12 Best Fishing Backpacks: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Best Fly Fishing Vest

This Maxcatch vest is lightweight, water resistant & protects your spare flys.

Waterproof model

The Picsifun bag is made of very resilient 1200D fabric, has a large capacity and is built to last.

As an avid angler, it's important to be able to carry all your equipment with ease and comfort. That's why I’ve picked a selection of bags for you to choose from. For years, people have been struggling with bait boxes, but now you don't have to.

I’m going to review the best backpacks on the market enabling you to make the tough decisions when it comes to selecting the perfect backpack. I’m going to explain what makes fishing backpacks unique and what to look for.

Why Is a Fishing Backpack a Good Idea For Anglers?

Simply, it makes carrying all your gear a lot easier. Gone are the days spent your bulky bait boxes around. A backpack frees your hands allowing you to walk better and also saves your back from any damage, as walking lopsided is never good for you. If you’re getting as old, as I am, you can definitely do with saving any strain on your back.

They also organize your gear better making it easy to find your bait with great tackle storage. The built-in rod holders are great too. Chucking on your fishing backpack you can travel across any terrain with all your kit to hand. Good, right?


What Makes Fishing Backpacks Unique?

There are a few things that make the best fishing backpack unique compared to having the traditional bait boxes. I’m going to list a few and explain them in more detail.

Built-in Rod Holder

I’m sure any of you keen fisherman can I understand why this is so useful, it frees up hands while walking long distances or while setting your rig.

Many backpacks come with two rod holders connected to the side of the backpack. Usually made from a strong mesh material, it allows you to carry multiple rods, great when you’re fishing using different rigs.

Find a backpack with good rod holders and you won't have to struggle with those fishing pole cases again. You'll also be able to bait up without having to hold the rod between your legs. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Tackle Box Storage

Tackle box storage is quite a place where you can store all of your tackle and easily access it.

Almost every anglers backpack will come with a place to store your fishing tackle making it easy to carry. These slots are usually positioned at the bottom of the bag where you can slot them in. They all vary in size so it’s important to check that your bait box is the right size.

Having the right tackle is important when you’re going fishing. It’s the difference between catching or not catching. So it’s no surprise that having good tackle storage is a must when it comes to choosing the best fishing backpack.

Cooler Compartment

A cooler compartment is a section of the fishing backpack that can keep things at a regulated temperature. These cooler compartments are usually kept in/next to the tackle box storage compartment. Again, they vary in size so it’s important to check sizes.

Having a cooler compartment can be very useful when fishing for a number of reasons. I'll go through some of them now. One reason is that you can store your lunch in there keeping it fresh all day, or if you’re like me you could sneak a couple of beers in there. No one likes a warm beer so for me having a cooler section is a must.

Another reason is you can keep your bait fresh making sure the maggots stay fresh when you're trying to hook them. Or, when you've caught your fish, you can keep it fresh on the way home to cook up a treat.

best bass fishing backpack

Other Qualities Of Good Fishing Tackle Backpacks

Waterproof or Water-Resistant

It comes as no surprise that having a waterproof or water-resistant bag is important. Being next to water all the time is certainly a reason to have a waterproof backpack.

Come rain or shine, the keen angler will be out there waiting for their catch so keeping your gear dry is a must. You don't want rusty hooks all over the place or the all-important change of clothes getting wet.

Size & Weight Capacity

Choosing the right size fishing backpack is always important you need to be able to fit your bait boxes in. But you don’t want a bag so big that there’s too much space left over making the backpack flop around.

Thinking about the weight can save you a lot of trouble in the long run, if your backpack is heavy without gear in there it sure is going to be full of tackle.

Multiple Compartments For All Your Fishing Gear

Getting a bag with multiple compartments is great it saves you time when looking for stuff. If you organize your fishing backpack correctly you’ll never have to look for stuff again.

You can have sunglasses in one compartment, an underwater camera in another, and bait boxes in another so you can see how this might help.

Comfortable Shoulder Straps

Why would comfortable straps be a bonus? As a fisherman, you can have some pretty long approaches. Walking over a long distance with uncomfortable straps can be a killer. Shoulder straps can dig into you and really cut circulation making it horrible to carry.

It also helps spread the weight correctly making it easier to carry without destroying your back, no one wants that.

Extra Features

Looking into any extra features the bag provides may help to save you getting a backpack that’s too large. How, you might ask? Well if there are hooks or straps around the bag you could find a space-saving trick to stop you trying to cram kit in. Be sure to check it out so you can equip your backpack for maximum storage capabilities.


12 Best Fishing Tackle Backpacks Reviewed

1. Custom Leathercraft Wild River by CLC 

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = Rain Cover
  • Size =  19 X 13.5 X 7.5 ” 
  • Rod Holder = No
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 7 +
  • warranty = 4 Years

This is a great bag with large amounts of space, it features seven compartments so you can neatly organize your tackle. At the top of the bag, you have a sunglasses compartment to help keep them protected.

The bag also comes with four trays that can neatly slide into the bottom of the backpack, no need to worry if your trays fit. I like the little work surface compartment located just above the tackle it folds down making it great to set up your rigs.

If you’re into night fishing then this bag will be great for you. It has a little LED light at the top of the bag so you can see at all hours. If it starts to rain no need to worry. It has a rain cover that can be quickly deployed to protect it from the elements.

Overall this is a very nice backpack. The zippers are strong and the material is strong and durable meaning it will last. It’s also very roomy so don’t worry about space. This backpack is very comfortable making it nice to carry long distances. The only problem for me is that there’s no rod holder although it does come with carabineers so you could find a way to attach one.  

Pros

  • LED light
  • Waterproof cover
  • Trays included

Cons

  • No rod holder
  • Quite heavy when empty

2. Shimano Blackmoon Fishing Backpacks

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No - Rain Cover
  • Size =  17 X 16 X 8.5 ”
  • Rod Holder = Yes
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 6 +
  • warranty = 1 Year

This is a really good fishing backpack which has two built-in rod holders on each side of the bag, so it's great if you use multiple rods. On the side of the backpack, it also includes two utility boxes that fit really neatly.

In the middle of the bag, you can fit four trays that slide in and out nicely, accessing your tackle couldn't be easier. The bag has plenty of room for all your equipment and a little bit extra which is really good. The bag itself is constructed of very heavy duty material so you can use and abuse this bag (within reason). It also comes with a rain cover to stop your all important equipment getting soaked.

I really like this bag. Being a fishing backpack with fishing rod holder really makes this a very neat little bit of kit. The straps are very comfortable with lots of padding, great for anglers that have a long walk to their local fishing pit/river.

Pros

  • Rod holders
  • Lots of room
  • Strong material

Cons

  • Heavy backpack
  • Weak zippers

3. Wild River 3508 Multi-Tackle Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No
  • Size =  15 X 12.2 X 6 ”
  • Rod Holder = No 
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 6 +
  • warranty = 4 Years

If you're looking for a small fishing backpack then this one is for you. Don't let the small size fool you, though. There’s plenty of room. The backpack itself has plenty of compartments to neatly organize all of your tackle. Like the others, it has a compartment that can fit four tackle trays, although it only comes with two.

It features a fold-out work surface on the front pocket. No more struggling with setting up rigs on your lap. I also really liked the removable divider which can be taken out to give more space in the upper compartment. The clear compartment at the top of the bag is also a nice little feature keeping maps and licenses dry.

The bag is very well made with the zippers being very strong not showing any signs of stress. The material also looks very strong. The backpack is super comfortable to carry long distances due to its padded straps. For the cheap price, it's a very good fishing backpack.

Pros

  • Small but roomy
  • Strong material 
  • Clear internal pocket

Cons

  • No rod holders
  • Not waterproof

4. Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack 

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Size =  Approx. 10 Liters
  • Rod Holder = Yes
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 3 +
  • warranty = 1 Year

As an avid fly fisherman myself, I really like this backpack, it’s just so versatile. A three in one function is great for an angler. It has two molded pockets on the front of the vest so storing, protecting and accessing your flies couldn’t be easier.

The vest features elastic straps on the front to hold your rod so you can store it away easily. The backpack section can store all the stuff you may need throughout the day. With everything being removable you can shed weight when you need to.

The pack is made of a lightweight but strong material. It’s also water-resistant so, as long as you don’t fall in, there’s no need to worry about your equipment. I really like this pack, It’s surprising how much you can fit in and carry. For me, this is the best fly fishing backpack. Especially for the price, it's a must-have.  

Pros

  • Very versatile
  • Rod holder
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Needs extra pockets
  • Waterproof would be better

5. Custom Leathercraft Wild River Camo Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No - Rain Cover
  • Size =  21 X 15.5 X 9.2 ”
  • Rod Holder = No
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 8 +
  • warranty = 4 Years

This is the upgraded version of the Wild River by CLC 604. Again, it features four trays that are included. At the top of the backpack, it has a molded compartment for your sunglasses keeping them protected. 

One of the differences on this backpack is that it has a LED light system so fishing at night couldn't be easier. Just below the LED light, you’ll find the fold-out work surface. Once it’s folded out there’s a nice little pocket, perfect for storing your mobile phone.  

This backpack is full with storage options with there being plenty of space internally but also a series of external pockets. Great for organizing your backpack for maximum efficiency, looking for stuff couldn’t be easier. 

Overall this is a very nice backpack that does its job very well, it’s a joy to carry with very comfortable straps. The pads at the bottom stop the bottom of the bag getting wet which comes in handy in those marshy areas.  

Pros

  • LED light
  • Good organization
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Low-quality zips
  • Needs rod holders

6. Orvis Waterproof Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = Yes
  • Size =   21 X 9 X 8 ”
  • Rod Holder = Yes
  • Tackle Box Storage = No
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 2 +
  • warranty = Lifetime

For me personally, this is the best waterproof fishing bag it has very little stitching which is just what you need to look for. The less stitching a backpack has the better it performs when submerged. The zips are really good and also very well sealed so there should be no problems there.

On the side of the back, there’s a fishing rod holder which frees up your hands while on long treks, always a bonus. The backpack itself is very good to carry and has a nicely padded waist belt which helps spread the weight.

My biggest problem with this backpack is the overall cost. it's very expensive, and you don't get a lot for your money. I ‘d like to see them do a similar backpack with extra features to make me feel like I'm getting my money’s worth.

Pros

  • Very waterproof
  • Nice to carry
  • Has a rod holder

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Needs more pockets

7. Superfisher Heavy Duty Duffle Fishing Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Size =   31 X 12 X 9 ”
  • Rod Holder = No
  • Tackle Box Storage = No
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 4 +
  • warranty = 1 Year

Now, this backpack is absolutely massive. It's big enough to fit nearly any tackle box you can think of. You could easily fit a broken fishing rod inside, great for freeing up those hands up while hiking across rough terrain to get to those hot spots.

The backpack has two long side pockets. Again, you could fit a couple of small fishing pools in there if needs be. The whole backpack is made of water-resistant material that’s strong and durable, so it’s good in all weather conditions. The zippers are large and flow very nicely with no signs of strain even when fully loaded.

Overall this is a really comfy backpack that can hold all your gear and more. This thing is really massive, so only get it if you’re planning on taking lots of kit. This is a good fishing backpack if you plan on spending a couple of nights fishing.

Pros

  • It’s massive
  • Can hold fishing rods
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Not good for organization
  • Weak bottom

8. Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No
  • Size =  19.7 X 13.1 X 7.3 ”
  • Rod Holder = Yes
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = Yes
  • Number of compartments = 5 +
  • warranty = Lifetime

For me if you’re looking for the best bass fishing backpack then look no further, this is the one I’d choose. This backpack includes 3 medium-size utility boxes for storing all your tackle neatly inside the compartment. This backpack also features a foam molded sunglasses case which has a soft lining so your glasses won't scratch.

The backpack is separated into three compartments my favorite one being the cooler section, great for storing fresh bait or beers. On the side of the backpack you have space for two rods. They fit in there very nicely.

I really like this bag. The price is very reasonable, and it has some good features. It really is a good fishing backpack. It’s very comfortable to carry and the chest strap helps spread the weight, the backpack its self is very light.

Pros

  • Rod holders
  • Cooler box
  • Great straps and harness

Cons

  • Zippers cheap
  • Not much storage

9. Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = Yes
  • Size =  17.7 X 12.6 X 7.9 ”
  • Rod Holder = No
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 11 +
  • warranty = 1 Year

This backpack is truly made to perfection, from the stitching to the zippers everything is made with care. In the tackle box section you can hold up to four tackle boxes, or if you take out the clapboard you could fit a couple more. The backpack features many compartments so it’s great for organizing all your tackle to access quickly.


There’s a specially designed area for your pliers giving you quick access. The same can be said for the sunglasses compartment. The material is very high quality using a high-density nylon fabric which is water resistant. At the bottom of the backpack, you can unzip to reveal a protective rain cover to fully waterproof the bag.


The thick padded back makes it comfortable to carry but it’s also very breathable, the shoulder straps are also extremely well padded. Overall a very nice backpack with great build quality, it holds up well in the rain keeping your kit dry. It’s amazing how much tackle you can fit in this backpack.

Pros

  • Loads of space
  • Water resistant
  • Well laid out

Cons

  • Trays not included
  • Very heavy

10. SpiderWire Sling Fishing Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No
  • Size =  22.8 X 9.8 X 5.1 ”
  • Rod Holder = No
  • Tackle Box Storage = Yes
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 5 +
  • warranty = Lifetime

This is more than likely the best kids fishing backpack you can find. The small size means that the child won't be lugging around a massive bag. The backpack comes with one medium tackle box which is great to get them started, but it can hold two.

Despite the small size, it’s pretty spacious. It features a main compartment and two zipped pockets, there’s also a front organizer pocket with a sunglasses holder. The sling strap can adjust from the left or the right side which is a nice touch. It’s also very well padded making it nice to carry long distances.

Overall, this is a nice little backpack for your kid to get started on, the comfortable design means it won't hurt when it's fully loaded. The material is strong as are the zips, which we all know is important around children. But then with the lifetime warranty the manufacturer provides, it doesn't matter how quickly they go through them.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great for kids
  • Good build

Cons

  • No rod holder
  • No waterproof

11. Piscifun Water-Resistant Single Shoulder Fishing Bag

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = No
  • Size =  12 X 8.7 X 4.3
  • Rod Holder = Yes
  • Tackle Box Storage = No
  • Cooler compartment = No
  • Number of compartments = 6 +
  • warranty = 30 Day Moneyback

Piscifun have done it again with this backpack, personally, I think this is the best sling fishing backpack on the market so far. It's made from a high-density nylon fabric which is water resistant, always a bonus when you’re near water.

The back has an adjustable and detachable strap so you can choose which shoulder you want it around. With it being fully adjustable it doesn't matter how big or small you are, you’ll always get a nice fit.

There are multiple storage compartments and exterior pockets, so there’s ample storage space which can be well organized. The main compartment is great for storing a fishing lure box and other essential tackle. 

Overall a very good fishing backpack, it has exquisite workmanship. The straps are very comfortable, making it very nice carry. The storage space is also very good. I’d highly recommend this backpack to anyone.

Pros

  • Very well made
  • Comfortable
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Could do with extra features
  • Some say it's too small

12. North Coyote Hiking Backpack Cooler Bag

Quick Look - Bag Features
  • Waterproof = Water Resistant
  • Size =  42 Liters
  • Rod Holder = No
  • Tackle Box Storage = No
  • Cooler compartment = Yes
  • Number of compartments = 4
  • warranty = 90 Days

This backpack is very multifunctional and can be used for many different things including fishing and hunting. I love that it has a collapsible cooler great for carrying bait or food (or the fish that you've just caught). In the backpack, there’s plenty of space for all of your belongings and it’s great for long fishing trips.

The backpack is made from a heavy-duty polyester material so not only is it strong, but it’s water resistant. The straps are generally very comfortable and the waist and chest straps really help to disperse the weight.

 Overall not a bad backpack, this can carry everything you need. The cooler is a great addition and comes with a 90-day money back guarantee. The biggest problem for me is that the organization of the backpack, as anything at the bottom is really hard to get to.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Cooler compartment
  • Very breathable

Cons

  • Bad organization
  • Too big

Bag Type Vs Fishing Style

The type of fisherman you are will determine what type of bag will be best for you. For example, if you do fly fishing a vest would be best due to the amount of time you’ll be stood in the river.

Or if you’re going deep sea you might want to look at a fully waterproof dry bag fishing backpack. I’m going to give you my best buys for each class of fishing to help you decide what’s best for you.

Type of Fisherman
Suggested Bag

Bass

Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack

Beach

Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack 

Fly

Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack 

Deep Sea

Orvis Waterproof Backpack


Always Compare Prices

When looking into the prices there are a few things that you should look into before making that final decision. For instance, what type of fishing are you going to be doing the most? It’s important that you don’t overspend on a backpack that isn’t suited to your needs.

Another thing you might want to look at is what features the backpacks offer compared to the price. There are a lot of pricey backpacks out there that don't have the features you might need, for example, a cooler bag or waterproofing.

Make sure you check the prices on the bags and see which one is the best value for money but matches your needs. See if the quality matches the price. You don't want to overpay for a flimsy backpack. Trust me, it will just upset you when the backpack arrives.


best fly fishing backpack

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Why is a fishing backpack better than a regular one?

With a regular backpack, things could get clumsy when you're on the boat. Quite simply, a fishing backpack allows you to organize your equipment a lot easier. Your stuff can be kept close to hand, and that way you can focus all your attention on catching the biggest fish.

Can these bags carry my tackle, rods, bait and more?

Some of them can, but others may not. It’s best to check the table provided with each backpack. The sizes vary widely, and each backpack is suitable depending on what you plan to carry inside it.

Can I stand and fish when wearing a backpack?

Absolutely! Physically-wise, that shouldn't be an issue. However, some of them are a lot better left on the side, especially if they’re not waterproof. Also, if the bag has a lure section it might be hard to reach while it's on your back.

Where is a good place to buy cheap fishing backpacks?

Amazon is always a great place to check out fishing backpacks. It’s usually the best price, and it offers a wide variety of options. Moreover, you can read the reviews to make sure that the item you want is what you're looking for. Just click on each given link to check it out.


Conclusion

There we have it, a guide to the best fishing backpacks in the business. Just remember what I've mentioned in this article and you won't go wrong. For me personally, the best buy would be the Wild River model, as the build quality is awesome.

Anyway, I hope this article helps you on your way to buying the best fishing backpack that’s right for you.

  • Updated October 1, 2020
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