top of page

The Fishpond Waterproof Hip Pack

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Even prior to starting a YouTube Channel, I've always liked carrying a camera with me while fishing. Accepting the risk that my camera could fall in the water at any time was just the name of the game. Years ago, this wasn't as big of an issue, as my camera was just a point-and-shoot deal from Wal-Mart that probably cost around $50. At the time, this was still big money for me so I did my best to protect it from situations that might put me at risk of falling in. Eventually, I invested in a GoPro camera and thought that my problems of losing a camera to the stream were over! As I used the GoPro more and more, I realized that these cameras had many limitations.

Having started a YouTube channel several years prior and learning to prioritize quality shots over plentiful action-cam footage, I eventually bought a SonyA6000. This camera was GREAT and really helped to increase the overall quality of the videos we put out! But it came with a problem - how was I supposed to carry it with with me while wading streams with slick bottoms, heavy runs, and deep pools? Thus enters the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar Pack!

This hip pack is straight-up tough! The recycled nylon material that Fishpond makes their waterproof packs out of is super durable and seems to be very puncture resistant. Welded on seamlessly to the top is the waterproof zipper that seals the pack from the outside elements. Note that the zipper can be tight at times, so Fishpond provides a lubricant with the pack to keep things opening and closing smoothly.

The pack provides loops on either side of the zipper to hold while opening or closing the pack.

One very appealing feature to me, personally, is that this pack strikes a great balance of providing significant inside storage capacity while maintaining a profile that is not too big or cumbersome.

Inside storage of the Fishpond Thunderhead Lumbar pack

The photo above includes everything I carry with me on the water except of course my camera. I carry a nymph box, dry-fly box, streamer box, midge box, and leader wallet in this main pocket. Even with this load, I still find just enough room to fit my camera.

The inside compartment also contains a zippered flap-pocket, perfect for a wallet, extra leaders, or a fishing license. I find that it fits a Tacky fly box or super-slim box very well and also helps to keep those items tight against your back for optimum pack-ability.

I find this pocket great for small fly boxes or extra leaders.

Moving on to the front of the pack, there is a small zippered pocket that I like to keep smaller items in, like floatant, desiccant, split-shot, and various types of strike indicators. This pocket is somewhat stretchy so you can stuff a lot of small items into it. It's worth mentioning that this pocket is not waterproof, so if you accidently go in over your pack everything within will get wet.

The outside of the pack is also loaded with various types of gear attachment points. I find these useful for my nippers, forceps, wading staff, and net retractor. There are also four Fishpond UTX attachment points on the outside of the pack which allow you to attach any Fishpond accessory if you want to add features.

I always like having my net attached to a retractor.

In regards to carrying a net, the Thunderhead Lumbar pack has an integrated net slot or sheath in the back specifically for a hand net or net with a medium-sized handle. I still like to have my net attached to a retractor though, especially in those situations while fighting a nicer fish and that fish decides to make a second run. It's easier for me to just drop the net, rather than fumble around trying to sheath it back in my pack.

I make use of a net retractor in addition to using the built-in net sheath.

The belt strap on this thing is downright awesome! It is wide enough and has sufficient padding to carry a decently heavy load and is extremely comfortable. I also find that the extra width helps keep the pack from falling down. I am a fairly thin guy with no hips so that is an important feature for me.

There is also a removable carry strap that I never really use when wade fishing. One thing I will use the shoulder strap for however, is when I convert the hip pack into a small boat bag (see photo below). You can easily do this by using the Velcro straps on the belt to lash each belt strap to the other. This makes it very nice for reducing the overall footprint of the pack and in my opinion, makes it nicer to take in a boat or raft for a float trip.

When the belt straps are lashed together, this pack converts to a compact grab-and-go bag, perfect for float trips.

As with any system, this pack doesn't come without its drawbacks. First off, the price comes in at a whopping $230 dollars! While this can be a small price to pay for keeping expensive electronics from being damaged, it still hurts to have to fork over that kind of money. A cheaper option for carrying your camera on the water is the SealLine hip pack. Although not as water-tight as the Fishpond pack, it can still withstand a quick dunk in the water and will keep your precious camera (or other gear) dry.

Another thing worth mentioning is the zipper. This thing has a tendency to be very stiff and difficult to open and close. It goes without saying that if the zipper is not closed completely, it will obviously leak, so special attention needs to be paid to ensuring everything is fully closed and water-tight. Now let me preface by saying that this is an issue that is not unique to Fishpond, but something that is common on most high-quality waterproof packs. I've found that over time however, it becomes much easier to open and close, especially after applying some of the lubricant that is included by Fishpond with this purchase.

Overall, would I recommend this pack?


It depends on what you want to use it for. If your sole purpose for looking into this pack is to keep a camera dry, then I would recommend researching some cheaper options first.

If your purpose is to not only carry your camera, but also several fly boxes, a phone, and other fly fishing gadgets, then I think this pack is a great option! Fishpond is known for their innovative and high-quality fly fishing packs, and this one is no exception.

I hope that if you are considering this pack, that you found this article helpful in making the decision on whether or not to make the purchase. If you have any additional questions, be sure to comment below on this blog or the associated video on our YouTube channel.

The above links are Amazon Affiliate links in which we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. By purchasing any of the above products through our links, you help support Backyard Angling and help us to continue to create good content.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page