When looking for the best fly fishing backpacks you should keep a few things in mind. First, you should think about how much storage space is needed, and how many pockets the pack has.

Then you should think about durability and how often you plan on using it. After these first two features, you can really focus on the specifics of what you need as an angler.

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As someone who enjoys Brook Trout fishing in the mountains, my first thought is always something that is small and lightweight.

I don’t need a lot of gear, just enough to hold some flies, and maybe a water bottle.

If you plan on fishing large rivers and spending long days or weekends camping then a larger backpack for fly fishing will work best for you.

Man Fly Fishing a River Hiking with Backpack

We also have a post all about the best fly fishing packs overall, including sling packs, chest packs, waste packs and more, so make sure you check that out.

So, below we’re going to go over five different backpacks for fly fishing that are going to make your trips more fun and hopefully more successful.

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Best Fly Fishing Backpacks

We’re going to go over five different packs that you will be able to utilize on your next fly fishing trip. All are meant to be worn either as a backpack or a sling pack, but some may even have a few other features that give them extra room for storage and gear capacity.

So whether you’re fishing the quiet lakes of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, or the wide trout-filled rivers of Montana and Wyoming, these fly fishing backpacks should be able to carry what you need for any fishing trip.

1. Osage River Fly Fishing Backpack

  • Number of Pockets – 4
  • Pro – Large internal pocket. Multiple rod holders
  • Con – It is not waterproof. No padding or back support

For the price, The Osage River Fly Fishing Backpack features a surprising amount of space. The main compartment is large enough to hold two large tackle boxes.

Then you factor in the three other pockets that are equipped with the ability to hold pretty much anything that might be on your fly fishing packing list.

Including extra line, tippet, fly reels, camera, phone, or anything else that you could think of.

There are also two sections on either side of the pack where you can store a fly rod. Making this the perfect pack for someone who has hike long distances back to their fishing spot, or for a camper who enjoys keeping a rod with them.

The back of the pack is also made of mesh. So you don’t have to worry about overheating while fishing on those warm sunny days. The rest of the pack is made of strong and durable nylon. For the price, This pack is very strong and will hold up to rough treatment.

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2. Rocky Mountain Fishing Backpack

  • Number of Pockets – 6
  • Pro – Detachable chest pack, can hold a hydration bladder
  • Con – Not a lot of storage, backpack portion difficult to access when the chest pack is attached

The Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Chest Pack Backpack Combo has the best of both worlds. It allows you to carry your heavier gear and other nonessential fishing items on your back while you carry everything you need to catch lunkers right there on your chest.

While this backpack may not be intended fully just for fly fishing, it works very well as a fly fishing backpack.

Keep your flies, tippet, and anything else you need right in the front pocket so you can quickly and efficiently zip down the front pocket and be able to see and grab exactly what you need.

If you don’t feel like having a chest pack then all you have to do is unclip it and remove off of the backpack.

Now you’re more lightweight and agile. Even with the chest pack, this polyester blended backpack is lightweight and won’t weigh you down when spending those long days out on the water.

The back of the pack is also made of mesh that will help keep you cool when wading in the water during those hot summer days.

The side of the pack also comes with straps that you can use to tie down either a fly rod that has been broken down, a rod tube, or a full-length rod.

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3. Allen Gunnison Switch Pack

  • Number of Pockets – 4
  • Pro – Can convert from backpack to Fishing pack, a multiple rod tube holder
  • Con – Needs extra strap for support, needs padding or mesh

Allen Gunnison had the right idea with the Allen Gunnison Switch Pack but fell just a tad bit short of perfect execution. That being said, this is still had a very good backpack.

At first glance, this looks like a normal backpack that you can use to carry fly fishing gear as well as a camping and hiking gear.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll see it can be converted into a full-on fly fishing pack.

The large inner compartment is still there that you can use to hold larger items, but you can also attach a smaller chest looking pack on the pack that can be used to hold your fly fishing gear. Perfect for storing tippets, and flies.

It also comes with two-rod tube holders that you can use to hold all of your gear as you hike back to your spot.

If you only want to bring one rod then one of the tube holders can be utilized as a water bottle holder.

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4. Orvis Safe Passage Anglers Day Pack

  • Number of Pockets – 3
  • Pro – Very durable, and water-resistant. It can also attach a chest pack to it.
  • Con – Not a lot of storage. Pricy

Orvis designed the Orvis Safe Passage Anglers Day Pack with rock climbing bags in mind. Small, and lightweight, but has just enough storage to be able to hold your gear on top of a few other non-essentials.

This is our favourite fly fishing backpack on this list thanks to its comfort, versatility and pack organization.

If you find that the pack itself does not have enough space, or you find it too cumbersome to reach back to grab a fly. Then you could always attach the chest pack to it.

The pack is also foam padded and has a molded back panel which keeps you comfortable all day out on the water.

The foam back also helps keep anything large and clunky from digging into you as you hike and wade your way down the river.

The side pockets can carry a water bottle or a rod tube. They’re also equipped with straps to hold them in place.

The large main pocket can hold a sizeable tackle box. while the nylon material the pack is made out of will hold up to the abuse that mother nature and a fly angler will put it through.

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5. KastKing Fishing Tackle Backpack

  • Number of Pockets – 5
  • Pro – Tons of Storage, and is also water-resistant
  • Con – Small external pockets. Can be a little too big

The KastKing Fishing Tackle Backpack is a tough and water-resistant bag that you’ll find will last you fishing season after fishing season. This pack is loaded down with spots to store gear, as well as holding extra rods and reels in the side compartments.

internally the pack has different compartments that you keep your tackle neat and organized. Load up on fly boxes, extra reels, iPad, rain gear, or anything else you could think of. There is plenty of storage space in this bag.

The only downside is the bag can become cumbersome when out on the water. The large size that allows you to haul whatever want can become too much when you’re trying to delicately land elk hair caddis in an eddy.

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What Makes The Best Fly Fishing Backpack?

Now that we’ve gone over a few different types of backpacks lets go more into depth. We’re going to look at the features that you should be looking for. Below we’re going to look at pockets, adjustability, water-resistance, durability, material, comfort, breathability, and price.

Especially when picking out your very own backpacks intended for fly fishing.

Pockets

The number of fly fishing backpack pockets is not quite as important aa how are these pockets organized. A pack can have only three pockets in it, but are there layers and holding areas?

Travel backpack Fly Fishing Portable Fly Rod

Spots where you can store a small fly box in one and your leaders in another. As long as there is one large pocket and the other pockets have decent organization then you should be all set.

Adjustability

The best fly fishing backpacks are going to have straps you can adjust. Everyone has a different body size and shape so you need to able to ensure a secure fit with straps.

This is also true if you plan on fishing in hot and cool weather.

If you enjoy fishing in July in just a t-shirt then you’ll need a tighter fit. As opposed to Fishing in January where you’ll be wearing a heavier coat.

Water-Resistance

It’s important for a pack to be water-resistant, but not a necessity. Knowing your gear is safe and dry when you take a spill in the water is great.

If you get worried about being rained on, consider packing a small garbage bag to line the inside of your pack with.

However, you should be thinking about durability and comfort before water-resistance.

The best beginner fly fishing backpack might be one that is water-resistant. This is because a new angler might not be as adept at wading and could fall easier.

Durability

The best backpack for fly fishing is going to be one that is durable. Fly anglers can be rough on gear so they need something strong. Look for a nylon pack. These are the most durable. However, the areas that break first are the seams.

Springtime Fly Fishing River Backpack Hiking in Iowa

So stitching is just as important as the material its made out of. This can be tough to see through. Typically you just have to go with the reputation a company has as well as what the price tag reads.

Material

Nylon and polyester are the main sources of materials for the top fly fishing backpacks on the market today. Polyester typically is not going to be the most durable, but it will be lightweight.

Nylon is the material you should be really looking at.

If possible find a pack made of ripstop nylon. The ripstop nylon is strongest you can find and will hold to up to scratches and abrasions. Ideal for when you’re hiking in thick backcountry.

Comfort

If you plan on fishing long days then comfort should be of high importance to you. The last thing you want is a strap digging into your neck or side as you watch your drift. Look for a good fly fishing backpack that has adjustable straps for comfort.

Also, added bonus points too if it has a mesh back. this helps keep you cool on the water and will keep your sweat to a minimum.

Breathability

If you plan on fishing in the summer months then breathability is crucial. You don’t want to be uncomfortable out on the water. That is unless you enjoy fishing all day with a damp, sweaty back.

Best Fly Fishing backpacks on the market

Take some time to look for a pack that has a mesh back and will allow your skin to breathe while wearing it. It will only make you more comfortable out on the water and is something you should invest in.

Price

Price is something that varies from person to person. If you want to drop a couple hundred on an incredible backpack then you’ll find one.

Typically those really expensive packs and going to have increased durability, water-resistance, comfort, and storage.

However, you can find a cheaper backpack for less than a hundred dollars that could have all those features as well. It’s just going to take a little more time looking on your end.

Wyoming Wind River fly fishing with a backpack on

Sometimes the best value deals for good fly fishing backpacks are found as part of full fly fishing outfits.

These are basically combo packs where you can also get a vest, waders, boots, a fly rod, a reel, a fly box, fly line, some flies and pretty much everything you need to get started all included in one purchase.

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The Best Fly Fishing Backpacks Conclusion

When looking for the best fly fishing backpacks you need to focus ]on what is important to you. There are a lot of different products on the market and it can be overwhelming.

Take the information above and use it as your guide to finding the right pack for you. Even use some of the packs we recommend as a springboard to find what you’re looking for.

The right fly fishing backpack is out there for you. Use this list and take some to scour the internet or hit up your local outfitter to find one for you. Try some on and ask questions. You’ll find what you’re looking for, and you’ll be a better angler for it.

Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

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