Why I Always Carry a Backup Gear Box

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Cowboy’ing up on the river. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Have you ever made it to the river after a two hour drive and realized when you got there, you had forgot to pack one of your crucial pieces of fishing gear?

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been that unfortunate angler plenty of times, and it can ruin a day of fishing. A few years back I was forced to spend a day on Depuy’s Creek in MT wading around in a pair of my Justin cowboy boots. It was really ironic because I spent the morning packing all the gear for my virgin fly fishing buddies, and I was the one that ended up leaving my damn wading boots on the front porch. Those Justin boots were surprisingly comfortable wading in but they had zero traction, and I looked like a moron. I’ve never forgot my wading boots on a fishing trip since.

Backup Fly Fishing Gear Box. Photo By: Louis Cahill

These days I always try to keep a box of backup gear in my vehicle at all times when there’s room. This way I’m covered if a piece of gear slips my mind during my packing or if I have gear break down on me on the water. Don’t get carried away with the backup gear box, just pack the essentials. I”m talking about focusing on the gear that will cause you to shout multiple four letter obscenities when you find yourself without them. Below is a short list of gear I carry with me at all times.

Contents of My Back Gear Box

1. Cheap pair of Polarized Sunglasses
2. Old pair of Wading Boots
3. Old pair of waders (It’s all good if they have a small leak or two)
4. Cheap rain jacket
5. Hat
6. Cheap fly rod and reel with fly line
7. Hemostats, Nippers, Fly Floatant
8. Couple spools of tippet and a couple leaders
9. Water Filtration Bottle (Not mandatory but a nice addition, worth its weight in gold)
If you’ve been fly fishing for a while, you’ll probably have enough old gear lying around to put together one of these backup gear boxes. If you’re missing a couple of them, no worries, just carry the back up gear you have on hand and work your way towards a complete box over time. And if you’re one of those perfectionist’s, who insists on it being 100% complete, I’ve just given you a good reason to go out and buy some new fancy gear. You won’t break into this box all that often, but when you do, I promise you’ll be grateful.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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24 thoughts on “Why I Always Carry a Backup Gear Box

  1. Holy crap. I thought I was the only one that did that stuff while packing gear for others! I have waded in hiking boots that weren’t designed to have neoprene booties in them. I can’t imagine how those cowboy boots felt. I forgot my waders once too. Luckily the guys that were meeting me stopped at a big box to grab a license and were able to pick me up a pair of Hodgman breathables for cheap.

  2. I can’t imagine how slippery those cowboy boots must have been. I’m smiling just trying to picture someone wading a river in narrow, slick bottomed boots. Please tell me Louis has video….

  3. That’s my style! Went to Pisgah and left my tent! Doh! By the way, make sure you don’t pull those shananigans with my pops!

  4. …and stealing the wife’s “Christmas Stuff” bin for my backup fly fish gear is bound to create some drama that keeps me off the water… 🙂

  5. Everything except an emergancy flask of Jimmy beam. Not the best but wont go bad. EMERGANCY ONLY….if you cant wait that long just “forget” some stuff.

  6. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS carry a roll of duck-tape in the boat and in your vehicle. I have used it many a times to temporarily fix aging fishing gear that I didn’t have a spare of.

  7. Once I was in a hurry to get out and I grabbed the wrong rod case.

    So several hours later and a significant way away I found myself on my friend’s boat with a 4wt 6-1/2 ft rod small stream rod instead of my 10wt 9 ft saltwater rod.

    I didn’t get to fish because I figured the stripers and blues would annihilate a 4wt.

    • Yes it is, oddly enough my wife didn’t want the case so I use it to store my backups, great case. It’s really hard to lose with its blazing fl. orange color.

      My backups are good quality but I depend on them for my job. I really meant that for anglers on a budget wanting to put together a rough gear box.


  8. Pingback: The Backup Fly Fishing Gear Box | MidCurrent

  9. I watched a guy pull up to my favorite lake, unload everything, string up his fly rod, launch his pontoon boat… and then saw him start loading everything back in his rig. When I asked what was wrong, he said he forgot his waders–a 20-minute ferry boat ride and a 40 minute drive back home..

  10. I’m just sticking with a list taped to the top of my regular container and removing and replacing everything before I start packing for anybody else. I don’t have a truck so room is always a problem. I have found the list to work and I also have on my list a reminder to never put anything on top of the car.

  11. Pingback: Pro Tip: Carry Back-Up Gear | MidCurrent

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