This summer has been super busy for us over here at Tacky headquarters. Some of us have been out fishing quite a bit and doing some guiding too. When guide season starts for us it’s always nice to get your gear together and organize the stuff that you absolutely need. Over the years we’ve field tested a lot of gear and put long hard days on this gear.
This year we were excited to try some new gear out and see if the hype was real or just……hype. We put a lot of days on the water fishing and guiding so our gear gets field tested the way it should. We always look for gear that is first and foremost, functional. If it doesn’t function the way it we feel it should then it’s basically useless to us.
Here are the Tacky’s top ten items that we really love and want to share with you. This stuff is awesome!!!!
1. Yeti Tundra 45 – We’ve heard so much about these coolers over the years and weren’t quite sure if the claims were accurate. We decided to give the Yeti a shot this year and we were blown away by how long it kept items cold. We usually head out for 3 days at a time when guiding. The Yeti 45 is the real deal. We filled it with ice on day one and by day three our waters and other beverages were still cold.The cooler is very durable and tough. Nothing can hurt this bad boy. We’re upset that it took us this long to make the purchase. What were we thinking!!!
2. Petzl Tikka RXP Headlamp – Those of us who love to fish at night know that a headlamp is a must. We’ve used a lot of headlamps over the years. Some have worked wonderfully and some fell short. The Tikka RXP is by far the brightest headlamp we’ve every used. It’s lightweight, USB rechargeable and compact. It’s a must if you spend any time after dark and need to make the long trek back to the car.
3. Souple Fly Bug Visor – How many of us have a gazillion flies stuck to the visor in our vehicle? It’s annoying trying to get them out leaving the visor looking pretty ratty. I had the pleasure of meeting Michael, the owner of Souple Fly. He’s one of the raddest guys you’ll ever meet. This piece of equipment is genius. It easily attaches to any visor and keeps things neat and organized. We’re always organizing our boxes in our vehicles and it’s nice to be able to have a place to put the go-to patterns while sorting through the rest of our boxes.
4. Power Practical Lithium 4400 – We’ve used a handful of battery packs to charge our devices while in the mountains. The problem with most battery packs is that they charge a device once, if that and that’s it. We were looking for something that could charge a phone, an iPad and our camera batteries on one charge. The Lithium 4400 is the best we’ve found so far. It even has a super bright built in lantern for sneaking around in the dark. Check these guys out.
5. Rising Nets – A net is a pretty important tool especially as a guide. You don’t want that fish to get away before the grip and grin. Wood nets are nice but they don’t last long during a 4 month guide season. We’ve decided that an aluminum net is the way to go. As guides, We’re pretty hard on equipment and nets probably get the most abuse. We throw them on the rocks, swing at branches to get flies back and use it as a wading staff when needed. Where we guide we are usually on rivers and streams but occasionally we’ll be on boats in the lakes. The long handle is nice for the boats but it’s also great on rivers. No matter the size of fish we catch the rising net will always be with us on our trips. Click on the link for more info on rising nets.
6. Abel nippers – The price tag on these is pretty shocking. We thought for sure there was no way we would drop that kind of coin for a pair of nippers. Well, we went through countless inexpensive nippers and it boils down to, you get what you pay for. We bought some Abels and abused them. We’re on our second guide season with these and they are as sharp as the day we got them. These nippers are by far the most durable and sharpest we’ve used yet. Plus, we don’t have to worry about chipping our teeth on 1x anymore.
7. Gale Force Sling Pack by Orvis – We’ve been using sling packs for years now. The reason we chose the Gale Force pack was because it’s water resistant. It never fails in the summer months that we get an afternoon rain shower. It’s nice to not have to worry about everything inside getting wet. It’s a great size too. It’s not too big and it’s not too small. It fits just enough to get you through the day without all the weight. We’ve used this pack on multiple day trips in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Canada. It’s a tough pack that will withstand the crappiest weather.
8. Yeti 30 oz Rambler – This is not just another tumbler. The first day I had this I wanted to test it right away. I filled it with a little ice and water. I left it in my drink holder in my vehicle for 8 hours in the blazing sun. Some of the ice had melted but the water was still ice cold. Unbelievable!!!! Now I know I can grab cold beverage before my guide trips and keep it in my car without having to worry it’s going to be warm at the end of the day. I can’t wait to use this for my hot chocolate to and from the slopes this winter. Nice work Yeti!!!!
9. Blue Halo – The glass craze is still alive and well. There are many companies now that offer fiberglass along with the their graphite line ups. Blue Halo is a legit company that offers a sweet sweet glass fly rod. I own the Retro Flex II-C 3wt in Sky blue. It’s a great looking rod but it really performs. I’ve been using it on small streams throwing dry flies. It also can handle larger nymphs with an indicator. I’ve even thrown streamers with this rod and it actually handles them nicely. You can’t beat the feel of fighting fish with glass. If you’re looking into glass you have to check out what Blue Halo has to offer.
10. Safe Passage Carry It All by Orvis – By far one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. It sucks having all of your gear in a million different places and you can’t ever find what you’re looking for. Like the name says, you can carry it all. The rods have a separate padded compartment that will protect it from getting thrown around while packing the truck. The main area has dividers that you can adjust to any size. I keep my reels, leaders, tippet, fly boxes, fly floatant, indicators, split shot, sunglasses and all the other crazy things I don’t really need but have to have. It really does carry it all. I like the fact that when I pack I know that everything I need is in that bag. No extra rod tubes, extra cases for reels or leader wallets. It keeps all the gear organized and ready to go. All my friends that see it says they need one. Bravo Orvis!!!!!