What Is the Best Backpack for Fishing? 

 September 26, 2022

By  Diane Wuthrich

Many anglers are abandoning the classic-style tackle boxes. As well as being big and bulky, tackle boxes are inconvenient to modern bank fishermen or tournament co-anglers. There is a lot of wasted space, and the box holds little gear, but still weighs a lot. Plus, nobody wants to lug around a tackle box, bumping and banging their way into every rock and tree in their path. Fishing backpacks are the solution.

Fishing backpacks let you store all of your fishing gear and tackle while keeping your hands free for a long fishing session. A backpack will make it easier to traverse rough terrain and reach your fishing spots. Having a good fishing backpack makes it easy to grab your tackle and get into a boat easily when you need to.

Anglers can choose among different types of fishing backpacks, each with its own design, size, and quality. There are plenty of options out there, but you need to determine which one is best for you.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Backpack

Fishing trips are always fun adventures to look forward to. If you want your trip to go smoothly and to be as enjoyable as possible, it’s important to bring the essentials along with you. It can be just as essential as a rod to have a good backpack when fishing. In addition to storing your fishing equipment, a backpack also keeps all your other items safe. 

A fishing backpack is a convenient and easy way to carry all your fishing gear, tackle, tools, supplies, and additionally, clothes or snacks. This is why every angler needs a fishing backpack that holds plenty of tackle, is waterproof, spacious, can be carried comfortably, and is easy to handle.  

Here's what to look for when choosing yours.


You'll want to be as comfortable as possible when you're heading out to fish. Ideally, you do not want a bag that is hard to carry or that is difficult to fish with. It is important to consider comfort when choosing a fishing backpack. 

When you buy a backpack, make sure the shoulder and back padding is adequate. In terms of both length and shoulder width, your bag needs to be fitted properly to your body. Many fishing backpacks have adjustable shoulder straps, however, you will have to consider whether or not the straps will fit you comfortably and properly. If you plan to wear the bag for prolonged periods, you will want to avoid straps that dig into the skin or restrict your movements.  Try to avoid backpacks that have narrow shoulder straps, as these are more likely to cut into your shoulders. Carrying your fishing equipment to your favorite fishing spot is much easier when you have comfortable shoulder straps.

The shoulder straps of some fishing backpacks include suspension systems to spread the load evenly across your shoulders and your back. Other fishing backpacks have spine support channels for additional support and load distribution. Additionally, a waistband or chest strap can be useful for distributing weight evenly. A chest strap can often be adjusted according to your body shape. Make sure your bag is ergonomic if you plan on spending long periods on the water. With an even weight distribution and adequate back support, you can enjoy your fishing session without worrying about straining your back.


Choosing a backpack big enough to suit your needs is extremely important. Consider what you will need to bring in your backpack before you buy it. You'll need different tools depending on what kind of fish you want to catch. Thus, when choosing your bag, take the time to select one that has ample room. Additionally, the most useful bags will have convenient pockets and compartments so that you can easily access them while casting. Make sure, however, that the added size does not come at the cost of added weight. A bag that’s too heavy can hurt your back after all.

A large fishing backpack is obviously necessary if you plan on going on a multi-day fishing expedition or heading out into the backcountry. An easy-to-carry backpack would be ideal for day trips. However, you should always remember to pack the essentials for fishing no matter how long you intend to fish, such as a tackle box and fishing tackle.

In most fishing backpacks, the main compartment will have enough room for you to fit your fishing gear, clothing, and food. If you plan to go fishing for several days, you might consider that you will need extra room in the main compartment for everything else you'll need, including your fishing gear. Having easy access to a storage area on top can be useful for small items, such as sunscreen or sunglasses. Additionally, a removable tool holder would be more convenient than a permanent attachment.

Waterproof Feature

The fact that your fishing backpack needs to be waterproof seems obvious, but many do not consider it. Whatever you choose, make sure it's robust. You can choose from polyester to nylon, among others. In addition to keeping your tools and gear clean, waterproof bags prevent them from getting damaged. Whatever the weather, a waterproof bag is a good idea whether you're in the rain or the water. A waterproof backpack is also convenient for packing a spare set of clothes in case you get wet.

It is also useful to store all your gadgets safely in a waterproof bag. Any device you pack into a waterproof compartment - including your smartphone, GPS, and keys will be protected from the elements. In most fishing backpacks, there are waterproof pockets that are designed to hold valuables and cell phones. 

The best fishing backpacks will be able to withstand the wear and tear of the outdoors and are made of materials that are water-resistant and mudproof, so they won't need to be cleaned as often. There are even some with nylon fabrics that are water-resistant and durable. There are a lot of backpacks that may not be truly waterproof, but they will have waterproof pockets and pouches, and some of them also come with an optional rain cover you can secure over the bag to make it even more durable.


You'll find that many fishing backpacks have lots of compartments so that you can conveniently store your fishing essentials and personal items. Typically fishing backpacks come with additional compartments for your fishing tackle boxes in addition to their main compartments. It allows you to keep your gear separate, enabling you to access the boxes easily and without having to unpack the whole bag. Some fishing backpacks may also have a waterproof pocket in which you can keep valuables such as your cellphone.

Also, you need to ensure that the outside compartments are large enough for storing your tools and extra fishing line. These compartments should have smaller openings so that you don't have to dig around. There should also be room for a fishing rod in your tackle backpack. You can secure other items to your pack with loops and hooks, which means that they do not take up additional space within the bag. In some cases, rod holders and belts will also be provided.

Cooling compartments are just an extra feature, but one that is still useful. Baits and food can be kept fresh for longer through cooler bags. As well as being extremely convenient, it prevents you from having to lug around a separate cold storage container. When choosing a bag, look for a design that has separate compartments to store your food and bait separately.


You don't want a backpack that will break while you're out on the water so it's essential to choose a bag that is made from durable and strong materials. Make sure the seams are hard-wearing with fabrics like strong polyester and woven reinforced fabrics. In addition, you should ensure the bag has a durable lining because you'll be carrying sharp objects. Molded zippers or anticorrosive zippers are also excellent features to look for.

Best Backpack for Fly Fishing

The standard fly fishing chest or waist pack may not be up to the task when it comes to storing all your essential gear. A fishing companion that can handle all your essentials, not just fly boxes and tools, is essential when you're away from your vehicle or campsite for a full day.

In addition to your fishing gear, a fly fishing backpack can hold lunch, extra layers, a camera, and anything else you might need. When you trek to find fish over longer distances, you'll find it easier to carry your gear on your back in a supportive pack than to force the weight through your waist or chest.

Here are some of the most popular fly fishing backpacks which can be compared on our website:

Best Backpack for Ice Fishing

You don't have to sit inside during the winter months while you wait for the sun to come out and dream about open water and enjoying summer fun. Pack up, get outside, and try fishing on ice for a brand new experience. When winter seals off the lakes, ice fishing can be fast and furious. The best part is that there are no mosquitoes or flies to bother you.

An ice fishing backpack lets you take all your gear out on the ice with you. This backpack is a must-have for hole hoppers and anglers operating on the move. Its padded compartments will hold tackle, rods, your flasher, and any other small accessories you require on the ice. You can even wear some backpacks over your parka comfortably because they have extra-long straps.

Here are some of the most popular ice fishing backpacks which can also be compared on our website:

Best Backpack for Lure Fishing

In its many forms, anglers find lure fishing exhilarating. Because lure fishing is not just a fast and efficient method for covering large areas but is also an exciting method of catching fish, so having the right equipment, especially the right backpack is essential.

A benefit of lure fishing is that you can do it anywhere, whether it's in freshwater, offshore, on rocks, or in the surf. You can do it quite easily if you keep an arsenal of lures with you. In addition, you will not have to search for natural baits before you go fishing. Hence, you need a backpack that should be spacious enough to store all your equipment and one that you can easily and conveniently lug around for your lure fishing experience to be worthwhile.

Here are some of the most popular lure fishing backpacks:

Best Backpack for Surf Fishing

One of the most exciting ways to catch fish is surf fishing. While casting over the breaking waves, you can witness a beautiful sunset. Could it be a ray? Maybe a shark? You are almost unable to handle the excitement as you reel it in quickly. You got a bite on a surf perch. Oh well, at least there was a bite. Better send that back and keep casting.

All types of fishing rigs ranging from pompano rigs to giant circle hooks, some special equipment and rigs are required for surf fishing. Taking a wide variety of gear to the beach is always a good idea since you never know what will show up on the beachfront. Taking all your gear seems to require taking a huge truck with you, but a good surf fishing backpack can cover all your bases.

Here are some of the most popular surf fishing backpacks:

Best Backpack for Electrofishing

While anglers most commonly use hook and line fishing to catch fish, fish biologists favor electrofishing. 

In a similar fashion to police stun guns, electrofishing temporarily incapacitates fish so fish biologists can catch them with nets. A holding tank is then used to recover fish before being evaluated and reintroduced to the water.  In streams and rivers, electrofishing units must be mounted on boats, while in creeks and smaller streams, units must be carried on as backpacks.

Here are some of the most popular electrofishing backpacks:

Hunting and Fishing Backpack

A backpack is essential for every outdoorsman. You need it no matter what outdoor activity you engage in. All backpacks undertake the same simple but crucial function which is to allow you to carry and store equipment while keeping your hands free. An angler or hunter should choose a pack with ample storage and features for a successful outdoor adventure.

In comparison with grade school backpacks, outdoor backpacks have evolved significantly. Nowadays, there is a backpack specially designed for any outdoor activity. A good backpack should come with all the features you need for your adventure in the great outdoors. As an example, fishing backpacks include compartments for tackle boxes as well as external pouches for quickly reaching the gear you mostly use. The best hunting backpacks should not only offer ample storage space for your gear but also allow you to carry your firearm or bow, as well as have additional room for storing your kill. Make sure the outdoor backpack you purchase is designed specifically for your planned adventure.

Here are some of the most popular hunting and fishing backpacks which can also be compared on our website:

Tactical Backpack for Fishing

Adventures in the outdoors require more than a simple backpack. This is where tactical backpacks come in. Even though tactical backpacks originated in the military, there is now a wide range of stylish and functional options, making outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing, and camping even cooler. Tactical backpacks provide a safe way to keep everything in one place no matter how long you're fishing. From fishing gear to a change of clothes, they're the perfect solution to store and organize all your fishing needs.

Designed to allow you to survive up for days off-grid, these units have long-lasting, quality components and ample storage space. Originally inspired by the military, there are designs and styles suited to all types of activities, including fishing, camping, and even survival.

Here are some of the most popular tactical fishing backpacks which can check the specs of and compare with our comparison tool:

Waterproof Backpack for Fishing

There is a growing trend for waterproof fishing backpacks. You can keep all your fishing gear, including your lunch and extra layers, dry with a waterproof fishing companion. Having a great fishing backpack may seem like a good idea, but what use is it if your gear can still get wet? Considering the gear you're protecting (and the fun you'll have on the water) makes investing in a truly waterproof backpack an excellent investment.

Wading too far with your pack or losing it over the side of the boat can easily ruin a day on the water. What could be better than owning a backpack that has you covered no matter what? When you think about it, carrying a waterproof fishing backpack makes more sense.

Here are some of the most popular waterproof fishing backpacks which can also compare on our website:

What is the Best Fishing Tackle Backpack

Traditional tackle boxes are a thing of the past at least for many anglers because they are hard to carry and not convenient when fishing. You can use traditional tackle boxes if you fish from a boat and leave it in the boat, but you'll soon realize that the tackle boxes are too heavy and awkward to carry for long distances. A fishing tackle backpack could be just what you need if you enjoy fishing but want to avoid using an awkward tackle box. 

With the right tackle backpack, you can store your fishing gear, lures, lines, and personal items. Moreover, they come with padding on the shoulders and back for added comfort when you're carrying your fishing equipment. 

Here are some of the most popular fishing tackle backpacks:

Fishing Backpack with Rod Holder

A decent fishing backpack is almost guaranteed to be needed whether you are going on your first fishing trip or you’re a seasoned angler. Fishing backpacks are essential for a great fishing experience as well as comfort and convenience during your trip.

Fishing backpacks provide the convenience you need by allowing you to carry all the necessary equipment with you at a moment’s notice. A fishing backpack can hold tackle, gear, tools, clothes, and even snacks. Anglers who are worth their salt won't go fishing without a good fishing backpack that covers all their bases. A fishing backpack with rod holders is especially useful. The ability to hold your rods in and keep your hands free is a lifesaver.

Here are some of the most popular backpacks with fishing rod holders:

Backpack Fishing with Tackle Box

At some point, we've all been there. You arrive at your fishing spot and start unloading your vehicle. In no time at all, you have your reel and rod in one hand, while holding your tackle box with two fingers and carrying a cooler with the other hand. Why are you torturing yourself? A good fishing backpack that can carry all your fishing essentials is all you need.

The fishing backpack comes in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and levels of quality, each suitable for a different angler. Some fishing backpacks have a compartment for a tackle box to slide into easily. Other models include several small pockets for storing gear, as well as a central compartment for larger items.

Here are some of the most popular fishing backpacks with tackle box:

Fishing Backpack with Trays

A great way to relax and relieve stress is to go fishing. However, it comes with quite a bit of gear. Fishing requires a huge amount of equipment, and some might feel overwhelmed with the thought of carrying all of them. This is where fishing backpacks saves the day.

There are many different types of fishing backpacks. You have a plethora of options to select from, and making the right choice is important for a smooth sailing fishing adventure. There's nothing more frustrating than realizing you forgot the spare hook or line because your backpack couldn't accommodate everything.

Here are some of the most popular fishing backpacks with trays:

Fishing Backpack with Stool or Chair

Like any hobby, fishing requires a lot of patience, practice, and skill. It gives you the opportunity to be outdoors in a beautiful setting and you have to remain alert at all times. The most rewarding aspect of fishing? Quiet time. You have time for yourself, you can reconnect with nature, and you are free from the stress of everyday life.

Fishing can be relaxing, but it's also one of those activities that can last an entire day or more. Oftentimes, people camp overnight to increase the chance of catching the fish they want. Those who spend a lot of time fishing need a fishing chair that is robust, durable, waterproof, and most importantly, comfortable.

Here are some of the most popular fishing backpacks with a stool/chair:

Backpack Cooler for Fishing

Whether you're fishing in a river, lake, or on the beach, a backpack cooler will help reduce the burden of heavy carry. Despite their excellent performance at keeping drinks and food cold, hard coolers are difficult to take to certain places, such as beaches that swallow them in sand or rough trails, or really anywhere more than a few hundred yards away from your vehicle. Backpack coolers offer a unique ergonomic solution that can be customized to meet individual needs. 

The traditional cooler works well for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor adventures, but if you're planning to head to the backcountry for a weekend fishing trip, you'll need something lighter to carry your fishing gear and other essential items.

Here are some of the most popular fishing backpacks with cooler which you can compare here:

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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