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Here Fishy, Fishy: Meet Fishpond’s Chest Pack of Deception

If you need a waterproof bag with easy access while casting, then Fishpond’s Thunderhead Chest Pack is as convenient and versatile as it gets.

Fishpond Thunderhead Chest Pack(Photo/Sean Jansen)
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When planning a long standup paddle excursion down the Baja Peninsula, I needed a small waterproof bag to carry my camera and basic fishing equipment. But I needed it to be immediately accessible within arm’s reach while paddling. And it had to be fairly light, as deck room for gear is limited on a SUP. Fishpond’s Thunderhead was perfect for the job.

Fishpond Thunderhead Chest Pack
(Photo/Sean Jansen)

In short: The Thunderhead Submersible Chest Pack ($180) has already accompanied me for 400 miles during my paddle on the Sea of Cortez. I used it strapped down to my board (when not strapped to my chest) via the many lashing points surrounding the 5L bag. It dealt with 12 hours of sun and saltwater encrusted on the zipper, and also successfully kept my passport, camera, phone, and GPS dry when I accidentally capsized and submerged the pack.

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Chest Pack


  • Materials 900-denier TPU-coated NewStream fabric, waterproof TRU Zip zipper, reinforced webbing
  • Size 5 L
  • Dimensions 9” x 7” x 3.75”
  • Back Harness 11” x 9”
  • Weight 1 lb.


  • Comfortable
  • Fully waterproof
  • Can be worn or strapped down to a boat frame or deck
  • Lots of zippered pockets and zipper access
  • Modular buckles can attach to any Fishpond-compatible backpack


  • Pricey for the 5L size

Thunderhead Submersible Chest Pack Review

Fishpond Thunderhead Chest Pack
(Photo/Sean Jansen)

First Impressions

The idea behind this pack is genius. Having a waterproof bag with an easy zipper to access things like my phone and camera is what led me to the purchase. The smooth and rigid 900D TPU-coated fabric was appealing to the eye. The zipper, however, was the main show that caught most of my attention.

Though the pull and closure of the zipper weren’t as smooth as I had initially liked, it closed confidentially ensuring all my gear would stay dry regardless of the situation.

The inside compartment was spacious enough to hold my small DSLR, a few snack bars, and even my Garmin inReach Mini 2 — all important items I needed to stay dry, but also needed quickly.

The top also had a small, non-waterproof pouch to hold anything extracurricular that didn’t mind a splash or two should the occasion call for it.

Straps and Closures

(Photo/Sean Jansen)

A very convenient and well-done addition to the Thunderhead Chest Pack is its strapping system. Buckles connect at four points to the padded shoulder and back harness, all to help ensure the comfort and convenience you desire. These buckles are also unique in that they can connect to other Fishpond products, such as the Thunderhead Submersible Backpack.

The zipper of the Thunderhead line is what makes it unique on the market. A fully waterproof self-healing TRU zipper closure allows for easy and quick access to items without the worry of rolling open and closing like the traditional dry packs of other brands.


The price was a major shock from Fishpond’s Thunderhead line. When I was at the store to make the purchase, I pulled out the credit card … and looked the other way when the employee swiped it. At $180 for a small 5L dry bag, it’s a bit steep.

I also spent a ton of time — around three to five times a day for over a month — opening and closing the zipper on this pack, and the zipper did begin to slip off its track. Though it was somewhat easy to realign, the zipper could be a problematic point of failure in the long run. For the price tag, even with often and heavy use, I wish this wasn’t the case.

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Thunderhead Submersible Chest Pack
(Photo/Sean Jansen)

The concept of this pack is a great idea that other companies have failed to capitalize on, specifically with the zipper system. With the annoyance of the roll-top closures of most dry bags, the zipper is very convenient: an easy open-and-close concept to quickly access a camera or some tippet material.

With lashing points all around the bag for strapping onto anything or simply attaching hemostats or some floatant, the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Chest Pack is a very useful tool for the angler and water-driven explorer.

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