Backpacks for hunting - Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best hunting gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best hunting backpacks. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional hunters and target shooters, we have concluded that the GamePlan Gear STBK-INF is the best because it features a user-friendly design and can be wrapped around a tree to provide a spot where you can place your equipment. Besides, the carrying system boasts a padded stock boot and a myriad of zippered pockets that can enable you to organize your gear in a more efficient manner. If the GamePlan Gear STBK-INF is unavailable, perhaps you might want to consider a scabbard backpack as we’ve noticed that the Eberlestock Gunrunner is just as good in terms of performance and quality.
Our top choices - Find the best backpack for your needs
Best bow backpack
The best bow hunting backpack accommodates not just the various odds and ends that comprise your hunting gear arsenal, but most importantly, it should provide for the efficient and safe transport of your archery hunting weapon. If the storage system imposes a clumsy way of weapon transport, it will only slow you down and even pose a hazard.
An efficient weapon carrying system allows easy removal of your weapon without getting caught in anything as you take the bow out and aim it. Your weapon should not get damaged or any part of it broken or bent out of shape as you extract it from the weapon carrying system of the backpack or bag. A hunting backpack or bag should offer optimal functionality by keeping your hands completely free to climb, hang on to or hold hunting trail appurtenances.
GamePlan Gear STBK-INF
Innovatively designed to serve as a cross-utility pack, the GamePlan Gear STBK-INF comes with a hunting-friendly design and the ability to wrap around the tree to provide a padded backrest for when you decide to wait for your target while sitting down.
Providing quick access to all your gear, this efficient hunting gear carrying system has an exclusive padded ‘stock boot’ that takes in a gunstock, your crossbow or even the cam wheel of your bow, keeping your hands free when following the hunting trail.
Because of this, you can use your hands to maintain your stability or balance when crossing a bridge or plank along the way, or get a secure handhold when climbing or crossing over. The backpack has multi-zippered pockets for hassle-free organization of your hunting gear.
The adjustable foam collar ensures secure holding of a foregrip or bow riser in place. This storage and carrying system is versatile enough to accommodate a crossbow, traditional or compound bow, or firearm.
There is little doubt why this option is a favorite among hunters. For one, it carries an innovative design that enables it to serve as a cross-utility pack. It easily wraps around the tree. The backpack is equipped with a padded backrest so you can rest against it while waiting for the target to show up.
It offers an effective transport system for all your hunting essentials while ensuring easy access to them. The unique padded ‘stock boot’ accommodates the stock of your hunting firearm, the cam wheel of your hunting bow, or even your entire crossbow.
This carrying system keeps your hands free, so you can support yourself when you have to make tough crossings or traverse a challenging trail.
For the hassle-free organization of every piece of hunting gear, the backpack features multi-zippered pockets.
An adjustable foam collar holds a foregrip or bow riser in place securely. This backpack is truly designed for bowhunting and hunting rifles.
One customer who owns an Excalibur crossbow says the weapon is not a good fit for the backpack.Buy from Amazon.com for ($93.25)
Best scabbard backpack
A top quality hunting bow pack or one designed for firearm transport is crafted with superb attention to detail. The first thing to consider is the material it is made of.
You want the hunting storage system to be made of water-resistant or waterproof, lightweight yet durable material. The fabric should demonstrate ‘noise discipline’ as well as scent-free technology. This is of primary importance because you are hunting species with razor-sharp senses.
Durability should be guaranteed by the hunting pack, along with a lightweight design. Most importantly, it should deliver an efficient and safe means of transporting your hunting weapon, whether it is a bow or firearm. Extraction of your weapon should still be quick and easy, without the tool getting broken or rendered unusable because of damage to its crucial components.
Look for packs that hold everything in securely and safely. Check out the ones that come with a scabbard-type weapon carrying system, which ensures effortless slipping in and out of your weapon while guaranteeing safety.
Rifle hunting can be fun and exciting, and the Eberlestock Gunrunner is engineered to support that hunting style. This product is a minimalist and lightweight rifle pack designed for hunters who seriously want their hands free to navigate the hunting trail while still keeping their weapon within easy and quick access during the most critical moments.
It is a gear transport system that offers efficient functionality without compromising on user safety and storage capacity.
It comes with just the right level of gear storage for an entire day of hunting. The capacious top compartment offers more than enough room to take in your calls, range finder, portable GPS device and similarly-sized equipment. The main storage compartment accommodates food and clothing for a whole day of outdoor adventure. This model is compatible with your choice of hydration system.
The crossed horizontal and vertical compression straps serve to attach various hunting gear to the backpack. This pack also provides load stabilization feature via the removable waist belt to enable you to move with agility.
Expertly geared to support the rifle hunting lifestyle, this hunting equipment carrying system offers a minimalist yet functional design that ensures real value for the money.
Lightweight yet superbly roomy, the backpack leaves your hands-free to handle the various demands of the hunting trail. That is while keeping your weapon within easy reach all the time.
Offering an efficient functionality, the backpack ensures your safety. It has an ample storage capacity to hold your essential hunting gear and keep it within easy access.
Thanks to the generous top compartment, you can secure a range finder, various calls, a portable GPS device, and other pieces of equipment with similar sizes.
If you intend to spend an entire day outdoors, you can keep food and clothing supplies in the main storage section. The backpack also accommodates your water bottle.
According to a customer, AR-type platform rifles or tactical-style ones with more than 50mm scope objective sizes tend to eat up plenty of space in the backpack.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Best lightweight backpack
For a hunting survival pack to truly live up to its name, it should offer a lightweight design by way of any number of features. This includes a unique hyperventilation suspension system that keeps the backpack off your back without making it feel awkwardly loose. There have to be enough pockets for gear and when needed, the pack should even carry oversized loads while guaranteeing stability/balance.
Some models come with a revolutionary design that still incorporates all the great features hunters want while reducing the overall weight. This ensures freedom in mobility along with comfort in equipment transport. Look for packs with a really functional waist belt and load filter straps so the weight is uniformly distributed even with heavy loads.
Some packs boast an innovative fluted internal aluminum frame stay along with padded hip belts to distribute the entire weight of the storage system evenly and efficiently and make the unit feel substantially lighter than it really is.
Tenzing TZ 1200 9818-03-P
Providing a lightweight solution to hunters, the Tenzing TZ 1200 9818-03-P is designed to be hydration-compatible so it can carry your water supply and other essential gear. With its low profile design, this hunting day pack has 8 pockets and compartments in all to accommodate all your hunting essentials. The two-liter water reservoir compartment makes the pack suitable for day or tree stand hunting.
The breathable mesh back pad ensures easy airflow to make the backpack easy to carry even when the weather turns really warm. The padded hip panels ensure comfortable carrying as you traverse the hunting trail. This backpack comes with an expandable main compartment that accommodates your variety of hunting gear through the seasons.
The storage pockets are organized to allow easy placement of gear as well as effortless adding of items when needed. As lightweight as they come, this model is just 2 pounds heavy but offers a generous 1,211 cubic inches of storage space that can easily expand to hold even more.
Providing a substantial carrying capacity for your critical hunting equipment, this backpack is made lightweight for the problem-free transport of your gear during a trek to the hunting spot.
You will surely love how the backpack effortlessly carries your water supply along with other essentials during the hike. It has a low-profile design that will not interfere with your view of the hunting terrain.
You have eight pockets and compartments where you can keep your gear secure and safely stored during transport. The water supply compartment holds up to 2 liters of water in a receptacle for easy access.
To ensure comfort even during long treks, the carrying system features padded hip panels, so they do not rub painfully against your body.
At only 2 pounds, this backpack is superbly lightweight and will not weigh you down. Its storage space expands easily for more room to hold everything.
Although this is purely a matter of preference, one customer doesn’t find the backpack to their liking.Buy from Amazon.com for ($94.49)
Best large backpack
When buying a hunting backpack, you have to ensure that it’s suitable for your size as well as the quantity of gear or the load it will carry. A day pack is enough for an entire day of hunting, but if you have to spend several days or even a week tracking your target, you’re going to need a very large capacity hunting backpack.
You will also need to factor in the meat you will carry after the hunt, and this can eat up as much as 15 to 20 percent of the total weight of your load when going back from the hunt. To handle this, you can buy a really large hunting backpack, or a nicely expandable one. You can always get a separate duffel bag in which to stuff the meat in, but that would mean another item to carry.
Outfitted with a T-6 aluminum aircraft frame that works with your body’s natural ability to support weight loads comfortably, this hunting backpack comes with a unique batwing design to create a near-perfect center of gravity so it can serve as an effective day pack and a meat hauler at the same time.
Designed both for rifle and archery hunters, this backpack is equipped with a variety of pockets, straps and other compartments for hassle-free carrying of crucial hunting equipment such as tripods, spotting scopes and more. Each side of the backpack has a pistol holster. In addition, this backpack has a meat shelf to hold your prize.
Boasting high-quality craftsmanship, this hunting pack utilizes the strongest, most waterproof and quietest material for this type of gear: KXO-32™ fabric. This backpack is also compatible with your hydration system.
Made out of special KXO-32 fabric, this US-made backpack delivers the functionality, quality craftsmanship, and style that any serious hunter would want in a gear transport system. It is capable of carrying a heavy load comfortably.
Designed with intelligent ergonomics, the backpack features a cutting-edge T-6 aluminum aircraft frame that supports the natural ability of your body to carry loads in comfort.
Thanks to the bat-wing design, the backpack effectively serves as a strong carrying system for meat. It can also be an efficient daypack, which makes it ideal for rifle and bowhunters.
There’s always enough room for critical hunting gear in this backpack. It features several pockets as well as functional storage compartments to hold tripods, spotting scopes, and more. You also have pistol holders on each side along with a convenient meat shelf.
While this model makes a pretty good option for hunters, field scientists who need better organization of their work gear might not find it a practical choice.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Best waterproof backpack
In the barest minimum, a good quality backpack should either be waterproof or water-resistant. Those two attributes are not the same. Water resistant packs are unable to block water or moisture out. They are only able to do so to a certain degree but not completely. This offers the lowest level of protection.
Water-repellent bags are not easily penetrated by water but have attributes that make them hydrophobic or capable of repelling water. Water-repellent packs are highly likely coated with a certain form of thin-film nanotechnology, and this may be on the inside or outside or even both.
Waterproof backpacks are able to block water or moisture from their contents. Even when you have to kayak to the hunting site, or if you sweat profusely, are met by rain, or have to go through moisture-inundated trails, a waterproof backpack protects its contents so items such as matches are not rendered useless.
This product comes with molle webbing throughout to accommodate the attachment of additional tactical gear or pouches for three-day supplies.
Outfitted with heavy-duty double-stitched zippers and utility-style cord pulls, this backpack protects its contents well so you are ensured that the items stay usable when you need them. The side and front load compression system allows hassle-free packing of hunting gear while keeping everything balanced and nicely stored inside.
The stabilizer/load lifter straps enable you to make small adjustments on the bag’s center of gravity. You can pull the stabilizer straps tightly to bring the center of gravity and the straps of the bug closer to your body when you go uphill. Loosening the stabilizer straps drives the center of gravity away from your body to provide more stability when going downhill.
Designed as a tactical assault backpack, this option is made from high-density fabric. It is water-resistant and durable so it can be used for many seasons.
This model uses double stitching in its construction, so you won’t need to worry that the seams will get ripped easily with constant use.
Fitted with heavy-duty zippers, the backpack also features utility-style cord pulls to secure every item stored inside. The cord pulls also make it easy to close the compartments.
You can optimize the front and side load compression systems that secure everything in place to prevent the items from bumping into each other because of loose space.
Carrying this backpack is easy and will not be abrasive to your back because it comes with a comfortable padding on the back area.
One customer says one of the hip belts was a little loose and needed to be tightened every now and then.Buy from Amazon.com for: See the Price!
Best quiet backpack
‘Noise discipline’ is yet another aspect among the many that hunters should look into when buying a backpack for their needs. In simple terms, this refers to the ability of the backpack to reduce its noise production level. Noise reduction is quite crucial since the hunted species has sharp senses, both olfactory and auditory. Therefore, a backpack made of noisy material provides a huge setback to your hunting plans.
If the hunting backpack is virtually noiseless, this contributes to the necessary stealth factor that keeps you hidden from the prey.
The animal won’t be alerted to your presence, as sound can be carried by the wind easily. The fabric or material used in the construction of the backpack has a lot to do with this element. Noisy zippers and Velcro are a no-no as well since they could startle the prey when used during the hunt.
Timber Hawk Killshot
Big enough to hold sufficient gear for more than one night in the wilderness, the Timber Hawk Killshot KPB001-TMB-RAX-Parent comes with a small enough profile for efficient and quiet navigation of the hunting trail.
Constructed using brushed polyester tricot supplemented with PVC tracking, this backpack boasts quiet cloth construction along with a generous-capacity main storage compartment.
Load stability is maintained thanks to the raptor compression straps. Get instant and easy access to stored items thanks to the left and right hip belt accessory pockets. The revolutionary Hawk-Eye binocular strap system allows easy carrying of your target-sighting device for remarkable convenience.
The Silent Stalk quick-ejection clips enable you to drop the backpack hurriedly, such as during critical moments when you need to be in shooting position immediately. The blaze orange pull-out rain fly provides extra protection from moisture to keep your stored gear dry and still functional when you need them. The bottom and top lashing points offer extra storage on the outside of the pack.
Made from polyester, this backpack helps you enjoy any backcountry adventure while having all the needed gear with you. It comes with a small enough profile that won’t impede your progress in challenging hiking trail.
Made large enough to handle your critical equipment within easy access, this smart outdoor gear transport system enables you to carry enough supplies for two days outdoors.
The quiet cloth material does not generate noise, which is essential when tracking your prey. Thanks to the raptor compression straps, the stored gear remains stable inside and will not be making a lot of noise as you move.
This option comes with some really cool features you will love including the Silent Stalk quick-ejection clips for the quick dropping of the backpack when needed. It also has the Hawk-Eye binocular strap system to hold your sighting device within easy access.
The spotting scope pocket can’t be closed once the sighting device is placed in it.Click to see the price on Amazon!
7 items you might need in your deer hunting pack
It is best to start packing your deer hunting pack even when the season for the activity is still a long way away. This is to ensure that you don’t inadvertently leave anything once you need to leave for the woods. This is a rundown of the items you may need in your deer hunting pack.
A gear rope enables you to haul your hunting gear towards you when hunting from a tree stand and to lower the equipment before climbing down. Climbing a tree stand without some gear rope can be a real nightmare and can be quite a challenge when you use a ladder or hang-on system. You want at least 20 to 25 feet of thick nylon rope available for this purpose.
A hand saw helps you take care of those exasperating twigs or branches on the tree stand. Even if you trimmed your shooting lane prior to the start of hunting season, there’s sure to be a good amount of fresh growths and even in the wrong or worst spot for them to be at that. Save yourself from the heartbreak by investing in a simple or small telescoping hand saw.
Any deer hunter will truly find a headlamp indispensable. Most hunters bring along one headlamp or even a pair to have backup. Look for headlamps that offer a smart combination of a dull red light and a bright LED one. You will need the brilliant LED light to perform blood trailing and the red light when you have to walk in and out of the hunting range without being detected.
Hydration and nutrition
Who says only individuals with weak constitutions take a snack while on the hunt? When one is in a tree stand and the hunger pangs and thirst start bothering them, even the prey will likely hear their stomach growling in protest. It can only take so much for so long not to wet your tongue with some water. A power bar delivers that much-needed punch so you can remain observant and keep your mind active for the activity you are in the middle of. Make sure you have some water in your hunting backpack.
A water bottle can generate a considerable amount of noise once emptied of its contents. Instead of this type of hydration system, a better alternative would be a hydration pack or a supplied hydration bladder in a deer hunting backpack. If those aren’t available either, you can simply get a plastic bottle that won’t produce plenty of noise.
A pair of binoculars helps you sight your target from afar. With this device, you can discern your desired target from an entire herd, or survey how far it is so you can carry out the proper level of preparation to bag it.
You also want extra quick loads, slugs or cartridges and release. This ensures you have more than enough of those important items that can easily get lost after prolonged periods of waiting. Deer calls provide a means to invite a buck to come into range by way of bleats, rattling, grunts and snort-wheezes. Calls are instrumental for bringing your target right where you want it: within your sights or in the middle of your crosshairs.
A gutting knife ensures that the big buck you shot to the ground can be properly field dressed for the homeward journey after the hunt. You may also need some toilet paper or better yet, bring along some wet wipes to handle messes quickly and efficiently.
Hunting in the whitetail woods should not be dampened by a little rain. A rain cover or tree stand umbrella ensures that your gear and you stay dry. Hunting during cold weather will require good quality hand warmers. Remember: anything that enables you to stay in the tree stand longer can contribute to hunting success. Bring along some extra clothes as well, to combat the cold.
Concealment and readiness gear
Camo face paint tubes keep you from being detected by your target. They allow you to blend in with the rest of your surroundings or to channel your serious hunting spirit (and we genuinely mean this so don’t laugh!). A mobile power station or battery pack can ensure your camera gear, GPS device, cell phone and the heating system of your hunting jacket or socks is juiced up to protect it from power failure due to drained batteries and to ensure the item can do its job during the most critical moments.
If you are to keep your hunting equipment organized, you will need to have hangers and hooks at the ready when hunting. When you have these items in your hunting backpack, it will be easy to hang the following in the tree: your gun or bow; backpack; extra clothes; quiver: camera gear. A reasonable number of hooks and hangers makes life easier when in a tree stand.
How to choose the best hunting backpacks
A hunting backpack is designed to carry things that you can’t with your hands. This frees your upper limbs to handle more important tasks when hunting, such as operating your GPS device or aiming your hunting weapon. These are what the best hunting bag comes with.
Hunting storage bags or backpacks are made of hunting-specific material
The type of material your hunting storage system is made of determines its overall functionality and length of serviceability. The material should be as strong as possible, even tougher than you expect. Waterproof or water-resistant bags are typically constructed using nylon or polyester covered in polyurethane so moisture simply beads on the material and doesn’t soak into the fabric.
The fabric should be rugged yet quiet. If you can hear it whoosh or crinkle with your every movement, the material is unsuitable for hunting purposes. Why? If you can hear it, so can the target, which has extra-powerful senses. The material should be odor-free, or have provision for it through scent-masking technology. This is especially important when you are hunting downwind.
Tough fabric is not brittle and should be able to survive many seasons of use without ripping or tearing when caught in wayward twigs or protruding environmental elements. Most importantly, it comes with a lightweight structure despite being heavy-duty. There has to be a good balance of density and breathability, as the storage system will be in direct contact with your body.
As a rule of thumb, hunting backpacks or bags of premium quality are priced higher compared to inferior products made in some sweatshop somewhere. In other words, quality craftsmanship does come with a price.
Top rated products such as hunting backpacks made in the USA offer customizable size and fit
You can tell if a hunting backpack or bag is made in the great USA: it comes with a generous and customizable size and capacity. This is not to say that high-speed, low-drag day packs should also be huge, as they are made light and trim for effortless slipping in and out of a tree stand. To determine whether a hunting backpack or bag is the right size for your needs, you must first know how much space you actually need.
Extra items you may carry going to the hunting site and back include dirty/used gear, meat, cold weather gear, sights and scopes, and more, should contribute roughly 15 to 20 percent more to the gross weight. Typically, hunters go for hunting storage systems in the 4,500- to the 5,000-cubic-inch range of space.
The choice of hunting backpack also depends on the user’s body size, gender, and physical carrying capability. Thus, there are mini-packs as well as plus-size and gender-specific products in this category. If the storage system is not designed along those factors, certain issues can arise, such as chafing or early disintegration of the frame.
Adjustable shoulder straps or waist belts ensure carrying comfort of the storage system. The sternum straps that move up and down the backpack or bag are typically standard. They are to be considered in terms of seasonal changes or the hunting clothing you have on.
A good hunting pack ensures user comfort as well as dependable performance in the field
Your choice of hunting storage system should provide elements for carrying comfort. There has to be adequate padding in the shoulder and sternum straps as well as the waist straps. The edges of those components should not dig through your clothing to your skin. The padding should be sufficient and not exaggeratedly plush.
Many hunting backpacks or bags come with either an internal or external frame. Quality backpacks built with a good internal frame enable you to take out the frame stays so you can fit them to the shape of your back. Frame stays are often constructed of aluminum but sophisticated ones are made of aluminum-carbon or some other alloy.
Large backpacks come with an external frame to accommodate demanding hauling applications. The external frame should provide uniform weight distribution. A large number of hunting backpack makers integrate general-purpose frames into their products, and these can be used with bags of varying sizes for handling all load types. This is widely popular among hunters.
The primary purpose of a good frame is to provide load balance while the hunter carries the bag on their back. A good thing to do when filling your bag with gear is to position the heaviest items in the middle of the pack so the weight will be carried on your hips, thus increasing your center of gravity for stability with every step.
The hunting backpack should promote easy and proper usage. That said, it is still vital to pack your things in correctly. You also have to make sure the pack comfortably rests on your body, with all the weight uniformly distributed. Ventilation and scent-free quality go hand in hand.
The pack should be breathable enough to ensure carrying comfort even when the sun bears down on you and causes you to sweat while being able to trap odor and keep it from wafting through the air to alert the target’s extra-sharp sense of smell.
The best hunting gear bag accommodates your weapon
Your hunting storage system should be geared to handle your weapon, whether it’s a firearm or bow. It should be equipped to properly transport the weapon for you, not putting all the load on you. If the backpack or bag is not sufficiently geared for proper weapon carrying, your reaction to the most critical hunting situation will also be negatively affected, making it difficult to extricate the tool from your storage system and slowing you down significantly.
Look for models with a well-designed weapon transport system that keeps your hands free for more essential hunting trail tasks such as reaching, scaling or climbing and achieving a steady handhold or grip. You should be able to adjust the weapon as needed and secure it in place for safe transport while still ensuring easy access and extraction. Some hunting backpacks incorporate a scabbard feature to support that.
You should be willing to invest a good amount of research on and evaluation of the many different hunting storage systems on the market. This will ensure long-term use and dependable functionality from your choice of hunting backpack or bag.
What you need to know about hunting storage systems
A lot rides on your choice of hunting storage system, or simply, your backpack or bag used when going hunting. The backpack or bag that a hunter uses is different from what a civilian uses when going to school, the office or hiking. Hunting bags look different from standard civilian bags. The design of the latter is more pedestrian or is inclined towards the fashionable instead of the utilitarian.
Hunting bags, on the other hand, are the opposite. Their designs lean more towards functionality, i.e., loads of pockets and easy-access potentials, often accent-free, little to no shiny buttons or for-show elements. In other words, hunting bags and hunting backpacks are as basic as you can get in design but their components, such as the pockets and closure systems, deliver optimal usage or function. You can use every tiny element in a hunting storage system.
On the other hand, standard civilian storage systems have a number of elements you may not even use, such as buttons that are only accent pieces with no pockets on which they are attached, or tassels and an assortment of hoops.
Civilian backpacks come in a variety of sizes or shapes. Good quality hunting backpacks are available according to the size of your torso. This ensures that the backpack comes with the appropriate load filter straps and sternum support and strap for the hunter, with all those components working nicely together.
The fabric is of utmost importance in a hunting bag or backpack. Since stalking the target in silence is important, a hunting bag or backpack needs to integrate ‘noise discipline’ in terms of the fabric and overall construction. That means, there have to be no jangling components or noisy zippers and Velcro. The pockets should snap shut quickly, easily and noiselessly via flip lock or turn lock.
The hunting storage system should deliver adequate support; effective operability even in the dark; hydration support, such as an internal mesh hydro sleeve or hydro port; weight support using the lightest yet toughest material.
The material of the hunting backpack or bag allows spot cleaning, or more importantly, stains should come off easily and not seep in deep into the fibers to be rendered permanent. It should not be crinkly like a bag of potato chips. Instead, the fabric should offer a perfect balance of waterproofness and breathability, with no compromise on any one of those factors.
The shoulder straps of the best hunting backpack are not overly cushiony but should provide enough padding to prevent them from digging into your shoulders after prolonged use. The hip straps should be supportive, not merely incidental and/or ornamental. Organization of stored items should be smart or intuitive, not haphazard or awkward.
The bottom line: a hunting backpack or hunting bag screams optimal functionality in its looks. This guarantees that the hunting storage system and the user will have years of being together for many hunting seasons to look forward to ahead of them. Choose wisely and well, that’s what we’re saying.