Product Reviews: Five of My Favorite Fishing Accessories

In the flyfishing world, there’s a multitude of products. The choices of rods, reels, lines, waders, boots, and terminal tackle can make your head spin. Then there’s the other stuff we all use when out camping, boating, backpacking, and traveling to get to our favorite fishing spots—the accessories, if you will. These five products are some of my recent favorites in that regard.

Grayl Quest with Trail Filter

Quite simply this is one of the best one-man water filters that I have ever used. If you're like me and hate carrying water on your fishing trips into the backcountry, you'll appreciate the total genius of this water filter bottle. Unlike its competitors where you suck has hard as you can through a straw until your cheeks hurt, the Quest works like a french press. All you do is scoop water into the chamber, plunge the filter, flip the cap, and drink. This product has literally changed how I think about getting my water when fishing in wilderness situations. Even better, the Grayl team is releasing a newer, much lighter version soon.

Cons: Very little… It does take up some space, but not any more than any other water bottle you might bring with you.

Lifeproof Nüüd Phone Case

I have an iPhone, and like almost everyone these days, it does almost everything for me—including being a backup camera when I’m out fishing. The catch is I can’t stand phone cases. Most of them are bulky and destroy what your elegant, slim smartphones are supposed to be. The Lifeproof Nüüd is one of the smallest, least intrusive cases you can own. With literally nothing covering the phone screen, it's still completely waterproof, because the case is gasketed directly to the edge of the glass. I’ve written about the merits of this case before, but they were reinforced when I took an extended swim recently white-water rafting. I had left my phone in my pocket while trying to “surf” a wave on my local river. I flipped my boat, lost my wedding band, scrapped the hell out of my shins and arms, all while trying to get to shore. I was in the water for a good long time, and my phone was absolutely fine. I have also dropped my phone multiple times on hard surfaces from about waist level with no damage whatsoever.

Cons: If you use headphones a lot—I don't—the plug is a bit cumbersome. It is fairly expensive too but worth every penny, in my opinion.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Air Mattress

Many of my boating and backpacking trips for fish demand that I bring the least amount of gear as possible, and what I do bring has got to be light. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is a revolutionary ground pad that is not only insanely light—weighing in at 12 ounces for the regular size—but also one of the most comfortable. I know it sounds too good to be true, but everyone who I’ve polled who has used one agrees. If you’re in the market for a new ground pad, do yourself a favor and check out what I think is the best ground pad ever made.

Cons: These things are not cheap, but again, are worth every penny. Sleep is priceless in my book. Some people also tend to complain about the noise these pads make and compare them to a bag of potato chips rustling. For the record, it doesn't bother me in the least.

Farm to Feet Socks

Price varies, www.farmtofeet.com

How important are socks to fishing? Very, in my opinion. You use them hiking, wading, and loafing around camp. I've owned a few pairs of Farm to Feet socks over the past few years, and I can honestly say there's nothing like them. Sure there's other quality brands out there, but the durability and quality of Farm to Feet socks is that much better anything else I've ever used. It's one of those things that you'll just have to trust me on. As soon as you slide a pair on, you can tell there's something different. They feel snug, supporting, and very comfortable. The company is committed to environmental sustainability, and sourcing all materials and manufacturing its products here in the U.S. You can even have a choice of fishy patterns. Recently I've been using the super-thin Blacksburg water sock with my water shoes for wet wading and white-water rafting. It's a strange concept as the sock is designed to actually get wet and stay wet, but it's kept my feet comfortable and most importantly blister free, which is a big concern when you feet are wet all day.

Cons: None—these are the best socks you'll ever put on your feet.

Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus Waterproof Powerbank

I travel a lot for work and typically have a bunch of electronics I need to charge including my headlamp, which is USB powered. Subsequently I’m always looking for outlets or using all the normal tricks to conserve power on my phone, tablet, or camera batteries. I’ve used some portable battery packs in the past, like the Mophie, which seem to do a great job, but the folks at Outdoor Tech have stepped up the game for outdoorsmen with their Kodiak line of portable powerbanks by making them waterproof. Yup, waterproof. The Kodiak Plus has done great in my testing for charging my iPhone over and over while powering up my tablet and headlamp, too, all with one charge.

Cons: The Kodiak Plus is a little larger than other portable chargers but not exceedingly so, and all the extra power makes up for the tiny extra bit of room you sacrifice.