When I first started surf fishing, I remember packing my gear into a school backpack. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before the bag was a broken-down mess, coming apart at the seams and with salt-stuck zippers. I learned the hard way that using a generic backpack instead of a surf fishing backpack would cost more in the long run.
Once I finally decided to buy a surf fishing backpack, it was a game changer. These packs withstand the corrosive saltwater environment, their storage systems make trekking between spots easier, and gear access more efficient.
In this guide, I’ll review 3 of the best surf fishing backpacks in 2023. I’ll also cover how to choose the bag that provides a durable and organized way to carry your fishing gear.
My Review Process
In the years I’ve spent surf fishing, I’ve accumulated a lot of tackle and gear. Bags and backpacks are one of the more essential pieces of equipment I own. Therefore, the process of buying a new bag is not one I take lightly.
When we talk about the “best” bags, we’re not only considering the construction and material quality. We’re also taking into account the practical functions the bag fulfills. I will walk you through this process so you can find a high-quality bag that fits your needs.
Looking for a happy medium between carrying capacity and easy portability? Then you'll love this Bliswill fishing backpack.
Depending on the day, I like to customize where I put particular tackle items, and this pack makes it easy to change the setup. It has a primary storage section, external pockets, gear loops/hooks, exterior buckling strap, and a functional rod holder.
There are plenty of productive spots along the rocky coves where I fish. This means that if the bite isn’t on in one area, it might be just around the bend. This makes carrying comfort a high priority for me.
This backpack makes trekking the shoreline more enjoyable as it has breathable foam pads in the shoulder and back. There are also adjustable straps for the shoulders to help you get the perfect fit.
I also like the option of switching up the carrying method. You can choose standard backpack, cross chest backpack, chest bag, and handbag setups based on water conditions.
This bag from Blisswill is one of my favorite fishing backpacks for everyday use.
If I'm going after a species like striped bass, I'd grab this lightweight tackle bag. It's perfect for casual fishing trips when you can get away with carrying minimal tackle and some essential tools. It does have a comparatively low carry capacity. But the organizational layout makes it easy to find the tackle I need when I need it.
Even if I’m carrying a larger gear backpack, I’ll still bring this along. I can use it to change lures on the fly while casting off a rock or wading in the water. The waist strap (plus optional padded shoulder strap) with a rotating pouch system makes personal belongings easily accessible without affecting casting ability.
All those design features would mean very little to me if this was a cheaply made pack. That’s why I love Yvleen’s focus on durable craftsmanship and their use of heavy-duty, water-resistant nylon material.
If I’m fishing with friends who don’t have a pack, am gearing up for an extended trip, or when I want to prepare for everything the ocean might throw my way, the Kastking Extra Large Hawg fishing tackle bag allows me to carry all the gear I could reasonably want.
It's the bag I always load up with too much gear just because it has the space. It's got a massive main compartment with adjustable dividers and 12 external zippered/slip pockets, creating an organized mix between bulk storage and quick accessibility.
While having a lot of gear is great, it's not the easiest to carry around when it's filled to capacity. That’s why I’d be more likely to use this as a “basecamp” bag that I’d keep in one spot for the day and don’t need to haul too far from my truck.
These shoulder sling-style packs make a great lightweight/minimalist bag. They also help you make quick lure changes when wading in the water or casting from a rock .
What I love most about this pack is the easy accessibility of tackle and tools. The main storage space consists of vertical plastic tubes and nylon sleeves. This gives surf fishermen many options for storing different plugs, spoons, and bucktails in the same compartment.
The nylon flap which covers the main compartment is secured by velcro, making it easy to open and close. The exterior loops and pouches are where I’ll store pliers and other tools I need to access quickly, often in demanding situations.
The sling-carrying design isn’t necessarily as secure or form-fitting as a typical backpack.However, you can quickly swing this pack to your back while casting, or to your front when changing lures. That's something a regular fishing pack just can´t do.
The first time I saw a cooler backpack, it was love at first sight. The efficiency of carrying cooled items on your back and freeing your hands up for other purposes is a no-brainer for the fishing experience. So it only makes sense that this concept should apply to backpacks designed for surf fishing.
I love that I can pack bait, lunch, and a couple of cold beverages into the same backpack I use to haul the rest of my gear.
This Matein backpack has all the fishing-specific backpack storage features I want. It features exterior loops/pockets, a large compartment for hard tackle boxes, a rod holder, saltwater-resistant nylon, and zippers. Plus the separate insulated cooler section.
If you’re like me and value a carrying setup that consolidates cooler and gear storage, you’ll appreciate how comfortable and efficient this backpack makes trekking between spots.
Do You Really Need A Surf Fishing Backpack?
You may be asking yourself whether a backpack specific to surf fishing is necessary. In my experience, the durability of these packs and the efficiency they bring to your fishing days make them indispensable.
In terms of durability, you’d be hard-pressed to find any other type of backpack with the same saltwater resistance as a fishing-specific bag. Saltwater is one of the most corrosive elements on the planet, and any bag that doesn’t utilize saltwater-resistant construction methods and materials will break down in no time.
Storage designs of bags explicitly made for surf fishing are worth their weight in gold. Between sections designed to hold hard tackle boxes, rod holders for easier hiking trips, and an abundance of additional pockets for individual gear storage, the efficiency these backpacks provide will make you wonder how you ever used anything else.
Surf Fishing Backpacks Buying Guide
To help you find a durable backpack that’ll make your gear easier to access and more comfortable to transport, we’ve broken down the key features you’ll want to consider in this buyer’s guide.
Determining the quality of materials and construction methods used to manufacture a surf fishing backpack is critical regardless of how you plan to use the bag.
Here are a few factors you’ll want to consider.
The last thing you want is to shell out your hard-earned dollar for a bag that won’t last and require replacement. Ensuring your surf fishing backpack is made with high-quality, durable material will save you from the hassle and expense of frequent replacement and protect you against bag failure while out fishing.
Key features to look for:
- Heavy duty, rip-resistant nylon
- Reinforced, abrasion-resistant buckles & attachment loops/hooks
- Double stitch sewing
The safety of your tackle and fishing gear largely depends on your bag's ability to resist intrusion and corrosion from water, especially saltwater.
Pick a bag with less than adequate waterproofing, and you’re sure to find your lures rusting, your sweatshirt wet, and your phone dead.
To avoid these unfortunate results, be sure to look for these features:
- Constructed with nylon rated 1000D (rating refers to saturation and leaking point while testing the material) or material an applied hydrophobic coating
- Additional interior waterproofing
- Saltwater resistant zippers
To get the right sized tackle bag, you’ll want to consider the following three things:
- The size of the primary compartments
- The location and number of gear pockets,
- The ease and comfort of transporting the bag (based on a fully-loaded pack).
It'd be best to weigh these factors with your personal saltwater fishing needs, so consider asking yourself some questions:
- How many tackle/gear options do you want to bring with you?
- Do you plan to walk long distances while fishing?
- Will you wear it while you’re casting?
- How accessible do tools, such as pliers, need to be?
Once you understand what you’re after, look for bags with qualities that will suit your needs.
A surf fishing backpack makes the way you haul gear easier and more efficient. They're also more dependable and longer lasting, saving you money in the long run.
For the best balance between storage space and transportability, I'd go with the Blisswill fishing backpack. If you'd prefer a lightweight pack, I recommend the Yvleen sling fishing tackle bag.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.