Gear Review: Fishpond San Juan Vertical Chest Pack

A great backcountry chest pack for anglers

If you want to fish small lakes on a weekend backpacking trip, the Fishpond San Juan Vertical Chest Pack is the smallest (8.5-by-5 inches) and lightest (10 ounces) way to pack in angling gear. Two adjustable straps wrap around your neck and waist to hold the pouch secure; the system proved comfortable when worn with or without a backpack.

The foam fly pocket drops down to provide a hands-free platform for switching out elk hair caddis, the 180-cubic-inch interior holds leaders and tippet, and rubberized attachment points secure nippers and forceps. “Despite the low bulk, it’s extremely durable,” reports our tester. $49; fishpondusa.com