We tested dozens of the most popular fishing bags to pick and review the top 10 best fishing backpacks in 2020. Find the top picks below along with an exclusive in-depth buying guide.
You’ve got all your fishing gear, and now you just need a place to store it. Fishing backpacks are far superior to regular rucksacks – they’re equipped with all the handy pockets and features you could need to organize your kit.
If you consider yourself to be a modern fisherman, you need a fishing backpack. There’s no reason to lug about that clunky tackle box anymore, as this review will cover the best fishing backpacks for every scenario.
The SHIMANO BLACKMOON is a lake or river fishing backpack that’s designed with comfort and durability in mind.
If hiking to the perfect fishing spot is part of the enjoyment of your hobby, the SHIMANO BLACKMOON will keep your back and shoulders comfortable with thick padded shoulder straps.
This tackle backpack with rod holder is also a great bag for storage, with a zippered front opening and side pockets to give you easy access to lots of little pockets and slots for separating your gear.
The two utility boxes that come with the backpack offer storage options for those fishing essentials that you don’t necessarily want to leave out in the open inside your bag.
Ideal for budget-conscious anglers, the Piscifun Fishing Tackle Storage Bag is a cross-body sling bag that offers a compact storage solution for all your fishing gear.
The bag comes with four double-sided tackle trays, which are especially useful for storing longer artificial bait. These tackle boxes have handles, making them easy for grabbing if you just want to fit a quick fishing session in before work.
This water-resistant cross-body bag comes with two left/right detachable shoulder straps, letting you customize the fit of the bag to suit your tastes.
You can wear it as a backpack, a sling shoulder bag, a handbag, or a chest bag, and with easy adjustability, you’ll be able to fit it to your body shape comfortably.
The Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack is one of the best premium options when it comes to fishing storage. It’s not too complicated in design, but is equipped with all the storage compartments you need to pack a weekend’s worth of gear.
The backpack comes with a divider, which is handy for separating your larger equipment. You can easily remove it if you’d rather have more open space.
The material of this bag is lightweight and waterproof, and with a rain cover for additional protection, you’ll benefit from using it as a surf fishing or saltwater fishing backpack in splashier environments.
There’s also a smart inner LED lighting system that you can use in low light – ideal if you’re a fan of early-morning or late-night fishing.
For anglers who enjoy hiking to their fishing spot, the Spiderware Fishing Backpack is the most convenient carrying solution. With a top compartment for personal items, a middle cooler for the all-important fishing snacks, and a lower compartment with three utility boxes, this fishing backpack provides all the storage space you could need without the bulkiness of a larger bag.
The three utility boxes that come with this bag are ideal for storing tackle and bait, and with a zippered front, you’ll be able to get quick and easy access to your supplies whenever you need them.
The bag also has a removable fishing tool holder attached to either side for your smaller essentials, and a flat bottom for sitting upright on the ground.
The Wild River CLC WT3606 Multi-Tackle Large Backpack is designed for the fisherman who has all the gear, and then some.
With an abundance of storage space, including a large upper area with removable divider, there’s plenty of room to stash enough fishing gear to last several days.
If you enjoy the practicalities of fishing, you’ll be able to make use of the bag’s built-in work surface, which you can access by folding down the front pocket cover once you’ve pitched up on the riverside.
You’ll also find a waterproof pocket in your bag, which is handy for storing electronics and other delicate items. With large, adjustable padded shoulder straps, this bag fits comfortably even when filled with heavy gear.
Fishing isn’t always relaxing in the sun with a cold beer, and the Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack is prepared for all climates and weather conditions. The bag is made from superior high quality water-resistant high-density nylon fabrics, and uses a durable buckle and zippers – essentially, it’s built to last, no matter what you put it through.
This fishing bag is divided into 11 different compartments for convenient storage. With breathable shoulder straps and an additional rain cover, the Piscfun backpack keeps your gear protected from the elements in surf fishing or ice fishing, or when the weather takes an unpredictable turn. For late-night anglers, the bag’s reflective light straps should keep you safe when walking to and from your fishing spot.
The KastKing Pond Hopper Fishing Sling Tackle Storage Bag is a lightweight, small fishing backpack that’s built for the more adventurous angler.
If you enjoy hiking or canoeing to your fishing locations, this water-resistant backpack makes for a convenient travel companion. Suitable for use as a freshwater or saltwater fishing backpack, this bag offers just the right amount of storage space for your fishing essentials.
While this crossbody backpack may be on the smaller side, it’s not short of handy organizational features.
There’s an integrated holder for fishing rods or water bottles, internal pockets for storing tackle, a main compartment for larger gear, and front-mounted straps for attaching plier, line clippers, and other necessities.
The Prospo 40L Fishing Backpack Military Tactical Assault Daypack is a multi-use backpack with practical options for hiking and trekking, hunting, combat and fishing.
It comes equipped with all the practical features for optimum storage, comfort and hydrating during a fishing excursion.
This all-purpose backpack is designed to keep you comfortable during longer walks, and stocked up with all the fishing essentials for when you reach your destination. With a detachable chest strap and weight belt, you’ll be able to evenly distribute weight when carrying heavier loads.
The bag can hold up to 40 litres, and if that’s still not enough storage space for you, the backpack comes with webbing across the front to attach your tie-on and clip-on fishing gear.
For anglers who enjoy organizing their tackle into a tackle box or two, the X-Large 'Blackstar' Fishing Backpack is the fishing backpack for you.
This tackle backpack with rod holder is extra tall and deep, and has a large enough storage capacity to hold 4x 3650 containers – which are all included with the backpack.
The backpack’s straps are thick and cushiony, to keep you comfortable when you’re carrying extra loads for longer fishing trips. With a saltwater and corrosion-resistant outer material, you’ll be able to use this fishing backpack with peace of mind in rainy environments or areas with sea spray.
There’s also a rain/sea spray cover for additional protection.
The Ghosthorn Fishing Tackle Backpack Storage Bag is designed for carrying all the fishing gear you’ll need for a day at the water, including up to two fishing rods.
This tackle backpack features rod belts on its side, which you can tighten to securely hold your fishing rods in place. You can adjust the bag’s shoulder strap to wear it as a sling shoulder bag or backpack to suit your preferences.
This backpack’s size is ideal for anglers who pack light with all the essentials.
The inside of the bag is roomy enough to comfortably store all of your fishing gear, like lures, pliers, a 3700 tackle box, wallet and phone without being too bulky.
Now that you know of some of the best fishing backpacks on offer right now, you’ll be able to get serious with the buying process. Before you make a fishing backpack purchase, though, it’s worth thinking about what you want to get out of the bag.
A fishing backpack is a long-term investment, especially if you’re just starting out as a beginner to the hobby. Chances are, you’ll take your fishing backpack with you on every future endeavour into the outdoors, so making the right purchase will prevent petty annoyances and “if onlys” from cropping up in the future.
Here’s what you need to consider before you buy a fishing backpack:
The type of fishing backpack you opt for usually comes down to personal preference. Many people prefer the style and fit of traditional backpacks, which typically have two straps, one for each shoulder, and fall in the middle of the back. The benefit of a traditional backpack is that it evenly distributes the weight of its contents across both the shoulders, giving you the most comfortable fit.
Frame backpacks are another popular option for fishing. They look a lot like a standard backpack, but they tend to have a more rectangular shape, with harder edges. Frame backpacks usually have bigger storage capacities, making them ideal for storing fishing gear for a longer trip away. However, they don’t always provide a flexibility in movement equal to a traditional backpack.
The final backpack option you’ll see for fishing is the sling shoulder, or cross body, bag. This fishing backpack utilizes a single strap that you can wear over one shoulder. This offers the convenience of a bit more freedom around the shoulders if you’re carrying your backpack while fishing. Keep in mind that almost all sling shoulder bags let you choose which shoulder the bag falls over, and come with an additional adjustable strap for converting into a standard backpack if you’d prefer.
The type of fishing you enjoy most should determine the amount of storage space you opt for in a fishing backpack. If you prefer quick bursts of lakeside fishing before or after work, having enough storage space for a surplus of supplies isn’t necessary. If you’re a fan of day-long fishing excursions, or you often take fishing weekends away, having a backpack that you can store all your gear in is essential.
When considering the storage space of a particular backpack, think about how you might be able to use that space to fit your own equipment. For example, if you often carry lots of larger gear, or just-in-case outer layers of clothing, it’s worth looking for a bag with a bigger main storage compartment. If you prefer to travel light and carry lots of smaller fishing tackle, look for backpacks with plenty of handy storage zip-pockets and compartments.
Many fishing backpacks come with their own tackle boxes, which you’ll be able to use to organise your smaller pieces, like bait and hooks, and be certain that you’ve got enough with you to last your entire trip. The zipped front-middle of the backpack at the base is typically the area that holds these boxes.
When it comes to water resistance, some fishing backpacks are better than others. You might not even need a backpack that’s water resistant – if you pitch up a tent at the lakeside and store your bag inside during the day, it should stay safe and dry anyway. But if you fish on-the-go and in all weather conditions, a water-resistant fishing backpack will help keep your gear safe in the rain.
Your preferred methods of fishing will also determine your need for a water-resistant bag. Surf fishing calls for water resistance, as it’s likely that your backpack is going to be on the receiving end of a fair few saltwater splashes. The best water-resistant fishing bags are also corrosion-resistant, reducing damage from saltwater in particular.
For additional protection, some fishing backpacks come with a waterproof cover, which you can quickly pop on in rainy conditions. It’s probably not worth paying extra for a backpack with this feature unless you regularly fish in unpredictable weather conditions. In any case, a waterproof cover is not of ultimate importance when it comes to buying a backpack. You can always buy a cover separately, which should be flexible enough to fit on backpacks of all shapes and sizes.
Whether you fish in saltwater or freshwater, during the day or night, having a durable fishing backpack is never not important. In all cases, the more durable the bag, the longer it’ll last, and durability almost always comes down to material quality.
Of course, there are situations where durability would be particularly useful, like if you’re planning to use your bag to carry heavy loads, or you frequently hike or canoe to your fishing spots. The last thing you want is for your fishing bag to tear under the weight of your gear, and luckily, most bags are designed with strength and sturdiness in mind.
If you’re using your fishing backpack on a once or twice-weekly basis, you should be able to get at least three-to-five years of use out of it before it starts to lose its quality. Look for a bag with thick, sturdy shoulder straps and high-quality zippers. Some fishing backpack manufacturers offer a one-year warranty on their products, which is worth looking into for that little bit of extra peace of mind.
Ultimately, while a fishing backpack that looks great is a clear plus-point, comfort is the biggest practical consideration to make before committing to a purchase. No matter how you prefer to fish, and how much gear you carry, there will always be times when you’ll need to carry your backpack on your shoulders – i.e. put it to its intended use –to get from one location to another.
The most convenient fishing backpacks are comfortable enough to have on your back while fishing. You’ll find that the majority of backpacks are designed with padding in their shoulder straps and back panel to muffle the weight of the bag, keeping things relatively comfortable even while you’re carrying heavy loads.
For some people, comfort and style may be linked. A two-strap backpack gives the benefit of more even weight distribution, which should reduce the likelihood shoulder pain. Comfort may also be affected by bag size – the bigger the backpack, the more tempted you’ll be to fill it with heavy equipment, while with a smaller bag, you’ll be a lot more careful to pack only the things you truly need.
Still left with questions? We’ve covered the most common queries relating to fishing backpacks below:
While a regular backpack is usually limited in storage options, a fishing backpack is a far more convenient solution for a keen angler. Fishing backpacks feature pockets and compartments that are specifically designed for fitting and storing fishing tackle.
Many fishing backpacks have rod-holding capabilities, front mesh for attaching pliers and quick-grab fishing tools, and zipped partitions for tackle boxes. With a fishing backpack, rather than just piling your gear on top of itself, you’ll be able to organise your stash to quickly unpack what you need as soon as you arrive at your fishing spot.
Another advantage of a fishing backpack is that it’ll offer you more flexibility and movement than a standard backpack. It’s designed to be worn during fishing, so your arms will have the space to move about without feeling restricted by your straps. Most fishing backpacks are waterproof, or at the very minimum, water resistant, so if you’re caught up in rainy weather, your gear will stay safe and dry.
Whether you fish every weekend or you take one fishing holiday a year, you’ll benefit from a fishing backpack. Ultimately, it comes down to convenience – with a fishing backpack, you’ll know exactly where your gear is, so you won’t need to rummage various bags and boxes around and panic that you’ve left things behind.
Nobody needs a fishing backpack, but fishing without one is a bit like wearing a standard pair of runners instead of hiking shoes to trek up a mountain. When it’s the more practical option, it just makes sense to have one.
We can’t tell you what type of fishing backpack you should opt for. Analyse your own fishing habits, and decide which design suits you best. There’s very little difference in price between fishing backpacks based on type, so it’s worth taking a product’s other factors into consideration aside from just style only.
Wondering whether you even own enough fishing gear to fit into a backpack? You’d be surprised – if you consider how much you usually carry in separate bags, boxes, and even in your own pockets, you’ll probably come up with quite a lot of gear, including:
You really can pack anything in your fishing backpack. Most backpacks have plenty of space in their main compartments for larger gear, and more zip pockets than you’ll know what to do with.
Of course not! Fishing often accompanies other activities, like hiking, canoeing and camping. There’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of your fishing backpack’s storage potential for trips away and other outdoor activity. A durable fishing backpack should see you through several years of enjoyment, no matter how you choose to use it.
The features of a fishing backpack vary from one to another, but some of the best components to look out for include the following:
You don’t necessarily need all of the above components in a fishing backpack, but the more it has, the more convenient it’ll be.