Let’s say you’re headed out the door to check out a new fishing spot. You’ve got your tackle box, your rod and reel, your sunglasses, your phone, your keys, pliers, probably a knife, water, maybe some beer… so how do you plan on carrying it all to the river? A big cardboard box?
Think about it, you need one place to keep all your gear when you go fishing. It should be easily organizable so you can get to what you need in a flash, durable, and water resistant.
What we’re talking about here is a fishing backpack. It’s the perfect solution, keeping your stuff organized and leaving your hands free for the hike in. To help you make the switch, we compiled the top picks for fishing backpacks in 2021. Start your search for a new fishing backpack right here.
Different Packs For Different Jobs
But not all fishing backpacks are made the same. There are some crucial design differences you should take into account when buying. Think about how you plan to use it, and what it needs to do well.
For Spin Fishermen
Lure fishermen may have the most to gain from a fishing backpack. You can pack in everything you need for a day easily, while keeping your hands free. If you’re trying out a new spot and bringing a lot of gear to experiment with, having ample storage is going to be a big plus.
For Fly Anglers
Anybody that’s spent an afternoon losing flies in the bushes knows how important it is to bring some extra tackle with you. If you’re having to make adjustments of the fly while waist deep, having a small pack on you can be invaluable. Fly fishermen will often gravitate to sling bags for this reason.
In The Backcountry
If you’re going multi-day backpacking or canoeing, it’s wise to have a separate bag just for your fishing gear. Particularly if you’re going to be in a boat all day, having a fishing backpack allows you to keep your other camping gear packed away without having to dig for tackle when you need it.
If you’re looking for the top of the line in fishing backpacks, look no further. The Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad is the best option on the market for a durable pack with outstanding storage capacity.
The construction is top notch, and it’s great for organizing your gear. It’s got sectioned side pockets, a fold-down workspace, a pliers holster, and a molded sunglasses case on top.
The interior zipper is designed to hold four medium size lure boxes, providing plenty of space for all the tackle you could need. It also comes with a rain cover, an added assurance that your gear will stay dry in case things go sideways.
However, the Nomad is the most expensive pack on our list. So it may not be the best introductory fishing backpack. But in all other areas, this is our top choice.
- Rain cover
On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes you just need a bag that you can keep on you at all times. Something incredibly durable, ergonomic, and easy to use. And bonus points if it’s cheaper than dirt, right? Well, look no further. The Blisswill Outdoor Tackle Bag goes above and beyond for all of the above.
Made of 1000D water resistant nylon, it will stand up to water, not to mention plenty of use. It’s designed to be used as an over-the-shoulder sling with a side strap to keep it from slipping. It’s also the cheapest pack on this list so, you really can’t go wrong.
The slimmer size does mean less storage, which could be an issue if you’re looking to bring everything but the kitchen sink. But if you’re after a quick and easy bag that never leaves your side, this should be your first choice.
Top choice for fly fishing
- Ergonomic and comfortable
- Durable and water resistant
- Storage capacity
The Piscifun Fishing Tackle Storage Box accomplishes most of the same things as the Wild River Nomad, at a lower cost, while sacrificing some features.
Designed for lure fishermen, it can hold four medium size lure boxes and has 11 total storage compartments for organization.
The storage spaces come with dividers, allowing you to split them up even further into 18 compartments. The 1200D nylon material ranks highly for durability and water resistance. And it beats out the Wild River Nomad for price.
What it lacks is easy external storage. Storing everything inside your pack means having to dig around more, which can be a pain.
It’s also heavier than its main competitor on this list, the Wild River Nomad. But given the price difference, these are small drawbacks. For the best value in a high-storage model, the Piscifun is the way to go.
- Plenty of storage
- Durability and water resistance
- Best value
- Lacking features
The Spiderwire Fishing Tackle Backpack occupies a nice middle ground between too bulky and not roomy enough.
The main storage compartment has three sections for storage. It comes with three medium size utility boxes, which will all fit cozily inside. It also has a molded sunglasses case and a cooler compartment to keep drinks cold.
On the outside it’s got a spot for your pliers and a spot for your rod. The shoulder straps are comfortable to wear, a big plus if you’re anticipating a hike in. This one ranks highly for value as well.
On the other hand, it’s not constructed as well as some of the others on this list. It’s made entirely of polyester, which is decent for durability, but not as good for water resistance.
The zippers have been known to fail under stress, and it lacks a waterproof compartment. Overall it does well as a middle-of-the-road pack that’s versatile without breaking the bank.
- Good storage
- Not water resistant
If you take a lot of stock in brand names, Shimano promises results. The Shimano Blackmoon Fishing Backpack is a well-built high storage capacity fishing backpack with a long lifespan.
The pack will hold four medium sized lure boxes and has an external rod holder for quick access. Shimano makes two versions of the pack – one that loads from the front and one that loads from the top. It also comes with a rain cover. The pack’s construction is good, but it’s lacking in a few key areas.
For one, the polyester material doesn’t do much in the way of water resistance. You could argue the rain cover compensates this, but you don’t want to rely on your rain cover every time you use it.
And it’s been noted that lure boxes don’t fit as well in the main compartment as they could. It’s the second most expensive on this list, which isn’t a huge win for value. But the reliability of a household name is a comfort, so it takes fifth place overall.
- Options for main zipper
- Storage space
- Internal and external storage
- Not water resistant
- Poor design
How To Choose A Fishing Backpack
So where to start? Well, let’s get some criteria going for what makes a good fishing backpack. The main things we’re looking for are:
- Storage and Organization
- Water Resistance
- Bang for Your Buck
Based on these things we should be able to narrow it down pretty quickly to backpacks that do what you need them to, and backpacks that are more of a hassle than a help. How you prioritize those things, however, is up to you.
If you plan on using your pack for multi-day backpacking trips, you’re probably going to be looking at comfort, durability, and storage the most. If you’re a fly fisherman who needs to be able to get a fly on quickly while waist deep in running water, organization and water resistance are key. And if you’re new to fishing and looking for something to get you started, the value for your money will probably be the biggest selling point.
Streamline Your Setup
Fishing is supposed to be fun, plain and simple. Maximize that fun and minimize your headache by getting your gear in order. Just make sure you don’t forget your new fishing backpack at home the next time you head to the creek.