Angler wearing the Dakine Mission Waist Pack while fishing on the coast
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Gear Review: Dakine Mission Fish Waist Pack


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I've toggled through a fair share of fishing packs over the years, but haven't found anything that's just right for my needs. Then I tried the 12-liter Mission Fish Waist Pack. It may be made with the saltwater shore-angling crowd in mind, but it's a fishing pack that carries everything you need and more to the water for a full day of fishing without leaving anything at home. For even a freshwater fisherman, owning one is like having a tackle bag, suitcase, and cooler all in one.

Dakine has been on a mission since 1979, and they've tried to discover ways to keep surfers tethered to their boards, windsurfers harnessed to their sails, and skiers supplied with packs and more. In my mind, it was game on when they began creating such a great line of fishing bags.

The pack lets you put everything you need into one waist bag, giving your arms the freedom to carry other essentials like the chair, rod holders, and food without cumbersome shoulder straps. The Mission Fish Waist Pack allows for easy attachment and fit to the hips so you can walk the shore to cast new areas without giving up the option to take all that gear with you.

Dakine Mission Fish Waist Pack: First Impressions

Whenever I see new fishing gear coming out of the box, my mind immediately goes to the water. I instantly consider where I would or could go with it, what I would use it for, and how difficult it might be to get it there. It's a big point of mine to get out for a day of fishing and not battle with my gear to do it.

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On the contrary, our gear should be useful in ways we imagined it would be when we picked it out, and if it goes beyond those expectations, all the better. Right off the bat, I thought this waist pack looked comfortable, had a ton of room for storage, and could carry more than I thought it would in terms of extras like food and drinks.

I also thought, at first, that it was too big for an around-the-waist bag, but I was wrong. As a devoted freshwater angler, I sometimes get big eyes looking at saltwater gear. After all, it's made for the rigors of ocean fishing. But make no mistake, Dakine has thought of that in the design. I've found that I can fit more than one plastic utility box inside, next to a couple of soda cans and a sandwich or two, and I've still got room for more.

Easy To Use, Easy To Adjust

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Every tackle bag I've ever bought was meant to be a "carry" bag for traveling to and from the stream, river, lake, or pond. With a tiny exception, it's been the over-the-shoulder type. Dakine must have thought of me when they added the wide, ergonomic waist belt with the breathable mesh back panel. I hate when the pack slips and slides around my waist while fishing.

You can crank this thing down for an extremely tight fit to avoid that looseness, or be as comfortable as you please by ramping it down a little and giving yourself some breathing room. This thing has a seriously heavy-duty Cordura rip-stop outer fabric that is as tough as nails and waterproof to boot. And by the way, it does come with a fully removable shoulder strap, so when you do want the weight on your shoulders, you can opt for it.

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One great spot I took the Mission Pack to must be accessed by a long downhill trail that's not so easy to walk. It is rocky and uneven, but worse if the weather is wet and things get slippery. Not only that, but to access the water, I needed to do a lot of brush busting and bending over. What I found was that having a good-sized pack that was tightly fitted around my waist (as opposed to over my shoulder) made it much easier to make my way down to the water.

But getting there is only half the battle. Having everything you want and need with you and without a lot of hassle is paramount, especially if the bite is good. I love storage pockets in my gear, so I'm not digging deep into the main compartment for little things, and this pack has many of them. I added my good fishing pliers, a utility box, some soft-sided lure carriers, extra line, food and drinks, and my GoPro camera.

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I quickly felt good about putting my wallet and phone in there to get them out of my pockets. I can also drop down the front compartment to use as a workspace, which is nice when I'm switching baits.

The bottom line is that the Mission Pack is comfortable, has a ton of room for regular gear and some extras, and is easy to carry and use, even in tricky scenarios. While Dakine says that the material used in the manufacturing process is "Heavy Duty Waterproof Cordura," my advice would be to take the added precaution of placing your phone, wallet, or other essential items (like your fishing license) in another waterproof dry pouch to be safe.

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Dakine is known for tending to the other outdoor enthusiasts of the world. Still, they offer several great fishing packs and backpacks, including fish bags, gloves, and hats, to everyone who loves to fish. You can find out more or get your own Mission Fish Waist Pack at Dakine.com.

Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage or on Facebook and YouTube.

READ MORE: GEAR REVIEW: GILL FISHING TOURNAMENT JACKET AND TROUSER

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