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Best Fishing Backpacks Reviewed – Store Every Fishing Essential

Last Updated on

Best Overall
Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack, Cutthroat Green
Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack & Four PT3600 Trays
Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS Backpack Copper
Orvis Waterproof Backpack
Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Backpack - Gravel
Our Rating
9.4
8.8
8.5
8.6
8.4
MSRP
$229.95
$135.96
Price not available
$298.00
Price not available
Chest Pack Compatible
Waterproof
Best Overall
Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack, Cutthroat Green
Our Rating
9.4
MSRP
$229.95
Chest Pack Compatible
Waterproof
More Information
Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack & Four PT3600 Trays
Our Rating
8.8
MSRP
$135.96
Chest Pack Compatible
Waterproof
More Information
Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS Backpack Copper
Our Rating
8.5
MSRP
Price not available
Chest Pack Compatible
Waterproof
More Information
Orvis Waterproof Backpack
Our Rating
8.6
MSRP
$298.00
Chest Pack Compatible
Waterproof
More Information
Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Backpack - Gravel
Our Rating
8.4
MSRP
Price not available
Chest Pack Compatible
Waterproof
More Information

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?

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 and your gear where you need to go.

Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack

Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack Review

Our top choice for best fly fishing backpack went to the Bitch Creek Tech Pack for it’s great design and function. This particular fly fishing backpack offers a versatile design that is rugged, comfortable, and provides a combination chest pack and fishing backpack.

Its really a terrific package to carry an above average load of gear when needed. The combination of the Bitch Creek Backpack and the included Medicine Bow Chest Pack integrate seamlessly.

The Bitch Creek Tech Pack offers real-deal carrying comfort with shoulder straps that are nicely contoured and well padded. A sternum strap adds stability and reduces movement when you are covering ground.

To further stabilize this fly fishing backpack, the Bitch Creek Pack provides a supportive waist strap that takes the weight off your shoulders. The Waist straps also preserve your energy when hiking good distances by minimizing pack sway. The backside of the pack sports a D-ring net lash to host your landing net. The waist strap has two zippered pockets that are great for smaller items.

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.

And an important feature we always look for: 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.

Wild River Nomad Fishing Backpack

Wild River Nomad Fishing Backpack Review

Wild River’s Nomad Backpack is a good mid-sized day pack that is perfect for anglers who need organization and increased carrying capacity. Its a versatile pack that can be used in a multitude of applications.

We found this pack particularly beneficial as a fly fishing backpack for surf fishing. And since the Wild River Nomad Fishing Backpack is lighted with an integrated LED system, you can see inside the pockets in low light conditions.

The backpack is constructed from heavy duty polyester and has multiple accessory pockets for carrying whatever items you might prefer.

The lower compartment is a unique design, which is made to hold four medium sized 3600 storage trays. Of course, you can carry a few trays, or none at all to make space for other gear.

This fishing backpack makes for a nimble setup that stays out of the way during casting and is ready for quick moving fishing. The shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable when you are going the distance to those remote spots.

Wild River’s Nomad Fishing Backpack features a specialty sleeve for carrying a set of pliers which can be removed and placed on a belt for quick access. Along with multiple places to carry your gear, this fishing backpack also has a molded sunglasses holder to keep your lenses scratch-free.

To sweeten the deal, Wild River includes all four 3600 trays with their fishing backpack so you can carry a wide variety of flies and tackle. Overall, that is a ton of great features. The fantastic reputation and reasonable price makes the Wild River Nomad Backpack worth considering if you are in the market for a very functional and feature-rich fishing backpack.

Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS Fly Fishing Backpack

Umpqua Surveyor Fly Fishing Backpack Review

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.

Fishpond Oxbow Fishing Backpack & Chest Pack

Fishpond Oxbow Fishing Backpack Review

The Oxbow Backpack & Chestpack Combo from Fishpond is a super solid pack when you don’t need to carry 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.

For convenient landing net placement, a D-ring attachment is available as well as 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.

Best Waterproof Fly Fishing Backpack

If wet gear is a concern now or in the future, then it is well worth it to go for a waterproof fishing backpack over the other options.

Wet clothing or damaged electronics is not what you need, and nothing puts a damper on a great fishing adventure like wet gear. As terrific as the options above are, they won’t keep your equipment dry on a float trip or in a heavy rain.

That is when a waterproof fishing backpack is worth it’s weight in gold!

Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing Backpack

Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing Backpack

Our top choice for waterproof fishing backpack went to the Simms Dry Creek Z backpack.  Simms fishing products have an unparalleled reputation and the Dry Creek Z Backpack only builds on the swagger of Simms Fishing gear.

The Simms Dry Creek Z backpack is a super rugged and practical waterproof fishing backpack that can keep your gear dry in demanding conditions, even if that means a real soaking.

Along with good capacity and tremendous waterproofing, the pack also offers a really comfortable fit. Wide and well padded shoulder straps help the Simms Dry Creek Z backpack remain comfortable during long hikes. The shoulder strap features absolutely no hang-ups, so your fly line won’t become snagged.

That streamlined design is a strong point throughout, and proves beneficial when moving through the woods and water while preventing hang-ups. This fishing backpack is constructed from waterproof 500D TPU-coated nylon fabric, which is both rugged and completely waterproof.

For gear attachment points, the Simms Dry Creek Z backpack comes with side mounted gear straps, which are perfect for lashing a rod tube to the outside of the backpack. Any true-blue fishing pack needs to be ready to carry your net, and this waterproof backpack comes ready with an integrated net slot.

The main compartment is the primary storage space for larger items and items that need protection from water exposure.  Smart and functional design efforts went into the placement of the stretchy internal pockets to keep your gear organized and accessible.

For smaller items that don’t need 100% waterproof protection the front of the pack features an additional zippered pocket. This pocket is water resistant, but not waterproof, so sensitive electronics and personal items are best stored in the main compartment.

Are you surprised that Simms really nailed this waterproof fishing backpack out of the park?  It is one of our favorite designs to date and for good reason.  The ability to carry your gear in a functional and simple pack while also keeping it safe in the wettest conditions landed the Simms Dry Creek Z backpack our top spot for waterproof fishing backpack.

Orvis Waterproof Fishing Backpack

Orvis 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.

Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Fishing Backpack

Fishpond Wind River Roll Top Backpack

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.

Umpqua Tongass 1800 Waterproof Fishing Backpack

Umpqua Tongass Waterproof Backpack Review

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 rated the Tongass 1800 highly in our reviews of mid-sized waterproof fishing backpacks.

FAQ

Fly Fishing Backpack

What is the difference between fishing and regular backpacks?

A fishing backpack differs from a regular backpack in a number of ways. 

A fishing trip requires a lot of different pieces of equipment and they need to be easily accessed. 

A fishing backpack provides a lot more organizational capacity than a regular backpack. 

It will have more pockets, more zippers and, often, mesh components that you can add zingers to. 

A good fishing backpack will also be waterproof. Some of the best fishing backpacks are even made to be mudproof!

A fishing backpack should have a waterproof zipper as well as a waterproof fabric. If the zipper is not waterproof, it will provide access to water. 

Backpack zippers should also be anti-rust. Fishing backpack straps will be designed to provide enough padding for comfort over extended use. 

They will often be made from breathable mesh. 

Finally, the pockets on a fishing backpack will be strategically located to allow for easy access while you are in a fishing position. 

How to pack your backpack for fishing?

Your fishing backpack will have a range of large and small zippered pockets to allow you to organize your essential gear. 

Be sure to keep your items separate any all pockets fully zippered. Here are the essentials that you should include in your fishing backpack:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Clippers – you need these to cut leader and trimming knots
  • A thermometer – you get a hardy, inexpensive one from your local tackle shop. A thermometer will tell you what species of fish will be most actively feeding
  • A plastic garbage bag – this is an extra layer of protection in case you fall in the drink!
  • Forceps – these will help you to remove hooks more easily.
  • Rain jacket
  • Spare car key – getting locked out can put a real dampener on your day!
  • A flashlight
  • A first aid kit 
  • Your lunch
  • A water bottle

What size backpack do you need for fishing?

As we can see from the previous answer, there is quite a lot of gear that you need to carry in your fishing backpack. 

But we can also see that most of it quite small and not that heavy. As a result, you don’t need a very large backpack for fishing. 

You should look for a backpack that allows around a 60-liter capacity. 

That will enable you to store all of your gear including your backpack without weighing you down too much. 

The weight of your backpack should be less than 7 pounds. 

Can you use a hiking backpack for fishing?

Yes, you can use a fishing backpack for hiking. 

In fact, the versatility of a fishing backpack in terms of its multiuse capability is one of the reasons that many people opt for a fishing backpack rather than a fishing vest

A fishing backpack will provide the hiker with plenty of storage capacity, a lot of zippered pockets and waterproof protection.

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. 

And if your fly fishing adventure takes you to the back woods you’ll want a fly fishing backpack with rod holder.

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.

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