There is nothing more frustrating than seeing the fish of a lifetime and struggling to find that magic gem of a fly or a lure in your fishing backpack. You’re nervously looking in the bag, back at the fish, back in the bag and eventually, the fish usually swims off just before you’ve found what you’re looking for.
These situations simply shouldn’t happen and thanks to backpacks specifically made for fishing, those days are gone.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Best Fishing Backpacks
Fishing backpacks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and different levels of quality, each one suiting a different angler. There are loads out there and working out which one is a good fit for you can take ages. Here we have taken the best fishing backpacks and compared them against each other so you can find the one for you, quickly and easily, for your next fishing trip.
Best For Spin Fishing
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Best Lightweight Pack
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Best Waterproof Backpack
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The Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack is a lure fisherman’s dream. This day pack has been made to withstand the life of a fisherman, the fabric is top quality, so is the stitching and it will last a long time.
But that’s not the best thing about it, it’s been specifically made to hold 4 medium size lure boxes in the base which allow you to easily access your fishing tackle from the outside. Perfect for when you need to find your favorite lure quickly and carry enough options for your day on the water.
This Wild River fishing backpack also has an integrated hydration pack holder, solid sunglasses holder, plier holder, and webbing to attach any other accessories you may need.
The Wild River fishing tackle backpack comes with an integrated LED light system mounted at the top of the back on the outside. This is really helpful if you’re a night fisherman, or when you’re trying to catch the first bite at dawn and the last at dusk.
The front pocket folds out to create a work surface, gone are the days of using a rock, your mouth, or any other limb to rig something. Simply lay down your lure/bait onto the work surface and rig awe.
The only negatives of this fishing backpack are that it’s not waterproof (but has a rain cover), the shoulder straps are a little rough and if something goes wrong with the bag, the customer service is a bit inefficient. Overall it’s an awesome bag for a tackle fisherman, but for your next fly fishing trip, it might be a little overkill.
The Allen Gunnison Switch Pack looks very pretty, it’s the kind of bag that says “I’m a casual adventurer” if you ask me. It’s been designed specifically for fly fishermen but could be quite useful as a small spin-fishing/bait-fishing bag.
The fishing backpack is a great size, the material and stitching are robust, plus it easily converts from a fishing backpack to a right or left sling pack, so it can you choose which side it sits on to make casting a little easier.
The main compartment can be opened from either side and once you’re in there you’ll see vertical storage pockets to keep your fishing tackle organized. The zippers on the main compartment go pretty much to the bottom of the bag making it much easier to find and store things. You also find a water-resistant pocket in there to protect valuables like your phone or camera.
On the outside, you have a mesh pocket at the top for storing things you might need to access quickly, like a tippet or a box of your favorite flies, a smaller storage compartment, two rod-tube holders/water bottle carriers, and adjustable straps to lock your waders/rain jacket into.
The fishing backpack comes with hydration ready, all you need to do is add your pouch and it’s also compatible with the Allen chest vest if you wanted to add some more storage to it.
It is a great bag overall, the only things to complain about are that it’s not waterproof and there is no waist strap to help support its weight on long hikes.
The Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack has been designed for spin/bait fisherman more than your average fly fisherman. The bag is very well made, is water-resistant, and has 18 different storage areas for all your tackle needs. If you can’t organize your tackle in this bag, then I don’t think you ever will.
The bag features 11 different areas all sealed by high-quality zippers that you can adjust to create 18 storage areas.
The main compartment holds 4 medium size lure boxes and also features a clapboard that allows you to split the space in half and have upper and lower storage accesses from the top and the front. The fishing tackle trays can also slide out of the front, which gives easy access.
The tackle backpack also features a front pocket, 4 side pockets, a waterproof pocket (for your phone), a hardshell glasses holder, and rubber feet to stop water coming through the bottom. They really have thought of everything here.
Carrying the fishing backpack is comfortable thanks to the breathable design and the padded shoulder straps, the only complaint is that it’s already a little heavy when it’s empty but that’s what you get with a quality design.
Enter the Simms Freestone Ambidextrous Fishing Sling Pack. Simms is a leader in the fly fishing accessories market and makes some of the best products out there. This sling pack has been really well thought out for a light day on the water, carrying the essentials so you can move quickly upriver and fish all those pools others might not make it to.
This fishing backpack does have a smaller capacity than most at 18L but that’s the whole idea. The sling is adjustable so you can carry all your gear on either shoulder or switch if one gets tried. The pack is water-resistant and has an array of pockets to ensure all your fishing tackle and other gear are at your fingertips. There is an integrated net holder, tippet holder, wet fly storage area, rod storage, and webbing to attach any other accessories too.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, light fishing backpack from those long walks upriver, this is the one for you. Just be aware it is a bit small and expensive but it’ll last a long time.
The Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack is made from 100% polyester that makes it durable for all those fishing outings. You can scrub up against rock and trees without worrying about your day pack wearing away.
The fishing backpack is a good size, not too big or small. Its main storage area is split up into three sections and can be accessed from either the top or bottom. The bottom compartment is designed to hold 3 medium-sized fishing tackle utility boxes that come with the bag free of charge.
The middle has a cooler compartment to keep your beer cold or hair fresh during the day and the top compartment is great for storing your personal stuff or smaller fishing accessories.
Together with the plier holders, outside pockets, rod holders, and foam molder glasses case, it’s very easy to keep your gear safe, secure, and organized.
The day fishing backpack is a delight to carry thanks to the thick and comfortable shoulder straps and you won’t have any backache on long hikes thanks to the chest and waist straps that ensure an even weight distribution.
Overall it’s an awesome tackle backpack for lure/bait fishermen. The only things I miss from it are a waterproof area, rain cover, and rubber feet to stop water seeping in. The zippers can also fail if it’s overfilled.
This is the first fully submersible, fully waterproof fishing backpack in the line-up. It has been excellently made from 1680D TPU coated Cyclepond Fishpond Fabric that’s tough, durable, and very waterproof.
The backpack is a great size, holding up to 38L of gear that will be safe as can be inside the waterproof fabric. The main compartment is accessed from the top through the roll-down mechanism and features one clear stash pocket for easy access and a zippered pocket for your valuables.
On the outside, there is a stretch mesh pocket with a zipper to keep all your quick-access gear in, like flies and tippets plus a handy rod type holder on the side.
The fishing backpack is comfortable to wear on those long hikes thanks to the adjustable hip belt, padded shoulder straps, and sternum straps. The shoulder straps are also webbed so you can attach nippers, pliers, or anything else you might need.
This is an awesome tackle backpack for a fly fisherman or a spin/bait fisherman who doesn’t need too much gear. It’ll carry what you need, keep everything dry, be comfortable and last a while. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have many storage options and it’s a little expensive.
Another great fishing backpack from Wild River. The WT3606 Multi-Tackle Large Backpack is very similar to the first one in the review but it’s missing the inbuilt LED and a glasses storage area.
The day pack is a great size and will fit a lot of gear inside it. The upper storage area comes with a removable divider so you can organize your tackle as you please and the lower storage area holds 4 medium tackle boxes that can be easily accessed from the bottom.
There is a clear waterproof pocket on the inside and the front pocket opens out to give you a work surface to rig our lures or baits on. There are also 4 zippered pockets on the side and accessory straps on the front to stores pliers, nippers, and more.
The shoulder straps are well-padded and together with the sternum straps make the bag comfortable to carry. It also comes with a waterproof base pad to stop any water from seeping in.
This is a great bag at a great price but it’s missing a few extra features that you don’t have to pay much to more to get. The only thing that might get on your nerves is that the top opening is quite narrow to get bulky items in and out of.
The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack is very similar to the other Fishpond backpack in the review but it comes with a few more accessory options and it has a zipper.
The fishing backpack is made from 1680D TPU coated nylon and a TIZIP waterproof zipper to prevent leaks. If you’re worried about it leaking, don’t be, I own this backpack and have swum across flats/creeks/rivers with it, believe me, no water is getting in there.
The main compartment is a nice size and will fit a good amount of gear inside it. There are two pockets inside, a zippered pocket for valuables and a clear stash pocket for small things you might need to find quickly.
On the outside, there are multiple attachment points for accessories plus straps for a rod tube and a small waterproof top pocket.
The tackle bag is very comfortable to wear thanks to the shoulder straps, sternum straps, and adjustable hip straps. You can take on long hikes comfortably knowing all your gear is safe and dry, even if you need to swim across a river. It’s the perfect waterproof fishing backpack.
We couldn’t do a fishing review without Shimano showing up, could we? The Shimano Blackmoon fishing backpack, as with all Shimano products has been excellently made to last in the life of a fisherman.
All the pockets are well placed and include a front-loading area for 4 included tackle utility boxes, two rod-storage areas, loops for accessories, zippered side pockets, and more. This makes it very easy to organize all your tackle so you can find what you need quickly.
One of the greatest things about this fishing backpack is the line spool access system. In one of the side pockets, you can fit a spool of line and run the line out of an in-built hole. This means you can simply pull leader material neatly without any tangles out of your tackle bag without having to open anything, genius!
The tackle bag is also made for long walks and the thick padded shoulder straps will keep you comfortable as you go. Overall it’s a solid tackle bag but there are some complaints that it’s a bit heavy and the tackle boxes seem to catch the sides easily.
When looking for only the best fishing backpack, there are certainly a lot of things you need to consider. This section is aimed at helping you break it all down, and make the right decision before you buy a tackle backpack.
The types of fishing backpacks we have reviewed here come in two forms, a sling pack or a traditional backpack, both are comfortable and easy to use, it just depends on how much gear you need to carry.
A sling pack simply goes over one shoulder and across your waist, they are ideal for short days out or when you don’t have to carry very much fishing gear. They are more suited to fly fishermen than bait/lure fishermen as fly fishermen tend to carry a bit less gear.
The backpack style is comfortable and can hold more fishing gear. So if you’re the kind of fisherman who needs a lot of choice at the ready, then this is certainly the way to go.
This all depends on what kind of fisherman you are and where you’re fishing.
If you need a lot of tackle on the water then you’re going to want a bag with a lot of specific pockets and plenty of storage space for all the things you might need. As a lure/bait fisherman, you’ll probably find that compartmentalized tackle bags are a better option for you than an open but waterproof day pack.
That being said, if you walk a lot while fishing then maybe you’ll need waterproof protection and may carry less fishing gear.
Fly fishermen tend to be in wetter circumstances when fishing, always wading and always on the move. This means you don’t want to carry too much fishing gear and that your gear is at risk of getting wet quite a lot. A smaller water-resistant or fully waterproof bag would probably suit a fly fisherman better.
Fishing is an all-weather sport. You never know when you might get caught out in the rain or when your bag might accidentally fall into the water. Therefore, water resistance is a key consideration when looking for your ideal fishing day pack.
Some bags are water-resistant, some have waterproof pockets and some are full submersible. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any day packs with hundreds of storage options that are fully waterproof, so I’d either go for a water-resistant bag with a lot of storage options or a fully waterproof bag because let’s face it, it’s going to get wet at some point.
No one want’s an uncomfortable fishing day pack. The whole idea of owning a fishing day pack is to get your gear, safely and organized to the fish, comfortably. Make sure the pack you choose fit’s your body size, carrying requirements, has padded shoulder straps, a hip strap, and a sternum strap. This will ensure your shoulders aren’t rubbed too hard and that the weight is evenly distributed across your body.
Here are the top fishing day packs from the line-up.
The best lightweight day pack is the Simms Freestone Ambidextrous Fishing Sling Pack. It’s excellently made, light, has a lot of storage options, is comfortable and it’s water-resistant. There isn’t much more you’ll need from a light fishing day pack.
The best spin/bait fishing day pack is the Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack. This guy has so many storage options that no matter how much tackle you like to take with you, there will be an organized space for all of it.
The best waterproof day pack is the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack. There is no nice feeling than knowing all your gear is safe and dry while you wade up a river or get caught in a rainstorm. The extra pockets and waterproof zippers on this model make it one of the best waterproof fishing day pack’s around.