Is Backpack Hunting Worth It? The Pros & Cons to Help You Decide

Backpack hunting is slowly winning fans, and more and more hunters have been embracing it for some time now. Every year, the mirage of backpack hunting attracts more reasons, as if regular hunting wasn’t enough of an adventure.

Nowadays, hunters don’t just practice their shoot; they go hiking all year long, on sunny and rainy days. Hunting isn’t enough; they had to take it to the next level and deal with the many challenges of backpack hunting. A backpack hunter doesn’t just hike for miles, but he also camps for the night. He no longer uses a day pack but uses a multi-day pack to store both the hunting gear and the camping essentials. After the night is gone, the new hunter or even a woman hunter will go back and forth to the camp and haul the meat with the hunting backpack back home. From a distance, it sounds like the best next thing for the mighty and brave; but is it really worth it? Will you be able to still enjoy your hunt after spending the night all alone in the woods? Is backpack hunting as rewarding as they claim?

What are the best parts about backpack hunting?

Most things in life will have ups and downs, and backpack hunting doesn’t make an exception. When it comes to backpack hunting, the benefits are many and easy to spot if you’re describing yourself as a dedicated hunter:

Less pressured game

It would help if you tried at least once backpack hunting to understand its value. When you go, for instance, backpack hunting for deer, you can reach areas where animals aren’t used to human presence. You may find yourself close to many animals that have never seen humans before. Hence, they’re less frightened and more curious than anything. When you go backpack hunting, the chances to run into less pressured animals increasing significantly. And when your game is less pressured, you’re feeling more relaxed and able to make that accurate shot.

Fewer hunters

Even if backpack hunting is winning fans as we speak (we think), it’s still a relatively new hobby. Don’t go backpack hunting thinking that you’re going to find the backcountry crowded. Not many hunters are mentally and physically ready to carry a fully loaded backpack, hike into the mountains and spend several days outdoors; it’s hard work. Most hunters tend to go close to road systems, while backpack hunters will go far away from the roads. Only the mighty and the most adventurous will try and stick to backpack hunting- a hobby for the loners, for the most part.

Amazingly rewarding

Backpack hunting teaches you many things and gives you the possibility to run into the most amazing views and participate in nature’s spectacle. Backpack hunting changes the rhythm of your life and gives you the chance to stop for a second (sort to speak) and “enjoy the show.” Even if you go back home empty-handed, you would have still felt happy for the whole experience. Backpack hunting is the most amazing adventure to have as a hunter. Merely going for miles after your fame will be a reward, and if you get to make that shot, you will always want to do it all over again.

Bells and whistles aside, does backpack hunting have many drawbacks?

A glass half full is also half empty, so we know that even backpack hunting has some downsides to it. Apart from being strenuous and challenging, backpack hunting has some inconveniences you may want to think about:

Bells and whistles aside, does backpack hunting have many drawbacks

It helps if you are prepared both mentally and physically

It would help if you never undermined the importance of being mentally and physically ready for backpack hunting. Backpack hunting will beat you up, even if you’re an experienced hiker/hunter/camper. You will feel it in your bones and your mental energy after spending so many days going after your game, camping, setting the shelter, warming up, eating the dried food, and so forth. Backpack hunting isn’t something to joke about, and you don’t want to find the hard way that it’s not for everyone. Make sure your backpack comes with hydration, for when you move around.

A warm bed and a nice bath can work miracles, and not all hunters can postpone this sort of pleasure and stick with the backpack hunting until they get their game. After all, you don’t need to hike for days to get a shot.

You have to be dedicated

It would help if you were determined to complete your adventure when backpack hunting. You will need a lot of energy and time to complete a backpack hunt. You could go for miles in a day and realize that you got to a dry spot with no critters around. Do you spend the night, do you go back, or you keep going? You don’t have a truck to get into and move 20 miles down the road. You only have your feet and backpack. And it takes a lot of commitment not to give in when things don’t work as planned and try again.

It gets harder when you think it’s over

For a typical hunt, the actual works begin after your animal hits the ground, and you need to pack the meat. When you go backpack hunting, the real work starts right after you leave your truck. You will have to pack for miles, backpack on your backpack, no matter if it’s sunny or rainy or windy. It would help if you go prepared for anything and everything, but you cannot carry everything and anything. There are myriad things you need to learn about; it’s art even to pack your backpack, let alone to backpack hunting.

If you’re harvesting something, it will wash away all the effort, struggle, and sore back. And when you do, you need to gather your last drop of energy for packing out the game meat. And haul it back to the camp. So, it all ends only when you get back to your warm bed.

Is there a conclusion?

Honest to god, there are so many other ways, easy ways, to hunt; you don’t have to carry a 30cubic inches backpack and live out of it for several days to hunt. However, you will appreciate every moment of your backpack hunting. Mind that we didn’t say “love,” but appreciate; you won’t be able to enjoy it when your back hurts after 8 hours of hiking on rough ground with elevation (pay attention when choosing your hunting backpack!). You will be able to re-live it when you get home and have time to think about the beauty of it all, the personal limitations you’ve crossed when backpack hunting.

The beauty of backpack hunting comes from hunting and living outdoors- nothing compares to that. It’s the kind of adventure that teaches you things and helps you grow not only as a hunter/hiker/outdoorsy guy but also as a person. And once you go backpack hunting, you will discover that you’re over the most challenging part: try it once. You may never go back to regular hunting because backpack hunting will give you so much more every time.

Backpack hunting is amazing. Do you have what it takes?


You need to be a strong-willed person to succeed at backpack hunting. There are many things to consider and learn, from navigating the wilderness to choosing the proper backpack and gear. Keep reading to find out more.

Understand the dangers

Backpack hunting will put your survival skills to the test, for sure. You need to be aware of the dangers that lie ahead so that you overcome them. Backpack hunting means a lot of hiking, camping, feeding yourself, hiding water and many other tasks. Don’t forget about the wildlife that you’re about to encounter when backpack hunting. The game you’re after can be dangerous, especially if it’s a big game such as elk, mousse, or bison, especially in herds.

Take a good look at your skillset

You will not be the only one backpack hunting. As a matter of fact, hunting in the united states, especially on public land, is very competitive and you need to master your hunting and shooting skills. It takes marksmanships, mental fortitude and physical stamina to succeed when hunting. Hunting and camping skills will only get you this far, as you also need to know how to break down your game to carry it back home.

See that you are in a great shape

It’s unnecessary to be a bodybuilder to succeed at backpack hunting, but you need to be in good physical condition. Dedicated hunters will stay in peak physical condition 365 days a year, especially if they go on rugged terrain and harsh backcountry.

Getting in shape for backpack hunting requires dedication and detailed exercise plans. You need to include exercise resembling your backpack hunting into your workout routine. Squats, power walks, shoulder/back lifts, and lunges are exercises.

We also recommend you to follow a weight-training routine as you will carry your hunting backpack (it weighs anywhere from 20 to 60lbs) over long distances. If you go deer hunting, you will need to take three or four trips to take it to the car; it will be around a 100lb load of meat every trip. If it’s a mousse, you will have to have 15 trips of this kind.

Needless to say, you have to start eating healthy as it’s crucial for your physical fitness. When you go backpack hunting, your diet will include a lot of nuts, vegetables, fruits, and natural foods. You should train your body to function with a specific number of calories as you need to be both agile and focused when hunting.

Learn how to scout your hunting locations

When you go backpack hunting, you need to scout the places for hunting. Not all backcountry locations require remoteness and the best places are impossible to access by car. No matter where you go, remember to learn about the rules and regulations about the area. Here are some ways to scout your hunting locations:

Digital scouting

We can’t always run some boots-on-the-ground scouting, which is why digital scouting has become so popular amongst hunters. Do a simple search for hunting lands close to you and get a smartphone GPS to zoom in on your locations of interest. Toggle between the topical mode to examine the landscape, the lakes and rivers, valleys and peaks, possible camping and hunting spots. Use the mapping functions to draw several hiking routes and find out the distances between hunting perch and water source. Remember to memorize an emergency route if you get injured or something similar.

Ask the fellow hunters

Take some time and navigate through several digital sources about the hunting location of your choice. Join the conversation in social media groups and read forums about the hunting locations, backpack hunting, etc. Some places are new and you cannot find information online. However, some hunters can give their thoughts on the location.

The proper hunting gear can make all the difference

When backpack hunting, the gear you take can turn the hunting experience into the most fantastic trip or ruin it completely. Here’s what to consider when selecting:

The proper hunting gear can make all the difference

Hunting tent and sleeping bag

When you carry the essential elements of camp on your back, you want to keep it simple and efficient. Get a lightweight tent and a warm sleeping bag easy to compress. Examine the temperature ratings for both so that you stay warm and dry while sleeping.

Adequate clothing

It all depends on the season, but you should be prepared for unexpected rain or snow when backpacking in the late season. Get waterproof and breathable snow hats and gloves, base layer and jackets. Buy warm and waterproof hunting boots with ankle support for the weight of your backpack. Remember to break them in before leaving.

Food and water

The calories you need, your backpack size and the trip’s duration are factors to consider when packing your food and water. Get dry and protein-rich food such as peanut butter, beef jerky, trail mix, and energy bars that don’t require cooking tools, storing, or preparing. Pack some freeze-dried food for a hot meal in the morning. You can find packable stoves specially made for backpacking.

Hydration is crucial on any outdoor trip, and backpack hunting doesn’t make an exception. Pack water filters, iodine tablets, distillation, and reverse osmosis if you plan to collect water and purify it.


You can now find backpacks specially made for hunting. They’re rugged and lightweight at the same time and provide you with excellent storage space for organizing your gear. We advise you to pay the extra buck for a high-quality backpack that has all the bells and whistles; cutting 10 or 20 pounds off the overall weight can make the difference at the end of the day when you need to go back to the camp. Look for a backpack with a carbon-fiber frame and lightweight fabric and stay away from canvas and metal models.

Rifle and accessories

Get the rifle or weapon of choice and pick wisely your hunting accessories. Aim for efficiency in a lightweight pack and prioritize silencing your hunting gear.


How should a hunting backpack be?

The proper hunting backpack will fit everything you need for your hunting. 1800 to 2000 cubic inches is enough for a daypack, whereas 3000-5000 cubic inches will work for a three-day hunt. Should you go hunting for more than three days, you will need a backpack bigger than 7500 cubic inches. The pockets should be placed for effortless access and you should check out the weight before buying. External frame packs are more appropriate for hauling meat, while internal frame models won’t snag on the brush. Purchasing a hunting backpack requires a lot of attention to detail and you shouldn’t hurry when selecting.

How heavy should the hunting backpack be?

As we’ve mentioned, a 4000 cubic inches pack will work for five days of hunting trips. Ideally, you want your backpack to weigh between 4-7 pounds when empty.

Should the hunting backpack be camo?

If you go predator or ungulate hunting, you might need camo hunting equipment, but it’s not mandatory. However, if you go bow hunting, camouflage gear becomes more important. Efficient concealment is essential, especially when calling and when you go spot and stalk or tree stand hunting.

How should your prepare for backpack hunting?

You don’t just buy a hunting backpack and go hunting. It would help if you were true to yourself and were realistic about your physical abilities. You will need to walk for many miles through challenging weather and over rugged terrain at times. You need both the proper hunting equipment and the physical condition for it.

Can you go backpack hunting in cold weather?

Cold weather means more weight from all the gear and clothing you need to carry. As long as you are prepared, late-season hunting is a wonderful experience to try. It’s not the most accessible type of hunting, but true hunters don’t back down from a challenge.

Image courtesy

Robert Dwayne

Robert Dwayne

To say that I am an outdoors enthusiast is probably an understatement. I am hyper passionate about everything outdoors: hiking, survival, hunting. On this website I am sharing my stories and experiences, and I hope you'll find inspiration to take up your own adventures!