The Fishpond Thunderhead Fishing Pack Reviewed

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By Louis Cahill

Every couple of years a piece of fly fishing gear comes along that makes me wonder how I lived without it.

The Fishpond Thunderhead pack is one of those brilliant designs. It makes you wonder if the folks at Fishpond will ever run out of great ideas. This pack solves some specific problems for me and is versatile enough that you may find uses for it no one has thought of.

Like many great ideas, the Thunderhead is a simple one. A waterproof sling pack. That doesn’t sound like cold fusion. It’s exactly the simplicity of it that I love. It’s versatile, functional, durable and comfortable.

To start with, the Thunderhead is actually waterproof. Not water resistant, but totally dry,  which is great for flies and gear but absolutely essential for cameras and other electronics. This was what initially got my attention. I am always looking for a safe, comfortable way to carry my camera and lenses, sound recording gear and cell phone and still be able to fish. The Thunderhead is the best solution I’ve found yet.

It’s the perfect size. You can load it with a surprising amount of gear without it becoming cumbersome to fish in. It swings completely behind you where it doesn’t interfere with line management or hang up on bushes. The wide shoulder strap is comfortable and doesn’t wear on you, even when the pack gets heavy. A waist strap can be used to keep the pack from sliding around, but I seldom find it necessary.

The Thunderhead uses the same waterproof zipper as the Yeti Hopper soft cooler. It’s extremely rugged and completely waterproof. It also makes the pack easy to get in and out of, unlike roll-top packs. I discovered a bonus to the waterproof zipper. It’s also air tight. I’ve started using it when it’s necessary to fly with my reels in checked luggage. I put them in the Thunderhead and zip it tight with some air inside. My reels can’t be crushed by heavy baggage. It also makes a good floatation device if things get hairy.

Screen-Shot-2016-07-01-at-1.23.59-PMOn days when I need a lot of gear, I’ll fill the Thunderhead with my cameras and carry a waist pack for fishing gear. Most days the pack serves double duty for camera and fly boxes. the convenient tool docking stations and clip rings make it easy to keep what you need in easy reach.

The rip-stop rubberized material is tougher than I can ever imagine needing. It’s smartly reinforced with coated webbing and has tough pull rings, which aid in working the zipper quickly and easily. Vented panels keep you cool where it touches your back and a small zipper pocket on the face is very handy. It’s even made to carry a Fishpond Nomad net.

Altogether a great and very functional fly fishing pack that will perform for many years. Its simplicity and open design make it one of the most versatile pieces of gear you’ll find. Smart gear from smart folks. I’m always impressed with Fishpond.


If you’ve found an interesting way to use your Thunderhead, tell us about it in the comments!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “The Fishpond Thunderhead Fishing Pack Reviewed

  1. Bought it last Dec and have been using through the Bahamas, T&C, and The Virgins. Super, especially for camera gear. Def recommend it.

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