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Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2008/6/25 9:41
From Pgh
Posts: 1161
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After 20 years, my Downs hard chest box is cracking. It needs to be replaced.

While Downs (Richardsons, too) are still available, most alternative replacements systems are the soft packs -- slings, verticals, etc.

I cannot understand how the soft packs are more convenient. With the hard boxes, your flies are right there in front of you with the flick of a wrist. Aside from the nerdy looks of a hard box, they seem to be more convenient for fly access.

Out of curiosity, does anyone out there use the hard boxes? Or am I just an old coot stuck in his ways?


Posted on: 12/30 17:06
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Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2013/1/14 22:24
From Indiana county
Posts: 2
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I use a fly box I keep in an old army medic bag I sling on my shoulder but when I upgrade I plan on getting a Richardson. No interest in a soft pack.

Posted on: 12/30 19:03


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2012/1/9 19:50
From Etters,Pa
Posts: 679
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I was given a Downs Chest box from a good friend and haven't used anything since. I customized my box and fabricated a harness with pouches for tippet,leaders,shot and a pair of slim fly boxes that I swap out in my chest box as need. I also made a water bottle holder for the back. What makes the Downs Box so great is how versatile it is. The ability to pull a pin and swap out boxes is a huge advantage. I have 7 boxes that are filled with flies for the major hatches. It's great pull a pin swap out a box and your ready for anything.

Attach file:



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Posted on: 12/30 21:37

Edited by delta_dog on 2013/12/30 21:58:43


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2012/1/13 15:28
From Ferguson Twp.
Posts: 2143
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I've seen said chest box, and it's a dandy indeed.

Posted on: 12/30 22:12
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Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

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2013/8/6 21:44
Posts: 629
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My Down's box is set up similar to Delta Dog's, except for the custom harness, I have all my rectractors clipped on the factory harness. Though I may have to get working on a custom harness, since hearing that idea.

Posted on: 12/30 22:29
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Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12923
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I use a Richardson and love it. I like the looks and materials a little better than the Downs. That said, I have to admit the ability to interchange trays on the Downs is really cool.

I ordered mine with foam throughout, but the foam kind of sucked so I tore it all out and replaced it with C&F slit foam of various sizes, cut to fit from replacement inserts. It also has a leader wallet within, and a floatant holder. I have the regular straps but have thought about replacing with their leather system. License on the back strap, hemo's clamped on the strap just above the box, and nippers on a zinger attached to the strap. No need for a vest.

The only issue is the necessity of a wearing a pocket or two underneath. Here are the items I need to take fishing that aren't permanently attached:

Shot
Tippet
keys
phone
can of Skoal

If I sprung for the leather I'd probably try to do some customizing like Delta has done for those things. Maybe I'll make it a winter project.

Posted on: 12/31 8:57


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 5980
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I plan on doing some real work to my Richardson this year, trying to come up w/ some ideas as to how to attach everything I need (so far I got everything, except my pipe and tobacco, keys, and a water bottle. The "pipe pouch" is the tricky part!). I have the removable foam inserts, so while I can't swap out boxes, I can swap out foam trays. I have the 5 box system, 4 of them hold foam inserts, so I have several foam sheets at home filled w/ flies that I can swap out easily. The 5th box is deep and divided. It holds my floatant, indicators, an extra set of nippers, and split shot. I have tippet attached w/ my hemos and another set of nippers to zingers from my straps.

Posted on: 12/31 9:18


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2010/5/30 18:53
From Spring Grove, Pa
Posts: 245
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I have owned Richardsons, Richardson knock offs. Can't remember who made them. Now I have the Downs. I would not trade it for anything else.

Posted on: 12/31 10:07


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2009/12/17 20:43
From Souderton PA
Posts: 841
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I really love the Richardson pack but have had trouble recently with the way it sits on my particular (fat @$$ed) frame. I use an Orvis sling pack most of the time now, but the Richardson is a motivation to loose a few pounds. Even with the chest pack I Still used the sling pack for all the miscellaneous stuff.
Mike.

Posted on: 12/31 10:34
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Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2008/6/25 9:41
From Pgh
Posts: 1161
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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
I use a Richardson and love it. I like the looks and materials a little better than the Downs. That said, I have to admit the ability to interchange trays on the Downs is really cool.

I ordered mine with foam throughout, but the foam kind of sucked so I tore it all out and replaced it with C&F slit foam of various sizes, cut to fit from replacement inserts. It also has a leader wallet within, and a floatant holder. I have the regular straps but have thought about replacing with their leather system. License on the back strap, hemo's clamped on the strap just above the box, and nippers on a zinger attached to the strap. No need for a vest.


PC,

I'm looking at the Richardsons too. But the price difference is double that of a Downs. However, I see Richardson also make an ultra-light model for about the same price as a Downs. $65.

So I guess I'm torn between aluminum Richardson Ultra-Light with a vinyl wood-grain laminate or the durable green plastic of a Downs with interchangeable trays.

Was wondering if anyone uses or knows about the Richardson Ultra-Light?


Posted on: 12/31 10:38
_________________
"I used to like fishing because I thought it had some larger significance. Now I like fishing because it's the one thing I can think of that probably doesn't." --John Gierach


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2008/6/25 9:41
From Pgh
Posts: 1161
Offline
DD,
That is a nice set up you've got there. I simply have a 3-tray box and to be honest never even thought about swapping out trays. I think I'm going to stay with a Downs.

Posted on: 12/31 10:43
_________________
"I used to like fishing because I thought it had some larger significance. Now I like fishing because it's the one thing I can think of that probably doesn't." --John Gierach


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12923
Offline
I have the Joe Humphrey series, which is the same size as the ultra-light. I have the 3 tray model, and with my interior slit foam set up it holds an awful lot of flies. Every fly I own, really (though I do have a separate bass and saltwater traditional fly box).

Personally, I like the green finish, and probably wouldn't go for the shiny aluminum. I guess I'd be scared about spooking fish with the reflections. I'm sure it doesn't really matter, but I'm funny like that. I make sure to get matte finished scopes for my hunting rifle, too.

For me, it'd come down to money. If you're willing to spend what it would take to get the Richardson outfitted how you really want it, I'd do that. If you really don't wanna spend that kinda money, I'd get the Downs before getting a Richardson in a compromised arrangement. The advantage of the Downs is versatility and alterability. Today it's 2 trays, tomorrow it's 5 trays. And if I totally screw up a tray or something, just replace it.

The Richardson is ultimately nicer and is fully customizable when ordering. I realize the Downs has lots of options too, but Richardson has more. Floatant holder for YOUR kind of floatant, magnifiers, lights, a myriad of internal options, tippet dispensers, leader wallets, etc. If you like compartments you can change around the compartment configurations. There are like 4 different types of foam, felt pads, etc., and you can get something different not only in each tray, but also on the lid vs. the base. You can really get yourself a unique box custom made for you.

But once you have it, that's pretty much it. You can mess with the straps and clip on accessories but the box itself is what it is.

As far as I know, both are locally made in PA, so that's a wash.

Posted on: 12/31 11:26


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1086
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You guys love them but I can't imagine walking around with a rigid plastic or metal box strapped to my chest.

Posted on: 12/31 11:59
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Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12923
Offline
No different than having a rigid fly box in a soft chest pack.

Posted on: 12/31 12:09


Re: Hard Chest Box vs. Soft Pack

Joined:
2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 5980
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Quote:

McSneek wrote:
You guys love them but I can't imagine walking around with a rigid plastic or metal box strapped to my chest.


Honestly I never even think about it til I need a fly. Then I think, "so convenient!"

Posted on: 12/31 12:13



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