Best Fishing Backpacks – 2020 Buyers Guide
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Carrying a lot of heavy fishing gear around is not fun, but it’s an essential part of any fishing trip if you want to make sure you are fully equipped.
Fortunately, backpacks make the job much easier, and some of the more specialized fishing backpacks are really innovative in their design.
A detailed look at the best fishing backpacks
Wild River Nomad Tek Nomad LED Lighted Camo Backpack - Best overall option
- Molded sunglasses holder on top of the backpack
- Pliers holder
- Large capacity: holds six 3600 tackle trays & four 3500 trays
- Select from high or low level white LED or a green LED light setting
- Removable divider
- Rain cover
- Multiple pockets
- Retractable lanyard
- Weight: 4-3/4 lb.
It seems that CLC thought of everything when they designed this Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad lighted backpack.
Packed full of useful features, you will find pockets and compartments to fit all of your tackle boxes and accessories that you would need to take on your fishing trips.
On the top part of the Tek Nomad lighted backpack you have a molded compartment to fit in your sunglasses or your prescription glasses. This is quite a strong compartment, so offers good protection for your glasses, and the location makes them very easy to access whenever you need to retrieve them.
Just underneath the molded sunglasses compartment you have a large pocket with a clear view zip-locked compartment in the hood, where you can keep things like your phone and fishing license. There is enough room in this compartment to easily fit 5x 3500 tackle trays and a spare reel.
At the front of the pack you have two compartments (smaller one at the top, and larger underneath) that also act as work surfaces. When you unzip them the flat area at the front is ideal for tying your hooks or any other tackle setup you need to do. The bottom compartment can fit 4x 3600 tackle trays.
There is an LED light situated at top-front of the backpack, and this can be used to light up these work surfaces, of flipped around and light up the interior of the pack, so you are able to see everything that you are working on in lower light conditions.
On both sides of the backpack you have 3 additional pockets on each side. In the larger one you can fit another 3500 size tackle tray, and there is also plenty of room to fit a multitude of accessories.
The top pockets on each side have rubberised mesh on the outside so you can store additional items that you may want to access quickly or frequently.
There are a ton of useful accessories built into the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad lighted backpack.
As previously mentioned, the LED light is a very useful addition that will really help you out with your setup when it’s still dark. It uses 2x AAA batteries (included) to power it.
There is a pouch on the top-side of the backpack for storing your pliers. This can also be detached so you can clip it to your belt on your pants if you want to have your pliers on you at all times when you fish.
A retractable lanyard is fitted to the top-front side of the backpack, which is ideal for something like your line clippers or scissors.
There are multiple loop holders all over this backpack, so you can strap your rods and landing nets to the pack, so you are able to walk with your hands free.
For those inevitable rain showers that you will get caught up in from time to time, there is a rai-fly stored in a top pocket on the backpack that will cover the entire pack and keep it all dry.
The widened shoulder straps on the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad lighted backpack help spreads the load over a wider area of your shoulders, and the extra padding ensures they are comfortable even when the pack is fully laden. There is also a heavy-duty handle on the top of the backpack for easy lifting
On the back of the pack there are padded areas to provide more comfort to your back when carrying it. The bottom of the backpack has four molded feet, which will provide more protection for it and keep it dryer when placed on the ground.
Overall, the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad is a well-made, feature-packed backpack that is both durable and functional.
Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack - Best waterproof option
- 28-liter capacity is complemented by variety of pockets
- Waterproof material is made out of recycled nylon
- TIZIP zippers are waterproof to keep rain and river water out
- Set of gear straps included
- Compatible with many Fishpond chest packs
- Dimensions: 21" x 12" x9"
- Weight: 2.8 lbs
Some (adventurous) anglers need a backpack that is completely waterproof when submersed in water.
While there are a number available on the market, the best we found was the excellent Fishpond Thunderhead submersible backpack.
The construction of this backpack is incredibly sturdy. It’s made from 1680D recycled nylon with a TPU coating, and it’s incredibly tough and essentially, very watertight.
The main compartment is sealed with the TIZIP zipper, which is fully waterproof. The smaller front pocket has a water-resistant zipper (*note – this smaller front pocket is not fully waterproof like the main compartment).
The backpack comes with a removable hip belt, which is useful for keeping the pack tightly strapped to you if you are going for a longer hike, or you just prefer to not have it flapping around. The belt also has a pouch for pliers.
There are multiple attachment straps built into the backpack so you can tightly secure any rods, nets, and other accessories you want to carry. All these straps have been coated in plastic, so they are extremely strong and durable.
Each side of the pack has two of the new Fishpond fixtures, which are also used for attaching more sturdy equipment. The backpack comes with a quick-shot rod holder, that clips into any of these fixtures and provides a firm holder for your fishing rods.
The spacious 28-liter capacity is plenty big enough to fit a wide range of tackle boxes and equipment.
There is a large interior zipper pocket, and also a clear stash pocket where you can keep things such as your tech devices and fishing license. This stash pocket makes it really easy to access the contents whenever you need to.
I love the thought that has gone into the shape and design of the Fishpond Thunderhead submersible backpack. It sits really well on your shoulders, and along with the wide padded straps it makes for a very comfortable wear, even when loaded with fishing gear.
The back of the pack is form-fitted, it has a slight curvature to it, so it sites perfectly on the back. The chest strap across the front pulls the shoulder straps in nicely and takes a lot of the load across the front.
The Fishpond Thunderhead submersible backpack is just a really well thought out backpack, and for those that need a pack that is fully waterproof and can be submerged in water, then it’s hard to find a better one that this.
Bass Pro Extreme Qualifier 360 Backpack or System - Best budget option
- 2 in 1 design
- Padded back
- Comfortable padded shoulder straps
- 4 pockets
- Rod tube straps
- Versatile zip-off bottom section with shoulder strap
- Holds up to ten 360 utility boxes
- Great value for money
For those of you who want a great budget fishing backpack option, then the Bass Pro Extreme Qualifier 360 is an excellent choice.
This backpack demonstrates that you don’t always have to spend big bucks to get a good quality product. The Extreme Qualifier 360 serves its purpose really well, and has been very well made so you should be able to get years of usage from it. All for a really affordable price.
The Bass Pro Extreme Qualifier 360 backpack has a LOT of room inside! You can comfortably fit 10x 360 (aka 3600 series size) utility boxes in the pack, as well as other gear, accessories, and clothing.
Bass Pro calls this backpack a “System”, as you have a detachable bottom section. This is great if you are going on a shorter fishing trip and don’t need to take as much gear with you, then bottom section is easily detached and you have the main backpack section with the main compartment that will hold a lot of gear.
There are four pockets on this backpack. Two located at the side and one at the front of the bottom section of the pack. The side pockets are ideal for spools of line or smaller boxes for lures or jig heads. The front pocket is great for carrying things like packets of soft plastics as well as accessories such as your phone.
The bottom section of the pack opens up to fit 4x 360 utility boxes, and the boxes fit into this space comfortably, no having to really try and squeeze them in.
The top of the pack has a large pocket at the front. This is ideal for putting more packets of soft plastics or other accessories.
The main compartment in the top section of the backpack is large. You can easily fit 6x 360 boxes into this part, as well as spare reels, clothing, food etc.
Value for money
I was very surprised when I saw the price of the Bass Pro Extreme Qualifier 360, you really are getting a very good quality fishing backpack at a very low price.
Of course, you’re not going to get all of the bells and whistles with this one as you would expect on a backpack that sells for a lot more money.
One example is that it doesn’t come with a fitted pouch for pliers, which a lot of other more expensive models do. But is that a deal breaker? Not for me, not at this price!
The thing to look at here is the quality of the backpack, and the design features.
First off, the Bass Pro Extreme Qualifier 360 has been extremely well made. It feels strong, certainly not a cheap material that you feel will tear as soon as you pick it up. It carries a full tackle load very well, and certainly feels comfortable to wear.
Overall, this is a very good fishing backpack being sold at a great price.
Best fishing backpacks – some other great options
KastKing Fishing Tackle Backpack
- Reinforced padded straps for comfortable usage
- Made from tough 420D rip-stop nylon material
- Padded back for carrying comfort
- Spacious compartments for efficient tackle organization
- Double rod holder pouches so you can walk hands-free
- Covered with a water-resistant hydrophobic coating
- Multiple zipper pockets
I have become a big fan of KastKing fishing equipment over the last couple of years, they provide some very good rods and reels at really impressive prices.
So it wasn’t a surprise to me when I saw the excellent KastKing fishing tackle backpack.
The KastKing fishing backpack has some really well thought out features that will certainly make travelling to your fishing location that much easier.
There are numerous pockets placed around this backpack in useful positions. On the very top there is a fleece-lined small pocket where you can store things like sunglasses of a phone, and the lining will give it the protection you would want for items like this.
On the left side of the backpack you have the entry to the bottom portion of the backpack. In this compartment you can comfortable fit 4x 3600 size boxes. On the outside of this compartment you have a rubber mesh pocket that is suitable for placing spools of line or packets of soft plastics.
On the other side of the backpack you have another mesh pocket, and outside of that you have two smaller pouches where the butt of your fishing rods can sit. Then above this, up the side and front of the pack you have some adjustable bungee cords to wrap around your fishing rods, so you have a very secure way of strapping your rods to the pack.
On the front side of the backpack there are two zip pockets, one larger and a smaller one. These are ideal for storing items such as keys, bait, lures etc.
The exterior of the Kastking backpack has been made with 420D rip-stop nylon material, so it is extra tough and durable.
The exterior has also been coated in a water-resistant hydrophobic covering, while the interior uses a PVC coating. This will keep out a lot of the rain when it comes.
The zippers however are not waterproof, so you can’t submerge this backpack and keep all the water out. But it will keep the contents dry through rain showers.
The zippers are really good quality on this pack. If they ever split apart, you simply need to unzip and then zip them up again, and the split will heal. Very effective and a really good feature.
The waist straps are very sturdy and provide a very secure hold when done up. The straps are padded, so they are comfortable to use. They also contain pockets; the left sided strap has both a rubber mesh pocket, and then a zipper pocket. While the right sided strap contains a zip pocket and also a few straps so you can clip things such as a pliers pouch or other accessories to them.
Overall, the Kastking fishing tackle backpack has been really well made, and the design really well thought out. You are getting a very good backpack at a very reasonable price.
Bass Pro Advanced Anglers II Backpack
- Durable 600-denier water- and UV-resistant fabric
- Waterproof electronics pouch
- Includes 2x 3650, 1x 3750, and 1x 3500 utility boxes
- Hydration compatible
- Rain fly cover
- 2x tools holsters
- Heavy-duty zippers with speed zipper pulls
- Dimensions: 20" x 12" x 8-1/2"
Another product from Bass Pro makes the best fishing backpacks list, this time their Advanced Anglers II backpack.
This backpack isn’t new. It was first released in 1997 and was a very popular choice right from the start. It has been enhanced more over the years and continues to be a very popular backpack for anglers.
While the Bass Pro Advanced Anglers II backpack is not packed full of features, what it does have is an extremely practical and functional design, with all of the elements well positioned on the pack for optimal organization and ease of access.
At the top-front of the pack you have a sunglasses pocket. Then just below this is a pocket where you can fit a utility box or packets of lures, and there is also a waterproof electronics pouch for your phone and other accessories you may have that you will want to keep dry and protected.
The top-loading compartment is fairly spacious, and you can fit a 3750-utility box along with bulkier items such as clothing and spare reels.
The bottom of the pack opens up at the front, and here you can fit 4x 3650 utility boxes. There are also two tool holsters on the pack, so ideal for carrying items such as a pliers pouch and line clippers. There is also capacity for a hydration pack, although this is not included when you buy this backpack.
There is also a rain-fly that comes neatly packed away, ready for those quick rain showers when they appear.
The Bass Pro Advanced Anglers II backpack comes with 2x 3650, 1x 3750, and 1x 3500 utility boxes.
This backpack is really tough. It is constructed from durable 600-denier water and UV-resistant fabric, which is extremely hard to rip or tear.
The heavy-duty zippers are built to last as well, and the speed zipper pulls are a nice touch that make opening any of the compartments a breeze.
Comfortable to wear
The adjustable straps on the backpack are padded, and fairly wide so they spread the load across your shoulders well. There is a chest strap and a waist belt so the pack can be tightly secured.
The back of the pack is also padded, and has a mesh covering to allow the air to flow.
Overall, the Bass Pro Advanced Anglers II is an extremely well-made backpack that offers some really useful features and is very practical to use.
Simms G4 Pro Shift Fishing Backpack
- 2-in-1 backpack design with built-in rotational hip pack
- 100% 420D nylon rip-stop material
- 100T nylon stretch woven
- Multiple secure zip pockets
- Breathable mesh-back panel
- 35L capacity
- Backpack: 28 x 62 x 23cm (11” x 24.4” x 9.1”)
- Hip Pack: 28 x 22 x 17cm (11” x 8.7” x 6.7”)
This backpack isn’t going to be an option for everyone, because of its high price point. It’s also designed more for the fly fishers, fishing guides, or anyone that wants to roam the river or flats and won’t be taking the backpack off while fishing.
But for those that want a backpack with all the bells and whistles, packed full of excellent features, and of course is extremely well made, then the Simms G4 Pro Shift fishing backpack is the one to look at.
There are a ton of quality features built into the Simms G4 Pro Shift fishing backpack.
The main one is the inclusion of a rotational hip pack that nests neatly away at the bottom of the backpack. This can be easily swivelled around 180 degrees while you are wearing the pack, so you can access any equipment you want to keep in this hip pack. It is fairly spacious, so you will be able to fit quite a lot of gear in here.
The padded waist straps are very comfortable, and their wide design allows for other features to be included in them.
The left strap has a zipper pocket, allowing you to keep some accessories for easy access. Then the right-hand strap has a tippet holder, which again is very conveniently positioned.
The main shoulder straps are also very wide and padded, and lined with mesh for really comfortable wearing of the backpack. You also have a magnetic tool docking station and a little pouch pocket built into these shoulder straps.
There are multiple pockets on the Simms G4 Pro Shift backpack, and all have a specific purpose and are well positioned on the pack.
First of all, this backpack is very spacious. The 35L capacity will allow you to fit a lot of fishing equipment, clothing, food, camera’s, phones, nets, rods, etc and it will all be easy for you to organize your gear well.
There is a large rod tube holder on the side of the pack, which holds the tube very securely. At the front there is a pocket where you can slide a net into, or also a jacket if you wanted quick access to it.
There is an easy-access pocket in the top of the backpack, ideal for storing extra reels and fly boxes. Dual vertical-opening pockets are located on the sides of the pack, and these accommodate things like clothing or bottles of drink, as well as tackle items if needed.
You also have space to store a hydration bladder if you wanted to add one into the pack, with an opening at the top for the straw.
Overall the Simms G4 Pro Shift is a top quality backpack that is geared at a specific corner of the fishing market. It is pricey, but you are getting a lot of features with it and it will make your fishing trips that much easier.
If you have tried any of these fishing backpacks, or you have other good backpacks that may not have been mentioned here, I would love to hear your comments and throughts below