Best Elk Hunting Backpack – Our Top 5 Picks (2021)

Backpacks Gear

If you love elk hunting, you’ll know the importance of being able to comfortably carry your gear and meat – that’s why it’s essential to have a good elk hunting backpack

Your backpack can make a significant difference when hunting – but how to find the best one? Which features do you really need? And, which materials should you be looking for? We’ll answer all those questions and give our top 5 recommendations for the best elk hunting backpacks.

The bottom line upfront: we like the Badlands 2200 Backpack. It’s durable, designed to carry meat, and perfect for organization.

We also like:

We’ll be looking at:

  • What is an elk hunting backpack
  • What to look for in an elk hunting backpack
  • Our top 5 recommendations, including their key features, pros, and cons
  • Some frequently asked questions
  • The elk hunting backpacks we like the best, and why:
    • Best For Carrying Meat
    • Best Large Capacity
    • Good All-Rounder
    • Best Value
    • Best Ventilation

Firstly, let’s look at how our top elk hunting backpacks compare to each other.

Best Elk Hunting Backpacks Compared

Feature
Best for Carrying Meat
Best Large Capacity
Good All-Rounder
Best Value
Best Ventilation
Model
Badlands 2200 Hunting Pack and Meat Hauler
WintMing 70L Hunting Backpack
SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack
Outdoor Plus Hunting Backpack
Badlands Diablos Dos Hunting Backpack
Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-in Meat Hauler, Mud, Large
WintMing 70L Camping Hiking Backpack Molle Rucksack Waterproof Traveling Daypack, No Internal Frame (Camouflag-B)
SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack Tactical Military Bags Waterproof Daypack for 25L Capacity with Water Bladder Removable Hip Belt
Backpacking Backpack, Extra Large Backpack for Men, 65L/70L/85L Waterproof MOLLE Rucksack Hiking Hunting
Badlands Diablo Dos Hunting Backpack, Approach FX
Capacity
27.5 Liters
70 Liters
15 / 25 Liters
70 / 85 Liters
21 Liters
Materials
KXO-50 Fabric
Oxford cloth
Nylon
Oxford cloth
KXO-32 Fabric
Extra Features
Rifle / bow holder, hip-belt pistol holder, pocket for water bottle/hydration pack
Water bottle pocket, external expansion system to attach other hiking gear
Bow holder / rifle holder, rain cover, water bottle/water bladder pockets
Side pockets for water bottles, front pocket for valuables, Molle system to attach other items
Detachable rifle /  bow pocket, hip-belt pouches, pouch for water bottle / water bladder
4 Reviews
2,948 Reviews
36 Reviews
636 Reviews
147 Reviews
Feature
Best for Carrying Meat
Model
Badlands 2200 Hunting Pack and Meat Hauler
Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-in Meat Hauler, Mud, Large
Capacity
27.5 Liters
Materials
KXO-50 Fabric
Extra Features
Rifle / bow holder, hip-belt pistol holder, pocket for water bottle/hydration pack
4 Reviews
Feature
Best Large Capacity
Model
WintMing 70L Hunting Backpack
WintMing 70L Camping Hiking Backpack Molle Rucksack Waterproof Traveling Daypack, No Internal Frame (Camouflag-B)
Capacity
70 Liters
Materials
Oxford cloth
Extra Features
Water bottle pocket, external expansion system to attach other hiking gear
2,948 Reviews
Feature
Good All-Rounder
Model
SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack
SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack Tactical Military Bags Waterproof Daypack for 25L Capacity with Water Bladder Removable Hip Belt
Capacity
15 / 25 Liters
Materials
Nylon
Extra Features
Bow holder / rifle holder, rain cover, water bottle/water bladder pockets
36 Reviews
Feature
Best Value
Model
Outdoor Plus Hunting Backpack
Backpacking Backpack, Extra Large Backpack for Men, 65L/70L/85L Waterproof MOLLE Rucksack Hiking Hunting
Capacity
70 / 85 Liters
Materials
Oxford cloth
Extra Features
Side pockets for water bottles, front pocket for valuables, Molle system to attach other items
636 Reviews
Feature
Best Ventilation
Model
Badlands Diablos Dos Hunting Backpack
Badlands Diablo Dos Hunting Backpack, Approach FX
Capacity
21 Liters
Materials
KXO-32 Fabric
Extra Features
Detachable rifle /  bow pocket, hip-belt pouches, pouch for water bottle / water bladder
147 Reviews

What is an Elk Hunting Backpack?

Close up shot of a hunter dressed in camouflage clothing holding a modern bow.

An elk hunting backpack is designed to carry heavy loads and make life easier on your hunting trip. They’re great for carrying both meat and gear, and typically provide specific features for hunting like bow or rifle carriers. In General, hunting backpacks are created to be unobtrusive and quiet, so there’s no need to worry about scaring off any potential prey.

What to Look for in an Elk Hunting Backpack

Here are a few key elements to look for in a good elk hunting backpack:

Noise

Hunter in the woods with bow and arrow ready to take aim at his prey

A noisy backpack will disturb the wildlife and potentially ruin your hunt, so it’s important to look for one that is quiet. It’s best to avoid any material or zippers that create excessive noise. This will give you the best chance of a successful elk hunting trip.

Capacity

Woodland camouflage military backpack - isolated on white

If you’re going elk hunting and plan on returning with large quantities of meat, you’ll need a backpack with a more substantial capacity. Capacity is usually measured in liters, and sizes range from around 20 liters all the way through to 70, or more. If you plan to carry meat as well as all your essential gear, look for a larger size.

You can also check the dimensions of your backpack to get a better idea of the size, and how well it will fit your body.

Fit

hunter in hunting camouflage with shotgun walking in the autumn forest

Fit is an essential factor when looking for a hunting backpack. Elk hunting backpacks can quickly become very heavy, so make sure you fit your hunting backpack properly. This will help to avoid any aches or pains, or even longer-term back injuries.

Look for an elk hunting backpack with chest and waist straps as they will help to balance the load, and make sure all straps are fully adjustable. Some backpacks come with internal or external frames – these are essential for holding the weight of the backpack slightly away from your body. This will help balance heavy loads and reduce the strain on your shoulders. However, these can be more cumbersome to wear than a frameless backpack.

Comfort

Fishermen lift with backpacks and fishing rods, return home after fishing.

Furthermore, with regards to the fit, comfort is another significant factor to watch for. Look for generous padding on the straps and back area. The ideal padding is typically made from sponge or memory foam and will prevent the fabric from cutting into you as the day continues. The back area should be ventilated using a mesh material too, to prevent overheating.

Materials

Bags and backpacks for hunting in the hunting and fishing store

Hunting backpacks tend to be made from durable materials, like nylon or polyester. This allows  them to be fairly waterproof and easy to clean, which is important if you’re carrying meat home from a hunt. Some provide a separate rain cover too, in case of poor weather conditions.

Extra Features

Hunter girl sitting with backpack and drinking water outdoor snow forest in background

Hunting backpacks should have several pockets, as these help to keep the contents organized. This is extremely important if you are bringing home large quantities of gear and meat. You may also look for some practical features, such as:

  • A bow or rifle storage pocket, for hands-free hunting
  • Smaller pockets for valuables
  • A connection system, so you can link other gear using small loops
  • A rain pouch in an accessible pocket
  • A pouch for a water bottle or water bladder

Top 5 Best Elk Hunting Backpacks

We have 5 great elk hunting backpacks to recommend. We’ll give you the reasons why we like them, as well as their key features, pros, and cons.

Badlands 2200 Hunting Pack and Meat Hauler – Best for Carrying Meat

Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-in Meat Hauler, Mud, Large

Key Features

  • Dimensions: 13.3 x 6 x 28.1 inches (33.78 x 15.24 x 71.37 centimeters)
  • Capacity: 27.5 Liters
  • Sizes: Medium and Large
  • Materials: KXO-50 Fabric
  • Weight: 2.45 kilograms (5.42 Pounds)
  • Extra features: Meat shelf, rifle / bow pocket, hip belt pistol holder, pocket for water bottle / water bladder

The Badlands 2200 Backpack is on the smaller side, but if you plan to split your hunt between friends, it could work really well. It’s a tough, durable backpack made from KX0-50 fabric. This means it’s waterproof and tear-resistant, and very easy to clean, making it an ideal choice for transporting meat. However, it’s fairly long, so those who are shorter might find it cumbersome to wear.

The padding on the straps and back area is made from memory foam, so you won’t have to worry about any feelings of discomfort. It has a frame that provides structure and helps evenly distribute the weight; this frame is made from magnesium alloy, making it lightweight and durable.

It has a few additional features that are incredibly practical, including: a bow or rifle pocket; a hip-belt pistol holder; a built-in meat shelf; a pocket for your water bladder, or water bottle; and, a Bino Connect System, allowing you to attach your binoculars for easy access.

Pros

  • Durable, lightweight and tough
  • Memory foam adds maximum comfort during wear
  • Extra features like bow pocket, pistol holder, etc.
  • Fabric is easy to clean

Cons

  • Quite long, and may not be most suitable for shorter people
Check Price

WintMing 70L Hunting Backpack – Best Large Capacity

WintMing 70L Camping Hiking Backpack Molle Rucksack Waterproof Traveling Daypack, No Internal Frame (Camouflag-B)

Key Features

  • Dimensions: 13.4 x 6.7 x 28.75 inches (34.03 x 17.01 x 73.02 centimeters)
  • Capacity: 70 Liters
  • Sizes: One size
  • Materials: Oxford cloth
  • Weight: 1.3 kilograms (2.86 pounds)
  • Extra features: Water bottle pocket, external expansion system to attach other hiking gear

The WintMing 70L Hunting Backpack is a large-capacity backpack at 70 liters, which is ideal for elk hunting. The main compartment is expandable to provide extra room. It’s made from Oxford cloth, a durable fabric that’s easy to wipe clean. The zippers are durable and the material is designed to be tear-resistant. However, the drawstring closure at the top could be stronger.

The breathable mesh shoulder straps, back area, and waist belt all contain a significant amount of sponge padding. This material allows for maximum ventilation and means you don’t have to worry about overheating. The padding on the waist belt is important as it should help to even the load.

In terms of additional features, this backpack is more limited compared to the others. It has two large pockets, to keep the contents organized, and a small side pocket for water bottles, or valuables. It uses an external expansion system that allows you to connect other gear. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a waterproof cover.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Material is tear-proof and durable
  • Comfortable
  • Can be expanded or collapsed to fit around contents

Cons

  • Drawstring closure isn’t notably strong
  • Doesn’t provide much in the way of extra features
Check Price

SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack Tactical Daypack – Good All-Rounder

SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack Tactical Military Bags Waterproof Daypack for 25L Capacity with Water Bladder Removable Hip Belt

Key Features

  • Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 7.5 inches (50.8 x 30.48 x 19.05 centimeters)
  • Capacity: 15 Liters / 25 Liters
  • Sizes: Small or Medium (15 Liters/25 Liters)
  • Materials: Nylon
  • Weight: 1.42 kilograms (3.15 pounds)
  • Extra features: Bow holder / rifle holder, rain cover, water bottle / water bladder pockets

The SPIKA Camo Hunting Backpack Tactical Daypack is a great all-rounder, with some useful features. It’s made from coated nylon, meaning it’s waterproof and durable. It’s nice and quiet too. The downside is it’s on the smaller side compared to some other elk hunting backpacks on this list.

It has an internal frame to give it structure and to help distribute weight evenly. It has excellent padding on the straps and back that is well-ventilated, so you won’t have to worry about overheating. The frame does make it heavier to carry, so that’s something to bear in mind.

It has a bow / rifle holder, small pockets, and an external water bladder compartment. 

Pros

  • Waterproof material
  • Durable
  • Internal frame helps to reduce pressure points
  • Comfortable and well-ventilated

Cons

  • Heavy to carry
  • On the smaller side for an elk hunting backpack
Check Price

Outdoor Plus Hunting Backpack – Best Value

Backpacking Backpack, Extra Large Backpack for Men, 65L/70L/85L Waterproof MOLLE Rucksack Hiking Hunting

Key Features

  • Dimensions: For 70 / 85 Liters – 13.8 x 25.2 x 11.8 inches (35.04 x 64.08 x 29.97 centimeters)
  • Capacity: Up to 85 Liters
  • Sizes: 60 / 65 or 70 / 85 Liters
  • Materials: Oxford Cloth
  • Weight: 1.42 kilograms (3.5 pounds)
  • Extra features: Side pockets for water bottles, front pocket for valuables, Molle system to attach other items

The Outdoor Plus Hunting Backpack is a great value, large-capacity backpack. While it lacks some additional features, it’s a solid entry-level backpack, especially given the size. The 70-liter main compartment can be expanded to 85 liters, so there is plenty of room for meat. The Oxford cloth is easy to clean, durable, and is fairly quiet as well.

It has foam-padded shoulder and waist straps, and a padded back area for comfort. All the straps are fully adjustable, so it should be able to fit your body well.

Where it lacks comparatively is on the extra features. It does not come with a bow or rifle holder; on the other hand, it does include smaller pockets and uses the Molle system, allowing you to attach other gear to the backpack using small loops.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Large expandable main compartment
  • Padded straps and back area
  • Good value

Cons

  • Lacks extra features
Check Price

Badlands Diablos Dos Hunting Backpack – Best Ventilation

Badlands Diablo Dos Hunting Backpack, Approach FX

Key Features

  • Dimensions: 24 x 15 x 11 inches (60.96 x 38.1 x 27.94)
  • Capacity: 21 Liters
  • Sizes: One size
  • Materials: KXO-32
  • Weight: 1.99 kilograms (4.4  pounds)
  • Extra features: Detachable rifle / bow pocket, hip-belt pouches, pouch for water bottle / water bladder

The Badlands Diablos Dos Hunting Backpack is a good choice if you tend to get overheated. It has a smaller capacity of 21 liters, but also has some impressive additional features. It’s quiet to use as it’s made from KXO-32 fabric, which is a durable and water-repellent material.

It has excellent padding on the shoulders, waist straps, and back area. It’s designed with a ‘hypervent’ system that pulls your backpack slightly away from your back, this will provide better airflow and stop you from overheating. It has ventilated foam on the areas that directly touch your back, the mesh material is subtle but sturdy, and will keep you comfortable.

The backpack has a detachable rifle / bow pocket, and helpful pouches in the hip-belt to store small items. It also has a pouch for a water bottle, or water bladder.

Pros

  • Great ventilation
  • Durable and water-resistant
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Helpful pockets in the hip-belt area

Cons

  • Smaller capacity
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Frequently Asked Questions

Now, let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions about elk hunting backpacks:

Is it better to go for a framed or frameless elk hunting backpack?

Elk Hunting Pack Out Fall

It depends on what suits you.

There are benefits to a framed backpack – it can help to evenly distribute the weight once full, and possibly help to avoid any future back pain. The downside is that its original form might be heavier to carry before it’s even filled.

As they tend to be lighter, a frameless backpack may feel easier to maneuver. They are ideal if you’re aiming to be really quiet, however, they may not be as effective in evenly distributing the weight. This means your shoulders may feel strained if the straps are not adequately padded.

How can I clean my elk hunting backpack?

Top view of backpacks soak in powder detergent water dissolution with blue basin.

Elk hunting backpacks can get dirty really quickly. Unfortunately, it’s usually not an option to simply throw them in the washing machine, as this can deteriorate any waterproof lining. The R & K Hunting Company has a great guide with tips for cleaning your hunting backpack if you’d like more detailed instructions; but roughly speaking, you can clean it by:

  • Taking your backpack apart, this will make each component easier to clean
  • Remove any loose dirt
  • Soak in ice-cold water
  • Using a brush, scrub any stained areas
  • Repeat, using fresh ice-cold water, until clean
  • Leave to air dry

Do I need a cooler for elk hunting?

YETI hard cooler on hunting

If you’re in a hunting group, you may be tempted to go for a large chest-style cooler. This will allow you to carry a lot of meat. Look for a rotomolded cooler, as these are the best for ice retention. You could also choose a cooler with wheels, as this will allow you to wheel it along when it inevitably gets heavy. 

To Sum Up … Which Elk Hunting Backpack is the Best?

Set of military hunting equipment with rifle in forest during hunting season

We like the Badlands 2200 Backpack. Designed to deal with large hauls, it’s perfect for elk hunting. It’s also durable, easy to clean, and has some great additional features.

If you want something with a large capacity, you could try the WintMing 70L Hunting Backpack. It’s durable and has some useful features too.

If you tend to get overheated while hunting, you might want to check out the Badlands Diablos Dos Hunting Backpack. It has great ventilation to help keep you cool throughout the day.

If this has helped, feel free to share it with others on social media. We’d also like to hear your thoughts – what do you take with you on a hunt? Which backpack would you recommend, and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!