Hunting for elk is a very challenging physical activity, given that elk is usually found on mountainous terrains, which translates to a lot of labored movement.
Not to mention all the equipment you have to carry. In our belief, without the right elk hunting backpack, all the fun and enjoyment of the sport will be sucked right out.
The best hunting backpack for elk hunt is of a suitable size, can disperse heavy weights efficiently, and is made of durable material.
Using those criteria, we’ve put together this list of our favorite elk hunting backpacks. We’ve also put together a comprehensive buying guide, which you will find further below.
Let’s get hunting!
10 Best Hunting Backpacks for Elk Hunt
So, without further ado, let’s get into our carefully selected and researched list of the best elk hunting backpacks. We hope you find what you’re looking for here!
1. Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Pack and Meat Hauler
We’re starting off our reviews with one of the hunting backpacks currently most wanted on the market. Here’s why we love it.
This backpack from Badlands is made from durable KXO-32 fabric that will serve you for many years to come. Plus, the internal frame is made from T-6 aluminum, so that should give you an idea of how strong this backpack is.
But you wouldn’t know it from how comfortable the bag is to carry. That property owes itself to the unique suspension system, called ThermoMold by the manufactures. According to them, it helps the bag fit closely to your body. Furthermore, the pack comes with load lifter straps to reduce shoulder fatigue.
We also love the camo print on this thing, which, as you know, will make your experience that much easier. The intricate pattern of the camo, coupled with the carefully selected color palette, will ensure that you can move around undetected. Plus, it looks great!
But probably our favorite thing about it is the in-built meat shelf. That can be a huge help when you’re out hunting. We also love the rear entry panel, which allows easy and quick access to whatever you might need.
However, one big setback is that this pack isn’t waterproof. That is usually a deal breaker for some, but if you’re only going to be hunting in the dry season, then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
2. Eberlestock M5 Team Elk Pack
That’s because most of the products these guys put out are loved by those who buy them. And that includes us. It’s difficult to say which the absolute best Eberlestock pack for elk hunting is, for that reason. However, we think this one comes close—let’s find out why.
Here’s the thing about hunting packs—either they will serve you at the most crucial moment, or they won’t. And sometimes the difference is spelled out in the unique features thoughtfully integrated by the manufacturer.
This pack, for example, comes with a world of features most other manufacturers won’t offer you: a dual full-depth spotting scope, in-built bow carrier, a fold-away rifle scabbard, and tubular aluminum frame are just a few of them. Just imagine the convenience while hunting.
The two access points on this backpack (front- and top-loading panels) will also make hunting a smooth experience with how easy they make it to find your things when you need them most.
The design and structure of this thing are one of the absolute bests on the market, but what makes it even better is how comfortable and quiet this backpack still is. So whether you’re hauling just equipment or your elk back home, this backpack will let you do it with ease.
Something else to love about this pack is its manufacturers: 10% of all Eberlestock’s revenue goes towards the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, who are engaged in responsible elk conservation efforts. There’s really nothing to dislike about this pack!
3. Badlands Superday Hunting Backpack
This is one of Badlands’s more affordable hunting backpacks, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with all the features you could possibly need. Let’s have a look.
First of all, this backpack features a number of pockets and compartments suited to various purposes, on top of its 50-liter capacity. So it will not only house your hunting equipment or camping gear but also all the little miscellaneous items you bring along on your hunting trip.
Wear and tear won’t be a concern with this bag either. That’s because it’s made from tough KXO 32 camo fabric, which is going to hold you up through any number of unsavory forest pathways filled with sharp branches, twigs or stones.
The camo print itself was carefully designed so that it can fit into nearly any forest scenery, allowing you to stalk your elk undetected. On top of that, the pack has been designed so as to not make any noise when you’re moving around. In our opinion, this is something only the best elk hunting backpacks offer.
We also love the adjustable rifle boot in this thing. Not everyone uses the same rifle model, of course; but more importantly, not everyone uses a rifle, either. This pack was designed with that in mind, and you’ll see that in its design. If you use pistols, they can also be placed at easily accessible compartments on the sides of the waist belt.
On the whole, this is a great option if you’re on a budget from a great brand.
4. Eberlestock X2 Hunting Backpack
If you’re looking for a relatively smaller hunting pack and don’t want to spend an extravagant amount, then I think it’s safe for us to say that your search is over. And even if you’re not, you could still consider this product.
Of course, you need a pack big enough to let you carry your elk. This X2 backpack from Eberlestock has a 2000 cu/in capacity—some hunters might say that that’s not enough space. Here’s why they would be wrong.
When you consider the bat-wing design on this backpack, coupled with its oversized compression straps (which can support up to 100 pounds of weight), easy-access pockets for scopes, and highly durable Intex tubular aluminum frame, you might get an idea of why this backpack is so efficient despite being small.
And the main reason why it’s small is to make it more comfortable for you to carry, which it does spectacularly. The compression straps help to distribute weight evenly, giving you more control and better balance when you walk.
This pack comes with an assortment of accessories, such as the A1SS and A2SS side scabbards, which can be mounted to side padlock matrixes. That means you can move around unencumbered by the weight of a rifle.
However, if use bows instead of guns, you’ll have to purchase accessories separately for that. Still, it would be a completely worthwhile investment—Eberlestock’s ARCG ButtBucket line is well-known for its ability to increase convenience on the go.
5. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
Finding a great hunting backpack on a budget can, admittedly, be a time-consuming and difficult process. Because you’re not being able to spend much, your options might seem very limited. This pack, however, proves that idea wrong.
There’s a lot to love about this backpack. Let’s start with the capacity, which is 5250 in³ in the main compartment. Add to this the integrated spin-drift collar tops, a large number of exterior pockets and lashing loops, and you get a pack that gives you ample room for all your required gear and equipment.
And what good would a hunting backpack be without a rifle holder? Not much, and of course these guys know that. Enjoy your hunting trips unburdened by the hassle of carrying your rifle in your hands—but keep it by your side at all times with the rifle holder, which works in a drop-down system.
And what about its meat hauling capabilities? Not to worry—this pack comes with a lashing system that is as unique as it is reliable: no matter how large or heavy your carriage is, the three extension straps added to this thing will make your life that much easier.
We’re also a big fan of the fact that this pack lets you make torso adjustments from 17” to 23”. So this pack will be able to fit hunters of most build types.
However, do remember that when it comes to hunting gear, you get what you pay for. Despite the great features on this pack, you might run into issues with durability and comfort.
6.Tenzing TZ 6000 Back Country Hunting and Hiking Pack
If you have not yet reached a certain level of expertise with elk hunting, then it might be best to skip the following review. It’s for hardened backpackers, and the price definitely reflects that as well.
But if you’re not, you’re gonna love this.
This monster elk hunting backpack comes in a 4400 cu. in. capacity, and can be expanded up to 6013 cu. in. Sound unbelievable? There’s more: the two internal frames are made from premium quality aluminum, and the pack features compartments and pockets adding up to 20 in number.
Plus, the torso suspension on this thing is fully adjustable, and it also features padded hip support and air-cooled back pad. So not only is this thing built to carry your heaviest catches, but it’s also going to make it a smooth experience for you—Tenzing seem to understand the importance of comfort.
We also love the additional features: the foldout gun/bow carrying boot, integrated rain cover, and a compartment for your sleeping bag. These are the features that will count for the most mobility and ease of access when you’re on the go.
However, despite the high price point, some users do report being disappointed with the pack’s overall durability. Although the pack is designed to carry heavy weights, it might not be able to do this for many years.
7. ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Pack
The next backpack on the list is another great budget option that we absolutely love. At a 2400 cubic inches capacity, this is also a great option if you’re just starting out with elk hunting. Now let’s have a look at what features this pack offers you.
First off, we love this pack’s weapon-holding capabilities. It comes with a drop-down holder/pocket, which can keep your rifle, bow, or handgun securely in its spot.
Oh, did we mention that this pack comes in two attractive colors? Take your pick between Mossy Oak Break-Up Country and Realtree Xtra; both are beautiful colors with a unique camo pattern designed to keep you shielded and amply hidden during your excursions.
Comfort is always an important concern when it comes to hunting backpacks; any good backpack will thus always offer it. This one from ALPS offers an adjustable torso range, along with padded shoulder and waist belt harnesses.
And don’t worry about its carrying ability—it comes with extension lashing straps, which together with the aluminum frame, will ensure that your trip isn’t interrupted by breaks to readjust.
However, it’s important to note that this backpack is not waterproof. It does come with a rain cover to make up for it, but keep in mind that it’s a bright orange color, which might act counterproductively if you need camouflage.
8. INSIGHTS Hunting: The Vision Compound Bow Carrier Pack
If you’re an archer who is looking for the right elk pack to suit your bow and arrow while also making it easy to haul your catch, then this is probably the best one you can find. Especially considering the affordable price, we think you’re really going to like this review.
This pack has a design that makes it both comfortable and convenient. The weapon compartment has been made wider than most other packs of this kind, allowing you to fit parallel limb bows of longer lengths.
You can easily secure the pack around a tree to keep it out of your way, using the TS3 technology which gives you access to your gear in 3 modes: shelf, storage, and basket.
But when you’re on the move, the pack will also easily and comfortably accommodate your bow and arrow, along with your electronics and optics too, of course. It’ll also keep you well-hidden with its RealTree edge camo pattern.
At the price you’re getting this pack at, it’s quite impossible to go wrong. However, do be warned that some users complain of a lack of comfort when using this pack, which it may owe to its relative bulkiness. Otherwise, go for it!
9. ALPS OutdoorZ Traverse EPS Hunting Pack
One of the highlights of a fruitful elk hunt is the hauling of the meat. It can be a long and arduous process, and even more so if you don’t have the right equipment for it. This relatively affordable pack from ALPS not only comes with a list of the most wanted features but also a convenient hauling mode.
Before we get into that, let’s look at some specs. This pack can carry up to 3300 in³ (or 54 liters), but it’s also expandable up to 4500 in³, or 74 liters. The bag itself owes 6 pounds 14 ounces when empty.
This pack lets you carry your weapons with supreme ease, no matter whether you’re using a rifle or a bow. The pockets meant for the weapons are expandable, which means storing your weapons is just as easy as accessing them on the move.
We also love how comfortable this pack is. For that the pack has its PE outer shell, coupled with the tubular aluminum H frame design, to thank. Add to this the suspension system that comes with this pack (which is probably our favorite feature), and you get a pack that makes carrying meat super comfortable.
Which brings us to the main highlight: the hauling mode. It’s designed to prevent the meat from sweating, which keeps it cool and ensures it won’t spoil during the ride back home.
10. Sportsman's Outdoor Hunter Full Curl System Backpack
We’re ending our review list with a versatile and dependable pack from Sportsman’s Outdoor Products. What makes this pack unique is its full curl frame. Keep reading to find out why this is a great feature.
The unique frame has been made to allow you to haul out your entire catch in one go: the head, cape, and meat (with the bones removed) can all be transported together using the machinations of the frame. Relatively longer hauls might cause you to think of this backpack as heavy, and it can be; however, it takes little time to get used to if you’re hunting regularly.
The frame owes its sturdiness to the tough tubular aluminum frame that nevertheless won’t compromise on your comfort. For that you have the adjustable shoulder straps to thank. The compression panel, two gear grippers, and drop-down pouch make carrying your weapons easy and convenient.
The added day pack on this thing also comes with a numerous assortment of compartments, pouches, and storage spaces. Organize and lay out your tools and equipment easily for added comfort.
Our favorite feature of this backpack is the canvas meat bag. It’s washable, breathable, and most importantly, heavy-duty, and you can snap it onto the frame by buckling it.
On the whole, this is a great all-rounder hunting backpack. However, be warned that the quality might not be up to par; you might not be able to use this pack for a long time.
Buying Guide For Elk Hunting Backpack
Finding the best pack for elk hunting can be a long process. Plus, because they tend to be so expensive, it’s important to know what factors to consider before purchasing.
So here are the most important considerations.Capacity
This is, quite obviously, the most important thing you need to consider before buying your elk hunting backpack. It has to be large enough to accommodate all the essential equipment. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too large or heavy, so that it doesn’t weigh you down.
Generally, most hunting backpacks come in capacities between 25 to 95 liters (or 2000 to <6500 cubic inches). That’s quite a large range—so it totally depends on your specific hunting needs. If you’re a beginner, of course, it makes more sense to buy a smaller backpack.
If you’re planning on doing a day trip for your elk hunt, then it’s alright to go with a backpack that’s less than 25 liters. However, if you’re going on a night trip, it should be at least 25 liters, so that you have space for your camping gear.
Another good way to determine what size pack you should buy is to follow this rule: one day of hunting equals 1,000 cubic inches. So a five-day-long hunting trip will be best experienced with a backpack that has at least 5,000 cubic inches.
Do you know how a hunting backpack differs from other backpack types? Well, a hunting backpack has to be able to withstand much larger weights. To do this, it uses a suspension system.
This includes load lifters, which are used to distribute the weight evenly across the shoulders, back, and waist of the user.
The waist belt carries most of the weight. This reduces strain on the user’s shoulders. If there’s too much weight on the shoulders, the pack will feel heavier than it actually is. That’s why weight distribution is so important.
Unfortunately, not all hunting backpacks feature a suspension system. But since you’re hunting for elk, remember that the best elk hunting backpacks absolutely must come with a solid and reliable suspension system. This also depends on the quality of the construction of the frame. If it’s not up to par, it will let you down during your hunt.
Meat Storage Capability
It should be a no-brainer to buy a hunting backpack that provides adequate space for meat storage. However, a lot of people end up buying hunting backpacks that don’t come with adequate meat storage capabilities.
But when you’re hunting, it’s very likely that the kill site will be far away from where your hunting vehicle is parked. So your backpack has to have the strength to be able to carry not just lots of meat, but also the head of the elk.
Be careful, because not all backpacks will be able to give you good performance on this front. Look for a pack that comes with a good space capacity and a well-designed, secure strap system.
The answer to whether or not your elk hunting backpack should be waterproof is honestly pretty obvious. In short: it should. Whether you're buying boots for upland hunting, or hunting backpacks, they should always be waterproof.
The best elk backpacks will be fully waterproof, without a doubt. These will usually be made of high-quality nylon. This will not only keep your things dry but also provide sturdy carriage.
But you have to be careful because most of the cheaper bags might claim to be waterproof, but will feature some portions that are not really so. Usually, the best waterproof packs will be a little more expensive.
What to Pack in Your Elk Hunting Backpack
As with any sort of hunting, you need to be prepared. So we have tried to put together a list of the things you must remember to bring along on your hunting trip.
Read Also: Best Tent for Backcountry Elk Hunt
As long as you have the above-mentioned items on your hunting trip, you should be fine. However, if you think the list is missing anything, comment below, and we’ll add it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What size options are available for elk hunting backpacks?
Ans: The size range hunting backpacks come in is quite large, from 25 liters to 95 liters. Your specific hunting needs will determine which size will suit you best.
Q: What are the most important factors when buying an elk hunting backpack?
Ans: The most important consideration is the size. Secondly, the pack should be able to distribute heavy weights efficiently. Finally, it should be constructed from durable material.
Q: What are the things I should pack in my hunting backpack?
Ans: Hunting gear, food, miscellaneous implements like tents and trash bags, and clothing, of course. You can find our full list above.
Q: How can I clean my hunting backpack?
Ans: It’s a bit of a long process. First, you’ll have to take the backpack apart to extract its separate components. Then you will need a large space in which to fill up with hot water—a bathtub works best. Now, add laundry detergent. Allow everything to soak for 2/3 hours.
Q: What are some objects every hunter should have?
Ans: Multiple knives, a sharpener for those knives, first aid kit, flashlight, emergency whistle, rope, binoculars, and toilet paper (trust us)!
So that ends our review of the best hunting backpack for elk hunt on the market.
Here’s a rundown: the Badlands Superday Hunting Backpack is undoubtedly the most popular choice, and it’s at a great price too. Our top budget pick is the ALPS OutdoorZ Pursuit Hunting Pack. If you can spend a little more, Tenzing TZ6000 is the way to go.
Whichever one you choose, we hope it serves your needs. And if you don’t find anything you like on our list, you can always just refer back to our buying guide.
Good luck and happy hunting!