Sunday, 8 March 2015

Modular Gear For The Rest Of Us: SmithFly

Continuing my series chronicling examples of modular carry equipment geared to non-military endeavours.

This time it’s a company aiming its wares at the fly fishing community.

SmithFly is a company based in Troy, Ohio and founded by Ethan Smith. While none of it will come as a revelation to anyone familiar with MOLLE/PALS compatible gear, that to me is the beauty of it. Why re-invent the wheel? It’s a proven system, and there are many other manufacturers out there, and a host of attachment systems work with it. If something isn’t entirely right for your needs, someone else will quite likely have what you need, or heck, make something yourself. I’m living proof of that.

Something else I like about this company is that they are committed to having their goods manufactured in the USA, and that they care about how sustainable their manufacturing process is, and how much of an impact it has on the environment.
The Naked Switch Belt. If you have one of the dozen plus different MOLLE/PALS battle belts that are out on the market, you could use it, rather than this belt. If you don’t, this is a fairly no-frills take on the concept.
The Naked Switch Vest. While nothing new if you’re familiar with military style vests, (which seem to have faded from use largely), this is a great way to overcome the restrictions of fixed in place pockets on fly fishing vests. 
The Naked Switch Bag. 12" wide x 12" tall x 5" deep, with a zippered pocket inside, PALS on the front, back and sides, and a shoulder strap and carry handles.
One thing I really like is these flaps you can get. Featuring imagery by Louis Cahill of Gink and Gasoline, the Art Attack series can either be purchased separately or included with a Switch Bag.
5" wide x 7" tall x 2" deep, the 1X Pouch attaches with fairly standard looking MOLLE straps. The flap is held closed with magnetic closures.
Like the 1X, the 2X Pouch has an attachment grommet under each flap on the sides so you can attach retractors to hold hemostats, nippers, bear spray, etc. 9" wide x 6" tall x 2 or 3" deep. 4 pockets on the outside, 4 pockets on the inside.
Finally, the Digi Pouch. If you’ve seen my review / modification of the Simms Dry Creek Camera Bag (no longer offered), this will look familiar. Whereas I had to modify it to be MOLLE compatible, this one is ready out of the box. It also allows the user the option of mounting something on the front. Made from RF welded 18 oz vinyl. If you need to carry a large camera or other electronics in and around water, this looks to be a good substitute for that discontinued Simms pouch.

If you’re into fly fishing, or need a way to keep a camera/electronics dry and want it to be PALS compatible, check them out.


  1. Thanks for keeping up with this series. It's nice to have modular options for different things, especially when you've already got an investment in pouches.

    I've been using a miltiary chest rig as a foundation for a fishing vest, but this is nice, especially the purpose built pouches. Military pouches tend to lack the organization that's preferred for fishing.

    FYI, here's a link to the chest rig that I've been using. It's super lightweight and open which is nice here in the Southern US. Also, I've found that this packs MUCH smaller than a comparable vest. I've had to jury-rig things like a rod holder loop (P-cord and an ITW Web Dominator) but it can be made to be quite serviceable.

    1. Thanks. I like modularity, but I often find pouches built for military ends don’t suit my needs. I guess I’m not alone. This is why stuff like this is so great - it gives you options given your particular needs.

      I've been mulling over the idea of a plate carrier - but as a PFD. Instead of ceramic plates - have buoyant foam in them instead. Something like BFG’s PlateMinus comes to mind. If I’m in my kayak, a PFD that can also serve as a place to mount a map case, compass, binoculars, camera, etc. is appealing.

      Good on you for jury rigging stuff for your own needs.