One of the most overlooked pieces of equipment for fishing is a backpack. Whether you're headed out on the bay for stripers or wading in the stream for trout, the right fishing backpack can keep you organized and comfortable. Gone are the days of a wicker creel basket and Folger's can. Today's fishing backpacks share their DNA with technical backpacking bags and the right pack can truly keep you out on the water longer.
With many brands and models of fishing bags, however, it can be hard to find the right one to meet your needs. In this article, we will break down ten of the best fishing backpacks on the market and give you our overall top pick from the list. We'll break down some pros and cons for each as well as some general FAQ's about fishing backpacks and their features.
1. What Is a Fishing Backpack?
A fishing backpack is like any daypack with the addition of features that are geared specifically for anglers.
2. What Does a Fishing Backpack Do?
Fishing backpacks have a lot of different features that you won't find on normal packs. They come in an array of sizes and some are geared towards specific types of fishing like fly-fishing or bass fishing. Some common features are dedicated compartments for bait and tackle, waterproof compartments, insulated cooling compartments, and accessory loops and hooks for items like hemostats and filleting knives.
3. How Does a Fishing Backpack Work?
Most fishing backpacks work like regular daypacks or backpacks. They usually fall into a few different categories including internal frame, no-frame, a chest pack, front pack, or lumbar pack.
4. Where Can You Buy Fishing Backpacks?
Most of the major outdoor sporting goods chains including Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, and Sportsman's Warehouse will carry fishing backpacks. In recent years Amazon.com has also become a good source for deals on fishing backpacks.
5. What Should I Look For in a Fishing Backpack?
The two main things to look for are the size and any specific features geared towards your style of fishing. If you're a dedicated fly fisher, you'll want a pack that has a place for quick access to tippets and floatant. If you're a spincaster, you may want a backpack that has space for an extra lure box.
How We Reviewed
For our review, we looked at the different features of each of these fishing backpacks as well as their price, availability, warranty, aesthetics. Each pack was rated based on its own features but also compared with the other fishing backpacks on this list. Our overall top pick was chosen based on overall value for price and performance.
Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)
Prices vary widely on fishing backpacks depending on their size, make, and features. The time of the year can also affect price with spring and summer months seeing a slight bump in price as compared with the offseason. The fishing backpacks on this list range from around $ to around $$$.
What We Reviewed
Lixada Fishing Tackle Backpack
- LARGE STORAGE SPACE: Large storage area with removable divider, converts backpack for storage of larger items.Four...
- ENOUGH ORGANIZED COMPARTMENTS: A removable divider integrates the upper and lower compartments as a larger one for...
- COMFORTABLE: Adjustable padded shoulder straps for better comfort and fit. Padded mesh back panels for superior...
This pack from Lixada features four included tackle boxes and gives lots of space for the gear-minded angler. The upper and lower compartments of this pack can be combined with a zippered divider. This can be a useful feature if you want to separate clean items like food and extra clothing from tackle and gear.
Okuma Nomad Travel Series Large Tackle Backpack
- High Grade 600 denier rip stop polyester with PVC coating
- High quality molded composite zippers which are extremely strong and corrosion resistant
- Large open main compartment featuring multiple pockets and storage
Okuma's Nomad series packs by are a popular choice for anglers of all stripes. This pack features robust 600 denier nylon and a large internal space. The external nylon is sealed with a PVC coating for extra water protection while sturdily reinforced zippers give excellent durability.
Calissa Offshore Tackle Blackstar Large Fishing Tackle Backpack
- HERE ARE TOP REASONS HOW WE BEAT COMPETITORS: 1) 12-MONTH GUARANTEE: Save time and fuss, so you can bring home more fish...
- 2) AMERICAN COMPANY, FROM GUYS WHO FISH: Why purchase from Chinese sellers when you can buy from an innovative American...
- 3) CORROSION RESISTANT: Fresh or saltwater, this fishing back pack wants you out as long as possible (… and so does...
The Offshore Tackle Blackstar pack from Calissa is a tough and durable option. This pack will especially appeal to warm water anglers as it boasts saltwater resistant nylon and a molded sunglasses case. With four tackle boxes included this pack will give lots of space for a full day in the surf chasing stripers and drums.
TackleTime Fishing Backpack
- Versatile for fishing, hunting, camping, hiking or personal needs
- Spacious main compartment easily store Rack System (11 x 7 x 10) size tackle box, bulky gear, pistol cases, or multiple...
- Separate insulated foil lined storage section or 8 beverage cans or 4 bottles or Hydration bladder
The TackleTime fishing pack is a compact and minimal offering for those anglers who like to keep it simple. This backpack is smaller than some competitors with only enough space for one or two tackle tracks. It features an insulated pocket to keep drinks and lunch cool as well internal pockets to organize gear. It's all black and could easily pass for a regular book bag, which could be nice if you plan to sneak straight out of work to the water.
Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack
- FISH AT ALL HOURS: This lighted fishing tackle backpack features an integrated LED light system so you can fish any time...
- PROTECT YOUR GLASSES: This fishing tackle backpack has a mounted molded sunglass holder to help keep your glasses safe.
- REMOVABLE PLIER HOLDER: This fishing tackle backpack has a removable plier holder so your pliers go from bag to belt and...
The Wild River pack offers a few premium options that are unavailable on most fishing backpacks. The focal point of this pack is an LED lamp that folds forward to light the area surrounding the pack. This could be a nice feature for someone hitting those precious pre-dawn hours on the water.
Another signature feature of this pack is the onboard pack cover. It stows in the base of the pack and will provide protection not only from the rain but also sand and muck.
Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack
- EXQUISITE 86 SEWING PROCEDURES - The Piscifun NEW Giant Tackle bag is made from superior high quality water-resistant...
- ELEVEN to EIGHTEEN - The whole fishing tackle backpack is divided into 11 independent rooms by high quality SBS zippers,...
- ADJUSTABLE MAIN COMPARTMENT - There is a removable clapboard in the main bag. You will get a super large L(12.6’’) *...
Piscifun's backpack has similar features to most of the packs on this list but offers a wide array of color options. Some of the colors include black, coyote brown, and digital camo and each color is available with or without tackle trays. One other nice feature on this pack is an oversized water bottle holder to help keep you hydrated on the water.
Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack
- Comfortable over-the-shoulder sling backpack great for weekend fishing trips; includes 1 medium tackle box (holds up to...
- Storage includes spacious main compartment, two zippered pockets for additional storage, front organizer pocket, and...
- Padded sling strap adjustable to left or right side
Spiderwire is known for some of the toughest fishing lines on the market this backpack upholds that mantle. It's made from 100% polyester for superb water resistance and has an integrated rod holder. It's slightly smaller than some other packs on this list with only three tackle trays but compensates with excellent quality.
This pack has a premium quality should strap system and a strong waist belt to help support heavy loads. The main compartment can also divide into three small units.
Wild River 3606 Multi-Tackle Large Backpack
- PLENY OF STORAGE: Large upper storage area with removable divider, converts tackle backpack for storage of larger items
- COMFORTABLE: Large adjustable padded shoulder straps with added sternum strap are featured on this Wild River fishing...
- BUILT IN WORK SURFACE: Front pocket cover folds down to provide a handy work surface on this Wild River tackle backpack.
The Wild River 3606 bag is another large entry onto this list. It has room for four tackle tracks with another full compartment available for extra gear. One unique feature about this pack is an external pocket flap that doubles as a fold-down work surface. This could come in handy when switching out many lures and then reorganizing your tackle trays.
SHIMANO BLACKMOON Backpack
- The blackmoon backpacks are built for anglers who walk to their local lake or river for a day of fishing
- Equipped with thick padded shoulder straps that provide incredible comfort and reduces fatigue
- Constructed of heavy duty and durable textured fabric construction providing long-lasting use
Shimano's Blackmoon fishing pack offers one of the unique features of any pack on this list. The pack comes equipped with a fishing line pocket that will allow you to strip and re-line a reel without even opening the pack.
This is a premium quality pack with extra cushioned shoulder straps and back padding for those who take long walks to their local fishing hole. It carries two Shimano tackle trays with room to spare for extra layers and a snack.
Wild River by CLC Custom Leathercraft Tackle Tek Nomad XP Lighted Backpack
- TRAY STORAGE INCLUDED: Storage compartment for up to 4 medium #3600 and 2 small #3500 trays (2-3600 trays included)...
- LIGHTED TOOL BACKPACK: The 3 level LED light system installed in this charging tool backpack allows for fishing from...
- CHARGING TOOL BACKPACK: 5000mAh rechargeable USB power supply, included, extends the battery life of personal...
The Tackle Tek Nomad XP fishing back is the perfect choice for an angler that relies on technology. The signature feature of this pack is an included USB charging bank with enough power to charge a cell phone or similar small device.
It also has a built-in LED light that is powerful enough to illuminate the surrounding area. These tech features are complimented with lots of storage space, organizing pockets, and a sunglass holder to make this a big and functional fishing backpack.
Image source: unsplash
A fishing backpack can be an excellent alternative to a traditional tackle box for any type of fishing. The simple benefit of having two hands free can be huge during an extended walk to a favorite pond or while keeping balance on a windy dock. The key to choosing the right fishing backpack is thinking about what features will be the most important and matching the appropriate size.
We recommend choosing a pack that will carry everything you need, but nothing more. Selecting a pack with lots of extra space will almost always lead to a heavier pack that is loaded with stuff you might not even use during your day out on the water. A feature we highly recommend is a good solid waist best. Comfortable shoulder straps are key, but with a good waist belt, you can add a little more weight to your pack without putting undue strain on your back and neck.
Our Top Pick
Though each of these packs has their merits, our top choice is the Spiderwire fishing backpack. This pack has a style and features that are all its own, which is no small feat in the world of fishing backpacks. It's a smaller pack and won't carry as many tackle trays, but we think the added comfort and quality of this pack are worth the trade. It is a premium quality product from a respected name in the fishing industry.
Best of all, it's available through retailers including Amazon.com for less than $100. If you're looking for a great fishing pack to carry your essentials comfortably, we think the Spiderwire fishing backpack is worth a serious look.