Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack Review
A couple of days ago, we received the new Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack. Within seconds of inspecting it, I knew I was possibly looking at the sling pack I’ve always wanted. So, I grabbed one and tested it out for confirmation. Without getting too nerdy here, this pack has all the standard features a modern sling pack should have:
- Tippet holder
- Floatant holder
- Work bench
- Zippered pockets
- Rod tube/rain jacket straps
- Tool docking port on the shoulder strap
- Net Holder
- Place for a water bottle
- Rigid back panel construction
G4 Pro Sling Construction
All slings should have these features listed above. So what stands out about the design, construction and utility of the G4 Pro Sling Pack? First of all, this pack features 210 Double Rip Nylon with TPU Coating that is 4000mm thick with a DWR finish. I know sorry, I said I wouldn’t get nerdy. But this means three things to me.
- This material combined with the rigid back panel creates a solid structure to the pack and allows it hold its shape even when not filled to the brim with gear. This is important to me because I don’t want to feel like I have a deflated plastic bag on my back when I am fishing. I want something solid and this pack is every bit of that.
- Secondly, this fabric is incredibly durable. Sure it may get scratched, but if it doesn’t then that means I am not fishing hard enough. When you wear a sling you are likely to brush it against sharp branches or thorny bushes as you sneak up on your local A+ water. This pack isn’t going to rip when you do this. It just isn’t.
- The last reason I love this material is the fact that is extremely “water-resistant”. That means you cannot submerge this pack in the river without letting water in, but you can definitely wear it in the rain or cross a deep run without any concern for your gear. This should be a new standard criteria for a good fishing pack.
The G4 Pro features Simms’ signature workbench as the front pocket that is enclosed with a nearly, but not quite waterproof U-shaped zip closure. Inside you will find a few pockets and detachable tippet and floatant holders that can be attached to high quality velcro patches on both sides of the exterior. The workbench is sturdy and serves as a great place to change flies, add split shot or do whatever else you need to between casts.
The larger second pocket behind the workbench is impressively large. There is a water-resistant zippered pouch similar to what you find on Simms’ waders that can be used to store your phone or other vitals. It has another extra large zippered pocket at the rear that is big enough to hold a fishing journal or quite frankly, an iPad (don’t be that guy). In between you’ll find many other pockets and pouches to store a fishing license, leaders, extra tippet, spools and more. Lastly, it has has a very convenient divider to hold a water bottle or maybe a couple cans of beer!
Rounding out the actual pack portion of this new Simms Sling Pack, there is slot for holding your net behind the pack's back panel. I put my mid-length fish pond net in it to test it out. I don’t carry a net often but when I do I usually tuck it in my belt rather than use a retractor of any sort. I am not used to having it behind my head like this, but I did not mind it at all. The only time I could potentially see it bothering me is when I am walking through thick brush or overhanging trees. I may have to hold it in my hand for these scenarios, but what else can you do? Not a big deal. I haven’t tested a short handle net in the pack, but I assume it doesn't work very well just based on the design. In that case there is a D-ring next to the net holder for you to attach a net retractor.
The Shoulder Strap
Just as important as the pack of a sling pack, you have the crucial design of the strap that goes over your right shoulder, across your chest and to you lower left abdomen. You can tell that Simms has taken their time developing the strap by creating something that is ergonomically designed so that the pack is precisely vertical on your back and horizontal on your chest. This helps balance the pack and net when it is on your back and it makes accessing the pack a breeze. This pack does not shift or tilt like others I’ve worn.
On the chest portion of the strap you have a very simple tool docking port. There is a perforated tab for attaching a Simms retractor and a well fitted sleeve for securing your hemos. Simms has pushed the limits with this feature by adding a magnetic strip beneath the tool docking port. After testing, I believe this was done for two reasons. For one, it gives you added confidence that you aren’t going to lose your hemos. And two, it locks down the nippers so that they are out of the way when casting and prevents them from bouncing around as you cover ground. It should be noted that the pack comes with a warning tag that states anglers with pacemakers or other medical devices that can be compromised by magnets should avoid wearing the pack. Seems legit. I’m sure you can figure out of to get it out without causing too much damage to the pack though, so don’t let that be a deal breaker.
Speaking of straps, if you’ve experimented with different packs you’ve probably seen the various methods for securing the tag end of all the nylon straps. Most commonly you’ll find the elastic bands that wrap around the coiled up tag end. I can tell you that these have never once worked out for me long term and I usually end up cutting the strap. I hate straps though. I’m not going to grow 2 feet in girth anytime soon anyway. Even though I will probably do the same thing to this pack, I really like the way they have included a high quality velcro closure to secure the tag end. In my initial test, this feature withstood a lot of pulling and twisting without coming undone. This is yet another reason why it is clear that Simms’ has put a lot of thought into designing this pack.
Worth Every Penny
That’s about it for the 2017 Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack. Oh wait…one more thing. With all this said, this is one of the most expensive packs we’ve seen in recent years. At $179.95, you better hope its a good pack. When it comes down to it, this pack is worth every bit of the $20-80 more you’re going to pay to get it. In my opinion, it will receive a lot of praise from fly fishermen for it’s well engineered design. My belief is that Simms has effectively raised the bar and set the new standard for sling packs thanks to the level of comfort, efficiency, convenience and durability found in this incredible feature rich design. It should not be written off just because of the price tag, because there is nothing worse than a terrible fly fishing pack. The G4 Pro Sling comes in two colors right now, Black and Boulder (Grey). We’ve got them in stock and encourage you to give them a go. Buy it here!