Gear We Use: Best Hunting Backpacks

Gear We Use: Best Hunting Backpacks

The backpack you choose could make or break your hunt—and back.

Much like boots and broadheads, every hunter seems to have their own thoughts on the best hunting backpack, and it’s largely a personal choice based on conditions, country, and quarry. But after carrying gear and game in countless configurations, we’ve crowned these the top picks that’ll have you covered for any big game hunt.

What We Look for in a Good Hunting Backpack

The specs, styles, and options can get overwhelming when comparing hunting backpacks, but experience has shown us the best designs have a few things in common.

  1. Storage
  2. Comfort
  3. Durability
  4. Load-Hauling Capability

We’re looking for a spacious, organized setup that’s built for the hunt ahead without sacrificing all-day comfort.

The Hunting Backpacks We Use

From weeks in the wilderness to morning rut hunts and everything in between, the MeatEater crew has put dozens of packs through the paces. These hunting backpacks have stood out as the best.

What Makes a Good Hunting Backpack

While the best option will be largely dependent upon your individual pursuit, every good hunting backpack should meet these criteria.

1. Storage

Solid storage is more than just cubic inches—although plenty of overall space is important. A good hunting backpack will also sport a variety of pockets and compartments for optics, calls, and other gear that keep the essentials easily accessible. But it won’t have so many pouches and partitions that you can’t find what you need. It will strike the right balance of function and simplicity.

2. Comfort

After boots that fit like a glove, a well-built backpack is one of the most important pieces in your kit to keep you comfortable in the backcountry. The best hunting backpack will be available in a variety of sizes and allow for micro-adjustments for a tailored fit. It will provide ventilation, minimize stress on your body, and won’t weigh you down.

3. Durability

Your hunting backpack is bound to take a beating, so the best choice is one that’s engineered with durable, high-quality fabrics and hardware that can stand up to the elements and the rigors of the field. Weatherproof construction and excellent craftsmanship backed by a generous warranty are crucial.

4. Load-Hauling Capability

Whether you plan to pack out an elk or simply stow all your treestand necessities, your pack should be designed to handle everything you throw at it. A good hunting backpack should have a sufficient load rating backed by extensive testing as well as the straps, shelves, or attachments the job demands.

Field notes from the MeatEater Crew

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K3 3200 Pack System
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Exo Mtn Gear
Efficiently designed for those that like to move fast and light, the K3 3200 is an ideal pack system for ultralight adventures up to 3-4 days.
K3 4800 Pack System
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Exo Mtn Gear
Quick-Access Load Shelf, Water Bladder Storage, Wet Storage Compartment, Roll-Top Design, Horseshoe-shaped Zip Access, Side Stretch Pockets
Transfer Pack On Sale
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First Lite
$260.00 $325.00 -20%
The Transfer Pack is the Whitetail hunter’s workhorse. Purposefully engineered to efficiently pack and unpack every piece of gear you’ll need in the woods, including a tree stand, climbing sticks, and your bow. The Transfer Pack's versatility is perfect for anyone hunting out of a saddle or a tree stand, as its bucket-style design and multiple hanging configurations allow the hunter complete access to extra stowed gear and accessories throughout...
Solo Ultralight Pack
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Stone Glacier
An ultralight backpack using no ultralight materials, it is capable of 150 pound plus loads and expandable to 6,000 plus cubic inches. The Solo weighs 4 lb 9 oz. on Medium Xcurve. Inspired by solo sheep hunts in Alaska, the Stone Glacier Solo makes an ideal minimalist backcountry multi-day backpack. A 3,600 cubic inch bag fits all your ultralight 4-season gear and a week of food. For longer trips, expand the bag from the frame and add 2,50...
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