Sawyer Mini Water Filter

This thing is cool. REALLY cool. I’m sold and here is why:

It is tiny and extremely light. When I know I will be near a creek, I don’t even bring a water bottle anymore because filtering for immediate drinking is so easy. Often with hand pumps, it can be difficult to find a comfortable position to pump while managing the hoses. With the Sawyer Mini filter, I fill the squeezable bag and then find a comfortable spot to filter the water. The soft bag that comes with the filter is a little too rigid for my liking, but the filter will screw on most water bottles and is especially effective with my Platypus bladder. Seriously, the versatility of this filter is amazing. I use it mostly for hiking, but next time I visit a country with questionable tap water, it will be in my bag. It is also cheap enough to buy two if you wanted to keep one in a go bag for emergency use.


Cost: $25

Size: 1 x 5 inches

Weight: 2 ounces

Filters: up to 100,000 gallons with 99.99999% efficiency



Fishpond Vest

Is the vest obsolete?

Some say the fishing vest is no longer necessary, yielding utility to the hip pack, chest pack, or sling. While each of these packs provide gear storing capabilities along with pros and cons, it boils down to personal preference. That being said, I have a strong bias towards the vest. Through years of Boy Scouts, the scout motto, Be Prepared, has become instilled in my mind and translated to my fishing practices. My vest allows me all the storage capacity I need with even weight distribution, which is essential when spending long days fishing for trout. With other species of fish, I find that I am able to get away with much less gear. When striper fishing, all I have is a lanyard around my neck and a fly box or two in my pocket. It is the unpredictable nature of trout coupled with the remote areas in which they are found which drives the necessity of having the right equipment. I like to have everything on hand. Boxes of nymphs, dries, and streamers, split shot, sink tips, indicators, spools of tippet all adorn my vest. When hiking in remote areas where a trip back to the car is not an option, my vest holds water, food, raincoat, headlamp, net and anything else I need to Be Prepared.

Precious fishing time is saved when my next fly is in a pocket on my chest. A net magnetically attached to my back is there when I need it, strung to my vest so it will not be lost. These features a vest provides in addition to the unquantifiable fish centered mindset that occurs when a fully loaded vest graces my shoulders.

There are many options for portable gear storage and personal preference reigns supreme. For now, my preference is a Fishpond vest.  

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak

Nothing has expanded the reach of my fly rod more than the acquisition of a kayak. Places that were previously out of reach wading, are now open for adventure.

My criteria for purchasing this kayak was simple: portability, versatility, and cost. I chose the Tarpon 100 model because, at 10ft long and 55lbs, I can easily lift it in and out of my car by myself and it fits nicely in the corner of the yard. I chose a ‘sit on top’ model opposed to an enclosed model as I often combine wading with kayaking and require easy in and out access with the ability to drain unwanted water. Buying used off of craigslist fulfilled the cost criteria. Upon using this kayak for three years on rivers, lakes, and the ocean, the following are my observations:

  • Capable all around kayak, most ideal for river floats and still water

  • Large amount of storage space (two hatches open the entire hull for storage, rear exterior straps for cinching down gear

  • Comfortable seat, vertical adjusting backrest and reclinable

  • Adjustable foot rests, good for extra paddling torque 

  • Light and durable, but unsturdy for stand up casting

  • Highly maneuverable, but not as fast tracking as longer kayaks

  • Scupper holes great for drainage

  • Useful straps although occasional fly line snags are an inevitability

  • Highly customizable for rod holders, anchor rigs, ect.  

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak $700 MSRP