What to Know in Order to Choose a Fishing Backpack for Your Needs
It may sound odd, but the choice of a fishing backpack is actually a personal decision. No two fishing enthusiasts are exactly alike, and while you may be thinking about optimal portability and movement (such as the use of a crossbody style), someone else may really go for the bells and whistles and find themselves enchanted by the thought of USB charging capabilities.
And while those sorts of elements can be very useful when seeking to narrow things down, we have a few more criteria that you have to consider before choosing one over another.
Most important is the type of fishing you do. Experts will agree that all fishing enthusiasts can benefit from some sort of portable, organized storage. This is true whether you are a purely land-based or shore fishing enthusiast, a fly fishing enthusiast, a backcountry angler or a “co-angler”. No one wants to lug around a bulky, old-fashioned tackle box and they don’t want a big, oversized pack that keeps them off-balance or struggling.
Thus, fishing tackle backpacks are the optimal solution. They allow everything from the rods and reels to be easily carried through brush and woodlands, marshy waters and even in fishing kayaks or traditional fishing boats. They can initially appear very similar to one another, but there are actually quite a few variations on the them.
The reviews of fishing backpacks done above looked at some with elaborate straps and pads meant to reduce fatigue and crossbody styles that could be adjusted and worn a few ways. You also saw that some fishing backpacks can be worn at the back or front. And all of these variations are why it is important to start the decision making process with one question: What is the most common type of fishing I will do using this pack?
Now, if you say that you do more than a single type, it could be that you want a very flexible fishing backpack with adjustable pockets and storage areas. It might also be a good idea to invest in a different bag for each type of fishing you do. This is not elaborate or extreme if you find yourself constantly packing and unpacking your gear before an excursion.
So, what should you look at as the most important points as you choose a bag or two, or three? The factors that will end up mattering the most include:
- Total Weight – The perfect fishing backpack should start out as light as possible to ensure you can bring along as much gear as you would like. The options in the reviews above never exceed six pounds when empty (including empty tackle boxes), and so you will want to pay a lot of attention to empty or net weights if you also intend to bring a lot of gear with you on any fishing excursions. Keep in mind, though, that lighter may mean less is expected of it, and that can translate to less durable materials or sewing techniques.
- Total Space – Naturally, fishing backpacks are all about optimal storage space. Yet, it isn’t just the measurements. Be certain that the fishing tackle backpack that you consider has organized storage as well as lots of it. For example, you could just toss everything into a classic bucket-style pack and call it a day. However, that could be a real headache. That is why those who have a lot of gear and who want to keep it as organized as possible will want to explore how the bag is laid out, if the main body can be divided into two or more sections, and just how well organized that total space might be. After all, measurements can be deceptive and it could be that a smaller fishing backpack can hold more of your gear because it is better organized
- Total Resistance – Is the pack water repellant, water resistant or waterproof? We can tell you that none of the fishing backpack options we found were fully waterproof. We did see some that where water repellent and lined with PVC, meaning almost waterproof. Still, just water resistance paired with a rain or weather cover may do the trick. Remember too that you want the zippers to be water resistant and it really helps if the fishing tackle backpack has rubber feet that help it remain both upright and out of dirt or water. If you will be heading out in a boat and not just staying on land or wading into the water, the more water resistance, the better.
- Total Comfort – Ergonomics are a big deal and they can often make the difference between arriving home at the end of a day of fishing feeling great or being super sore in the neck and shoulders. Naturally, it often boils down to the amount of gear you intend to carry with you, and if you are apt to have heavier loads then it is of the utmost importance that you also look at the ways that straps are laid out. Adjustable straps and adjustable wearing styles can also be a big issue for those who have concerns about comfort and ergonomics. Remember too that a comfortable pack can encourage movement rather than inhibit it.
- Materials and Construction – This should go without saying, but we’ll take a few minutes to remind you here, that it you really do get what you pay for where materials and construction are concerned. Any of the fishing backpacks are going to find themselves coming up against the elements on a constant basis, and if they are not rip-stop, resistant and sewn together well, they’ll never live up to your needs. We noted that some of the options used more than 80 different sewing methods in construction, and that may sound excessive, but if you think about what a pack has to do, it makes sense.
- Rod and Reel Storage – We tried to uncover if any of the fishing backpacks neglected to include rod sleeves and reel pockets. Most included them, but it will really pay off for you to always take the time to double and even triple check that you’ll get the right amount of storage for such essential gear. There is nothing more upsetting than to try to carry you rod and reel in your hand as you attempt to navigate along the water’s edge or through rough terrain. So, be absolutely certain that a pack has adequate and secure storage for these items.
- Sleeves and Rings – A lot of fishing backpack manufacturers have gotten wise to the inclusion of d-rings on the straps and exterior sleeves for gear. You will want to consider if this works for you. As an example, sleeves for pliers on the outside of the bag as well as d-rings for keys or gear may save you a lot of interior space while making it amazingly easy to get to essential items without opening the pack.
- Warranty – We did not delve into the issue of warrantees as we researched fishing backpacks. However, you should because many of the best manufactures offer them in periods of up to a year or more. Because you may be guaranteed certain kinds of performance (water resistant or mud proof), you want to be sure you get a refund if it does not deliver.
- All the Rest – And in addition to those factors, we also encountered some other details that included sunglass pockets, waterproof pockets for electronics, cooler or insulated pockets, and even the USB charging option. These are wonderful extras that you shouldn’t overlook or ignore, but don’t put them towards the top of the list. One exception to that rule exists in the fold down workspace. This is a newer innovation in the world of fishing tackle backpacks and you may want to consider it if you do any sort of field cleaning or even tie flies in your leisure time on the water.
And what about pricing? That is a factor, but it really should not be the most significant. We have said that you get what you pay for, and there is great truth in that, and particularly where outdoor sports gear is concerned. However, it is also entirely possible that you find yourself paying for a name more than superior quality. Definitely set a budget, because it is altogether too easy to overspend on hobbies and activities as fun and full of equipment as fishing. Just use that figure as a sort of stopping point.
With the information you have here, you can start to narrow down the options. Most are within a very affordable price range and offer a comprehensive array of options. The key, as we have explained, is to choose yours based on your actual needs, budget and amount of use you expect the backpack to take. As a key part of your outdoor gear, and often as the make or break factor in whether you have a good time or end up frustrated, it really pays to explore the options.