Best Fly Fishing Backpacks – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Short on space and popping gear items with the traditional fly-fishing vest? Try the new fly-fishing backpacks and forget about these irritating problems, forever! If you are an angler who spends most of the day fishing then, you’d probably need a fly-fishing backpack. This guide will walk you through some of the best fly-fishing backpacks available today.

Hardcore fly anglers know that the traditional fly fishing vest doesn’t always cut it on long days out on the water. Although that iconic item is great to bring along, if you’re an angler who enjoys all-day fishing excursions, you probably need more space to carry your gear, snacks, water bottles, you name it.

Fly fishing backpacks have become more and more popular in recent years. If you’re in the market for your first angling-specific backpack, this article will walk you through some top-of-the-line picks that are great for all anglers.

Comparison Chart of the Best Fly Fishing Backpacks

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Fishpond Oxbow Chest / Pack

  • Offers high compatibility with its modular design
  • It comes with YKK Aquaguard# 8 external water-resistant zippers
  • Features a Cyclepond recycled fabric for maximum ease and comfort
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Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack

  • Best waterproof fly-fishing backpack
  • Build quality features a 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon
  • TIZIP zipper closure is waterproof which provides protection against water
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Patagonia Sweet Pack Vest 25L

  • Durable E-glass rod blanks and sturdy stainless steel guides
  • Cork rear grip for convenience and EVA foregrip for comfort
  • Double foot welded stainless steel guides and two-piece design
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M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest

  • Best fly-fishing vest backpack
  • A combination of a backpack and vest offers great comfort
  • Shoulder and waist straps are adjustable with a suspension structure
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Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest Combo

  • Best for the money
  • Offers a 2-liter water bladder to keep you hydrated
  • Features a breathable mesh back which enables airflow
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Can Any Backpack Be Used For Fly Fishing?

The answer is yes. Any backpack can be used for fly-fishing; however, it might not be convenient during fly-fishing. The primary purpose of a fly-fishing backpack is to provide convenience when drawing or storing your gear while fishing. A dedicated fly-fishing backpack would allow you a convenient drawing of your tools during fishing, along with ample space for storing. 

Moreover, it possesses pockets and dedicated slots to store the gear for quick drawing and negating imbalance. Consequently, you won’t miss your prey and curse your luck for not catching the fish! Meanwhile, a traditional fly-fishing vest or a common backpack might leave you searching your gear items and provide small storage.

What Size of Backpack Do I Need?

Selecting a backpack for fly-fishing can be time-consuming. However, it is essential to identify the features a decent fly-fishing backpack should have. Here are some of the features of a good quality backpack designed for fly-fishing.

Fly-fishing becomes relatively easy if you have decent storage capacity and protection of your gear. But which size of backpack will you need? Ideally, it should not weigh more than 7 pounds. There is quite a lot of gear you need to carry, which isn’t very heavy while being small in size. Therefore, you won’t require a very large backpack for fishing. You should be looking for a backpack that features a 60-liter capacity. Consequently, it would allow you to store all your gear without weighing you down. Ultimately, it would provide you with convenient fishing even throughout the day!

What Makes a Great Fly Fishing Backpack?

There are a couple of qualities that most great fly fishing backpacks should possess. Although a great backpack doesn’t need to have all of the following qualities to be a good choice for you, you should at least keep them in mind when browsing online or in store.

Size and Fit

You should make sure that whatever backpack you choose fits according to your needs and provides sufficient space. A good quality fly-fishing backpack would allow you an ideal fit while delivering an ample space for your gear. The size should not be too large. It shouldn’t weigh you down, nor should it be small enough to be unable to accommodate your gear.

Bottom line, no matter what backpack you choose, it should fit you comfortably and provide enough space for your desired angling activities. There’s no need to purchase a giant pack for day-long fishing trips, and likewise, if you often take multiple day fishing excursions, you may need to move up a size or two.

Waterproof

If you want to protect your gear for long-term durability, then a waterproof or water-resistant backpack might come in handy. A high-quality fly-fishing backpack would ideally provide water-resistant capabilities to ensure maximum protection of your gear. Although it’s not a make or break quality, it might prove useful in the long run.

While this isn’t a make-or-break quality, it can be really nice to have a waterproof, or at least water-resistant, backpack.

Because fly fishing is an activity that takes place in places with lots of water and you’ll be wearing it on your body, there’s a chance you might slip and end up wet. There’s nothing more miserable than ruining important gear in a situation that could have been preventable with waterproofing.

Organization

It is important to keep in mind that your backpack should have a well-designed organization system. A good quality backpack offers dedicated pockets and slots for specific gear, which allows easy access while fishing. Moreover, external connection points on the backpack might allow you to access vital gear immediately during fishing without any inconvenience.

If you decide to skip the vest and decide to store all of your gear in your backpack, it’s important that the pack has a well-designed organization system. Choose a pack that keeps your most important items accessible in times of need.

It’s also a benefit to get a backpack with connection points on the outside so you can carry more things with you if needed. Having a water bottle holder and a fly rod holder can make all the difference in terms of convenience.

Quick Take | Best Fly Fishing Backpacks

Just looking for the top three best fly fishing backpacks? Here they are:

  1. Fishpond Oxbow Chest / Pack
  2. Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack
  3. Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Vest Combo

Review of the Best Fly Fishing Backpacks

The best fly-fishing backpack is hard to define without acknowledging the needs and requirements of the user. However, there are certain features to look for like size, fit, and water resistance. Listed and reviewed are some of the most ideal fly-fishing backpacks that might perfectly suit your requirements.

Because fly fishing backpacks are in an entirely different category than generic packs or backpacks, it’s not easy to know which one will be right for you. We’ve laid out our top picks in a variety of categories to make that choice a little easier.

Best Fly Fishing Backpack:
Fishpond Oxbow Chest / Pack

Fishpond Oxbow Chest / Pack, Cutthroat green

PROS

  • Compatible with many Fishpond chest/lumbar packs
  • Structured mesh back panel helps to carry a heavy load
  • Padded shoulder straps offer comfort and load control
  • Environmentally conscious
  • Includes chest pack for extra space
  • Includes a docking space for a hydration bladder

CONS

  • Can prove to be quite large in size for some anglers
  • May be too large for some anglers’ liking
  • Internal pockets in main compartment reduce storage space
What Recent Buyers Report 


Most of the reviews for this fly-fishing backpack are positive. This suggests the high-quality and reliability this backpack offers. Recent buyers suggest that it offers great comfort and ease of use while on a fishing trip. Also, a fairly large number of users recommended this product due to its versatile nature and good build quality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What strikes us most about this backpack is the ergonomics. It offers a structured mesh back panel that allows you to sustain heavy weights. Moreover, its padded contoured shoulders deliver high comfort and even weight distribution. Also, its highly compatible modular design enables compatibility with most Fishpond backpacks with water-resistant zippers.

A backpack from Fishpond is our first recommendation for two reasons: They create super high-quality products that prove to perform well over and over again and this company has a killer commitment to sustainability, a quality that is so valuable in 2019.

All products from Fishpond, including this backpack, are created using environmentally-conscious materials made from abandoned fishing nets found in the ocean. This backpack also uses YKK aqua-guard zippers, which are waterproof and tough against wear and tear.

This particular backpack has a ton of storage space for your gear. The main compartment is large and features two spacious internal pockets. It also comes with the Savage Creek Chest Pack which can click to the back of the pack or be worn on your chest for additional storage and accessibility. The chest pack has a molded fly bench that can be zipped up and down or can hold your own personal fly box.

The backpack is large, but not excessive. It balances weight with the help of a mesh back and padded, contoured shoulder straps for comfort.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking to go on a remote adventure, we suggest considering this backpack. This Fishpond fly-fishing backpack will offer you a great deal of comfort and satisfaction. Not only does it provide ease of accessibility, but it also delivers an even weight distribution. It’s an ideal fly-fishing backpack for fishing vacations.

Bottom Line

All in all, this is a worth purchasing fly-fishing backpack for your fishing needs. It offers ample storage capacity for storing all your essentials while providing high comfort with its modular design. Although it’s a bit expensive, you can always count on this fly-fishing backpack while on a fishing expedition.

While this backpack might be too large for some, this is a high-quality product that offers a great amount of space and gear accessibility. Fishpond’s commitment to sustainability and the use of recycled products also makes this a desirable choice. This is the perfect pick for anglers who want a quality pack with the added benefit of environmental support.

Best Waterproof Fly Fishing Backpack:
Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack, Yucca

PROS

  • Hip belt offers a high level of convenience
  • This backpack is Eco-friendly and well designed
  • Back panel is made of molded foam which is lightweight
  • It is capable of being completely submersible with high reliability
  • D-ring and coated webbing daisy chain offers accessory attachments
  • Fully waterproof

CONS

  • The front pocket is quite small
  • It can get heavier while submerged
  • Waist strap adds extra bulk when not in use

What Recent Buyers Report 

Nearly all positive reviews leave this backpack without a doubt, as one of the best. Most users reported having witnessed a high level of comfort. Not only is it light-weight, but it also delivers a waterproof design. As a result, you can expect high durability and reliable protection of your gear.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is, without a doubt, a highly reliable fly-fishing backpack. It is made up of a sturdy 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon that delivers high durability. In addition, it is completely submersible and water-resistant, which helps protect your gear while underwater.

Another pick from Fishpond, the Thunderhead Submersible backpack was created to be totally waterproof, which makes it great for those fly fishing excursions that are a little more wild and wet.

This backpack is near the top of our list for good reason. Fishpond wowed the fly fishing community with this pack when it took home the American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s Best of Show Award in the eco-friendly products category in 2017.

Like all of Fishpond’s products, this pack is made from recycled materials. This one is created with a 1680 denier industrial waste recycled nylon. It’s made from nylon scraps that would usually be burned or thrown away. The pack features a fully waterproof zipper on the main compartment to prevent any potential leakage.

The company tried to keep comfort in mind when designing the backpack. It features a molded back panel, lightweight foam shoulder straps, as well as a hip belt to keep the weight off of the angler’s neck and shoulders. The belt is adjustable and removable, so it can be set for different heights or taken off altogether.

Who Will Use This Most

This fly-fishing backpack is designed for hardcore anglers. It’s water-resistant in nature; therefore, it protects your gear while underwater. Moreover, it offers D-ring and various others for accessory attachments. In addition, a lightweight foam molded back panel, shoulder straps, and hip belt ensure maximum comfort and high convenience.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a highly durable yet comfortable fly-fishing backpack then, look no further. This model won’t disappoint you with its waterproof capabilities and weight distribution. It is designed with a highly durable 1680D recycled nylon that provides long-lasting operation.

The Thunderhead backpack from Fishpond is without a doubt, a great choice for any angler who needs a pack that can beat the weather. It’s made with high-quality materials that don’t put extra strain on the environment, which is an added plus. The only complaint that some users have is that the front pocket lacks functionality but this isn’t a major downside considering the main compartment allows for plenty of space.

Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack with Water Bladder Adjustable for Men and Women

PROS

  • Zippers are of high-quality with no loose threading
  • Offers adjustable straps for different sizes and people
  • Breathable mesh helps you to keep cool with airflow
  • A 2-liter water bladder keeps you hydrated during expeditions
  • Well-organized construction while providing sufficient storage

CONS

  • Shoulder adjustment is hard to do
  • Long-term durability is questionable
  • Water bladder has a cheap build quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Users report this to be one of the best fish-flying backpacks out there. Most of the reviews were positive about it. The users believe that it offers a lot of storage capacity for the gear. Additionally, it is very comfortable and Eco-friendly. Many users recommended it for fishing and various other expeditions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A lot of people believe that this is a value for money backpack. However, we think a bit differently. What strikes us about this is the breathable mesh. It allows air to pass through, thus, keeping you cool and dry. Moreover, it comes with a 2-liter water bladder to keep you hydrated.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are planning on an entire day of fishing, then this is your best bet. Not only does it allow you considerable storage space, but it also provides you with convenience. It has a 2-liter water bladder to keep you hydrated throughout the day. In addition, it has sufficient space to store food and emergency supplies to save you from any inconvenience.

Bottom Line

This is a value for money fly-fishing backpack. Its lower price might put you off thinking it’s not of good quality. However, we assure you that this is the best backpack you can get at such a low price. Its synthetic and well-designed construction allows easy access to your gear and keeps you satisfied throughout the day.

Best Fly Fishing Backpack with Rod Holder:
AnglerDream Fly Fishing Pack

AnglerDream Fly Fishing Pack Outdoor Sports Mesh Vest Pack/Chest Pack/Sling Pack/Back Pack Universal Adjustable Fishing Hunting Hiking Fishing Pack with Storage Compartments

PROS

  • Very comfortable and reliable while in use
  • This backpack offers good value for the price
  • Composed of a rod holder for fishing expeditions
  • Two side pockets allow carrying additional supplies
  • A camouflage design offers signature relevance for remote adventures
  • Lots of good, varied storage space

CONS

  • Not available on online stores
  • Zippers are not good quality
  • Rod holder pocket is a little small

What Recent Buyers Report 

As per user reports, this is a backpack that offers great value for your money. It is a highly affordable yet reliable backpack for remote adventures. Users were quite satisfied with its overall build quality and reliability. Some users reported cheap build quality zippers, but you cannot rule out this backpack on this drawback.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

What we like about this backpack is the storage capacity it has to offer. Apart from being fully adjustable, it offers three pockets to store your gear. Its main compartment can accommodate a sizeable number of essentials while two zippered pockets allow carrying small items. Furthermore, it’s made up of 400D polyester and offers a camouflage design.

A rod holder is a great feature that many backpacks tend to not include. Having a place to store your rod eliminates an extra piece of gear to handle on your way up and down from your favorite fishing spot.

This fly fishing backpack from AnglerDream is one-size-fits-all but is fully adjustable. It has three main pockets to store gear, including a main compartment that is large enough to accommodate a sizable amount of stuff.

There are also two front zippered pockets for extra small items that you may wish to carry. In addition to the main pockets, there are also a couple mesh outer pockets available and various attachment loops.

The backpack is created with 400D polyester and comes with a camouflage design. One side pocket is perfect for holding your water bottle, while the other is used as a rod holder.

Who Will Use This Most

The AnglerDream Fly-Fishing Pack offers a rod holder, which makes it a great option for fishing. You can easily carry your fishing rod on fishing expeditions with this backpack. Moreover, it offers varied storage spaces for ease of accessibility and provides a higher level of convenience.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, the AnglerDream Fly-Fishing Pack offers a great deal of storage for a great price. Its various sized pockets allow you ease of access. Despite having some cheap build quality for zippers, it offers value for your money. All in all, it is a must purchase if you have a low budget.

Overall, this backpack from AnglerDream offers a whole lot of storage space for a great price. With several pockets of varying sizes, it’s fairly easy to carry a lot of gear. It keeps the most important items accessible and leaves room for the ones that aren’t as essential. One issue with this pack is the zipper quality; some users have said that their zippers have broken very easily. Keep this in mind when considering this backpack.

Best Fly Fishing Vest Backpack:
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest

Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Adjustable Size Mesh Fishing Backpack

PROS

  • It’s very lightweight and easy to carry
  • 1-year warranty and lifetime repair warranty
  • Weight distribution is ideal for remote adventures
  • Water-resistant fabric lined with mesh keeps you cool
  • 2 main molded pockets and 3 zippered pockets offer ease of accessibility
  • Good weight distribution
  • Well-thought-out design
  • Comfortable straps don’t dig into shoulders

CONS

  • Zippers are not super durable
  • Shoulder adjustment straps tend to slip from place throughout use

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the users reported flawless operation and performance of this backpack. However, some users reported zippers not being durable enough. Other than that, it offers great versatility and works as a combination of a vest and backpack. It’s a highly recommended backpack, as reported by recent buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What attracts us most about this backpack is the design. It offers the functionality of a traditional vest and a backpack at the same time. Moreover, it offers a lightweight design while having adjustable shoulder and waist straps. Additionally, it has the capability to withhold multiple fly boxes in a variety of sizes.

Another backpack/vest fusion, Maxcatch’s vest backpack combines the two for comfort and extra storage space. If you’re tied to the idea of having a fly fishing vest but need more space for your gear, this is a great option.

The pack is created with lightweight, water-resistant material. It’s lined with mesh in hopes of keeping the product breathable and cool on warm summer days. The backpack features three separate compartments for storing all the gear that you don’t need immediately accessible. They are all zippered and expandable. It also has a back D-Ring for a landing net and bottom straps for a rod holder.

Although this product is one-size-fits-all, the vest is fully adjustable. It has two molded pockets on either side to hold your most important items. The pockets are shell pockets and include fly patches on the inside to keep your favorite flies handy on the go.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are tied to the idea of a traditional fishing vest but need more space then, this is a great choice. This backpack is made up of lightweight and weather-resistant material. Apart from being fully adjustable, it offers three separate compartments for various essentials. Henceforth, if you are looking for a backpack that offers great versatility, go with this one.

Bottom Line

Looking for a versatile yet durable backpack? Buy this one! It offers a combination of a standard vest and a backpack. Build quality is also decent. However, look out for less durable zippers that might get broken with use. Other than that, it’s an all-in-one solution for your remote adventures and fishing expeditions.

This product from Maxcatch is a great option for those anglers who enjoy the support of a vest but also need the space that a backpack provides. Some users complain about the quality of this vest/pack, but many have given reviews that praise it’s exceptional space accommodation and comfort. Overall, while it may not be the highest-quality purchase, it features a great amount of space in its well-thought-out design.

Best Patagonia Fly Fishing Backpack:
Patagonia Sweet Pack Vest 25L

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Excellent quality
  • Comes with a vest for extra storage space and convenience

CONS

  • Not one-size-fits-all as advertised
  • Hip strap doesn’t help in weight transfer

If you’re debating between getting a vest and a backpack, there’s really no need with this Patagonia mash-up. This pack combines a backpack and a vest in a cohesive whole that is comfortable, functional, and durable. Patagonia is a trusted brand for creating well-made products and this pack definitely lives up to their standard.

The backpack is created with a blend of nylon and polyester. Each part of this product is coated with DWR (durable water repellent), which makes it water-resistant to keep the contents of the bag safe no matter the weather conditions. In addition, they use water-repellent YKK zippers for extra protection.

The mesh vest can be detached from the backpack and worn separately if you would like less bulk. The backpack and front of vest both have many attachment points for extra accessories if needed, as well as dual-side expandable mesh pockets for water bottles.

The vest is designed vertically for maximum accessibility to your most needed gear. It’s constructed with mesh backing to keep it breathable and comfortable for all-day use.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a backpack with a little extra oomph from a vest attachment, this Patagonia product just might do the trick for you. As with most Patagonia products, this pack is made with high-quality material and gets extra points for being water-resistant. The main, pervasive complaint surrounding this product comes from the hip strap.

It is quite narrow and unpadded, making it uncomfortable and unable to assist in weight transfer. This is a serious downside, but if you’re willing to overlook it, this backpack is a great choice in terms of quality and functionality.

Types of Fly-Fishing Backpacks

There are different types of fly-fishing backpacks that are available on the market. However, it depends on personal preferences and the purpose it’s going to deliver. The following are some of the different types of fly-fishing backpacks.

Traditional Fly-Fishing Vest

It is the standard fly-fishing vest that usually comes with a chest box. This fly-fishing vest provides a comfortable design as the weight is evenly distributed among the shoulders. However, the chest box can be cumbersome if you are out there fishing the entire day. This vest might not provide you with ample storage space; however, it offers great ease of accessibility.

Chest Pack

A chest pack is a type of fly-fishing backpack that hangs in front of your chest. Weight distribution is even on both the shoulders. However, there are certain chest packs with weight distribution on your neck as well. It features ease of accessibility, decent storage capacity, and comfortability.

Sling Pack

This is one of the most popular and frequently used fish-flying backpacks. It offers a great deal of storage capacity and accessibility since you only have to flip it to your front to access it. However, the only drawback of the sling pack is that it offers marginal comfort to the user.

Hip Pack

This is another type of fish-flying backpack that offers great comfort and reliability with decent capacity for storing your gear. Weight is evenly distributed on your center of gravity, which provides high comfort. As far as ergonomics and accessibility are concerned, it offers marginal performance since flipping to your front might cause inconvenience.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Before purchasing a fly-fishing backpack, it is necessary to identify certain factors that you might want to consider. These factors greatly depend on your choice and purpose for which they are going to be used. However, the following aspects are the most important ones you might want to consider while going on a fishing vacation.

Comfort

If you are going for a fishing vacation to a remote area, you probably want to have a comfortable backpack. Carrying a comfortable backpack would help you enjoy your expedition while delivering maximum convenience. Meanwhile, an overloaded backpack can wear you down and might cause a sore back at the end of the day. Therefore, make sure you purchase a backpack that is lightweight and easier to carry.

Storage Space

Your backpack should have sufficient storage capacity to store all of your gear required for fishing. A well organized and decent storage is what you are looking for. Some backpacks feature dedicated pockets and slots for specific gear items that provide easy access and convenience. You don’t want to dig through all of your gear from top-down!

Weight

Neglecting your essential gear might cause you inconvenience while keeping your backpack weight to a minimum is desirable. Therefore, your backpack must have additional room for food and emergency supplies. Make sure you have enough space for storage if you are on a few days of remote adventure.

Benefits of Investing in a Great Backpack for Fly Fishing

It’s so easy to choose price over quality. We all do it. But when you’re purchasing your first fly fishing backpack, you should seriously consider investing in a high-quality product that will last. Here’s why:

Value

Odds are, if you go for a super cheap backpack, you’ll end up spending way more on new products, as it probably won’t last long. As seams rip and zippers fail, you’ll be forced to buy new items over and over again.

Quality

Durability and high-quality materials tend to be a little pricier, they come with serious benefits, mainly their added durability. It’s no fun having an item fall apart. Quality materials will withstand the weather and wear and tear much better than cheaply-made products.

Longevity

 You can rest easy knowing that a quality made backpack will last years longer than one that comes at a super low price point.

Conclusion

Choosing the right fly-fishing backpack might be a difficult task; however, it is extremely necessary to do detailed research. There are thousands of brands that offer various backpacks in the angling world. Choosing the right one is the real task. Hopefully, our guide has provided you with a couple of potentials you might want to add to your gear list.

When it comes to a new fly fishing backpack, the more research you do, the better. There are tons of great backpacks in the angling world, the real task is in finding the one that is perfect for you. Hopefully, this article gave you a couple of potentials you could add to your gear list. Happy fishing!