Review:Safe Passage Complete Chest Pack

Like clothes and French fries fishing trips often come in three sizes- small medium and large. I always think the amount of stuff you carry often directly relates to the amount of time you spend on the water. For small trips where not much tackle is needed , for example, a tiny burn being minimalist is the way to go. For medium trips, anything up to a few hours, you can get by with a waistcoat, a bottle of water can be stuck in the back pouch although it can be mighty uncomfortable. I have been pondering large/long sessions for a while and have never really found a solution that might suffice. On longer sessions you must carry a larger bottle of water, lunch and a greater assortment of tackle so that you are not taken unawares in a situation. Heaven forbid I leave my monocular, walky talky or camera behind on a serious days fishing, heck I would say that’s what makes a days fishing. Anyway, with all these thoughts Orvis were kind enough to send me a Safe Passage Complete Chest Pack

The blurb from Orvis is thus:

Carry all you need for both day trips and back-country fishing. A roomy main compartment houses numerous fly boxes, accessories, and tools. Backpack carries your lunch, rain coat, or extra layering. Two integrated coil zingers. Hand-warmer pockets with tool storage. Forceps pocket and two mesh tippet pockets. In forest.
Front compartment: 11″ x 9″.
Back compartment: 14″ x 12″

Yup, that all makes perfect sense and sounds like the solution for a longer session. But the proof as they say is when someone other than the seller is trying to punt you on, read on…

Initial Impressions

I am not going to lie to you, this bag got extra marks just because it came with a little card from Orvis that stated “proudly packaged by” and then a squiggle where the name should be. Classy I thought!

The bag feels light in my hand and is a nice green color, the color of these types of bags is important as this year my fishing buddies and I have named “The Year of Stealth” When it comes to stealth green is good ! The only thing I dont like is the funny handle on the top of the bag as I am not aiming to carry it anywhere as it is an….er….back and chest pack. There are straps to to tighten it up- they are maybe a little long – but easilly fixed with a pair of snips – obviously it is designed for even bigger chests than mine. Overall though, this bag feels nice in the hand and not bulky. I was looking forward to examining its insides.

The Back Bit

There is this nice little clip where you could store a stuffed jumper or rain jacket if you did not want to put it in the main back compartment.

There is little side pockets that can be used for keeping small items that you won’t be using all the time. On my first trip I kept my monocular. I would suggest not keeping anything you would be using regularly like a camera (I wish) as you have got to be a bit of a contortionist to actually get anything out.

The main compartment of the back pack has two little pockets for storing things. One of the spaces is partitioned by a separate sheet of material and one is netted off with a zip. There is a little clip for your keys, I like things like that as I am always paranoid I will drop something and have to spend the day going back on my footsteps. It holds a bottle of water or a small flask with ease. I filled it up with miscellaneous junk and when I put it on I did not feel anything jagging into my back, so a big plus point in the comfort factor.

The Front Bit

The chest pack is split into two main compartments – the front pouch does not have a lot of space but I reckon you could squeeze a fly box in there as well as some of the bits and bobs we all like to carry.

The main pouch is a lot bigger and would hold just about anything you could stick in there for a serious session. I managed to cram in a large fly box, a walky talky, a camera and some other bits and pieces like floatant and sinking putty.. I don’t like carrying too much and I especially don’t like having too much at my chest as it may feel bulky. I think I was adequately covered for just about any situation without going overboard.

The pack sat high on my chest and quite tight in, I liked that as my other William Joseph Chest pack tended to hang forward and just plain annoy me – being tight in also means it does not interfere with casting.

I have worn it twice and like it a lot- as usuall I will update you again after further serious fishing.

Good Points

  • Plenty of space for lunch and sweater in back pouch.
  • Ample pockets without going overboard.
  • Chest pack is held tight into the body.
  • Ample straps for those of us with a bigger…er…chest.
  • Standard features like forcep holder and tippet dispenser.
  • Hand Warmer pockets are the bees knees

Bad Points

  • The clip to fasten the pack together is on the back pack rather than the front. This I think is a design flaw, it means you have got to reach back behind yourself to get in fastened. Very annoying and very hard.
  • There are two magnetic holders over two mesh tippet pockets on the front pouch. When it does actually stor etippet the magnets dont appear to work. Still, this is just after a couple of sessions so I may be able to work it out eventually.

In summary, this is a nice bit of kit that serves its purpose well, I am going to enjoy putting it through its paces and reporting back.


  1. Jeff · April 4, 2007

    What is your opinion of the orvis chest pack since your first review.

  2. Alistair · April 4, 2007

    Hi Jeff, I take it you are in the market for a chest pack and want to know whether you should buy one?

    This really warrants another follow up review (like I said I would) however a brief summary is that it held up well to all the rigours that it was/is put through. I liked the back pack bit as it meant I could be a bit more mobile as I hate stuffing bottles of water in my vest or jacket. I would like to say I used it a lot however I only used it for specific trips – times I knew I was carrying my lunch or jacket. For shorter trips I bought a drawstring bag. I did not like the fact that when there is several things in the front pouch it bulked out making it difficult to see what is directly underneath you although to be honest that is just an annoyance more than anything. It is comfortable to wear and I am certainly happy with it.

    Hope that helps !

  3. Gary Axelson · April 4, 2007

    Have you tried or seen FishPond’s Waterdance Guide pack that can be used waist or chest? Recently up on the Yellow Breeches and my guide had one. Like you, water bottle space is an important bonus, and it had two. I’m wondering how the packs compare. FishPond advertises 427 cu in of space. The guide liked it.

  4. Stuart B · April 4, 2007

    I’ve got one of those Joiners things that they have round their waist to keep nails etc in hanging up and when I walk past it I often wonder if I could utilise it to take fishing . Trouble with waistcoats and things with loads of pockets is that you feel the need to put something in them ..!!!

  5. Stuart B · April 4, 2007

    Forgot to say before but last week when I was leaving Abington there was a guy getting ready to fish and he had slung over his shoulder a wicker creel…Jeezo…It’s years since I have seen one of them . A bit like this .

  6. Alistair · April 4, 2007

    I think it is a Clyde thing Stuart – I see guys with those things all the time !

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