Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack or William Joseph Access Chest Pack

As a relatively new fly fisherman, I have come to appreciate the importance of having the right equipment available to me at the right time.  There are many variables that can dictate your success or failure during your time on the water.  A fisherman must adapt to uncontrollable and challenging conditions that include but are not limited to the weather, the hatch and the water temperature.  Beyond the rod, reel, line, leader, tippet and fly, there is additional gear that can help a fisherman (or woman) achieve success.    

After initially purchasing a basic fly vest from Cabela’s, I quickly realized that a more technical pack would remove some of the complexity and effort related to the sport of fly fishing.   I first purchased the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack, then acquired the William Joseph Access Chest Pack for fishing during the warmer months. 

Here is what I think:

  Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack William Joseph Access Chest Pack
Price $139.00 $69.00
Product Description Lightweight with versatility and expandability. Adjusts to fit all weather conditions. Zip-down fly benches have mesh expansion pockets for tippet spools. Large mesh back pocket with additional horizontal zippered pocket for stowing extra gear.

  • “One-size-fits-most” adjustable shoulder and waist strap design
  • Signature, zip down fly bench with replaceable foam
  • Lightweight, waterproof and breathable fabric
  • 17 exterior and interior pockets
  • Mesh backing for ventilation and warm weather comfort
  • Vertical chest pockets hold large and medium boxes
  • Mesh pockets on fly bench for tippet spools
  • Gear attachment tabs, cord loops, and D-ring net lash
  • Hemostat keeper
William Joseph’s Access Pack is ideal when packing light for a fishing trip to a remote creek is more important than packing every single piece of tackle you own. The Access Pack’s compact design offers a surprising amount of storage space, and it’s outfitted with a built-in retractor, zip-down workstation and tippet control system. The lightweight, less is more design of the Access Pack ensures easy access to accessories and comfortable fishing.

  • A built-in retractor and zip down workstation
  • Docks to the William Joseph Drifter and the Exodus Backpacks
  • Loads of pockets, dividers and compartments to keep even the biggest gadget-junkie organized
  • New TCS (Tippet Control System), keeps your tippet organized and neatly tucked out of the way
  • Fully adjustable for a “one-size-fits-most” pack
Durability The Gore Range Tech Pack is built to last.  Zippers and stitching are high quality. I have worn this vest under extreme weather conditions, and it has performed well.  I will update this blog in 12 months and tell you how the product has held up. The Access Chest Pack is light but solid in construction.  Zippers and stitching are high quality.  I will update this blog in 12 months, and tell you how the product has held up.
Functionality The Gore Range Tech Pack has a lot of pockets and access points.  Truthfully there are so many choices, I end up forgetting what I have put in each pocket.  The zip down fly bench is fantastic.  I am able to easily get at flies without fumbling  through pockets looking for the right fly box.  Unfortunately, the 360 degree swivel retractors comes separately (and are expensive – $18.00 per unit).   The Access Chest Pack is simple yet so efficient.  The pockets are accessible and easy to utilize.   Just like with the Gore Range Tech Pack, the workstation is a wonderful convenience that has allowed me to remove the fly box from my arsenal.  The Tippet Control system is my favorite feature as it saves me time and energy when changing rigs.  It would be helpful if William Joseph adds one more built-in retractor to this pack in the future. 
Fit Very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds).  Easily adjusted and very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds). 
Customer Service Months back, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the fly bench (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro).  I phoned the store where I purchased the vest and they could not help me.  I emailed Fishpond and they never got back to me.  I called Fishpond and they recommended I call some stores that carry their product.  After calling three Fishpond merchants, one eventually took my order and mailed me the inserts six weeks later.  Truthfully, not a great  customer experience.  Recently, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the Access workstation (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro).  I emailed the company, and got a personal response in less than 24 hours.  The product was mailed to me within days my inquiry.  Kind of makes me want to buy more William Joseph products in the future. 
Would I Buy it Again Probably.  The Gore Range Tech Pack is a quality technical vest that any fly fisherman would appreciate.  Yes.  The Access Chest Pack gives me everything I need to be successful at a good price point.  I consider the Access Chest Pack to be a better overall value. 


Enhanced by Zemanta

3 thoughts on “Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack or William Joseph Access Chest Pack”

  1. Ross-
    I appreciate these type of comments and detailed information about product performance and lastly customer service. I have a business of my own and I understand the value of customer service and responsiveness. In my view, if you can’t respond to the needs of a valued customer in 24 hours, then you are no longer a customer but simply an addition to the “Top Line”. It offends me to hear how poorly you were treated by Fishpond, when they won’t “allow” me to buy and then sell their products for fear, as an internet retailer, I won’t represent the brand in a positive manner. Ironically, they themselves can’t even represent the brand. To “put the turd in someone else’s pocket”, or in this case pass along the issue to any number of their retailers is laughable in my eyes. Especially when you paid $139 for a pack. I certainly don’t wish any ill-will on Fishpond or anyone for that matter, in some respects we are all in this together…as manufacturers, retailers, and finally customers. I have gotten the same response from almost all of the fly fishing brands and manufacturers concerning new and internet retailers like myself. As the fly fishing industry is searching for ways to find ways to sell their products and add new customers, sometimes the answer is right there in front of them and they refuse to acknowledge the value of treating people the way they deserve to be. I hope this is an isolated incident, but I doubt it is. And I know first-hand how hard it is to run a business, especially as a one-man operation, but that’s still no excuse.
    Fly fishing is a tough enough endeavor to start without knowing where to go to become more educated on something as simple as a chest or waist pack. In my eyes, as expensive as the sport already is to get started, there are many companies that have good chest and waist packs for a fraction of the price that perform nearly as well, and offer a more rounded outdoor application instead of just buying a fly fishing specific pack…brands such as ALPS, Nathan, and Mountainsmith offer such packs in my view that are both great for fishing, but hiking, running, cycling, and camping as well. I don’t just say that because those are the brands we carry.

    I wish you the best, and please keep the comments coming. Small retailers like me can learn a lot from these types of things.
    Eric Graham
    President/CEO, Next Ascent Outdoor and Sport

    1. Sage (pun intended) words Eric. Fishpond seems to have created an aloof business model that unfortunately coincides with the sport itself. Their products are high quality, superbly functional and quite expensive. I am not offended at the Fishpond economics however. What does disturb me is that superior customer service MUST coincide with that level of purchase. Inter-industry examples are plenty; Orvis, Sage, Winston all charge a small fortune for their products, yet back it up with unparalleled customer service (I have firsthand knowledge of the Orvis level of service). That is the ONLY way to build brand loyalty, and guarantee future purchases from the consumer.

      I have fished all of my life, but had stayed away from fly fishing as I deemed it an elitist pursuit. The equipment is expensive, the learning curve is steep and the anglers are generally jerks. Our move to
      Colorado, along with the unique opportunity to fish with the great Joe Butler, changed my opinion entirely. I am addicted to fly fishing and will do it the rest of my life.

      Eric, I am friendly with the Owner of Elkhorn Fly Rod and Reel. If you are interested, I am happy to make an introduction. Perhaps you can carry his line of products? They are high quality and sold at a reasonable price (and backed up by great service).

      Also, I am taking a serious back country trip (Idaho) at the end of the month. I probably need to purchase more equipment – I will look to your store for that purchase. I wish I knew about you before I attacked Sierra Trading Post.



  2. Eric makes a good point in his second to last paragraph above about a non-fishing specific pack. Depending on how much gear you need to bring, I’ve found a simple travel pack to be more than effective for toting around the essentials. That said, I own a William Joseph Amp pack too, and love many of the fishing-specific details, like the magnetic closures.

    Here’s two reviews I did on packs.
    Eddie Bauer Travel Pack – Perfect (& inexpensive) pack

    William Joseph AMP Series Pack

    – Mike

Comments are closed.