12 Best Fishing Backpacks: Reviewed For Tackle & More

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We get it; you want the best fishing gear to have the best success on the lake, in the boat, or off the shore. The problem, though, is that this goes well beyond the rod and reel, though. Not only do you need the right equipment, you need the best way to transport that equipment around.

This article will examine the best fishing backpacks that will help you carry your gear, tackle, and rods from your truck to your favorite fishing hole. We will also take a look at considerations to make before buying. Read on to find the best fishing backpack for your specific needs.

Preview

Model

Primary Material

Number of Pockets

Check Price

Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad...

Wild River by CLC WT3604

Canvas

8

Allen Bear Creek Micro Fishing Chest Vest,...

Allen Bear Creek Micro

Canvas/Fabric

4

Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack W/ 3...

Spiderwire

Polyester Mesh

9

SHIMANO Compact, Black, Compact

SHIMANO BLACKMOON

Textured fabric

8

YETI Panga 28 Airtight Waterproof Submersible...

YETI Panga Airtight

Nylon

3

Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack with 4 Trays...

Piscifun

Nylon

8

The X-Large 'Blackstar' Fishing Backpack,...

Calissa X-Large 'Blackstar'

Textured fabric

8

Piscifun Water-resistant Outdoor Tackle Bag...

Piscifun Sling

Nylon

6

Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack 20L...

Piscifun Waterproof

500D PVC

2

KastKing Day Tripper Fishing Backpack Tackle...

KastKing

Nylon

7

Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad XP Lighted...

Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad XP

Textured fabric and nylon

10

The X-Large 'Recon' Rolling Fishing Backpack,...

The X-Large 'Recon'

Polyester

4


Benefits of Fishing Specific Backpacks

While it may not seem obvious at first, there are quite a few advantages to owning and using a fishing backpack. Let’s take a look at why you need one of these fantastic bags.

  • Gear Protection
    Most backpacks are waterproof, or at a minimum weather resistant. That means that even if you set it on the shore, or the bottom of your boat, the inside will stay dry. While most fishing gear is anti-corrosive, not all of it is, and those tools or specialty items you carry need to stay dry at all times when not in use.
  • Easy Access
    Zippered or snap and Velcro pockets mean you have quick, easy access to all of your essential gear without misplacing anything. No more losing the catch while you look for your snips. Everything you need is in its own pocket, ready for use.
  • Rod Storage
    These backpacks come with various ties, straps, and clips to hold your rods, too. Truly an all-in-one carrying system. Not even your tackle box can make that claim.
  • Comfort
    Let's not overlook the most crucial feature; comfort for you and your equipment. Padded straps and ergonomic designs mean you can carry the weight back and forth without the fatigue or hand and arm strain you usually get from toting your items by hand.

Fishing Backpack Buyer’s Guide

Before you head to Amazon and click that “Buy Now 1-Click” button, there are a few things you need to consider. Below we will cover the important aspects and features that may make or break your buying decision.

Backpack Type Vs. Fishing Style

There are several pack styles to choose from, and depending on your situation, one or more of them may be best suited for your current needs. Sling packs are great for fly fishing as they are lightweight, have enough storage for your items, and can stay on you at all times.

Hip packs are similar and good for boating, kayak, or canoe fishing or even just standing on the shore. The traditional backpack style is ideal for those that carry a lot of gear, multiple rods, and those that have a hike or trek to get to their fishing hole.

Rod Holding Capacity

Not all fishing backpacks hold rods, and depending on your needs, this may be a deal-breaker. The rod capacity (if available) for each pack is something you need to pay special attention to. Keep in mind the number and types of rods you have or plan to bring with you. This knowledge will help you select the right pack for your needs.

Seat/Chair/Stool Holding Capacity

A lot of anglers prefer to bring along their own fishing chair. This can be a folding camping chair, stool, or just a folding padded seat. Regardless of what you like to tote along to sit on, your backpack should be able to accommodate. When making your selection, make sure the type and size of your chosen seat will have a spot to attach to the bag.

Storage Capacity & Size

You will need enough room in your backpack to carry all the tackle and gear you require on your fishing trips. Each bag will have a different number and capacity size of their pockets. If you have odd shaped or sized gearboxes, you will need to ensure they will fit prior to making your purchase.

Durability

Fishing backpacks go through a rough and tumble life. They need to hold up to all conditions, and this is why professionals prefer a dedicated fishing backpack rather than converting a school backpack. Your pack needs to be weather-resistant, waterproof, rugged, tear-resistant, and lightweight. Finding this combination can be challenging, which is why we are here.

Design/Style Features

The design and style of your backpack isn’t merely a head-turning aesthetic. The design such be functional, with easy to reach and access pockets, hooks, loops and D-ring attachments, as well as zippers that won’t corrode, and adjustable straps. The straps should be comfortable enough for all-day wear. Look for a pack design that has adjustable, padded straps to help your comfort level and prevent digging into your shoulder.

Water Resistance

Some bags will be waterproof, while others will only be water or weather resistant. Water-resistant means that moisture won't get it, but the contents inside can still get wet if the weather or conditions get bad. Waterproof prevents all water from getting inside. If you opt for a waterproof design, make sure the zippers are treated and waterproof also.

Price & Warranty

Your budget will play a big role in the purchase as well. While most fishing backpacks are priced for all budget ranges, some specialty bags can get quite expensive. Unlike a lot of other fishing-specific items, a higher price here doesn’t always mean better quality.

You will need to weigh all the features and usefulness versus the cost and try to find a backpack with a reasonable warranty period. 1 to 2 years on a warranty is standard, anything higher and you should snag it up immediately.


12 Best Fishing Backpacks Reviewed

Here we offer you the 12 best fishing backpacks, reviewed, compared, and rated. Scroll through the list and find your next fishing backpack right here!

1. Wild River by CLC WT3604

Our Top Pick!

Primary Material

Canvas

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

8

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

Our top pick for this best-of list goes to the Wild River model from CLC. There are a couple of missing features to note, but for the most part, this is the ideal backpack for any angler from beginner to professional.

First, you get 8 huge pockets and tackle boxes that fit in the bottom compartment. The canvas bag is durable, well built, and rugged as they come. You won't have any problem putting all of your materials in the packets, and it has a lot of little features that make it one of the best designed fishing backpacks out there.

For starters, there are clip rings on the zipper pulls for attaching extra bits and pieces. It also has a pliers pocket that is removable, so you can take it off of the pack and put it on your belt. You will also find a molded top pocket to safely store your glasses and an LED light that can be positioned almost anywhere, including inside the bag.

What you don't get is a rod holder, and there isn't a real method to attach your favorite fishing chair. However, the straps are comfortable, and while this bag isn't designed to wear all day, you can easily get to your fishing hole. The pack isn’t waterproof; however it does come with a waterproof cover that is simple to put over the bag to keep water out at all times.

Pros
  • LED light for inside or outside bag viewing
  • Multiple removable pieces to keep your gear organized
  • Durable design for all anglers
Cons
  • Not waterproof

2. Allen Bear Creek Micro

Best Fly Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Canvas/Fabric

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

4

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

The Allen Bear Creek micro shoulder bag is the best fly fishing backpack you can find. This little beauty has enough size and strength to help you last all day on the stream and isn’t so bulky it will get in the way.

Obviously, with these smaller bags, you won't find a place for your seat or rods, but there isn't much time for sitting when you are casting flies and whipping your rod back and forth. What you will find is 4 pockets (there are two smaller ones inside the larger compartment) that will hold your flies, a small gearbox, and a shoulder strap that makes it comfortable to wear all day long.

The pack is water resistant but not waterproof. It is suggested that you spray the zippers with fish oil or WD-40 to help protect them against corrosion, but this will also help them function better and last longer, too.

The flip-down work station means you don't have to head to shore to get back in the game. It also sports a fly patch and tippet tender. Your fishing hours are extended with less time dealing with broken gear or re-stringing your flies.

Pros
  • Lightweight for all-day use
  • High visibility lining
  • Multiple D-rings
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Plastic clips can break

3. Spiderwire

Best Fishing Backpack With Rod Holder

Primary Material

Polyester Mesh

Water Proof/Resistance

Waterproof

Number of Pockets

9

Rod Holder

yes

Seat Holder

No

The Spiderwire backpack is the best fishing backpack with a rod holder. Not only will this transport your rods, but it is large enough to take along the best of your gear, so you don't have to choose what to leave behind.

The pack is waterproof, though you should still seal the zippers with fishing-grade sealant or WD-40. This will prolong the waterproofing that is applied to the polyester of the bag. Once that is done, you won’t have to worry about moisture entering the bag for quite a while.

Not only does this bag have room for your tackle, but it also has a cooler compartment in the middle to keep your lunch and drinks cool. The cooler isn't big enough or cold enough to keep caught fish, but your soda will be refreshing when you get around to drinking it.

There is even a molded pocket to protect your sunglasses if you need such a thing. You will find that this pack will carry all of your lures and baits, too. It comes with 3 medium-sized utility boxes, so you never have to go without. On top of all that, you get a lifetime guarantee with the backpack, as well. Nothing to lose and a lot of fish to gain.

Pros
  • Cooler pocket for food, drinks, and bait
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Holds two rods
Cons
  • Lacks D-rings or loops for carabiners

4. SHIMANO BLACKMOON

Most Comfortable Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Textured fabric

Water Proof/Resistance

Waterproof cover

Number of Pockets

8

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

The Shimano Blackmoon backpack is arguably the most comfortable fishing backpack on the market right now. The padded shoulder straps and ergonomic shape make it comfortable enough to carry, no matter how far you have to trek to your fishing hole.

The lightweight and ease of use also make it an excellent option for women anglers who may not like too many items digging into their shoulders. Male or female, this backpack will reduce your fatigue while carrying and keep you ready for that first cast.

You won’t get a place to store your rods, and there isn’t ample room or clips to hold your fishing chair. But you will get enough room and compartments to lug around all of your gear, tools, and lures. The Blackmoon also comes with 4 Plano utility boxes, so all of your smaller bits, hooks, and lures will stay safe, dry, and organized.

The bag is not waterproof, and the utility trays are only water resistant. However, it does come with a waterproof vinyl cover that will easily encase the entire bag in case you get caught in the rain. While it isn’t the most ideal situation, as the cover prevents access, it will help prolong the life of the bag and your equipment inside.

Pros
  • Easily stores 4 utility trays
  • Durable padded shoulder straps
  • Lightweight for distance carrying
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Compartments don’t open very far

5. YETI Panga Airtight

Best Waterproof Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Nylon

Water Proof/Resistance

Waterproof

Number of Pockets

3

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

Yes (with belt strap)

Yeti is a name that is synonymous with camping, fishing, and the great outdoors. Known for their high-quality, durability, and ruggedness, Yeti brings their special blend of quality to the fishing backpack. As you would expect, these bags are easy to carry, comfortable and rugged enough to take on the outdoors. What you may not know is that not only are these packs waterproof, they are also submersible, airtight, and won't break under pressure.

There are four sizes or styles to choose from, including 3 duffle bag types and a backpack. All come in the famous Yeti gray, and all are of superior quality. Of course, you will pay for that quality, and the price tag is higher than most other entrants on our list.

The cost goes a long way, though, and with the Yeti Panga bag, you never have to worry about damage, water, or corrosion on your gear or equipment. The case is made of high-impact nylon and TPU lamination to be puncture and corrosion-resistant.

The shoulder straps have extra padding, the chest and belt clips are removable, and you can take this pack with you just about anywhere. This could quite possibly be the last fishing backpack you ever buy.

Pros
  • Most durable pack available
  • Completely submersible
  • 4 styles to choose from
  • No corrosive materials: saltwater safe
Cons
  • No D-rings or clips
  • Low selection of pocket organization

6. Piscifun

Best Fishing Tackle Backpack

Primary Material

Nylon

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

8

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

If you are looking for the best fishing tackle backpack, the Piscifun backpack may just be what you are after. This bag thought of almost everything you could need and offers it to you in a sleek, stylish, and rugged backpack.

The backpack starts off being very comfortable. The back and straps are padded, vented, and breathable. You won't suffer fatigue hauling it around. The pack is water resistant as well, made of 1200D nylon. However, it is not waterproof. It does come with a vinyl cover that makes it waterproof, though. As long as you get it covered in time, you won't have any issues.

What makes this bag stand out, though, is the space it has for your tackle. The inner compartments are actually adjustable. You can make them large to fit various sized utility boxes, or smaller to hold your gear without a box.

The total adjustment ability takes the backpack from 11 different compartments in 8 pockets to 18 compartments. You truly can make it fit your style, needs, or accommodate whatever tools and gear you need to carry that day. The Piscifun also sports external holders for clippers, pliers, and a padded pocket for your sunglasses. If you have a lot of gear to tote, this bag will be your savior.

Pros
  • Adjustable compartments
  • Durable nylon for all conditions
  • Ships with 4 large-sized utility boxes
Cons
  • No D-rings or carabiners

7. Calissa X-Large 'Blackstar'

Best Bass Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Textured fabric

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

8

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

If you like heading out to the lakes and streams for a day of bass fishing, the Calissa X-L Blackstar is the best backpack for bass fishing. You won’t have to worry about not being prepared while you are out on the water. This pack will hold it all.

The water resistant backpack will handle splashes from the boat or reaching in with wet hands to grab your snips or pliers. The utility trays will organize and hold your lures, which you can sort as needed based on the conditions or time of the season. One of the most stand-out features is the ability to remove the middle section’s compartment to open up the inside of the bag for even the largest of tackle or gear. 

Your sunglasses have their own protective pocket, and you have ample room on the outside to store your pliers, clips, and there is even a mesh pocket for extra line. The Blackstar comes with a 30-day money-back promise and a full 1-year warranty. You won't have to go far for excellent customer service, either. Made and sold in the USA, live help is a phone call away.

Pros
  • Quick-access pockets
  • Made in the USA
  • 4 utility boxes included
  • Anti-corrosive
Cons
  • No rod or seat storage

8. Piscifun Sling

Best Sling Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Nylon

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

6

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

Fishing sling backpacks have a special place for fly fishers and those that stand on kayaks or canoes. When you need your gear close at hand but don’t want to carry everything you own, the Piscifun sling is the best sling fishing backpack you can find.

This convertible sling can be used as a backpack, a cross-body wrap, or even a belt pack. With 6 total pockets (including the bottle and two mesh sides), you can store all of your valuables and gear inside. Truly the best small option out there.

The weather-resistant nylon will keep most of the moisture out, though it is still a good idea to coat the zippers. While the pack is good at keeping out moisture, it won’t stay dry if it is dunked or dropped in the water. However, the adjustable straps will make sure it stays firmly in place, even through a full day of casting.

What makes this pack stand out the most, though, is the multi-sized adjustable strap. You can make it small enough to fit children and large enough to fit most adults. With its affordable price and multiple sizes and colors to choose from, you won’t have any problem outfitting the entire family for a day on the water.

Pros
  • Easily adjusts to fit anyone
  • Multiple size, color, and wearable configurations
  • Enough space for your essential gear and equipment
Cons
  • Not waterproof

9. Piscifun Waterproof

Best Cheap Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

500D PVC

Water Proof/Resistance

Waterproof

Number of Pockets

2

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

If you are on a tighter budget and want a pack that just works, the Piscifun waterproof backpack is the best cheap fishing backpack on the market. Not only is this backpack affordable, but it also comes in enough colors and capacities to get the whole family involved.

You can choose from 5 capacities ranging from 5 liters to 40 liters, and each size is available in 9 different colors from high-vis orange to black. To make this the best budget option, each pack also comes with a waterproof phone case, so you won't have to worry about your phone getting wet, either.

Did I mention it floats? If you happen to drop the case, it will float on the water so you can easily retrieve it. The downside to this case it that there aren’t any compartments. All of your gear will need to be secured individually before being placed in the backpack.

This can make it challenging to get your needed gear out on the fly, but if you are setting up on shore or in a boat, it won't be much of a problem. The other downside is that the bag doesn't breathe. With 500D PVD material, there isn't any airflow. You will need to make sure whatever you put inside is already dry, or else it will stay wet inside the bag.

Pros
  • 100% waterproof
  • Re-enforced vinyl stress points
  • Best used for transporting to and from
Cons
  • Not ideal for constant in and out
  • Is not breathable

10. KastKing

Best Saltwater Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Nylon

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

7

Rod Holder

Yes

Seat Holder

No

KastKing knows what it takes to make affordable, durable gear. They also happen to make the best saltwater fishing backpack around. Not only is this backpack saltwater resistant, but it is also comfortable, rugged, and stylish.

With a total of 7 pockets, you won't have any problem storing all of your tools, gear, and lures. It holds 4 utility boxes with a nice side slide-out access pocket for them. The main compartment also houses 9 individual organizing sleeves for your smaller bits and pieces.

What makes this backpack truly unique, though, is the rod storage that is on the back of it. As long as you have a split rod, you can fold the rod down and store it using KastKing’s rod latching mechanism, so your rod stays in place and safe during transport.

Unfortunately, the utility boxes are not included, and you will need to supply your own. However, the good news is that up to 4 3600 series boxes will fit without a problem. If you don’t want to access your utility boxes from the side pocket, the main compartment also has a removable false bottom.

This bottom is also removable so you can store larger gear inside the bag in case you don’t need the room for the utility boxes. With durable zippers, re-enforced sewn hems and straps, the KastKing fishing backpack will give you years of use.

Pros
  • D-rings and bungee straps for added storage
  • Holds your rods, too
  • Won’t corrode in saltwater
Cons
  • Utility boxes not included

11. Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad XP

Top Of The Range

Primary Material

Textured fabric and nylon

Water Proof/Resistance

Water-resistant

Number of Pockets

10

Rod Holder

No

Seat Holder

No

If you are looking for the top of the range model, look no further. The Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad XP has it all. Everything you could want in a fishing backpack, just about, shows up in this model. Whether you are a weekend warrior or an avid daily angler, the Tackle Tek is for you.

It offers a solar panel rechargeable USB hub with enough ports to recharge or power 4 cell phones. It has the sunglasses molded compartment, extra padding on the shoulder straps, and so much more.

The integrated LED light can be positioned inside the bag or on your work surface. It also has two brightness levels on white LED and can switch to energy saving green LED when needed. The bag also holds up to 4 3600 series utility boxes, but it only ships with 2.

One thing to note is that the backpack is not waterproof. However, it is water resistant, and if you coat the zippers, it won't let any moisture inside the bag unless you drop it in the lake. The zippers aren’t plastic, though, so the saltwater anglers out there need to take extra precautions to prevent corrosion.

This bag is large but lightweight and comfy on the shoulders. It has enough storage areas to hold your line, lures, tools, gear, and equipment (except for your rods and stool). If you want the best all around backpack with some additional features for your electronics, this is the one.

Pros
  • Solar charging USB hub
  • Huge internal area for large gear
  • Soft shoulder straps are wide to prevent digging in
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Only ships with 2 utility boxes

12. The X-Large 'Recon'

Best Rolling Fishing Backpack

Primary Material

Polyester

Water Proof/Resistance

Waterproof

Number of Pockets

4

Rod Holder

yes

Seat Holder

No

Sometimes we want a backpack, and other times we want to just pull our things behind us. The Recon Backpack from Calissa Offshore Tackle is a fishing backpack that doubles as a rolling cart. With an extendable handle, you can go from shoulder to ground without losing a step.

When the terrain calls for it, you can push the handle back in and put it back on your shoulders. The bag is lightweight and easy to transport, so you won’t have any problems bringing everything you need with you.

It has a segmented bottom section that opens to a work surface and holds 5 large 3600 series utility boxes. The entire bag is waterproof and still comes with a rain cover. You won’t have to worry about your zippers either, as the zipper areas also have covered flaps to keep water out.

For the saltwater fisherman, 4 large rod holders support the biggest saltwater rods and gear. You will also find that the caster wheels don't get caught on rough surfaces, nor will the bag topple to the side while you are pulling it. If you want a rolling option backpack with enough room for anything you can think of, the Recon is your choice. You won’t be disappointed.

Pros
  • 5 large utility box segments
  • 100% waterproof
  • Lightweight and easy to move
  • Rain cover included
Cons
  • No D-rings or clip straps

What & How to Pack A Fishing Backpack

When you first get your fishing backpack, you may not know what to put in it. You should consider where you are going to fish, as well as the type of fish you are going after. These factors will determine what you should pack.

You will need your lures and baits, of course. Each pocket should be packed with the things you need the most near the front or top of the pockets. Put other items that you need semi-regularly lower down and things that you should have just in case near the bottom or back.

You should always pack extra line, your quick-change spools, and your fishing tools like flashlights, pliers, clippers, scissors, and multi-purpose knives. When you pack your bag, make sure that everything is in a location that makes sense to you.

You are the one using the bag, so packing it according to someone else won’t do you much good. If the layout and packed design makes sense to you, you will get more ease of use and enjoyment from wearing and using your fishing backpack.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are all fishing backpacks waterproof?

Not every fishing backpack is waterproof, though a vast majority will have waterproof aspects. The bottoms, for example, will generally be waterproof, even if the rest of the backpack is only treated or weather resistant.

How do I attach a fishing pole or rod to a backpack?

This will depend a lot on the type of rod and reel you have. If you have a split rod, you can use a smaller backpack, pull the rod apart and fold it in on itself, then use the clip-straps on the fishing backpack to secure it in place. If you have a solid piece rod, you will need to invest in a backpack that is longer (about 46-inches at least) that has sleeves or compartments for a full-sized rod to slide into.

How do I attach a chair to my fishing backpack?

For folding chairs and stools, you can attach them using the clip-straps or hook and loop fasteners on the outside of the backpack. Your chair should be the last thing on the pack, so it doesn’t get in the way of you storing the rest of your equipment.

Do the coolers work to keep fish cold in these backpacks?

The coolers in backpacks that are equipped with them are designed to help transport your fish but aren’t truly a replacement for your fish storage or cooler. You will want to clean your fish in cold water and wrap them in plastic baggies before putting them on ice. Transporting back to your cooler in the truck at the end of the day won’t hurt the fish, but the backpack shouldn’t be used for long-term storage.

Are there any special maintenance steps for keeping my fishing backpack in good condition?

While fishing backpacks don't need much in the way of maintenance, you should always attempt to keep them in good repair. This will include emptying them after every trip and washing them to prevent mold or bacteria growth.

A mild detergent or soap and warm water are enough to keep the inside and outsides clean. Some models can be put through the wash; you will have to check the care requirements for your brand. When not in season, you should make sure the backpack is empty dry and store in a plastic resealable container or hanging with a hanger in an area that gets plenty of airflow.

Where is the best place to buy these fishing backpacks and the best fishing gear?

Honestly, the best place to purchase a fishing backpack is through Amazon. While big box stores and outdoor specialty shops will carry them, their stock is limited, and they will only have a few selections. With Amazon, you have access to plenty of this year's models as well as models from prior years at significant savings.


Conclusion

There are plenty of fishing backpacks out there, and they are all trying to have the title of the best fishing backpack. However, the best one is the one that suits your needs specifically and is rugged and durable enough to keep up with you.

If you have any doubts about which model to purchase, I highly recommend that you go with the  Wild River by CLC. This pack has everything you need from plenty of storage and a work surface to an integrated LED light for fishing at night.