review of the tenkara sling pack from esoteric tackle

A few folks have asked 
how I am getting on with my new Esoteric Sling Pack. So now that I have had a chance to test it out in some different fishing scenarios I thought I would share my experiences.

I've worn the sling pack as a full-on day pack for a two day hiking/fishing trip. In between trips I've also been using it as a short session grab & go bag. More recently it's accompanied me on an extensive two day wade-fishing adventure in driving rain.     

 Up front I will say that I really like this pack, for these reasons:
  • It's well thought out, with a pocket arrangement that lets me organise my stuff the way I like it.  (see my earlier post)
  • It's well made & robust with strong stitching and good quality zippers
  • I like the colours and the embroidered esoteric kebari logo looks kinda cool. Although this sling pack would be good for any kind of fly fishing, the logo and the rod holding pocket  does mark it out as a purpose made tenkara sling pack, which is pretty unique I think. 
  • It is very roomy. Allthough I usually carry all my gear on just my lanyard and in a shirt pocket, for those longer trips or photo shoots, this pack can carry a lot of gear.

  • Even when fully loaded the pack is very comfortable. Weight is distributed in a way that really does reduce fatigue. I have worn this for two days solid, carrying the gear pictured, (as well as a large SLR camera) walking and casting and covering several miles and I experienced no back ache. As a sufferer of back pain arising from an old injury I'm pretty pleased about that! 
  • Although not marketed as a waterproof pack (and I would recommend the precaution of ziplok poly bags for your digital gear), in three hours of heavy rain the contents of my pack came out pretty dry back at base camp.  
  • Cool features I've found really useful include the rod holder pocket, external water bottle carrier and retracting cord for my hemostats. 

The things I'm not so keen on are a much shorter list, and really I'm being a bit picky:

  • The chest strap release buckle is at one end. Once released, the dangling strap is long enough that the end gets wet if you are wading. If the release buckle was in the center this wouldn't happen as readily.
  • The fold out 'table top' pocket with the velcro fly patch is too big. If you have some nice flies located in the patch, you don't really want other storage items in the same pocket laying on top and crushing them when the pocket is closed. For this reason I wouldn't put other items in this pocket at all if my flies were located in the patch. So this is a waste of potential storage space. In reality I opted to forgo using the fly patch and used this pocket to store other items for this reason.
  • I think I would prefer a 'blind' end to the rod holder sleeve, rather than relying on the toggle cords which can be a bit fiddly and do need to be cinched down pretty tight onto your rod handle to be secure.

All in all, in my opinion, the esoteric tenkara sling pack is an honest, well made and well thought out solution, designed by a tenkara angler for tenkara anglers. I love mine and have no hesitation in recommending it to my friends. And at just £35.00 or around 45 USD it's got to be great value.   

For a full description of the esoteric sling pack and to purchase visit

I believe it's customary to include a disclaimer in product reviews. No benefit has been sought or offered for this review or for anything else from the maker/supplier. This was a regular purchase for my own personal use and this is an honest 'warts and all' review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own - yours may differ.


  1. That looks like a lot of pack for a relatively little price. I can see why you're happy with it.

    1. Sure is Mike, you can spend a lot more, and I have in the past.. Orvis, Simms etc, but this one just does a great job for those bigger tenkara adventures when a shirt pocket isn't quite going to do it!


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