Fishing Backpacks are great for anglers who like to stay mobile and shore fishermen alike.
Backpacks dedicated to fishing help anglers stay light and prioritize the gear they bring with them on an outing.
The best fishing backpacks and chest/sling packs feature storage compartments, storage boxes, and other features that make them the perfect choice for traveling or mobile fishermen.
The Nomad is jam-packed with cool features, including an LED lighting system that allows you to see into the backpack for fishing at night.
In this article, we will look at some of the best backpacks and chest/sling packs on the market today.
Best Fishing Backpacks Reviewed
- Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Fishing Backpack
- Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack
- KastKing Day Tripper Fishing Backpack
- Shimano Blackmoon Fishing Backpack
- Spiderwire Fishing Backpack
- KastKing Pond Hopper Sling Backpack
- Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack
Best Traditional Fishing Backpacks
Traditional fishing backpacks are great for carrying a decent amount of gear and terminal tackle and also have some additional features that are really great for shore fishing and fishing on the move.
The best fishing backpacks feature two or more fairly large storage trays, waterproof compartments, tons of adjustable compartments, or even cooler compartments. Let’s take a look at some fishing backpacks with some really cool features.
The Nomad is absolutely jam-packed with cool features, and one of the coolest features is the LED lighting system that allows you to see into the backpack or your work area if you’re fishing at night.
When we say work area, we aren’t joking. The Nomad fishing backpack features a zippered fold-down working area that’s like a mini fold-down table, allowing you to set things on it and prevent loss by situations like accidentally kicking your lure or gear into the water in the dark, “been there, done that more times than I can count” and keeps your fishing hassle-free in all light conditions.
This fishing backpack also comes complete with 4 PT 3600 storage boxes, so you don’t have to buy any separately and can go fishing instantly.
Other features of this fishing backpack include a padded sunglasses storage container on the top, a removable plier holder, a protective rain cover that you can place over your fishing tackle backpack if it rains, and internal and external mesh storage compartments.
The Piscifun fishing backpack is made from high-quality water-resistant 1200D high-density nylon fabrics with 86 different sewing procedures that give the backpack 20% more water resistance and toughness.
This fishing backpack has an absolute ton of storage compartments giving you more than enough room for everything you will need for a day on the water; featuring 11 independent rooms and, when divided, gives the angler 18 different storage compartment options.
The main compartment that holes the 4 waterproof tackle boxes/trays also has a removable clapboard to make it even larger to a whopping L(12.6’’) * W(7.9’’) * H(17.7’’) dimensioned compartment.
This fishing backpack is very comfortable and ergonomic and features thick padding, a padded and protected sunglasses compartment, and very nice high-quality zippers.
The KastKing Day Tripper fishing backpack has a unique and cool feature that so far hasn’t been on our list; it has storage spots for carrying your fishing rods on the outside of your fishing tackle backpack, keeping your hands completely free.
The KastKing fishing backpack features a hydrophobic coating that repels water from the outside of the backpack and also has a super-effective PVC layer on the inside to provide extra moisture protection, ensuring your tackle and gear are protected from moisture.
The KastKing Day Tripper can hold 4 3600 size storage containers for all your lures and terminal tackle, and the large storage compartment is great for lunch, beverages, rain gear, or anything else you need to bring with you.
The storage tray compartment is different from other fishing backpacks on the market as it opens to the side of the backpack instead of the front.
This fishing backpack also has thick and breathable padding to keep you comfortable and cool, slash mesh pockets, and a removable main storage compartment bottom.
The Shimano Blackmoon is a fishing backpack that gives credence to the term “simplicity at its finest.
The no-nonsense design of the Blackmoon is created using high-quality and incredibly durable textured fabrics.
The front compartment features 5 clear plastic pouches with waterproof zippers which are great for electronics, keeping soft plastics baits, and spinnerbaits secured.
Along with that compartment, there is also a zippered compartment featuring 2 3750 Plano storage trays for all your hard baits, jigs, terminal tackle, or other lures.
Other features of this fishing backpack are 2 mesh rod holders so you can bring multiple rod setups with you, 4 Plano 6650 storage trays for the 2 side compartments, elastic holders for pliers and other fishing tools, and a zip-out rain cover to protect and keep the backpack and its contents dry while in adverse weather.
The Spiderwire fishing backpack is 100% polyester and has a feature that’s unique to the other backpacks offered on this list; it has a cooler compartment, which, when cold packs are added, will keep your food and drinks cold for an extended period of time.
This fishing backpack also includes 3 medium-sized utility boxes, a foam molded sunglasses case with soft lining, and a fishing rod holder/carry system.
The main compartment is adjustable and can be configured in different ways depending on your needs, not to mention the side compartments on each side for additional storage.
The overall dimension of this fishing backpack comes in at 19.7 in. x 13.1 in. x 7.3 in, giving you an overall nice compact size.
Best Chest/Sling Backpacks
Chest or sling backpacks are great like traditional fishing backpacks but are even lighter and smaller, great if you don’t need a lot of gear, and are really nice for situations like trout fishing where your tackle is typically small and light.
Let’s take a look at our picks for the best sling-style backpacks on the market. Sling packs can be used in many different fishing situations, but they really shine for species-specific angling like trout fishing, where it is mostly done from shore, or in situations where room is a priority, such as fishing from a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard all of which have become increasingly popular for anglers in recent years.
The pack is great for shore fishermen or fishing from kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddleboards.
Built with 420D Ripstop nylon fabric to give extremely good protection and durability and just like the traditional style day tripper backpack by KastKing that we talked about earlier, the pond hopper features a hydrophobic coating that repels water from the outside of the backpack and also has a super-effective PVC layer on the inside to provide extra moisture protection ensuring your tackle and gear is protected from moisture.
The pond hopper comes with very efficient tackle compartments with one 3600-size tackle tray and the main compartment for rain gear, drinks, or whatever else you wish to bring with you on your fishing adventure.
The front of the sling pack features an open-face front pouch for tools like pliers, crimpers, flashlights, or other tools.
Like the Day tripper the pond hopper also has a storage spot on the outside of the backpack to hold a 2 piece fishing rod setup and last but not least, a compartment for a water bottle or small thermos.
The interior is very bright, allowing you to easily find any stray flies that may end up in any compartment; the safe passage also has a very strategically placed water bottle holder that holds the bottle horizontally along the bottom of the pack to keep a better center of gravity while wearing and can be accessed by just reaching behind you, without having to remove the pack.
There are cord loops along the installation of a tippet bar so you can carry multiple spools of tippets neatly on the exterior of the pack, a forceps sheath for a pair of forceps, a unique tool attachment system, a velcro strip on the interior where you can add a waterproof pouch and secure it to the interior for things like your phone or electronics, a very cool fly drying patch, and the bottom of the pack is made from 410-denier Nylon for increased water resistance.
Fishing Backpack Buyers’ Guide
Size and Type
When you are choosing the best fishing backpack for your purposes, it pays to take a bit of time to truly establish what you need it for. If you are the kind of angler that’s going to hike into a spot and then sit stationary for the bulk of the time fishing with bait or lures that rely on a static presentation, then go bigger.
For this style of fishing, you are able to carry a reasonably diverse range of gear along with essentials like food and water. Because you aren’t moving around during the day, you don’t have to worry about the fishing backpack being too bulky and impeding your casting motion.
Whereas if your style of angling is that you are always on the move – like a fly fisherman or lure fisherman fishing a freestone river for trout – then sling packs and small backpacks are a much better choice.
You can be disciplined about what you need to take and reduce what you are carrying, and choose a pack that sits comfortably on your shoulder/chest/back while you are clambering over boulders or firing out a cast in a mountain stream. For situations like this, the Orvis Sage Passage and the Simms Freestone are great choices.
Storage Compartments and Organisation
This is another key consideration. Backpacks with lure and tackle trays can be great for fishermen and women who are targeting fussy fish that require frequent tackle and lure changes, even down to the point of reducing line weight or thickness.
Similarly, fishing different weights of jig heads and different depths – always requires you to transport a wide range of tackle that needs organization. For this kind of fishing, a backpack such as the Wild River Tek Nomad really excels. It has a great tackle tray system for organizing tackle and loops to support a wide range of fishing items, such as pliers and grippers, line cutters and hook removers, and nail knot tools.
For longer trips, it is important to consider the need to store things like extra spools of line, PLB, spare reels, and even portable fish finders and cameras. Make sure the pack you choose has enough space for these as well as lure and tackle trays.
Water Resistant vs Waterproof
All the packs in this list can be considered water-resistant. But all that really means is they’ll tolerate a bit of rain or a brief immersion without the contents becoming sodden.
For serious outdoor use, a fully waterproof pack is a real asset. The Simms Dry Creek is a good example of a simple, lightweight, high-quality waterproof pack.
Comfort and Other Features
It is important to pay attention to comfort with a fishing backpack. We spend long hours fishing, and suffering discomfort from an ill-fitting or poorly designed harness can compromise your enjoyment of fishing. The backpacks we have chosen here all have good, breathable, and adjustable harness systems that can be adapted to a wide range of body types and shapes.
Be sure to take advantage of this versatility and adjust your backpack to your dimensions before you undertake a major trip. Try wearing it at home in your backyard for half an hour while you mow the lawn. You will soon know if it is correctly adjusted or not, and you can tune it perfectly before you set out on a proper fishing tip.
Features we like in a fishing backpack
Some of the features we like in a fishing tackle backpack are:
Space for water bottles: while we usually fish with a Camelbak bladder on board to stay hydrated on the run, sometimes it is not enough, and we like to have space for one or preferably two water bottles, ideally stored in elastic pouches on the side of the backpack. At a pinch, though, it is fine to put them inside the backpack, provided they are good-quality bottles.
A waterproof pouch: you always need a waterproof spot to put your wallet and phone while out in the wilderness. Sure, you can take a dry bag and put it in that, but we prefer a backpack with a built-in internal pocket that is waterproof just in case we forget the dry bag.
Several sections: It always helps to have a couple of different sections to a bag so you can divide your fishing tackle and other gear into stuff you need to access frequently and stuff that you won’t need much during the day. It helps you stay mentally and physically organized.
Light-colored interior: this is a bit of an odd one, but we prefer a backpack that’s not black on the inside as it is harder to find dark objects inside those. Our camera has a black bag, so when we throw it inside a backpack with a black interior section, it’s difficult to see it inside without a flashlight, and it can lead to momentary panic when we think we have forgotten it! Similarly, with a PLB or anything else. It doesn’t have to be white inside, but something like blue or orange means dark objects are much easier to locate inside the backpack.
Alternatives to a fishing backpack
We are big advocates of fishing light wherever possible. Sometimes, you don’t actually need a backpack.
For example, when fly fishing, if you can’t cut down the amount of gear you strictly need, you can just take your fly fishing vest and keep all the fishing tackle you need in that. It has enough pockets to store fly boxes, reels, snacks, and water, and sometimes that is all you need for a half-day on the water.
The Simms G3 Guide vest that we use has space for all this, as well as a water bottle and other essentials such as snake bandages.
In some circumstances, even a lanyard will suffice. There are some rivers or lakes where you are fishing close to your car, and you have maybe only got a couple of hours – that’s where a lanyard is fine. If you set your lanyard up correctly, you can attach a small fly box, line clippers, floatant, a few spools of tippet, and a fly patch, and away you go.
Fishing Tackle Storage
A lot of the fishing backpacks included here come with lure and tackle trays and other compartments to put fishing tackle and spare tackle boxes in.
There are many different configurations, but to sort through the complexity, the systems we like are ones that have detachable drawers or trays. That makes it easy to pack your fishing tackle and lures inside your house or garage and then take the trays you are using and insert them in your backpack.
For different types of fishing, you can insert trays with the required fishing tackle for that particular mission.
Having removable trays – and extra tackle trays – is the best way to organize your fishing tackle.
Final Thoughts on Fishing Backpacks
Fishing backpacks have come a long way in recent years.
I remember when I would hop on my bike and travel miles to fish my favorite fishing spots with a giant tackle box hanging on one handlebar and holding a rod while going down the road sideways due to being unbalanced from my heavy, cumbersome fishing tackle box.
Today, we have awesome slings and backpacks custom-made for the angler, and they have everything you could possibly need.
This is our list of best fishing backpacks and slings, and we are certain you will find one on this list to fit your needs.