For a number of years now, I have been a big proponent of tackle bags. With the many backpack-style offerings available, you can haul around all the tackle you could possibly need while leaving your hands free to carry your rods, landing net, all-important cooler, or anything else your day on the water calls for. During that span, I have used a wide variety of models and have seen many improvements and innovations that have taken the category to new heights. But, the Wild River Nomad XP Tackle Bag with the optional Wild River Clip-On Solar Panel has allowed parent company CLC (legendary maker of some of the best tool bags around) to take the tackle bag into the 21st century by creating a top of the line tackle toter, loaded with useful features and aimed at today’s electronically connected angler.
Starting at the very top of the Nomad XP is a hard molded eyeglass holder. It is a plus-sized zippered container that is large enough to hold the larger lens sunglasses most anglers use these days, tough enough that you can feel comfortable that your high-end shades will be well protected, and convenient enough that you can stash them away or access them quickly and easily. Hidden behind the holder, in a zippered compartment is the integrated fitted rain cover which, I can tell you from experience, works very well.
Just below, is the built-in inside/outside rotating LED lighting system – perfect for those anglers who like to “Ninja fish”. With the click of a button, choose between low-level white, high-level white, or stealthy green light. Need to see inside the bag? No problem! Just fold the light down into the “closed” position and the inner compartment of the Wild River Nomad XP is illuminated.
To the left is the removable tool-holder which is large enough to securely hold, both, needle-nose pliers and small wire cutters. It also has a belt-clip in the back for those who prefer having their tools closer at hand. Attached, find a removable retractable lanyard, perfect for holding clippers or any other small tool. Both sides of the Nomad XP are adorned with dual zippered pockets. The larger bottom pockets have internal dividers to help organize the contents. The upper pockets are smaller, but still roomy, and have exterior mesh pockets, as well. Under the bag, it is supported by thick heavy-duty base pads that help to reduce wear, and keep the Wild River Nomad XP clean and dry.
Moving back up, just below the lighting system, is a dual-function front pocket that can securely hold a mobile device or camera, and is where the integrated 5000mAh rechargeable USB power supply is located. Included are 4 different power adapter tips and a USB cable to help extend the battery charge of your small portable electronic devices. You can also use the USB cable that came with your unit. Charging times vary by device, but my LG G2 went from 10% to full charge in about 2 hours. The USB power supply can be recharged by plugging it into a standard 110V/120V outlet, which takes several hours for the initial charge. Once it has that first charge, it can also be trickle-charged by the optional removable solar panel. Just have the panel exposed to sunlight while you are on the water and your power supply is always ready to go. This really sets the Wild River Nomad XP apart from all the rest of the tackle bags out there.
Of course, storage capacity is one of the main concerns of anglers when it comes to tackle systems, and the Nomad XP doesn’t disappoint. The main compartment at the bottom of the bag holds four 3600 series tackle trays, while the upper compartment holds two more 3600’s with room to spare for up to four 3500 series boxes. The upper compartment also sports a clear zippered internal pocket.
Anyone who backpacks knows that a quality ergonomically designed pack is crucial for all-day comfort and an enjoyable outdoor adventure. The folks at CLC obviously know this from their years of manufacturing top of the line work gear, and they certainly have engineered it into their Wild River line of tackle bags. With strategically placed padding and subtle curves on the back of the bag, adjustable padded shoulder straps, and an adjustable sternum strap, a fully loaded bag is still easily carried and makes for a comfortable experience whether you are hiking to your favorite fishing hole, banging the banks or shoreline, or just hauling your gear to the dock. They have even thrown in small convenience features like a heavy-duty carry handle, an attached large carabiner clip, and small storage straps that I use to clip on a small flashlight.
Over the past several months I have really put this bag through it’s paces. During that time I have come to absolutely love the Wild River Nomad XP. I am also very hard on my equipment, and this bag has yet to show any signs of wear. Compared to my previous tackle backpack (made by a very familiar name), which started to fall apart after six months of use, this has been a true pleasure to use. It’s tougher, more comfortable, has more features, and carries just as much equipment. Yes, it is on the higher end of the price range. But, the old adage that you get what you pay for has never been more apropos.
MSRP – Wild River Nomad XP with USB Charging System $229.99 (seen for as low as $155)
Wild River Clip-On Solar Panel $49.99 (seen as low as $38)
Cave Club Rating: 5 Clubs
Cave Club Scale
5 Clubs = The Missing Link
4 Clubs = Rock Solid
3 Clubs = Better Than Sharp Stick
2 Clubs = Not Fully Evolved
1 Club = Should Be Extinct