There’s nothing quite as empowering as hiking into the wilderness and coming back with a pack full of meat to share with your family and friends. It fulfills our primal desire to provide for our tribe. In these uncertain times, any real-world skills (and don’t be fooled — nature is the Real World) that we can accumulate will help us to survive and thrive.

Modern life is so far from what our biology expects. Processed and packaged foods are eroding our health. Even meat… if you’re eating cows that were fed grain and waste products, chickens that never saw the light of day… you’re not eating real food.

Hunting is a phenomenal way to reconnect with your roots and provide healthy, nourishing food for yourself and your community. But when you take down a big animal on your own, how do you get all of that meat back home?

In this article, I’ll tell you how to choose the best hunting backpack for elk hunts.

Best Hunting Backpacks

INSIGHTS The Vision Bow Pack

Best for Bow Hunting

  • Large compartment for nearly any type of bow
  • Made from durable materials
  • Side compartment for arrows
CVLIFE Tactical Backpack

Best Value for Your Money

  • Holds 50 liters
  • 60 liters with the detachable fanny pack
  • Interior has water-resistant coating
  • Convenient mouth for water bladder tube
5.11 Tactical RUSH72

Most Comfortable

  • Made in the USA
  • Offers several compartments, including a fleece-lined pouch for sunglasses
  • Padded waistband for extra comfort

What To Look for in a Hunting Backpack

Elk meat is my favorite food. It’s versatile — you can make burgers, sausages, or just grill up a steak — and it’s so damn good for you. When I eat elk that I’ve hunted myself, I feel like I can accomplish anything. But man, packing that meat out takes some work! Especially if you don’t have a tribe to share the load.

Many of the best hunting backpacks aren’t labeled as such. You may want to look farther afield for a pack that fits your needs. Here are some factors to consider as you search for the best elk hunting backpack.


Your hunting bag should be able to hold all of the basics that you’ll need to survive in the wild. In addition to these basics, consider whether or not you’ll be hauling out your food.

Are you hiking for miles to go hunting? Or are you riding in on a quad that you can use to transport your game? Do you just need a pack to carry your supplies? Consider how much space you’ll need.


When shopping online, read the reviews to see how well packs hold up over time. Do they last for years? Or so they break on their first trip out? Nylon is an excellent material, but the material isn’t usually the problem. Pay attention to the quality of the stitching and the buckles.


Padded shoulder straps are great for carrying heavy loads, and a breathable design is a must for hunting in the summertime heat. Chest straps and waist straps are always a help.

Value for Your Money

Hunting backpacks range anywhere from $40 to $250. Often the less expensive bags will provide far greater value for your money than the pricier versions. Just be sure to read the reviews carefully if you stray from this list — some of the cheaper bags will break your first time out, and that’s $40 down the drain.

The Best Hunting Backpacks Reviewed

Here are the top five hunting backpacks, according to me.

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack

This backpack reminds me of the ones I used in my Army days. (Though it looks more like the assault packs Marines carry.). It’s durable. The zippers are double-stitched. The fabric is thick and water-resistant.

Its 40-liter capacity is great for elk hunts. The smaller compartments in front are suitable for keeping all of my basic survival supplies organized and separate from the primary storage areas.

One of my favorite features is the handy Molle system. The side pockets can easily store all of my smaller survival items, leaving plenty of room in the main bag for my meat. The inside of the bag is plastic, which makes it easy to clean up any blood that might leak in transit.

I also love that this pack is compatible with my silicone water system, making it easy for me to stay hydrated as I hike. Overall, it’s a great value for a backpack.


  • 40-liter capacity
  • Polyester lining is easy to clean
  • Molle system lets you attach additional packs and gear
  • Compatible with an over-the-shoulder hydration system
  • The back area and shoulder straps are comfortable
  • Available in brown to help you blend in with nature
  • Lightweight for its size


  • Some of the straps come off easily
  • Zippers and buckles are not the highest quality

CVLIFE Tactical Backpack

Here’s an Army-style backpack that I love to use out in the woods. This Molle bag comes in nine different colors, so you can pick the cameo that will blend in best with your area. It’s even bigger than the first option. Overall, it’s an excellent bag for the price.

This bag can hold 50 liters — 60 liters if you include the detachable fanny pack. Don’t let the term deter you — fanny packs aren’t just for grannies! You can use the longer strap to wear it over your shoulder if you prefer, but wearing a 10-liter pack around your waist is really convenient.

Like the first bag, this one has a water-resistant coating lining the inside, so cleanup is easy. The fabric on the outside is water-resistant and incredibly durable, and every detail is of high quality.

My favorite thing about this backpack is the extensive Molle system. The side pockets give me plenty of space to store and organize all of my smaller items and leave plenty of room for the meat that I want to pack out. The primary compartment has plenty of storage space, and the detachable 10-liter pack is perfect for medical supplies and other necessities.


  • 60-liter capacity
  • 13” shoulder drop
  • Comfortable ventilated mesh shoulder straps
  • Convenient mouth for water bladder tube
  • Internal pocket for water bag
  • Sturdy nylon fabric with heavy-duty stitching
  • Water-resistant, with rain-diverting flaps on the zippers


  • Some of the snaps and buckles are poor quality
  • Straps may slip as you walk
  • If the main bag is stuffed full, it’s harder to fit things in the outer compartments

5.11 Tactical RUSH72

Now, this is a more expensive option. But hey, you get what you pay for.

This pack is made in the USA. Not just assembled in the USA — they make the materials here too. At 55 liters, this backpack is between the other two in size. It’s another Molle bag.

The large front Molle panel makes it super easy to access anything you need. There are compartments to keep everything organized, even your cell phone and sunglasses. The padded waistband and cushy shoulder straps make it easy to carry heavy loads for miles.

There is just an amazing amount of care and detail that went into this pack. The sunglass pouch is fleece-lined to prevent your glasses from getting scratched. The water-resistant nylon used for the pack’s outer layer is crazy durable. There are compartments for water, maps, pens, and more.

I love this bag, but I’ll be honest. For the price, I’d hoped for the quality to be just a bit better. One of the buckles broke the second time I used it. Luckily not one of the main buckles, but still. It’s tough to find backpacks with really reliable hardware these days.


  • 55-liter capacity
  • A padded waistband and comfortable shoulder straps
  • Built-in hydration pocket
  • Strong, water-repellent nylon
  • Plenty of organizational compartments
  • Made in the USA


  • Black zipper pulls inside the bag can be hard to find
  • Relatively heavy

Badlands Superday Hunting Daypack

This bag is just under 2,000 cubic inches, so about 30 liters. It will carry all of your gear and a fair amount of meat, but can’t fit as much as the options above. It’s great for hunting smaller game, or when you have another way to transport your meat.

Limited size aside, this is a fantastic backpack. It’s the smallest so far and also the most expensive — usually close to $250 — but it is so well made. The foam shoulder straps are crazy comfortable, and the waist belt cinches inwards for a great fit.

Unlike the other options, this pack was specifically designed for hunting. It has a detachable boot for your rifle or bow. There’s also a pistol holder in the hip belt. The fabric is quiet to help you avoid startling your prey. The camo works great in a variety of environments and lighting conditions.

There are plenty of organizational pouches and a hydration reservoir so you can stay hydrated. There’s even a place to attach your binoculars for easy access.

This bag claims to be waterproof, not just water-resistant, but I wouldn’t trust it in a downpour. If you have any electronics or maps that need to stay dry, put them in their own waterproof bag.


  • 30-liter capacity
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Waterproof
  • 2-liter hydration capacity
  • High-quality clips and zippers
  • Extra buckles included
  • Comfortable to wear all-day


  • It may not be a comfortable pack for tall, broad-shouldered men
  • Not as waterproof as it claims

INSIGHTS Hunting The Vision Bow Pack

This is my go-to pack for hunting with a bow and arrows. It’s not the biggest backpack, but the molle system lets me bring everything I need for the day. I hate having to carry things in my hands while I hike, so having a padded compartment for my bow is awesome.

This bow pack has a large compartment that will fit just about any kind of bow. It has separate storage space for arrows on the outside. I love being able to reach over my shoulder and grab an arrow from my pack whenever I need one.

This pack is comfortable enough to wear all day. It’s lightweight, with cool mesh padding and a sturdy hip belt. The waterproof construction is great in the rain. You weren’t going to let a drizzle send you home with your tail between your legs, right?

This is the best option I’ve found for bow hunting.


  • Large, padded compartment for bow
  • Side compartment for arrows
  • High-quality, durable materials
  • Molle system for holsters and add-ons


  • Can be a bit too noisy for hunting
  • Not the most lightweight option


If you’re looking for a big, versatile bag, the CVLIFE Tactical Backpack is the best value for your money. I love the removable 10-liter pack and the comfortable straps. It’s a durable pack that holds a lot of meat.

If you’re searching for a new hunting backpack, give the CVLIFE a try. It’s definitely at the top of my list for the best hunting backpack for this year.

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