There was a time when the standard backpack for deer hunters was nothing more than a cheap backpack found at the local sporting goods store. You could typically snatch one up for less than 10 bucks.
The packs weren’t designed for comfort. If you got any padding in the straps at all, it was minimal. And most times, when you’d put the pack on your back, you’d swear it was designed to fit a 5-year-old.
These packs left a lot to be desired. Fortunately, backpacks for deer hunters have evolved. Today we have seemingly endless options for most any application.
In the last couple years, I’ve been on a quest to find the best packs that would allow me to carry all my deer gear, camera equipment, saddle, platform, and climbing sticks, as well as a heavy load of meet should I find success along the way.
Here’s a look at what I’ve found for some of the best backpacks for hauling gear and deer.
The X2 is one of the most popular packs in the Eberlestock lineup. It’s a popular pack for mobile hunters looking to haul plenty of gear, as well as a load of meat when the tag is punched. It’s a well organized pack with ample options for storing gear.
The wing design is ideally suited for storing climbing sticks, and there’s a number of straps and tie downs that allow this small pack to handle some super heavy loads. And the same features that allow you to haul your stand and gear, also allow you throw on a deer quarter, meat bag, or antlers.
The wings, shelf, strap and MOLLE system make this one of the ultimate packs for anyone hauling treestand gear, camera equipment, saddle gear, and more.
Sitka Cargo Box
Similar to the X2 above, the Cargo Box was built with a design that’s perfectly suited for hauling treestand gear and climbing sticks for the mobile hunter. In fact, it has a designated system built into the wing panels designed for hauling a set of climbing sticks.
It also has plenty of strategically placed pockets to keep you organized while in the tree. The design team at SITKA always goes above and beyond when it comes to technical gear and design in their products. You’ll see it clearly in this pack design that has you covered from top to bottom.
I had the chance to watch this pack do work hauling meat on a Kansas deer hunt this past season while helping a friend quarter out his buck several miles from the truck. The pack is small, but easily converts to a meat hauler so you’re not wasting any trips back to the truck.
Stone Glacier EVO 3300
The EVO 3300 is not necessarily a pack designed for deer hunting. In fact, it’s built to be a multi-day pack. However, for the hunter looking to haul more gear, as well as having a meat hauler built in, this pack is definitely one to give a look.
Despite its large capacity for hauling, it’s actually a fairly light packed compared to others in the mix. In fact, it’s Stone Glacier’s lightest-weight pack in their lineup. This is another pack we put to use while in Kansas chasing whitetail deer. The ability to convert the pack to a meat hauler at the end of the hunt was a life saver for our crew when one of our guys punched his tag.
Mystery Ranch Treehouse
Mystery Ranch says they built the Treehouse to be the ultimate hanging gear quiver designed for treestand hunters. It features a rigid structure design with a two-zipper access that allows the face panel to open to 45°, securing its content from falling out and allowing for one-handed access.
There’s also multiple interior sleeves and pockets for organizing, as well as MOLLE webbing (inside and out) for customized accessory attachment. The pack’s front compression straps provide secure attachment for larger gear like your bow, sticks, or small treestand.
Alps Outdoorz Hybrid X
The Hybrid X is another pack that offers more room than you might typically need if you’re looking for the bare minimum. But it’s a great option when you’re looking for something to haul lots of gear and deer.
The self-film hunter, mobile hunter, or saddle hunter, will find this pack to have plenty of room and storage for all the essentials, as well as the ability to haul meat at the end of the day.
It’s an expandable pack that allows you to cinch it up, or let it out to maximize your load hauling needs. It’s built tough and comfortable, allowing you to handle heavier loads with minimal effort. I like the harness and waste belt design in this pack. It fits nice, rides well, and handles some impressive loads without added pressure and hotspots to your shoulders and waste.
If your deer hunting game finds you hauling more and more gear to the woods this season, be sure to check out the packs mentioned above. They deliver some of the best options for do-all packs to handle all your deer gear and help keep you better organized throughout the hunt.
And when you finally punch your tag, these are the packs that will help you haul meat back to the truck like a boss. They are the perfect packs for hauling gear – and deer.