Holds a surprising amount of gear, given the small capacity
Great net carry
Tippet holder is inconveniently placed
The Rock Creek sets a new high bar for chest packs. This chest pack uses a meshy yoke that distributes the load evenly and makes this pack truly comfortable for daylong wear.
Organization The main compartment on the Rock Creek holds two long (9”) fly boxes, and two interior pouches (one zippered, one open) hold a few leaders, weight, and strike indicators. There’s a cord for tippet at the bottom of the pack but it is hidden from view by the rest of the pack. Testers preferred to stash tippet reels in the two open pouches at the top where they are handy and visible (but not totally secure). We also found the hemostat storage to be a bit cumbersome (they’re intended to slide under the fly patch). That prevented the line from getting tangled on the handle, but also made the hemostat tricky to extricate while also holding a netted fish. Stretchy mesh pouches on the sides keep flotant and bug spray handy, and a D-ring on the yoke holds a landing net at the upper back.
Comfort The wide, meshy yoke makes this pack more comfortable than any other chest pack we’ve tested. It doesn’t chafe the neck or shoulders, nor does it shift about when casting or landing a fish. Thick foam padding keeps items stored in the main compartment from poking into the chest.
Adjustability The waist straps might not be long enough for XXXL wearers, but everyone from kids to tall guys can achieve an optimal fit with this pack.
Ventilation The Rock Creek feels cool and breezy in hot weather. The meshy yoke does a good job of keeping clamminess in check.
Water-resistance The pack rides high enough that most wading situations won’t soak gear. Although the nylon repels a light drizzle, it’s not waterproof. A waterproof case or bag is recommended to protect electronics. If the pack ends up being submerged, it takes a good 24-36 hours to dry, due to the thick backpanel and rugged fabric.
Capacity This pack is not designed to hold a lot: It is for anglers who don’t want to feel burdened with loads of gear. However, it does manage to contain a surprising amount of stuff in its small space. Everything carried in a traditional fishing vest fits somewhere into (or onto) this pack.