© 2012 Will K UPG Collage

Gear Review: Umpqua UPG Weekender

I don’t do too many reviews on this site, but those who know me personally are all too aware that I have a strong and developed opinion on every piece of gear I own.  I find so many other reviews helpful and have a pattern of reading as many as possible before I lay down cash for a new bit of “stuff.”  The more expensive it is and/or the more integral it is to my fishing, the more reviews I read.  Let’s dive in…

I recently won an Umpqua UPG “Weekender” fly box from FlyFishilicious and promised Jen that I’d do a review.  I received it super quickly, but dragged my toes on getting it filled up and out on the water.  I love organizing my flies, but moving boxes is a little jarring for me.  Every new box has its own new possibilities and limitations for fly organization, and they have to be used in the best possible way for each fisher to use the box efficiently on the water.  I’m sensitive and extremely particular about fly boxes, perhaps as much as I am about rods and tippet.

I immediately noticed the weight of the box–it’s heavy.  Having always worn a shoulder bag, I tried to limit my weight that I carry as much as possible.  I recently moved to a Simms waistpack (review coming…) and have found I still have to be careful with weight. I was initially very concerned about the weight of the box, but wanted to give it a fair shake and get it on the water.

It is a two-page opposed-window box with micro-slit foam in various patterns but an extremely high capacity.  The awesome feature are the two midge compartments at the bottom of one side.  I instantly emptied my small Akiokun box that I kept all my #24s and midges in (before now); I dropped the midges on the magnets and let the tight, small foam deal with the flies that gave my other boxes trouble.  The magnets held my flies despite my hardest banging, dropping and shaking–they wouldn’t let go for anything! I also found through this abuse why the box is on the heavy side–its a Sherman tank.  In other words, this box will survive my best efforts to accidentally kill it through my “normal” use which to most would just look like I enjoy flybox violence.

The foam grabbed the #24s just as well as my #8 Stimulators and Humpys and wouldn’t let them shake loose either; I was very excited about that.  Relegating so many little flies to a separate box didn’t mean I was organized, it meant that I forgot about some of my most productive flies.  Now, all my nymphs, midges and dries are together in one box.  Unity has been restored to my flies.  Some rows have slits top and bottom, letting you double-dip and get those super slim or just small flies packed in with no wasted space.  Optimize the “organize!”

This box is water-tight.  A great seal runs all the way around the seam and requires a firm pinch to snap closed.  Anyone who uses a good water-tight box knows: if it keeps the water out, it also keeps the moisture in.  Putting damp/wet flies in a water-tight box spells disaster for that and surrounding hooks.  Umpqua thought this out: they included Zerust ICT Plastabs in each of the two sides to prevent rusting because of damp flies inside.  Does it work? Yes and for two solid years.

There are several other sizes available in the UPG lineup, the Weekender is a sort of “middle of the road” compromise.  For most, it will hold all the dries you’ll actually use during any given sub-season.  If you have more flies than will fit in here, you probably have too many.  If not, then get two or three–they are super thin and stack really nicely just about anywhere.

Good job, buddy: Strong as a horse, Zerust tabs, micro-slit foam holds even tiny flies like a champion wrestler, the midge magnets make keeping and finding midges a snap, thin profile, overall is an attractive box with subtle looks and high functionality

Not so sure about: Weight (but thats from being built like a tank), slightly difficult to open with one hand, expensive (~$40 or more), seems really tall for capacity (could be wider+shorter and fit in a few places better)

In the end, I would definitely recommend this as a do-it-all box for both Western and Eastern fisherman.  It’ll handle what you need to fill it with and do it with style.  I got rid of two boxes and combined into this one–that’s huge on the water–and it protects flies from water AND rust. It’s my new favorite feather keeper.

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by FlyFishilicous or Umpqua in any way for this review, and I did not receive the box for free with any obligation to review or to review positively.

 

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm | #

    Nice job on the review Will. This is the box I was hoping for since I like the idea of keeping all my flies together. I’ll be looking to pick one up soon.

  2. Jen
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:50 am | #

    Bomb diggety! Great review, glad you like the box. They are my favorite :)

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