Review: Simms Essential Gear Bag 90L

A fishing bug-out-bag that’s ready to go whenever — and wherever — you are
simms essential gear bag
Photo: Shane Townsend

Prepare for the general so you can respond to the specific. That’s the nut of emergency preparedness done right. It’s also a solid guiding principle when it comes to being ready to bug-out for a fishing trip anytime the opportunity arises.

After several months of use, I can say the Simms Essential Gear Bag is built for it.

What Works

At the end of the day, this bag is 24″ x 14″ x 18″ of utility. And, the design elements help create a bag that would serve a skinny water flats redfish gal in Florida, a trout bum in Colorado, or a guy pulling chinquapin from Mississippi creeks or largemouth from central Texas stock tanks.

Strong Base
The zippered compartment at the bottom of the bag is designed to hold waders, belt, and boots. It keeps the wet stuff away from the dry stuff. And, the vents let air circulate and help it wet stuff dry.

Big Main Compartment
The main compartment is roomy. You can use the two optional dividers to break up the space and separate your smaller pieces of gear. Or you can keep the space big. I do the latter and put my fishing backpack – fully loaded and ready to go – into this compartment so I can just pull it out and go when I get where I’m headed.

simms essential gear bag
Photo: Simms

Durable and Weather Resistant
A good bug-out bag has to keep gear together – and keep it protected. In staging, closet contents beat each other up and jam holes in one another. In transit, the bed of a pickup is a great place to get soaked, scraped up, and stained. And, in the woods or at the waterline, there’s ample opportunity for more of the same. This bag is tough and water resistant with its combination of ballistic nylon, water resistant finish, and a bottom coated for extra durability.

A Place for Rods Tubes and Nets
Where’s this net go? Right there on the back. The bag has a place to put it so you can keep a hand free. And, two bungee-and-clip rod tube holders (one on the front and another on the back) make it easy to keep the rods with your gear and again to get them where you’re going.

simms essential gear bag
Photo: Simms

Nooks and Crannies
Just as there’s a time for a big open space, there’s a place for pockets. And, the Essential Gear Bag has plenty of pockets. There are pockets on top, pockets on the front and back, and more pockets on the sides. There are pockets for whatever essentials will define your trip: rain gear, reels, boxes, you name it. There’s room.

Other Thoughtful Elements
The bag has a comfortable shoulder strap and plenty of handles so you can grab it when you need and get it where it needs to go. The daisy chains on front and back are a plus when time to cinch it down, or tie something to it. And, finally, the Velcro patch is a nice touch for sticking fly drying panels, patches, boxes, or other loop field accessories.

simms essential gear bag
Photo: Simms

What Doesn’t

A Little Wonky When You Pop the Top
The top piece offers lots of deep storage. And, when the bag is all zipped up, the bag is sturdy. But, unzip the top of bag and everything flops and waddles a little too much for my liking. Nothing falls out of the bag mind you, but it’s just a little wonky. If they added an internal structure to sure up the bag, it would also add weight. The bag is already nearly 5 pounds and anglers aren’t in the extra ounces business. So, probably not feasible. And, for me at least, not a deal breaker.

Final Word

All in all, the Simms Essential Gear Bag is a well-designed, well-executed, solid performer. I keep it full of my gear ready in the closet by the front door. Waders, boots, fly boxes, reels, rods, fishing pack, rain gear, a pullover, change of clothes, camp towel, knife, sunglasses, leader, tippet, line, tools, sunblock, snacks, LifeStraw, IFAK, kukri, net, lighter, – the whole nine. It’s in my bag. And, it’s ready. So, when my buddy calls up and says, “let’s hit it” I don’t have to waste time staggering through the house grumbling, “I know the x, y, z is around here somewhere.” If you’re looking for a bag that’ll hold it all together and stand-by ready to go, you might have a look at the Simm’s Essential Gear Bag – 90 Liter.