Best Elk Hunting Backpacks Reviewed
If you hunt big game, then you know it is no simple task. A successful hunt doesn’t just fall in your lap. It requires significant planning and scouting that can consume a lot of time.
Having all your gear in order is really important as well. The best hunting backpacks will help with carrying your rifle or bow, as well as all the accessories you need for a successful hunt.
And when that bull elk, big whitetail buck or caribou is finally down, the best hunting backpacks are excellent tools for packing up your meat and hiking it out to your vehicle.
That’s why we reviewed the best elk hunting backpacks on the market today. Whatever type of big game you are after, these hunting backpacks are the top performers in their field.
Top Hunting Backpack Chart
Best Elk Hunting Backpacks
A sturdy, modern option with some serious construction holding it up, the Team Elk Pack is a 3100 cubic inch, 7.35lb backpack with plenty of space yet lots of room for adjustment, as well.
Designed as an all-round, highly adjustable pack, it comes with a range of features that accommodate all sorts of needs. These include a scabbard designed for rifles that’s just as easy to use for tripods and crossbows, a built-in bow carrier, and accessible full-depth pockets perfect for keeping your water bottles, spotting scopes, and other necessities within reach.
Well designed to sustain long treks, it’s sizeable yet easy to accommodate both your body and gear. This is thanks to a series of padded, adjustable straps that fit to not only your own proportions, but with lots of room for large prey. It’s also helped by the fact that the scabbard and bow carrier are retractable, making it compact depending on what you’re bringing to the hunt.
The solid aluminum frame sustains plenty of weight well, able to a full elk quarter, bone-in, with relative ease and even two at once at a stretch. The bag sustains the weight just fine, with no fear or tears or bending the frame, so long as you’re mindful about how much your own back can sustain.
The organization of the Eberlestock Team Elk pack is well thought out, too. The hydration and scope pockets are well positioned and easy to access. When you’re not using the rifle scabbard or bow carrier, they instead function as separate, zipped pockets that can offer plenty of extra space. Perfect for extra clothing, rain gear, food, decoys and much more.
All in all, a highly convenient, well-built pack that, even if it doesn’t fit you immediately out of the box, offers enough room for adjustment to suit all types.
- Built-in bow carrier
- Has two full-depth spotting scope / hydration pockets
- Both the rifle scabbard and bow carrier zip up when not in use.
- Material: NT7 waterproof fabric / water resistant construction
- Color: Hide-Open Timber Veil
A slightly smaller bag than the Elk Pack, the Badlands 2200 comes in at 2250 cubic inches and 2.7lb. It’s much more suited as a day pack or meat hauler with a slightly more limited carry capacity, but how well does it suit that role?
In terms of carry capacity, there’s little to complain about. This meat shelf can easily hold a boned elk quarter or even a full de-boned deer, depending on the size. This is all down to a T-G aluminum frame supported by KXO-32 fabric that shows no signs of wear and tear after a successful haul.
With the smaller size comes a great emphasis on stealth, with a responsive camo pattern that shifts well depending on lighting patterns and different shades of vegetation. One feature that was particularly noticeable was just how smooth and quiet the pack’s fabric was even during inconvenient motions.
While not quite as adaptable in its carry capacity as the Elk Pack, the Badlands offers convenient support for bows and rifles alike, while vertical side pockets make for accessible storage space supported by flexible, yet strong mesh. Add to that the spotting scope pocket, a touch more sizeable than most, so it’s able to fit larger scopes well.
Besides being a great budget day packet/meat hauler, it’s also supported by an excellent warranty. If something goes wrong with your pack, then Badlands will fix, regardless of how it was damaged or whose fault it was. Free fixes for life, even for used bags, is the kind of security that you simply don’t get from many manufacturers of just about anything these days.
In summary, one of the best budget elk hunting backpacks you can find on the market right now.
- FULLY LOADED - The 2200 covers all the bases with a built-in meat shelf, internal scope and tripod pockets, and a zippered rear entry panel for quick access to your gear
- COMFORTABLE CARRY - ThermoMold Suspension utilizes molded foam so ergonomically advanced that it virtually matches every contour of the human form; T-6 Aircraft Aluminum internal frame and load lifter straps transfer weight to your hips to reduce fatigue
- BUILT TO LAST - For over 45 years, Cordura fabric has been the gold standard in terms of durability; Highly resistant to tears, scuffs and abrasions, Cordura construction also makes this pack stain-resistant and easy to clean
- VERSATILE - Features an integrated rifle boot and built-in hipbelt pistol holders; Compression straps to give you lots of options for gear attachment; Compatible with 2-liter hydration systems and the Badlands Bow Boot
- TECHNICAL SPECS - Weighs 5 lb 15 oz (2.7 kg) and measures 19 x 17 x 9 inches; Main compartment has a volume of 1980 cubic inches (32.4 L); Total volume is 2250 cubic inches (36.9 L); 8 pockets
If you’re looking for hunting packs with frames that can sustain serious weight and remain compact and comfortable at the same time, then this 2000 cubic inch pack is well worth considering.
That standout features of the Horn Hunter Full Curl is, of course, the Full Curl Frame. Made of strong, tubular aluminum, it’s much better at distributing the weight of heavy loads without throwing too much stress on your back. If the size of the pack sounds small, then the flexibility of the external meat shelf is bound to make up for it. As such, it can still handle a full boned quarter even if it might not seem immediately obvious.
The flexibility of the pack and the highly adjustable straps also means that it’s a very versatile pack. If fits comfortably on those of slight and medium builds, with plenty of room to expand for bigger hunters, as well. In a lot of cases, external carry bags offer a lot of great support, while internal packs fit the body a little better. In our experience, the Horn Hunter Full Curl offers the best of both worlds.
In terms of storage, there are plenty of extra packs that make it an excellent day pack as well as an effective meat hauler. If there is one slightly worrying aspect of the pack, it’s that the material of the shoulder and waist straps can feel a little flimsy. However, with that in mind, you are covered by a lifetime warranty, so it might worry all hunters quite that much.
Though the price tag for the price might seem like it’s asking a bit much, it’s an effective, sturdy and comfortable bag that’s suitable for loading up for the week, or for stripping down for day trip usage.
- Hydration compatable
- 2000 cubic inches
- Includes HH13 Hybrid Full Curl Frame
- Includes HH11 Full Curl Pack
- H3 Tubular frame structure
For many, a key defining factor in the best backpacks for elk hunting is the carry capacity. Those looking for a sizeable bag that’s built to accommodate everything you need on those longer trips should take a closer look at this 5250 cubic inch, 7.3lb pack, by far the largest we’re reviewing here.
The Commander has earned its named, able to bear the brunt of extremely heavy loads thanks to a sturdy aluminum frame with a super durable ripstop nylon fabric. But it has a lot more to offer than just its size alone. The sustainability of this pack extends to even abrasion-resistant material on the pockets that stops jostling items from wearing away at the fabric. An excellent quality of life addition that many pack manufacturers will miss.
As versatile as it is powerful, the Commander comes with an entirely removable pack bag and a frame that can removed to serve as a freighter frame, as well. Meanwhile, excellent storage is provided in the form of a secure, drop down rifle pocket, deep spotting scope pocket, and webbing loops that make excellent spots to lash extra gear on the go. The tray on frame works both for hauling meat as well as storing equipment like tents, too.
One slight caveat worth noting is that the pack doesn’t bring much in terms of waterproofing. As such, it’s not great for trips where you expect rain, as a full pack can quickly add another 20lbs. or more on when it’s fully wet.
However, if you don’t mind saving it for dryer trips, this comprehensive, excellently built pack is going to sustain the most demanding of trips with little issue. It’s going to be able to carry more than you can need, and probably more than you can handle, so its limits are your own.
- Made of durable Nylon Rip stop fabric, giving you a long lasting use in the harshest weather environments
- Organize your gear in one of the many pockets: two side accessory hinged pockets, main, front and spotting scope pocket
- Keep your essentials close with accommodation for clip-style holster, drop-down rifle pocket and hydration pocket and port
- Detach your bag and use the frame to haul out meat with a unique, secure lashing system
- Total Weight: 7 lbs. 5 oz., Bag Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz., Size: 5250³
Another pack from the highly reputed ALPS, the Traverse elk hunting pack is a slightly smaller than the Commander. However, with a respectable carry capacity of 4,500 cubic inches and a 6lbs. in size, it’s nothing to complain about.
It comes with the same kind of resilient, high-quality material choice as the Commander, using the same rip resistant nylon material, coupled with a lightweight, sturdy tubular aluminum frame. Never mind lasting long trips, the Traverse is going to last you several seasons without issue. Haul it around, load it up, and throw it down and it’s going to retain its quality construction all the way.
While it doesn’t quite have the plethora of pockets and bespoke storage spaces that some of the other bags do, it does have a webbing strip and a large solo pocket opposite, so it’s not lacking in space, just a little organization. Out of the five pockets, four of them are perfectly serviceable, but the fifth is a little too small to be of any practical use when carrying heavier loads.
Comfort can be something of an issue for those of slighter builds. While the padding on the waist belt and back offer plenty of support, the shoulder straps could use more padding and are a little thinner than many would like. It can be rough on your back if you don’t have a broader build to distribute the weight a little more evenly. The chest strap can buckle under heavier weights such as two boned quarters, but there are extra buckle straps that can fix that issue easily.
Another excellently constructed pack from ALPS, if you’re using it, fitting some extra padding on your shoulders can easily solve the one major issue you might experience with it.
- Carry heavy loads with expandable 1,200 cu. in. section, unique H-frame design and extension lashing straps
- Drop down pocket and front zippered 'wing pockets' allow you to secure your weapon or other gear
- Enjoy the padded shoulder harness, padded spotting scope pocket with tripod sleeve holder and waist belt with two easy access pockets
- Includes a clip-style holster compatible waist belt, H20 pocket/port and blaze orange rain cover
- Different camo patterns available