Nat’s “Best of Show” Pick: Wild River Gear Bags
It didn’t take my womentuition long to hone in on the best dang product at ICAST. I’ve been designing my ideal tacklebag mentally for the past three years… until I sat down with Harry and Van first thing Wednesday morning at the Industry Breakfast. They told me their gear bags were the best out there and had LED lights and a few other bells and whistles. I was skeptical but interested to see what they had to offer, so Deb and I stopped by their booth later that day.
I was blown away.
Something that I’m realizing is different about the fishing industry, especially when it comes to product design, is that PEOPLE LOVE IT. You get engineers, marketing gurus, patent lawyers, welders, cooks and even the occasional pro-angler in a room together because they’re all passionate about fishing… and that’s when people come up with stuff like this!
Custom LeatherCraft (CLC®), with its 30 years of experience manufacturing high quality construction work gear, is introducing Wild River™ outdoor gear… because a few guys on their team got to talkin’ about fishing. This September they’ll be rolling out six TackleTek™ gear bags that I’m in love with. Each one for their own unique character, and all of them for their perfect design. And fairly priced from around $40 to $200.
The Frontier is Wild River’s signature bar handle bag featuring an LED light that rotates about, a removable pliers case with a self-retracting steel cable lanyard for clippers. It’s got all kinds of perfectly-placed pockets and compartments for securing gear and things like sunscreen and lipstick. The front compartment holds up to seven large trays. LOVE the top compartment with adjustable hook-and-loop walls – I’ll be throwing all the lures that don’t catch fish in there. I like to call this one “the executive”. If I worked for someone else, I’d buy this for my boss. In fact, I still might buy it for my boss ;o)
The Nomad is Wild River’s backpack. It has an LED light system that allows you to point it into the bag through a little window or point it outside (so you can make it down that path at Wiggin’s Pass in the dark without getting eaten by monsters). It also features a large upper compartment perfect for stowing your camera. The bottom is a secure but removable divider which can convert this bag to a full-size backpack for holding larger items. The Nomad has the capacity to hold 4-6 trays and has the same pliers and clippers set up, handy cellphone and sunglasses pockets, and an evenly balanced set of straps to make it easy to carry. This is the ideal set up for camping, hiking or picnicking with a chance of heavy fishing… or any time you are constantly on the move. This would be awesome on the Appalachian Trail with Rebecca, my fellow ex-nun and the closest thing you’ll get to Mary Poppins this side of TV. You never know when she’ll start fishing.
The Recon is a smaller version of the Nomad. It comes with an integrated LED light system that allows you to see in the backpack, or your work surface, when the sun goes down. It’s still got the “pointable” LED light, removable plier holder and retractable lanyard. I’d buy this one for my fishing yoda, Jonathan, to pay him back for all of the times he carried all the gear at “The Shire”.
The Tackle Tek™ Mission is a highly versatile soft tackle bag with an adjustable shoulder strap that easily converts to a waist belt. The removable, clip-on LED light with a flexible neck. The bag’s tray compartments feature storage for up to five trays. This is the beginner’s perfect bag or for a quick fish at your favorite pond or small lake where you know what you need.
The Rogue is Wild River’s unique stereo speaker bag for the tech angler. The integrated audio system is designed to work with iPod®, MP3 players and other portable audio devices, like your smartphone, to output quality stereo sound. It can hold around seven trays, so you’ll have lots of options to keep you busy through your whole fishing playlist. I thought this would be the bag for Deb, but she’d never be able to leave her iPhone in there very long… she’d be tweeting about how “rad” this gear bag is for beach fishing, county park fishing or camping with occasional bouts of fishing-happiness.
Now here’s the perfect bag for my hubby. He doesn’t like aggressive fishing. He likes to “let the fish come to him” while he sits on the dock with a bucket of ice, cut bait, six Corona’s, 12 limes, a dull knife and a pretty wife. With The Rigger, Wild River’s 5-Gallon Bucket Organizer, he can carry everything he needs for fishing in one hand, so he’s got the other hand free for holding mine on the way down to the dock. And the LED light means we can fish into the sunset. (I guess the cut bait isn’t the only thing getting mushy around here…) Anyway, this is what I’ll take the next time I get him to go fishing with me. Can’t buy it for him, because he’d know I really got it for myself…
Now, I do have to admit, there is one thing that I would change about all of them… and that’s the color. Although not bad if you are going for the hunting and fishing pallets of organic browns and oranges… We ladies are not trying to blend into background. Maybe if we get enough ladies, not only fishing, but having a “fishing voice”, we can lobby for some better color schemes. In the mean time, I’m convinced these are the best bags out there.