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11 Best Fishing Backpacks: Your Buyer’s Guide

best fishing backpack

Bringing all of your gear fishing can sometimes be a challenging endeavor depending on how far from the car they’re biting. When getting on top of the fish requires a decent hike, it’s absolutely worth owning a nice quality fishing backpack.

There’s a wide array of options out there for carrying in your gear; chest packs, waist packs, and fly fishing vests to name a few — but certain situations call for a full backpack.

We’ve tracked down some great deals on a variety of different style backpacks here. There are packs for when you need to bring along a ton of tackle, packs for insulating your food and drinks and even packs that convert into a seat. No matter what your budget is, there’s something here for you that will change how you pack and hike into your favorite fishing spots.

wild river, fishing backpack, fishing, tackle box backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Huge amount of storage capacity
  • Padded base pad
  • Extensive array of external pockets and attachment points
Price: $132.29 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
wild river fishing backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • LED light system
  • Padded base pad
  • Awesome array of external pockets/attachment points
Price: $193.22 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
orvis waterproof backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fully submersible
  • This pack has a great, low-profile fit
  • Very practical size at 28 liters
Price: $293.54 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Thunderhead fishpond Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super tough 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon constuction
  • 28-liter capacity can hold quite a bit of gear
  • Totally waterproof/submersible
Price: $299.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cor waterproof backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Dry bag style backpack will keep gear bone dry
  • Tough 500D PVC Tarpaulin construction
  • Incorporated reflective patches
Price: $62.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
spiderwire fishing backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lots of external attachment points for gear
  • Bottom of the pack is flat so the pack can stand upright
  • Purchase includes three medium utility boxes
Price: $115.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Camport cooler backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Operates as a seat and a cooler!
  • 330 pound weight limit
  • Super affordable!
Price: $45.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
north coyote fishing backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Includes a large, 17 liter collapsible cooler
  • 42 liters of combined storage
  • Comes with two bonus icepacks
Price: $69.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
kingfisher fishing backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easily converts to a chest pack
  • Highly affordable option
  • Can receive a rod tube
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
maxcatch vest backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Operates as a fly fishing vest and backpack
  • Attractive, low profile look
  • Comes at quite a reasonable cost
Price: $59.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
luckroute dry backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Truly waterproof!
  • Different size and color options
  • Super affordable for a dry bag option!
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Wild River Multi-Tackle Large Backpack

    • Huge amount of storage capacity here - great pack for bringing along all your tackle on regular fishing trips or for traveling with large amounts of gear
    • Padded base pad keeps the bag’s contents dry and allows it to stand upright
    • Awesome array of external pockets and points to secure gear
    • Wild River will include 4 tackle trays for a reasonable additional cost
    • Some complaints that the stitching on this bag wears out after heavy use - understandable if carrying particularly heavy loads
    • Fairly expensive
    • No color selection

    Here’s a great backpack for packing a ton of gear. This pack by Wild River is designed to accommodate for a large amount of tackle and additional fishing equipment.

    There’s a large upper compartment with removable dividers as well as a lower tray compartment for storing up to four large tackle trays.

    Wild River offers this pack as is, or includes four #3600 style trays for a mere additional cost. Between the two larger pockets there’s a large amount of storage capacity here. In addition to the main backpack compartments, there’s a wide array of external pockets and places to fasten fishing gear.

    Between the exterior mesh pockets and loops, there’s plenty of space to customize where you decide to mount your forceps, clippers and whatever else you might want on hand. The bottom of this pack is flat and equipped with base pads so the backpack can stand upright and remain dry when placed on wet ground.

    Furthermore, there’s a waterproof pouch within the pack for stashing your paper fishing license or sensitive electronics.

    It’s a large, but mindfully compact work station that goes where you go. The strapping is pretty decent on this pack – it’s not top notch but the quality is certainly adequate for handling heavy loads. Padded shoulder straps and a sternum strap assist with weight support.

    For a fishing backpack at this price point, this is an excellent option with a lot of potential.

  2. 2. Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad, LED Lighted Camo Backpack

    • LED light system provides you with adequate light for angling before and after dark
    • Padded base pad keeps the bag’s contents dry and allows it to stand upright
    • Awesome array of external pockets and points to secure gear
    • If you spend just a tad more you can own the Nomad XP with a power bank and full charging capabilities
    • Paying significantly extra for an LED light (#2 compared to #1) is a great feature but not exactly a great value - It’s more practical to spring for the Nomad XP
    • Some might not like the camo aesthetic
    • Fairly expensive

    Here’s essentially the same bag by Wild River with a few added features. The Nomad LED Camo Pack is an upgraded version of the previous pack that 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 keep fishing!

    It’s a pretty cool 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 furthermore included with this pack so your gear will remain dry no matter the weather conditions.

    If you have the money this is a nice upgrade from the previous pack – but in my opinion, if you want something with a bit more functionality it’s more practical to purchase the Nomad XP LED Lighted Backpack with USB Charging System for a small additional cost.

    It’s the ultimate version of this backpack series by Wild River that allows you to charge your electronic devices directly from a power bank within the pack. It 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 – quite the awesome deal by Wild River.

  3. 3. Orvis Waterproof Backpack

    • Totally waterproof! Feel free to romp across high water and get this one wet!
    • This pack has a great, low-profile fit - you won’t mind wearing it and actively fishing
    • Awesome array of external storage and fastening points for having all your essential fishing gear on hand
    • Very practical size at 28 liters that gives you some great gear capacity without being too cumbersome
    • Definitely on the more expensive end, but this s a top quality pack that is built to outlast competitors
    • Internal of the bag allows for some organization, but it's more or less one large compartment
    • Some might not like the aesthetic of the large 'Orvis' logo

    If you’re in and out of the stream throughout the day and doing a lot of high wading, then you might be in the market for a 100% waterproof fishing pack. This unit by Orvis is a top of the line fly fishing backpack that you will own for years and years of fishing.

    It’s a little on the pricey side, but for good reason – this pack has it going on.

    The waterproof design allows you to both trek through nasty weather and wade as deep as you please without worrying about the contents of your pack. If you like to bring a camera on the water than this could be the unit that takes your mind off of your camera’s safety and keeps it on fishing.

    There is about 21 liters of internal storage with this pack, so there’s some solid space for packing a good bit of gear. The main compartment has an awesome array of zippered pockets, mesh pockets and dividers for keeping everything organized. The side pocket provides some extra space for stowing the gear you want easy access to while on the water.

    There’s external space for securing rod tubes, fastening forceps/clippers and even for stashing a water bottle.

    There are attachment points for all your essentials so everything you need is on hand. The shoulder strapping is contoured and padded for maximum comfort while on the move and to provide a tight, low profile fit while actively fishing. Because of the TPU coated 500D nylon construction, you’re going to want to keep this pack on while wading so you don’t have to leave your gear on shore.

    The way this pack fits makes it a great companion on the water that’s hardly any more cumbersome than wearing a vest. If you have the funds to spring for this unit you’ll be impressed and delighted by how it performs year after year.

  4. 4. FishPond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack

    • Super tough 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon constuction
    • 28-liter capacity can hold quite a bit of gear
    • Main compartment features a zippered pocket and clear stash pocket
    • 'Daisy chain' and external D-Ring on pack allows for various accessory/tool attachments
    • Compatible with other Fishpond waist/chest packs due to the built-in modular buckles
    • Highly adjustable fit to be properly sized to any angler
    • Low profile, sleek backpack great for actively angling
    • Stylish and professional aesthetic
    • Expensive option
    • Some wider rod tubes will not fit into the side holsters
    • Color choices might be a bit flashy for some

    Here’s another awesome submersible backpack comparable by the Orvis option listed here from our list of the best waterproof fishing backpacks.

    The Thunderhead Submersible Backpack by Fishpond is a high capacity, yet low profile option of fly fishing backpack that you can beat up on and get wet without consequence. This is a truly waterproof, and highly abrasion resistant backpack option that wears very tight to your form for actively angling while offering a highly convenient and practical organization schematic.

    The Thunderhead carries weight well, is built with comfortable strapping and has a highly streamlined design built with active fly fishermen in mind (to avoid line snags and for comfort while actively casting). This is hands down one of the top fly fishing backpacks for actively wading tidal flats, tossing into the wet bottom of a drift boat or trekking through a downpour. 

    Similar to the waterproof backpack option by Orvis listed here, Fishpond has included a smaller sized water-resistant pocket on the pack exterior in addition to the main submersible compartment. It’s the perfect spot for your keys, a small fly box or other smaller sized items you want to have on hand.

    There is furthermore an array of gear webbing or “daisy-chain” on the front of the pack that can be utilized in a variety of ways to externally secure tools and equipment. A carry system is also built into this pack on either side for lashing rod tubes and more to either flank of the Thunderhead.

    Fishpond has also built this pack to be compatible with other Fishpond waist and chest packs so they can be modularly attached – pretty neat.

    I personally love the aesthetic of both color choices, as well as the overall style of the pack. This is a standout fishing backpack with both a tough and professional look. 

    A slim but comfortable form fit, 28 liters of truly dry storage and a plethora of external attachment points for gear – it’s hard to beat the function, performance and aesthetic of the Thunderhead Submersible Backpack by Fishpond!

  5. 5. COR Waterproof Dry Bag Roll-Top Backpack

    • Really effectively combines the traits of a good dry bag AND a good backpack
    • Effective use of limited compartments and pockets for good organization potential
    • Reflective patches are a nice added safety feature
    • Tough 500D PVC Tarpaulin construction makes this bag strong and flexible
    • This pack is not designed specifically for fishing - it’s meant to keep your sensitive items DRY
    • Customer reviews claim this pack has only about a 20 Liter capacity
    • The front zippered pocket is not waterproof in the event the pack gets submerged

    This dry bag style backpack by COR might be what you’re looking for if keeping your gear bone dry is of top importance to you.

    This pack offers all the benefits of a traditional dry bag, but really strives to provide the comfort and storage capacity of a good backpack. This pack will float if dropped in the water, so it could be perfect for kayaking, float tubing and other fishing styles where your gear might go overboard.

    A pack in this style is necessary if you need to stow your electronics knowing they will be both dry and secure. For fishermen who enjoy bringing a camera or other sensitive electronics, 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 longer and more strenuous hikes too! It’s challenging finding a true dry bag that will also behave and operate 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 organize the contents within this pack. There’s not much 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 very organized manner.

    All in all, the absolute protection of your gear from wetness is really what you’re paying for with this one.


  6. 6. Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack

    • Awesome internal schematic - three separate compartments that can be utilized for personal items, food and fishing gear
    • Exterior of the pack has spaces for securing fishing tools, knives or anything else you want on hand
    • Bottom of the pack is flat so the pack can stand upright
    • Comes at a very reasonable price considering this packs potential
    • Purchase includes three medium utility boxes
    • This backpack is water resistant, not waterproof
    • Some might not like the aesthetic of the logo
    • No color options

    Here’s a highly affordable backpack by Spiderwire that could make an excellent fishing companion for virtually any style angler.

    This polyester backpack is built tough and has some pretty great strapping for remaining comfortable throughout the day.

    I really like the internal schematic of this pack – it’s built smart for optimum organization in the field. The smaller top compartment is ideal for storing your personal items while the middle cooler compartment provides insulation and ample space for packing a lunch.

    The lower compartment on this pack is where you can stow all your tackle boxes and other fishing gear – Spiderwire even includes three medium utility boxes with this backpack!

    The exterior of the pack is equipped with mounts for fishing tools, knives, forceps and even has a system for carrying a fishing pole. Your sunglasses even have a safe space to be stored within the specially designed foam molded glasses case. There’s a ton of storage here between the outside and inside of the pack.

    Spiderwire has designed this pack to be flat on the bottom, so it stands upright when you set it down. At the end of the day, this is a highly effective fishing backpack at a seriously reasonable price that you can modify for any type of fishing excursion.

  7. 7. CAMPORT Camping Chair Backpack with Insulated Cooler

    • Operates as a seat and a cooler for your lunch!
    • 330 pound weight limit
    • Super affordable!
    • Several color options available
    • Not really any external attachment points for securing gear - this pack is more geared towards relaxing rather than actively fishing
    • Internal schematic doesn’t allow for much organization
    • Questionable longterm durability

    If having a few beers and kicking back is an integral part of fishing for you, you’re gonna want to check out this unit. Here’s an outdoor backpack that’s designed to operate as a cooler and a seat while you’re out fishing.

    There’s a cooler compartment for storing food and beverages as well as a cup or bottle holder on the face of the pack. It’s a great compact size that allows you to bring a nice sized lunch or plenty of beers that isn’t too cumbersome to actually hike with.

    Customer reviews claim this pack can handle a maximum of about 24 cans. The steel tubing can handle up to 330 pounds, so there’s some serious strength in the frame.

    The fabric is double layer oxford fabric that should hold up fine to at least a few seasons of heavy fishing. There’s not a ton of space to bring all your fishing gear if you load up the cooler portion with food and beverages, so you might need to pair this unit with a waist pack in order to get all your required gear to the water.

    For the angler who needs a place to rest their bottom and a cold one ready in the cooler, this could be the perfect fishing companion.

  8. 8. North Coyote Insulated Cooler Backpack

    • Includes a large, 17 liter collapsible cooler for keeping food, drinks and bait fresh!
    • 42 liters of combined storage
    • Comes with two bonus icepacks
    • Great price point
    • Not a ton of external points to attach gear
    • No hard plastic liner within the cooler so you’ll have to pack the cooler compartment mindfully
    • Questionable long term durability

    Here’s a cooler backpack that’s definitely more capable and competent as a fishing backpack than the last unit – but then again you can’t use it as a seat!

    This insulated cooler pack by North Coyote is a killer hiking backpack that has some solid organization potential for all your fishing gear.

    The main cooler space, front zippered pocket, and side mesh pockets combine to a total of 42 liters! There’s also a few clips and zipper loops that can work as effective attachment points for your clippers, forceps or whatever else.

    The cooler is pretty large on this one, totaling 17 liters! The cooler compartment is also collapsible so you can keep this pack low profile when you don’t have a full lunch packed. The strapping is of nice quality for some rigorous hiking and the fabric is tough enough to handle some regular abuse.

    For the cost, this pack is a steal that will make an awesome bag for fishing excursions and all sorts of other purposes.

  9. 9. Kingfisher Backpack Chest Pack Combo Set

    • Easily converts to a chest pack so you can shed the backpack containing your bulkier items when you reach your fishing spot
    • Has a space on the side of the pack for receiving a rod or rod tube
    • Lightweight bag with comfortable strapping - this is a solid bag to hike in
    • Highly affordable option
    • Water resistant, not waterproof
    • This pack although adequately sized does not provide a ton of space for packing big loads
    • No color selection

    Kingfisher has come up with a pretty unique yet awesome backpack here. This purchase gets you a backpack and a chest pack, as well as a free fly box from Kingfisher.

    The chest pack is detachable from the backpack – it’s a cool system that allows you to shed the majority of your gear weight when you finish hiking and arrive at the fishing spot.

    By being able to pop off the chest pack, you can separate your main fishing equipment from your lunch and other packed gear and be ready to rock once you reach the water.

    This is really a fly fishing pack, but it should operate great for any style fishing. The heavy-duty polyester material is built to take a beating and also handles wetness pretty well. There is a main compartment and three additional zippered pockets on the main backpack for separating all your gear.

    It’s not a huge pack by any means but there’s ample space for a layer, lunch and your fishing essentials. Overall, this is a tough little chest/backpack at a great price that you will no doubt enjoy the versatility of.

  10. 10. Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Backpack

    • Operates as a fly fishing vest and backpack
    • Great array of storage and attachment points so all your gear is at your finger tips
    • Attractive, low profile look
    • Comes at quite a reasonable cost considering you can spend far more on a comparable vest with no backpack capabilities
    • Nowhere to attach a rod tube - you’ll have to modify something if you want to be able to carry your rod hands free
    • The stitching of this vest is not terribly durable - you won’t be able to beat up on this unit for more than a season or two if you’re particularly hard on your gear
    • No color selection

    Here’s a seriously cool approach to a fly fishing backpack by Maxcatch. This vest/backpack combination is an innovative and effective design that solves the issue of needing just a bit more storage on your vest.

    This is essentially an effective normal fly fishing vest that’s capable of being loaded up for those longer treks out to the stream.

    There are two main molded pockets on the front for stashing your flies and three expandable zippered pockets for the rest of your gear located on the back. The front of the vest is fully functional – there’s space for flies, forceps, clippers, tippet and whatever else you might need.

    There’s an attachment point for a net on the side of the pack as well as several other D-rings and loops. Essentially, this is a nice quality fly fishing vest with some added storage on the back for bringing along more gear.

    The fabric is water-resistant and lined with mesh for breathability and the vest itself is highly adjustable for a good fit. This unit even has a tough, low profile look that’s bound to turn heads.

    All in all, this is a versatile and effective vest/pack that comes at an affordable price.

  11. 11. LuckRoute 10 or 20 Liter Waterproof Dry Backpack

    • Waterproof bag that will keep sensitive items dry and even float if dropped in the water!
    • Great low-profile design that won’t get in the way while actively fishing and is comfortable to wear
    • Super affordable option! Comparable competitor packs can cost FAR more
    • Different size and color options
    • Not a ton of storage for packing heavier loads
    • Not specifically designed for fishing, but with a little creativity you can modify this pack to perform great
    • Strapping is not ideal for carrying heavy loads

    Here’s another dry bag option for keeping your water sensitive gear bone dry.

    This roll top closure pack by LuckRoute comes as either a 10 or 20-liter unit. It’ double layered for maximum durability so you can avoid punctures and tears long into it’s lifespan.

    There’s not a ton of internal organization potential, but within the zippered pocket, there’s an organizer for adding some rings and hooks for securing gear. The 20-liter model has some pretty decent storage space while the 10-liter bag will only really accommodate for your essential items. Both units are very low profile and should fit great for actively fishing with the pack on.

    This pack comes in both black and yellow, so you can choose whatever color suits you best. The cell phone pocket is an ideal space to store your phone and also great for stashing your paper license.

    The combined storage of this pack doesn’t add up to a lot – but for bringing just the fishing gear you need this is a pretty awesome pack that won’t cost you much!