How to Choose the Best Hunting Pack

Hunting Backpack

Most people don’t realize exactly what goes into being prepared for a hunting trip. You’ll need to take a fair amount of gear along with you, and, of course, some way to carry the prey that you do bag.

For this reason, it’s essential to get yourself the best hunting backpack. You will need something with many convenient pockets to stash different bits of gear, but also one with a reasonable amount of space to store small birds or animals that you may have caught along the way.

You’ll also want a pack that can safely carry the choicer cuts of meat from the animals that you have hunted.

If you’re serious about hunting, you’ll need the best hunting backpack that you can afford. It’s a good idea to choose something that has been made well, even if it costs a little more. The more reputable brands offer backpacks that won’t break after a few uses.

How do you find the best hunting backpack for your needs? It can be tough. There are many contenders on the market. Also, every manufacturer claims that their product is the best hunting backpack.

To help clear up the confusion, we’ve drafted this review. We checked out many popular models and came up with our top five picks. Let’s see who made the grade, shall we?

List of Top Rated Hunting Backpack

Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Pack and Meat Hauler

This model has an innovative design. It’s built to help you stow your gear and still have plenty of space to store your kill. The pack is roomy and extremely easy to clean. So, there’s no need to worry about too much mess being made.

The meat is stored in separate zippered pockets that are large enough to accommodate a fair amount of game. This helps to keep the meat fresh and secure until you get back to your camp or home.

There are also a few small pockets to allow you to stow gear and ammo that you might need along the way. We did like that there is a built-in rifle boot as well. That makes it much easier to carry your firearm, especially if you’ve been out all day and are feeling a bit tired.

The pack is surprisingly well-balanced. The positioning of the straps makes it possible to distribute the weight on your back more evenly. The bag has a lightweight aluminum frame on the inside to provide extra support for your items and even out the load a little.

The back is padded with foam that takes on your back’s shape. This again is to help make it easier and more comfortable to carry a heavy pack. The fabric used is durable, strong, and waterproof.

Pros
  • A reasonable size that can carry up to 36 liters
  • Moldable foam back to lend extra comfort and support
  • Lightweight – weighs 5 pounds when it’s empty
  • Has 8 storage pockets for items that you might want to carry
  • Perfect for keeping meat and gear separate until you can get it home
Cons
  • It is tall, which could be an issue when you’re hunting. The pack, when full, stands pretty high on the shoulders

ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Pack

If you’re out hunting for elk, this is an excellent choice for you. This pack is designed for longer trips as it may be a bit bulky for a day trip.
It has a built-in hydration pocket so that you can easily access your water.

There is also a space in it to hold your rifle. If you’re out on a survival trip and want to pit your wits against nature, this may be the best hunting backpack for you.

What we thought was pretty cool here is that it has a divider inside. This divider splits the upper and lower parts of the pack. Which, in turn, makes it easier to access the items that you need.

You could store your gear in the upper section, and then stow the meat in the lower part. The pack will keep the two halves completely separate.
It does have pin attachments, webbing loops, and lashing straps that making carrying and accessing tools a breeze.

This is an awesome way of expanding the capacity of the bag – it’s only the weight of these objects that will limit how many you can take with you.

If you’re a gadget freak, you’ll love all the different options you have when it comes to storing your gadgets here. We do recommend, though, that you put careful consideration into what you do take with you.

Pros
  • High-quality
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Has a good carrying capacity
  • Waterproof
  • Easy access to the different sections
  • You have the option of clipping on some other tools and attachments
  • Has space to store your rifle
  • Has a hydration pouch built into it
Cons
  • It is a little on the heavy side, something that might be a problem if you’re out on a day trip

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag

This is for the serious hunter of big game. It has a ton of storage space so that you can pack all you need for a longer trip.

There’s also ample room to store larger kills and a sturdy frame to help you carry them home.

You’ll load the pack through the top zipper, but you also have a second zipper lower down to help you reach anything at the bottom.

The zippers move easily and won’t make much noise when you pull them. They’re perfect for when you need to reach back in your pack and grab something but don’t want to disturb your quarry.

There are lots of pockets to use on the outside, so you have plenty of space for odds and ends.

The internal compartment can be divided in two easily enough. It provides plenty of space to store meat. You can strap bigger kills to the frame by slipping off the pack.

There is a built-in rifle holder to make things more comfortable while you’re hiking around. With loads of space and a very sturdy frame, this is a great option for any hunter.

Pros
  • Well-designed
  • Durable
  • Sturdy frame
  • Suited for carrying larger kills
  • Top-quality materials
  • Zippers are nice and quite
  • Lots of space
  • A number of different pockets
Cons
  • It would be nice if the internal storage space had a divider in it
  • It can be bulky to carry on shorter trips

Eberlestock X2 Hunting BagPack

This pack has a wide range of accessories that make it easier to carry everything that you need on the hunt. It has scabbards to carry your bow and rifle. It also has a case to store your binoculars. You can also opt to buy a lock strap to lug your sleeping bag in the backpack.

Size-wise, this pack seems small at a glance. That’s deceiving, however. The innovative bat-wing design means that the pack has tons of spare room in it. That said, it is a smaller pack than some others on the market.

The company kept the design compact to cut down on its overall weight. If you are out for a quick day trip, then this might be the best hunting backpack.

The placement of the pockets and accessories makes it easy to access them when you need to. You won’t need to worry about fidgeting in your pack and losing your next kill.

What really makes this bag special, though, is the flex chassis. In this case, it makes the bag more versatile. You can use it as a seat if it’s flipped forward. When the pack is in use, the chassis cradles the load nicely.

You can then adjust the compression straps to get the perfect fit and weight distribution for yourself. We did find that this got a little uncomfortable to use over longer trips.

The weight distribution is not perfect, and your hips can get a little sore as a result.

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight – great for day trips
  • High-quality
  • Durable
  • Ready access to stuff stowed in the bag
  • Storage space for rifles and bows
  • Lots of colors that you can choose from
  • Innovative flex chassis means it can double as a seat or be used to cradle the gear
Cons
  • No frame to support the weight of a big kill
  • Compact model means it’s not as suited for longer trips

Tenzing TZ 4000 Back country Hunting Pack

This pack distinguishes itself by coming with an integrated rain cover. It will cover the entire pack when in use and make it completely waterproof. When the rain stops, fold it away and store it in its designated compartment.

What we liked about this pack, though, is that it is easily adjustable. You have three different options when it comes to size. You can use it in the compact form that allows you 2,500 cubic inches of room.

If that’s not enough, open up the expanding pockets on the side and add more space. When it comes time to store your meat, the compartment in the center can be opened to create more room.

The backpack has rigid stays made out of aluminum. These are concealed inside the pack and help to distribute the load more evenly across the back and over the hips. That means that neither your shoulders nor back need to take the full brunt of the weight.

The adjustable suspension is another feature that we like here. You can quickly and easily tweak the suspension so that it is perfectly synched to the size of your torso. This helps to improve your comfort when you’re wearing the pack.

The company has really taken comfort seriously here. The hip support area is well-padded, and the back pad is channeled to allow more efficient air cooling. You won’t feel nearly as hot when you have this pack on.

The meat compartment helps to keep the meat fresh because it is made of breathable fabric. Air can circulate in the compartment to keep the smell down as well.

The boot is also worth mentioning. It’s a compact, foldout design that makes it easy to carry your bow or gun when not in use.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Plenty of space
  • Comfortable
  • Integrated rain cover
  • Can store 3 liters of water
Cons
  • The water pockets could have been placed better. They become useless if the side pockets attached to them are full

Hunting Packs Buying Guide + FAQ

Choosing the best hunting backpack can be tough. That said, it will make a big difference in how well things go. Hunting backpacks are roughly divided into two categories: daypacks and multi-day packs. The type you need will depend on how long you’ll be out for.

Your typical day pack will be able to carry your gear, some extra clothing, ammo, cameras, knives, and scopes.

Multi-day packs are much bigger and can carry more gear. Before you rush off and get the biggest pack you can find, though, do consider how far you are going to need to travel with them fully packed.

Also, keep in mind that your gear is only a small part of the equation. You’ll have meat that you want to pack too.

Here are some things to think about before making your final decision.

Size

Size is important in terms of how much stuff you can carry. It’s also important in relation to how the pack sits against your body. The fit against your body is vital. If the pack is too tall, it could tire you more easily. If it sits too low on the body, it could tax your hips.

Design

This is one area that can complicate your decision. There are countless options when it comes to the design of the packs. The main thing to consider here, though, is whether you need an internal frame or an external frame.

An internal frame helps to redistribute the weight more evenly. If you’re carrying a heavy pack, a frame can be a lifesaver. Just keep in mind that models with an internal frame sit closer to the body. This might not be ideal in hot weather.

An external frame is useful if you’re going to be hauling your kill. It provides extra support and will allow better air circulation. This helps to keep the meat fresh and helps to keep you cooler. They do take some getting used to, though, so do give them a trial run before you use this type of pack.

External frames tend to be bulkier and can add extra weight. They’re not ideal in situations where you won’t be carrying a fair amount of meat.
The next design feature to look for is how many compartments the pack has. We love a bag with many compartments but be sure to see how they’re placed. More specifically, will any be obscured or difficult to reach if the surrounding pockets are full?

A pack with external straps and hooks can also be useful. They allow you to easily clip on the stuff you need urgently.

Essential Features to Look Out For

Like with everything, you get packs that have some useful features. Before being wowed by all the features they offer, though, consider whether they’re helpful or not. As we’ve said, finding the best hunting backpack is a different for everyone.

An external frame, for example, might be more of a hindrance than a help if you’re not lugging meat around. Let’s have a look at the features that really make the most sense.

Rustle-Proof Fabric
You spot a deer and are ready to line up the shot. You just need to get some extra ammo out of your pack. You reach back and open the zip. Only, the material made a loud noise, so the deer got spooked.
For a hunting pack, you should look for something that is as quiet as possible. Look for fabrics that won’t make a crinkling sound and zippers that are quiet.

A Boot for Your Weapon
It’s also an excellent idea to get a pack that has an integrated boot or a strap to secure your weapon. This makes it much easier for you when you’re traveling. The pack should allow easy access to the weapon, but also provide enough protection that it doesn’t get jostled too much.

A Rain Cover
Okay, this is not necessarily essential, but it makes good sense. While most backpacks will at least be water-resistant, they could still get soaked in a downpour. Look for a waterproof cover that protect the whole pack. Afterall, the best hunting backpack is a dry backpack.

A Hydration Pocket
These are also not strictly essential but are extremely useful. These allow you to store water in the bag itself. It’s an easy way to carry water, and it makes it a lot more accessible too.

Final Notes

When choosing the best hunting backpack for you, there are a lot of factors to consider. Most important, though, is that you get something that’s suited to your needs. You don’t want to end up paying for features that you’ll never use.

We’d recommend considering getting a day pack and a multi-day pack as well. That way, you have the perfect model on hand no matter what trip you’re going on. When deciding on the size, do remember that every item added also adds weight.

And, while that extra pound or two doesn’t make a difference when you pick the pack up, it will make it harder to lug the pack around.