The Best Hunting Backpack Top 5 Reviews
Your hunting pack or hunting backpack can make or break your hunting trip. They are your means of carrying your game back to the camping site and packing life-saving gear. Gone are the days when collapsible tackle bags were used to carry knives and hunting equipment.
Whether you’re going for a one-day hunting trip or are planning to camp on a backcountry hunting trip, you need to be well prepared. It’s essential that you carry the best hunting backpack that meets your requirements and is strong and comfortable.
Choosing a hunting backpack can be intimidating and frustrating, and while you could try out a try-all approach and buy a few of them, your budget may not allow it. That’s why we reviewed them for you.
Here’s the 5 best hunting backpacks to help you decide on which one to get.
My Top 5 Picks: The Best Hunting Backpacks
1. Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-in Meat Hauler
Big game hunting can be grueling, and your backpack can either make or break your trip. There are some things that you can only learn from experience, and after shooting a deer a few miles from my truck a couple years ago, I learned really quick that having the right hunting backpack is a must.
Since the deer or whatever you are hunting is already going to be heavy, the backpack should also be lightweight but also durable. The Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack fits the bill perfectly. It is way bigger than it looks in pictures and has an internal frame made from aluminum to help with sturdiness.
This backpack also fits perfectly, so it makes less noise when you are moving around. This is a great all-around hunting backpack, but I think it’s especially a great bow hunting backpack. Lightweight, durable, quiet and plenty of storage. It has everything you need.
Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack Pros
- High-quality KXO-32 material that’s waterproof and durable.
- Enough room to store your rifle and other hunting gear (2,250 cubic inches).
- 8 pockets for carrying equipment so that you remain hands-free.
- Built-in hydration pouch.
- Quick access to all the backpack’s sections.
- Hunters orange meat shelf that prevents other hunters from mistaking you for live deer.
- Molded foam compression that protects you from backaches.
Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpacks Cons
- Might be too large for just day hunts.
- Chest straps are often small for people with heavy coats.
2. ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Hybrid X
If you’re planning a backcountry hunting expedition, then the ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Hybrid X is a must-have. It comes with a hydration holder, bow drop-down, pistol holder, rifle holder, and a rain cover, which also has a storage compartment at the bottom.
One of the things I loved about this hunting backpack is that the pockets come in a compressed wing-style design. This makes it versatile enough for both large and small hauls.
Its dual aluminum frames are both stylish and functional as they can be used independently. For example, if you shoot an elk or a deer, you can remove the rest of the bag and haul the meat on the frames only.
ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Hybrid X Pros
- It can be used for both big and small game.
- It’s strong and comfortable enough for a lengthy hike.
- Has several compartments.
- Even weight distribution.
- Highly durable material.
- Has adjustment straps.
ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Hybrid X Cons
- It can be noisy when new.
3. Horn Hunter Main Beam Backpack, Max Realtree, X-Large
Weeklong hunting trips are grueling but can be well worth it. There’s just one problem, finding the perfect backpack is often difficult because most of them are not large enough.
These types of hunts require a backpack that’s compact, lightweight, and has enough compartments to carry your gear.
The Horn Hunter Mainbeam Backpack is my top pick in this category. It has a whopping 27 different compartments, all of which come in handy when you’re hunting big game. It is also lightweight, easy to carry around and has different camo pattern options so you can choose one for your particular hunt.
This backpack is fairly affordable and durable, which ensures that you hunt all week long without worry of wear and tear. Another added bonus is that it’s a great shed hunting backpack. Especially elk shed hunting.
Horn Hunter Main Beam Hunting Backpack X-Large Pros
- Enough compartment for weeklong hunts.
- Aluminum frame that can carry large game.
- An adjustable torso system.
- The safety strap has a large buckle that comes in handy when hauling meat or extra gear.
- Has tie-down straps.
- Has a hydration compartment.
- Has detachable compartments to carry more of less supplies.
Horn Hunter Main Beam Hunting Backpack X-Large Cons
- The 4000 cubic inches can be a little much for shorter hunts.
4. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
There are some backpacks that appear to have it all, and the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander is one of them. If you value total functionality and don’t mind the extra weight, then you should definitely check this bag out. This backpack comes fully equipped with 5,250 cubic inches (total space), is externally framed, and comes with a removable pack.
The removeable pack means once you shoot your elk or deer, you can remove the pack portion and load the meat directly on the frame if you want to. How convenient is that? The Commander is also equipped with a hydration pouch, rifle holder, and a holster to attach your pistol.
It has enough room to carry your hunting equipment into the backcountry. The zippers are quiet as well to help keep you concealed. I also loved the fact that you can unload it in different ways.
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
- It has a huge carrying capacity.
- Can be used to carry large game.
- It has a lot of convenient pockets.
- The organization and pack layout is impressive.
- It’s durable and surprisingly inexpensive.
- The external frame provides extra space for carrying meat.
- Padded waist belt.
ALPS OutdoorZ commander + Pack Back
- The material isn’t waterproof, so you need a rain cover.
- It’s bulky, which makes a stalk on your game more difficult unless you put the pack down.
- It’s unsuitable for shorter trips.
5. Badlands Carbon Ox Frame Pack
The beauty of this backpack is that you can get it in both large & medium frames and large & medium packs. This makes it possible to buy a backpack that suits your hunting needs without having to switch brands.
The Badlands Carbon Ox Frame Pack is a dream come true for all hunting trips, thanks to the KXO-32 fabric. Here’s the interesting part; it took Badlands exactly 31 tries to get it right but they definitely got it right.
Just when they were about to give up, they came up with the ultimate fabric; lightweight, quiet and tough. It also has a C6 DWR treatment that makes it waterproof. The moisture simply rolls off!
This backpack also has a carbon fiber frame that’s light and sturdy enough to carry all your gear.
Badlands Carbon Ox Frame Pack
- A neutral color palette that allows you to camouflage with your surroundings.
- Molded memory foam for long-haul comfort.
- Detachable bow and rifle compartment so that you can carry it with your hands.
- Built-in meat shelf.
- Easy access pouches.
- Incredible fabric.
What I Didn’t Like
- It can be a little bulky making it hard to stalk your game.
- Not the best option for one-day hunts.
The Ultimate Buyer Guide To The Best Hunting Backpacks
The global hunting backpacks market is expected to rise at a steady rate between 2021 and 2026. This is not surprising because hunting is quickly becoming a favorite activity among many.
Most hunters tend to put serious thought into their hunting equipment and go as far as asking for reviews from friends. However, a lot of hunters overlook their hunting backpacks. They focus on optics, clothes and guns. Those things are important but so is your hunting backpack. It can make or break your hunting trip. Some hunters even go as far as using their old school bags, only to have an uncomfortable hunting trip.
Here’s all you need to know about buying the best hunting backpacks.
How Should You Choose the Best Hunting Backpack?
You should consider factors such as.
- Carrying capacity
How long is your planned hunting trip? Buy a backpack with enough capacity to carry your camping gear and haul the meat. If your trip also includes camping gear, the storage capacity should be around 5000 cubic inches. For short hunts in your trailer, 2000 cubic inches will do.
- Material and durability
Hunters often get caught in bad weather, and when that happens, you need to be prepared. If your backpack isn’t waterproof, ensure you have a rain pack so that the rest of your gear doesn’t get wet. The backpack material should also be able to withstand tough terrains without getting damaged.
- What game are you hunting?
Choose the proper hunting backpack for the game you are hunting. If you are hunting elk, make sure you have an external frame to help with stability. If you are hunting deer, I would still go with a hunting backpack that has a frame but depending on where you are hunting, you might not need one. If you are out hunting sheds or coyote hunting for the day, you probably won’t need one at all.
Ensure that the bag you choose has a frame with a hunter’s orange color so that other hunters don’t mistake and think the deer or elk you are packing out is actually alive.
- Weapon holders
Carrying equipment is already hard as it is, but packing them shouldn’t be too difficult. Choose a hunting backpack that has a rifle or bow holder or a spot to keep your hunting chair if you are hunting from a blind. This way you can keep your hands free while you are hiking.
What Are The Main Types Of Hunting Backpacks?
There are 2 major types of hunting backpacks, depending on how long you’ll be hunting; day packs and multi-daypacks. The daypack can easily carry your normal gear, but the multi-day packs are much larger and can hold more hunting equipment and usually have some type of frame in them.
Other hunting backpack types include;
- Framed haulers for carrying meat. Their storage space is limited, but they have enough space for hauling meat. They are great for one-day hunting trips.
- Bow hunting backpacks whose main focus is storage space for your archery equipment.
- Framed hunting backpacks that have enough storage for all hunting gear. They are perfect for hunting and camping.
- Quiet hunting backpacks that eliminate all noisy elements like zippers. They come in handy when you have to stalk the game.
- Scabbard hunting backpacks that are designed to ease the retrieval of firearms.
Top Functionality Attributes You Should Never Compromise On
- An external ammunition storage space if you’ll be using a rifle.
- Adjustable frame height to enhance comfort.
- Waterproof elements to keep your essentials dry even in the rain.
- A rifle holder or bow compartment.
Why Are Frames Important In Hunting Backpacks?
Right-sized frames are always recommended, especially when going on long hunting trips. If the frame doesn’t fit well, the weight will be disproportionately distributed, and your shoulders, back, and hips will bear the burden. This often results in discomfort and injuries in some extreme cases.
Your backpack’s frame should be dependent on how long you intend to hunt. The more weight you are planning on packing, the heavier duty your frame will need to be.
Can You Use Regular Backpacks?
The simple answer is no. While they can be used for hiking, most aren’t suitable for hunting trips or for carrying heavy loads. Hunting backpacks are specifically designed to withstand long-term use and withstand heavy loads like an elk or deer. They also have attributes such as meat shelves, rifle holders, and camo, which regular backpacks don’t have.
Best Hunting Backpack FAQ Section
- What Should I Pack in My Hunting Backpack?
In addition to hunting-specific equipment, you should also carry a flashlight, luminous gear, first aid kit, rain gear, food, and water. For multi-day hunting trips, you should include camping gear.
- Should I Go for an Internal or External Frame?
Internal frames are great when your movements have to be accurate, and you’re on rough terrain. External frames work best for even surfaces and big game hunting.
There are also frameless bags that are lightweight but aren’t usually suitable for hunting big game.
- How Should I Clean My Backpack?
You’ll need to power spray first if it has blood on it. You should then soak it in cold water for at least half an hour, followed by a hand-washing session using a brush. Repeat this process with soapy water, rinse it out and hang it to dry.
Which Hunting Backpack Should You Go For?
There’s a lot that should go into your hunting trip, and one of them is which hunting backpack to take. Decide how long your trip will be, and then choose a backpack size that will fit your gear. You should also consider other elements such as waterproof features, external compartments, frames, and durability.
I especially loved the Badlands Carbon Ox Frame Pack because it can be used in all types of hunting trips. The KXO-32 fabric is the ultimate hunting backpack material, and it also shows the effort and detail that went into designing this bag. It took them 31 tries to get right so they were obviously listening to hunters and making sure it has everything we need. Plus Badlands is a well-known brand so it makes sense they might make the best hunting backpack.
No matter what hunting backpack you go with above, if you follow the advice above and make a decision based off of that, you can’t go wrong.