Best Fishing Backpacks
We all know many toys and gadgets there are to bring out to the dock for a great day of fishing. Having them disorganized is not only dangerous for the person who has to dig through it all, but it also wastes time. Sure, tackle boxes are great but they don’t often fit everything we need. That’s where a fishing backpack comes into play.
These packs allow you to organize all of your accessories and many even have specific spaces for small tackle boxes as well. Choosing the one that matches your style of preferred fishing and your own personal style can require more patience than the sport of fishing. Use our guide to find the right fit for you or just to jumpstart your research and get going in the right direction.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
Comes with an included waterproof cover
Designed with a removable pliers holder
Equipped with a brilliant light system
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST FISHING BACKPACKS
1. WILD RIVER NOMAD
Comes with an included waterproof cover
Designed with a removable pliers holder
Equipped with a brilliant light system
There is no rod holder on the side
The Wild River Nomad is pretty much the be-all and end-all of all fishing backpacks on the market. It is brilliantly crafted in pretty much every way and is the go-to option, without question.Read more
There are storage compartments galore here such as the internal mesh pockets, removable pliers holder, upper storage area with a removable divider and external zippered pockets.
Let’s just say the Nomad is built to last. In addition to the fact that the seams will not tear under pressure, there are base pads implemented that reduce wear. Oh, and while this is not waterproof, it does come with a waterproof cover.
In addition to the fact that the shoulder straps are padded, this is also equipped with lumbar padding for extended comfort for longer sessions.
This is quite the large pack and it can actually hold up to six medium number 3600 and four number 3500 trays for additional accessories.
Past the included waterproof cover, one of the coolest features of the Nomad is its integrated light system. At night, with the light-powered, you can see inside the backpack. Oh, and the light also swivels up and down.
Can you see why the Nomad is the best of the best? For all of you hardcore fishermen out there, do yourself a favor and pick up this pack.
2. PISCIFUN TACKLE BAG
It is divided into several different “rooms”
The durability is fantastic
Optimized for comfort and breathability
The foam divider takes up a bit too much space
Goodness, what a design this is. Just merely the sheer build quality and the massive array of storage compartments of this model make it extremely compelling.Read more
The brilliance of this design starts here. This entire pack is divided into 11 different “rooms” thanks to the SBS zippers. And, amazingly, due to the unique design, a total of 18 different small areas can be achieved.
Deciding what is more impressive here is tough as this is made with high-quality and water-resistant 1200-denier nylon fabrics. But, the 86 sewing procedures have led this entire design to be 20 percent more resistant to water and 20 percent tougher.
Even though the shoulder straps are not thickly padded, the padding that is present is solid. Additionally, both the straps and the back are optimized to be breathable.
By collapsing the clapboard, you can get 12.6 by 7.9 by 17.7 inches (length by width by height) of free space to utilize. However, the thickness of the foam divider takes up too much space.
You can either buy this with or without the four plastic trays but doing so is recommended if you need them (as they are high in quality). Oh yeah, there is also a hard molded sunglasses case on the top of this pack.
For virtually every type of fisherman out there, this pack is going to be a wonderful purchase. It is built like a beast and has several different compartments to hold different tools and items.
It seems to be very comfortable
It is designed with several storage compartments
Comes with rod holders
The zippers are not the best
One of the subtle features that this has that so many of you will covet is rod holders. Among other well-designed features, it is one of the many reasons this stands out.Read more
So many storage compartments are present here including the aforementioned rod holders, three separate main compartments, zippered side pockets, and a sunglasses case.
For the record, this pack is made of 100 percent polyester and is well-built. However, the zippers have received criticism from previous users for being cheaply made.
Several previous users have gone out of their way to claim how comfortable this is to wear and that can only be seen as a plus.
As a whole, this measures 19.7 by 13.1 by 7.1 inches. Now, the actual interior space will be a little less than this, so take note of that.
Included with your purchase are three medium-sized utility boxes. While you can place and use your own boxes with this, this is nice for those of you who do not currently have any that will fit inside this pack.
Some “money” features here really help to propel this pack to another stratosphere. With that said, however, the zippers could stand to be improved.
4. WILD RIVER WT3606
There is a convenient location for your pliers
The lower compartment will fit up to four #3600 style trays
Designed with padded shoulder straps
There are no rod holders
The quality of the zippers could be better
Sure, there are some flaws present to this design but when you look at it through unbiased lenses, you can tell that it deserves loads and loads of praise.Read more
In addition to the main compartment area (which does sport a removable divider), this is also designed with front web loops for better organization, a waterproof internal pocket, and also a convenient location for your pliers.
Even though this is built with base pads that will reduce wear, the zippers have received negative feedback from some users for being cheaply constructed.
Not only are the shoulder straps largely made but they are also well-padded. Additionally, there is an added sternum strap that enhances the comfort even more so.
Though this is not the largest fishing backpack in the world, the lower compartment can hold up to four trays (those that are of the #3600 style).
Even though some of you may be disappointed that this does not come equipped with rod holders, the front pocket cover will fold down to provide you with a handy working surface.
You see, it is tough to argue that this is not a solid and well-designed option. It is also a Wild River branded model so you know, at the very least, you can trust it to deliver the goods.
5. CALISSA OFFSHORE BLACKSTAR
Comfortable to carry
Included trays are not impressive
The top handle could be slightly larger
The Blackstar is a great pack that is manufactured from durable materials in the USA. It has eleven pockets, including a molded pocket for your sunglasses. You can choose to purchase this bag with or without tackle trays.Read more
If you are someone who likes to have a specific place for each item, the Blackstar from Calissa Offshore is bound to catch your eye. There are plenty of zippered pockets, mesh pockets, exterior loops, and even a dedicated molded sunglasses pocket.
This bag is made from polyester. It is a great option for fresh or saltwater and is resistant to corrosion. The Blackstar is held slightly off the ground by the addition of feet, which also helps to keep it upright and balanced. The bag itself is not waterproof, but there is an included rain jacket that will help to protect it. You can choose to purchase the bag with or without the tackle trays. Some reviewers have noted that the included trays have flimsy latches and they would have preferred to purchase them separately.
The straps are comfortably padded and the bag fits well on many frames. There is also a chest strap to help take some of the weight off of your shoulders and provide balance.
The Blackstar measures 20“ tall, 17“ wide, and 9“ deep. You can choose to remove the divider between the top and bottom compartments for larger gear. The “trap door” compartment can fit up to four 3650 or 3600 tackle containers.
This great piece of gear is made in the USA. It has eleven total pockets, is made from durable materials, features metal zippers, and includes a rain/sea spray cover. While there are not many extra features to mention, the bag itself is impressive.
To keep this item in tip-top shape, you should always remember to wipe it down after each use or run-in with ocean spray. The manufacturer offers a thirty-day refund and twelve-month warranty against defects. For an organized fisherman, this is a great option.
6. LIXADA TACKLE
Equipped with rugged base pads
Designed with a water-resistant pocket
There are several zippered pockets and mesh pouches
It is much smaller than many users have wanted it to be
When the most common complaint about your backpack is that it is simply smaller than what it looks, you know you have designed something really good.Read more
First off, the main storage area is designed with a divider that can be removed for larger items. In addition, there are two mesh pouches and four zippered side pockets also implemented.
This is made of water-resistant, tear-resistant and high-quality polyester. Oh, and an anti-scratch bottom is equipped with rugged base pads to provide protection against abrasions.
While the padded shoulder straps are really nice, perhaps better are the padded mesh panels that are integrated onto the back of this pack as these enhance the breathability.
As was mentioned, several previous buyers have commented on the smaller stature of this model. It can still fit your essentials but it may not be large enough for some of you.
The most important feature to address is that three transparent trays are actually included with your purchase (though you can buy the backpack without them).
When you look at this model from a quality standpoint, you can’t help but be impressed. Granted it is large enough for your needs, this one here is a no-brainer.
Crafted of 1000-denier nylon fabrics
Sports an adjustable and detachable shoulder strap
The back is lined with breathable mesh
It is not as large as some users have wanted
What makes this immediately unique is the fact that it only integrates one strap. Of course, there are plenty of storage compartments for all your fishing items and accessories.Read more
In addition to the multiple internal storage compartments, this model is also equipped with exterior pockets that can hold additional items (there are three in total).
First off, the SBS zippers are quite durable and the KAM buckle is as well. As for the main fabrics, this utilizes a 1000-denier heavy-duty nylon that has been finished with a waterproof coating.
The single strap may be seen as a negative but the nice aspect of this design is the fact that the back is lined with breathable mesh. Oh yeah, and the shoulder pads are designed to relieve fatigue.
Many buyers have noted that the actual size of this pack was much smaller than they were expecting it to be. Though the pockets and main compartment are not tiny, it may not be as large as you think.
The same shoulder strap that was just documented can also be exchanged from the right to the left and vice versa (whatever your preference is).
Overall, you really have to appreciate the design put forth by Fiblink. Granted you do not require a monstrous pack, this should fulfill your needs quite nicely.
8. SHIMANO BLACKMOON
Plenty of storage is available
Comes with two utility boxes
It is built to last
The overall comfort needs to be improved
Chances are, you instantly had an interest in this option when you saw it was made by Shimano. Indeed, they are a top-name brand and their Blackmoon pack is worthy of your time.Read more
In addition to the built-in mesh rod holders on both sides, this is also designed with zippered side pockets and a zippered front opening to hold additional items.
Do note that this is not a waterproof design but it is made of heavy-duty and durable textured fabrics. But the included utility boxes, for the record, are water-resistant.
The main issue with the Blackmoon is comfort. Look, the shoulder straps are thickly padded but the pack itself has been known to not sit properly on user’s backs and is also quite heavy even without all your accessories.
There are actually two sizes available so if the compact version is too small for your needs, it is quite convenient that you can opt for the medium-sized version instead.
Though there are not too many features to speak of here, as alluded to, you do receive two utility boxes with your purchase, which is a nice bonus.
Due to name recognition alone, this is a compelling choice. Of course, even the best manufacturers have been known to design some failed products but this is not one of those instances.
The durability is incredible
The design is weather-resistant
The strap is very versatile
There are comfort issues
It is on the smaller side
If nothing else, you can take comfort in knowing that this option is built like a beast with a number of convenient storage compartments. It is not perfect but it is still really good.Read more
All sorts of accessories can be stored in this pack with the multitude of storage compartments and the exterior pockets that are implemented.
The waterproof, weather-resistant and abrasion-resistant design here is fantastic. After all, what more would you expect from 1000-denier nylon fabrics?
Even though the shoulder strap is designed with a widened frame to relieve fatigue, it actually does the opposite and can dig into your shoulder when you have this pack filled with extra weight.
Admittedly, the main compartment is pretty small here and the entire design is not exactly optimized for users who need a ton of room.
In spite of the comfort issues of the shoulder strap, it is nice in the fact that it can be adjusted to allow this to be used as a handbag, backpack, or shoulder bag.
Most of the major points (such as the build quality and storage compartments) this hits on well. Then again, the flaws are there so you need to contend with them.
Tool organization pocket
Not as much organization as others
The TackleTime pack from Tool Era is an incredibly versatile option. It does not feature as much organization as other options, but it does include a foil-lined insulated pocket. The main compartment is expandable and fits five tackle boxes, laying flat.Read more
For what looks like such a small pack, it expands to hold a great amount of gear. In total, this pack has three different storage compartments. The largest pocket is ideal for tackleboxes, the middle pocket is great for food and drinks, while the front pocket is set up for tools. There are eight individual slots for tools and also a padded sunglasses pocket.
The exterior of the TackleTime is made from 420D nylon. It is water-resistant, but not quite waterproof. The bottom is lined on the exterior with PVC. This adds great durability to the bottom of the bag, and if you set it down in a puddle, you don’t need to worry. There have been some durability concerns with the zippers and straps.
This bag is pretty lightweight, at only three pounds. The straps are thick and decently padded.
As mentioned before, the main compartment is ideal for tackle boxes. It can fit five boxes that measure 10.75” x 7” x 1.5”, laying flat. The measurements of the backpack are 13” wide, 18” high, and 8” deep. There are side compression straps to keep everything in place and provide balance.
One of the most admired features of the TackleTime is the insulated foil-lined pocket. It can fit four bottles, eight cans, or a hydration bladder. It works well to keep liquids both hot and cold. On the backside of the pack, there is an ID window where you can list your personal information, in the event that you misplace your pack.
We took a step away from the brand names with this one. While we may have lost some durability along the way, the TackleTime does come in at a more affordable price point and we love the insulated pocket.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
This right here comes down to the storage compartments that are in play.
One of the primary reasons why most fishermen will want a dedicated backpack designed specifically for the craft is because it will be optimized for it. As many of you know, there is a lot that goes into the activity and many accessories, items, and tools can help along the way. And, finding a convenient location for them all may be priority number one. First off, assess the main internal compartment. If you want an ideal amount of internal organization then you better avoid models that have no dividers or internal pockets. After all, some of you may not want to sort through all your items every time you want something.
Moving forward, you also need to assess the design of the external pockets. Many of the best models will be equipped with three to four zippered pockets and also a few mesh pockets on the sides. Of course, you may also want dedicated rod holders for your poles and also possibly a convenient location for your pliers (as you will probably need these regularly). Oh, and some packs will even allow you to stash utility boxes in one of the external storage compartments.
Not only do you need a pack that is well-built but you also may want one that is water-resistant.
There is quite a lot to cover in this section so buckle your seatbelts. First off, you need to analyze the materials and fabrics that were used to construct any given model. Some of the common ones you will see are nylon, polyester and PVC tarpaulin. To give you a brief rundown of each of the material’s main characteristics; nylon is stronger than polyester but polyester will not absorb as much water and PVC tarpaulin is incredibly durable and resistant to the weather. However, this is just half of it as you should also reference the denier count of the material that was used. Now, denier itself is a unit of measurement to determine the fiber thickness of the individual threads of any given fabric. The higher the denier, the thicker and more durable fabrics tend to be.
Additionally, there are two other factors you need to take into consideration. The first is the design of the seams and zippers. To ensure the seams do not tear under pressure, you may want to look for them to be double-stitched. As for the zippers, you may not want to cheap out on them, either, as they should run smoothly and be well-made, as well. And, to wrap up this section, let’s talk about water resistance. Not all fishing backpacks will be waterproof or even water-resistant but you may want them to be as your items will be exposed to the water.
This one is pretty much a given when you start talking about backpacks.
No matter what type of backpack you are in the market for, the comfort is always going to come into play. And, even if you do not plan to carry your pack for extended periods, you should still look for it to be comfortable. For starters, begin with the design of the shoulder strap or straps. As was just hinted at, if you do not want a single strap then only opt for double strap models. Additionally, the strap or straps should be equipped with enough padding to prevent them from digging into your shoulders. And, overall, look for the straps to be ergonomically designed for the best fit.
Also, you can look for models that provide lumbar support. This is not a mandatory feature but if you have back issues, you may want the most support you can find. In addition, do not forget about the breathability. Chances are, you may end up fishing on a hotter day and if this is the case, models that come equipped with mesh panels or mesh lining can significantly enhance the breathability.
You need to get a model that will fit all the items you need to store.
This may be the simplest section (in concept) in this entire guide but it is also one of the most important. The reality is, only you know how much room you are going to need so you must buy according to your needs. But, you may then wonder to yourself, how exactly are you supposed to assess the capacity of any given model? Well, this process can actually be quite tricky (which is ironic when going back to the opening sentence of this section) as it can be tough to gauge what you can fit with some random dimensions that are provided. Though these can help, you have to take everything into consideration (such as all the external pockets and the main storage compartment).
The best advice is to conduct some research and to glance through user feedback. If the majority of previous buyers have reported that the pack was smaller than they expected and that it did not hold all they needed it to, you can then better assess if it will work for your needs. Of course, in general, if you are going on a fishing trip for several days then you may want a larger pack. But, if you are only going for a few hours at a time, you may be able to get away with a smaller one.
Nothing here is mandatory but these extra features can be really nice to have.
Most of what is going to be discussed in this section are additional or extra features that can add something to the overall purchase. But, at the same time, nothing in this section may be a deal-breaker to you and that is okay. To begin, do you plan on going fishing at night? If you do then you may want to look for a backpack that is equipped with an integrated lighting system. The reason this could be an important feature to look for is this can allow you to easily see what is inside your pack (avoiding the need to use a flashlight manually). Of course, a system like this will need to be powered via batteries so keep that in mind.
In addition, some models will sport front pocket covers that can fold down to provide you with a convenient working surface. Oh, and some sellers will even include their own personal utility trays with your purchase that can be used to store all sorts of accessories and items. Even if you have your own, they may not fit inside the pack so take that into consideration.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The be-all and end-all buying factor for most of you is going to be this right here. Normal backpacks are not going to cut it for most of you when it comes to storing all your equipment and accessories. So, you will want to look for an ideal main storage compartment (with possible dividers and internal pockets) and also enough external pockets to fulfill your needs.
Okay, so while the storage compartments section was really important, you can make the argument that the overall build quality holds just as much importance. Now, when it comes to tackling this section, you need to keep a number of factors in mind. Just to give you a rundown of the most important; assess the quality of the fabrics, durability of the seams and zippers, and water resistance of the overall design.
Quick question, do you really want to buy a model that is unforgiving on your shoulders and overall uncomfortable to wear? This should be answered with a resounding “no” and, with this in mind, it means you need to prioritize this section. While basic features such as padded shoulder straps are going to help, you should also look for models that are breathable and possibly designs that offer enhanced support for your back.
Other Factors to Consider
Now that we have all of the technical stuff out of the way, we can focus on a less important, but decision-changing factor, the style. Even though the way the bag looks does not necessarily affect its functionality, it is always nice to feel confident in what you're wearing. Chances are that no one reading this wants to carry their gear around in their child's Paw Patrol backpack, right? Many of the options here are available in a range of colors. Most are neutral colors including black, brown, or different variations of camouflage. If you have narrowed down the decision to two packs, you can then take a step back and focus on which one you like better aesthetically.
Also, if you plan to use this pack for other purposes, you will also want to make sure it's a style you wouldn't mind toting around. These bags are typically spacious, well-organized, and comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What should you pack inside?
Let’s just say that if you are an avid fisherman, you probably already know what to bring and can pretty much disregard this question. For novices of the activity, though, you may want to make your first couple of trips light. So, only pack the essentials such as the lures you will want to use, extra line, tools such as pliers for cutting the line, hydration, and possibly even a few snacks. Of course, also do not forget your poles!
q: Who could benefit from using this product?
The best part about a fishing backpack is everyone from novices to experts to fly fishermen to bass fishermen can enjoy them. After all, what better way is there to keep all your gear and supplies on you when you need them? Of course, depending on the type of fishermen that you are, your needs and priorities are going to differ.
q: Are they easy to clean?
Yes, for the most part, you will not have too much trouble cleaning the model you end up going with. At the same time, however, there may be instances where you need to get really tough stains out and these can be a hassle. Generally speaking, you should avoid machine washing at all times. Instead, for light cleaning, all you will really need is mild soap, warm water, and a soft sponge. Before you begin, though, you may want to empty out all the pockets and remove all the dirt and dust by shaking the backpack upside down.
q: What types of rods should you pack?
Truth be told, this all comes down to your preferences and the type of pack that you buy. If you do like travel fishing then you can pack rods that come in multiple parts as this can make them easier to carry. Also, if your pack has dedicated rod holders, you can place them there for peace of mind (which is why most anglers covet this feature).
q: Should you pack a waterproof bag inside?
Do not worry if this question is confusing to you as it is all going to make sense here shortly. The reality is most models on the market will not be equipped to handle full submersion in water for extended periods. And, in this technology-driven world, you may want to tag along with some technology devices (such as GPS units, fish finders, and smartphones). To keep them safe, you may want to store all of them inside a dedicated waterproof bag. From there, you can then store the bag inside your pack. Given the fact that these types of devices are not exactly cheap, taking this precaution is going to prove to be beneficial.
q: How long will they last?
There are two factors that will ultimately end up holding the most importance when it comes to the longevity of the model you buy. The first of which is the design itself. As was documented in a previous section, there are several individual factors that will enhance durability. But, there is no need to reiterate these so let’s take a look at the second factor. This one all comes down to you and how you treat your pack. If you clean it correctly, are not abusive with it, and store it safely, it could last you several years.