From the earliest ages of hunting, being able to carry equipment and supplies beyond what is readily available in holding with your arms has been essential to hunting and survival success.  Fortunately, for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of the modern era, we now have a wide and diversified option of hunting backpacks to choose from with an equally great variety and range of enhancements to meet various needs for each hunter.  Hunting backpacks have been developed to help hold calls, ammunition, food, water, and have specialized built-in features for the unique needs that come with different types of hunting.

There is a large variety of hunting pack available on the market today. Different types and models of backpacks have their pros and cons and it is important for each hunter to be able to make a confident purchasing decision that will satisfy his or her needs.  In the following guide, we will take a closer look at the best hunting backpacks for the money and will provide you with our recommendations based on experience and expert advice.

Summary Table: Top 5 Hunting Backpacks 

ImageModelWeightCarrying SizeDesignOur RatingIdeal For
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame8.4 lbs5250 cu. In.
Top-loading and Frame
4.5 / 5.0
Long-range big game hunts
ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack5 lbs2700 cu. In.
Top-loading bag
4.6 / 5.0
Mid-range hunts for bow or rifle
Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack4.4 lbs3360 cu. In.
Multi-pocket Access- Military Tactical
4.5 / 5.0
Up to 3 day hunting trip and year-round use
ALPS OutdoorZ Pathfinder2.2 lbs2700 cu. In.
Day-pack rear carry
4.6 / 5.0
One day or short-range hunts
Eberlestock XA1 Hunting Pack5 lbs2800 cu. In.Quickdrawn and Bow Tether with Top and Side-Load Ability
4.4 /5.0
Rifle or Bow Mid-range Hunt

Picking the Best Hunting Backpack for You

Firstly, when choosing a hunting backpack, it is important to understand what the bag will be used for. In a perfect world, a hunter would find a weightless and perfectly camouflaged backpack that was so comfortable to wear, that it would be impossible to tell that it was on. The backpack would also be tough enough to withstand anything nature could throw at it.  Additionally, the backpack would be able to hold the supplies needed for any encounter possible during a hunt.  This is the ideal that we are searching for as hunters and we want our actual hunting backpacks to come as close as possible to this “Perfect” pack.

General Benefits to Look for in a Hunting Backpack

The primary difference between a high-quality hunting backpack, versus a standard backpack that one may have seen on college campuses throughout the nation, is the specifically designed ability to carry a hunting weapon. This feature can take the form of a built-in boot for a rifle stock or a specially-designed strap for a bow.  Besides the ability to help carry a hunting weapon, there is another common element between most hunting backpacks – camouflage.  The best hunting backpacks and brands should incorporate several camo patterns that can be decided upon by a hunter depending on their expected surroundings or conditions.

One of the best feelings on a hunt is waking up to a cool morning with a crisp in the air and a perfect sunrise stretching across the horizon. Unfortunately, the weather does not always cooperate on a hunt and requires hunters to become conscious of their ability to stay dry and keep equipment dry in any condition that Mother Nature throws out.  With this understanding in mind, when considering the best hunting backpacks, water repellency must be at the top of the list as well.  The best will be almost fully waterproof, but it is possible to get by with at least a water resistant backpack under some circumstances.  The importance of water repellency is not only a convenience factor but can also become a safety factor when hunting in wilderness areas where it is essential to keep a sleeping bag or extra clothes dry to reduce the risk of hypothermia and consequent emergency situation. For any type of hunt, the importance of water repellency should be considered.

Dimensions and Pockets

When considering a hunting backpack, one must also consider as to what they are planning on doing on a hunt and to what degree he/she will be required to transport supplies.  For example, if you are going on a long-range hunt and have the need to set up a large camp a good distance away, you will want to consider a load hauler pack with much greater size and dimensions as compared to a one-day hunt in and out of a tree stand where a much smaller and lightweight hunting backpack is more convenient.  Many hunting backpacks have reinvented the utilization of pockets and have incorporated waist belt pockets that are attached to where the belt strap of the backpack come together, helping to replace the need for packing your pockets with items that may have the potential to fall out while hiking or climbing to a hunting position.

A good rule to consider when determining what size of hunting backpack you will need for a hunt is to gather the supplies and equipment you plan on hauling into a hunt, incorporating an additional 15 to 20 percent based on hunt day necessities or miscellaneous gear that may not have been initially thought of, and measure the actual dimension that this gathering of supplies creates. Using this information, a hunter can then begin to reasonably determine the size that will be needed for a hunting backpack.

How Does it Feel on You?

The concept of a backpack, as evident in its name, is to be carried upon your back, most often secured with shoulder straps and possibly a waist belt for additional support.  At this fundamental point of considering a backpack, a hunter should emphasize how the potential backpack will fit their personal body type.  Hunters come in all shapes and sizes, and fortunately, so do hunting backpacks.  When considering an ideal backpack for your hunting adventures, take into account the size and fit dynamics that will help to make your experience in the wilderness a pleasant and a comfortable one.

Quality in each Thread

Backpacks for hunting are made from a wide range of materials that correlate to weight, durability, and water repellency.  Additionally, the best hunting backpacks are normally designed and manufactured by well-known and respected companies, providing warranties and guarantees.  As a part of the following list of the top hunting backpacks for the money, the consideration for company reputation and commitment to excellence has been taken into account.

When looking for the best hunting backpack on the market, there is a lot of information to consider, and we hope that our guide will help to provide you with enough information to make a solid purchasing decision.

Top 5 Hunting Backpack Reviews

Now we have seen what it takes to create a highly considered hunting backpack.  Let’s take a closer look at the 5 best hunting backpacks to meet the needs of almost every hunter and their adventure that awaits (ranked by our editors).

#1 ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame

The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame combines a 5250 cubic inch Pack Bag along with the Commander Freighter Frame that is a great choice in hunting backpacks for those looking to load all of your gear to camp.  The ALPS OutdoorZ has been designed to include several significant features beyond the standard front pocket that are specifically ideal for rifle and muzzleloader hunters including a rifle holder, spotting scope pocket, shooting stick holders built into the lashing straps, and accessory pockets that are hinged on the side of the pack.  The pack bag designed to fit the Freighter Frame can be simply removed when you make it to the base camp of the hunt and can then be utilized as a standalone Freighter Frame, providing the ability to transport meat and additional supplies during the hunt.  For the comfort side of the spectrum, the ALPS OutdoorZ provides a padded waist and shoulder straps that help to ease discomfort in carrying large loads.  With ALPS OutdoorZ, hunters really get two resourceful products with one purchase and can meet the need of packing in a reasonably large amount of supplies, great for hunters in the coming season.

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#2 ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack Review

If the Commander Freight Frame plus Pack Bag was one of the best backpacks for big game rifle hunting and long-range hunts, the ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Backpack takes the top spot in the bow and crossbow hunting column as well as a rifle hunting. It is also a multi-use and universally designed backpack that can easily accommodate plenty of supplies, having a carrying capacity of 2700 cubic inches.  The sturdy aluminum frame design combined with extended lashing straps make it simple to carry heavy supply runs and has even been designed with hydration in mind, providing a hydration pocket for multiple water bladder designs, helping to keep hunters hydrated and safe on the most challenging of hunts.  There is an additional drop-down weapon holder on the backpack that could be easily used for either a bow, a crossbow or rifle while continuing to provide an essential full range of motion with hands-free peace of mind.  ALPS OutdoorZ has also provided a large front pocket in addition to the main pocket, making it easy to store large or abnormally shaped supplies that many hunters come across in their necessity kits.  With an included blaze orange rain cover, this hunting backpack is ready to go on your next hunting adventure immediately!

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#3 Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack Review

The Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack comes straight from the tactical design of the military and has direct application for the most avid of hunters across the world.  With six tactical camouflage designs, this reasonably priced backpack can provide various looks to meet specific environmental characteristics depending on geographic area or time of year for a given hunting season.  For example, the MultiCam design option could be well suited for a thick-timbered hunt whereas the CT Tan would be ideal for the High Plains hunts of the West and Midwest.

This tactical backpack is a great solution for hunters for multiple reasons to include year-round utilization and practicality in multiple situations.  The backpack has been designed with 4 extra military style pockets with an additional 6 zipper pockets and another long pocket that could be used for laptop storage during off-season utilization.  Additional gun pouches are found on the waist for easy handgun placement, cell phone, and additional accessories that will be great to have on any range of hunt.  Another incredible benefit of this tactical backpack is a lifetime warranty that helps to prove the durability of not only the backpack, itself but also the company that stands behind it.

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#4 ALPS OutdoorZ Pathfinder Pack Review

Initially, this pack may look like a reverse fanny-pack on steroids, but when a hunter is able to look closer and wear the pack for any period of time, they realize it becomes much much more. Whether you are looking to haul in decoys to a bird hunt, bring along a bow, have day supplies, or move out meat from a kill site, the ALPS OutdoorZ Pathfinder has been able to provide a solution to almost any hunting need imaginable.  ALPS OutdoorZ is proud to say that the Pathfinder has been designed “By hunters, for hunters,” and can accommodate needs on scouting missions to haul-out loads with a design that allows for a distribution of weight combining with shoulder harness and padded waist belt.  A daypack mode to the Pathfinder allows for a hunter to expand carrying capacity by an additional 1100 cubic inches in the middle of a hunt, providing ease and simplicity along the way.  ALPS OutdoorZ didn’t leave out bow hunters in this design as a bow pocket has also been included to allow for simple carrying of almost any compound bow.  Try this bag out and keep it handy for the one-day hunts that find you puzzled as to which backpack could possibly meet the need of your hunt.

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#5 Eberlestock X1 Hunting Pack Review

The Eberlestock XA1 Hunting Pack, known as the X1 for short, has been designed meticulously to include enhanced benefits for a full range of hunters looking to have a pack ideal for either rifle or archery hunting seasons.  Eberlestock has designed a Quickdraw Backscabbard and an additional Ripcord Bow Tether to provide easy-to-carry options of weapons on any day or mid-range hunt.  With 2800 cubic inches of carrying capacity, the X1 falls right into the middle of the “Best List” in hunting packs making it a great option for those trying to decide between the perfect amount of carrying capacity.  A primary benefit to the mid-range style is to provide an ease-in-use for hunters of any age or strength.  The hip strap has been designed for comfort, providing a well-padded design as well as an adjustable torso length that is very useful for adjusting weight placement in comparison to the shoulders. There is also a built in water bladder that rests against the hunters back, helping to ensure that the water doesn’t freeze on the colder hunts that many find themselves in the late Fall seasons.  Eberlestock has designed and provided a great backpack that is ideal for both archery and rifle hunts across the nation.

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