hunter with hunting backpack

The premise of a backpack is simple, carry more stuff more comfortably than carrying it in your arms. When it comes to choosing the best backpack for hunting, your choice could end up making or breaking your hunting experience, since it will ultimately determine just how comfortable you are during the hunt.

If you are hunting elk in high country you’ll want a backpack that has large water resistant bays for holding gear. Likewise if you are hunting Canada Geese you will want a backpack that is capable of carrying decoys, a possible blind, and lots of calls.

Every backpack has its own sets of pros and cons, and the choice is ultimately up to you. Below I have covered what you should look for in a hunting backpack, and also included a few suggestions for what I consider to be some of the best hunting backpacks on the market today.

Best Hunting Backpack Comparison 

Hunting Backpack Quality Our Rating
Alps OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack A
Badlands Diablo Day Pack A+
Alps OutdoorZ Dark Timber Daypack A-
Alps OutdoorZ Commander Hunting Backpack A+
Buck Commander Black Gorge Hunting Backpack B+

Picking The Best Hunting Backpack - What To Look For

What should you look for when selecting a backpack for hunting? Let’s break it down.

Size of Hunting Backpack

The first thing you need to consider when selecting a backpack for hunting is the size you need. Typically going with a bag a little smaller than you need is a good idea. This will encourage you to bring only what you need, and you won’t overpack.

However, if you plan to hunt in the deep woods, where you may be gone for days at a time, a larger pack may be needed.

You also need to consider the size of the pack to your body. The pack should fit like a glove against your body. If it is too large the pack can be unbalanced and uncomfortable to carry for long distances.

Material and Durability

The second most important thing you need to consider is the material your hunting pack is made from and how durable is the pack.

You want a backpack that will last season after season. Not one that breaks one of the first few times you use it. Or one that deteriorates after a single season.

When looking at a hunting backpack, be sure to check if the material offers any of these features.

  • Waterproof or water resistant
  • Durable
  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

Internal/External Frame Pack

Another consideration you must make is to have an internal, external, or frameless backpack. Each of their own sets of pros and cons.

Internal frames, will not be good for hauling large amounts of meat out of the woods, but they do have the added benefit of being smaller and more comfortable and will help to reduce muscle fatigue. If you plan on say only carrying birds or squirrels out, an internal frame will be a great fit.

External frames on the other hand tend to be bulkier. They can also typically haul more stuff. If you’re hunting elk, an external frame pack will be the best option.

More important than internal or external frames will be how you pack your hunting backpack and how you carry. You will want to load the heaviest weight in the middle of the pack so that the weight distribution falls on your hips. When you are rougher terrain the weight should be on your lower back, to increase your center of gravity.

Traveling With a Weapon

The last thing you need to consider when selecting a backpack for hunting is the weapon you will be using. Either a bow or a rifle just as an example. Most backpacks today designed for hunting have either straps (for your bow or rifle) or a padded case for a rifle.

Having a backpack that can carry your weapon is a huge plus. It frees your hands up, to do other tasks, and allows you to carry your weapon safely while stumbling around in the woods.

Best Hunting Backpack Reviews

Hunting Backpack Quality Our Rating
Alps OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack A
Badlands Diablo Day Pack A+
Alps OutdoorZ Dark Timber Daypack A-
Alps OutdoorZ Commander Hunting Backpack A+
Buck Commander Black Gorge Hunting Backpack B+

Alps OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack Review

This pack was definitely made with a bow hunter in mind, but will support a rifle easily enough as well. Making it a good choice for those that choose not to hunt with a bow.

The bag has 2,700 cubic inches of space. Making it perfect for a day bag or even an overnight bag out in the field. But I wouldn’t want to spend more than one or 2 nights in the field with the bag.

There are a number of pockets in this bag, including 2 on the waist strap, and also has a port and hydration pocket as well. This bag was also designed with safety in mind as it also includes a blaze orange cover. Giving you extra safety and helps to keep your gear dry when out in the field. .

PROS

  • Storable bow compartment that fits many different styles of bow
  • Numerous pockets on front and side
  • Hydration port and pocket
  • Includes blaze orange cover that stores away in dedicated pocket when not in use

CONS

  • Cannot hold gear for more than a day or two
  • Storing weapons other than a bow is more troublesome

Badlands Diablo Day Pack Review

The Diablo day Pack from Badlands is a fantastic lightweight pack that has an internal T-6 aluminum frame and is still fairly lightweight. The bag features 6 pockets and over 1900 cubic inches of space. Making it a smidge smaller than the Alps OutdoorZ Pursuit.

However, that is not the only great thing about this bag. Probably the best feature of this bag is that it comes with Badlands backpack warranty that allows you to get your bag repaired free of cost for life. Making it worth the investment.

One thing to note is that the bag isn’t completely waterproof. Additional spraying to prevent water from entering the bag may be required.

PROS

  • Covered by Badlands lifetime warranty
  • Able to carry up to 40 pounds of weight
  • Made from quiet and durable KXO 32 camo fabric

CONS

  • Not a good pack for long hunting trips
  • More expensive than other packs
  • Not completely waterproof

Alps OutdoorZ Dark Timber Daypack Review

Another great hunting backpack, the Dark Timber daypack from Alps OutdoorZ puts your comfort and durability first.

The daypack is a little on the small side, but perfect for a hunter who has a tendency to overpack then regret that overpacking halfway through the trip. This bag is large enough to hold essential items like rope, a first aid kit, additional bottles of water, food, and even a hydration bladder.

Multiple padding system allows the pack to be pretty comfortable while also adding some breathing room between your back and pack. This means less sweaty backs for those of us that end up on long treks hunting upland game birds.

Overall this pack is a pretty good deal, and if you’re looking for a smaller pack you can carry around all day without issue, the Dark Timber Daypack, is likely the pack for you.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Lots of padding
  • Two main pockets for easy access
  • Durable material to last you multiple seasons

CONS

  • Not enough space for multi-day hunting trips

Alps OutdoorZ Commander Hunting Backpack Review

A pack made with big game hunters in mind the Alps OutdoorZ Commander Pack is one of the most popular elk hunting backpacks on the market today.

Not too expensive and not cheaply made this backpack includes everything a big game hunter could want in a hunting backpack. Including a rugged aluminum frame, fold out gear shelf, bow or rifle carrier, large outer and inner pockets, and comfortable shoulder pads and hip belt.
While this pack loads from the top, it also comes with a lower opening for convenience. The zippers on this pack are also quite durable and whisper quiet when pulled. Making getting in and out of your bag for various items that much better when hunting.

The bag offers 5,250 cubic inches of space. One can easily pack for a week-long trip in this bag with very little issue. When you are at camp this bag can be detached from the frame or for when you need to carry a large amount of meat back to the truck. Essentially for the money, you get both a bag and a freighter frame. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

PROS

  • Very large spacious pack to hold all your gear
  • Bag detaches from frame, allowing you to haul meat from place to place
  • Top loading with lower opening
  • Rifle or Bow holder

CONS

  • Doesn't allow for adjusting to smaller body types
  • Will require some adjustments for optimal use

Buck Commander Black Gorge Hunting Backpack Review

The Buck Commander Black Gorge Backpack is a pack that was designed to survive pretty much any hunting trip you can imagine. The fabric is resistant to wear and tear and has an internal frame that provides lots of stability. Even when the pack is full.

Along with a pretty durable pack, you also get 3,515 cubic inches of storage space, making packing for a multi-day trip no sweat. There are also several support and compressions strap for attaching other gear to the outside of the bag.

This backpack is designed to help you stay organized in the field by providing you with lots of internal and external pockets. It also includes a bungee style retention strap to help hold extra clothes in place.

PROS

  • Made from durable material
  • Plenty of storage space for long hunting trips
  • Lots of pockets to help keep gear organized

CONS

  • Straps, cords, and zippers can be loud if not properly secured
  • Pretty small opening on the main pocket

Wrapping Up

The purpose of a backpack is pretty clear. It exists to hold all of your extra gear while leaving your hands free to do other tasks. 

The purpose of a hunting backpack is much the same as any regular backpack but has a few other caveats as well. To start a good hunting backpack should be able to carry your weapon as well. This ensures that you won't be fumbling around in the woods with a loaded weapon, and you won't be accidentally hitting on branches or trees. 

When selecting a backpack for hunting there are a few pieces of criteria you should keep in mind. You will want a backpack that is weather resistant since hunting in nice weather isn't always an option. How small or large of bag you will need is important. If you intend to hunt for days at a time or will be hunting large game like elk, a bigger bag is a must.

The durability of the bag will also be a major consideration. You don't want the bag to break in the middle of a hunting excursion. Ideally, a well-built hunting backpack should last for many seasons. Lastly, you should consider a backpack with a place to hold your weapon. If you hunt with both a bow and a rifle, having more than one bag is a good idea. 

If you found this article helpful, be sure to share on social media, so other hunters can benefit as well. 

Thanks for reading and remember adventure is waiting. 

All of my life has been focused on the outdoors. From the days of fishing with my father when I was young, to learning more advanced outdoor skills through the Boy Scouts of America; you could say the outdoors is pretty much my life blood. I enjoy a wide range of activities including camping, survival, fishing, hunting, and bushcraft. I have spent most of my life learning these skills and now I want to pass on my knowledge and hopefully learn even more in return.

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