Best Fishing Backpacks Reviewed – Store Every Fishing Essential

Fishing backpacks are an indispensable piece of gear if you like fishing remote locations, or just fishing local rivers and streams.

It is pretty difficult to carry all that essential gear without a fishing backpack.

But how can you know which pack will accommodate your gear the best?

We want to help you find a fishing backpack that will get you and your gear where you need to go.

Let's Peek At The Best Fishing Backpack, Backed By 17+ Hours Of Research

Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech

Why is it better?

Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack

5 Best Backpacks For Fishing

With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.

Let’s dive into the specifics and review each backpack individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models, or you can read along and go through all the information.

Best Overall: Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack

Our top choice for best fly fishing backpack went to the Bitch Creek Tech Pack for it’s great design and function. This particular fly fishing backpack offers a versatile design that is rugged, comfortable, and provides a combination chest pack and fishing backpack.

Its really a terrific package to carry an above average load of gear when needed. The combination of the Bitch Creek Backpack and the included Medicine Bow Chest Pack integrate seamlessly.

PROS

  • Constructed with Cyclepond recycled fabrics
  • Structured back air mesh back panel to carry heavy loads while keeping you cool
  • Modular design docks allowing compatibility with many Fishpond chest/lumbar packs
  • Water bladder compatible with internal attachment clip
  • Padded, contoured shoulder straps for load control and carrying comfort

CONS

  • No noticable cons

The Bitch Creek Tech Pack offers real-deal carrying comfort with shoulder straps that are nicely contoured and well padded. A sternum strap adds stability and reduces movement when you are covering ground.

To further stabilize this fly fishing backpack, the Bitch Creek Pack provides a supportive waist strap that takes the weight off your shoulders. The Waist straps also preserve your energy when hiking good distances by minimizing pack sway.

The backside of the pack sports a D-ring net lash to host your landing net. The waist strap has two zippered pockets that are great for smaller items.

Fishpond utilized their proprietary Cyclepond recycled fabrics to construct the Bitch Creek Tech Pack. Like the Fishpond Oxbow, the Bitch Creek features a structured air mesh back panel to distribute weight while keeping you cool.

One large backpack compartment with two smaller pockets allows for quick access to your gear. An internal attachment clip allows for water bladder compatibility up to 2 liters.

And an important feature we always look for: two zip-out rod holders securely hold your rod tubes. The purpose-built fishing backpacks from Fishpond are solid fishing tools that last.

We don’t hesitate to point you toward the Fishpond Bitch Creek if you are looking for a mid-sized fishing pack with an excellent price.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Weight: 5.3 lbs
  • Chest Pack Compatible: Yes
  • Waterproof: No

EXTRA FEATURES

  • YKK Aquaguard #8 external water-resistant zippers
  • Net or accessory D-ring attachment tab
  • One large backpack compartment with 2 smaller pockets

Wild River Nomad Fishing Backpack

Wild River’s Nomad Backpack is a good mid-sized day pack that is perfect for anglers who need organization and increased carrying capacity. Its a versatile pack that can be used in a multitude of applications.

We found this pack particularly beneficial as a fly fishing backpack for surf fishing. And since the Wild River Nomad Fishing Backpack is lighted with an integrated LED system, you can see inside the pockets in low light conditions.

PROS

  • It features spacious storage
  • Very smart design
  • Very good fit that’s real comfortable
  • Zippers are made of heavy-duty plastic material
  • Has a removable plier holder

CONS

  • Some consumers had problems with overheating and melting of the battery holder

The backpack is constructed from heavy duty polyester and has multiple accessory pockets for carrying whatever items you might prefer.

The lower compartment is a unique design, which is made to hold four medium sized 3600 storage trays. Of course, you can carry a few trays, or none at all to make space for other gear.

This fishing backpack makes for a nimble setup that stays out of the way during casting and is ready for quick moving fishing. The shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable when you are going the distance to those remote spots.

Wild River’s Nomad Fishing Backpack features a specialty sleeve for carrying a set of pliers which can be removed and placed on a belt for quick access.

Along with multiple places to carry your gear, this fishing backpack also has a molded sunglasses holder to keep your lenses scratch-free.

To sweeten the deal, Wild River includes all four 3600 trays with their fishing backpack so you can carry a wide variety of flies and tackle.

Overall, that is a ton of great features. The fantastic reputation and reasonable price makes the Wild River Nomad Backpack worth considering if you are in the market for a very functional and feature-rich fishing backpack.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • Chest Pack Compatible: No
  • Waterproof: No

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Included rain cover
  • Integrated LED light system
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps

Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS Fly Fishing Backpack

Umpqua’s Surveyor Zero Sweep Fly Fishing Backpack offers all the convenience of chest pack integration as well as the storage benefits of a large 2000 Cubic Inches (33 Liters) pack.

The Surveyor ZS 2000 is loaded with features. With that amount of storage it takes some planning to avoid over-loading.

Umpqua is one of the few companies making a pack of this size that can also integrate with all Umpqua Zero Sweep chest packs.

PROS

  • Easy to access clamshell opening
  • Fully padded waist belt with 5-inch pockets
  • Injection-molded frame-sheet
  • D-ring and web loops for net attachment
  • Two water bottle pockets – Will also carry fly boxes

CONS

  • The size

Coincidentally, the Umpqua Overlook 500 Chest Pack is our #1 recommended chest pack. And combining these two packs will provide the best advantage for multi-day fishing adventures.

Umpqua’s Surveyor 2000 ZS Backpack is super durable with 420 Denier Nylon body fabric and Ballistic Cordura® in high wear locations.

This pack is optimized for carrying fishing gear with internal clips and external D-rings and web loops for net attachment. Shoulder straps feature load adjusters and comfortable full-length padding.

You no longer need to fight and dig through all your gear from the top just to find items near the bottom of your pack.

A bottom-to-top fully zipped, clam-shell opening allows access to the entire main compartment. Anglers are in and out of their fishing backpacks frequently so that is a very helpful feature.

You can also swing the pack to one shoulder and gain access through the side of the pack without stopping.

The Surveyor 2000 ZS has an injection-molded suspended back-panel that provides exceptional back support. In conjunction, the comfortably padded waist straps allow weight to be transferred to the waist and taken off the shoulders.

All straps are adjustable and customizable to provide for your preferred fit.

For warmer hiking conditions, the pack also features a full length ventilation channel and full mesh coverage to avoid overheating. Two water bottle pockets provide for adequate hydration.

Two sets of rod holding straps ensures you won’t steal a water bottle pocket to carry an extra rod. Each strap is adjustable and has a silica-gel inlay for grip so your rod tubes won’t slip.

In the world of multi-day fishing backpacks, the Surveyor 2000 ZS from Umpqua is at the top of the pile. We recommend taking a closer look if you need significant capacity and/or chest pack integration.

The Surveyor 2000 ZS is a terrific performer with a reasonable price for any serious fishing expedition.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Weight: 3.1 lbs
  • Chest Pack Compatible: Yes
  • Waterproof: No

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Body fabric – 420 Denier Nylon
  • High wear locations – Ballistic Cordura
  • Full length ventilation channel

Orvis Waterproof Fishing Backpack

The Waterproof Backpack from Orvis won the American Angler Gear of the Year award in 2017. The smaller size of this pack makes it ideal for shorter day-trip adventures that might involve wet conditions.

If you are expecting rain or whitewater, the Orvis Waterproof Backpack will keep your gear dry.

Unlike other fishing backpacks, Orvis designed this pack to withstand more than just a little splash.

PROS

  • 500D nylon, TPU coating is tough as nails
  • Low profile design
  • Front water resistant zippered pocket
  • Strapping is very comfortable and carries weight well
  • Includes a clip for attaching your net

CONS

  • Fairly expensive

The 500 Denier nylon is TPU coated to protect your gear from unforeseen rain or even an accidental swim.

The main compartment is a single large pocket, but also features an additional hanging mesh pocket with multiple sleeves and a zippered pocket.

To protect from moisture, the main compartment sports a waterproof YKK Flexseal zipper. The Secondary pocket has a vertical water-resistant Ries® zipper.

Comfortable padded shoulder straps provide ample adjustment for a custom fit. And the adjustable sternum strap secures the pack and reduces movement when you are hiking.

But Orvis incorporated a properly padded waist strap to maximize support and stabilize the backpack. The padded back panel is water-resistant and features ventilation channels to keep you cool when you are fishing in hot weather.

Orvis designed the pack with a padded bottom to protect sensitive gear like cameras and other electronics. The pack features two water bottle/rod tube pockets.

And being a purpose made fishing pack, of course there is a D-ring on back to hold your landing net.

This Waterproof Backpack from Orvis is a solid option to protect your important and sensitive gear from the wet and weather. And it’s an ideal choice for when you need to travel lightly, or for those quick moving fishing adventures.

For those types of applications, and with a fair price, we gladly suggest taking a look at the Orvis Waterproof Backpack.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Weight: 3.3 lbs
  • Chest Pack Compatible: No
  • Waterproof: Yes

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Gear station on shoulder strap
  • Padded bottom
  • The Adjustable sternum strap

Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Fishing Backpack

Large waterproof fishing backpacks like the Wind River Roll-Top Backpack from Fishpond are the key to keeping your gear dry and safe during serious fishing adventures.

This pack has 38 Liters of storage to pack away all the essential gear an angler will need for a muti-day trip when wet conditions are expected.

Lightweight foam shoulder straps and hip belt keeps the pack mobile and lightweight at only 2.7 lbs. For support, the pack has a molded back panel.

PROS

  • 1680D TPU coated Cyclepond Fishpond Fabric
  • Roll top waterproof main body compartment
  • Front stretch mesh pocket with zipper closure
  • Lightweight foam shoulder strap, hip belt, and molded backpanel
  • Hip belt is removable and can also be vertically adjusted for different torso lengths

CONS

  • No noticable cons

The hip belt can also be vertically adjusted for different torso lengths, or removed entirely. Fishpond chest pack compatibility keeps you ready to make a cast even when you’re on the move.

We really like that Fishpond designed their Wind River pack to integrate with many Fishpond chest packs.

The Wind River Roll-Top Backpack is made with rugged 420 Denier recycled Cyclepond Fabrics and the TPU coating ensures durable waterproofing.

For a main compartment, the Wind River has a roll-top closure while a front stretch mesh pocket features a zippered closure.

Convenient interior organization is available to keep your gear safe from moisture with one zippered pocket, and one clear stash pocket.

On the side of the pack there are anchor points for Fishpond gear straps. Gear straps can hold your rod tubes during the hike or to hang your landing net.

One set of Fishpond gear straps is included and can be positioned on left or right side. Fishpond drink holders are an add-on item and allow for a number of configurations.

This pack is one of the very few large waterproof fishing backpacks that can integrate with a variety of chest packs. We feel that the Wind River Roll-Top Backpack is a tremendously capable pack that is priced really well.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Chest Pack Compatible: No
  • Waterproof: No

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Coated webbing haul handle
  • Interior organisation with one zippered pocket
  • Compatible with many Fishpond chest packs
Table of Contents

Fishing Backpack FAQ

Wearing Fly Fishing Backpack

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FISHING AND REGULAR BACKPACKS?

A fishing backpack differs from a regular backpack in a number of ways.

A fishing trip requires a lot of different pieces of equipment and they need to be easily accessed.

A fishing backpack provides a lot more organizational capacity than a regular backpack.

It will have more pockets, more zippers and, often, mesh components that you can add zingers to.

A good fishing backpack will also be waterproof. Some of the best fishing backpacks are even made to be mudproof!

A fishing backpack should have a waterproof zipper as well as a waterproof fabric. If the zipper is not waterproof, it will provide access to water.

Backpack zippers should also be anti-rust. Fishing backpack straps will be designed to provide enough padding for comfort over extended use.

They will often be made from breathable mesh.

Finally, the pockets on a fishing backpack will be strategically located to allow for easy access while you are in a fishing position.

HOW TO PACK YOUR BACKPACK FOR FISHING?

Your fishing backpack will have a range of large and small zippered pockets to allow you to organize your essential gear.

Be sure to keep your items separate any all pockets fully zippered. Here are the essentials that you should include in your fishing backpack:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Clippers – you need these to cut leader and trimming knots
  • A thermometer – you get a hardy, inexpensive one from your local tackle shop. A thermometer will tell you what species of fish will be most actively feeding
  • A plastic garbage bag – this is an extra layer of protection in case you fall in the drink!
  • Forceps – these will help you to remove hooks more easily.
  • Rain jacket
  • Spare car key – getting locked out can put a real dampener on your day!
  • A flashlight
  • A first aid kit
  • Your lunch
  • A water bottle

WHAT SIZE BACKPACK DO YOU NEED FOR FISHING?

As we can see from the previous answer, there is quite a lot of gear that you need to carry in your fishing backpack.

But we can also see that most of it quite small and not that heavy. As a result, you don’t need a very large backpack for fishing.

You should look for a backpack that allows around a 60-liter capacity.

That will enable you to store all of your gear including your backpack without weighing you down too much.

The weight of your backpack should be less than 7 pounds.

CAN YOU USE A HIKING BACKPACK FOR FISHING?

Yes, you can use a fishing backpack for hiking.

In fact, the versatility of a fishing backpack in terms of its multiuse capability is one of the reasons that many people opt for a fishing backpack rather than a fishing vest.

A fishing backpack will provide the hiker with plenty of storage capacity, a lot of zippered pockets and waterproof protection.

Fishing Backpack Features To Consider

Fishing Backpack

COMFORT

If you have previously set out on a hike to fish remote locations, then you know how important it is to stay comfortable.

Over-loading a pack that is not designed to support that load can wear you down and leave you with a sore back or shoulders.

Packs with lightweight frames provide support that makes the pack easier to carry.

STORAGE SPACE

Well organized storage is really helpful.

Large compartments that hold a lot of gear are easier to access if they have “clam-shell” openings, rather than digging through all your gear from the top-down.

A separate lower compartment for wet waders and boots can be helpful as well.

And if your fly fishing adventure takes you to the back woods you’ll want a fly fishing backpack with rod holder.

WEIGHT

Overloading a backpack can be dangerous, but so can neglecting the essentials.

For remote adventures your fishing backpack needs to have enough additional room for food, and emergency supplies.

And if you need to be in the wild for a few days your fishing backpack needs to be up to the challenge.

WATERPROOFING

It can be hard to predict when the weather will turn and get your pack wet.

If you need to toss your bag in a river raft or maybe even the back of a float tube, chances are that it could see some water.

You don’t want wet clothes or to damage your sensitive electronics. Waterproof packs can really save you a headache.

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