Designing the Tightlines Sling


Needing something that didn’t exist drove me to design the Tightlines Sling.

I’d had and used a series of other slings and messenger style packs from a broad range of makers – and though many were great packs, none of them really functioned like I wanted and needed, and all had things that drove me crazy.

The biggest complaint I had with slings was the “slip and slide” action. I wore a sling because I wanted my gear out of my way until I needed it… but as I wore the packs, many would slip to the front, or slide around when I didn’t want them to. I lost a few really nice fish because my sling flipped on me while I was reaching forward to net.

Adding another strap to lock it in place worked – but quickly became a hassle. Reaching around behind myself to find a dangling strap with one hand was a pain, and when I fished with it loose, my line inevitably would get tangled up and wrapped around the strap in the downstream current.

The Tightlines Sling was my first serious pack design – and I spent almost two years perfecting the concept. Instead of starting with a computer design and working into “how to build it” like most do, I started with fabric – – – cutting and pinning pieces together to get the right fit. Once I had the base designed, I built up from there – allowing me to feel first hand how things would work. The angle on the sling and the tool strip is a perfect example – it was designed to keep tools from tangling up on your back, but to have them hang strait down (and center chest) when you pull the sling around to work on your line.

There’s really no substitute for getting your hands on a piece of gear while you design it.

The modular pouches were another big detail. I had so many packs – and though my core tools never really changed (nippers, hemo’s, tippet, etc), I would always need to shuffle stuff back and forth between packs when my needs changed, or when I wanted to target a specific body of water or fish species. Building the sling as a base to hold all the core gear, then building removable / swappable pouches lets folks keep the core sling packed – and simply grab the pouch they need for what they are going to be doing. One of our best customers has a dozen extra pouches – all pre-packed for different stuff. His “FlyBrary” (his term, not mine) has him setup for Freshwater / Saltwater… Trout / Bass / Stripers / Bonefish… Dry fly or nymphs and streamers… everything is setup for him to grab, connect, and fish.

I wanted a sling that wouldn’t weigh me down – and I wanted a sling that would stay put on my back… even when I bent forward to net a trout.

I’m proud to say that the TIGHTLINES SLING is my personal go-to pack, and honored to know it’s had a similar impact for others on the water.

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