A successful hunter is adaptable. He or she knows that their entire collection of gear may not be accessible on every trail or in every forest, so a good daypack is vital. When preparing for a hunt, everything you need must be carried on your back.
Every bit of space in your pack must be utilized to its fullest potential to make your hunt successful and free of unneeded stress. Here is a guide on choosing the best hunting daypack.
Our Top List: The Best Hunting Daypacks
Best Overall Hunting Daypacks:
Best Bow Hunting Daypack:
Best Elk Hunting Daypacks:
Scroll down to read our detailed reviews on each of these items, but you can check out the current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon by clicking the links above.
Hunting Daypack Buying Guide
Depending on where, what, and how you hunt, there are many factors to consider when purchasing your daypack. You need to be comfortable while you move quietly and quickly. You need space for all of the essentials. And you need to keep in mind your own limitations when it comes to carrying materials on your back.
Before you start shopping, get to know your body’s needs and how you’ll be using your pack. How far are you walking? What gear will you be carrying on your back? What is the weather forecast?
A good pack is designed to fit your torso length, so measure your own torso before you settle on a pack style. If you buy a pack that is too long or bulky for your torso length, you won’t even be able to stand or walk with it. Your daypack is going to carry you as much as your carry it, so it needs to properly fit your body.
External Frame Packs
External frame packs are made for carrying large items long distances because they have a stronger, more rigid structure. Rather than hanging like a soft backpack, they provide a hard aluminum support frame that allows you to stand up straight and carry heavier materials.
The frame also holds the pack away from your body to prevent awkward rubbing or chafing. Just because external frame packs are more rigid does not mean they have to be uncomfortable.
Different frame designs include a natural S-shape, a structured straightened, and a sturdy hip-wrap, all of which provide different benefits for your body and cargo type. Some packs include a removable frame on the outside while others have a permanent, skeletal frame.
It’s important to note that these are all but extinct. Internal frame packs have overtaken the market for several reasons which we’ll get into now.
Internal Frame Packs
Alternatively, there is the more relaxed internal pack, which is much easier to move around with. This pack is more like a traditional backpack with shoulder straps and hip supports. Though these packs are more suited towards athletic activities like rock climbing or skiing, they can come in handy when you’re hunting small game on short trips.
The internal metal frame is within the fabric so this helps to prevent rust and corrosion.
A good internal pack will also find use during your day-to-day travel, making it a handy alternative to briefcases or bags.
No Frame Packs
These are the traditional backpacks you see kids wearing to school except not covered in Spongebob Squarepants.
No frame packs come with padded shoulder straps and usually no hip straps. They are often much smaller than packs with frames which helps to make them much lighter. This also cuts down on their size so you won’t be able to carry as much. This could be good or bad depending on what you are looking for. But suffice it to say you probably won’t be using these as a survival pack.
One of the best material options for a daypack is mesh. This lightweight fabric allows for airflow and temperature control against your skin. This is especially important in a pack that holds close to your body. The outer shell of your pack needs to be made of a durable, tough fabric, such as canvas, that can withstand any weather.
Another material, tricot, is close-knit and tough while still being softer than most gear. Many quality packs include all of these different fabrics on different areas. When selecting a pack, choose one with a durable, breathable fabric that you don’t mind keeping close to your body.
Most backpack materials do well with some cleaning after they are used. So check what your manufacturer recommends to help lengthen the life span of your backpack
Size vs Weight
While seeking out the right fit and fabric, you should also be keeping in mind the amount of weight you plan to carry in your pack. It goes without saying that a larger pack is needed for a longer, more intense trip, but just how much space do you ideally want?
For example, a pack with less than 2,500 cubic inches of space would be great for quick, intense activities, while a pack with over 6,000 cubic inches of storage will get you through a lengthy winter week of hunting. A little space makes a huge difference.
Pay close attention to strap designs and ease of adjustment on any kind of pack you choose. You’ll want to be able to adjust the shoulder and hip straps easily without having to stop, especially if you’re carrying a heavy load. The straps should fit the pack firmly to your body so you can move around without making too much noise.
They should also have the hardware needed to accept carabiner clips, luggage compression straps, and anything else you need to add on to the pack’s exterior. Men and women have different needs when it comes to strap style, so make sure the pack straps do not cut into your chest or cause unneeded pain or pressure.
Once you’ve found a pack that fits your body, make sure it includes all of the amenities you need for your particular trip. If you’re going to be out over multiple days, you may need a sleeping bag separator or compartment beneath the pack.
Depending on the season and climate, protective gear for the pack, such as a rain shell, may need to be purchased separately.
Take your time exploring each pack as you shop. A pocket that seems cumbersome on an empty, lightweight pack will be a major hindrance when you’re lugging it on your back through heavy wilderness.
Does the pack have a water bladder? Does it accommodate a bow or rifle boot? Where will you put your binoculars, cell phone, knives, water bottle, GPS, and rangefinder? This pack will be your constant companion during your trip, so don’t take the choice for granted.
Your ideal pack will fit comfortably against your body. It won’t be too heavy with unnecessary additions, and it won’t be too small for important gear. It will allow you to move easily and quietly through all types of terrain. And, in the end, it will make your hunt even more of a success.
Best Overall Hunting Daypacks
The ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Back Pack is a mid sized daypack with a versatile design. Its padded waist and soft mesh pockets are ideal for comfort and the many straps and pockets allow for customization. This pack includes a built-in blaze orange rain cover and a hydration pocket for your water bladder.
The universal pack accommodates bow, rifle, and handgun equipment, making it a one-stop daypack for avid hunters. Bow hunters will especially appreciate the quiver holders on each side of the pack. With 2,700 cubic inches of storage, it is in the lower size range, but the sheer durability will get a seasoned outdoorsman through a tough hunt.
This pack is roomy and allows for easy organization. If you’re juggling a lot of gear and weapons, this choice will come in handy. However, the affordable price tag means that the material isn’t the very best, resulting in some fraying and tearing after a few strenuous hunts. It will serve its purpose well, but it may not last through many seasons.
The Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Backpack is a good choice for the hunter who’s main goal is bringing home game. It is designed to carry heavy, bulky loads as a meat-hauling pack. It has a built-in meat shelf, making it ideal for big game hunters. This pack is made from an ultra-durable trademarked fabric that is resistant to all weather types, ensuring your gear’s safety.
You’ll find that this bag holds more gear that it initially appears to. Its many pockets and compartments will come in handy for small weapons and supplies. Though this is a useful component, some hunters may prefer a pack with a larger main compartment rather than many smaller storage spaces.
This product is always being updated and changed to suit current daypack trends, so if you like the current pack, be sure to snap it up before they alter some of your favorite aspects.
Best Bow Hunting Daypack
When it comes to bow hunting, the Tenzing TZ 1200 Ultra Light Day Pack Hunting Backpack is a safe bet. It is on the smaller side, allowing it to mold closer to your body for stealthy travel. Bow hunters need space to move their bodies and weapons and this lightweight pack accommodates those movements.
The outside of the pack has expandable bungee webbing for extra storage and the breathable mesh outside won’t make you sweat while on the hunt.
While bow hunters agree this pack is excellent during the hunt itself, it isn’t ideal for carrying the actual bow. Tenzing offers a slightly larger pack that better fits the entire bow if you find you prefer this brand.
Best Elk Hunting Daypacks
When hunting elk, you need a pack that will accommodate large game. The Badlands Diablo Day Pack has a sturdy aluminum frame that uses hypervent suspension to keep the weight off your back.
This pack has two main compartments and six pockets and the durable camo fabric keeps quiet when you’re trying to fly under the radar. If you’re looking for a no-fuss, no-frills pack, the Diablo is an excellent choice.
Though advertised as waterproof, this bag is more water-resistant than anything and it will let some moisture in. If you’re taking home game or lugging heavy weaponry, this bag is lightweight enough to not add any extra bulk to your cargo.
Many users have wrapped game up and carried it easily in the pack without any issue. This pack will make it through many long, rough elk hunting trips.
If you’re an elk hunter in it for the long haul, check out the Slumberjack Bounty 4500 Hunting Backpack. This is a military-grade pack meant specifically for hefting heavy loads. The sleek poly material is durable and easy to clean, making it ideal for use when preparing or cleaning game.
The main bag on the pack can be removed and used to haul meat and then easily reattached to backpack form. Best of all, this daypack comes with a stabilizing rifle platform, ensuring the elk gets into the pack as quick as possible.
While the structure and function of the pack are ideal, some of the design flaws become apparent when the pack is in use. The fabric covering the hip and shoulder straps tends to fray after a few trips, making it apparent that comfort and and style came second to utility.
Even though this pack may not be the most comfortable choice, it is the best choice for a serious elk hunter out for the prize.