When I was in NJ a few years ago stuck in a hotel room for months on end with nothing to look forward to then my Norvise, a bottle of cheap whiskey, and a few weekend trips to seem some friends in the region.It was hard to find the fly tying outlet I needed! I hunted down every fly shop, sporting goods store, and bait shop I could find on my Google maps without a whole lot luck. Most were a mix of gun/bait/saltwater sports shops. I sure as hell was not in Montana any more. As I set out on my daily missions to find my newest tying necessity, deer belly hair (thanks to Pat Cohen’s video),
I stumbled on to an advertisement for the FLY SHOW in Somerset, NJ. It was only a few hours away and I decided it would be great way to get back to my “flyness”. It was an experience for sure.
As I drove north towards the Fly Show with my Dunkin Donuts coffee in hand, it brought back memories of my brother and I jumping in my grandfather’s van on an early weekend morning with dreams of trips to far off places. Back then it was all about the Denver Sporting goods show. Those were great times filled with bags of goodies form every booth and hopes to someday heading to the famed Alaska with my grandfather and brother and chase all those huge fish that the guy a the booth promised were there just waiting for us. That trip never happened but it was fun to dream!
As I waited in line to pay my ten bucks at the Fly Show I realized that this is how the other half lived (those not from Montana). For me to go float the Yellowstone or the Madison was something I decided over coffee with my wife on Saturday morning. For those around me in line, these were trips they would save for over years and years. I soon realized that I am truly spoiled on where I live and what I get to do just about whenever I want to do it.( full disclosure “Montana is Full but I have heard that North Dakota is nice”)
That show turned out to be a much-needed shot to my flyness as well as a much-needed sighting of some old friends who were just as surprised to see me there as I was to see them there. The two things I took away from that day were:
- Pat Cohen at rusuperfly.com is a bad ass(more on that at a later date)
- I need to find out more about this new company Vedavoo.
I got to meet Scott (bad ass owner of Vedavoo) at the show and he was oddly not full of himself and a pleasure to talk to. Just a great guy. I say this because a lot of the booths you approach at shows like this are full of sale pitches and how Product A is SOOO much better then Product B. Over hyped salesmen looking for a quick sale. Not at the Vedavoo booth. Just a cool dude with lots of cool stuff. Scott and talked little about this and that and I made plans to catch up with him via email on some custom stuff I had ideas about. We are still going back and forth on some of the hair brained ideas of mine but I do now in fact own a piece of the Vedavoo line. It is truly a Beast!
So on to the Produce Review of the TL Beast Sling Pack
What is in name? To me a name represents a product as a whole on multiple levels at Trustworthiness, quality, ingenuity, uniqueness?
Vedauwoo (pronounced: vi də vu:) is an area of rocky outcrops (Sherman Granite) located in south-eastern Wyoming, United States, north of Interstate 80, between Laramie and Cheyenne. Its name, according to some, is an romanized version of the Arapaho word “bito’o’wu” meaning “earth-born”
I have spent a lot of time on the Vedavoo site looking at this pack and that sling and had a hard time deciding on what I wanted for my first Vedavoo piece. With my annual Trip to the Big Horn coming up my had was forced to add to my streamer game and I decided on the TL Beast Sling Pack.
One of the differentiating of Vedavoo is that there packs are made to order. That is, when you order a piece of gear from Scott, it goes in a que and is made for you! This is great and gives you a chance to get a piece of that is made to your color specs and personalized with just the add-ons you want. The only downside is if you practice in the fine art of procrastination like me then you may be out of luck for that fast approaching trip. Luckily Scott has thought of this and has what he refers to as “marquis” shops around the US that stock his products. I was fortunate to find a Beast Sling at South River Fly Shop and spoke to Kevin just a few days before I left for my trip. I cannot say enough about how well I was treated by Kevin and received by pack in just two days!
Leaving work I knew that it was sitting on my door step thanks to the wonderful (sometimes) world of tracking but nothing is better than pulling up in the driveway and seeing a package that you know if for you! As soon as I opened the package from South River Fly shop you could “feel” the quality in the sling. Just the weight alone of the bag lets you know that it is quality and will last many lifetimes. A few shop stickers were placed in the box with a thank you written on the back of one of them. In these times when it is hard to get a smile out of someone behind the counter or get an email back from someone, it is the little things the count big in my book.
- Small Zipper Pocket
- Peak-a-Boo Pocket
- Large Box Pocket
- Refreshment Pocket
- External storage
- External hooks and add-on areas
1. The Small Zipper Pocket is great for a small camera, Car Keys, or a snack bar. For me it is home for my NAA .22 mag. I am not a fan of snakes and well if the pocket fits, use it. What is nice about this pocket is the zipper is sturdy and zips in a direction that faces down when the pack is in sling mode. Again the little things make a difference for sure!
2. The Peak-a-boo Pocket is in my opion, where the magic happens. This is the pocket behind the Large Box Pocket that seems to me to have a never-ending vastness for stuffing all sorts of stuff. This is my default lunch/gloves/whatever pocket and conforms to a certain degree to whatever is in it. If you like to max out the capacity of your gear I suggest you load in the large Box Pocket first, and then load up the Peak-A-Boo pocket. If you don’t and the Peak-a-Boo pocket is full it is kind of hard to stuff the large streamer box in. The PABP stays closed not with a zipper but with compaction of the pack against the body and the fit tautness of having the Large Box Pocket loaded up. Not sure I would trust gun or a phone in there but when wearing the pack the pocket is never upside down. It is always facing up (when in sling mode) or horizontal to the left (when in workstation mode).
3. The Large Box Pocket is just what it is . A large pocket that fits a medium size Flambeau case as well as a Cliff Box Beast Jr . This pocket can also be used for multiple larger fly boxes and a few odds and ends. This pocket closes very secure with a large piece of Velcro across the top of the pocket.
4.The refreshment pocket is a tubular pocket that hangs at the bottom of the pack when in sling mode. When loaded this helps to keep the weight of the pack centered to stay put. I believe this was created around a Liberty Bottle Works water bottle . I however ended up with lots of different bottles tested to include both Hydro Flask 18 oz Coffee/Tea flask as well as the 18 oz Hydro Flask water bottle. After all this though I did find out what it was truly intended for …. Beer. This sleeve can fit two 12 oz beer cans perfectly. With my math skills 2×12 oz of beer is more hydration then 1×18 oz of water! In full disclosure I did use the 18 oz hydro flask to keep a nice G&T for the end of the day on my Horn trip and it was GOOD! Also the material that the sleeve is made of is fleece lined I am thinking to help in keeping whatever you have in there cool.
5. The External Storage on the pack are two buckle straps that are on the bottom of the pack( when in workstation mode) These two straps are meant to be used to strap on extra stuff like maybe a small fleece or rain jacket. What I found it very useful for is to clip in your rod while you are changing flies. Waist deep in the Madison River pulling out a larger than normal fly box with a ton of flies in it is not the time to be needing a third hand. That is when I dawned on me, strap the rod in the and perfect! Not sure if this was the intended purpose for this but it works trust me!
6. The External Hooks and add-on areas are mostly on the front of the sling. Total there are six loops of 550 paracord to clip in some small Nite-Ize S-Biner’s and six tool anchor loops for clipping in everything from a set of hemos, small knife, and maybe a zinger or two for odds and ends. Also across the front of the pack, stitched in above the tool anchor loops is a ¾ inch of webbing that is a usable clip in area on either side of the pack.
What I have added:
- Small Camera case to the left side ¾ webbing. This is used to keep a small camera easily accessible and out-of-the-way
- In the area above the tool anchor loops I strung some stretch cord across to act as a keeper for whatever I pull out. Seeing how I use this pack on the river, in the water, the last thing I want to do is knock off one of my tools and go digging for it.
What I would add ( and it is not much).
- It would be nice to have a 550 paracord loop in side of the Small Zipper Pocket to clip keys in to or maybe a camera leash. I tend to lose things a lot so however I can keep form doing that is a plus for me
- It would also be nice to have longer straps on the external straps. I am going to add some extensions to this area so that I can fit a jacket or two all rolled up ( full disclosure I like to be warm and I am a big guy so I have mostly XXL jackets)
- It would also be nice to have some sort of keeper on top of the refreshment pocket. I know this was not designed for beer cans but I cannot image a time when this area would not be used for beer cans so it would be nice to have a clip of some sort just to run across the top you would not lose a much-needed beer due running form a bear or acting out like a fool due to a missed fish!
All in all this is the best Pack/Sling/Vest I have had the pleasure to own. As you use it you can tell how well it was thought out and how you and your Beast sling will be spending lots of time together for years to come. I must say that the best part of this sling as well as the Vedavoo Company is Scott. Without the vision, and the skill as well as the unbeatable customer service, Vedavoo would be just another half ass company trying to get you to buy their gear. With Scott you get it all – trustworthiness, quality, ingenuity, uniqueness. Thanks Scott for a bad ass sling!