Finding The Perfect Travel Combo For Your Long Weekend Trip

If your an angler like me, you are always looking for a fishing opportunity regardless of where you’re heading and why you’re going there. Most of my traveling consists of seeing family for the holidays or like this year, weddings.

My family and friends have finally came to terms that whenever I come visit they can almost guarantee I will be bringing at least one fly rod to hit some of my old stomping grounds in Maryland or prospect fisheries in their local area looking for species we lack here in Utah.

With traveling, the one thing I really dislike is waiting for checked bags. Standing there, just waiting for your bag to come down the conveyor belt in a sea of people. I am definitely the type that once I’m off the plane I want to get out of the airport and moving ASAP, so I’ve been trying to find a system where I could travel without dealing with a checked bag…I think I may have found it with Simms’ Freestone Backpack and the Orvis Carry-All rod carrier!


Note: This system only works if you plan on fishing without waders.


Like all of my trips I’ll spend a lot of time researching local waters and what’s the prime target for that season. With this most recent trip, I was heading to Upstate New York, Cayuga Lake to be exact and the first weekend in May. At the lake around this time the reports I found talked about multiple different species, multiple trout species were highly possible, landlocked Atlantic salmon would possibly be schooled at the inlets chowing down on smelt and shad, and it was the opening weekend for pike fishing. So I prepared for all of the above with little knowledge of what I would actually find.

I started packing the easy stuff first in to the Orvis Carry-All, the fishing gear. I packed 4 rods, 3 reels and multiple fly boxes to be as prepared as I could for the array of species possible. Methodically placing each item into the case like a game a Tetris. The larger boat and streamer boxes fit perfectly into the bottom of the case when the dividers are taken out. This was one of the most attractive features about the Orvis Carry-All compared to the other cases on the market like the Simms and Fishpond, you have more versatility on the type of gear you can place in the Orvis case whereas the Simms and Fishpond seem to be made only for rod, reels and smaller trout boxes.

Once I had figured out the configuration of the larger fly gear, I then started filling the holes with the smalls. Tippets, leaders, the smaller trout fly boxes, nippers, pliers. Etc. First step was done.

Next was the challenging part, finding a bag that could fit all my clothes into without checking them. Weather was mixed a day or 2 in the 70’s, rest of the weekend showers and low 60s I started by just tossing most of the items into a Fishpond Thunderhead Duffel, but I quickly realized this was complete overkill for the amount of stuff I was taking. I started looking around the house for another choice and the hunt for a pack didn’t take too long.

I had received a Simms Freestone Pack earlier this year and noticed it had plenty of space on my days of fishing, so I thought, “I wonder if this will work!?” And so, I started the process of fitting my clothes into the Freestone pack. Chaco’s went into the water bladder pocket perfectly without taking up a ton of room, next was fitting my rain jacket into the bottom of the pack in the main compartment to fill the void at the very bottom and my pants and shirts were to follow. To my surprise I was able to fit enough clothes for 5 days with somewhat ease, the bag still zippered up relatively easy without having to apply tons of pressure onto it.

At this point I still had some small stuff to fit, socks, underwear, chargers, toiletries, that kind of stuff, luckily, I still had plenty of space in my Orvis Carry-All. So, I proceeded to stuff socks and underwear in-between my fly boxes and rods along with the rest of my small stuff. Luckily I had fit my entire packing list into these 2 small bags and probably had enough space to throw a few more small odds and ends in the mix if needed.

Like most of these types of trips, I’m really going to spend time with family and friends that I don’t see much after moving west, that’s why I try to travel as light as possible. But if there is a body of water within an hour to hour and half drive… Some gear is coming along, no question. You never know what you’ll find, most of the time the fishing is a bust or average, I typically check off some sub-species I’ve never caught but every once in a while it pays off big.. Like how the stars aligned in Upstate New York, who’d thought this guy would come from under the dock at the AirB&B we were staying at for the bachelor party and chew on my fly. Right place, right time I guess but is the prime example of why I almost always travel with gear.

Below you will find my packing list for my most recent adventure. Use it as a guide, and pack wisely.


Note: Packing list in addition to one full outfit I was traveling in.

Packing List:

  • 2 pair of pants, one Simms Guide Pant
  • 4 pair of underroos
  • 4 pair of socks
  • 1 pair of Chaco
  • 2 undershirts, one tee
  • 2 flannel shirts
  • 1 packable rain jacket – Simms Waypoint Jacket
  • 2 8wt reels, 1 float, 1 sink tip
  • 6wt reel, floating
  • 2 8wt rods
  • 2 6wt rods
  • Umpqua bug locker 3618 – Trout Streamers
  • Plan D Articulated Bug Box – Bass Bugs and large streamers
  • Tacky Standard Fly Box – Dry Fly
  • Orvis 8 Compartment fly box – Nymphs
  • Orvis trout print fly box – Carp
  • Pliers
  • Rising nippa’s
  • Rising Hook File
  • 50lb Hatch Tippet
  • 13 spools of standard sized tippet spools
  • Floatant both powder and gel
  • 6 Packs of leaders
  • 1 hydroflask
  • Toiletries