Best Saddle Hunting Backpacks 2023

Saddle hunting isn’t for everyone, but if it is your style, you need to choose the best saddle hunting backpack to keep your hunting gear organized.

But won’t any old backpack do?

Quite simply, no, it won’t. For this type of hunting, you need a pack with plenty of straps and webbing to keep all your gear easily accessible.

The market is still pretty limited in terms of backpacks specifically designed for this hunting style. However, we’ve done our best to find some that will make your experience more practical and enjoyable.


5 Best Backpacks for Saddle Hunting

1. Best overall: Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28

Pop Up 28 green camp colour

What we love about it:

This is my favorite overall pack because it has a unique pop-up frame meaning you can haul out meat effortlessly (well, almost effortlessly).


  • Volume: 1710 cu-ins
  • Weight: 4.9 lbs
  • Dimensions: 21″ x 11″ x 10.5″
  • Frame system: Pop-up


  • Pop-up frame: This one-of-a-kind system converts this pack from a day pack to a load hauler.
  • Storage: Pockets, compression straps, and dividers allow you to effortlessly carry and organize your load.
  • Adjustable yoke: Ensure a comfortable fit every time with the micro-adjustable Futura Yoke – customize it to fit your torso length.


  • Cost: I think the cost is more than justified in the features, though.

Full review:

It’s one of the high-end picks, but if you only want the best from your whitetail hunting gear, then this is it.

If you find yourself hunting out in the middle of nowhere, you need an easy way to get your cargo home. The Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28 can haul up to 80 lbs, so it’s suitable for even the biggest of jobs.

This pack can easily hold a hydration pack on the side, so you don’t have to fumble around looking for a water bottle when you’re perched up a tree. It also offers plenty of compression straps and zippered pockets, allowing you to keep all your other gear within easy reach – any tree hunter will tell you how essential this is.

2. Best on a budget: 5.11 Tactical RUSH24

Tactical RUSH24 Tactical Backpack - MultiCamo colour

What we love about it:

If you’re looking for a rugged pack without breaking the bank, you’ve found it in the 5.11 Tactical RUSH24. It will effortlessly carry your platform and sticks for years without tearing.


  • Volume: 2000 cu-ins
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 20″ x 12.5″ x 8″
  • Frame system: None


  • Durable: You’ll have this pack for years, and it won’t show signs of wear and tear.
  • MOLLE attachments: Easily expand the capacity; store your climbing sticks and platform and your bow.
  • Comfortable: Foam shoulder straps make it more comfortable than some other packs out there.


  • Size: It’s not the biggest pack, but the MOLLE attachments allow you to carry more.

Full review:

If you’re looking for the best hunting day pack but don’t want to spend $300+ on the Mystery Ranch backpack, the 5.11 is the next best thing.

The design of this pack makes it ideally suited to this style of hunting. You’ve got your mesh pockets inside to keep everything organized, front pockets to keep anything you need close to hand, and compression straps on the sides for those bigger items that won’t fit inside the pack.

All of this for under $150? Count me in.

3. Best compact pack: Insights Hunting The Shift Crossbow Pack

Insights Hunting The Shift Crossbow Pack 9201 Gender: Unisex, Weight: 5 lb

What we love about it:

This backpack might be compact, but the highly versatile design means you can get yourself a load shelf if you need one. Or, strap the bag to a tree and open up the front pocket to reveal a basket where you can store everything ready to grab when you need it.


  • Volume: 2049 cu-ins
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 19″ x 17″ x 6″
  • Frame system: None


  • Switch weapons smoothly: This pack is uniquely designed to carry a crossbow and a rifle, so you can switch between the two even when you’re perched on the saddle.
  • Versatile pocket configuration: The front pocket can be used in different ways allowing you to carry everything the way you need to.


  • Weight: It’s almost a pound heavier than the 5.11 backpack. It might not seem like much, but you’ll feel it by the end of the day!

Full review:

The thing that stands out about this pack is, no doubt, the versatility – if you don’t mind forking out an extra $30 or so, you’re sure to find it more practical than the 5.11 backpack.

No other option we’ve reviewed allows you to store (and easily switch between) a crossbow and rifle, so this is certainly the best buy if you like to take both weapons. Not only that, but it fits pretty much any crossbow and any rifle.

Like the Mystery Ranch backpack, this bag comes with a meat shelf, so no more worrying about how you’re going to get your animal packed and home after a successful hunt.

With padded straps on the shoulders and waist and padded weapon compartments, both you and your kit can hunt in comfort!

4. Best mid-range pack: KUIU Venture 2300

KUIU's Venture 2300 came colour

What we love about it: 

Lightweight yet high-capacity; carry your climbing sticks and weapons (it’s compatible with bow and gun holders) in comfort with this pack.


  • Volume: 2300 cu-ins
  • Weight: 3.56 lbs
  • Dimensions: 22” x 12.5” x 8.5”
  • Frame system: Internal


  • Two sizes: Not many packs come in different sizes – this one comes in an option for those 5ft 10” and shorter and another for those 5ft 11” and taller.
  • Hydration compatible: You can fit up to a 3-liter hydration bladder in this backpack, so you won’t have to go thirsty on a long session in the saddle.


  • No meat shelf: The KUIU Venture is best for day hunting trips; it lacks this feature to make hauling your meat home easier.

Full review:

If you can’t decide whether to go all-out and blow the bank or buy cheap and potentially buy twice, this is one of my favorite mid-range packs.

It’s one of the most comfortable because it has anti-slip dots on the lumbar pad, a removable waist belt if you prefer to use just your shoulders, and it comes in two sizes so you can find one to suit your height. What does this mean? No more aches and pains at the end of a full day in your saddle. Well, apart from potentially the pain of missing a perfect shot (but hopefully not!).

Customizable and removable compression straps and a range of internal and external pockets mean you can comfortably carry everything you need for a long day waiting for that prize stag to come into sight.

5. Best alternative pick: Filson Tin Cloth Game Bag

TIN CLOTH GAME BAG brown and green colour

What we love about it: 

If you’re looking for something different from traditional packs, this game bag is pretty handy for easy movement when you’re in a tree saddle.


  • Compact: You’ll have plenty of room to move freely when you’re wearing this hunting vest.
  • Adjustable: It comes in two sizes, and the straps are adjustable, so you’ll always find the perfect fit.
  • Water repellent: Don’t be caught out by a sudden downpour – your precious cargo will stay safe and dry.


  • Capacity: This is more of a slimline option for those looking to take a few things up to their tree saddle – it can’t replace a proper backpack for multi-day trips.

Full review:

Despite the slimline size, you can still carry your climbing method in this vest. However, like the KUIU Venture, it doesn’t have a load shelf – it’s actually designed for bird hunting, so you will struggle to fit much meat in this vest.

It’s a great pick for early-season hunts, as it can be worn over a t-shirt, but you can expand the straps in the late-season to fit warm layers underneath. The vest is ideal for when you aren’t packing much kit, but it still has two expandable shell pockets, each capable of carrying a box of shells.

That said, you’re best to stick with the KUIU or Insights Hunting if max capacity is your thing.


Considerations When Buying Saddle Hunting Backpacks


Anyone who’s been out on a full-day hunting trip knows how heavy an extra pound or two feels by the end of the day!

All of the packs we’ve looked at are pretty lightweight, but you’ll want to go for the lightest one you can find if you have a lot of heavy gear to put in it.

Frame or not?

It’s up to you whether you choose a frame backpack or not. If you’re going to be carrying a heavy load (including your kill after a successful day!), I’d recommend going for a backpack with a frame. A frame distributes the weight more evenly and will essentially ensure you feel more comfortable.

Compression straps

These straps will help keep all your kit within easy reach – something that’s vital for saddle hunters. There’s not a whole lot of room to move up there, so you’ll be thankful for webbing and straps rather than having to rummage through your whole backpack while balanced precariously up a tree, seriously.


Who are Saddle Hunting Backpacks For?

I’d recommend that anyone who’s seriously interested in this style of hunting invests in one of the backpacks above. A regular pack just doesn’t cut it – you need to make sure your gear is easy to reach when you need it most when you’re high in the treetops!


Last Tips on Saddle Hunting Backpacks

So there you have it, my guide to the best backpacks for saddle hunting. The Mystery Ranch might be my favorite, but it really depends on what you’re looking for from your backpack.

If you’ve found your perfect pack and you’re now wondering what to pack in a hunting backpack, check out my guide to make sure you’re fully prepared for your trip.

Share this post

Picture of Jack Simons

Jack Simons

Jack is a retired policeman who loves spending his free time around weapons and hunting across the state of Colorado with friends. His goal is to help newcomers find their way into the world of guns & hunting as well as review all the current best products and accessories for bow and rifle hunting.

Current Giveaway!

Subscribe to our newsletter for a chance to win!
Latest Review

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss new updates on your email