Do you feel like you’re not getting the most of your hunting backpack? Maybe you have regular neck and shoulder pain, or cannot carry much weight in it? Or perhaps you want to buy one, but you are not sure what to get? Worry not, we are here to help you choose out of the best hunting backpacks out there!
The criteria for choosing hunting backpack are much higher than for everyday pack. Your hunting backpack should help you on long hunting/backpacking trips, instead of being burden and cause pain. It should be the big enough to pack everything, to fit you perfectly, to be constructed with quality in mind, and to have different compartments for all your stuff. But, how to find the best fit in a sea of choices?
This is where we come in! In this article we will say a few words about the process of choosing a hunting backpack, together with reviews of the products we think are great choices. Stay tuned!
Our Top Picks
|Alps OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Fram Plus||2 lbs. 3 oz.||5250 cu in||Charcoal Nylon Ripstop Fabric||Check price on Amazon|
|Eberlestock X2||4 lbs. 8 oz.||1830 cu in||NT-7/Nylon Blend||Check price on Amazon|
|Badlands Sacrifice LS||3 lbs. 12 oz.||3450 cu in||Polyester||Check price on Amazon|
|Tenzing TZ 1140||2 lbs.||1144 cu in||Polyester||Check price on Amazon|
|Eberlestock Halftrack||6 lbs. 7oz.||2150 cu in||1000 denier nylon||Check price on Amazon|
|Badlands Superday||3 lbs. 15 oz.||1950 cu in||KXO-32 fabric||Check price on Amazon|
|Eberlestock Teak Elk||6 lbs. 8oz.||3100 cu in||N/A||Check price on Amazon|
|Tenzing TC 1500 The Choice||3 lbs. 4 oz.||1500 cu in||Tricot||Check price on Amazon|
|Tenzing TZ 1200||2 lbs.||1211 cu in||N/A||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
Generally, hunting backpacks are pretty different from the traditional hiking backpacks. Hunting backpacks should be waterproof, light on the shoulders, breathable, highly durable and most importantly adventure proof. You might want to regard a few other features, but broadly, as long as these qualities are met, the ideal backpack might not be too far away.
Here are some features you would want to focus on:
It is important to choose a backpack depending on the purpose of your hunting trips – are you usually going for a day or two, or do you generally stay for longer? The volume of the bag should be determined based on the general duration of your hunting trips.
If you are going on day trips, 2000 cubic inches is usually enough space for everything you need. If backpacking for longer, you can add 1000 cubic inches for each day. Of course, depending on your needs, you really might be okay with something smaller – if you are ultra-light backpacker, or you are just great at packing and don’t pack stuff you won’t need. That is a skill learned with experience, so if you’re a beginner, feel free to get something bigger, until you learn what you really need.
First you need to choose between internal and external frame backpack. Internal frame backpacks are smaller and more comfortable, so they won’t cause so much shoulder and back pain, but they are not a good choice when hunting and hauling big prey. Consider internal frame when hunting small game. External frame backpacks, on the other hand, are bulkier, but they are perfect when hunting bigger animals.
Other things to look for in a hunting backpack are waist belt and load lifters. The waist belt helps putting less strain on your shoulders, and it’s important to choose the right size. The load lifters help tighten the load to your shoulders.
Your hunting backpack should be strong and durable, and that is often determined by the quality of the making and the used materials. Don’t rush when you see a backpack that only looks nice, take your time to inspect it.
Make sure the stitching lines inside and outside are sturdy enough, also there should be no loose threads. Check the zippers if they are stiff or not, and the shoulder straps. The materials used should have the following characteristics: waterproof or water resistant, durable, quiet, lightweight, and breathable.
Hunting backpacks especially should have many compartments to help you best organize your bag. When you know where everything is, you will very quickly and easily find whatever you need. Normally, you will have a place for your sleeping bag, tripod, scope, for water, GPS, gun, etc.
Especially if you’re hunting big game, it is very important to buy a bag with a meat compartment, so you don’t have to carry it in your hands. There are backpacks that let you store the meat in a compartment between the bag and the frame.
The previous features are the main things you should always keep in mind when shopping for the perfect hunting pack. However, there are other considerations to keep in mind, such as:
- Regarding color patterns, your backpack should be camouflage. Ideally, the choice of colors depends on where you’re going hunting.
- It’s always better to choose thick, but breathable padding. It can reduce the buren over your shoulders and avoid sweating.
- The backpack should also be quiet when you’re moving around, so avoid noisy materials and loud zippers.
Best Products on Today’s Market
Here we bring you some of the best hunting backpacks out on the shelves for you to consider. Below is a list of some of the top hunting backpacks you would want to consider before making a choice.
Price: Approx. $130
Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz
Total weight: 7 lbs 5 oz
Size: 5250 cu in
Specific features: Unique fastening system for securing bow, crossbow, or rifle, front zippered wing pockets for use while hauling, extended lashing straps for heavy loads, quiver holders on both sides
Best use: Long elk hunting trips
Description: The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Pack Bag is primarily aimed for people who want a backpack along with the frame. The lightweight, adjustable frame has a comprehensive lashing system, and is a full system for hunting, yet it can still accommodate a rifle in the rifle holder. The top loading backpack has a lower door access which enables the packer to pack things in with ease.
A hold-open frame and the accommodation of 10 super sturdy zippers make space for things like your compass, water bottle, binoculars, and knives. The internal horizontal divider adds to the already ample space inside the bag where the Clevis pin attachment helps the frame to keep a sturdy structure. The inclusion of the unique lashing system can be used to secure your meat.
Looking at the price it’s hard to believe that the pack is made of high-quality material that makes it ideal for elk hunting trips.
- Can handle heavy loads
- Well-built with options to accommodate tools like tent poles and rifles
- Great price
- Not waterproof
- Not very suited for petite campers
- Instructions not good
Related: You could benefit from a backpack rain cover with camouflage like the Fome Backpack Rain Cover, if you plan to hunt in wet weather.
Price: Approx. $200
Weight: 4 lbs 8 oz
Size: 1,830 cu in
Specific features: Lightweight but tough tubular aluminum frame, pockets on waist belt, scope-sized main pockets, Ample FlexChassis, dual hydration compartments
Best use: Day hunting trips
Description: The Eberlestock X2 Hunting BagPack is a backpack that packs a bunch in a small compact design. One of the notable features is the Ample FlexChassis which can flip out forward and can be used as a seat. On the other hand, the ARCG ButtBucket can be used for carrying a compound bow and the A1SS or A2SS Side Scabbards are used to carry either shotguns or a rifle.
Designed to perfection, its oversized compression straps are used for lashing on a heavy load while the full mesh back panel maximizes comfort on the back and hip areas. The tough, lightweight tubular IntExTM metal frame has a class of its own that helps to keep the excessive load off your shoulders. This pack is generous in its big sporting scope-sized, quick-access main side pockets.
With Dual hydration compartments, the packs are designed specifically for the hunter that wants to travel light and can deftly handle a huge variety of hunting trips.
- Frame keeps weight well-distributed
- Lots of storage space
- May not fit a long torso
Related: If you want to carry too heavy loads, the Eberlestock Compression Strap Extensions can help you with more support.
Price: Approx. $270
Weight: 3 lbs 12 oz
Size: 3400 cu in
Specific features: Badlands Hypervent suspension system, ultra-lightweight heat-hardened steel frame, top loading main compartment, 8 pockets to store heavy loads, space for storing bow and rifle, ultralight Ripstop fabric- water and tear resistant
Best use: Multi-backpack
Description: The benefits of Badlands Sacrifice LS Camouflage Hunting Pack are numerous but its capacity of 3400 cubic inches is definitely a plus. Going by design, on the outside of this backpack you’ll find 7 pockets and on the inside 2 compartments for quick access. You can fit different things like bottles to binoculars. The smart design maximizes comfort for the hunter on a multi-day or long hunting trip.
The exclusive Hybrid hyper-vent suspension feature keeps pack, off your back and along with the effective suspensions; it prevents exhaustion and back injuries.
It is pretty rare to find a pack this large which is so light and supportive. If you want to get loads of comfort, smart organization, and exceptional adjustability all at one place, this is the pack for you. An additional feature that sets the pack out and above the rest of the competitors is the lifetime warranty offered by Badlands.
Badlands promises to repair any and all damages their backpacks might sustain, at no additional cost. Overall, this is a backpack that looks into all your multi-day hunting needs with that extra touch of resistance to wear and tear.
- Numerous pockets
- Can be worn comfortably while shooting with a bow too
- Lifetime warranty
- Material a tad noisy
- Pocket on belt strap too small
- Needs extra protection in medium to heavy rain
Related: Carrying water is oftentimes necessary, so together with this bag you can buy the Badlands Hydration Reservoir Bladder, which is easy to clean, features a leak-proof foldover top with secure slide clip closure, and insulated drink tube to help keep your water colder.
Price: Approx. $100
Weight: 2 lbs
Size: 1,144 cu in
Specific features: Shooter-friendly sling design, mesh pack pad, quick access mounts and pocket
Best use: Archery
Description: If you are looking for an archery hunting backpack, Tenzing TZ 1140 Single Sling Archery Pack is the one for you. It features a shooter friendly sling design, and it provides maximum mobility. It is designed so that it fits comfortably on each shoulder, so it doesn’t matter whether you are left or right-handed.
The one strap shooter friendly sling design frees up your shooting arm and works well with the Quick access quiver mount and bow clip to hold your arrows easily. The packing material is lightweight rip-stop nylon which makes it easy for reinforcement and brings in durable straps.
The pack also comes with a quick access optics/rangefinder pocket and a special breathable mesh pack pad that makes it the best lightweight and travel-friendly archery backpack. All those convenient features with a sweet price to match it all up make this pack a good bet for a 1-2-day hunting trip.
- May not fit perfectly if you are tall
- Not that suited for left-handed persons
Related: On the road, you need to stay hydrated. Camelbak Mil-Spec Antidote Water Bladder fits perfectly with this backpack.
Price: Approx. $250
Weight: 6 lbs 7 oz
Size: 2150 cu in
Specific features: 1000 denier nylon, trademark Eberlestock support, padding, ventilation, fits two 3-liter hydration kits, pullout rain cover
Best use: 2-day bag
Description: The Eberlestock Halftrack Pack is one of its kind when it comes to handy bags for short overnight hunting trips. Its two side-mounted compartments let you carry up to 2 hydration systems at one time.
The inclusion of the Pull-out rain cover makes its cross-terrain usable and an instant favorite. This pack raises the bar for big load ventilation in a pack and all these neat freaks can keep this pack squeaky clean at all times.
The 1000 Denier nylon used with the internal lining and a fold down shelf provides comfort, support, and ventilation that make the pack comfortable for an all-day wear.
On the downside, though the pack doesn’t come with an inbuilt weapon carrying system, a bow or rifle bucket system can be mounted on the full array of PALS compatible webbing. Overall, this bag is a good choice for hunters who need space and durability as their main features.
- Great ventilation and padding
- Doesn’t look bulky
- Spacious, more so with the saddle bag
- User friendly
- Useful external hydration pouches
- Not as big as hunting bags; bigger than normal backpacks
- Internal pouches not that useful
- External pouches have no zipper or buckle
Related: Consider buying the Eberlestock ButtBucket Bow/Gun Carrier together with this bag. It comes with self-mounting straps that allow you to attach it to a pack’s MOLLE/PALS-type webbing matrix, or to the lower compression strap on packs that have them.
Price: Approx. $200
Weight: 3 lbs 15 oz
Size: 1950 cu in
Specific features: Provision for rifle, bow, and pistol, 2-liter hydration compartment, KXO-32 fabric- strong, quiet, waterproof
Best use: Extensive hunting trip
Description: If you want a sturdy, durable backpack for your hunting trips, this Badlands Superday Backpack may suit you perfectly. It comes with seven pockets and three compartments for providing adequate space for carrying the essential hunting equipment. This pack also blends in well with the hunting scenario as it somewhat replicates the forest theme in colors serving as the perfect camouflage.
The five external compression straps ensure comfort even when you have to pack heavy and they save you from sore shoulders or even worse blisters. Coming to the hunting equipment, the pack has an adjustable rifle boot and a dedicated Pistol holding webbing on both sides of the waistbelt.
The KXO 32 camo fabric used for the backpack is extremely durable and quite resilient when it comes to wear and tear. Yet, if you do manage to get it damaged somehow, you have the Badlands “free warranty forever promise” to get some quick repairs done.
- Comfortable even when heavy
- Great quality with strong zippers, thick material, and strong buckles with extra buckles included
- Lots of storage areas
- Lifetime warranty
- May feel bulky if all pockets are not needed
- No interior frames; so, weight rests on shoulders
Related: If you don’t have a binocular carrier, or consider replacing it, the Badlands Bino X Camouflage Binocular Case might be just the perfect fit for you.
Price: Approx. $330
Weight: 6 lbs 8 oz
Size: 3,100 cu in
Specific features: Body-following contour, top and front loading options, waist-belt rangefinder pockets, grapple-compression straps
Best use: Elk Hunting
Description: To begin with, we would have to say that Eberlestock Team Elk Pack has an impressive load of features. Its body-following contours, a bottom-shelf design, and the intex-frame provide excellent comfort and stability. It’s the perfect mix of lightweight comfort and toughness.
The pack is the next level of hunting packs. It has two optimal access points, the front-loading access, and top-loading access. This, along with the waist-belt rangefinder pockets, ensures that you have easy access to all your important accessories.
The grapple-compression straps make it easy for you to carry the load around while on an extended elk hunting trip with your troop. The hip belt and back pads are made of very comfortable foam, to ensure that extra support and comfort. Along with this, you can also use the pull away hip pockets to store a few smaller items, and even a firearm if you wish.
To add to these features, there are added zip-and-flip covers so that you can get some extra space when not carrying a gun or bow. Overall this backpack is ideal for all your elk hunting trips.
- Good size
- Stable and comfortable
- Built-in scabbard pretty useful
- Front and top loading access
- Chest strap not long lasting
- Not comfortable for a select few customers, who found it pressing against the back
Related: It’s always best to be covered on all aspects when carrying this backpack on your journey. Adding a water bladder, such as Eberlestock Water Bladder plus a cover, like Eberlestock Reversible Rain Cover will complete the package.
Price: Approx. $140
Weight: 3 lbs 4 oz
Size: 1500 cu in
Specific features: Fluted aluminum frame, mesh back pad, padded hip panels, 12 compartments
Best use: Light hunting trips
Description: With the Tenzing TC 1500 The Choice Hunting Daypack, you could give yourself that extra bit of comfort when it comes to a day hunting trip in the Alps. Its new comfort stretch waistband has concealed elastic straps that let you adjust the pack for your specific needs and body shape. The quiver mount hold helps keep your bows in place.
The light framework, the internally fluted aluminum frame stay, and the padded hip panels are all that you need to keep it easy on your back and hip area. The breathable mesh back padding gives you enough ventilation and prevents the overheating and excess sweating. It has 12 compartments, so you can also store a few extra items as per your liking.
This backpack also boasts of H20 compatibility, which means you can carry an extra 2 liters hydration system anytime you are traveling a little off your original tracks. On the whole, the pack works great for 1-day hunting trips where you would want to travel light.
- Firm back rest
- Sturdy and well-designed
- Good organization pockets
- Straps get in the way of zippers
- A bit on the heavy side
Related: The Tenzing TZ Hydration System is compatible with this bag, so if you don’t already have a hydration system, you can consider getting this one with the bag. It features Widepac closure system, glasslike self-cleaning liner surface, GrungeGuard antimicrobial technology, and the TasteFree pouch liner retains the pure taste of water.
Price: Approx. $100
Weight: 2 lbs
Size: 1211 cu in
Specific features: Breathable mesh back pad, padded hip panels, 2-liter hydration bladder compatible, 8 compartments
Best use: Treestand or day hunting
Description: With 8 compartments and pockets in total, the Tenzing TZ 1200 Ultra Light Daypack is a good bet for the light day hunting trips. It might have a size of 1211 cc. but with the expandable main compartment you can keep all your things organized and handy. It stands up to the “ultra-light weight” tag in its label which makes it ideal for tree-stand or day hunting.
The 2-liter water reservoir compartment comes in handy when you’re visiting a water reservoir while on the trip and want to stock up on your supplies. It also comes with 2 lower compression straps to attach extra gear to leave more space in your backpack.
The three zip pockets can be effectively used for anything and everything that you might need on your trip. The breathable mesh back pad, the padded hip panels and mesh breathable shoulder straps ensure that you do not necessarily feel the load that you are carrying.
This pack essentially helps keep the load off your shoulders, no matter how far you are planning to travel or how long you must wait for the right time. This is an ideal purchase when you need a backpack that is lightweight yet functional.
- Quiet material
- Enough room for a day’s camp
- Waist strap pocket zippers not secure
- Pack may make you sweat
Related: Not sure what water bladder will go better with TZ 1200? We recommend the Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder with this bag. It is BPA free and made of FDA approved materials, and it is pressure & wear resistant.
Having had a look at the list of the top best hunting backpacks in the market, you might have gauged that in reality there is no such thing as a perfect backpack. One backpack may have all the best features, missing out on just the one feature that you find essential while another backpack might not be that feature rich, yet it may tick all the right boxes for you.
So, it is best to go for a backpack that suits your individual needs at the moment. You can always upgrade once you decide to take hunting up as a profession. We would advise you to look through all your choices and choose wisely.
We love hearing from you! Do you think we missed a wonderful backpack, and you know about it? Share your questions, opinions, and experiences with us in the comment section below!