Fishing backpacks allow anglers to bring all the gear with them on a fishing trip. Most often backpacks are used when walking or hiking to their destination but are also great to bring on boats. The best fishing backpack will depend on how much tackle and other items like food you are want to bring on fishing trips. Features of these backpacks include tackle boxes, rod holders, sunglasses holders, multiple pockets, and some are even come with insulated coolers.
Another important consideration of fishing backpacks is if they are waterproof. Fishing environments tend to be wet, whether it is from splashing ocean water or heavy rain. It is important to be able to keep clothing and expensive fishing gear dry. There are dry bags that are extremely waterproof and other bags that have a rubber bottom to stay dry when on wet ground.
Other important factors to consider is how comfortable the bag is to wear, whether it holds fishing rods, and how much tackle can be carried in the backpack. In this article, 30 fishing backpacks will be reviewed in detail.
Here Are the Best Fishing Backpacks
1. Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier
|18.5 x 13.75 x 9
Bass Pros Shops Extreme Qualifier has lots of unique features. It is actually a backpack and tackle bag. There is a zipper than can make the two units one larger backpack. It also has the option to come with or without three tackle box trays. The backpack can actually hold 10 of these boxes which have a dimension of 11 x 7.25 x 1.75. This is the dimension of most 3600 series tackle trays.
I often go on long hikes when stream fishing for trout and salmon where a backpack is needed. This bag is great as the lower portion can have the tackle boxes with the lures. The top portion can hold extra clothing, pliers, camera, phone, snacks, and water. One negative thing is it is only water resistant and not water proof. The polyester is pretty thick and overall quite durable.
2. Plano Z-series Tackle Backpack
|15 x 13 x 9 inches
The Plano Z-series is a popular tackle backpack and comes with two hard plastic clear tackle boxes. This backpack has a large main storage area that is secured with velcro and a buckle. It has a side pockets to hold items that are used most frequently. It also has two attachment points with buckles that can hold fishing rods and reels on the outside of the backpack. The PVC materiel is waterproof so this is a great backpack for rainy days and wet boating conditions.
The Z-series also comes with 3600 and 3700 model shoulder carry bags. These are basically easy to carry tackle boxes. There is also 50 liter water proof duffel bag that can be worn as a backpack. This acts like a large suitcase when traveling and is also great for camping trips. It is also secures with velcro and buckles. There is also a lure bag that is good way to hold offshore trolling lures. This can be kept in the backpack or left in a compartment in the boat.
3. Yeti Hopper Cooler Fishing Backpack
|12.5 x 6.5 x 15 inches
The YETI Hopper Backflip is an easy to carry insulated cooler. It is heavier and had a smaller storage compartment than other backpack coolers. However, this allows it to store ice rather than ice packs. It can hold up to 25 pounds of ice! The ice will not keep as long as a traditional hard case cooler but will work for a long day trip. This is a great cooler for bringing food and drinks on a boat or on a hiking trip. It can hold 20 cans when properly loaded up with twice as much ice to drinks.
If is it not being used as a cooler it can work as a dry storage bag. Most backpacks are not fully waterproof but this backpack is. This also makes a good backpack for carrying fresh bait and frozen bait. It might be an expensive bait cooler but can be rinsed out and cleaned much easier than nylon and polyester backpacks.
4. Yeti Panga Waterproof Backpack
|20 x 12.5 x 7 inches
This YETI Panga backpack is a submersible waterproof backpack that is great to use in wet fishing conditions. There are also Panga waterproof duffle bags that come in 50, 75, and 100-liter sizes. The duffle bags have shoulder straps and can be worn as a backpack. When traveling with lots of hiking, camping, and fishing gear the Yeti duffle bag is a great option.
The backpack version has a 28-liter capacity and weighs 3.9 pounds. This is heavy for a small backpack but it is a good way to keep import equipment dry and protected. Inside the bag, there are an open pocket in the back and a mesh zipper pocket in the front. The zipper to close the bag is also watertight. On the outside of the bag, there is a carry handle and various loops to attach gear. The stand out feature of this backpack is that it is waterproof. There are several cooler backpacks that are also waterproof and insulated.
5. Piscifun Cooler Fishing Backpack
|14.7 x 10 x 5.5 inches
|Brown, Red, Blue, Green
The Piscifun backpack looks like an average bag but is actually an insulated cooler. This can be thought of as a giant lunch box and ice packs can be used to keep food and drinks cold. It is built with a multi layer design consisting of a nylon outer later, cotton insulation, and a plastic liner. Other features include a soft mesh back, mesh straps, side water bottle holders, and a carry handle. There are two additional zipper compartments in the front of the bag.
On the straps, there are D-rings and a bottle opener. This makes a good general-purpose fishing backpack. It is average-sized and holds enough gear and food for a long day of fishing. If it gets messy the plastic liner makes it easy to wipe down and clean. For this reason it also a good option for carrying bait when a standard cooler is too hard to transport.
6. Piscifun Fishing Backpack with Tackle Boxes
|17.3 x 13.5 x 7.8 inches
|Black, Black Camo, Khaki
This Piscifun Backback is designed just for fishing. It comes with four clear tackle boxes that fit perfectly into the large compartment. This allows anglers to stay organizes with enough space for lots of types of lures, hooks, split-shots, bobbers, beads, and jigs.
The backpack has 5 separate side pockets which can each be used to store specific items like wallets, phones, radios, PLBs, fishing line, or a poncho. There are elastic straps on the exterior which work well to secure pliers for quick access. This is important for tying hooks and quickly releasing fish.
The top compartment works well for sunglasses and there is a dedicated side pock for water bottles. This is a good backpack to use when hiking or to bring on board a boat to store your personal items and have backup gear other than primary tackle boxes. There is a rain cover and rubber feet to help keep the bag dry but it should not be placed in soaking wet areas.
7. Calissa Offshore Tackle Backpack
|20 x 17x 9 inches
This Calissa Offshore Tackle backpack is made specifically for holding lots of fishing gear. It can be purchased with or without four 3650 clear plastic tackle boxes. Size 3600 will also fit into the backpack. The bag is primarily carried with two backpack straps but also has a carry handle to mover short distances.
On the very top of the bag, there is a hard case sunglasses storage area. The sides of the have fiver zipper pockets. A pliers holder is built into the outside of the bag which is very convenient. There are not any D-rings but the pliers can be secured with a clip to the carry handle. Above the tackle storage area, there is a large compartment for persona items such as a hat, gloves, rain jacket, sunscreen, water bottles, and food. It is also a good place to store large tackle, fishing line, leader line, and bait.
8. Prospo Tactical Fishing Backpack
|11 X 18 X 12 inches
|Black, Black Camo, Khaki
This tactical backpack by Prospo is not made specifically for fishing but it is a quality bag that holds lots of gear. The padded mesh straps, padded mesh back area, and waist belt make this a comfortable bag to wear on long fishing trips that involve hiking. It is water-resistant but is not fully waterproof so keep it off wet surfaces and keep it covered in heavy rain.
There is a D-ring on the front and on each shoulder straps to attach gear. Two large zipper pockets make up the bulk of the carry space. It can be packed solid with tackle, clothing, and food, and then side straps can be used to compress that bag together to hold everything in a secure compact manner. The elastic strap Molle system is another good way to secure gear to the outside for quick access. Color options include khaki, black, and black camo.
9. Kastking Padded Fishing Backpack
|13.4 x 9.25 x 21.25 inches
This KastKing’s Day Tripper is a large backpack that is a good option for fishing trips that involve long hikes. It can hold four 10.8 x 7.25 x 1.65-inch clear plastic tackle boxes which are the 3600 size but these are not included. These are typically stored in a bottom pocket that is accessed from a side zipper. There are lots of other areas to store fishing gear in this backpack. The small top zipper compartment has a cloth liner so it can hold sunglasses reasonably well even without a hard case. It is still a good idea to put them in a hard case though.
The backpack is secure to the angler with the shoulder straps and a wide waist belt. This helps take the weight off the shoulds which is nice on long hikes where backpacks can become uncomfortable. On the straps, there are D-rings to attach gear such as flashlights or fishing line clippers. A fishing rod can be connected to the backpack by placing the end in a side pocket and then securing the top with elastic straps. There is a removable layer that is velcroed into the main section to created two layers. This can be removed to create one large area.
The side straps may seem undesirable at first but can be very handy. They have several pockets and attachment points which allow for quick access to gear. This is a great place to keep, pliers, fillet knife, line cutter, bear spray, a camera, radio, or phone for quick access.
10. Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
|9 Different Colors
|5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 Liters
The Piscifun waterproof dry backpack is a great way to keep fishing gear and personal items dry. This bag is made from PVC and Vinyl and is actually waterproof. Most backpacks are made of polyester or nylon and water-resistant but will get soaking wet in heavy rain and on wet surfaces. If you have ever brought a backpack on a boat you know there are many ways for it to end up soaking wet. This is a great bag to help ensure your belonging will stay clean and dry.
The bag comes in 5 size options which include 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40-liter inside volumes. It consists of one large storage area. This area is closed by rolling up the bag and them connecting the buckle and straps. There is also an outside mesh pocket with an elastic drawstring. It can be carried by the handle, sling, or backpack straps. An IPX8 waterproof phone case is also included. This is a great style bag to keep clothing, electronics, and fishing gear dry on a boat or on a camping trip.
I would not recommend keeping safety gear like marine radios and PLB in this bag because there is no guarantee the bag will float. The ACR rapid ditch bag or waterproof tackle box would be a better option to store safety gear on a boat.
11. Piscifun Fishing Sling Backpack
|11.8 x 8.3 x 4.0 inches
|15.0 x 10.2 x 4.3 inches
|Green, Khaki, Camo
The Piscifun Fishing Sling Backpack is a popular way to transport fishing gear. It comes with two straps that allow the bag to be carried as a shoulder bag, hand bag, chest bag, or backpack. There are two size options available for this backpack the standard and large. Clear tackle boxes are not included. However, the large backpack can hold up to three 3700 size boxes and the standard can hold two 3600 utility boxes.
The bag is made of water-resistant nylon material and has a comfortable mesh back. On the front, there are velcro sections to attach name tags and patches. There are four D-rings on each side of the pack. A side pocket is made to hold fishing pliers which allows quick access for removing hooks and cutting lines. Several color options are available including green, camouflage, digital camouflage, and black. There is also a rod holder on the side that can carry one fishing rod.
12. Plusinno Fishing Backpack
|14.96 x 10.24 x 4.33 inches
|Black Camo, white camo, Khaki
This Plusinno Fishing Backpack has some great features for carrying lots of gear. There is a side pocket with a built-in pliers holder and a pocket to hold a telescopic fishing rod. On the opposite side, the pocket is made to hold a water bottle. There are two large compartments to the bag which are each secured with double zippers.
The bag is best carried as a backpack or by the top handle. There are over 10 rings where gear can secure with ropes or carabiners. Four of the rings are on the backpack straps. Additionally, there is a 22-inch waist strap and a 6.3-inch strap to connect rods to the rings on the outside of the backpack. It is made with nylon fabric that is water-resistant but not waterproof. This is a pretty small backpack that is good for kids or people looking for a light pack to bring on short fishing trips.
13. Folding Chair Fishing Backpack with Cooler
|16.1 x 14.2 x 11.4 inches
|11.8 x 11 x 6.3 inches
This Camport folding chair fishing backpack has a simple design but very practical. It is a folding chair with a soft cooler underneath and has straps so it can easily be carried long distances. The cooler section can be used to bring drinks and food or it can be used for tackle storage. On the outside, there is a water bottle holder and zipper compartment that is good for holding wallets, keys, and phones. This is also a great backpack for hiking and camping trips.
When fishing along shorelines and beaches it can be difficult to find a comfortable place to sit. Bringing all your gear and a folding chair can limit fishing locations and make the process more difficult. That is why this simple backpack is very useful. Sometimes fishing is a waiting game for the tides to change and the fish to show up. Having a place to sit can make the process more enjoyable. Having food and drink allows anglers to fish for longer durations and not have to leave a spot when the fishing is good. The chair is not very big but is rated to hold over 300 pounds.
14. Large Capacity Fishing Backpack
|17.7 x 10.2 x 10.2 inches
Nuxn large capacity fishing backpack is built like a duffle bag but has backpack straps. It does have a carry handle and shoulder strap for additional ways to hold the bag. The bag is made of a polyester material that is not very water-resistant.
A great feature of the bag is the rod holders on each side. These work well when carrying the bag as a backpack. Inside the bag, the large compartment has one main stage area, a divided back section, and a small zipper pocket. This backpack is not super heavy duty but is good to transport bulky gear that is not yo heavy. Good items to bring would be some small tackle boxes, a jacket, hat, sunglasses, and fishing bait. This is also a great back to pack gear for camping trips.
15. Elkton Tackle Backpack with Roller Wheels
|15.7 x 18.5 x 9.6 inches
Elkton tackle box backpack is a great way to transport lots of fishing tackle. It is a hybrid between a fishing cart, backpack, and suitcase. It comes with 5 clear 3600 size tackle boxes with removable dividers for up to 18 sections in each tray. Easy ways to carry the bag include a shoulder strap, backpack straps, or the extendable handle and wheels. The bag is not too big so it is light enough and small enough to carry far distances.
A stand out feature of this bag is the four-rod holders. The tube slots along the side are able to hold one-piece fishing rods. While wearing it on your back realize the rods will be high above your head so be careful of low clearance areas. If there is not enough headspace due to low ceilings that is a good time to use the bag rollers. The top section of the bag has room to store oversized tackle and fishing tools like pliers, knives, and a fishing scale. There is also a dedicated spot for a plier on the outside of the bag.
Due to the extendable handles, this is not as comfortable to wear as a backpack as soft backpacks. However, being able to wheel the bag and use the shoulder strap allows for good alternative ways to carry the bag.
16. The North Face Borealis Backpack
|19.75 x 13.25 x 9.75 inches
|Over 30 Color options
This North Face Borealis is a quality backpack great to wear when hiking to a fishing location. It is a very popular general-purpose back for everything from school supplies, hiking gear, and fishing tackle. The bag is average-sized for a backpack but has three large zipper storage areas. An elastic drawstring helps pull the bag tight holding the equipment in a compact secure manner. Two adjustable buckle straps on the side also help to pull the bag together tightly.
There are two water bottle storage areas on the sides. The bag is made of Cordura nylon and is water-resistant. This will keep items inside dry in light rain but keep the back in an area that will not get soaking wet. With a 28-liter storage capacity, it can hold enough gear for most fishing trips. There is no right or wrong way to set up the bag and the zipper compartments will hold the 3700 size clear plastic tackle boxes.
17. Ugly Stick Fishing Bag
|9.65 x 11.4 x 7.7 inches
The Ugly Stick Fishing Bag is a great way to store and carry fishing tackle. It comes with four 10.3 x 6.6 x 1.6-inch clear plastic tackle boxes that all fit in the main storage area. The mains area can be closed with zippers and two buckles. The sides of the bag are polyester but the bottom is more rigid. It can be easily carried with a shoulder sling or a carry handle.
This is a quality bag and has a limited lifetime warranty if the bag is defective. Ugly Stick is known for making durable fishing rods and this bag also falls into that category. There are also three zipper side pockets great for carrying gear that does not fit in the utility boxes. Also on the side is a built-in pliers holder which is great for quick access. Where is the pliers is a question frequently asked throughout a fishing trip and this helps answer that question. This bag is pretty small but is a great way to stay organized and carry the needed gear to your fishing destination.
Types of Fishing Backpacks
Tackle Box Backpacks
Some backpacks are specifically designed to carry tackle boxes. These are not full-size tackle boxes but are clear bins that are also called utility totes and tackle trays. Typically these are kept in the bottom of the bag and have a side zipper for quick access. Depending on the size of the backpack will determine how many trays it will hold and what size. Common sizes for Plano utility trays are 3500, 3600, 3650, and 3700. The larger the number the larger the tackle tray.
There are typically other fishing features built into these backpacks. Features include rod holders, pliers holders, D-rings, and waterproof compartments. Most backpacks will fit some tackle trays and other fishing gear. What makes a tacklebox backpack different is that it optimizes the space to hold the most amount of fishing gear.
Rod Holder Fishing Backpacks
When hiking far distances it can be difficult to carry the rods the entire time. The rod occupies the user’s hands which can then not be used for other tasks. It is also more relaxing to hike with the fishing rod stored on a backpack. Not all backpacks are well suited to carry fishing rods. The best way to carry a fishing rod in a backpack is with a telescopic rod or a two-piece rod. The bottom of the rod goes into a bottom pocket and the tops of the rods are secured with an elastic bungee or strap.
If the backpack is well built even a one-piece rod can be carried. The angler will have to be careful not to hit the rods against the trees and brush when hiking in the woods. Another good way to carry fishing rods is with a fishing cart or cooler with wheels. When traveling in an airplane it is best to store the rods in a dedicated travel bag made for fishing rods.
Waterproof Fishing Backpacks
Most fishing backpacks have a waterproof rating of water resistance. This is not ideal because heavy rain or wet boat floors can end up getting the bag and its contents saturated with water. Fishing backpacks that are water-resistant are made of nylon or polyester and have some type of hydrophobic coating to help repel water. This is similar to the materials of many jackets. They keep you dry during light rain by a vinyl layer is needed to stay dry in heavy rain.
There are dry bags, cooler backpacks, and the Yetti Panga that are actually waterproof. In center counsel boats I will keep backpacks that are not waterproof in a five-gallon bucket with a lid. This keeps the backpack clean and dry. When hiking having a poncho or even a trash bag to put over the backpack can help keep it dry. The best fishing backpack is a waterproof backpack to keeps all the gear dry under all fishing conditions.
Cooler Fishing Backpacks
Cooler fishing backpacks are great for fishing to bring gear and food on the trip. Most cooler backpacks are similar to soft lunchboxes and ice packs are used to keep the contents cold. The YETI Hopper Backflip backpack is an insulated cooler that can hold up to 25 pounds of ice. This is the best cooler backpack to use for fishing.
Cooler backpacks will have some type of waterproof liner. This makes the large compartment waterproof and also good for dry storage. The backpack can be used to carry food, drinks, and tackle, or it can just be loaded up with fishing gear.
Fishing Backpacks Frequently Asked Questions
What brand makes the best backpacks?
The brands most well known for making quality backpacks are The North Face and JanSport. However, fishing backpacks require them to be specifically designed to hold tackle boxes and fishing rods. Also being waterproof and is important for some fishing conditions.
Brands that make quality fishing backpacks include Piscifun, KastKing, Calissa, and Ugly Stick. There are also several companies that make backpacks that are insulated coolers that are great for fishing. Yeti is the high-end brand cooler backpack but these are also made by Piscifun and others. The best backpack will depend on how much gear you need to hold, the fishing conditions, and how far you will need to travel with the gear.
How do you pack a fishing backpack?
A fishing backpack should be packed the night before a fishing trip. The weather should be checked as well as the fishing reports. Based on this information the bag should be packed with appropriate fishing tackle and supplies. The rods should be checked and spooled up with the appropriate line. Any leaders the need to be pre-rigged should be tied and put into the backpack or tacklebox. Food and drinks should be planned based on the number of people going. It is always a good idea to bring your own food even if someone else says they will. Having too much food is better than not enough and could result in cutting the trip short.
What is typically carried in a fishing backpack?
How much gear should be brought on a fishing trip depends on the length of the trip and the type of fish being targeted. The most important thing to bring is extra lures, bait, and fishing hooks. It is very common to lose a hook or want to use a different fishing lure than the one that is on the rod. Other important tackle items include extra line, leader line, fishing pliers, line cutters, bobbers, and a bait knife.
Personal items should also be kept in a backpack. Import items include a hat, sunglasses, raincoat, and sunscreen. Any needed medication like ibuprofen is also important to carry. Enough food and water should be kept in the bag to last the entire trip. Common food items include sandwiches, trail mix, pretzels, and water.
Which fishing backpack is the most comfortable?
The most comfortable fishing backpack depends on how much gear is needed on the fishing trip. Tetons Sports Scout internal frame backpack is the most comfortable to carry lots of gear a far distance. When not much gear is needed a lightweight backpack such as The North Face Borealis is a great option. If utility boxes are brought is important that they can be secured so they are vertical or flat and not at an angle that will poke into the users back. The Piscifun Fishing backpack with tackle boxes is a great backpack to comfortably carry lots of fishing tackle.
What are the best tackle boxes for backpacks?
Clear plastic tackle trays are the best tackle boxes for backpacks. These come in a range of sizes and can be used in all backpacks. The reason these work well is that the hard plastic protects the bag from hooks. Also, it is a great way to keep lots of tackle including lures, hooks, strike indicators, and weights organized. Most backpacks can hold two or more of these trays. It is good to leave room for other fishing items like leader line, pliers, and fillet knives.
Are fishing backpacks waterproof?
Most fishing backpacks are water-resistant but not waterproof. A dry bag is the best way to ensure fishing gear will stay dry. These are made with a vinyl material rather than nylon or polyester. The next best alternative is a cooler backpack or waterproof backpack made by Yeti. These will keep equipment dry in most cases. Hardshell waterproof containers can also be put inside the backpack to ensure important items do not get wet. In most cases when you go fishing things are going to get wet so it is a good idea for each item to be waterproof.
Can backpacks hold fishing rods?
Yes, fishing backpacks can hold fishing rods. One-piece and two-piece rods are not easy to carry on backpacks but on long hikes, it can be worth it. On narrow trails and heavy cover, the hiker should be careful not to hit the rod into hard objects. When setting the bag down the rods should always be face up. Fishing rods although flexible and strong under certain loads are actually quite brittle and a hard object can cause then to crack and break easily. Telescopic fishing rods and four-piece rods are also a good option when hiking to remote fishing locations.
Does the size of a backpack matter?
The size of a backpack definitely matters. It is typically found as a liter measurement and 28 liters is an average size backpack. A good backpack should be able to carry all the gear that is needed for the fishing trip. On a short one-hour trip, not much gear is likely needed. For a week-long trip, the backpack will need to hold significantly more gear. Duffle bag backpacks are the best way to bring the most fishing gear. In addition to the tackle, the angler should have all the supplies needed to stay dry, warm, and protected from the sun.
How much should a fishing backpack cost?
Fishing backpacks can be an ordinary backpack under $20 or a specialized backpack costing several hundred dollars. The more quality the backpack the more expensive it will likely be. Some backpacks also come with tackle trays which can make them slightly more expensive bet better suited to carry lots of tackle. Cooler backpacks are also great for fishing trips and vary significantly in cost based on quality.
Will the backpack make my backache?
A backpack should not make your backache under normal conditions. One way to alleviate pressure on the back is the use of a backpack with an internal frame. This helps evenly distribute the weight. Waist straps and buckles between the shoulder straps also help to distribute the weight of the backpack. If the anger is unable to carry a heavy backpack due to back problems a fishing cart or rolling bag would be good options.
What features should I look for when buying my backpack?
Important features for fishing backpacks include being able to hold tackle trays, having lots of pockets for gear, and being water-resistant. A backpack used for long hikes should have fishing rod holders. A backpack cooler is a good option when less gear is needed but lots of drinks and food are desired for the trip. It is also nice for the backpack to have a pliers holder on the outside for quick access when tying lines and releasing fish.
How much can a fishing backpack hold?
Technically how much a fishing backpack can carry is based on its volume which is measured in liters. A large bag can hold four 3700 size tackle boxes, a water bottle, pliers, and still have room for other gear. A YETI Hopper Backflip cooler backpack can hold up to 25 pounds of ice and 20 cans. If more storage is needed there are duffle bag backpacks that have up to 100 liters of storage space. An average backpack has around 25 liters of storage space.
Captain Cody has worked on charter fishing boats in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and Alaska. Growing up in Pennsylvania Cody has also done extensive freshwater fishing including bass fishing tournaments. Cody strives to provide detailed information about the best fishing gear and tactics to help both novice and experienced anglers have a more productive and enjoyable time on the water. Cody also has a background in aerospace engineering and neuroscience but really only takes pride in being good at one thing and that is fishing!