Now any angler can benefit from what fly fishermen have long known: sometimes it just makes sense to wear your tackle. Unlike multi-pocketed vests and chestpacks, however, today’s fishing backpacks—from sleek daypacks to hefty duffels—are designed for all manner of angling excursion.
Key features: Roomy top and bottom compartments, detachable rod holder and tool holster, and stormproof electronics pocket; comes with four utility boxes. The promise: “A comfortable fit that you’ll appreciate.”
Not only should a fishing backpack fit you properly, it must also match your angling needs. Otherwise, it can be a major pain in the neck—both literally and figuratively. Here’s what to look for.
Shoulder straps shouldn’t pinch, chafe under the arms or restrict movement; a sternum strap will help position them correctly. On large bags, the belt should take most of the load, seating the pack firmly on your hips; the pack shouldn’t extend below your waist or above the base of your neck.
Look past the flashy trimmings and instead examine how the pack’s basic structure and function suit your needs. If you mostly want storage, for example, go for volume. Packs for long hikes need space for food and clothing; they also require a good suspension system.