The 7 Best Hunting Backpacks for 2022 – (Backcountry, Hauling Meat, Deer, Elk, Turkey Hunting)

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Looking for the best hunting backpack for your hunting trips in 2022? Buying a hunting backpack is not an easy chore as there are so many packs on the market that leave you frustrated with the results. You often invest a lot into a hunting trip and a good pack is paramount. Therefore you want the best hunting pack you can buy for your endeavors.

I’ve had many friends who complained about various aspects of the backpacks they were using and how fast they were done for. I gave them some tips and recommendations and they were very happy that I did. I wanted to put my advice out there so I asked the editors of Forgotten Hunter to write a hunting pack buyer’s guide with my recommendations.

We properly tested a lot of backpacks on multiple trips through rough terrains and weather conditions. We came to a list of seven backpacks that we deem worthy this year!

In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Picks!

Best Backcountry Pack: ALPS OutdoorZ Commander plus Pack Bag

Best Generalist Pack: Mystery Ranch Scree 32 Backpack

Best Lightweight Pack: ALPS OutdoorZ Paquete Pursuit

Best Pack for Elk: Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack w/ Built-in Meat Hauler

Best for Deer: Badlands MRK6 

Best for Turkey: ALPS OutdoorZ Grand Slam Turkey Vestpack

Best budget Pack: TideWe Hunting Pack

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Plus Pack Bag – Best Backcountry Hunting Pack

ALPS OutdoorZ COMMANDER + PACK BAG – Best backcountry Pack

The Commander plus pack back from ALPS OutdoorZ is a freighter frame and a 5250 cubic inch pack bag. The pack is a top-loading type with a lid that attaches to the front with two buckles. The Freighter is of course designed for hauling meat.

The Commander frame offers a unique lashing system to secure meat. For extra-large loads, three extensions straps are included. Once you empty out the pack bag, it can be easily detached. The pack has a total weight of 7.31 pounds, most of its weight is in the frame.

The pack bag has a voluminous 5250 in³ main compartment, a spin-drift collar top, lashing loops, and multiple exterior pockets where you can store all the hunting gear you’ll need on a long trip. The Pack Bag includes a front pocket, spotting scope pocket, rifle holder, and two side accessory hinged pockets. There are even pockets for your knife and flashlight, as well as a holder for your shooting stix on the lashing straps.

The pack is hydration compatible, it has a water sleave where you can store a bladder (3-5L). One other thing that also stands out is its price. In our opinion, this pack has the best price/quality ratio in its class.

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight w/ Frame: AccommodatesWaterproof?
5250 in³ / 86 L7 lbs. 5 oz.Bow, RifleNo, comes with a water sleave
Sale
ALPS OutdoorZ Coyote Brown, Regular
  • Durable Ripstop fabric withstands heavy use and harsh hunting environments. Top loading, spindrift collar with draw cord secures main compartment.
  • Organize your gear in one of many pockets: main pocket, side spotting scope pocket, two hinged side accessory pockets, front pockets and waist belt pouches
  • Detach pack bag and use the frame to haul out meat with a unique, secure lashing system; Anodized cotter and clevis pin design for easy adjustability
  • Hydration compatible, lower door access for main pocket, drop-down rifle holder pocket, webbing loops for lashing
  • Total Weight: 7 lbs. 5 oz.; Pack Bag Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz.; Capacity: 5250 in³/86 L; Torso Range: 17” – 23”; Standard Waist Belt Range: 26” – 40”

Pros

  • Several tools in one: removable backpack + freighter frame + extras
  • Ample room for as much as you can lift
  • Reliable frame
  • The Commander offers torso adjustments from 17” to 23”, providing a custom fit for your body
  • The external frame feels solid and the shelf will come in handy
  • Great price/quality ratio

Cons

  • The pack does not come ready to use out of the box, and you will need to set this up
  • The pack cannot be used separately as a pack alone
  • This pack, when fully loaded, can be a size challenge for some, especially in tight spaces or on inclines/declines

Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack w/ Built-in Meat Hauler – Best Pack Hunting Elk

Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack w Built-in Meat Hauler - Best for hauling meat

We are big fans of the Badlands 2200, which in our opinion still is one of the best hunting backpacks for hauling big game meat. Every year, the company makes improvements to this model, they reduce its weight, and enhance balance and mobility. This year alone, more than twenty-five enhancements were made according to the company, including a lighter, stronger magnesium frame, a weight-loss program that cut nearly a pound off, and a tighter, slightly lower center of gravity for increased mobility.

The pack is incredibly comfortable due to its molded memory foam suspensions. Its built-in meat hauler and the pack can be accessed from three places. Also worth noting is that This pack is very silent, which is a big plus for us.

The Badlands 2200 has a reverse tightening feature on its waist belt, you pull the belt’s ends inwards, rather than outwards. This gives you the leverage you need to properly cinch your belt for maximum carrying comfort.

The only drawback of this pack is that it has no exterior pockets for a tripod or spotting scope, besides that little critique this is a great pack for a solid price.

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight:Accommodates:Waterproof?
36.9 L5 lbs, 15 ozBow, Rifle, Pistol (2x)No; Rain cover included

Pros

  • Detachable rifle/bow boot
  • Adjustable Waist Belt with Reverse Tightening
  • Durable
  • Great for hauling meat
  • The molded suspension system provides a high degree of comfort
  • Double pistol boots

Cons

  • No exterior pockets for a tripod or spotting scope

ALPS OutdoorZ Grand Slam Turkey Vest – Best Pack for Hunting Turkey

ALPS OutdoorZ Grand Slam Turkey Vest

The ALPS OutdoorZ Grand Slam turkey vestpack is a great and overall well-designed hunting pack for turkey hunting. The vestpack has legs that pop out like a folding chair. It has a removable, padded, 2.5 inches thick, fold-away seat that gives you comfort while waiting out your target.

The pack has enough pockets for your equipment. It has a removable, protective diaphragm-call pocket and two slate-call pockets. It also features a striker pocket for three strikers and one larger locator call. It even has an extra locator-call pocket.

The pack also has a protective and silent box call pocket. It has five shell loops and two side/water-bottle pockets. It also has two zip mesh interior pockets. They also suited the pack with a smartphone sleeve to use your smartphone even while it stays in the pocket.

The blood proof game bag holds your harvest easily, while detachable shoulder straps and side compression straps adjust to different body types for maximum comfort. The only con is that the magnet on the back to hold the seat up should be stronger. We’ll definitely be using this pack for turkey hunting this year!

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight:Accommodates:Waterproof?
Not specified by the manufacturer7 lbs. 3 oz.Rifle, bowNo
ALPS OutdoorZ Standard Standard, Mossy Oak Bottomland, Standard
  • Comfortable and versatile turkey vest with sit-anywhere removable kickstand frame and memory foam fold-away seat
  • Adjustable legs with fast-locking technology and large swivel feet helps with stability and prevents you from sinking into the ground
  • Organize your calls and strikers in a variety of different sized pockets strategically placed throughout the vest
  • Large game bag, two side water bottle pockets, hydration compatible, and two mesh zippered pockets inside the vest
  • Weight with frame: 7 lbs. 2 oz.; Weight without frame: 4 lbs. 10 oz.; Waist Size: Fits up to 48"

Pros

  • Best turkey hunting pack available on the market right now!
  • Easy to use and quick set up

Cons

  • Magnet on the back to hold the seat up should be stronger

Mystery Ranch Scree 32 – Best Generalist Hunting Pack

Mystery Ranch Scree 32 - Best Generalist Hunting Pack

The Mystery Ranch Scree 32 is a mid-size, technical daypack that offers ready access via the company’s signature, 3-ZIP design. This is a versatile pack that has an ideal capacity for most outdoor trips.

The pack has two internal pockets and a large main compartment that is fully accessible with the Y zip. For smaller essentials you want to keep organized, there’s a spacious zip pocket built into the lid as well as on the waist belt.

The pack features a removable, redirect waist belt system that secures in a natural, forward pull direction that requires less effort to tighten. A removable, Redirect waist belt system that secures in a natural, forward pull direction that requires less effort to tighten.

The Scree is both hydration compatible as well as offers easy-to-reach water bottle pockets.

The one issue I have with the pack has to do with the straps. The piece of plastic in each strap is somewhat free-floating inside the strap. Sometimes they press to the sides of the straps. But besides that little critique, I do think this is the best generalist pack money can buy.

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight:Accommodates:Waterproof?
32 L2.9 lbsBow, Rifle, HandgunNo
MYSTERY RANCH Scree 32 Backpack - Mid-Size Technical Daypack, Black, L/XL
  • WORKHORSE RUGSACK - Internal HDPE frame sheet for rigidity and support ideal pack for your day hikes or a light backpacking trip
  • OPTIMAL CARRY COMFORT - Redirect removable waistbelt secures in a natural, forward pull direction that requires less effort to tighten
  • GO THE DISTANCE - The patented Futura Yoke easily micro-adjusts to the torso length allowing the proper amount of stand-off between the back and frame
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN - Featuring our classic 3-ZIP for easy, rapid access to pack contents | Equipped with an internal hydration sleeve & water bottle pockets
  • BUILT FOR THE MISSION - These bags feature the same design principles & durability that MYSTERY RANCH is known for and are built to survive the harshest commute

Pros

  • Durable and well built
  • Very Comfortable
  • Cassic 3-ZIP design for easy, rapid access to the interior
  • Double-layered bottom for long-haul durability
  • This pack comes loaded with ergonomic features
  • Hydration reservoir compatible
  • Seriously great pack

Cons

  • Needs better straps

ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit – Best Lightweight Hunting Pack

ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit - Best Lightweight Hunting Pack

The Pursuit Bow Pack is a great lightweight pack that is ideal for bowhunters on a budget. The pack’s lashing straps, along with the expandable bow pocket, make a great combination to securely keep your bow in place. Having a pack that will hold your bow is paramount so you can keep your hands free.

The pack has a surprisingly large main pocket, a large front pocket, and lower side mesh pockets to keep your hunting gear organized. The waist belt is padded so when you’re carrying a little bit of extra weight, the comfort level is still going to be top of the line. An orange rain cover is included in case you are in the great outdoors when some rain rolls through. 

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight: Accommodates:Waterproof:
30 Liters
4 lbs, 1 ozBow, Rifle, HandgunNo
Sale
ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Pack, Realtree Edge, 44 L
  • Drop-down pocket to carry your gun or bow securely and quiver holder on each side of pack
  • Large main compartment with front organizational shelf pocket to keep gear at your fingertips
  • Padded waist belt with two pockets and reinforced webbing to accommodate clip-style holsteD-ring clip allows you to easily hang pack from tree while hunting
  • Padded waist belt with two pockets, center aluminum stay, hydration pocket and port, side mesh pockets, front lashing system, and blaze orange rain cover included
  • Capacity: 2700 in³ / 44 L; Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz.; Main Compartment Dimensions: 19" H x 11" W x 7" D; Camo Pattern: Realtree Edge

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Rain cover to keep the equipment dry
  • Front shelf pocket for organization
  • Fold-down shelf pocket for easy access

Cons

  • Doesn’t breathe as much as you would like
  • Not designed for carrying heavy loads

Badlands MRK6 – Best Pack for Hunting Deer

Best for Deer Badlands MRK6 

The Badlands MRK 6 Framed Backpack was designed to haul weight and keep you comfortable doing it. The developers of this pack spent ample time in each of them developing the pack that would help us survive the nastiest terrain in existence. It currently is the biggest of the company’s Mountain Range Killer Series. The pack was designed to haul ridiculous amounts of weight and keep you comfortable doing it.

The MRK6 has a split pack design with an integrated meat shelf system. Its front zipper gives you easy access to the main compartment. The MRK6 features a new strata suspension system for maximum loadouts and adjustable torso length for a fine-tuned fit. It is a versatile heavy-duty bag that is also comfortable, which is a rarity in the hunting pack industry. We were very impressed by this pack, it is an expensive pack but well worth the money, so highly recommended!

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight:Accommodates:Waterproof?
6,100 CI6 lbs, 13 ozRifle or BowNo
Badlands MRK6 Hunting Backpack, Approach, Medium
  • Fully Loaded - Some 6,100 cubic inches of cargo space await you to fill with gear and game. The split-pack design features an integrated meat shelf system (it’s a system, so you know it’s good) and the Strata Suspension System for maximum loadouts.
  • The MRK Collection - The bigger the critter you take this fall, the more load you’ll need to pack out. It’s basic math, but it’s often overlooked until it’s time to pack up and hike out. That’s why we created the MRK pack series. These super durable, incredibly rough packs are built from the ground up to move meat. It’s made for those hunters that are half mountain goat and half battery bunny.
  • Carries Rifle or Bow - Why risk damaging your rifle or bow? Use the built-in Rifle/Bow Boot and the batwing straps on the back of your Badlands pack to securely carry your rifle or bow, hands-free.
  • Bells & Whistles - It wouldn't be Badlands if it weren't loaded with the features hunters need. An Allite Super Magnesium frame, front zipper access, and tons of pockets let you carry even more gear. This pack also fits Badlands' 3 liter hydration reservoir.
  • Approach Camo - A carefully constructed and neutral color palette allows the Approach pattern to adapt to your surroundings & the current lighting conditions. Changing light will no longer dictate whether or not you stay hidden when it matters most.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Silent
  • Adjustable torso length for a fine-tuned fit
  • Integrated meat shelf system

Cons

  • Expensive

TideWe Hunting Pack – Best Budget Hunting Pack

TideWe Hunting Pack – Best Budget Hunting Pack

This cheap framed hunting pack offers a 3400 cubic inches (55 L) capacity and weighs just 6.0 pounds. Its adjustable shoulder and sternum strap make fitting the backpack to your personal size a cinch. The pack’s ergonomic design along with the soft and thick Padding offers pressure reduction and makes long walks much easier on your body.

The hunting backpack features a two-in-one carrier for your hunting tool. The top front pocket consists of three main storage spaces to keep your gear organized and ready. It also has a small front pocket with inner compartments maximizing your storage options. A large hunting backpack with multi compartments packs everything you need for a day or 2-3 days outdoor hunting journey.

It has high-performance fabric that delivers incredible durability. A reinforced carry strap keeps you focused on a hunting trip. TideWe day backpack also offers a super-strong steel carbon frame to secure small and large loads.

The backpack is compatible with 2-liter hydration systems, keeping you hydrated for those long walks in the woods. This also makes it perfect for long hikes. The premium soundless fabric will assist you in remaining undetected while hunting and the waterproof rain cover is perfect for keeping all of your gear dry in case you get caught in the rain. The main pack can detach from the frame, allowing you to use the backpack freely.

TIDEWE Hunting Backpack, Waterproof Camo Hunting Pack with Rain Cover, Durable Large Capacity Hunting Day Pack for Rifle Bow Gun (Realtree Edge)
  • 【Lightweight & Durable】TideWe hunting backpack is made of quite, durable high performance polyester. The weight is only 3.7lb (1.7kg). Our hunting bag is an ideal match for your spot-and-stalk hunting style.
  • 【Organised & Easy Access】Hunting Pack is perfect for keeping gear organized, yet easily accessible.Our multi-pocket design helps you keep gear separated and organized so you won't have to make unnecessary movement searching for items.
  • 【Comfortable & Ergonomic Design】Channeled back paneling provides incredible support and breathability when walking to and from the stand. This design distributes the weight to fit your back and eliminate pressure points. Padded waist belt ensures chafe-free comfort from before sunup till after sundown.
  • 【User-Friendly】Weather can sometimes be unpredictable, but we have you covered with a built-in rain cover! This cover is sure to keep your gear dry and safe from the elements when you least expect it. Carrying your bow or rifle is also made easy with our unique carrying pocket and quiver hook and loop. With our hydration port, you can remain on the move while staying hydrated without having to stop.
  • 【Large Capacity】Large front pocket and main compartment offer plenty of space for storing and organizing gear. This backpack offers a 2200 cubic inches (35 L) capacity. The size of TideWe hunting backpack is 21”*12”*10”.

Specs

Capacity:Total Weight:Accommodates:Waterproof?
35 L2.8 lbsRifle or BowNo, come with a waterproof cover

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Zippers are big and hold up well
  • Easy access
  • Remarkably durable considering how cheap it is

Cons

  • Loud

What to Look for When Buying a Hunting Backpack – Buyer’s Guide

Will you be Bowhunting

Storage Capacity

The first thing that you need to know before deciding on a hunting pack is how much storage space you require. For one day you’ll need around 1500-2000 cubic inches. For a long weekend, we recommend a pack in the 3000-5000 cubic inch range. Longer hunts demand a bigger pack in the 6,000-8,000 cubic inch range.

Ability to Haul Heavy Loads

A hunting backpack should be capable of carrying a very heavy load, in the FAQ section, I specify how many pounds a pack should be able to handle for hunting deer and elk.

Will you be Bowhunting?

If you are a bowhunter then you will need between 30 and 40 liters capacity for a couple of days.

Fit and comfortability

Most hunting packs come in multiple sizes to choose from. Some packs even have adjustable torso lengths. Make sure yours fits properly, a pack that doesn’t fit properly will certainly strain your shoulders and muscles. You want your pack to be comfortable, especially on long hunting trips. I, therefore, recommend packs with cushioned shoulder straps.

How to measure waist circumference:

It is important to know your waist circumference before deciding on a pack. To measure your waist circumference, you can either use seamstress tape or any piece of string. If you decide to use a string, then you will also need a tape measure to get the exact length of the string.

Functionality

In terms of functionality, a hunting pack must offer you quick access to your hunting equipment like arrows, broadheads, etc. The pack must also be capable of carrying all sorts of equipment, like spotting scopes, knives, etc. Therefore, we recommend a pack that sports multiple pockets.

Storage Capacity

Weight

How much a hunting pack weighs is also very important to consider. You want a pack that is as light as possible, but it should also be made of tough material. For this buyer’s guide, we picked packs that in our estimate balance this perfectly.

Internal/external frame pack

You can choose from two types of frames, an external frame or an internal frame. A hunting backpack must be able to carry pretty heavy loads. This is especially true for big game hunters. They will have to carry heavy loads over probably considerable distances.

Internal frames offer easy maneuverability. They are not able to carry as many as packs with external frames. External frame packs have more capacity. They also have better airflow and breathability. For big game hunting, we recommend using packs with external frames.

Durability

Because you travel through rough terrain and in rough weather conditions, you want the pack to be durable. What makes a pack durable are the materials it is made from and how well it is manufactured.

Water resistance

Most backpacks are not water-resistant but do come with a waterproof cover. Some of the packs in this buyer’s guide are accompanied by a waterproof cover.

“Mute” zipper and material

It is of course very important that the backpack does not make too much noise during a hunting trip, you don’t wanna scare off a potential game. What makes a pack mute is in the material, the zippers, and the buckles. The best hunting backpacks are as mute as possible.

About Daypacks

Most hunters use a small daypack besides their main pack. Small daypacks are great for hunting smaller game. Hunters that have an ATV can of course use that to haul the meat and won’t need a bulky pack.

Durable

Hunting Backpacks – FAQs

Q: What Is the Best Deer Hunting Backpack?

The best hunting backpack for deer hunting would be a pack that can handle up to 100 pounds, so you can pack out your game plus all your equipment. It is also important that the pack is quiet.

Q: How Big of a Pack Do I Need for Elk Hunting?

We find that the best hunting backpacks for hunting Elk or other big game animals are packs that can haul 100 pounds or more. For multi-day trips, you would be looking at 4,000 to 7,000 cubic inches.

Q: How to Make a Backpack waterproof?

To make a backpack waterproof you will either have to spray it down with after-market waterproofing or cover pack with some kind of waterproof cover.

Q: What Size Hunting Pack do I need?

That depends on your waist circumference and what you want to use the pack for.

Q: How To Clean My Hunting Pack?

First, read the washing instructions. We recommend taking it apart as much as possible before washing it. Remove straps and the belt so you can clean each of them separately.

There are multiple methods for cleaning hunting packs and getting rid of smells. The first method would be to lay the pack on the ground while rinsing it with a spray of cool water. Cool water is best when trying to remove stains. To remove blood stains we recommend ice-cold water.

We recommend using hunting gear detergent, you can buy one on Amazon, click here. What you can also do is wash the pack with vinegar (two cups) in a bucket. Vinegar is fantastic for removing the smell and once rinsed leaves no scent behind.

Looking for more hunting gear? Check out our Hunting Blinds 2022 buyer’s guide!

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Author
Rich Burnett is a content manager of ForgottenHunter.com. Father, veteran, and storyteller. He’s been a hunter and angler for over 30 years and loves sharing his experiences with other hunters, anglers, and the public.

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