Some of the best fishing can be found where the fish have never seen a lure. Where fishermen rarely go. Spending some time fishing the backcountry in those secluded holes that are unknown to most anglers provides the best of every aspect we love as anglers; privacy, natural beauty, and loads of eager fish!
The problem is getting your gear to where those fish are. Tackle boxes have been around for ages but lugging one of those down a barely accessible trail is out of the question. The standard shoulder bags are a step in the right direction but hold very little and aren’t comfortable over the long haul. I am not sure when the tackle backpack was invented but it’s about time!
No matter what you fish for from salt water to fly-fishing, there is a pack made specifically with you in mind. This is still a fledgling industry but the innovations keep coming. From packs with integrated lights for night fishing to integral water bladders to keep you hydrated on the trout stream, these are some of the very best fishing backpacks on the market today.
Best of the Best
Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Backpack by Custom Leathercraft
For the roaming angler, this pack outperforms all others with a load of features specifically designed with the fisherman in mind. If its time you got out and fished those isolated waters, this is the king of fishing backpacks that will handle all the gear you need and then some while still being easy to carry for any distance.
Since it is a backpack, it needs to function like one. That means it should be comfortable and balanced enough not to war on the intrepid angler during his hike in or hike out from his favorite fishing hole. The Nomad got it right with oversized padded shoulder straps to make carrying easy and a ventilated back to keep you cool during your walk. Once you have tried this, you will forsake all other tackle carrying methods.
As for storage, you have enough and then some with 4 removable trays to sort your favorite lures and terminal tackle and more attachment points than you could ever want. But it all goes together well from the integrated cable lanyard and web loops for secure tool storage to the mesh pockets and easy access zipped compartments, everything has its place. It even has a removable plier holder that can be carried on your belt and a ridged compartment for storing your glasses.
Not to be outdone Custom Leathercraft packed in some extra useful features. Like the LED light system cleverly placed to light up your tackle trays for night fishing and a zippered pocket that folds out into a work surface. There is even an included rain cover should weather turn bad and to finish it off.
If you wanted to pack this pack full, it could hold a total of 10 medium trays and 4 small trays but you should probably consider using some of that space for a sandwich and some water. With this pack, you may end up traveling more than you though.
- Hard Case for sunglasses.
- Very Roomy. Looks great.
- Night anglers love the built in light.
- Will stand upright for loading and unloadint.
- Some users have expressed concerns about durability.
Best Short Distance Pack
Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack
Of course, not everyone is going to be hiking miles into the woods in search of wily brook trout. If you are more interested in hitting the local lake or river for a little relaxation, you want a pack that is a little more simplified but not so much that it can’t pack your gear.
Spiderwire is a name synonymous with fishing and it stands to reason that they would produce a product that was well designed with features that are important to the angler. Their fishing backpack does not disappoint with its ample storage and comfortable, modern design it will get you on the water and won’t stand out in a crowd.
Emblazoned with the Spiderwire logo, this 100% polyester pack will stand up to the elements while being easy to pack no matter the distance. The shoulder straps are well padded for extra cushion and the back is made from a ventilated mesh for all-day comfort. The sides of the pack can be cinched in to ensure the pack rides well on your back without undue strain. Everything about this pack is quality making it a pleasure to carry.
With three included tackle trays there is plenty of room for all of your hooks, sinkers, and lures with additional space for all the other tools that come in handy on the water. The front pouch is padded to hold your fishing glasses and the spacious side pockets are easy to access and come equipped with a holster to keep your pliers handy.
Even fully packed this handy tackle transportation device looks neat and clean with nothing to say it’s even a fishing pack at all, well until you strap your rod into the cleverly placed fishing rod holder. At that point, someone may figure it out.
- Rod Holders!
- Molded sunglass case.
- 3 separated internal compartments.
- Includes 3 medium utility boxes.
- Some users have expressed concerns about durability.
Best Fly Fishing Pack
Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack
Fly-fishing has always been a minimalist sport with very little gear, often carried on the indispensable vest. While that works to keep your tools and flies in order, sometimes you need a little more if you want to spend a day on the local trout stream. The answer should have been obvious, add a pack to that vest for the best of both worlds.
Now, you can’t just sew a pack onto the back and hope for the best. You need additional support to make everything work and this is probably the best design for the fisherman’s comfort imaginable. Shoulder straps integrated into the vest support the weight of the somewhat small pack and spread any weight across the torso. With this design, you will likely forget you even have a pack at all.
Everything that a fly-fisher needs on his or her vest is still here on this pack. The front pockets are dual-layered to hold fly boxes in the rear and the forward portion with integral fly patches for easy access to your favorite patterns. All of the loops and D-rings are still there for all of your tools you want close to hand and a chest mounted rod holder for when you need your hands free. Sure, it’s a fishing pack but the vest alone is one of the best designs available.
Straps on the bottom of the pack can hold your rod tube for the hike in and the adequate storage works for keeping any extra gear and provisions for a long day on the river. The three zipper pockets are expandable for a variety of uses and additional straps and D-rings on the pack are perfect for holding your net or other generally unwieldy equipment. It all cinches up for an easy to carry package.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best products to come about for the fly-fisherman since the graphite rod. It keeps the minimalist tradition with just enough extra room for those things that you really miss. This is one product that you will never part with as long as you can still cast a line.
- Plenty of storage for your gear.
- Room for hyradtion pack.
- Most users say it’s very comfortable.
- Some users report chafing.
- Some users report shoulder straps that continuously come loose.
Best Saltwater Pack
Calissa Offshore Tackle Backpack
While at first glance, this may appear much like the pack from Custom Leathercraft, there are a few very notable changes and those make all the difference when it comes to where you take this pack. For a day on the pier or fishing the surf, this is the pack you want. Specifically designed for saltwater with an extra-large capacity for those big trips, what it misses in features from the Nomad pack, it makes up for in durability.
Salt is bad stuff. Not only will it destroy a reel not made for the harsh environment but its hell on zippers and fabric too. Not with the Calissa pack. Not only is it waterproof to keep the salt off all your valuable gear but it’s also constructed of an extra durable fabric with non-corrosion zippers to keep it waterproof. For a day in the boat or on the shore, have no fear that this pack will hold up.
Topping off the packs massive main pocket is a waterproof document case for all your important paperwork and a hard-shell glasses holder to keep your glasses safe. It has room to fit 4 medium tackle trays and 4 smaller ones in the side pockets for all the lures and hooks you may need. There is an external plier holster and loops for your other important tools. Whatever you need, this pack can handle it.
There aren’t a lot of additional features on this pack but that’s ok. Of all the fishing packs here, this is easily the most attractive with clean and almost classy lines and a look that harkens back to the early days of modern fishing.
But it’s not all flash, the pack of this pack is covered in a breathable mesh for good ventilation in the tropical sun while the straps are extra padded for easy carry and ultimate comfort. This isn’t a small pack but it carries well and can hold whatever you need for a day in the salt.
- Intended for Saltwater users.
- Fits larger people well.
- Fabric quality is well liked by users.
- The boxes included are not very sturdy.
Best Budget Bag
Piscifun Water-Resistant Tackle Bag
Before we go down the road of how affordable this messenger style bag is, let’s get this out of the way. For the minimalist fisherman, this is an outstanding pack with adequate storage and tons of ways you can carry it making it not only the best bang for your buck but also a hell of a good bag just to get away and fish.
Now that that’s out of the way, what can you get on a tight budget? How about a pack that can be carried on a shoulder strap for short distances, transitioned to a single strap pack for the longer treks, and then mounted as a chest rig for easy access to your gear. Every method of carry is easy and comfortable with the modest amount of gear this pack was designed for.
The main compartment is plenty large enough for a couple of tackle trays and still has room for pliers, line, bobbers, or anything else you may need. The outside pouch is perfect for those items you may need in a hurry or use it to store those necessities like a cell phone and wallet that you don’t want to get wet.
There are several mounting points on the outside for additional tools and a smaller pocket that is perfect for your glasses. Everything you need in a small space and surrounded by rugged 1000D ballistic nylon that is treated to resist water. Just because it’s a budget pack doesn’t mean it’s cheap.
One of the best uses for this pack is a just in case pack for those emergency fishing trips. Having a bad day at work, keep it in the car for a little cooldown fishing on your lunch break. These are so handy and versatile that you could keep one just about anywhere for when the mood strikes you. Combine it with a decent collapsible rod and you can be ready to fish anytime, anywhere.
- Praised ofr being a smaller compact bag for shorter trips.
- Useful as a daypack too.
- Some complaints of rips in the bag.
- Some users claim the bag is too small.
The Final Word
Fishing has always been a sport of opportunity but you have to ready to seize those opportunities the moment they come. What better way to do that than an easy and convenient carry system that can get you on the water with everything you need in no time flat.
No matter where you want to fish, a backpack makes a lot more sense than a hard to carry rigid box. After making the switch all that will be left in your old plastic case will be rusted pliers and dull hooks. You will never want to go back to that unwieldy monstrosity.