I've always had a soft style gear bag for the boat with a large open compartment, and after my last one from a different company bit the bullet, this was a great replacement. I would definitely recommend this product after using it extensively, both on my flats skiff and travelling to fish, for about a year. That being said, there are a few minor issues that I have noticed through hard use of the bag.
- great water resistant and tough fabric on top (plus water proof rain cover)
- great water proof bottom
- great compartments and pockets in a good layout
- flap top is great because you can stuff things such as hats, rain jackets, etc. in the bag, or between the zippered lid and flap, without opening the bag up. This design is one of the top features of these types of bags.
- the neoprene shoulder strip has a slit so it can be pulled over the handle and held in place. This is an awesome feature for a boat bag, as it keeps the shoulder strap from sitting on the wet floor of the boat and getting soaked
- everything else not covered in the cons below
Cons (these are the few minor issues I've noticed that Simms may want to take into account if they do any small redesigns on the bag over the years)
- the bag is front heavy with the two larger pockets in front without any support below due to the narrow waterproof bottom, so it will start to sag forward and will tip over forward on occasion. If those pockets went all the way down with the waterproof hard bottom below, that might alleviate the issue
- the top flap connects to the bag with very strong buckles, but pretty thin elastic. On a recent, long fly fishing trip the elastic basically lost it's elasticity from being carried by the handle through the airport, and because the straps are sewn in place, they cannot be tightened. I plan to sew on a non-elastic, adjustable strap once the elastic straps breaks (buckles are already designed to handle an adjustable strap).
- finally, the neoprene used for the shoulder strap is comfortable and works great for securing the shoulder strap to the handle, however, the neoprene is very slippery and has a tendency to slide off your shoulder when carrying the bag for an extended period (ie. travelling). Some sticky material, such as used on the chests of wetsuits, added to the bottom of the shoulder strap could really help this issue.
(Posted on 4/23/2014)