Best Fishing Backpack with Rod: Organized, Dry and Ready to Fish

Man fishing and having a green backpack
Written by Neal Walker

There is nothing more comforting and enjoyable than a day on the lake or your favorite spot along the river while you fish for your first catch.

However, we all know that fishing is a sport with a lot of gear and requires you to be out for long days. When you are looking to pack up your belongings, even for just a day, you are going to want a backpack that not only carries all of your gear but also allows you to bring food and celebratory drink.

If you are looking to bring out first-time fishers or your kids, then you are definitely going to be prioritizing a nice backpack to bring along. In this article, we are going to show you what we think is the best fishing backpack with rod and include some helpful tips for selecting the right one.

What you are really looking for in a specialty backpack can be difficult, especially when you are considering your fishing gear and your rod. You want to ensure your valuables stay dry, organized and accessible. We are going to break down a few of the features to help you sort through your many options when it comes time to buy.

As with most outdoor gear, it is not going to be the most expensive option that is the best for your trip, it is going to be the one that is both comfortable and helpful for you and your gear. Your backpack can either be the most comfortable item on your trip or feel like you are carrying a pile of rocks, so always pop in store to check it out before you buy.

Perfect Pocket Placement

So what makes a fishing backpack unique to buying a regular everyday pack? It is all about accessibility of the gear during your trip. You need a lot of pockets to store different types of gear, but at the same time, you are also going to want to be able to store certain baits and anglers for different types of fish.

Sometimes we go out totally set out to get a certain type of fish and realize they just aren’t biting. That means you are going to need backup gear to catch whatever feels like nibbling on your line.

Both inside and outside pockets are going to turn you into an organizing fiend, and give you the ability to focus on what is most important, the fish swimming towards your perfect bait.

red backpack on ground and a fishing rod

It’s not just about the quantity of the pockets or even the location. You are going to want to make sure that the pockets are large enough to carry different types of gear. In addition, the pockets should be lined with mesh and dividers. No one wants to be fumbling around with their gear because things are stuck to each other when trying to reel in a big one.

Keeping Your Gear Dry

Where there is fish, there is water. While most fishing gear is meant to get wet and stay wet over long periods, you are still going to want to keep your valuables dry.

Even if everything is well coated, remember that you are also packing in lunch, cell phones, GPS devices and other expensive electronics that may not hold up against water. Having gear dry requires two important things to be a part of your pack: Waterproof or resistant and non-corrosive zippers.

  1. Waterproof material: It’s not always just about keeping your gear dry, it’s about keeping you dry as well. If you have ever worn a wet pack on your shoulders for a few hours than you know your shoulders soaking and chaffing can quickly ruin your trip. Most of us have navigated over slippery rocks to get the perfect position for catching fish, a waterproof backpack is a must have when our balance escapes us and we find ourselves in the lake. Finally, investing in a waterproof pack will help you with the pesky odor that often lingers around fishing packs and will slick away mud and dirt better than one that is not waterproof.
  2. Non-Corrosive Zippers: It’s not just about the material that the pack is made of, it is also about the zippers the company chooses to use. Durability goes above and beyond keeping holes out of your pack, it really matters when you are trying to zip up a rusted backpack. Waterproof backpacks are going to ensure that you are rust and worry free. If you often find yourself in salt water going after your favorite fish than you are going to definitely want to get yourself non-corrosive zippers and save yourself the worry later.

Shoulders and Back Support

Now that you have a pack that has plenty of well-placed pockets and is made from sturdy materials, you are going to want to look into perhaps the most important aspect of your backpack, the support it can offer you. Keeping your shoulder and back well supported will require a few special features.

First look for wide straps, that will help distribute the weight across your shoulders easily. Why wide? With such heavy gear in tow, you are going to want the wide strap to help keep all of the weight from being pinpointed in one single location on your shoulders. If you find the weight being carried in the center of your shoulders, you will get a lot of pain and strain in not only your shoulders but also your back.

Second, is it adjustable? Carrying the weight of your pack in the wrong spot, even with a wide strap is going to be uncomfortable and can call your big fishing day short. If it is not adjustable than your bag could be hanging off your back and dragging down your shoulders. It should be centrally located on your back to spread the weight evenly.

Man standing in the river and choosing bait

Regardless of what you choose, you are going to want to check out the pack in person or ensure that it has a good return policy. With all your heavy gear and rods attached a good day will depend on the comfortability of your backpack. 

Useful tip: A fishing backpack is an essential part of not only staying comfortable but staying safe. When your gear is all packed up you can have upwards of 50 lbs just to catch the right fish! That is a lot of weight on your back, so you are going to want to make sure that it fits properly.

Before you pick

As you start to gather your gear to determine the size of your bag remember a few more essential things before you buy the best fishing backpack.  A good backpack is one that is meant to be used for more than one trip. When you are looking to buy, look for quality in the materials, with a bag that handles this much gear and gets this much water on it, you are going to need durable materials.

Think about the thickness of the pack as well because remember what is actually in the bags themselves, with all those hooks and sharp edge clippers floating around, you don’t want one poking you in the back as you hike out and into your favorite spot.

Buy the Best

You now have looked at all of your options and you are ready to buy the best backpack that you can find on the market. With so many out there we want to lay out a few backpacks that we think are the best with all the options and customizations I mentioned above for your consideration. To choose your backpack think about our three priorities: pockets, waterproof, and comfort.

Glacier Glove All-in-one River Pack, BlueGlacier Glove All-in-one River Pack, Blue

Weight: 4.8 lbs

Price: $90.00

Specific Features: Not only is this backpack large enough to carry all of your gear, it also features wading boot holder that allow you to dry off without getting all of your gear wet.
It has well-highlighted liners on the inside of the pack so that you can easily see your compartments and has its own water bladder holder. Finally, it has its own changing mat attached.

Best use: Fly fishing day pack

Description: We love Glacier Glove River Pack because of its special features that allow for you to attach wet boots to the outside for the journey home. Instead of placing wet gear directly back into your bag you can simply hang them on the outside to drive. Never get lost again when digging for your gear with this particular bag, as it has highlighted liners for you to easily spot your storage compartments. Enjoy plenty of space for all of your gear and a top storage space for things you want to quickly grab.

One of the unfortunate downsides to this particular bag is that it is not waterproof, however, the material it is made out of is very durable. The only other con is that some product owners believe that the specialty boot and wading holding features are too small to hold up to a larger boot size. With bigger boots attached to the outside, the inner compartment shrinks and makes it hard to repack.

Check the price on Amazon

Wild River WL3506 Bucket OrganizerWild River WL3506 Bucket Organizer

Weight: 1.7 lbs

Dimensions: 9 x 3 x 1 inches

Price: $46.93

Specific Features:  Enjoy the ability to see at night with a fully integrated LED system in the handle of this bucket.
With plenty of pockets around it’s exterior and two specialty pole pockets you will have plenty of storage room as well as internal pockets made from clear material so you can see your gear.

Best use: Dusk to dawn fishing

Description: Wild River Bucket Organizer is an excellent substitute for a soft tackle bag especially for those who extend their fishing trips all the way to the last light. The bag itself was clearly made with fishers in mind, it has plenty of light, storage for two poles and plenty of straps to cinch and secure. If you are worried about water accumulating, then you will be happy to see that all of the pockets are outfitted with special drainage grommets and mesh. This organizer is meant for your to be able to clearly locate all of your tools and prioritize them for easy fishing. Customers love the size and the pockets versatility for grab and go fishing.

The only complaint this sturdy organizer received was that the pole holders were perhaps a bit too small and did not hold up quite as well. That being said, for its price, it has exceptional special features and is well loved by the majority of customers.

Check the price on Amazon

Superfisher Duffle Bag BackpackSuperfisher Duffle Bag Backpack

Weight: 2.2 lbs

Dimensions: 22 x 7 x 15 inches

Price: $37.40

Specific Features: This extra large backpack features front pockets in addition to it’s six located inside. It is made of heat resistant thick cloth and has wide adjustable shoulder straps that are padded for your comfort. This pack’s best feature is that it is waterproof.

Best use: Single day fishing trips.

Description: Perhaps the best feature of Superfisher Backpack is that it is huge and waterproof. You can enjoy the space and quite a few pockets to stay organized. If you are planning on taking a lot of gear with you on your fishing adventures, then this pack might be perfect for you. For most customers, their gear is kept dry and safe in the pack and they have plenty of confidence taking it out with their more expensive electronics.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few negative comments about the quality of the bag upon arrival. Many customers complain about the zippers rusting and malfunctioning and the stitching on the bag being low quality. These two factors make it difficult to enjoy the bag and trust it to be waterproof. That being said, it is one of our least expensive bags and will provide you lots of space.

Check the price on Amazon

Fly Fishing Tackle Hydration Backpack for AnglersFly Fishing Tackle Hydration Backpack for Anglers

Weight: 1.16 lbs

Dimensions: 76”x46”x46”

Price: $69.95

Specific Features: Fly Fishing Backpack has just gone through a major overhaul to bring you some prime special features including waterproof pockets and rip stop nylon to ensure that your valuables stay dry. The backpack seconds as a fishing vest for both genders making all your gear accessible. Finally, it has a 1.5-liter water bladder to keep you hydrated.

Best use: Fly fishing trips.

Description: Fly fishers collectively love this vest backpack purchase. For the price, you are getting a lot of space to store your gear, the comfort of a well-weighted vest with plenty of padding for comfort. If you are worried about it fitting this vest is a true one size fits all and is adjustable along your sides and shoulders. Even though it is a vest you will still find a large range of movement, easy access pockets on the front and back, and is made well enough to be waterproof.  The zippers are high quality, there is plenty of mesh and a bladder included to keep you hydrated, dry and on the go. 

Check the price on Amazon

Fishnpack Top Predator Backpack with RodholdersFishnpack Top Predator Backpack with Rodholders

Weight: 4 lbs

Dimensions: 17”x 12.5”x 7.75”

Price: $59.99

Specific Features:  This backpack has two large pockets on the front with interior pockets on the inside. Its zippers are rust proof for durability and it features a soft bait pouch. The Top Predator allows for hands-free travel with all of your fishing gear and is comfortable enough to go hiking with.

Best use: Hiking or biking to your fishing destination.

Description: Fishnpack Top Predator classic looking backpack will keep all of your gear safely tucked inside while you trek along to your favorite spots. People are happy to have the extra space and the soft bait pouch for extra storage that keeps their bait safe. The straps are padded and comfortable and it has a sleek simple design to it.

Some reviewers complain that this pack is too simple for its price and wish that it featured a cooler option especially for their soft bait. While it is on the higher end in price it is a durable backpack with a traditional look to it that make a lot of reviewers pleased with their purchase.

Related: Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack

Check the price on Amazon

Carry on

When it comes to picking out the best backpack you are going to see a lot of options on the market. Before selecting the best fishing backpack for you lay out all your gear and assess how much storage space your really need, and how you like to organize your gear for fast fishing reflexes. With these two components in mind, you can then go out and find yourself the appropriate bag for you!

As with all backpack purchases you are going to want to try on the backpack and make sure to test it out before bringing it on a long trip.

Having a comfortable back and shoulders is going to make your fishing trip more enjoyable and avoid serious injury down the line. Have we missed your favorite fishing backpack with rod holders? Let us know in the comments below!


Neal Walker

Neal Walker started fishing when he was 4. His father took him to the fishing trips all over USA and Canada. Later he took Angling Education Program at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, but most of his knowledge comes from experience. Now he takes his sons with him to share his passion.