Packing for a fishing trip, big or small can sometimes be a challenge. Whether you’re boarding a flight to faraway lands to pursue exotic game fish or just loading up the truck for a weekend trip to the river, having the right bag for the job is a huge help when packing and actively fishing.
From solid duffle bags you can rely on for packing tons of gear to fishing waist packs and backpacks that meet airline carry-on requirements, we’ve tracked down some awesome bags to take with you on your next fishing trip. There’s some great options here on all sorts of bags and packs that will really get you thinking about what you might need for that big trip you’ve got planned. If you’re looking for bags to both pack for trips and take along with you while actively fishing there’s a few options here, but make sure to check out our other top lists for fishing backpacks, fly fishing backpacks, waist and chest packs and even waterproof backpacks — there’s some killer options there as well!
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1. Aqua Quest 75 Liter White Water DuffelPros:
- Highly waterproof and abrasion resistant bag
- Tons of space for gear, and external mesh pockets and D-ring attachments for added organization
- Aqua Quest offers a two year warranty on this product
- Four webbing loops on the underside of the bag allow it to be secured to just about anything
- This one likely won’t make most airline carry on requirements
- Very little internal organization — just a big duffel!
- Fairly expensive
You’re going to need a large duffel bag for those longer term, big fishing trips. If you’re boarding a plane to fly fish some serious destinations like the Rockies or Patagonia, or embarking on a cross country road trip with a focus on fishing, you’ll need a spacious bag specific to all your equipment and apparel.
This 75 liter duffel is up for the task of effectively fitting all the gear you’ll need. It’s completely water proof, so rainy ATV rides, wet stream side conditions and wake splash while boating are no problem at all. This bag is meant to keep its contents dry in any event other than outright full submersion. It’s tough too — the material used is Oxford 420D RipStop fabric coupled with TPU lamination and DWR coating.
The stress points of this duffel are also double bar-tacked and all seams are welded. This unit is really meant to withstand some years of heavy traveling and fishing! At less than two and a half pounds, it’s quite a lightweight duffel bag considering its capacity. The shoulder strapping is padded and comfortable to wear even with a lot of weight, and the duffel carries nicely from the regular carry handle as well. There’s conveniently two external mesh pockets included for some added organization and a nice array of D-rings for further securing smaller sized gear externally.
Four webbing loops are also incorporated into the bottom of the duffel that allow it to be snugly and safely secured to racks, vehicles, boats or whatever! Aqua Quest even includes a two year ‘No Worries Warranty’ on this item — a sure sign of sound craftsmenship.
2. Spiderwire Wolf Tackle BagPros:
- All the exterior and interior pockets as well as the clips, pouches and attachment points allow for a high degree of organization
- Perfect carry-on sized bag for bringing along all your fishing gear (minus your rods) in one place
- Includes four tackle boxes and a fishing line dispenser
- Excellent value bag at around $45
- Shoulder strap is nicely padded
- This bag will only really accommodate for your fishing gear
- Some complaints about the durability of where the shoulder strap connects to the pack
- Not the most mobile option for actively fishing despite its smaller size
Here’s another excellent fishing duffel option. This is more of an all inclusive tackle box than a duffel bag you pack clothes in. This unit is perfect for loading up ALL of your tackle, tools, spare reels, and other miscellaneous equipment. It’s mindfully designed to support you while actively fishing — it’s all you’ll need to take down to the water once you reach your fishing destination. This unit will meet carry on requirements if you’re flying somewhere and want a bag that is exclusive to all your fishing gear — just make sure to put any knives or multi tools in your checked luggage!
Crafted from polyester material with a solid PVC backing and molded bottom, the Wolf Tackle Bag is built pretty dam tough. The materials used will ensure this bag holds up to the elements and to any wear and tear you put it through for a good many seasons. There’s definitely tougher packs if that’s what you’re looking for, but for the cost, this unit is an excellent value.
The main interior compartment includes dividers for organizing your internal gear — and Spiderwire even includes four tackle boxes with this purchase! There’s two external front pockets with additional internal organizers and two slots for stashing pliers (or other comparable sized gear). The included removable fishing line dispensers on either end of the pack are a nice added touch that may or may not come in handy depending on your fishing style.
For fly fishermen, it might be practical to have some tippet on hand and spin fishermen might enjoy having a space to effectively store various leader materials. A large rubberized mesh pocket on the back of the pack adds one more layer of storage and organization potential. I personally love the exterior mesh pockets for stashing trash like snack wrappers and cans when out on the water.
All in all, this is a really nicely designed duffel for bringing all your fishing necessities in one package — and it comes at a killer price too!
3. Eagle Creek 60 Liter Cargo Hauler DuffelPros:
- Another great bag for packing tons of gear effectively
- Includes removable straps so this duffel can be worn as a backpack
- Most airlines will likely allow you to carry on this duffel - especially if you wear it as a backpack
- Two exterior pockets allow for some decent organization potential
- Built with water repellent and abrasion resistant materials
- No dual pockets on the end zippers can be frustrating
- Hardly any external storage options — this pack is meant for packing large loads and isn’t set up with organizing smaller gear and equipment in mind
- Fairly expensive option
Here’s one more larger sized duffel bag for really packing a ton of gear. This unit by Eagle Creek is very well reviewed and comes at quite a reasonable cost. This is a 60 liter duffel bag, backpack combination that can really handle a lot of gear.
The removable backpack straps add some serious versatility to this unit. It could be used to overload with everything you need for your big annual fishing trip or also employed as a regular backpack and carried onto a flight or out onto the trail. I like how you can choose between high capacity or portability with this unit depending on how you pack it. The bag itself is just over 10 inches high and 26.5 inches wide.
There are two external zippered pockets for some added organization — but this is not a duffel you’ll be able to really pack mindfully. This is more of a gear tote than a fishing pack that you can load in a particularly organized manner. That being said, this unit will get everything you need from A to B in comfort, security and style.
The Bi-Tech Armor Lite material employed in the construction of this duffel is both water repellent and abrasion resistant so your gear is pretty well secured in there. Absolutely a solid bag for both big and small fishing excursions.
4. Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad, LED Lighted Camo BackpackPros:
- LED light is an awesome built in feature you’ll wonder why you’ve never incorporated into a backpack in the past
- Accommodates for tackle boxes, fishing equipment and smaller sized gear beautifully
- The Nomad XP’s power bank can keep your electronic devices charged while on the road or on the water
- Flat bottom with base pads ensures the pack stands upright when set down and that your gear within stays dry
- This pack is fairly expensive, but the included features are well worth the cost
- This is a cumbersome bag to carry on flights
- Some reviews reporting issues with the LED light
Wild River has designed a killer fishing backpack with the Nomad that employs a thoughtful schematic you’ll learn to master and utilize no matter what style of fishing you’re into. Once you’ve set up a pack like this, it becomes your personal gear locker — your tackle, lunch and fishing accessories all mindfully arranged into a compact, portable unit.
This is a great one for everyday use or for honestly any kind of fishing trip — just grab it and go! There’s all sorts of storage with this bad boy. A large upper compartment containing removable dividers as well as a lower tray compartment stores up to four large tackle trays. Wild River offers this pack alone, or includes four #3600 style tackle trays for only a small additional cost.
The two larger pockets provide an almost excessive amount of storage capacity here — if space is what you’re most interested in with this style pack then this is a great option. In addition to the main backpack compartments, there’s a large array of external pockets and places to secure and mount fishing gear. Between the mesh pockets and exterior loops there’s tons of ways to customize where and how you want to mount your clippers, forceps and whatever else you might want to have on hand.
The bottom of this pack has been built flat and reinforced with base pads so the backpack can stand upright and remain dry when placed on wet ground. Furthermore, there’s a waterproof pouch deeper within the pack perfect for tucking away your paper fishing license or wet-sensitive electronics. This is a large, but mindfully compact work station that will go wherever you go. The materials used in the design as well as the flat, waterproof backpack bottom make this a winner for use traveling — it’s built tough and should stay dry.
Even the strapping is built with careful consideration — it’s not the best feature of this pack by any means but the quality is certainly adequate for handling heavy loads comfortably. Padded shoulder straps and an added sternum strap assist with weight support when you really want to load this unit up. For a fishing backpack at this price this is a highly versatile option with a lot of potential.
The Nomad LED Camo Pack also employs an LED light system into the design. The light runs on two AAA batteries and provides top-down illumination when things get dark so you can fish on! It’s a useful innovation that makes a lot of sense for inclusion on a fishing backpack. You also get a steel cable fishing zinger with this purchase for securing clippers or forceps to the exterior of the pack. A full coverage rain cover is also included so your gear will remain dry no matter what the weather throws your way. If you have the funds to spring for an upgraded version of this pack, you’ll want to check out the Nomad XP LED Lighted Backpack with USB Charging System. It’s the ultimate version of this backpack series by Wild River that can charge your electronic devices directly from an incorporated power bank within the pack. It even comes with four separate power adapter tips (Apple lightening, Apple 30-pin and micro/mini USB) so you can juice up your phone, camera, GPS or whatever else! The purchase also includes two tackle trays — no doubt a kick ass deal from Wild River.
Check out the video below for a look at the Wild River Nomad XP and don’t forget it’s the same backpack base as the regular Nomad.
5. COR Waterproof Dry Bag Roll-Top BackpackPros:
- Totally waterproof
- Two size options to choose from
- Strapping and back panel are built tough and are also breathable
- Great carry on size
- Not a lot of organization potential with this one
- Despite the effective use of space - this pack doesn't have a huge gear load
- There are better waterproof backpack alternatives for fishing from more respected brands but this is an excellent value option
This dry bag style backpack by COR might be just what you need if keeping your fishing gear and apparel bone dry is crucial. This pack offers all the benefits of a traditional dry bag, but also provides the comfort and storage capacity of a good fishing backpack. It’s the ideal backpack for any fishing trip where you need to keep certain items away from wetness.
Not only is this pack totally waterproof, it will even float if dropped in the water making it a great companion for kayaking, float tubing and other fishing styles where your gear has the potential to go overboard. A pack in this style is no doubt necessary if you plan on bringing along any kind of electronics and want to ensure they will be both dry and secure. For fishermen who enjoy bringing a camera, GPS unit or other sensitive electronics along on the stream, lake or ocean, this could be a wise move.
The air mesh padded back panel and shoulder straps create pretty good lumbar support making this pack a fine option for hikes too! It’s not easy to find a true dry bag that also behaves and operates like a nice backpack, so this pack really has it going on. Perhaps the best feature that’s bound to come in handy is the large water resistant zip side pocket, allowing you to effectively access the contents within this pack without having to root through it all.
There’s minimal external storage, so you’ll have to be creative with how you pack and secure your fishing gear. The internal of this pack does provide plenty of space for gear, just not in a particularly organized manner. There’s a 25 and a 40 liter option — so if packing a few extra layers is an essential part of your gear you’ll want the 40 liter pack.
At the end of the day, the absolute protection of your gear from wetness within a highly portable unit is really what you’re paying for with this one.
6. Kelty Redwing 50 BackpackPros:
- Awesome storage capacity and organization potential
- Strapping and internal aluminum stay provide excellent support when carrying heavy loads
- Side sleeves accommodate for rod tubes
- Highly breathable fabrics employed for optimum ventilation
- Meets most airline carry on requirements
- My chest strap popped loose while hiking with this pack super stuffed - be careful not to overload this one
- This pack is fairly expensive despite its great value, consider it a long term investment
- Not for those bckpackers that prefer a top loading style pack
Here’s one for those fishermen who have wilderness excursions on the mind. I really dig the design and functionality of this backpack by Kelty. It’s comparable to a regular style hiking backpack but has a ton of the features you would want in a fishing pack. I purchased this pack for myself this past fall because I needed something to bring with me fishing into the back country. This bag has served me really well — It’s been loaded up countless times now with my waders, boots, multiple rod tubes, lunch, beers and all sorts of other gear.
If you need something to hike a few rugged miles into your favorite fishing hole with, this bag will accommodate for all your fishing gear beautifully and also carries weight really effectively. At 50 liters its almost large enough to full on backpack with, but is probably better used as a day pack or overnight bag. I’ve spent a few nights in the backcountry on multiple occasions with this pack and it always gets me, my fishing gear, sleeping bag and rations in and out of the wilderness.
The main compartment, side pouches and pockets all add up to quite a bit of capacity that can be really effectively organized. The two main side pockets are separate from the main body of the pack creating a sleeve that leads directly into the two water bottle pouches on either side of the pack. These sleeves fit rod tubes nicely so you won’t have to strap your rods in with any sketchy rigging.
The back panel is designed with airflow in mind to keep your body cool on the trail. The shoulder and waist straps are also ventilated for added breathability. This bag is furthermore compatible with a hydration system so you can plan on bringing some water along the convenient and easy way!
This intermediate sized bag is also a panel loader — it can be unzipped from the front and top so you don’t need to dump everything out in order to reach your socks at the bottom of the bag. I’ve personally found that this bag is the ideal size for taking along plenty of gear on the trail without becoming overly cumbersome.
I’ve flown on several airlines with this pack as my carry on so it’s really an ideal size of big, but not too big. At around $100 Kelty offers a pretty kick-ass deal on this one.
7. Allen Company Beaverhead Wader BagPros:
- Separate dry and wet storage
- This bag allows for some pretty righteous organization, even if you’re not using it for waders and boots you’ll find it to be a great fishing bag
- Can be carried on flights if not overstuffed
- Superior quality zippers and clips
- No pull-out panel to change on in order to protect your neoprene stockings (a feature some other wader bags included)
- This isn't a "pack everything" type of travel bag
- No external rod storage
Here’s something every wade fishermen will love owning. This wader bag from Allen Company is an often overlooked, but super useful bag type to own.
There’s two separate portions of this bag for wet and dry storage that are separated by a tarpaulin divider. Your waders and boots are stored down below within the molded EVA bottom where there’s mesh walls incorporated into the design for faster drying.
The upper compartment has some sweet storage options with multiple interior and exterior pockets. There’s even some built in strapping for securing rod tubes — I wouldn’t necessarily trust that strapping on a hike to the stream but for use at the bus station or airport it’s a nice feature.
The gate mouth design stays open quite nicely for easy packing and unpacking — a simple but appreciated design consideration. All the zippers and clips are crafted with good quality hardware and the shoulder strap is both removable and durable. This bag is built exceptionally lightweight at just one pound, but is also a dam tough bag that can take a beating.
When you get out of the water and don’t have a truck bed to toss all your wet gear into, this could be a really great item to own. It’s also an effective way to carry-on some of your most cumbersome gear when flying to fishing destinations.
All things considered, for less than $70 this is a great value and unique bag that you will likely find all sorts of uses for.
8. Leader Accessories PVC Waterproof Dry BagPros:
- Will keep your water sensitive items bone dry
- Packs super easy in a suitcase or backpack so you can bring a one or several with you where ever!
- Quite inexpensive considering what this dry bag does!
- Includes an adjustable shoulder strap
- Strapping is not for long treks - you’ll be more interested in a waterproof backpack if you want to be able to carry your waterproof bag effectively
- No real organization potential
- Not ideal for bringing on flights fully loaded
Lewis and Clark would have flipped out over this unit! If you can expect to get wet on your upcoming fishing endeavors then owning a couple of dry bags might be a smart move.
A simple, but fool proof design, the modern PVC dry bag is great for storing and securing gear during wet weather or while boating or rafting. This dry bag by Leader Accessories is ideal for keeping your water sensitive gear away from the wetness, and it comes at a killer price!
Available in seven different colors and sizes, (5 to 55 liters) there’s a Leader Accessories dry bag that will suit your needs. These dry bags roll up and store really compact, so you can tuck one or several in your luggage for when you need them. I never leave home for any kind of long term trip without a 10 liter dry bag in my backpack — it hardly takes up any space and it’s saved my camera, passport and power bank several times during heavy rains.
This type of storage should not be overlooked as equally effective for shielding your sensitive electronics from fine dust or sand. If your backpacking route or off road ATV trek is going to take you over some dusty trails, you’ll want to consider storing some of your gear in a dry bag for added protection. Leader Accessories even includes an adjustable shoulder strap on this model, so it can be deployed and carried easily when you need it.
When paddling into your favorite campsite or battling soaking rains, stowing your gear in a couple of PVC dry bags will enable you and your crew to fish-on in confidence!
9. Allen Company Eagle River Lumbar Fishing PackPros:
- Great size waist pack for all your essential fishing gear (nippers, forceps, tippet, fly box etc.)
- Will slip into a carry on bag easily or could just be worn onto a flight!
- Over the neck strap
- Mesh water bottle strap
- Obviously this waist pack is not for loading up a lot of equipment other than your essential gear for actively fishing
- Long term durability won't be impressive if you're particularly hard on your gear
- Some complaints about the ability of waist buckle/strapping to hold position
Here’s a high capacity waist pack by Allen Company that can stow a good amount of gear considering its size. We’ve included this pack on this list to get you thinking about every angle of packing for a fishing trip. If you’re already planning on packing a duffel bag, suitcase or fishing backpack for your next big trip, you might want to consider the benefits of a little waist pack.
You can bring a bag like this on a flight as a personal item, or better yet just wear it on board and see if airline workers even say anything! You’ll have everything you need to get on the water in one compact place when you arrive at your destination. This form fitting pack is designed to both fit comfortably on your body and also allow for the storage of all your essential fishing equipment.
This is a great pack for the fly fishermen who wants to leave the cumbersome vest and backpack behind, and just bring along the minimal required gear. There’s room for up to six fly boxes or two nine inch tackle boxes within the main compartment. There is also a zip-down work pad that is equipped with a tippet tender and a fly patch for use actively fishing. It’s a small fold-out work space that is ideal for storing and tying on tippet and flies while on the water.
Multiple D-rings, loops and additional straps are included on the exterior of the bag for storing any other gear you might need. A mesh pouch for securing a water bottle is also conveniently located on the side of this waist pack adding up to some solid overall functionality.
What sets this pack apart from other fly fishing waist packs is the superior strapping. The padded mesh waist straps designed for this unit really hug your body for a snug and sporty fit while fishing. Allen Company has employed materials that allow for you to wear this pack tight to your form without becoming overheated or experiencing uncomfortable chafe.
There’s even an over the neck strap if you discover you need some extra support with heavier loads. This is an all around great fly fishing pack that really has it going on. Adequate storage space, a mindful pocket schematic and a comfortable, streamlined fit make this pack the ideal grab-and-go-fishing option for less than $40! Make sure to read through our Top 10 Best Chest and Waist Packs for Fly Fishing post if this type of pack interests you — there’s some great options there as well!
- Best Waterproof Waist Packs For Fishing
- Best Waterproof Fishing Backpacks
- Best Fishing Shoes For Wet Wading
- Best Fishing Hats for All Anglers
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