Fishing from a boat is great, whether it’s from the elevated perch of a bass boat or up close and personal from the seat of a kayak. Loading, unloading, launching, and maintaining a boat, on the other hand, is a chore few of us look forward to when it comes to fishing. Sometimes we just want to go back to basics, walk to our favorite honey hole, and cast right off the bank. That’s where a great fishing backpack comes in handy.
A good fishing backpack carries all your essential fishing gear, keeps it organized, and frees up your hands for more important things like carrying a cooler or pulling a wagon. This list includes both traditional full-sized fishing backpacks and compact, minimalist fishing slings.
If you’re fishing on foot but like to carry a wide variety of gear and tackle with you, a traditional fishing backpack makes for a durable tackle box with a ton of added utility. The best fishing backpacks carry multiple utility boxes, rods and reels, fishing tools, and have room to spare for outerwear and your lunch.
KastKing Day Tripper Backpack
The Day Tripper from KastKing is one of those packs that seems so underpriced it can’t possibly last. It’s made from hydrophobic 420D nylon, holds four 3600 utility boxes in a sleek side-access pocket, has two pockets for securing fishing rods, includes a ton of dividers to keep you organized, and even has a fleece-lined pocket specifically for your fishing sunglasses. It’s also got a top-notch strap system that includes shoulder, sternum, and waist adjustments to properly distribute weight for all-day comfort. As an added bonus, the waist straps include quick-access hip-belt pockets, which are great for storing regular use items like pliers and cutting tools. Really the only downside to the Day Tripper is that it doesn’t include utility boxes. That’s a minor nit-pick though considering you’ll have plenty of cash left over to kit it out to your liking.
Orvis Waterproof Fishing Backpack
Orvis is known for their high-quality fly fishing gear, and their sling pack is a perennial favorite among fishermen (more on that below). They’ve now introduced a full-sized backpack version of the sling pack, and it’s a great option for mobile/minimalist anglers of all disciplines. Waterproofing duties are handled by TPU coated 500D nylon and a YKK Flexseal zipper (arguably the highest quality closure money can buy) for the main compartment, which means this bag can handle anything from light showers to full submersion. It’s got a ton of thoughtful lashing points on the outside of the pack, two holders for fishing poles and/or water bottles, and a padded bottom that helps protect electronics and other valuables from impacts.
When it comes to organization, the Shimano Blackmoon fishing backpack is tough to beat. The top-loading version includes dedicated storage spaces for everything from leader spools to terminal tackle, and a huge main compartment designed for three 3700-size utility boxes. We especially like the modular front compartment setup, which uses a Velcro wall that holds four removable bait bags. The Blackmoon doesn’t include any dedicated rod holders, but it’s got enough pockets and webbing to rig your own. This fishing backpack also comes in a front load option that holds four vertically stacked utility boxes. Both bags ship with boxes included, so you really can’t go wrong with either.
Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack
This Piscifun backpack is built like an absolute tank. Its 1200D nylon construction will likely outlive us all, as will all four of its vented 3600 utility boxes. Storage capacity is outrageous and includes 11 separate compartments. Among them you’ll find a waterproof pocket for your phone, a hard-molded case to protect your sunglasses, a lined cup holder for bottles or cans, and a hidden stash pocket on the bottom for the dedicated rain cover. It’s also got thousands of glowing reviews online from fishermen of all skill levels and disciplines, so it’s safe to say this one is punching well above its weight class from a pricing standpoint.
Bass Pro Shops Advanced Anglers II Backpack
The Advanced Anglers II design has been a part of Bass Pro Shop’s core tackle system offerings for over two decades. It was a fantastic no-nonsense design when it came out in the 90s, and Bass Pro Shops has stuck to that approach ever since. They’ve updated the design over the years based on customer input, and the latest version is the best to date.
It’s got two main compartments, one on the bottom that holds four 3650-size utility boxes (it comes with two of them), and one top-loader that holds a single 3750 box (also included) as well as bulkier items like extra layers and your lunch bag. The Advanced Anglers II fishing backpack also features dual side pockets for fishing rods, a waterproof compartment for electronics, a fast access external pocket for a smaller 3500-size tackle box (also included), and internal routing for a hydration bladder.
Evolution Outdoors Large Mouth Double Decker Backpack
The Outdoor Evolution Large Mouth is another high-volume fishing backpack with a competitive list of features that includes sweet Mossy Oak “Agua Manta” camo fabric. We like its large openings both from the front utility box pocket and the top loading main compartment. Glove-friendly zipper pulls make getting in and out of the bag a breeze, while high-viz interior colors make it easy to find what you’re looking for. There’s also a sturdy traditional carry handle mounted on top that makes the Large Mouth ideal for dual duty as a traditional tackle bag. Did we mention it comes in Mossy Oak camo?
Plano Z-Series Waterproof
Treated nylon is great, but fully waterproof 500D PVC construction is in a league of its own. If you’ve got every intention of getting your bag soaking wet, the Plano Z-Series is 100% monsoon-ready. Fully welded seams and a roll-down top closure mean you can take this thing out into deep water with peace of mind (saltwater fishermen who like wading into the waves, we’re looking at you). Plano’s Z-Series also comes with two extra large 3700 series StowAway utility boxes, so you’ll have plenty of room to store and organize your tackle. The roll-top closure also gives you added adjustability, so you’ll have room for extra layers or food when you need it and a secure load when you don’t.
Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Backpack
Wild River’s fishing packs have grown in popularity lately thanks to their innovative features and attention to detail. One of the standout features of this fishing backpack is the integrated LED lighting system, which flips from the interior to the exterior of the pack as needed. The hands-free illumination is a big help for anglers who like to get out there early or stay out late. It’s also got some bonus features like a hard molded sunglass holder, a retractable lanyard that’s ideal as a line-cutting tool, and a dedicated holster for pliers. Four 3600-size boxes come with the Tek Nomad, and are securely held in place by an internal Velcro strap. The Tackle Tek also gets bonus points for its overall style, which blends dark brown and olive drab cordura for a vintage outdoors outfitter vibe.
Sling style fishing backpacks are a long-running favorite in the fly fishing world, but their usefulness extends into other disciplines as well. If you like to keep it fast and light or prefer fishing with a few simple go-to pieces of tackle, a fishing sling makes a great addition to your gear collection.
KastKing BlowBak Fishing Sling
If you’re a fan of KastKing gear but like to travel light, take a look at their BlowBak sling style fishing backpacks. These are tough little bags, made from 600D nylon treated with a water repellent coating to help keep your gear dry. We like all the thoughtful features KastKing packed into the BlowBak, like the neoprene rod pocket, secure plier compartment, and versatile Molle strap system. The little sling bag has room for two 3600-size tackle boxes with extra space to spare both inside and in the external pockets. The BlowBak also gets points for having a sling strap that can be swapped left/right depending on your dominant casting hand, which fly fishermen will especially appreciate.
Orvis Waterproof Sling Pack
The original Orvis sling pack has been a go-to for fly fishermen for years. They recently updated the line with this waterproof version, which swaps out eco-cordura fabric for waterproof TPU coated 500D nylon. It’s still got the features anglers love about the original sling like a strap mounted gear station for your pliers and nippers, an external fly-drying patch, a landing net attachment, and two external loops for a tippet holder. The Flexseal YKK zipper protecting the main compartment guarantees your gear will stay dry whether you’re just a deep wader or have a habit of going for unplanned swimming sessions.
Patagonia Stealth Atom 8L Sling
Ask just about any fly fisher which sling bag is on their wish list and they’ll tell you it’s either the Orvis sling mentioned above or the much-loved Patagonia Stealth Atom. Patagonia’s 8-liter fishing pack holds two large fly boxes with room to spare for extra gear, and features an additional waterproof pocket for storing your phone or other electronics safely. It’s also got well thought out exterior pockets for holding all the essentials like pliers, nippers, or spools. The simple but sufficient package is rounded out with a sturdy water bottle pocket that keeps your drink of choice secure between sips.
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