What determines the success of a hunting trip is the gear you carry. The only effective way of ensuring that you carry all the necessary gear is through a hunting backpack. The best hunting backpack has a sleek, well-tailored design that comes with numerous features. The hardest part when shopping for a hunting backpack is picking the model that best suits your needs. That is where our guide can help. We have narrowed the field to eight high caliber packs.
Guide to Picking the Best Hunting Backpack
It does not matter whether you are wide, thin or tall; there is a resourceful hunting pack out there for you. It only takes a bit of work to find one that best suits your body type and the much needed space and compartments for stowing gear and weapon. Beyond fit, there are innumerable features that make hunting better.
This can include anything from main storage and weapon compartments to rain cover. Here are the major things to look out for:
Before you even consider the material you must choose an appropriate design. Hunting packs have designs that differ from each other due to the fitted compartments and pockets. Some are known to have a hard bottom while others have drop down gun boot or bow booth. Make sure the fabric material is lightweight, durable, roomy and adjustable. The frame should be of good material, such as tubular aluminum or lightweight plastic. Inspect the pack to see if metal parts are well-welded together.
One of the most important features of a good hunting pack is the capacity/volume. You should consider the amount of meat you will possibly secure not counting the pack’s weight and other gear. For instance, you will need 1000 cubic inches of space if you will be hunting a 35-pound game. Therefore, you should choose a hunting pack with respect to weight-to-volume ratio of game meat. A heavier game will need a pack with a volume of not less than 4000 cubic inches.
There are basically two frame types that you can consider: internal and external. Internal frames are more convenient for skiing and off-trail hiking because they are lighter. On the other hand, external frames are standardized and rigid since they are made of tubular aluminum. Therefore, they are best suited for hunting. A hunting pack with an external frame will improve your posture, control and comfort since the load is evenly distributed to your hips.
You can fully control the load of your pack if the torso length is adjustable. Therefore, you have to settle for a backpack with shoulder straps that move up and down to accommodate different torso lengths. With that said, you have to confirm whether the pack has a fixed suspension or interchangeable suspension components. Interchangeable suspension offers more control, but the harness can loosen up with time. Contrariwise, a fixed suspension is more stable, but not comfortable for heavier loads.
The best hunting backpack is never complete without handy features. A good pack should have a removable pocket that you can use as a daypack. Select a pack that is incorporated with a hydration bladder and feeder tube, which allows you to drink while on the move without the need of stopping to pull out a bottle. Consider a pack with a built-in rain cover; this will ensure that your gear stays dry when it rains. Also, make sure the pack has numerous and resourceful pockets, such as spotting scope pocket and side accessory pockets.
Top 8 Best Hunting Backpacks to Buy in 2017 – Reviews and Comparison
1. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame + Pack Bag
The Alps OutdoorZ Commander is the best hunting backpack for big game hunting. It is the ideal choice to carry to an elk camp. The backpack features an impressive combination of a pack and a frame, which forms a strong system for both hunting and packing of meat.
The frame is made up of a complete lashing system, a shelf, an adjustable frame, a rifle carrier, and 5250 Cu in of storage space. The frame is made from lightweight aluminum material that is easily modifiable to your torso and height liking. You can easily fine-tune the torso and effectively shorten or lengthen the height of the bag’s frame.
- Charcoal nylon ripstop fabric
- Frame and lashing straps
- Webbing loops for lashing
- Lower door access with number 10 zippers
- Top loading and rifle holder
- Multiple resourceful pockets
- The charcoal nylon ripstop fabric that makes the overall design is not only strong but also highly durable.
- The webbing loops offer you enough space for lashing additional hunting items to the exterior of the pack.
- It is very easy to access the lower door, which is made easy by the horizontal divider and No. 10 zippers.
- The removable pack bag allows you to use the frame as a separate freighter frame.
- The bag is not convenient for smaller framed individuals.
2. ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack
The ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit is the best hunting backpack for stowing your bow while trekking, scouting, or setting up decoys and stands. The expansible bow pocket and the lashing straps form a strong system that ensures your hunting bow is well-secured. Also the pack’s universal design is compatible with a variety of bows.
The pack provides a capacity of 2700 cu in, which is more than enough for packing a sizeable amount of gear for the hunt. The pack is equipped with extensible lashing straps and an aluminum frame for packing heavy loads. Basically, the pack is your preferred companion when climbing or glassing.
- Organizational shelf pocket
- Large main and front pocket
- Blaze orange rain cover
- Hydration port and pocket
- It is a multipurpose pack, which you can use to carry either your gun or bow among other gear.
- It is installed with an inbuilt rain cover that ensures your gear stays dry when it rains.
- The organizational front pocket provides a convenient space for storing your gear within reach.
- The 2700 cu in available space may not be enough for large framed hunters.
3. Eberlestock J34 Just One Pack
The Eberlestock J34 Just One is the best hunting single backpack for day and overnight hunting expeditions. The pack offers an initial packing space of 2300 cu in, which inflates to 4600 cu in for maximum gear storage. You will hardly run out of space for stowing meat and antlers.
The construction is just perfect for your torso. Unlike traditional backpacks, the Eberlestock J34 is remarkably compact, durable and low profile. The pack does move comfortably with your body. Therefore, you will rarely feel the effects of a heavy load. It is just what you need for a day trip.
- Vertical adjustability for torso length
- Functions as full-sized freighter pack or daypack
- High visibility interior
- Adjusts from 2300 to 4600 cubic inches
- The pack is highly versatile; you can use it as a full-sized freighter pack or daypack.
- The pack extends sufficiently from 2300 to 4600 cubic inches to accommodate all the necessary gear.
- The design fits impeccably on your torso and still allows your body to move freely when climbing or glassing.
- The Eberlestock J34 is not suitable for overnight hunting
4. Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Backpack
The Badlands 2200 Camouflage has been the best hunting backpack for over two decades. It is the pack any serious rifle or bow hunter would carry. Apart from fulfilling its duties as a meat carrier, the backpack is an ideal choice for day packing. The manufacturer has paid close attention to detail, ensuring that the pack has proper ergonomics for ultimate performance.
The greatest feature of the Badlands 2200 is its remarkable center of gravity. The pack is designed to help you support the load with respect to your torso. It is equipped with a durable frame made of T-6 aircraft aluminum that goes around your spine. This technique ensures that the load is distributed uniformly to your hip area; hence increasing control and comfort.
- Bow, pistol and rifle compatible
- Zippered back-panel access
- Compression and compartment straps
- Rifle boot and hip belt pistol holsters
- It can be used with 2L reservoir
- Multiple pockets including integrated spotting scope pocket
- Molded foam suspension helps to distribute weight to the hips, increasing control and comfort.
- The bat-wing design makes it possible to compress the pack into a hunting daypack.
- Highly resourceful and versatile, providing you with rifle boot and hip belt pistol holster.
- The 2200 cubic inches of space may not be enough in specific hunting events.
5. Tenzing TC SP14 Shooter’s Pack Hunting Backpack
The Tenzing TC SP14 is the best hunting backpack for early season. This is the pack you need when you are after versatility. It conveniently converts from a pack to an independent shooting rest. This allows you to station yourself strategically and fire shots with the gun in position. Unlike traditional packs, you do not have to remove your firearm from its sheath.
It is a multipurpose pack that does not only carry your gear, rifle and meat, but also a crossbow. The incorporated compression straps and deep center channel ensure that your crossbow stays put regardless of whether you are climbing or glassing. The built-in rain cover makes the pack weatherproof, while the high quality fabric and aluminum frame make it durable.
- Breathable mesh back pad
- Foldout rain cover
- Comfort stretch waist belt system
- Padded hip panel
- You can use it as a rest for our rifle
- It is fitted out to carry a crossbow
- The integrated rain cover makes it weatherproof
- The most ideal day hunting backpack
- It is not a suitable overnight backpack because of the limited space
6. In Sights Mossy Oak Break up Country Multi Weapon Pack
The In Sights Mossy Oak Break up Country is the best do-everything model for revolutionary archery hunting. It is fitted with a main weapon compartment that you can use to effectively stow different kinds of weapons. This is a masterpiece as far as a hunting backpack is concerned. The mossy oak break up country color will blend well with your hunting grounds.
The pack is highly durable, engineered from quality material, which is 90% camouflage. Apart from the main compartment, the MWP has other numerous compartments for carrying all sorts of gear. All the strapping systems are very operational. The pack fits comfortably on your torso and it also moves with your body, thus allowing you full control.
- Unisex pack
- Main weapon compartment
- 90% camouflage fabric
- Patented weapon enclosure
- The major weapon compartment is compatible with a wide range of weapons
- There is enough room to stow rifle, quivers and extra gear
- It fits comfortably behind your torso and moves with your body
- It is not a suitable pack for an overnight hunter because of the limited space
7. Delta Waterfowl Gear Backpack Blind Bag-Max-5
The Backpack Blind Bag is the best hunting backpack for a waterfowl hunter. This is the pack you need for carrying lots of duck hunting gear. The design is compact, which allows effortless packing of gear. The two major compartments are installed with a large front pocket for carrying game totes. A feature unique to this pack is its self-standing bottom.
It is a multipurpose pack designed to meet your every need. In addition to its hydration compatibility it is fitted with a water bottle pocket that ensures you stay hydrated. The pack has a drop down gun boot for safely carrying your shotgun, and there is even a cubicle for keeping your sunspecs. It also comes with nine shell loops and three choke tube holders.
- Self-standing, durable hard bottom
- Three choke tube holders
- Hydration compatible and water bottle pocket
- Drop down gun boot
- Removable LED light
- The hard bottom construction makes the pack self-standing and also provides additional space.
- It has a well-designed drop down gun boot for carrying and transporting your shotgun.
- It is a convenient large backpack for carrying extra duck hunting gear
- The design is not highly suitable for other hunting events apart from waterfowl hunting.
8. Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack
For sheer versatility and all-purpose use, your best hunting backpack is the Timber Hawk Killshot, which offers you a capacity of 3324 cubic inches. This pack is compressible enough to cinch down around an overnight hunting load, yet large enough to handle everything you will need for your hunting expedition. It is made to carry a tripod, bow or rifle.
The hard-wearing twill fabric is ultra-quiet. You can go about your hunting activities without alerting your target. The adjustable shoulder strapping system can handle significantly big loads without compromising agility or balance. As for handy features, you will notice that the three horizontal compression straps that allow for ultimate load stability.
- Superior padded waist belt
- Durable, ultra-quiet twill fabric
- Modifiable shoulder strap system
- Three horizontal compression straps
- Stowaway blaze orange rain cover
- The pack’s suspension is top-notch with a simple fit for multiple torso sizes
- The stowaway blaze orange rain cover makes the pack weatherproof
- Apart from stowing hunting gear it is compatible with tripod, bow or rifles
- The two-liter reversible Hydrapak water tank with an insulated hose keeps you hydrated
- It is an objectively heavy backpack
Best Hunting Backpack Brands
- ALPS OutdoorZ
ALPS OutdoorZ packs are well known for their rigid and weatherproof nature. ALPS Outdoor has set claims that they have backed not by opinions, but technical facts. You will certainly appreciate the quality and construction of ALPS OutdoorZ backpacks once you put them to good use. The manufacturer produces top loading big game backpacks that are worth the money.
Badlands has gained its popularity in manufacturing rigid and durable packs that have the ability to serve you for years. Badlands produce packs for different kinds of hunting expeditions, including upland, predator and big game hunting. The backpacks have a solid status among sheep, mule deer, and elk hunters.
Eberlestock packs have proven their worth in the fields. They design some of the most comfortable hunting packs with numerous features. The Eberlestock pack designs are known to fit comfortably behind a hunter’s torso. They can also be used as daypacks or heavy load packs. The packs are very solid and they hardly have design flaws.
Tenzing packs have a signature look. The manufacturer has everything well-planned out as far as handy features are concerned. You will rarely face any limitations in your pursuit of big game. The pack engineering allows you to switch from stalking to shooting your target in a matter of seconds. They are indeed versatile and resourceful.
You should always consider the weight to game meat ratio; the capacity should be enough for your intended hunting trip. Also, remember to choose a pack with a frame that fits your torso. The best hunting backpack is one with an adjustable frame. If the pack you are buying does not have an adjustable frame, then make sure it fits your torso and you are able to control the load.