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Picking The Right Wading Bag For Fly Fishing

We often get asked questions regarding tackle and luggage when fishing, with fly anglers, often asking, “Should I get a Sling, Vest or Hip-pack”. This is a difficult question to answer as a lot of this comes down to personal preferences. Therefore below, you can find what we can consider the pros and cons of the three options. Sportquest Holidays CEO Peter Collingsworth, has tried all three over the years, and today while wading, he only uses the hip pack and takes a sling mainly just as a boat bag or a bag to throw in the guide’s truck so he can keep extras like rain jackets, extra clothes etc.


The vest is ideal for fishing situations where you only have to carry the essentials, e.g. flies, leader, tippet, and basic tools like nippers and forceps. If you’re wet-wading or fishing a small creek for Trout, you often won’t wander too far from base camp or parking, meaning you can get away with carrying a lot less tackle. A vest with easy access to tools, lines, flies, and even a small trout net is ideal. Most modern vests feature straps and hooks to attach devices alongside the regular pockets — a fantastic way to carry the essentials. The best part is you feel like a true fly angler when you wear one.


  • Limited on what you can carry
  • Not ideal when Spey casting
  • No easy way to take a water bottle
  • Can restrict movement over bulky jackets
  • Not the best for bushwacking


  • You feel like a fly angler when you wear it
  • It makes you carry only the essentials
  • Good organization
  • Comfortable and less fatiguing

Sling bags

The sling is a practical pack that combines the accessibility of a hip pack while having the capacities of a backpack. Similar to hip packs, slings are ideal for situations where you will be on longer treks to get to your fishing spots and fishing with two-handed rods because you can move it out of the way when casting. As mentioned above, these nowadays are used as a main bag that you leave either on the bank, boat or guides truck and use a hip pack while wading out in the water.


  • One strap can make you feel unbalanced
  • You can often overfill
  • Not big enough for overnight trips


  • Fits everything you need
  • Easy access to everything
  • Lots of adjustments
  • Versatile in many fishing situations


The Hip pack, on the other hand, is excellent for fishing in situations where you’ll likely be travelling greater distances, whether by foot or boat and require more gear for longer days on the water away from your base. It is ideal for situations where you will be on short treks to get to your fishing spots and fishing with two-handed rods, because it can move out of the way when casting.


  • Not the best for wading in the deep, especially if you’re short
  • You can often overfill
  • Not the best for organization 
  • Not all hip packs are waterproof or submersible


  • Easy access from front to back
  • Can carry a lot of stuff, including snacks and beverages

It will be interesting to hear everyone else’s personal preference, so please feel free to leave comments.

Tight lines
Peter Collingsworth


If you have any questions about any of our fishing trips or would like advice on the tackle or equipment we recommend for your holiday even if it’s just about what wading bag to invest in, then please feel free to contact our fishing team by email on or call us on 01603 407596 and our team will be more than happy to help you with any queries you have.

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