Best fishing bags for fly fishing

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to bags used by fly anglers the world over. There is a bag for every occasion and you may well need one or all of these on different fly fishing excursions. Read on to find out what each style of bag is used for and excursions. Read on to find out what each style of bag is used for and learn about there many features:

Bank bags

Often used in fly fishing are mid-sized over the shoulder bags, designed for anglers who fish from the shoreline; whether it’s small stillwaters, large reservoirs or the river bank. They are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of fly fishermen who require easy access to their equipment while maintaining mobility and comfort. Here are some key aspects of bank bags for fly fishing:

Size and Capacity: These bags come in various sizes, but most are compact enough to be carried for long periods. Despite their size, they are designed to efficiently store essential fly fishing gear such as reels, lines, flies, and tools.

Accessibility: One of the key features of a bank bag is the ease of access to stored equipment. Many have specially designed pockets, for fly reel spools or loops for frequently used items like nippers, tippet spools and floatant. This allows anglers to quickly change or adjust their setup.

Comfort and Portability: Comfort is crucial, especially for anglers who spend hours on the bank. These bags often have padded straps or handles, providing flexibility and reducing fatigue.

Additional Features: Many bank bags include additional features like rod holders, D-rings for attaching gear, and even waterproof compartments for electronics or valuables. Some also have integrated fly patches to keep flies handy.

Versatility: While designed for fly fishing, bank bags are versatile enough to be used for other types of fishing or outdoor activities where compact, organized storage is beneficial.

Brand and Price: There are many brands that offer bank bags, each with different features and price points. Popular brands in the fly fishing community often have a range of bags to cater to different needs and budgets.

Complimentary products: Many fly fishers customise their bank bags with additional accessories like zingers, tool retractors, or custom fly patches to make their gear more functional and personal.

When choosing a bank bag for fly fishing, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the fishing style, the environment, and personal preferences in terms of comfort and accessibility. A well-chosen bank bag can significantly enhance the fly fishing experience by keeping gear organized and accessible, allowing the angler to focus more on fishing and less on managing their equipment.

Boat bags

Boat bags for fly fishing are designed to offer convenience, organisation and protection for fly gear while fishing from a boat. Unlike bank bags, which are optimised for mobility and lightness, boat bags are focused on maximizing storage and safeguarding equipment in a boat environment. Here are some essential aspects of boat bags for fly fishing:

Durability and Waterproofing: Boat bags are typically made from heavy-duty, water-resistant or waterproof materials like PVC or treated nylon. This is crucial to protect gear from splashes, rain and the possibility of the bag being briefly submerged.

Size and Capacity: Boat bags are generally larger than bank bags, as they need to accommodate a wider range of gear and tackle required for a day or more on the water. They often have spacious main compartments for larger items like tackle boxes, lunch, spare clothing, and even portable electronics.

Compartmentalisation: These bags usually feature a variety of compartments and pockets for organising smaller items like flies, leaders, tippets and tools. This organisation is key to quickly finding what’s needed without having to rummage through the bag.

Corrosion Resistance: Since boat bags are often exposed to a wet and salty environment, especially in saltwater fly fishing, they usually have corrosion-resistant zippers and hardware to prevent rust and degradation.

Stability and Non-slip Features: A good boat bag will have a non-slip bottom to ensure it stays in place on the wet deck of a boat. Some also have tie-down loops or straps to secure the bag in rougher waters.

Easy Access and Visibility: The top of the bag often features a wide, easy-to-open mouth or a clear lid, allowing for quick access and visibility of the contents without having to open the bag completely.

Portability: While not as critical as with bank bags, boat bags still feature handles or straps for easy carrying to and from the boat.

Versatility and Extra Features: Many boat bags come with additional features to enhance their functionality. For instance, some have integrated rod holders, tool sheaths, or detachable compartments that can be used separately. UV-resistant material is another common feature, especially useful to protect both the bag and its contents from prolonged sun exposure.

Brand and Quality: There are several reputable brands in the fly fishing industry known for their high-quality boat bags. These brands offer a range of options in terms of size, features and price, catering to various needs and preferences. Quality bags tend to be more expensive but offer better durability and protection for your gear.

Customisation and Accessories: Like bank bags, many anglers personalise their boat bags with additional accessories like rod tubes, gear leashes or extra pouches. This customisation allows each angler to tailor the bag to their specific fishing needs and preferences.

Maintenance and Care: Due to their exposure to harsher conditions, boat bags require regular maintenance. Cleaning and drying the bag, especially after use in saltwater and occasionally applying a UV protectant or water-repellent treatment can extend its lifespan.

When choosing a boat bag for fly fishing, consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing (freshwater vs. saltwater), the amount of gear you need to carry, and how the bag will fit in your boat. A well-chosen boat bag not only makes your fishing experience more organized and efficient but also helps protect your valuable fishing gear from the elements.

Shoulder bags

Shoulder bags, also known as sling bags or over-the-shoulder packs are a popular choice among fly fishers for their convenience and functionality. Designed to offer easy access to gear while on the move, these bags are a preferred option for anglers who value mobility and efficiency. Here are some key features and considerations for shoulder bags in fly fishing:

Ergonomic Design: Shoulder bags are designed to be worn over one shoulder, often with a single, wide strap that distributes weight evenly across the back and shoulder. This design allows for easy rotation of the bag from back to front, providing quick access to gear without having to remove the bag.

Size and Capacity: These bags come in various sizes, but they are typically compact, lighter weight and streamlined, designed to carry essential gear only without being cumbersome. The capacity is usually sufficient for a day’s worth of fly fishing, including fly boxes, leaders, tippets and basic tools.

Accessibility and Organisation: A major advantage of shoulder bags is the ease with which anglers can access their gear. Many models feature front or side access points, allowing you to reach your equipment quickly. They often have multiple pockets and compartments for organising items, reducing clutter and saving time.

Comfort and Adjustability: Comfort is a significant factor in the design of shoulder bags. The straps are usually padded and adjustable, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit for various body sizes. Some models also include a secondary stabilising strap to secure the bag while moving.

Material and Durability: Constructed from materials like nylon or polyester, these bags are often water-resistant or waterproof, making them suitable for use in various weather conditions. The durability of the material is important to withstand the rigors of outdoor use.

Additional Features: Many shoulder bags for fly fishing come with extra features such as integrated tool attachment points, water bottle holders, and even waterproof pockets for electronics or valuables.

Versatility: While specifically designed for fly fishing, shoulder bags are versatile enough for other types of fishing or outdoor activities. Their ease of carry and organisation makes them suitable for hiking, birdwatching, or even photography.

Brand and Price Range: There are many brands offering fly fishing shoulder bags, each with different features and price points. The price can vary significantly based on the brand, materials used, and the specific features offered. It’s important to choose a bag that fits both your needs and your budget.

Personalisation and Style: Fly fishers often personalise their shoulder bags with patches, pins or custom attachments. Additionally, these bags come in a variety of styles and colors, allowing anglers to choose one that suits their personal aesthetic.

Weight Distribution and Balance: Since all the weight is carried on one shoulder, it’s crucial to consider the weight distribution of the bag. A well-designed shoulder bag will balance the load effectively to minimise strain and fatigue.

Suitability for Different Fishing Styles: Shoulder bags are particularly popular among anglers who fish in streams, rivers, or on shorelines where mobility and frequent access to gear are essential. They are less suited for situations where a large amount of gear is needed, such as extended trips or boat fishing.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance: Like other fishing gear, shoulder bags require proper maintenance. Look for bags that are easy to clean and dry, especially if you fish in saltwater or muddy environments.

When selecting a shoulder bag for fly fishing, consider how much gear you need to carry, the type of fishing you’ll be doing, and how long you’ll be out. A well-chosen shoulder bag can greatly assist your fishing experience by keeping your gear organised, accessible and comfortable to carry, allowing you to focus more on the fishing itself.

Chest Packs

Chest packs for fly fishing are a popular gear choice for anglers who prioritise ease of access and minimalism. Positioned at chest level, these packs offer convenient reach to essential fishing tools and tackle while out in the water. Here are the key features and considerations of chest packs in fly fishing:

Compact Design and Efficient Use of Space: Chest packs are relatively small, but they are designed to maximise space with efficient compartmentalisation. This allows anglers to carry necessary items like flies, leaders, tippets and small tools without the bulk of larger bags.

Accessibility and Convenience: The primary advantage of a chest pack is the ease of access to gear. Located directly in front, it’s easy to see and reach into the pack without removing it, which is especially useful while deep wading in water or when constantly on the move.

Comfort and Ergonomics: Chest packs are generally lightweight and designed to avoid strain on the back and shoulders. They often feature padded straps and are adjustable to fit over various clothing layers. The front positioning also ensures that the weight is evenly distributed and doesn’t impede casting or walking.

Water Resistance: Many chest packs are made with water-resistant materials to protect the contents from splashes and rain. Some are even fully waterproof, ideal for wading deep or fishing in inclement weather.

Organisation Features: Despite their small size, chest packs often have multiple pockets and compartments, sometimes with specific features like fly patches, tippet dispensers, and tool attachments.

Versatility and Integration: Some chest packs are designed to integrate with other fishing gear, such as being attachable to waders, wading jacket or compatible with backpack systems for more storage options.

Visibility and Mobility: The positioning of the chest pack allows for unobstructed visibility and mobility, which is crucial when wading in streams and navigating uneven terrain.

Breathability: Good chest packs are designed with breathability in mind, often featuring mesh back panels to reduce sweating and increase comfort, especially in warm weather.

Brand and Price Range: There are many reputable brands in the fly fishing industry that offer chest packs, each varying in features, quality and price. The cost can vary significantly based on these factors, so it’s important to consider what features are most important to you and how much you’re willing to invest.

Adaptability for Different Fishing Situations: Chest packs are ideal for anglers who move around a lot and need quick access to their gear, like those fishing in streams or rivers. However, they might not be the best choice for situations requiring a large amount of gear or for anglers who prefer having all their equipment in one place.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance: Given their exposure to water and outdoor elements, it’s important to choose a chest pack that’s easy to clean and maintain. Materials that dry quickly and resist mildew are advantageous.

Customisation Options: Many anglers customise their chest packs with additional personal tools, accessories, or decorative elements to suit their personal needs and style.

Balance and Weight Distribution: While chest packs are designed for comfort, it’s important to consider how the pack balances when fully loaded, as uneven weight distribution can lead to discomfort or hinder movement.

When selecting a chest pack for fly fishing, consider your specific fishing environment, how much and what type of gear you need to carry, and personal comfort preferences. A well-chosen chest pack can greatly enhance your fishing experience by keeping essential gear handy and minimising the physical burden, allowing you to focus more on the enjoyment of fly fishing.

Hip Packs

Hip packs, also known as waist packs or bum bags, are a popular choice for fly fishers seeking a balance between storage capacity and mobility. Positioned around the waist, they offer convenient access to gear while distributing weight evenly and keeping the upper body free. Here are some key aspects of hip packs for fly fishing:

Size and Storage Capacity: Hip packs vary in size, but they are typically designed to hold a day’s worth of fishing gear, including several fly boxes, leaders, tippets and essential tools. They offer more storage than chest packs but are less bulky than backpacks or sling bags.

Accessibility and Convenience: The waist-level positioning allows for easy access to contents without having to remove the pack. This is especially useful when wading in water, as it keeps the gear within easy reach.

Comfort and Weight Distribution: Hip packs are designed to be comfortable to wear for extended periods. They often feature padded straps and are adjustable for a snug fit. The weight is carried around the hips, reducing strain on the back and shoulders.

Water Resistance and Durability: Many hip packs are made from water-resistant or waterproof materials, protecting the contents from splashes and rain. They are typically durable and designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor use.

Organisation and Features: Hip packs usually have multiple compartments and pockets for organised storage. Some have specialised features like integrated fly patches, tool anchors, water bottle holders and even compartments that double as a workbench for tying on flies.

Versatility for Different Fishing Styles: Hip packs are versatile and can be used in various fishing environments, from wading in streams to fishing from the shoreline. They are less intrusive than larger bags, making them a good choice for anglers who prefer a more minimalist approach.

Brands and Price Range: There’s a wide range of brands offering hip packs for fly fishing, each varying in features, quality and price. The cost can range from affordable to premium, depending on the brand and features offered.

Breathability and Comfort in Different Climates: Good hip packs are designed with breathability back panels in mind, particularly important in warmer climates. Mesh back panels and ventilation systems help reduce sweating and increase comfort.

Customisation and Personalisation: Many anglers customise their hip packs with additional gear attachments, patches, or accessories to suit their specific needs and preferences. This customisation can range from practical additions like extra tool retractor or decorative elements to make the pack more personal.

Ease of Movement: Hip packs are favored for their ability to stay out of the way while casting, hiking, or navigating through rough terrain. This freedom of movement is a key advantage, especially in situations where upper body mobility is crucial.

Adaptability: Some hip packs offer the ability to be converted into a chest pack or integrated with other gear like backpacks, providing anglers with flexible options depending on their needs for different fishing trips.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance: Considering their exposure to water, mud and other outdoor elements, it’s important to choose a hip pack that’s easy to clean and maintain. Materials that are quick-drying and resistant to wear are beneficial.

Security and Stability: A well-designed hip pack will stay securely in place even when moving around vigorously. This stability is important to prevent the pack from swinging or shifting, which can be distracting or even dangerous in certain fishing environments.

When selecting a hip pack for fly fishing, consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing, the amount of gear you need to carry, and your personal comfort preferences. A well-chosen hip pack can greatly enhance the fishing experience by providing easy access to gear, comfort, and freedom of movement, allowing you to focus more on the fishing and less on managing your equipment.

Travel bags

Travel bags for fly fishing, including those with roller wheels, are designed for anglers who need to transport their gear over longer distances, often involving air travel or extended road trips. These bags are larger and more robust than typical fishing packs, providing ample space and protection for all the necessary equipment. Here are some key aspects of travel bags for fly fishing:

Large Capacity and Organisation: Travel bags are built to accommodate a wide range of fly fishing gear, including rods, reels, waders, boots, clothing and tackle. They often feature multiple compartments and dividers to keep items organised and easily accessible.

Durability and Protection: Given the rigors of travel, these bags are made from heavy-duty materials to withstand abuse. They may also have reinforced areas, particularly around the rod storage section, to protect the gear from impacts during transit.

Roller Wheel Feature: Many fly fishing travel bags come with built-in roller wheels and a sturdy handle, making them easy to maneuver in airports, train stations and on paved surfaces. This feature is especially valuable for larger bags that can become quite heavy when fully packed.

Water Resistance: While not all travel bags are completely waterproof, most offer a degree of water resistance to protect the contents from rain or spills. Some bags may have waterproof compartments or pouches for particularly sensitive items.

Security Features: Travel bags often include lockable zippers and rugged closures to secure the gear, an important feature for air travel or when leaving the bag in less secure environments.

Versatility and Multi-Use: Apart from fly fishing trips, these bags are versatile enough to be used for other types of travel or outdoor activities. Their size and durability make them suitable for various adventure sports equipment.

Ease of Handling and Transportation: Besides wheels, these bags typically have multiple handles and straps to make lifting, carrying and loading easier, especially when navigating through tight spaces or over terrain where wheels are not practical.

Size and Weight Considerations: The size and weight of the bag are important factors, especially for air travel. Anglers should consider airline size and weight restrictions to avoid extra fees or the inconvenience of oversized baggage.

Brand and Price Range: Renowned brands in the fly fishing industry offer travel bags with varying features and at different price points. Higher-end bags usually offer better materials, more advanced features and greater durability, but also come at a higher cost.

Customisable Compartments: Some travel bags feature customisable or removable compartments, allowing anglers to tailor the storage space to their specific gear and trip needs.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance: Considering their exposure to various environments, choosing a travel bag that is easy to clean and maintain is beneficial. Materials that are resistant to scuffing and easy to wipe down are advantageous.

Foldability and Storage: When not in use, the ability to fold or collapse the bag for easy storage can be a useful feature, especially for those with limited storage space.

Additional Features: Some travel bags may include extra features such as rod tubes, ventilated compartments for wet gear, and special pockets for documents and personal items.

When choosing a travel bag for fly fishing, consider the type of fishing trips you plan to undertake, the amount and type of gear you need to carry, and how you’ll be transporting the bag. A well-chosen travel bag can significantly simplify the logistics of traveling with fishing gear, ensuring that your equipment arrives at your destination safe, organised and ready for your fishing adventure.

Wader bags

Wader bags for fly fishing are specialised bags designed specifically to store, dry and transport waders and wading boots, which are essential gear for many fly fishermen. These bags offer convenient and efficient solutions for managing wet and muddy waders, helping to protect both the waders and other gear, as well as the angler’s vehicle and storage areas. Here are the key features and aspects of wader bags:

Material and Construction: Wader bags are usually made from durable, water-resistant or waterproof materials to handle wet and muddy waders. They often have reinforced bottoms and strong stitching to withstand the weight and abrasion of wet gear.

Ventilation: A critical feature of wader bags is ventilation. This can be through mesh panels or built-in vents which allow air circulation to dry the waders and prevent mold and mildew buildup.

Size and Capacity: These bags are typically large enough to comfortably fit a pair of waders and wading boots. Some have additional space or compartments for other gear like socks, gloves and even a jacket.

Compartments and Organisation: Many wader bags include separate compartments or removable inserts for boots and waders, helping to keep gear organised and making it easier to dry and air out each item.

Easy Cleaning: The interior is often designed to be easy to clean, as waders can carry mud, sand, and debris. Some bags have a removable lining or are built from materials that can be easily wiped down or hosed off.

Portability: Wader bags are equipped with sturdy handles and sometimes shoulder straps for easy carrying. This is important as waders and boots can be quite heavy when wet.

Foldable and Compact Design: Some wader bags are designed to be foldable or collapsible, making them easy to store when not in use.

Waterproofing: The degree of waterproofing can vary. Some bags are fully waterproof, ideal for situations where you need to put wet waders into a car or mix with dry gear, while others might only be water-resistant and some are more perforated to allow air to circulate so aren’t waterproof at all.

Durability: Given the rough nature of fly fishing environments, durability is a key consideration. Wader bags need to withstand not just water, but also potential punctures, abrasions, and the general wear and tear of outdoor use.

Additional Features: Some wader bags come with extra features like separate dry pockets for storing valuables or dry clothing, rod tube straps, or even built-in changing mats to stand on while changing in and out of waders.

Brand and Price Range: There are various brands offering wader bags, each with different features and at different price points. The cost can range from relatively affordable to premium, depending on the quality of materials, construction, and additional features.

Ease of Access: Good design in a wader bag allows for easy loading and unloading of waders and boots. Wide openings and simple closure systems are beneficial for this purpose.

Multipurpose Use: While specifically designed for waders, these bags can often be used to carry other wet or dirty gear, making them versatile for various outdoor activities beyond fly fishing.

When choosing a wader bag for fly fishing, consider the size of your waders and boots, the typical conditions you fish in (which affect how wet and dirty your gear gets), and how much you value features like ventilation, waterproofing, and portability. A well-selected wader bag not only makes transporting wet and muddy gear more convenient but also helps in maintaining your waders, extending their lifespan and performance.


We hope you enjoyed our overview of bags and luggage specifically for fly fishing. As you can see there are many different bag options available to you, however if you need further assistance or have any specific questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact us –