Best Hunting Day Packs (2021): Ruggedly Built Waterproof Models With Spacious Pockets, Rifle/Bow Boot & Quiver Holders, Adjustability & Self-Repairing Zippers– Tested & Reviewed
- Carolina Pina
Success in any outdoor activity depends on how comfortable you are. Day packs are key for a rewarding hunt. They are designed for easy carriage and pack enough space for all your hunting gear and whatever else is required to stay in the open overnight or longer.
We are confident that our reviewed best hunting day packs will be helpful to you in getting a hunting daypack suited to your needs.
What You Will Get Here
- Best Hunting Day Pack Comparison Chart (Updated 2021)
- Best Daypack for Hunting: Buying Guide
- Our Top 5 Product List
- Best Tactical Style Daypack: 5.11 Tactical Military Backpack RUSH12
- Top Multipurpose Daypack: PANS Backpack for Men Large Military Backpack
- Great for Deer Hunting: WolfWarriorX Men Backpacks
- MARCHWAY Tactical Molle Hydration Pack Backpack
- For Optimum Comfort: ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Pack
- Other Notable Brands & Tested Models
- Hunting Daypacks: Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
- A Word from RangerExpert
Best Hunting Day Pack Comparison Chart (Updated 2021)
5.11 Tactical Military Backpack RUSH12Read Full Review
PANS Backpack for Men Large Military BackpackRead Full Review
WolfWarriorX Men BackpacksRead Full Review
MARCHWAY Tactical Molle Hydration Pack BackpackRead Full Review
ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting PackRead Full Review
Best Daypack for Hunting: Buying Guide
- Built-in frame day packs
The aluminum frames on these backpacks are sewn inside the fabric. They are easy to work with and easier to find in the marketplace. Hunters prefer these because of their overall size that makes it more possible to move through thick brush and dense forest. The gap between body and backpack is somewhat reduced which can cause chafing problems. On the other hand, they follow the natural body contour, and being in close proximity, affords some warming effect. They are easy on your back and shoulders. The frames, being internal, are protected from scratches, dents, and rust thus prolonging their life.
- Exposed frame day packs
These backpacks have aluminum framing on the outside. As they distribute the load evenly onto your back and waist, they are suitable for heavier and larger, heavier items. The major plus points of these are:
- The air gap allows good ventilation avoiding your back sweating or chafing.
- It does not rub against the body avoiding any noise that can scare any game away
- It allows maintaining an erect posture
- Stability and distribution of weight by the provided hip belt and pads giving additional contact points
- The frame is removable rendering them every day backpacks
When it is a small game you are after, hunters find exposed frame packs bulky and unsuitable. These backpacks are increasingly becoming difficult to find in the market.
- Frameless day packs
Frameless backpacks come with little comfort attached to the other two. If your load is heavy, it will transfer it to your back. In other design considerations such as size, material, pockets, and so on, they are no different. Their biggest selling point is the price. They are far more affordable. They can double as normal backpacks. But a wobbly backpack on a hunting expedition is a hindrance.
2. Size & weight
Always bear in mind the weight of an empty daypack and that when it’s loaded up. This is also true for the fanny packs. The amount of gear that will go in depends on how long you plan your trip to be. For instance, if you need to pack in a tent and other sleeping items, the size shoots up. You can apply DIY methods to extend the capacity of your pack. A larger size is bulky, restrictive to your movements as will be a heavier daypack. You may not need a big pack for hunting big games.
The ideal fabric is Nylon. It is suited for large loads, is strong, and of high durability. Nylon is UV resistant and dries quickly after getting wet.
- Rip-Stop Nylon
Rip-stop nylon goes one step further than nylon. In addition to the attributes of nylon, it’s resistance to wear and tear is a great deal more.
Polyester and nylon hold a lot in common. Both are UV resistant, fast-drying, and load-bearing. Polyester technology is forging ahead and most multi day packs are nowadays being made from polyester.
Canvas was the original fabric used for day packs. That it still survives is a measure of its durability and strength. The cool thing about canvas is that it is long-lasting, feels good, and looks good. It does take a while to dry out after getting wet and degrades slowly in the sun. All of these materials also come in versatile camouflage and other designs. Some may have big camos while others have smaller ones. You may choose one depending on the environment you want to use them for.
4. Pockets & compartments
Most hunting day packs available have one factor in common- the amazing design of the number of pockets and detail to storage. A good hunter requires a highly specialized measure of organization. External pockets should house things that will be needed frequently and in a hurry. Internal pockets are generally larger and less split-up.
The interior is for carrying animal meat basically. Another important feature is a specially designed hydration pouch that can hold 1-3 liters.
It goes without saying how vital the quality of the zippers is. A frozen or broken zipper renders a pocket practically inaccessible. These points are what you should be looking for when you choose a hunting day pack:
- Simple to fix when out in the open
- Should be easily visible in low-light conditions
- The pull tabs should be easy to grab and zip open even when wearing gloves.
You are into a great deal if the pull tabs are rubber. Another often overlooked facet is how the zipper travels- zippers that are opened from top to bottom are easier than the other way round.
The yardstick of a good backpack is that it ideally should be body-hugging. Space for unwarranted movement should be minimized. Less, or ideally no movement means no sound. All hunters know that silence is the cardinal rule when stalking. Comfortable and tight-fitting straps can do the trick.
Body types differ, so you need to figure out what works for you by trial. It should be easily adjustable and have a good look at the design. The backpack should be, as far as possible, an extension of your body. Chest and waist straps optimize this along with weight distribution, especially so if you have to lug a pack of sheep or elk meat.
7. Rain Cover
Expert huntsmen always carry a rain cover. These need to be lightweight, compact, and provide shelter at short notice by their rapid deployment.
8. Cargo volume
When looking for the best hunting day pack, consider a volume of anything between 20- 40 liters. You have to strike that balance between volume and weight. Hunting requires great concentration. If you are tuckered out carrying a heavy load, the battle is half lost.
9. Gun & Bow Holders AKA Boot Holders
A hunting pack without a slot to stow your firearm firmly is a no dealer. Decent packs will feature suitable arrangements to house a rifle scabbard, case or boot. The design should include crossbows, long rifles, and so on. Good hunting packs also provide a pistol boot around the hip area. Without such holders it would be difficult to climb mountains and explore the woods.
10. Pricing & Budget
Seriously you want to lay out a budget first. You can’t go by a wishlist as it will rapidly go out of hand. The core of your hunting gear is the backpack. They are required by users of all age categories including the kids and youths. So it’s okay if you exceed your budget within bounds. You can always make up for it when you choose a rifle scope where a hundred bucks do not dent your choice so much.
A decent internal frame backpack will cost you $100 and the best, at around $300. Good brands will give you a lifetime warranty though.
Our Top 5 Product List
The 5.11 Outdoors RUSH 12 backpack is a high-performance multi-purpose bag with multiple roles. This superbly designed bag is made of top-quality molle (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) favored by the US Military, its design is comprehensive and can fit in all your gear. It is a great tactical assault pack, a hunting backpack and an emergency go bag. The RUSH 12 boasts 16 compartments designed for a broad range of storage options. Each one of the pockets is for specific use. The storage organization is also top notch.
This daypack is frameless. When not used for hunting purposes, it is pretty ideal for an everyday backpack that can be used for books, laptops, clothes, and what such. The MOLLE webbing system allows for easy external attachment. The internal admin panel has lots of options for keeping accessories.
We picked the RUSH 12 as the best tactical style daypack with good reason based on:
- We agree that the 5.11 Tactical is a great all-rounder rather than just a dedicated hunting daypack.
- They are commonly used by NATO, the US and UK military because of their superior quality.
- The 16 inch hydration package keeps you in the mood. They’ve added two hydration exit points added at the top of the bag for maximum customization.
- We love the detail to quality. The material is 1050D Nylon and the zipper tabs are glove-friendly. What is unmatched is the 5.11 has self-repairing YKK zippers which is a great deal.
- Another feature we find superb is the storage designing. With 16 pockets and an internal admin panel, the efficient organization of small accessories is made possible.
- A feature that amazed us is the adjustable shoulder straps and the centered sternum strap that provide excellent stability. External compression straps are an optional offer.
- We were delighted with the fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses. What was surprising was the omission of providing a rain cover.
- We found the watertight integrity solid including no leakages from inside which could allow blood residues from seeping out.
|Size Main Compartment||18” x 11” x 6.5” internal compartment|
|Size Secondary Compartment||12” x 9” x 1,75” bottom front|
|Hydration pack||60 oz.|
|Color||Black, sandstone, double-tap, Multicam|
The 5.11 Tactical hunting daypack is an astounding piece of design and work. In spite of the absence of a frame, it still manages to have enough rigidity for easy movement and staying upright comfortably. For a frameless daypack, it is on the pricier side. The features offered compensate and we say confidently that it is a good value for money.
If what you are searching for is a larger survival daypack, the PANS expandable backpack is worth taking a closer look. You can compress the storage capacity to 39 liters or expand it to 64 liters making it one of the most versatile survival backpacks up for sale. Expectedly, being a high-quality product, it features the MOLLE webbing system that makes it a cinch to attach items externally.
A heavy-duty handle is attached to the upper top so that the pack can be carried by hand. Durability is enhanced by the water-resistant design. When worn on the back, the adjustable sternum strap makes it comfortable. Weight distribution is made possible by an additional removable strap.
The PANS backpack is also multi-purpose and is frameless.
An innovative feature is the provision of pouches for walkie-talkies.
- We found that in spite of many wonderful features, the PANS backpack it is not of a lightweight design possibly due to its expanded capacity. When heading out for more than a day, this is to be kept in mind.
- We carried out a small experiment to gauge the endurance of this daypack. At 64 L capacity, the supplies were good to go for up to 3 days.
- Our examination revealed that this daypack/ backpack is strictly not water-resistant. There is minor seepage through zippers in heavy rains. A better word is light water-resistant. However, a flap is provided over the zippers for this reason.
- We were pleasantly surprised at the two small holster type pouches that clipped and velcroed on the shoulder straps.
- We were happy with the zipper tabs that are oversized and easy to open and close compartments. This is so often overlooked. They are of durable plastic.
- We admire the laptop compartment that ensures it is tightly secure and will not come into contact with other items.
|Size Overall||15” x 13” x 21”|
|Size Main Compartment||20” x 13” internal compartment|
|Hydration pack||None provided.|
|Color||Black, Gray, Green, Acu, Multicam, so on|
The PANS military tactical backup will last you a long time whether you use it for hunting or as a range bag. It does a lot of stuff that other backpacks can’t match. It is also one of the top-rated models on our list. It can be used for your commute by reducing the volume using the side buckles to compress it. Made of tough and durable water-resistant polyester, the PANS can hold its own against the competition and come out with flying colors.
The WolfWarriorX backpack is predominantly designed for men. In reality, it is unisex. And comes in 15 different styles. They are expandable in capacity going up from 39L to a maximum of 64L. It has four compartments for loading gear, a mesh pocket, separate pockets, and plenty of room.
Classic shoulder straps apart, it also has a chest belt to disperse some of the pressure. The side buckles make sure that the fit is tight and secure.
Unlike special-purpose packs, it can be used for a number of purposes- hunting, trekking, commuting, college, and so on. A special compartment is provided for stowing a laptop securely. The zippers are heavy and over-sized and the material the pack is made of is 600D polyester. Though it is water-resistant, don’t chance it in heavy rains as some seepage mainly through the zippers can be expected.
- Outright we found the waist belt, though adjustable does not suit all sizes.
We loved the rugged good looks and the excellent quality. This was no cheap knockoff but a military-style backpack built solidly.
- We discovered amazing details that are not advertised. Like the holes in the zipper tabs that provide locking arrangements (for flight need). And a hydration pack pouch for stowing a bladder.
- We feel that people confuse between water-resistant and waterproof. Water-resistant can allow minor seepages in spite of the rubberized interiors. Zippers and stitches are unavoidable. We recommend that you line the internal spaces with plastic foil to foil this.
|Size Overall||15” x 21” x 8-13”|
|Size Main Compartment||20” x 13” internal compartment|
|Material||Heavy-duty 600D polyester|
|Hydration pack||None provided.|
|Color||Black, Gray, Green, Acu, Multicam, so on|
The WolfWarriorX Men’s Backpack is a marvelous product. First of all, it is expandable and is good to last 3 days in the great outdoors. Much care has been put in by the manufacturers towards advancing comfort bearing in mind that the expanded version can be a bit unwieldy.
We endorse the WolfWarriorX as a good survival hunting daypack.
The design of the MARCHWAY Tactical Backpack is amazingly minimal, compact and streamlined. The 3 straps, namely chest, waist, and shoulders are ergonomically designed for that perfect fit. Being adjustable, any bounce that may occur is totally removed. The shoulder straps that take up most of the load are padded with foam making the carriage pretty comfortable.
The MARCHWAY has MOLLE webbing for external attachment of items. The material is of high-grade Nylon and importantly, key fixtures like buckles are of engineered plastic making them impact resistant and durable.
The storage features can be summed up as one main pocket for a 3L hydration pack, 2 front pockets, and the MOLLE system. This fairly squares things out.
Getting down to our findings:
- We found the hydration reservoir and arrangements, top class. The material is of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and BPA certified. It packs in 3L of water that can be pulled through a mouthpiece hands-free. Truly, the hydration pack is a life-changer.
- We are glad that at long last the problem of sweaty backs has been somewhat resolved. The ventilation arrangement of the MARCHWAY at the back through the fitted meshes works well.
- After a good examination of the webbing, material, buckles, and zippers, we came away satisfied with the quality. Though we would be happier if the buckles were of metal.
- To our surprise, we found that a new purchase is best washed down first, especially the water bladder to get rid of factory residues.
- What we truly liked is in spite of being slim, it still does not compromise on capacity.
|Size Overall||19.7” x 8.7” x 2.6”|
|Size Main Compartment||None provided|
|Material||Heavy-duty 1000 Denier nylon|
|Color||Black, Tan, Green, Acu, Digital Woodland|
The MARCHWAY Tactical is truly a backcountry backpack that can boast of being a jack of all trades. It is suitable for multiple activities- hunting, cycling, running, hiking, climbing, biking, and so on. It boasts of a well-designed hydration pack, one of the best, which is perfectly suited for the outdoors. Above all, it is lightweight and pretty comfortable to wear. Go for it.
All hunters are not created equal. Many use rifles but a select band hunt with bows and arrows. So it follows that not all backpacks are of the same design. The ALPS Outdoor Z daypack addresses the specific needs of archers by providing a dropdown bow holder boot and a quiver holder.
The waist belt is well-padded with the unique feature of having two pockets, one on each side which comes in very handy. Most hunters are opting for this feature increasingly these days.
Reinforced side webbing is provided and though it has internal framing, the ALPS Outdoor Z is pretty inexpensive.
The back support is of padded mesh materials which somewhat give breathability. Better daypacks have superior ventilation systems.
- We loved the novelty of the waist strap side pockets where items of importance and frequently required can be tucked away.
- We found an equally delightful innovative design feature in the front shelf-style pocket. It drops down forming a tray surface where you can organize all your smaller hunting items.
- We did not much care for the noise created by the pack being in contact with the back. Also, we were trying out the daypack in warm weather and do concede that it does make your back seat heavily.
- We also were disappointed with the weak spots at the junction of the shoulder and chest straps with the main body. The stitching should be reinforced at this point in our opinion.
- We were also disappointed with the quality of the material. Though made of polyester, it appears somewhat flimsy.
|Size Overall||14” x 22”|
|Hydration pack||2 liter|
|Color||Realtree Edge, Mossy Oak Country|
|Weight||4 lbs, 1 oz.|
All things considered, the ALPS Outdoor Z Hunting Pack ideally suits the requirements of deer or hog hunting. It is fairly durable, spacious, has plenty of storage compartments, gives decent back support, and above all, comes at an affordable price. To make this happen some tradeoffs, such as rather poor materials are an unwanted fallout.
Other Notable Brands & Tested Models
Here are other reputable brands and their popular hunting and archery daypack models that you should also note if you want to delve deeper into the market:
Mystery Ranch (known for meat hauling models), Cabelas, Badlands (Pursuit, Treestand, Camera Pack, Hypervent), Horn Hunter (G2), Under Armour (Ridge Reaper), TETON Sports (known for Youth Models), Kelty Tioga (known for 5000 cubic inches models), Nexpak (known for 2000 cubic inches models), Kelty Wrangell (known for their 3000 cubic inches models), Osprey, Tenzing (TZ 2220, TX 14, TZ 1500), Kuiu, Drake (Waterfowl), Kifaru International, and Mystery Ranch.
Other hot sellers:
Allen Company, NODLAND, Mardingtop, GEARDO, SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, Huntvp, AUMTISC, Outdoor Shoulder, FREEMOVE, Fieldline, SPIKA, Gelindo, SHARKMOUTH, MEWAY, Nature's Lodge, Diamond Candy, TotalPac, Insights Hunting, Allen Vantage, Loowoko, Createy, Naturehike, UNISTRENGH,OSAGE RIVER, YOREPEK, ARMYCAMO, Plan-C, Jueachy, N2, Venture Pal, Easygou, Bassdash, Nike, Brainzon, Litcha, Protector Plus, G4Free, ATBP, GZ XINXING, MARCHWAY, CREATOR Tactical, Pans, Outlander, Saratoga Outdoor Equipment & Apparel Company, JanSport, Evolution Outdoor, Hebetag, Pickag, REEBOW TACTICAL, Auscamotek, Travelon, TideWe, 4KF, SOWLAND, Esup, AIRTTUZ, Canyon, SITKA, EVERLIT, TOURBON, Mossy Oak, Tengma, Suoki, RUPUMPACK, TLO, ProCase, Yoson.k, fjnannan, Aqua Quest, and Samurai Tactical.
Other models we also tested:
- 01ALPS OutdoorZ Dark Timber Hunting Day Pack
- 02Eberlestock X2 Pack
- 03Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-in Meat Hauler
- 04ALPS OutdoorZ Traverse EPS
- 05SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack
- 06Condor 3 Day Pack Backpack (Olive Drab, 3038-Cubic Inch)
- 07Timber Hawk Big Basin Daypack
- 08Badlands Superday Hunting Daypack
- 09Allen Remington Camo Hunting Daypack - Twin Mesa 1,853 cu in Hunting Daypack
- 10ALPS OutdoorZ Trail Blazer Hunting Pack
- 11Fieldline Daypack Backpacks
- 12MARCHWAY Tactical Molle Hydration Pack Backpack with 3L TPU Water Bladder, Military Daypack for Cycling, Hiking, Running, Climbing, Hunting, Biking
- 13WintMing 70L Camping Hiking Backpack Molle Rucksack Waterproof Traveling Daypack
- 14RUPUMPACK Military Tactical Backpack Army MOLLE Hydration Bag 3 Day Rucksack Outdoor Hiking School Daypack 33L
Hunting Daypacks: Cleaning & Maintenance Tips
Hunting daypacks need to be cleaned between trips. The mark of a great hunting expedition is a dirty daypack. But you need to get that blood and dirt out to prolong the life of the daypack. Stuck, clogged zippers can cause problems when out in the open.
Here are a few tips:
- Go through the washing instructions. Most packs cannot be machine washed. They need to be cleaned by hand. And besides, you don’t want blood and trail grime in your washing machine.
- Separate the parts. Remove straps, belts, and whatever other parts that can be dismantled.
- Shake the pack aggressively to dislodge dirt, leaves, and gook. If necessary, vacuum it down.
- Use cold water to clean. Hot water will set stains in. Water that is ice-cold is best for removing bloodstains.
- Lay your pack in an open area and power spray it down. This will get the bulk of dirt and blood off.
- Soak the pack in ice-cold water if the pack is heavily bloodstained. Let it sit for 30 minutes
- Using a brush, scrub down the pack
- After the first wash, remove all dirty water and repeat the process. This time add a little detergent, work the soapy solution into the pack, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.
A Word from RangerExpert
Hunting has been a survival fight since the beginning of time. It is a sport now. But the preparedness for this activity remains whole. Hunting day packs play a vital role in carrying out a successful hunt. In this guide, we have put forth the ultimate selection that will hopefully guide your quest for a daypack that suits your needs.
1. What should I pack on a deer hunting expedition?
Ans: This depends on a few variables, such as how long will you be out and what type of hunting you have in mind. Some of the essentials are:
- Flashlight with spare batteries or a headlamp
- First-aid box
- Rain cover
- Rubber gloves
- Survival blanket
- Safety vest
- Heavy-duty trash bags (for packing meat)
2. What’s the best way to pack a daypack for hunting?
Ans: It is essential that you know the exact location of each item. Important items like the GPS unit, rangefinder, and such should be accessible without having to take the pack off. Rummaging in your daypack for an item should not be noisy so that prey is not scared off. The best way is to pack at home, don it and run a dummy test to see if you can find and retrieve items of importance. Another important detail is how easily and swiftly you can get your firearm withdrawn and ready.
3. What to carry in a “light & tight” hunting pack?
Ans: The lesser you have to lug around, the more successful will your trip be. This is what is meant by “light and tight” packing. The below list details your needs for a hunting trip.
- Food- Water, snacks, meals
- Optics- Rangefinder, binoculars
- Navigation- Compass, map, GPS
- Safety- First-aid, insect repellant, firestarter, orange vest
- Game dressing- knife, heavy-duty bags, rubber gloves
- Light- Headlamp, flashlight
- Shelter- Rain cover
- Overnight- Cooking, sleeping, shelter
4. Are there day packs that are waterproof?
Ans: Most day packs are not Ingress Protection (IP) certified. However, there are many models that offer adequate water protection such as against light rain and splashes.
5. What is the difference between a backpack and a daypack?
Ans: Technically anything that has shoulder straps is a backpack. A daypack is one type of backpack. It is designed specifically for hunting, trekking, and so on. Generally, daypacks are smaller and lighter than a backpack.
6. What does one wear for hunting?
Ans: In warm weather, lightweight shirts and pants should suffice. Maybe a light jacket too. Comfort is essential for a successful hunt. For very cold weather, base layers are a must with heavier shirts and an insulated jacket. Suitable headgear and gloves should be donned. Almost all game cannot see orange. Hence it has become the chosen color and moreover, it ensures your visibility to other humans in the field.
7. Are day packs suitable for travel?
Ans: A hunting day pack is primarily a backpack of outstanding quality. They are well-suited for hunters and travelers alike. Day packs are robust, spacious, durable, and designed to be well-organized.
8. Is hunting harmful to nature or the environment?
Ans: There are people who oppose hunting citing environmental protection rights. But the truth of the matter is that a large amount of money is generated through hunting licenses. This money is plowed back into conservation efforts.