Which hunting backpack is best?
If you’re a hunter who plans on venturing into the woods for days, not any old backpack will do. In addition to a good hunting suit and other gear, you need a backpack with the material, durability and storage capacity to fit your specific needs and help you handle whatever Mother Nature throws your way. .
Hunters not only need easy access to their equipment, but there are other considerations, such as weight, noise level and proper protection from the weather that come into play when selecting a hunting backpack. Our top pick is ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Commander X + Pack.
What to know before you buy a hunting backpack
How long are the hunting trips you plan to go on? Longer trips and more time away will require more gear and a backpack with more storage capacity. Purchasing a bigger backpack for shorter trips is unnecessary and will only slow you down, so look for a backpack that will best fit your needs.
Hunting backpacks need to be more durable than traditional backpacks, because they are designed to carry more gear and endure the elements for longer periods of time. That makes how they are constructed and the type of material used so important.
Strong fabric, double-stitched seams, heavy-duty utility cords and durable zippers make for a strong construction that will prevent the various components from coming apart over time.
There is a difference between water-resistant, water-repellent and waterproof.
- Water-resistant backpacks are designed to make it more difficult for water to penetrate the material.
- Water-repellent backpacks are made from material that is often coated with a substance that makes it difficult for water to get inside.
- Waterproof provides the most protection in the form of a barrier to water.
What to look for in a quality hunting backpack
Hunting backpacks typically have two types of frames. Internal frames are more stable, because they are built into the actual backpack, but don’t allow you to carry as much weight. External frames are separate from the backpack and allow you to support more equipment and a bigger haul. They also allow for more airflow and breathability over an extended period of time.
Given the amount of weight you will be carrying, and the amount of time you will be carrying it, straps are extremely important, because they determine your level of comfort. You want to make sure the shoulder straps are not only secure, but padded and adjustable.
Waist straps are also used to help secure the backpack to your body, and have been designed to relieve some of the weight of the backpack from your shoulders and back.
The size, shape, location and capacity of the various compartments can differ from brand to brand, but much like the storage capacity, you want to make sure that you’re selecting a pack that caters to your specific needs. You want to be able to both store and easily access your equipment when you need it.
How much you can expect to spend on a hunting backpack
There are many hunting backpacks that you can find for under $50, but those are more traditional multi-purpose backpacks that don’t have the same design and features as a heavy-duty hunting backpack. Those typically cost between $300-$500.
Hunting backpack FAQ
Do hunting backpacks come with built-in hydration systems?
A. Some do and some do not come with a built-in hydration pack. Keep in mind that a hydration pack will add to the weight and cut into, if not compromise, your storage capacity.
How much weight can a hunting backpack carry?
A. Always check the product for any weight capacity limits, but good, quality hunting backpacks should be able to hold as much weight as you can carry.
What’s the best hunting backpack to buy?
Top hunting backpack
What you need to know: This top-of-the-line backpack is made from strong ballistic nylon.
What you’ll love: It comes equipped with a removable fanny pack, internal divider, spindrift collar, rifle/bow drop-down pocket, fleece-lined spotting scope pocket, rain cover and an H2O pocket/port.
What you should consider: This is a high-quality backpack, but it might be more expensive than what casual hunters are looking for.
Where to buy: Amazon
Top hunting backpack for the money
What you need to know: The ergonomic design is comfortable and the fabric is both quiet and durable.
What you’ll love: It comes with an extension bag to increase the potential storage capacity and has enough room to pack everything you need for a 3- to 5-day trip. The padding is soft and breathable, which makes traveling long distances much easier. It’s also compatible with a 2- to 3-liter hydration system.
What you should consider: Some customers had trouble keeping the straps tight.
Where to buy: Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The molded memory foam suspension makes this an ideal backpack for long hauls, because the harness conforms to your body. Made with magnesium alloy, it’s both lighter and sturdier than traditional aluminum.
What you’ll love: It’s waterproof, so no matter how harsh the conditions, water won’t seep through the fabric. The batwing straps allow you to haul your rifle or bow hands-free. It also comes with a built-in meat shelf and hip-belt pistol holder.
What you should consider: Some customers have questioned the durability of this backpack.
Where to buy: Amazon
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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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