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Zimmerbuilt Tailwaters Pack

April 17, 2017

Do not let the name fool you, the Zimmerbuilt Tailwaters Pack is just at home in the ultra-remote drainages that I actively seek out; as it is in the more accessible waters found below hydraulic structures (as its name might imply).

After several outings with my Zimmerbuilt Tailwaters Pack I have been asking myself why I did not get this pack sooner. I have fallen off of boulders into 45° mountain stream water up to my neck, and the contents of my pack have stayed dry. She carries all sorts of necessary gear (see photo below) with room to spare. Whether I am hiking or riding a mountain bike, she rides comfortably on my back. Splattered in mud and dragged through all manner of spiky brush she never bats an eye. In other words the Tailwaters pack is a perfect river companion - never complaining, always willing to take what you can dish out, and she always lets you fish the best holes.

Gear laid out that fits inside the pack

⦿ Simms Slick Rain Jacket, Mammut Fleece, Tenryu Furaibo TF39TA, Badger Tenkara Classic
⦿ Montbell Neoprene Booties, 10m rope, extra buff and sunglasses
⦿ Knife, Sawyer Water Purification system, bear mace, beanie, map, fishing supplies, tissue and fire kit (lighter, windproof matches, and petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls), Ohuhu wood burning stove, and SnowPeak Titanium pot.

Not pictured - enough food for two people for a full day (e.g. onigiri, ramen, crackers, cheese, sandwiches, etc...).


The Xpac VX07 & VX21 material is durable and water resistant. The material does not feel supple, rather it feels stiff. The pack is impressively light weight, coming in at a claimed 8.75 ounces. While much of the ultralight gear out there feels like it will barely survive a season this pack feels solid and well built. My impression is that it will last a very long time.

Keiryu

I have used the elastic shock cord on the outside of the pack to carry wet gear and even a really cool Yezo sika deer antler (蝦夷鹿) that I discovered at the bottom of a deep pool. You could almost certainly carry a net in it as well (but I have not used one in my five years of Tenkara fishing - so I cannot vouch for this).

Seika deer antler

The tenkara rod quivers on either side of the pack are genius. All of my rods, except the Tenkara USA Ito rod (which sticks up pretty far above the pack) ride comfortably along the side of my back. The rods are easily accessible and protected. The best part though is that the quiver location offers snag free exploring. My Tenryu Furaibo TF39TA does not fit in the quiver (it is too short). Honestly, I am ok with this because I would rather have the Furaibo inside my pack anyways.

kebri and moss

Things to Note:

There is no padding against the back so some care is needed when loading the pack.

I ordered the pack with a waist belt because I knew I would be accessing remote drainages by bicycle and I did not want the pack swinging around. However, on two occasions the waist strap came undone. The first time my bear mace fell off, the second time I almost lost my Helle Temagami knife forever! The issue can be easily fixed though by adding a plastic tri-slide to the strap and doubling the free end through it (once you have doubled it through the tri-slide that is attached permanently to the pack).

Sugegasa, line winders, and pack

Overall I am very satisfied with the Zimmerbuilt Tailwaters Pack. At $95 it is a great deal. If you are in the market for a Tenkara pack you would be remiss to not seriously consider what Zimmerbuilt is offering.

Author's Note: I received absolutely no compensation from Zimmerbuilt to write this review. I paid for his equipment and took it upon myself to review his product. All Fallfish Tenkara Gear Reviews are uncompensated and unsolicited reviews of my personal gear.

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Written by Isaac Tait who now lives in San Diego but dreams of returning, one day, to Japan. You should follow him on Twitter