You would struggle to go out hunting without a good, specialized hunting backpack to carry all your hunting gear comfortably for the entire length of your trip, and allow you to find and access what you want, when you want it.
Hunting backpacks tend to have many similar features, but that doesn’t mean any old one will do.
Luckily you don’t have to feel lost in a maze of buckles zips and straps - we’ve done all the research and have come up with our Top 5 hunting backpacks.
After the Top 5, we’ve got a little buying guide for you, along with answers to your most frequently asked questions.
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Best Hunting Backpacks - Comparison Table
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Best Hunting Backpacks - Reviews
The thing we love about this camouflage backpack is that it comes with a blaze orange rain fly, so you can manage to meet your state’s laws or recommendations, and keep all your gear dry at the same time!
The camouflage meanwhile comes in two colour options, simply pick the one which better merges with your surroundings.
It’s designed as a single day backpack and its aluminum frame is internal, and you can use it either for rifle hunting or bow hunting, since it comes complete with a (fold away) drop down rifle pocket that doubles as a bow holder pocket, and even has quiver holders too. You can keep your hands free for climbing steep slopes, glassing fields, or using binoculars or spotting scopes.
The backpack has extension lashing straps to help support carrying heavy payloads.
It comes with a padded waist belt featuring 2 extra pockets as well as reinforced webbing to accommodate clip-style holsters if you wanted to use a handgun. This won’t encumber you though, it allows a full range of movement.
It has an interior capacity of 2700 cubic inches and features a large pocket which converts to a shelf when open, with lots of smaller compartments for keeping gear such as knives organized.
It’s hydration compatible, and even includes a hose for your water bladder, all of which you can use hands free.
It has a padded shoulder harness, and you can adjust the backpack to your own torso - you can be assured of moving comfortably with this backpack.
We love this backpack!
It comes from the ALPS OutdoorZ part of the Tried & True brand, whose products are designed by passionate hunters.
It sports an external frame, known as the Commander frame, from which the backpack can be completely removed, so you can then use the frame for hauling meat. The frame has a unique lashing system, whereby three extension straps are included for extra large loads.
The backpack itself has a large interior capacity, with 5250 cubic inches in the main compartment alone. You can organize your gear into any of the other pockets too, these include two side accessory hinged pockets, Main, front and spotting scope pocket.
In addition to the specifically designed pocket for your spotting scope, you’ve also got a drop-down rifle holder, a clip-style holster, and accomodation for a hydration pocket and port.
The Commander frame also offers torso adjustments from 17” to 23”, to provide a custom, comfortable fit.
The frame also provides a handy freighter shelf, which allows you to lash heavy loads to the frame, which you can then secure using the lashes and simply adjust the straps to maximize support.
It’s made from durable nylon ripstop fabric, that you can use in the harshest of weather conditions.
Here’s a fantastic single day internal frame backpack from another great brand
The stand out feature of this backpack is its fabric and build quality - Badlands KXO-32 fabric is the strongest, quietest, most waterproof material in the hunting world! All the high stress areas of the backpack also use hypalon, which is the one of the highest strength materials there is. It even uses ultra strong ultra durable aramid fibres for its stitching too.
Whether you carry a rifle or bow, the Superday has you covered; it features built-in holders for your handgun on the waist belt, and has 5 compression straps to provide an array of options for your gear attachment.
It’s super comfy to carry, thanks to its molded foam which virtually matches every contour of your body, and has load lifter straps that transfer weight from your shoulders to your hips.
It’s super stealthy too, with fabric that doesn’t rustle, and featuring silent zippers, and with a color palette whereby the pack adapts to both your surroundings and the current lighting.
And there’s no need to scare your prey by rustling a water bottle - the Superday is compatible with 2 litre hydration bladders. You can keep hydrated and remain completely silent.
This is a great single day pack with a unique H-style internal frame, all from a brand we all know and trust.
It comes in 3 great camouflage style designs - but don’t worry, with its orange blaze rain fly you’ll meet your state’s laws and recommendations no problem.
It accommodates a bow, rifle or handgun, all thanks to its special drop down pocket and front zippered wing pockets on its waist belt.
It also has a padded spotting scope pocket with a tripod sleeve holder to allow you to safely carry your spotting scope.
Although its interior capacity is relatively small, it also has an expandable section, coming in at 1200 cubic inches. There’s also a pocket inside the main compartment to keep all your gear organized. And it has extension lashing straps included for hauling extra large loads.
It has a hydration port and pocket making the pack 100% hydration compatible.
For superb comfort, it comes with an adjustable torso straps ranging from 15 to 20 inches, and features a padded shoulder harness.
Here’s another great, hugely popular ALPS OutdoorZ bag. It’s available in their two most popular camouflage patterns, realtree edge and mossy oak country.
It’s a single day pack and comes with a capacity of 2285 cubic inches, but is also fully loaded with side mesh pockets and a lower storage pocket for keeping all your gear organized and right at hand.
There’s a hydration port and pocket, so you can keep hydrated with your water bladder.
The main compartment has side compression straps, and there’s a padded waist belt and shoulder straps with sternum straps that you can adjust for maximum comfort.
This would be a good backpack for someone who wants to try out hunting, because if they decided it's not for them it could double as a hiking backpack.
Best Hunting Backpacks - Buyers Guide
Here follows a brief guide into what you may want to take into consideration when buying a hunting backpack.
Single day pack or multi-day pack
Even if you are only going hunting for the day, you still need the right backpack. The primary difference between a single day pack or a multi day pack is their size.
A single day pack will typically come with about 2000 to 3000 cubic inches of interior space, while packs designed for one or more overnight stints typically allow 4500 cubic inches, whilst the largest amongst them come in at 7000 cubic inches.
Multi-day backpacks often come with a convenient safety belt for additional comfort and stability.
If you don’t expect to be staying out overnight and your hunting involves climbing a tree or getting to high ground, a light, single day pack may suit you better.
Number of compartments
You’ll want a backpack with plenty of separate compartments, dividers and pockets to keep your gear organized. This allows you to access and/or find a particular item in a cinch, and is also great for keeping wet gear away from dry.
You’ll also likely want an easily accessible compartment for a bottle of water to keep hydrated, or maybe a water bladder, which costs a bit extra but doesn’t make a sound.
You might also want to consider a hunting backpack that can carry your firearm or bow. Some models come equipped with a padded case, while others come with straps that make it easy to attach the bow or rifle to the back of the pack.
We strongly recommend keeping your weapon stowed until you’re at your hunting spot.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable the whole time you’re not going to enjoy your trip. You need a backpack that fits your frame for maximum comfort, preferably fitting the length of your torso.
Straps are important too. We strongly recommend getting a backpack that has padded straps - they make a huge difference to your comfort. You may also like to get a backpack with additional straps to hold your gear more firmly in place.
Shifting items in your backpack could lead you to lose your balance, which is not what you’re looking for.
If you’re hunting as a team, and you’re planning on taking turns carrying the gear, you’ll want straps that are adjustable to suit each persons’ frame.
Internal or External Frame
You also need to decide between an internal or an external frame. Internal frames are designed to form to your body whilst carrying, for greater comfort and stability. The drawback with these however is that they’re small and cannot haul heavier loads.
Therefore if you plan on carrying meat home with you, you might benefit from a backpack with an external frame, designed to hold more weight. External frames also have the advantage of allowing cool air to flow between your back and the pack, which may bring some relief on hotter days.
The cheapest backpacks come without a frame at all, and as you can imagine are the lightest, but they’re no good for hauling lots of meat.
You can buy your backpacks and external frames separately, but our Top 5, focuses on backpacks with frames (some internal, some external) included in the price.
Most hunters go for backpacks with external frames, particularly if they’re out overnight, but ultimately the choice is down to you.
Weatherproof material is a given - you can’t just pop indoors to avoid a rain shower if you’re out in the middle of nowhere. But for use when hunting, you may also want to consider a backpack made from materials that don’t rustle or crinkle loudly, and preferably a silent zipper to avoid attracting attention.
One thing to keep an eye out for is Molle military grade stitching - you want your backpack to be durable.
Some backpack materials can withstand branch scratches, which may be worth looking out for for some hunters.
If you’re likely to be met with wet weather conditions, you may well appreciate a backpack with a rainfly, which will keep your gear dry even when it’s hammering down.
Given the choice most hunters would go for a backpack with a camouflage finish, in order to blend in seamlessly with your surroundings. Other times hunters just want something that suits their individual tastes.
You should be aware however that in some states it is required by law that all hunters wear Blaze orange. In other states it is recommended rather than law.
To check if your state requires this, please click on the following link: http://www.ihea-usa.org/hunting-and-shooting/requirements/hunter-orange-requirements
Although all of our Top 5 backpacks are designed for camouflage, 2 of them come with an orange blaze rain fly, so you’d be good to go in any state, these backpacks are our Number 1 and our Number 4.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I put in my deer hunting or elk hunting backpack?
For the purpose of brevity, this FAQ will concentrate on packing for a single day with no overnight stay.
First of all you will need a basic survival kit, inclusive of food rations or snacks, drinking water, an emergency whistle, and a basic first aid kit. In addition to this and your bow or rifle, you will also need binoculars or a spotting scope, knives and possibly a knife sharpener. You may also like to pack deer or elk calls, bug repellant, rubber gloves, and packaging for your pieces of meat.
This list is by no means extensive, but it covers you for the basics.
Insidently, if you’re wondering what binoculars you should get, consider what features you want and how much you’re prepared to spend, and check out our super useful articles like:
“Best binoculars for hunting” which you can find on this link.
How do you pack a backpack for hunting?
For the purpose of brevity, this FAQ will concentrate on packing for a single day with no overnight stay.
Our recommendation is that you pack your light weight gear on the bottom, food and mid weight gear in the middle, then your heavy gear, and finally, place anything you need quick access to at the top or strapped to the side.
This is hands down the way to manage load distribution, and hence comfort while carrying the backpack.