If you are preparing for a backcountry hunt, you will find yourself in need of a pack specifically designed for hunting.
There are a lot of brands and countless models on the market, but through our simple, comprehensive guide, you will figure out how to choose the best backcountry hunting packs for yourself.
Here are the best backcountry hunting packs (Jan 2021 Update):
- Best Overall: ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
- Best for Hauling Meat: ALPS OutdoorZ Brushed Pathfinder Hunting Pack
- Best for Serious Hunters: 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Style 58602
- Best for Elk Hunting: Badlands Diablo Dos Approach Camouflage Hunting Pack
- Best for Arctic Conditions: Military Rucksack Alice Pack
- Best for Multi-Day Trips: Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack
|6 Best Backcountry Hunting Packs|
|ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag|
Best for Hauling Meat
|ALPS OutdoorZ Brushed Pathfinder Hunting Pack|
Best for Serious Hunters
|5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Style 58602|
Best for Elk Hunting
|Badlands Diablo Dos Approach Camouflage Hunting Pack|
Best for Arctic Conditions
|Military Rucksack Alice Pack|
Best for Multi-Day Trips
|Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack|
Best Overall: ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
- Superbly spacious, well-zoned internal space - 5250³ capacity
- Able to haul out meat – detachable construction, sturdy frame, and lashing system
- Comfortable and supportive – adjustable torso from 17” to 23”
- You might not like its heavyweight
Start with the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander, which is also the best overall performer here.
It is super-roomy, up to 5250³, and divided into two main zones. One for your essentials where there are drop-down riffle pockets, clip-style holsters, and hydration pocket and port.
Another is for your gear and this zone has lots of spotting scope pocket along with two side accessory hinged pockets.
The hunting pack is made of high-grade nylon rip-stop material and besides, its construction is detachable so you can use the frame combined with lashing system to haul out meat.
One controversial thing is its weight. This is one of the heaviest weight hunting packs in our list but to us, that is a good sign for its durability, well-made, and sturdy design.
|ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag Specifications|
7 lbs. 5 oz.
40 x 17 x 6 inches
Nylon Ripstop fabric
5250³ capacity; detachable construction, sturdy frame, and lashing system; adjustable torso from 17” to 23”
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander is a great choice if you want a heavy-duty hunting pack that can be with you for multiple-day trips, packing your gear and essentials, and hauling out meat. In other words, it’s the best overall option for any pro.
Best for Hauling Meat: ALPS OutdoorZ Brushed Pathfinder Hunting Pack
- Compact yet still able to pack hunting weapons and gears - compatible with different accessory pockets & fit either a gun or compound bow
- Haul meat and even more – fanny-pack design & extension lashing straps
- Fit nicely - load adjusting straps, waist straps, and shoulder straps
- The pack sits pretty low on your back
- Zippers are a bit hard to pull
If your need is still a backcountry hunting pack to haul out meat but not that so many extra features and especially, not that high price, this is a great alternative.
It is just around $80, super-lightweight (4.1 pounds), and has a capacity of 2700 in³.
Despite the petite construction, it still provides you with hydration pocket and port, and is compatible with different accessory pockets, like turkey call, camera, and binocular pockets.
It also fits a gun or different compound bow variations. The best function is to haul meat and carry heavy loads. While giving specialized pockets for this purpose, it also offers some extension lashing straps if there’re more to load.
A big bonus is it’s very adjustable, even for a big guy, all thanks to the load adjusting straps, waist straps, and shoulder straps.
|ALPS OutdoorZ Brushed Pathfinder Hunting Pack Specifications|
4 lbs. 10 oz.
16 x 6 x 13 inches
compatible with different accessory pockets & fit either a gun or compound bow; fanny-pack design & extension lashing straps; load adjusting straps, waist straps, and shoulder straps
If a minimalist backcountry hunting pack for hauling meat is desired, ALPS OutdoorZ Brushed Pathfinder can do that.
Best for Serious Hunters: 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Style 58602
- Give a custom fit to your body - dual compression straps, cinching waist strap, and shoulder straps with closed-cell foam
- Strong and endurable - high strength, water-repellant rucksack made with 1000D nylon
- Good zippers - glove-friendly molded grip pulls
- The sunglasses pocket is not really handy
- Its wide shoulder straps aren’t suitable for people with a strong neck
- Drain holes in the main compartment can let sand in
The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Style 58602 is designed to fit various purposes, like everyday use, hiking, survival, and hunting, and lots of serious hunters particularly like it.
Compared to the ordinary models, it is superior to featuring additional dual compression straps, cinching waist strap, and the shoulder straps are added closed-cell foam. In conclusion, it not just gives a custom fit but is also comfortable.
Its fabric, meanwhile, feels very durable and strong that can bear harsh outdoor abuse and impact pretty well.
5.11 is a professional hunting gear manufacturer, and we can clearly see that in even the smallest details. For example, zippers. While they’re solid, the molded grip pulls make them very glove-friendly and besides, they’re smooth to open/close.
|5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Style 58602 Specifications|
1 x 16.6 x 1 inches
3342 cubic inch / 55 liter
dual compression straps, cinching waist strap, and shoulder straps with closed-cell foam; high strength, water-repellant rucksack made with 1000D nylon; glove-friendly molded grip pulls
Designed to be stronger, comfier, and more versatile, the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Style 58602 is our proud choice for serious hunters.
Best for Elk Hunting: Badlands Diablo Dos Approach Camouflage Hunting Pack
- Indestructible and impact-resistant - KXO-32 fabric and Armatid barracking reinforcement
- Ultra-large hydration system – up to three liters
- Prevent your back from sweating or feeling hot when carrying the pack - back suspension
- Allow for extra gear attachment - three back compression straps and riffle boot compatibility
- Loud zippers
- The chest strap isn’t really tight
Aside from the new camo pattern, which is sweet and beautiful, this backcountry hunting pack is unrivaled for deer and elk hunt.
It is made from KXO-32 fabric, known for top-notch waterproof properties, quietness, and strength. Combined with Armatid barracking reinforced at all prone-to-stress points, and a good strength-to-weight ratio, it is indestructible.
Our most favorite about this backcountry hunting pack is its 3-liter hydration system and the back suspension to keep your back well-ventilated while carrying loads behind.
A huge plus is the three back compression straps and riffle boot compatibility for extra gear attachment. Ah, it is backed by a lifetime warranty!
|Badlands Diablo Dos Approach Camouflage Hunting Pack Specifications|
4 lbs 4 oz
23 x 13 x 12 inches;
2100 cubic inches (34.4 L)
KXO-32 fabric and Armatid barracking reinforcement; 3-liter hydration system; back suspension; three back compression straps and riffle boot compatibility
The Badlands Diablo Dos Approach Camouflage Hunting Pack is our top suggestion for any elk hunter.
Best for Arctic Conditions: Military Rucksack Alice Pack
- No chest strap
For the Arctic or other special missions, we find it’s hard to beat the Military Rucksack Alice Pack.
It is crafted from mixed iron and an aluminum frame and 1000D with 1800mm water-resistant material for extra lightness yet stronger construction. It also has expandable underside with a 1-inch Webbing belt for anyone who wants to carry more.
The total capacity of this backcountry hunting pack is over 3000 cubic inches, more than 50 liters. This internal space is smartly divided into many pouches and pockets to not just protect your essentials but also organize them for quick access.
What we really like about this pack is the added "D" rings and tie-down cords inside the main compartment so if your loads don’t fill the available capacity, just shrink it down.
|Military Rucksack Alice Pack Specifications|
1000D with 1800mm Water Resistance.
mixed iron and aluminum frame, and 1000D with 1800mm water-resistant material; expandable underside with 1-inch Webbing belt; "D" rings and tie-down cords inside the main compartment
If you plan to hunt in Arctic conditions and want an extra-durable hunting pack for that, we love this one.
Best for Multi-Day Trips: Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack
- Huge capacity and well-organized storage space - 56.2-liter size & top and bottom lashing system
- Give snug fit and support to the user’s torso - adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps
- Reliable - backed by a lifetime warranty
- No chest straps
- Quite heavy
Featuring a capacity of 56.2 liters, along with durable, impact-resistant materials and strong construction, it’s no strange when the Timber Hawk Killshot is our pick for multiple-day hunts.
Its major storage space is spacious enough to keep and secure lots of gear while the top and the bottom lashing system allows for extra loads.
Equivalent to your essentials, its adjustable waist belt, and shoulder straps will provide the best support to your torso, keeping it well-aligned and feel the most comfort.
One thing that our tester freakily likes about this one is it offers multiple ways to pack hunting weapons and gear, like tripod, bow, and riffle.
Last but not least, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
|Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack Specifications|
12.5 x 22 x 12 inches (WxHxD)
polyester brushed tricot with PVC backing
56.2-liter size & top and bottom lashing system; adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps; backed by a lifetime warranty
The Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack will be your best companion to count on whenever planning for multiple-day hunting trips.
How To Choose The Best Backcountry Hunting Pack?
Hunting packs are supposed to handle great loads of meat, which is why capacity is one of the most important factors you need to consider.
While most high-end packs come with a modular system that lets you change bag sizes, you still need to decide on the initial one.
It’s best to avoid packs of 5000 cubic inches or higher, but don’t opt for a pack too small either. Our recommendation is a pack of 3000-3300 cubic inches so you can go light and fast. However, for such capacity, you have to carry the right amount of gear and only the needed gear, or it will take up space in the pack.
So, for beginners, we suggest you opt for a 3500-4200 cubic inch pack, which offers both flexibilities for gear choices and compactness for fast going.
Function & Operation
Another key factor to think about is function and operation. This depends on how you often pack your things but the most important thing to keep in mind is efficiency.
No matter how you arrange your stuff, the pack shouldn’t have too many pockets or zippers.
Besides, brands design their packs differently for various ways of packing.
Therefore, it’s useful to watch their usage instruction and pack accordingly to make the most out of the product.
The choice of a pack’s overall weight comes down to your own preference, but remember that it must be in balance with comfort. That means a lighter pack is good as long as it also feels comfortable when you carry heavy loads.
The reason is that a light pack is likely made from a lighter material, hence fewer features, and less durability.
On the other hand, a heavier pack is surely better built, but it shouldn’t be too heavy to put on. Seven pounds could be too heavy, for example.
Which Brands Make The Best Backcountry Hunting Pack?
Founded in 2007, this brand focuses on performance. Apart from that, you will also find hunting packs with affordable pricing here.
For this brand, the world is full of unknowns that you cannot always predict but can prepare for. That means with 5.11, you will be feasted with a range of functional, multi-feature packs that get you ready for anything.
With 25 years of experience in the business, Badlands specializes and is one of the best places to buy a hunting pack. Its products are made with various techs for the greatest performance, including visual confusion, adaptive coloration, waterproofing, temperature regulation, fabric reinforcement, and more.
Can’t I just use a regular backpack?
Yes, you can.
But using a regular backpack for hunting is like building a house with a hammer while there are better tools out there.
In this case, a regular backpack is not designed for hauling heavy loads while hunting packs are made to carry an animal with much higher load ratings.
And even if your regular backpack can carry heavy loads, its frame will be quickly destroyed as it doesn’t have the designated frame for the job. That’s why you need a hunting pack instead of a regular one.
What should be in your hunting pack?
Here are 15 essentials things to carry in your hunting pack: water, first aid kit, rain gear, headlamp, knife, rubber gloves, trash bags/game bags, survival blanket, rangefinder, flashlight, baby wipes. Firestarter and lighter, game call, and your hunting license.
How to clean and wash your hunting backpack?
Note: Never wash/dry your hunting pack in a machine
Empty all the pockets and compartments.
Turn the bag upside down, pockets and compartments opened. Then shake out all the sand, dirt, and other debris.
If you clean the pack after each trip, you just need to use a coarse dish sponge, warm water, and mild soap with little/no scent to wipe stains and dirt from the outside and inside of the pack.
If the bag is very dirty, you need to deep clean it. Remove all the straps (and the frame), and soak all the components in a lot of warm water. Then, add soap to the water and scrub everything with a sponge.
Drain the dirty water from the tub, fill it with cool water, switch the pack around, and rinse it. Rinse the pack until all residue is gone.
Hang the pack up to dry, avoid direct sunlight.
How to adjust your hunting backpack?
Remove the panel from the internal-frame pack, adjust it to fit your back contour.
Adjust the distance from the shoulder straps to the hip belt.
Buckle the chest strap, adjust while you wear however you feel comfortable.
Balance the load by distributing it evenly and use lifter straps.
How big of a pack do I need for hunting?
For a beginner, the recommended capacity is 3500-4200 cubic inches. If you’re experiencing and know exactly what you need to pack, you may need only 3000-3300 cubic inches.
This is the end of our complete guide to the best backcountry hunting packs. We hope that you have figured out what to look for in a hunting pack and will easily find a perfect fit for yourself from the reliable brands we introduced here. Good luck and enjoy your hunt!