convenient work space too.  Fishpond gets extra credit points for the well designed carry strap that can be worn over or across the shoulder and when cinched down has a very comfortable hand strap built on top of the shoulder strap.  

Where the Westwater Boat Bag really shines is in the well laid out interior.  The Westwater Boat Bag comes with two padded dividers, two small clear zip pouches, and a large clear zip pouch that lays over the top of the interior.  The padded dividers can be moved around, or even removed, so that each person can customize the inside of this bag.  At first glance the large clear zip pouch seemed like it was going to be in the way but after a few trips I've found that I like it since it keeps items like a wallet or cellphone in a very handy location.  Zip open the top of the bag and it's right there.

Kayak anglers will appreciate the four heavy duty lash down points on the exterior of the Westwater Boat Bag and I'll be using it in the Chupacabra and Versa Board this summer.

- Rock solid TPU welded fabric construction.
- Over 1,400 cubic inches of storage space.
- Padded dividers secured with Velcro stay put.
- Well designed shoulder/hand carry strap.

- Price.  At $220 it's no cheap date but this relationship (you and this bag) will undoubtedly last.
- No exterior pockets.  One across the front would have been nice.

When my overactive O.C.D. really kicks in I think about setting up a boat bag for warmwater, saltwater, and coldwater so when I am last minute trip planning I'll have almost everything packed and ready to go at a moment's notice.  This may make for an interesting follow up post as I have a couple different boat style gear bags around.

For more information check out the Fishpond website and the Pitch Engine press release from last summer which gives a lot of background on each piece in the Westwater Collection.

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