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Turkey Vest vs Backpack: Which Is the Best Hunting Gear for You?

Turkey Vest vs Backpack
Written by Marc Niad
Last Update: August 11, 2023

The turkey vest vs backpack debate is a matter of personal preference and hunting style. Some hunters prefer a good turkey vest because it has many pockets and compartments to store calls, shells, decoys, snacks, water, etc. A turkey vest also usually has a seat cushion attached to it for comfortable sitting on the ground.

However, some hunters find a turkey vest too bulky, heavy or noisy for their liking. They may opt for a backpack instead, which can be more versatile, convenient and minimalist. A backpack can also be easier to carry over long distances or rough terrain. But which one should you choose?

Here, we will look into the advantages and disadvantages of turkey vest and backpack, the factors to consider when choosing, and ultimately help you determine which option is best for your hunting needs.

Turkey Vest vs Backpack: What Are They?

Turkey hunting backpack

Before diving into the pros and cons of each option, it’s important to understand what they are and their features.

Turkey Vest

A specialized type of hunting vest, the turkey vest is specifically designed for those who seek to pursue wild turkeys. Typically crafted from lightweight and sturdy materials such as nylon or polyester, this vest is reputed for its many pockets, pouches, and compartments that enable hunters to carry essential equipment such as turkey calls and ammunition.

Its lightweight design and comfort-enhancing properties make it ideal for wearing over or under a hunting jacket, facilitating both mobility and convenience for those seeking to engage in the sport of turkey hunting.

Turkey vests have been designed with several useful features to enhance the hunting experience. One of these features includes the incorporation of a built-in seat or backrest that can prove to be greatly beneficial during prolonged waiting periods.

These additions provide comfort and support to the hunter, preventing potential discomfort and fatigue that can otherwise distract from the hunting endeavor. The thoughtful inclusion of such features in turkey vests serves to optimize the hunting experience by promoting physical ease and sustained concentration.


On the other hand, an efficient and convenient option for safeguarding and conveying a wide range of hunting gear is a backpack. It is specifically designed to hold and transport ammunition, turkey calls, food, water, and other essentials. These backpacks are usually more voluminous and heavier than typical turkey vests and are commonly carried on the back.

Hunting backpacks are designed to endure the harsh conditions of the great outdoors with their exceptional durability, crafted from sturdy materials such as nylon and polyester. These backpacks are tailored with practical features such as multiple compartments, pockets, and attachment points.

This enables hunters to carry extra gear and equip themselves to tackle any unforeseen obstacles they may encounter during their hunting escapades.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Turkey Vests


  • Turkey hunting enthusiasts often opt for vests instead of backpacks due to their lightweight design which minimizes bulk. The practicality and comfort of these vests make them a popular choice among hunters who value mobility while pursuing their prey.
  • Designed for turkey hunting, turkey vests come with specific compartments for your gear, such as turkey calls, ammunition and other hunting essentials. This makes it easier to access your gear when you need it.
  • Enables convenient retrieval of equipment while hunting. Turkey vest allows you to keep your gear nearby, so you can swiftly modify your call or reload your shotgun without any interruptions.
  • Provides a comfortable fit and freedom of movement. Turkey vests are designed to be worn over or under your hunting jacket, providing a comfortable fit that allows for full range of motion.


  • The amount of gear that can be stored in this equipment is limited, which could be troublesome for hunters who require additional equipment that matches their hunting technique.
  • Depending solely on a turkey vest to transport all of your essential gear may not be the wisest decision. The vest’s storage capacity is limited, and its support is not up to par, leaving you vulnerable to a potential predicament.
  • They are designed to be lightweight, which can be an advantage for mobility. However, they may not provide enough cushioning or support for extended hunting sessions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Backpacks


  • Between turkey vest vs backpack, more hunting equipment can go into backpacks. This makes them more appealing to hunters who need a lot of gear
  • They are designed to provide better support for heavier loads. So if you have a lot of things with you and are planning to be out for extended periods, then hunting backpacks will be your ideal choice.
  • Investing in a hunting backpack is a wise decision for hunters as these versatile bags can be utilized for a variety of hunting trips and other outdoor activities.
  • Typically, these backpacks are equipped with straps that can be modified to fit your body comfortably, along with additional features that support your back and shoulders.


  • Typically, hunting backpacks are larger and heavier than turkey vests, which can be cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
  • With all of your gear stored in one place, it may be more difficult to access specific items quickly during the hunt.
  • These backpacks can be bulky and may limit your mobility, especially when navigating through thick brush or terrain.
  • Hunting backpacks tend to be more expensive than turkey vests, which may be a consideration for hunters on a budget.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Turkey Vest and Backpack

Choosing between Turkey Vest and Backpack

Apart from weighing the upsides and downsides of each alternative, it would be wise to take into account other notable aspects when deciding whether to go for a turkey vest or backpack. Allow me to share with you some indispensable factors to keep in mind:

  • Do you like to be on the move or prefer to set up camp and patiently wait for your prey? The way in which you hunt can ultimately decide whether a turkey vest or backpack is the ideal choice for you.
  • The amount of gear you need to carry:  If you need to carry a significant amount of equipment, it might be more advantageous to choose a hunting backpack since it has a greater capacity to hold your gear.
  • The terrain you’ll be hunting in:  If you plan on moving through dense vegetation or rugged landscapes, a vest specially designed for turkey hunting may be more suitable since it offers greater range of motion.
  • Your budget: When deciding on a hunting backpack or turkey vest, keep in mind that hunting backpacks typically cost more than turkey vests. Your budget may influence your final decision.

Which One Should You Choose Between Backpack vs Turkey Vest?

Choosing between a backpack vs turkey vest depends on your hunting style, preferences and needs. A backpack can offer more space, versatility and convenience than a vest, especially if you need to carry a lot of gear or stay hydrated on your hunt.

However, a vest can provide easier access, organization and comfort than a backpack, especially if you need to sit on the ground for long periods or use different calls or decoys. Both options have their pros and cons, so you should consider what works best for you before making a decision.


Choosing between a turkey vest vs backpack ultimately depends on your personal hunting style, preferences, and gear requirements. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh these factors carefully before making a decision. Ultimately, the right hunting gear can make all the difference in your hunting experience, so choose wisely and happy hunting!

About the author

Marc Niad

It’s been several years that Marc, a retired teacher and a proud dad, has silently been piling up mature bucks down the South. This humble hunter began his hunting journey at quite an early age and since then, he spent countless hours in the woods and learned good lessons in terms of woodsmanship. Along the way, he also made money sharing his skill with his followers and well-wishers.

The Ranger Expert is the brainchild of this veteran hunter who loves hunting the swamps and the hills around the Mississippi and Homochitto rivers. His most favorite hunting technique is taking his climbing gear and going to the top of pines with a 25.06 – the old-fashioned way!

He gets most of his games during late December through mid-January – his favorite hunting time. Marc strongly believes that hard work, passion, and a bit of luck can bring you success in the wild.

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