New Gear: William Joseph Mag Series Packs

Some of the more appealing products we saw at this week’s FFR show were in William Joseph’s new line of magnetic-closure packs. The MAG Series features one-hand-openable pockets, lids, and panels that use a very large natural magnet to create what the William Joseph folks claim is a “water-tight” seal. While everyone else is fumbling with zippers, you can be deftly retrieving fly boxes, leaders, and refreshment and then know that none of it will go tumbling back into the river because you forgot to close your pack completely. Or so the theory goes. We played with the system on a variety of new packs — the gear bag, Current, Surge, and Amp — and have to say it seems to make a lot of sense. Everything is easy to close and open, but you get the sense that even if you turn the packs up side down and shake them, nothing will fall out.
I asked the William Joseph rep if the magnets would erase digital camera chips, and he said it was pretty much impossible. “You don’t want to wear these if you use a defibrillator, though,” he quickly added.
Another interesting anecdote: Zebco, the company’s new owner (see last week’s story), apparently first got into the reel business while making oil drilling “bombs” (‘Zebco’ came from “Zero Bombs,” as they were called). One of the engineers was fooling around with some string in a can and got the idea to cut a hole in the bottom and pull the string out. And so was born the close-faced reel. Seems Zebco made so much money selling fishing reels that they promptly forgot about blasting oil wells.

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