Versatile Patagonia Guidewater Sling lets me adapt on the fly!

Photo Credit: Patagonia

I love fly fishing and the outdoors. But I loathe when my gear is cluttered and I feel clumsy and disheveled. I want a pack that carries everything I need, yet is simple and orderly with a clean look. Since I explore diverse terrains and fish everything from creeks to Great Lakes I need a pack that is versatile and adapts to my needs.

For the last several weeks I have been using the Patagonia Guidewater Sling. This no-nonsense pack is the definition of durability and functionality. It is thoughtfully designed for versatility so I feel prepared for any water-based adventure. It is especially ideal for fishing excursions!

Looking at the Guidewater Sling three features immediately standout to me. First, it is made of incredibly durable material (14.4-oz 100% recycled nylon plain weave with a PU face coating and a TPU back coating). Second, it is remarkably versatile. It has tons of clever designs and features for adapting to the task at hand. Third, it is clearly built to withstand extreme water conditions. The Guidewater Sling is fully waterproof (submersible with an IPX-7 rating) to keep contents safe, even in full immersion. It is also dust proof! Additionally, the sling is surprisingly lightweight (just 670 g, or 1 lb 7 oz).


The Guidewater Sling is a simple single compartment pack. I find the YYK zippers secure firmly and take a bit of a pull to open and close. This is due to their waterproof/dustproof sealing capability. Its capacity is surprisingly deceptive (15 Liters), as I find it holds more than I thought possible. I am able to fit two large (9x14x2 inch) utility compartment fishing boxes with some room to spare. Overall, I find that I can easily fit most items I typically bring with me. However, slightly larger rigid objects may not fit as well.

What is most amazing about using the Guidewater Sling is all of the cleverly designed features. It has handles at the top and bottom along with a duel direction zipper. That way I can access either side of the sling without dumping the contents all over the ground. Additionally, there is a net scabbard integrated into the back panel. Which is perfect for easy, out-of-the-way stowage. Another handy feature is the secure rod holder connected to lash points on the back of the pack. There are numerous external lash points on the outside of the pack and along the shoulder strap. Which I use to attach retractable clips for vise grips and clippers.

Photo Credit: Patagonia

Finally, the Guidewater Sling comes with an organizer pocket that can attach to the internal compartment, or to the external lash points for quick access. The organizer is multifunctional and extremely handy. My one wish is that the Guidewater Sling came with additional organizers included, however it is compatible with the Stealth Work Station (sold separately). This compatibility demonstrates the genius in the versatility of this pack’s design.


When hiking, the Guidewater Sling rests snuggly in the middle of my back. It is held firmly in place with a comfortable shoulder strap and a second strap that connects to the pack. This feature keeps the Guidewater Sling in place with a low profile. I found this especially helpful in overgrown trails and along wooded river banks.

A feature that I really appreciate is the Guidewater Sling comes with universal hardware, so it can be worn over either shoulder. All it takes is reorienting a clip and switching the shoulder strap to swap from left to right handed carrying. It is so simple I can adjust it while hiking or even midstream.

Even with extreme jostling on the trail, the Guidewater Sling keeps my gear stowed securely. Additionally, the padded back panel is form fitting, which I love. What’s even more amazing is the back panel and shoulder straps are hydrophobic. (Translation – they don’t absorb or retain water). I didn’t realize how much I appreciate this feature until I found my pack sitting in a puddle at the bottom of the canoe.


What I love about the Guidewater Sling is that it packs big and carries small. I can bring everything I need without feeling like it. The ingenious design keeps everything manageable with a compact and clean look, which I appreciate, since I never want to feel like I’m the guy bumbling with his gear and getting tangled up in the brush. The Guidewater Sling makes it simple and keeps everything I need accessible – even when I am fishing.

The Patagonia Guidewater Sling 15L is ideal for most outdoor and backcountry adventures. It is perfect for fishing and for protecting cameras and anything else you need to keep dry. Whether you are a photographer, beachcomber, or avid angler – the Guidewater Sling is sure to please!

Our reviews are always 100% independent. Gearadical may earn a small affiliate fee when you click and buy using our links.