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Best Fishing Backpack (carry your tackle the right way!)

Mark Armstrong
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With so many different types of fishing backpacks on the market it can be difficult to know which one will be best for you to take on your trip. So how do you know which bags are suitable for fishing adventures?

We have put together a guide to help you choose the best backpacks for a fishing trip. We have looked at the different features and designs that will make your fishing trips more organized and more comfortable.

Top Fishing Backpack Picks:

Reasons Why You Should Take A Backpack When Fishing

A spacious backpack can be as essential a part of a fishing trip as a rod can be. Not only will they store your fishing gear but they will keep all your other items safe. Some may even have reflective strips so that you can increase your visibility, which makes it an excellent piece of kayak fishing gear.

When taking a pack with you on a fishing or hunting trip you’ll be able to store a lot more gear in it than if you were simply wearing a fishing vest. With the larger compartments in a fishing backpack there will be room for your tackle boxes, utility trays as well as your lunch and snacks, because we all know fishing requires patience so you might be out there a while.

Some brands make fishing backpacks based on traditional backpacks with additional features such as LED lights. But some of them will also have built-in rod holders and tool holders, which can make it even easier to haul your equipment down to the water.

Most backpacks have designated pockets to keep your sunglasses safe and waterproof compartments for your valuables, so that you can keep your gear protected.

Wearing a backpack to fish means you have all your gear close to hand but you still have the use of both hands to, well….erm…. catch fish! The weight of your gear is distributed across your back and shoulders, so it may be more comfortable to wear than a fishing vest.

Fly fishing equipment on a deckPin

Another good reason for taking a backpack on a fishing trip is that you can pack it full of all your fishing gear so that it’s ready to head out whenever you are.

You can also easily take the bag off while you’re fishing and have it sit on the shoreline or on the deck of your boat, so you can still keep everything close without having to wear it.

Features To Consider When Buying A Fishing Backpack

When choosing a pack for a fishing outing there are a few things you may need to consider that you might not need from a regular backpack. One consideration might be to make sure it has just the right amount of space and features for your specific fishing style.


When you’re heading out for a day of fishing, being comfortable is going to be high on your list of priorities. You are not going to want a bag that you’re going to struggle to carry or one that is going to be awkward to fish with.

Your bag should fit you properly, both in length and at the shoulders. While many fishing backpacks do have adjustable shoulder straps, you will need to consider the width and design of the straps and whether or not they will conform to your size and shape.

The last thing you want is to find straps that dig in or restrict your movement, especially if you’re wearing the bag for long periods of time. Comfortable shoulder straps can make things a lot easier when it comes to hauling your fishing equipment to your favorite fishing spot.

It’s possible to get fishing backpacks that have built in suspension systems in the shoulder straps as well as spine support channels that help to distribute the load across your back and away from your shoulders. A waist strap or chest strap can also be useful for more even weight distribution. Chest straps can usually be adjusted to fit your body shape.

Having good padding in the shoulder straps will also improve the comfort of carrying the pack. You should also make sure that the fabric on it is breathable, particularly on the back panel and the shoulder straps, as this will prevent moisture from building up and causing you to sweat.

The best fishing tackle backpacks will often have mesh fabric on the back panel and usually on the straps. This can allow air to circulate between you and the bag for added comfort.

A lightweight fishing pack can also be a good idea, particularly if you plan to carry it for any length of time, as this can minimize the overall weight.

Water Resistance

Waterproof signPin

One of the most important features of a fishing backpack will be its resistance to water. When you’ve packed all your valuables and essential fishing gear into your tackle bags the last thing you want is for all your stuff to get soaked and potentially ruined.

Whether it’s raining or it falls in the water, making sure your bag or equipment is waterproof is a good idea. With a waterproof or water-resistant pack you can even pack a change of clothes so if you get wet you know your spare clothes will be staying dry.

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A waterproof bag is also beneficial for storing all your gadgets safely. Your phone, your GPS system, car keys or anything else you might have will be protected against the elements if you’ve packed them into a waterproof compartment. Many fishing backpacks often have waterproof pockets that are designed for phones and valuables.

A lot of the best fishing backpacks benefit from sturdy construction and are also crafted with a mud resistant fabric as well as being water resistant, which means you won’t need to spend quite as much time cleaning it. Some of these will feature high density nylon fabrics for durability and water resistance. Some may feature a waterproof fabric, either on the exterior or on a specific pocket or pouch, such as a front pocket cover to keep your valuables dry.

While many backpacks may not be completely waterproof, a lot of them will have water resistant pockets or pouches and may even come with a useful rain cover that can be secured over the bag to give it extra resistance.

Right Size For You

The size of pack you will need will depend on the type of fishing you’re going to do, as well as the length of time you plan on being out there. For example, some fly fishermen may look for packs with ample storage space that have easy access to flies or removable fishing tool holders.

Obviously, if you’re planning a multi-day fishing expedition or heading out backcountry fishing, you’re probably going to need a large fishing backpack. For day trips you could get away with a compact backpack. But you will need to keep in mind all the essentials that you’ll need regardless of the length of time you’re fishing for, such as a tackle box and tackle.

Most fishing backpacks will have a large main compartment for you to store your fishing gear and fit in extra clothing or food, so if you’re planning on a multi-day fishing excursion you may want to consider that the size of the main compartment be large enough for everything you’ll need in addition to your fishing gear.

An easy-to-access upper storage area can be useful for smaller items, or even your sunglasses or sunscreen. Similarly, a removable fishing tool holder can be more convenient than one that’s permanently attached to the pack.


Many of the best fishing backpacks will have lots of compartments so that you can efficiently store your personal items and fishing essentials and still access them easily. In addition to the main compartment, most fishing backpacks will also usually have a specifically designed compartment for your fishing tackle boxes.

This lets you keep the boxes separate from the rest of your gear, giving you quick and easy access without having to unpack the entire pack. You can also find fishing backpacks with a water resistant pocket for storing your cellphone or other valuables.

Large compartments can let you store larger gear but they may not be as useful for storing other accessories such as loose soft plastics, your favorite KastKing pond hopper or small tools.

Another feature you might want is a compartment for your sunglasses. Usually positioned at the top of a tackle backpack, this lets you store your sunglasses safely so that you can have easy access to them and it prevents them from being squashed by other heavier items in your pack.

You will also need to make sure that there are enough outer compartments for storing your tools or extra fishing line; smaller compartments that won’t require you to root around for the items you need. A front pocket, for example, can be useful for easy access to essentials. A removable plier holder can also be a handy feature.

Another important feature you might find on a tackle backpack is space for your fishing rod. Many bags will have loops and hooks for you to secure other items to your load, without them taking up additional space inside the pack. Some will also have designated rod holders or rod belts.

You might find that there are hooks and loops that will let you secure your fishing rod to the bag, meaning you’ll free up your hands to carry other items, such as a cool box or camping equipment.

Best Fishing Backpacks

1: Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack

CLC Wild River Nomad Lighted BackpackPin

This fishing tackle backpack is designed to carry all the gear you’ll need on your trip, including your tackle boxes. It features a molded compartment on the top to keep your sunglasses safe and handy, as well as the additional feature of an integrated LED light system, so you can fish at any time of day.

Unlike a traditional backpack, this spacious fishing backpack can store up to four tackle trays. You could possibly fit five tackle trays if they’re smaller. It has plenty of exterior hooks and loops for you to store your tools, such as line cutters, with ample room for all your fishing tackle, including a removable plier holder that you can attach to your belt. Its good fishing tackle storage with double zippers on the side pockets can make this an ideal option for a multi day fishing trip.

While this Wild River Nomad backpack is not waterproof, it does come with a waterproof protective rain jacket that goes completely over the backpack to protect it.

It also benefits from having base pads that are waterproof and will help to keep your pack clean on the ground. These rubber feet can make it useful for saltwater fishing, ice fishing, and kayak fishing, or any other fishing spots where you’re likely to encounter wet surfaces.

Another handy feature of this fishing backpack is that one of the front pouches opens up and the pocket folds down to become a small work surface. Other features include adjustable, padded straps and a padded top carrying handle, making it one of the best fishing backpacks out there in terms of features.


  • Molded sunglasses compartment
  • Built-in LED light
  • Waterproof rain cover included
  • Converts to a work surface


  • Not waterproof

2: Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack W/ 3 Medium Utility Boxes SPB006

Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack W 3 Medium Utility Boxes SPB006Pin

This fishing tackle backpack can pack a lot into its compact size and has the appearance of a standard backpack. Featuring multiple compartments and handy pockets, there’s plenty of space for all the fishing tackle and other gear you’ll need for a day of fishing.

One of the best features of this fishing backpack is that the middle compartment is a cooler, so you can store your food and water bottle to keep them cool and fresh. It’s also ideal for keeping your bait cold.

The lower compartment has enough storage capacity for your tackle boxes and it even comes complete with 3 utility boxes, so you’re ready to go. The top compartment is ideal for storing the rest of your gear, such as a change of clothing.

The interior compartment dividers can be removed but a downside might be the velcro closure attachment, which can be less durable than high quality zippers.

It also has plenty of exterior pockets and pouches for tackle storage, as well as a removable plier holder and a molded sunglasses case. You can also store two fishing rods, with mesh rod holders on either side of the backpack, meaning you can just pack up and head out.

Another benefit is that it has a flat bottom, so it will stand up without tipping over and it has a comfortable mesh back and mesh covered shoulder straps for breathability.

However, this is not waterproof, so you may want to think about storing your valuables inside a water resistant bag first or using a protective rain cover.


  • Built-in cooler compartment
  • Stands upright on its own
  • Mesh back and shoulders for comfort/breathability
  • Removable fishing tool case


  • Not waterproof
  • Velcro removable divider

3: Fiblink Waterproof Sports Single Shoulder Fishing Tackle Bag Backpack

Fiblink Waterproof Sports Single Shoulder Fishing Tackle Bag BackpackPin

This sling pack style bag can be a good option if you’re looking to cut down on gear on your next fishing trip and are just planning on doing some light fishing. It’s compact and easy to carry, with its single shoulder strap that sits across your body, helping to distribute the weight, which can also be adjusted and switched from left to right.

It also has a mesh covered back and back support to make it easier to carry. It benefits from having a total of 10 compartments for tackle storage, distributed between the interior and the exterior, including two exterior zippered compartments for smaller items.

If you plan on taking a lot of gear or multiple tackle trays, this is probably not the right fishing backpack for you, as space is limited due to the overall size of the bag. It could be just enough storage for a couple of hours of casual fishing.

This fishing backpack features water resistant fabric so it’s designed to keep your gear safe and dry in the rain and protect it from sea spray. Another feature of this bag is that it has exterior loops for extra gear storage, so you can easily attach more of your equipment to it, such as lime clippers or small detachable bags.


  • Comfortable to carry
  • Lots of small compartments
  • Water resistant material
  • Great bag for light fishing


  • Storage capacity not great

4: Shimano Blackmoon Compact Fishing Backpack

Shimano Blackmoon Compact Fishing BackpackPin

This fishing tackle backpack offers a lot of extra storage options and is designed to hold all the equipment you might need for a day’s fishing trip, meaning you won’t need to carry as many additional bags. It also has rod holders on either side of the backpack, so your hands will be free to carry other items.

There are plenty of storage areas, as well as side pockets for both large and small items. There’s also space for your tackle trays, and exterior loops to attach other accessories and tools. It has a durable exterior, although the fabric is not waterproof, so you may need to purchase a separate waterproof cover to make it water resistant.

The Shimano tackle backpack benefits from having thick padded shoulder straps that can be easily adjusted to fit and there is also a reinforced top carry handle.

This Shimano Blackmoon fishing backpack can be ideal for saltwater fishing or long fishing trips, where you want to be able to pack most of your equipment into one bag.


  • Built-in rod holders
  • Tackle tray storage
  • Durable construction
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps


  • Not waterproof

5: Wild River by CLC WT3605 Tackle Tek Nomad XP Lighted Backpack

Wild River by CLC WT3605 Tackle Tek Nomad XP Lighted Backpack 1Pin

If you’re looking for an all around fishing backpack then this one could be a good option. Featuring padded mesh covered adjustable straps, this large bag is designed for all day comfort. It benefits from having a comfortable mesh back panel and also has lumbar panels for additional comfort while carrying the bag on your back.

It has good storage capacity, with lots of storage compartments for both large and small items, including up to four tackle boxes and two utility boxes, so there’s plenty of space for a full day of fishing. You’ll also find easy access mesh pockets on the side.

A cool feature of this bag is that it has a USB charging system that is ideal for charging your phone, fish finder, or any other small gadget you might have. Not only that, but it also features an LED light so you can easily find your specific tools in internal pockets even in low lights.

It has plenty of hooks and loops to attach tools to the exterior and it has a durable base that helps to keep the backpack clean and protect it from wear and tear on the ground. However, the bag is not waterproof, but it does come with a water resistant rain jacket that will cover the bag to give it rain protection.


  • USB charging system for phone or small electronics
  • Protective rain cover
  • LED light system
  • Padded mesh back and adjustable straps


  • Zippers can be a little flimsy

6: Piscifun Sports Shoulder Bag Fishing Tackle Bag (Budget Option)

Piscifun Sports Shoulder Bag Fishing Tackle BagPin

This Piscifun fishing tackle backpack can be a good value option if you’re looking for a practical bag for casual fishing activities without the fuss. With a mesh covered padded shoulder strap and a mesh covered back panel, this cross body shoulder bag is comfortable to carry, as well as breathable.

Featuring one single shoulder strap that can be adjusted, it can be conveniently swung around to the front to get items out, without you needing to take it off. There are lots of pockets, including a handy side zippered pocket. But unfortunately, it doesn’t have a designated rod holder or sunglass holder.

However, if you’re looking to carry a few tackle trays, the Piscifun fishing tackle backpack may not be sufficient as it’s a pretty small pack. There’s not as much space compared to larger backpacks but it can be a step up from waist packs.

A great feature of this lightweight pack is that it also has hooks and loops for you to store small items or attach tools, meaning you can still pack extra stuff even if it won’t fit in the pockets.

Because of its compact size, it’s extremely lightweight and can be a good choice if you’re planning to travel light or are heading out on your kayak. It can also be worn as a chest bag so you can keep all your tackle handy.


  • Budget friendly
  • Pockets for small items
  • Exterior attachment points for additional gear
  • Padded shoulder strap


  • Storage capacity not great
  • No sunglass pocket

7: Wild River 3606 Multi-Tackle Large Backpack

Wild River 3606 Multi-Tackle Large Backpack with traysPin

This large tackle backpack is comfortable to wear, with adjustable mesh covered shoulder straps, as well as an additional sternum strap for extra support.

Featuring base pads to keep your bag dry and clean, this storage solution could be a good choice for an extended fishing trip or if you’re a fly angler with a lot of tackle. There is plenty of room, with a large main storage compartment that has removable dividers to accommodate larger items or double sided tackle trays.

There is also tackle tray storage in the bottom compartment, which can hold up to six 3600 style tackle trays. It also features an interior waterproof pocket, which is ideal for storing your phone or keeping your maps and fishing license dry.

There are lots of exterior storage options, such as zippered pockets for your smaller items and hooks and loops for your tools and extras, making everything easier to find. A handy feature of this bag is the front pouch folds down when open and can be used as a convenient work surface.


  • Interior waterproof pocket
  • Lots of storage space
  • Converts to a work surface
  • Sternum strap


  • Exterior fabric not waterproof

8: TackleTime Fishing Backpack

TackleTime Fishing BackpackPin

If you’re planning on having a long day of fishing, this tackle backpack could be an ideal choice. Not only does it have adjustable, padded shoulder straps but this multifunctional backpack also has a reinforced top carry handle.

This lightweight, durable bag has a large main compartment that can store tackle trays and other gear, and it benefits from being able to expand for larger items. There are places to attach extra gear to the exterior of the backpack, as well as exterior zippered pockets for tools and sunglasses.

One of the main features of this fishing bag is the insulated zippered compartment. It will let you keep drinks or other items cool or hot, meaning it’s a good idea if you’re packing a picnic. It can also be used to store a hydration bladder for water supply.

This lightweight fishing backpack also benefits from protective base pads as well as PVC fabric on the bottom, boosting its water resistance.


  • Insulated compartment
  • Large expandable compartment
  • Stands upright on its own
  • Lightweight


  • Not waterproof


What Should I Put In My Backpack?

Depending on the size of your backpack you should put in whatever you think you’ll need. Some important things to include will likely be tackle boxes, with a selection of lures and hooks, as well as spare lines, pliers and whatever else you might need.

You could also pack in a towel, cleansing wipes, a change of clothes, rain gear or even your lunch and a couple of bottles of water.

Can They Carry Fishing Rods?

You’ll probably find some fishing backpacks that are designed to carry fishing rods, often with two pockets somewhere on the exterior.

Even if your backpack doesn’t have designated rod holders, you could fashion your own using water bottle holder pouches on the side and/or compression straps on the backpack.

I See There Are Single Strap Backpacks. Are They Any Good?

A one strap backpack can be useful if you don’t plan to carry particularly heavy gear, as one strap may not have the strength of two straps and the bags will often tend to have a smaller capacity.

But this type of backpack might be ideal if you’ll be carrying lighter, smaller gear or heading out kayak fishing. How useful it is will depend on how much gear you plan to carry but you may not want this type as your main bag.

Can I Pack A Sleeping Bag In One?

This depends on the size of your backpack and how compact your sleeping bag is. A larger backpack might be able to hold a sleeping bag in the main compartment.

Or you may find you could attach it to the exterior of the backpack, securing it with straps to built-in rings or attachment points.

Ok, Do I Actually Need A “Fishing” Backpack?

Because fishing backpacks will generally have dedicated space for different types of fishing gear, such as tackle trays, they can be beneficial and can improve your fishing experience. They will also usually have enough room for lures and other fishing essentials and will let you haul it all while keeping your hands free.

However, with a little bit of tinkering, you could transform a regular backpack into a fishing backpack.

Packing Up

Now that you know a little bit more about what you might need from a fishing backpack you should feel more confident about purchasing one, and you should also have a better idea of the different types of bags that are available.

Maybe you’ll want a water resistant backpack with breathable mesh pockets or perhaps you plan to fish near rough terrain.

Remember, you need to consider the size that you might need, the type of fishing that you’re going to do and whether or not you’re planning on making it a multi-day trip with your co anglers.

All these factors will affect the type of bag you’ll need. But as long as you plan in advance, you will be able to find the ideal backpack for your fishing trip. Just make sure that it suits you specifically and is a comfortable backpack, especially if you’re going to be wearing it packed to capacity for several hours.

Man with fly rod fishing on a lakePin

Do you use a backpack when you go out fishing? Tell us more about why you love them in the comments below…

1 thought on “Best Fishing Backpack (carry your tackle the right way!)”

  1. Thanks for your informative fishing tips article. I love fishing, that’s why i’m here to read your article. Here you mention the best fishing backpack in this blog. I really support your article. Thanks again. Peace


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