Best Fishing Backpacks Reviewed
Fishing backpacks are an indispensable piece of gear if you like fishing remote locations, or just fishing local rivers and streams. It is pretty difficult to carry all that essential gear without a fishing backpack.
General hiking packs can work well for fishing, but you’ll find a lot of beneficial features in a purpose-made fishing pack. But how can you know which pack will accommodate your gear the best? Fly Fishing Atlas Brings you our take on the best backpacks for fly fishing.
Which fishing backpack will benefit you the most will depend on what type of adventure you are planning. We love exploring and fishing adventures as much as anyone. We want to help you find a fishing backpack that will get you where you need to go.
Stay comfortable, stay safe, and catch big fish!
Fishing Backpack Features To Consider
- Comfort – If you have previously set out on a hike to fish remote locations, then you know how important it is to stay comfortable. Over-loading a pack that is not designed to support that load can wear you down and leave you with a sore back or shoulders. Packs with lightweight frames provide support that makes the pack easier to carry.
- Storage space – Well organized storage is really helpful. Large compartments that hold a lot of gear are easier to access if they have “clam-shell” openings, rather than digging through all your gear from the top-down. A separate lower compartment for wet waders and boots can be helpful as well.
- Weight – Overloading a backpack can be dangerous, but so can neglecting the essentials. For remote adventures your fishing backpack needs to have enough additional room for food, and emergency supplies. And if you need to be in the wild for a few days your fishing backpack needs to be up to the challenge.
- Waterproofing – It can be hard to predict when the weather will turn and get your pack wet. If you need to toss your bag in a river raft or maybe even the back of a float tube, chances are that it could see some water. You don’t want wet clothes or to damage your sensitive electronics. Waterproof packs can really save you a headache.
Best Entry Level Fishing Backpacks
Kingfisher’s Fly Fishing Backpack & Chest Pack combo is a smaller style day pack that is perfect when you aren’t carrying a lot of gear. The integrated chest pack is a super convenient design which can also be detached from the pack and be used on its own with the included neck strap.
This combination pack is a nimble fishing backpack that stays out of the way during casting and quick moving fishing. The shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable. A sternum strap is also available for extra support and stability. The waist and shoulder straps all provide for a good range of adjustment.
The pack is constructed from heavy duty polyester and has an expandable main compartment as well as 3 extra zippered pockets. Kingfisher’s Fly Fishing Backpack is also hydration ready, but does not include a hydration bladder. For water-sensitive items, the fishing backpack features two water-resistant pockets with taped seams and splash-proof zippers.
Kingfisher’s Fly Fishing Backpack/Chest Pack has available space to carry a rod tube, but also features gear attachment tabs, cord loops, and a D-ring net lash. To sweeten the deal, Kingfisher includes a free fly box with their fishing backpack that measures 4 1/4″ x 3″ x 1/12″. Overall, that is a ton of great features. The fantastic reputation and reasonable price makes Kingfisher’s Fly Fishing Backpack/Chest Pack worth considering if you are in the market for a smaller entry level fishing backpack.
The Fly Fishing Pack from AnglerDream is a medium sized fishing backpack that can carry an intermediate amount of gear. Along with a little more capacity, the pack also offers more support.
The AnglerDream Fly Fishing Pack remains comfortable during long hikes because the shoulder straps are wide and well padded. Between the shoulder you will find a carry handle and a D-ring net lash. Sternum straps help to stabilize the pack and maintain a snug fit.
For smaller items the padded waist straps sport two zippered pockets. Waist straps are a huge plus because they move the burden off your back and shoulders. They also prevent the pack from swaying side-to-side which really helps conserve energy for those longer hikes.
AnglerDream constructed their Fly Fishing Pack from Polyester fabrics. The pack features two large zippered pockets in addition to the zippered main compartment. A variety of internal and external sleeves provide for items you need to access quickly. One side pocket folds down to accommodate a rod tube, while the opposing side sports a drink-holder. The ability to carry more gear and the appealing price makes the Fly Fishing Pack from AnglerDream a good entry level option.
Large multi-day packs like the Talus 2700 backpack from Teton Sports are the answer for those big adventures. Even though this pack has 2700 Cubic Inches / 44 Liters of storage, its important to remember to keep your load as light as possible.
This pack weighs in at 4.1 pounds and is an extremely light 3.2 pounds without the included tarp poncho, which you might need to keep you and your gear dry. Though the Talus 2700 is not specifically designed for fishing, the pack has many of the attributes you would normally see in purpose-built fishing backpacks.
The Teton Sports Talus 2700 is rugged with heavy-duty components and a 420 Denier Oxford shell to fend off rough and extreme terrain. This pack is loaded with multiple gear ties and gear loops that make carrying fishing gear very simple.
The main compartment opens completely for easy internal access. No more digging for your gear from the top-down. And the pack has dual daisy chains to attach your net or other gear externally.
All the external connections really come in handy for things like wet waders or boots.
Thick padding on the split waist pad really helps to take weight off your shoulders and back while evenly distributing the weight on your hips. Adjustable top and bottom hip and torso adjustments offer a customizable fit. And the pack also offers lumbar adjustment that is only seen in higher-end packs.
Teton Sports Talus 2700 features oversized zipper pulls that make getting in and out of your pack easy. The pack has tension adjustments at the shoulders, chest, and torso to provide a precise fit. And the lightweight aluminum frame provides stability and lightens the load.
For those hot days, the pack also features air channels along your back to maximize air circulation. The Talus 2700 is also hydration compatible and has a Velcro hang tab for hanging up to a 3-Liter hydration bladder. Two large mesh side-pockets can fit water bottles or double as rod holders in conjunction with the side compression straps.
We recommend taking a hard look at the Teton Sports Talus 2700 if you need significant capacity with an agreeable price for your next fishing adventure.
Best Hiking/Fishing Backpacks
The Oxbow Backpack & Chestpack Combo from Fishpond is a super solid pack when you don’t need to carry big loads of gear. The Oxbow is a really useful pack that keeps you mobile for those days when you really need to get around and work the water.
The combination of the Oxbow Backpack and Savage Creek Chest Pack makes for a really versatile and comfortable all-in-one unit. Removing the chest pack unit from the front is easy and can be attached to the back for a different configuration. Nicely padded shoulder straps and sternum strap provide a pleasant fit with ample adjustment. Also included is an adjustable waist strap the helps stabilize the backpack and takes weight off your shoulders.
The Oxbow Pack is constructed from Fishpond’s Cyclepond recycled fabrics. It features a structured air mesh back panel to distribute weight while keeping you cool. One large backpack compartment with two smaller pockets allows for quick access to your gear. An internal attachment clip allows for water bladder compatibility for hydration.
Of course, a D-ring attachment is available for convenient landing net placement, and two zip-out rod holders store your rod tubes during the hike. Fishpond makes high-quality, purpose-built fishing backpacks that truly perform for anglers. Search no further if you’re in need of a moderately sized fishing pack with a good price.
The Bitch Creek Tech Pack is another great combination fishing pack from Fishpond. The combination of the medium sized Bitch Creek Backpack and the Medicine Bow Chest Pack integrate seamlessly. Its really a terrific package to carry a slightly above average load of gear.
The Bitch Creek Tech Pack offers impressive carrying comfort with contoured shoulder straps that are well padded. A sternum strap adds stability and reduces movement when you are covering ground. The backside of the pack sports a D-ring net lash to host your landing net.
Like other mid-sized fishing backpacks, the Bitch Creek Pack provides a supportive waist strap that takes the weight off your shoulders. The waist strap has two zippered pockets that are great for smaller items. Waist straps help to preserve your energy by minimizing side-to-side pack sway when hiking.
Fishpond utilized their proprietary Cyclepond recycled fabrics to construct the Bitch Creek Tech Pack. Like the Fishpond Oxbow, the Bitch Creek features a structured air mesh back panel to distribute weight while keeping you cool. One large backpack compartment with two smaller pockets allows for quick access to your gear. An internal attachment clip allows for water bladder compatibility up to 2 liters.
Of course, don’t forget the most important item: two zip-out rod holders securely hold your rod tubes. The purpose-built fishing backpacks from Fishpond are solid fishing tools that last. We don’t hesitate to point you toward the Fishpond Bitch Creek if you are looking for a mid-sized fishing pack with an excellent price.
Umpqua’s Surveyor Zero Sweep Fly Fishing Backpack offers all the convenience of chest pack integration as well as the storage benefits of a large 2000 Cubic Inches (33 Liters) pack. The Surveyor ZS 2000 is loaded with features. With that amount of storage it takes some planning to avoid over-loading.
Umpqua is one of the few companies making a pack of this size that can also integrate with all Umpqua Zero Sweep chest packs. Coincidentally, the Umpqua Overlook 500 Chest Pack is our #1 recommended chest pack. And combining these two packs will provide the best advantage for multi-day fishing adventures.
Umpqua’s Surveyor 2000 ZS Backpack is super durable with 420 Denier Nylon body fabric and Ballistic Cordura® in high wear locations. This pack is optimized for carrying fishing gear with internal clips and external D-rings and web loops for net attachment. Shoulder straps feature load adjusters and comfortable full-length padding.
You no longer need to fight and dig through all your gear from the top just to find items near the bottom of your pack.
A bottom-to-top fully zipped, clam-shell opening allows access to the entire main compartment. Anglers are in and out of their fishing backpacks frequently so that is a very helpful feature. You can also swing the pack to one shoulder and gain access through the side of the pack without stopping.
The Surveyor 2000 ZS has an injection-molded suspended back-panel that provides exceptional back support. In conjunction, the comfortably padded waist straps allow weight to be transferred to the waist and taken off the shoulders. All straps are adjustable and customizable to provide for your preferred fit.
For warmer hiking conditions, the pack also features a full length ventilation channel and full mesh coverage to avoid overheating. Two water bottle pockets provide for adequate hydration. Two sets of rod holding straps ensures you won’t steal a water bottle pocket to carry an extra rod. Each strap is adjustable and has a silica-gel inlay for grip so your rod tubes won’t slip.
In the world of multi-day fishing backpacks, the Surveyor 2000 ZS from Umpqua is at the top of the pile. We recommend taking a closer look if you need significant capacity and/or chest pack integration. The Surveyor 2000 ZS is a terrific performer with a reasonable price for any serious fishing expedition.
Best Waterproof Fishing Backpack
The Waterproof Backpack from Orvis won the American Angler Gear of the Year award in 2017. The smaller size of this pack makes it ideal for shorter day-trip adventures that might involve wet conditions. If you are expecting rain or whitewater, the Orvis Waterproof Backpack will keep your gear dry.
Unlike other fishing backpacks, Orvis designed this pack to withstand more than just a little splash. The 500 Denier nylon is TPU coated to protect your gear from unforeseen rain or even an accidental swim.
The main compartment is a single large pocket, but also features an additional hanging mesh pocket with multiple sleeves and a zippered pocket. To protect from moisture, the main compartment sports a waterproof YKK Flexseal zipper. The Secondary pocket has a vertical water-resistant Ries® zipper.
Comfortable padded shoulder straps provide ample adjustment for a custom fit. And the adjustable sternum strap secures the pack and reduces movement when you are hiking. But Orvis incorporated a properly padded waist strap to maximize support and stabilize the backpack. The padded back panel is water-resistant and features ventilation channels to keep you cool when you are fishing in hot weather.
Orvis designed the pack with a padded bottom to protect sensitive gear like cameras and other electronics. The pack features two water bottle/rod tube pockets. And being a purpose made fishing pack, of course there is a D-ring on back to hold your landing net.
This Waterproof Backpack from Orvis is a solid option to protect your important and sensitive gear from the wet and weather. And it’s an ideal choice for when you need to travel lightly, or for those quick moving fishing adventures. For those types of applications, and with a fair price, we gladly suggest taking a look at the Orvis Waterproof Backpack.
If you need significant storage that can keep your gear dry in the surf or the whitewater, the Tongass 1800 Waterproof Backpack is your solution. With 30 Liters of storage this pack sits solidly in the medium to medium-large category of fishing backpacks.
This fishing pack features a large roll-top primary compartment. Within the primary compartment there is an additional hanging pocket to keep other important or sensitive items such as your keys or your phone. And whenever needed, the hanging pocket can be removed and clipped on the outside of the pack for convenient access. A smaller secondary roll-top compartment clips onto the face of the pack and provides handy access with the same water resistance.
The Tongass 1800 features a fully padded adjustable waist belt to take the weight off your shoulders and make it rest comfortably on your hips. The face of the belt hosts pockets large enough to double as drink holders. With a pack of this size a comfortable waist belt is essential for stability during the hike. And equally important is the nicely padded shoulder straps that sport coated web tool attachment points and a sternum strap.
The back panel is vertically vented for a cooling effect when you spend long days in the sun. And for those types of hot days the Tongass 1800 features two large water bottle pockets. The Tongass 1800 easily carries two or more rod tubes tightly between the secondary and primary compartments. A D-ring clip is conveniently located on the face of the pack for landing net attachment.
With Umpqua’s reputation for quality fishing tools at a reasonable price, its no surprise we put the Tongass 1800 at the top of our list for mid-sized waterproof fishing backpacks.
Large waterproof fishing backpacks like the Wind River Roll-Top Backpack from Fishpond are the key to keeping your gear dry and safe during serious fishing adventures. This pack has 38 Liters of storage to pack away all the essential gear an angler will need for a muti-day trip when wet conditions are expected.
Lightweight foam shoulder straps and hip belt keeps the pack mobile and lightweight at only 2.7 lbs. For support, the pack has a molded back panel. The hip belt can also be vertically adjusted for different torso lengths, or removed entirely. Fishpond chest pack compatibility keeps you ready to make a cast even when you’re on the move.
We really like that Fishpond designed their Wind River pack to integrate with many Fishpond chest packs.
The Wind River Roll-Top Backpack is made with rugged 420 Denier recycled Cyclepond Fabrics and the TPU coating ensures durable waterproofing. For a main compartment, the Wind River has a roll-top closure while a front stretch mesh pocket features a zippered closure. Convenient interior organization is available to keep your gear safe from moisture with one zippered pocket, and one clear stash pocket.
On the side of the pack there are anchor points for Fishpond gear straps. Gear straps can hold your rod tubes during the hike or to hang your landing net. One set of Fishpond gear straps is included and can be positioned on left or right side. Fishpond drink holders are an add-on item and allow for a number of configurations.
This pack is one of the very few large waterproof fishing backpacks that can integrate with a variety of chest packs. We feel that the Wind River Roll-Top Backpack is a tremendously capable pack that is priced really well.