Alaska's Premier                                                              Fly Fishing Source

Alaska's Premier Fly Fishing Source

Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack VS Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack

Waterproof backpacks are quickly becoming one of the most popular accessories in the fly-fishing world. And it’s easy to see why. Whether you are wading in deep water, on an extended float trip, or get caught in a torrential downpour, these packs will keep your most important gear 100% dry all day.

And these dry packs are nothing like the first models of 15 years ago which were little more than a dry bag with a couple of uncomfortable backpack straps attached to them. Both the Simms and Fishpond packs are just the right size, feature very comfortable strap systems, and have all the accessories you need to keep your gear well organized and easy to find. We chose to look at only packs with fully waterproof zippers for this comparison. Both Simms and Fishpond make roll top waterproof packs, but we really like the ease and speed of a zipper to get in, get what you need, zip it up and get back to fishing. 
BackpackLeadWaterproof backpacks are a necessary accessory for fly anglers.
Hands down, two of our favorite packs are the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack and the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack. To compare the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack with the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack, first we take a look at the size of the two packs. Both bags are so close in size (within 1L and only 2 inches in size), that you can barely tell a difference. In our opinion, they are big enough to carry what you need but not so big as to be cumbersome or overly heavy. They are both great for day hiking or floating your favorite watershed.

FISHPOND THUNDERHEAD SUBMERSIBLE BACKPACK - $299.95

The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible backpack is constructed of a 1680-denier TPU coated recycled Cyclepond nylon with fully welded seams. The pack has a top loading TIZIP waterproof zipper and has a bunch of accessory toggles on the outside of the pack, giving you the ability to add more things such as tippet spools, retractors, nippers and a net. The Thunderhead backpack is comfortable while on, with cushioned straps and a molded back to fit anglers of all sizes. A big benefit to the Thunderhead pack is that it is compatible with many of the Fishpond chest packs. For instance the Thunderhead Chest Pack will clip right into the shoulder straps and waist belt creating a sweet combo backpack/chest pack. 

Another benefit? The toggles on the outside work perfectly when attaching accessories such as the Fishpond Headgate Tippet Holder, the Quickshot Rod Holder, and rod tube straps. It also has a single splash proof zip pocket on the outside, perfect for little things such as chap stick, bug spray, car keys and your fishing license. The interior of the bag itself has a fairly simple construction, with one zip pouch, and one accessory pouch; just enough to keep your most important items handy. This pack is available in two bold colors, so you’ll never lose it in the wilderness.ThunderheadThunderhead Submersible backpack in action.
SIMMS DRY CREEK Z BACKPACK - $319.95

On the other hand, the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack is constructed with a 500-denier waterproof fabric with all welded seams, creating a durable pack that will last for years. With a clean exterior design, the Simms Dry Creek Z pack has a single splash proof pocket outside pocket to keep your small accessories close by, as well as rod straps on one side. The pack has a top loading TIZIP waterproof zipper that extends deep along the sides of the backpack, which makes it easy to open up and dig through your gear inside. The teeth on the TiZIP zipper are smaller than those on the Fishpond pack and make it a bit easier to open and close. Inside the pack, Simms has added a stretchy pocket to keep your most important objects such as head lamp, bug net, and license within easy grasp. The back panel and shoulder straps of the Dry Creek Z is made of a breathable plush material that will keep you cool and dry all day while you’re wandering through remote waters. The pack is available in a Pewter color.
drycreekZSimms Dry Creek Z Backpack is comfortable while worn, and durable when not.
Both of these packs are winners and will keep your critical gear dry so it is hard to pick one over the other. There are a couple of differences that may help you decide which pack is right for your needs. If you are a Fishpond fan and really like the ability to add a chest pack, quick release rod holder or other Fishpond accessory to your backpack, go with the Thunderhead Pack. If having a longer waterproof zipper that opens your pack more fully sounds good, then the Simms is the ticket. Either way you can't lose. 

Having a waterproof backpack that will protect your gear on the water is an extremely important item. We all fish in places where keeping your extra layers, lunch, and flies is important, and investing in a durable waterproof bag is a good move to make.
Want to check out the full list of products we have listed in this article?


Fishpond Submersible Backpack

Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Alaskan Fly Fishing Handbook

The Alaskan Fly Fishing Guide's Secret Handbook To receive the download link enter your email. We respect your privacy.

By entering an email you will also subscribe to our latest news, special offers and latest how to's.

Fishing in Alaska for the first time?

Fly Fishing in Alaska for the first time Brad Elfers has been a fly fishing & river guide in Alaska since 1993.
He opened Alaska Fly Fishing Goods in 1998.

Get an expert answer to your Alaska fly fishing and travel question! See answered questions.