Minimalist: Zimmerbuilt Micro Pack

In my own pursuit of only using what I need, I have found that I really like the Micro Pack that Chris Zimmer produces at his company, Zimmerbuilt. I've worked with Chris to create my own version of a Tenkara pack, the Kaizen and I really like it and enjoy it to this day. But in my effort to really take things down to the minimum, I use the micro pack and this is the evolution for "rod, line and fly" simplicity.

Chris developed the pack to be versatile and easy to integrate into his other products. I like that and I own one of the stock packs that I have used but always go back to my version. In the past, I cut off the attachment parts that I felt I didn't need, then I decided that I did need them and now I'm back to a fully customized pack that is for hanging on a strap.

As a minimalist, whether it be backpacking or tenkara, only what I need so I contacted Chris myself to see if he would customize one of his packs for me and literally in three days, I had it in my hand. I really like it so I decided to purchase and set up all the things that I wanted to have with me. Much of these things were taken from the Tenkara USA strap pack that I've also been using.

My Zimmerbuilt Micro Pack is highly customized. I had Chris add in a pocket on the back and remove all elastic straps and top nylon loop. 

If you are going to order this pack, ask for configuration like "Adam Trahan from Tenkara-Fisher" or send him this page in a contact e-mail.

List of Pack Accessories

I start out with a length of colored paracord from This company will let you purchase a short ten foot length instead of purchasing fifty or more feet. I'll purchase a few short lengths in colors I like to see which one I want to use. I take the inside line out of the paracord that I use. I much prefer using just the sheath as it is more than strong enough and if I put a heavy backpack on over my fishing bag or if the shoulder strap gets caught under another gear strap, the flat paracord does not dig into my neck our shoulder.

To attach my para cord shoulder strap, I use a Mallion Rapide Quick Links size 3/32" which is petite yet has a working load of 220lbs.

For the attachment to the para cord to the quick links, I use a bowline knot to produce a loop at the end of the paracord.

For my nippers, I use a short length of Micro Cord 1.18mm from Atwood Rope Mfg. To attach the length of micro cord to the para cord, and to make that adjustable, I use a prussic knot. This knot will slide up and down the length of the para cord and then stop and not move where ever you place it.

List of pack contents
Your pack contents might be close to mine, give or take a couple of items because this pack is really very small. 

Here is a brief discussion on some of my choices.

Having a good set of needle drivers to quickly remove embedded hooks deep in a fish's mouth is necessary for my fishing. I use a petite needle driver called a Derf. I get mine from eBay for about $10 delivered. My original pair is 20 years old and cost a couple of hundred dollars if you were a eye surgeon, I'm not, I'm a cheap fisherman but I like equipment that is designed well. Even the cheapest Derfs will work better than your hemostats but I buy stainless steel ones from Germany off of eBay.

For the floatant I use, I choose a micro drop bottle from Arrowhead Equipment. I personally like Gink Floatant and just squeeze the contents into the micro bottle. I've used the same micro bottle (I like the clear one) fill from a couple of years ago. I don't use a lot of floatant but I do like to have it along. The tiny micro bottle just disappears in the front elastic pocket.

For tippet I use Seaguar GrandMax, it's the best and 6x will protect nearly every rod I use. For my Nissin Mini V3's, I use the same tippet in 7x.

This exercise in minimalism is strictly geared around the small six compartment plastic box that is readily available. Plano makes a version and I have a small stack of them from various trades and gifts from Japanese anglers. The box is small and is able to handle about a couple of dozen flys really packed in, I typically carry 18 or so. I use a hair tie to keep the box from flipping open in the wind of my hands spilling the flys or if I drop it. It is very light an petite. I've never dropped one but the hair tie is probably overkill but it seems like I should have one.

If you are interested in going as light as possible, this is your pack.


ZimmerbuiltKaizen Pack - Sling Lite - Tailwater Pack - Micro Pack
Tenkara USA Strap Pack


  1. I'm pretty minimalists myself and my setup isn't a lot different from yours. I use the Gossamer Gear backpack hip belt pocket. The loops at each end of the zipper make a convenient place to attach a shoulder strap. (originally I used a piece of gray Lash-it line, later found a narrow shoulder strap from an old Gameboy bag or something that had clips on swivels, but often think the lash-it line with bowline knots worked better, smaller/lighter).

    The two loops on the back of the pocket make a convenient place to clip on and hold hemostats horizontal, that along with small nail clippers are both attached to a double zinger. Inside not much; fishing license, tippet, fly box, line spool(largest that will fit,(90mm dia.)= fewer turns to wind on the line quicker with fewer coils. D

  2. My first bag was an Outdoor Research dirty bag. Same length of paracord. The Zimmerbuilts aren't too far from that.

    Thanks for ringing in.