I was lucky enough to win a Glacier Glove River Pack during one of the Outdoor Blogger Network gear giveaways and was looking forward to getting this pack in my hands to give this pack thorough test run. When the box arrived at the house my first thought was "Holy Crap, this thing is much bigger than I thought it would be and I'm going to need more gear!", but once I sat down and familiarized myself with the features of the River Pack I started to think it might not be big enough. I was wrong on both accounts.
Glacier Glove River Pack is rugged, waterproof and solidly constructed which should make this pack a long lasting addition to your fishing gear. You can immediately tell that the Glacier Glove River Pack was designed specifically for the fisherman or fisherwoman with it's specialized compartments and organization for all your fishing gear. As with most packs this pack has the standard plastic buckles which I don't seem to get along with on any of my packs and I'm sure it won't be long before I break a couple of them, but replacing them looks like it will be easy enough. The internal frame is very sturdy and the shoulder straps are extremely comfortable. The only problem I had was with the waist belt. I could use a few more inches of strap to get around my slightly larger frame and the buckles are hard to adjust while wearing the pack. I will either need to lose some weight, which isn't a bad thing, or add some strap to the waist belt giving me a little more freedom and adjustment.
The Wader Compartment is perfect for storing your breathable waders and is vented to help with drying those wet waders. The wader compartment also hides an integrated changing mat that folds up inside this compartment and is a welcome feature when it comes to getting in and out of your waders. When unfolded the changing mat is plenty large offering up a large comfortable and dry surface to stand on and when done, it folds right back up and out of the way. I don't have the best balance so I prefer to sit when changing and a nice addition to this pack would be to make the changing mat detachable offering up some mobility for changing and freeing up a little more space if need be.
The separate boot compartment is a sweet idea allowing you to keep those wet and muddy wading boots away from the rest of your gear while keeping your boots held tight and secure giving you piece of mind that they will still be there when you need them.
The main storage compartment offers plenty of space for the rest of your gear like reels, vest or chest pack with plenty of room for a change of clothes and some snacks. There is alos a compartment for a hydration bladder if that is your thing. There are little features like clips and hooks to keep things near the top of the pack and the bright yellow inside was a plus for me as it makes it easier to see what is inside, even in the low light.
Carrying your rods is also easy, just place your case inside the mesh pouches on either side of the pack and then strap them down to the side with the integrated straps. I was even able to get my two piece rod case secured to the pack, and I didn't notice the difference except when going through the brush. The mesh pouches could easily hold your reels or a water bottle or two instead of your rods. The top of the pack has an adjustable top flap which allows you to adjust it for a snug fit keeping the main compartment covered and your gear secure. There is also a zippered pouch allowing you to store a few quick access items if desired. One little thing on this pack that I was happy to see was that the end of all the adjustable straps had a loop sewn into the end of them with a very sturdy piece of Velcro attached that allows you to easily roll up the long pieces of straps and secure them with the Velcro keeping them tight to the pack and not flapping around and getting tangled on the brush around you. They definitely kept the straps much more secure than the typical piece of plastic that slides along the strap.
A couple of years ago while fishing Penns Creek in PA, I came across a beautiful landing net laying on the trail near some brush and thought how bummed out I would be if I lost my net. A 1/2 mile up the trail I ran into two fisherman and asked them if they lost a net and sure enough they did. I told him where it was and he told me where to find a few fish. Seemed like a good trade to me. So the entire time I was looking over the Glacier Glover River Pack and it's features I couldn't stop thinking of what I was going to do with my net. There are plenty of places where I could try and clip the net to so I fiddled around with a few options before coming to solution shown above. I decided to attach my net right to the back of the pack using two of the straps from the top flap of the pack and if for some reason the harness holding my boots fails, they should end up trapped by my net.
I was very pleased with the way this pack rode on my shoulders but stuggled a little with the waist strap and I will need to make an adjustment in the future for sure. I was really pleased with the integrated wader and boot compartments which for me are hands down the two best features on this pack in my opinion. In the warmer months when you can get away with wet wading, this pack me be a little too much for those outings, but I can see myself using it to carry my gear in instead of wet wadding as well as using the pack as a gear storage bag.
In the end I have to ask myself if I would recommend this to a friend and my answer is yes I would. So if you have a need for a fishing pack make sure to check out the Glacier Gloves River Pack. You can check out the Glacier Glove website at: http://www.glacieroutdoor.com/index.html