Let’s keep it real - there are so many high end hunting backpacks out there, serving different purposes.
If this is your first elk hunt, choosing the right one can be near impossible.
Luckily, I did my due diligence in making it easier for you by performing 5 hours of long research on the best elk hunting pack, and I found 7 top hunting packs for you.
So let’s dig deep into it…
Best Hunting Packs for Elk:
Best Elk Hunting Pack Reviews:
1. Mystery Ranch Metcalf (Best Mystery Ranch Pack For Elk Hunting)
The Mystery Ranch Metcalf is the ideal pack for bivy hunting for 7 days!
It comes with a waist belt made of molded foam - which is nicely adjustable to fit your size.
It can hold heavier weight, and the whole pack is super comfortable, even for a whole-day hike.
You can even draw a compound bow while wearing the pack!
As for the layout, the backpack comes with plenty of pockets - besides the main compartment, that is. However, the central part is hard to access without unbuckling the top or side straps.
It features roomy internal pockets, along with several smaller pockets for storing hunting food, a sleeping system, layer clothes, and accessories.
There are two side pockets - one of them intended for the water bottle.
I have to say that the pack would benefit from more pockets, though.
The side zip allows easy access to the gear, which is nice.
The lid is removable and handy for storing small items - batteries, memory cards, and so on.
The top is also versatile, allowing you to cinch down to a day pack if needed.
There is more:
The straps are located at the bottom, front, and sides. They keep your bow and rifle stable while hunting and keep the pack tight to your back, even during movement.
Another nice touch is that the pack is compatible with a hydration bladder.
It features a Guide Light MT frame, lighter than the previous model.
The frame pack can haul a pretty decent load of 50 to 60 pounds of meat. It also moves with your body - without the rigid feeling.
The shoulder straps and waist belt distribute the weight, taking it off your back.
The hauling capacity is 4,335 cubic inches, which is more than plenty.
Breeze to haul out meat
The pack comes with a meat or overload shelf between the frame and the bag.
It makes loading and unloading extra meat or gear a breeze without reorganizing other stuff.
You’ll be able to pack a ton of meat when you are successful.
Easy to transform
The bag is removable and transforms from backpack trip to day hunt.
Well built and lightweight
The pack is lightweight, clocking in at 5.7 pounds, and is well-built.
It will last for many years, through snow and rain - and comes with a lifetime warranty.
It’s made of Cordura, though, so it’s somewhat noisy.
There are no dedicated holders for storing your bow or rifle, though.
The main bag is hard to access, there aren’t too many internal pockets, and the pack is not made in the USA.
2. Eberlestock M5 Team Elk Pack (Best Eberlestock Pack For Elk Hunting)
The Eberlestock M5 Team Elk Pack is designed for a single day or up to a 4-day backpack hunting trip!
One size fits all pack
When it comes to the fit, it features an adjustable harness and a hip belt, essentially making the pack a one-size-fits-all model.
It allows you to dial the fit to your torso size - no matter how big or small your frame is.
Even when hiking 15+ miles in steep hills, the pack's comfortable to wear, and there’s no reason to worry about back pain.
As for the frame, it’s a solid aluminum internal frame to ensure durability.
Medium hauling capacity
The hauling capacity is medium, with 3,10 cubic inches of total volume, enough to pack a quarter cow or elk meat.
The pack volume is 2,600 cubic inches, with a 500-cubic-inch scabbard for the rifle.
The external shelf comes with compression straps in the front for loading antlers - or a quarter of your elk that did not fit in the main compartment.
The great news is that you don’t have to worry about making the gear in the main compartment dirty from the bloody game bag.
You can pack smaller bags with straps to the frame.
Also, you can load your equipment for one-day scouting. Have a check this video:
Compartment for bow and rifle
I liked that there are many compartments for organization, meaning you won’t end up messing your stuff up all the time.
There’s a compartment for carrying the compound or recurve bow in the front - and you can also use it as storage if you don’t use a bow.
All you need to do is unzip it and flip the flap open, strap it with the buckle - and that's it!
The rifle scabbard has a space of 500 cubic inches, and it’s ergonomically placed in the center, behind the pack, for balance. You can fold it away if you’re not using it at the moment, too.
How to use a rifle scabbard?
To use the scabbard, just unzip the top of the pack; that’s all there is to it.
The best part:
It can fit various weapons, and it’s easy to reach your rifle without taking the pack off - keeping your hands free from dragging deer or elk.
It features additional pockets for small items:
Collaboration with RMEF
Thanks to the collaboration with RMEF, you’ll donate 10% to conservation with your purchase - which is a nice touch.
The pack is quiet and waterproof, thanks to the water-resistant NT7 fabric, making it good for stalking the elk.
But it can still make some noise in brush areas.
The bag weighs 6.5 pounds, which is quite heavy for day hunting - but it does come with a lifetime warranty.
The downside is that the material picks up grass. It also can be a little noisy in the brush areas - or temperatures below zero.
3. Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-In Meat Hauler (Best Badlands Pack For Elk Hunting):
The Badlands 2200 hunting backpack is ideal for a day-pack on a weekend trip!
Fits like a glove
It features an adjustable waist belt with reverse tightening to accommodate different sizes, even for people with a larger frame.
It also has an additional sidearm holster to access your pistol - if you have small-caliber handguns.
It’s excellent for defense if you face bears or wolves during your trip, for example.
Quite big for guy or gal
Thanks to the dimensions 28 by 17 by 12 inches, it boasts quite a considerable size.
It’s not intended for a short frame, though.
As if it’s below your torso, it’ll ride under your hip under a load. And if you are sitting down, you cannot turn your head comfortably.
Comfortable to hike in and out
Thanks to a back suspension, the pack itself is pretty comfortable, with molded memory foam that contours to your body.
It supports your back, which is great news if you have back issues.
It also moves the weight from shoulders to hips, making it possible to move for a more extended hunt with an outstanding balance.
For 1 day hunting trip
The layout is designed to offer decent room, holding all your stuff needed for a day hunting trip.
A load lifter strap lifts all the weight through the entire frame. The bow or rifle carry compartment allows you to attach an additional bow or rifle boot clip-on.
The rear entry suspension allows for quick access to smaller gear without taking the pack off. The Bino X connect system carries your binoculars while freeing up your hands.
The material is enforced with hyperlaul material at stress points, which is super strong, allowing you to haul up to 110 pounds.
You can also add a 2-liter hydration bladder, but you should carry a squared bladder as the pouch is square.
Keep in mind that the bladder is not included, though.
Rock solid frame
The frame is Magenium, making it lighter and stronger than the standard aluminum frames.
The best part:
The meat shelf is in the hidden orange bottom pocket. Just pop it out - and you can pack some meat conveniently.
The hauling capacity of this pack is a good 2,750 cubic inches total, with 1,980 of it located in the main compartment.
That is more than plenty for a deboned deer, but not a “quarter-out elk.”
The pack is pretty lightweight, weighing only 5.9 pounds, making it suitable for longer hikes.
Moreover, the material of choice is KXO-50 fabric - which is lighter than the KXO-32 featured in the previous model.
The fabric is still waterproof, quiet, and rugged.
The pack comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty, but it has a few downsides.
For one, the bag isn’t removable.
It’s not suitable for multiple day elk hunting trips. And it’s pretty big, making it a poor choice for smaller frames.
There are also only a few functional outer pockets, and the bow/rifle boot is not included, much like the rain cover and the water bladder.
Also, I didn’t like that the hydration reservoir is limited to a square-shaped bladder only.
4. Kifaru 44 Mag (Best Kifaru Pack For Elk Hunting):
Kifaru 44 Mag is optimal for shorter, 3-5 day hunts with a neat setup!
The fit is good - and thanks to the waist belt, you can adjust everything quickly and easily.
As for the bag layout, there’s plenty of room:
Spacious main bag
The main compartment has a space of 3,390 cubic inches. Thanks to it, there is plenty of room for food, clothes, pillows, or packing out a full elk quarter.
The two full zippers give you full access to the main compartment.
Lots of internal pockets
The internal pockets are great, too. They feature mesh, making it easier to see around and access everything.
There is also a chamber pocket, two big side pockets with zippers for storing the tripod, spotting scope, and elk bugle tube - along with two front pouches for rain gears.
Easy to handle
The two handles at the top and bottom make it super easy to handle the truck.
Compression straps for rifle or bow hunting
It also boasts 3 compression straps on the front that are superior for holding your bow (or rifle) steady.
The 2 straps at the bottom are great for carrying the sleeping pad.
As for the frame, it weighs 3 pounds - although it’s a composite stay. It reduces weight on your shoulders and transfers it to your hips.
It also features a cushion and a lumbar pad to make the pack comfortable for heavy loads. To top it off, it’s removable and adjustable to fit your torso.
Big hauling capacity
As for the hauling capacity, it’s a total of 4,750 cubic inches - making this the perfect option for a day hunt.
On the other hand, note that it won’t be enough if you need to do an extended trip, longer than 5 days.
The extension is purchased separately and comes with a 3 - removable pocket lid, enabling you to convert to backpack hunts.
It is a nice detail for organizing small items such as batteries, action cameras, elk calls, handheld GPS, etc.
You also get a Sherman pocket belt pouches, and it enables you to extend the hunt to 10 days with 6,500 cubic inches of space total!
The pack is interchangeable, meaning you get to upgrade or downgrade to the other bag.
The hydration bladder support is excellent, too.
I should mention that the pack is quite heavy, with the bag weighing 3.4 pounds, along with a 3-pound frame.
Super light and durable
The material is super light, though, and it should last you more than 10 years. The pack’s made in the USA.
The downside is that it’s hard to access the main bag without taking the pack off. And there’s no extended meat shelf, either.
5. Stone Glacier Sky 5900 Backpack (Best Stone Glacier Pack For Elk Hunting):
The Stone Glacier Sky 5900 backpack is the pack for a 4 -6 day backcountry hunting trip!
Easy to tighten
It has adjustable shoulder straps and a waist belt, allowing you to customize the pack to your body.
You can do that by lifting the shoulder strap and moving it to your desired height, and you can cinch back the waist belt to tighten it.
This pack is comfortable thanks to the 3-piece waist belt, including:
The lumbar pad provides comfort and ensures that the belt does not slip off your back under heavy load. Plus, you can even customize the foam inside.
With this pack, you can scout for 20 miles without getting tired.
Release pressure on your hip bone
The waist belt does an excellent job at improving the weight distribution.
The 2 side wings with the dual tension reduce the risk of the belt slipping off while also releasing the pressure on the hip bone.
The layout is excellent, with 4 compartments total:
The main compartment has a full front panel zip, with easy access to all the big and small essentials without digging down from the top.
The one front zipper is handy for smaller accessories, such as a spotting scope and gloves.
As for the two side bottom pockets, they’re great for a bow, a gun butt, tripod, or a water bottle.
Great for bivy mode
The removable lid is versatile, too. You can remove it and convert it to bivy style, or a day hunt by cinching it.
The bag’s foldable so that you can cinch it down to reduce the bulkiness - and expand it back when you’re on the way out after a kill.
Secure your gears tightly
There are plenty of straps to hold your gear tight. And it’s hydration-bladder-compatible.
The frame is an Xcurve made of carbon fiber, and you can load up to 150 pounds comfortably without an issue.
Also, the curve fits your back well.
The hauling capacity is fantastic, with 5,400 cubic inches in the main compartment, making the pack suitable for a week-long hunting trip.
External meat shelf
The meat shelf is between the bag and the frame and is more than enough for a quarter elk.
The pack itself is lightweight, weighing only 5.5 pounds. And it’s made in the USA.
I should add that the material is heavy-duty.
It’s a combo of Cordura 500 and X-Pac, making the pack waterproof, resistant to tearing, and perfect for years and years of use.
The downside is that the lumber is quite big for a small rame, and it’s somewhat squeaky for a high-priced backpack.
There are only a few inner pockets.
And the bag is not interchangeable, either.
6. Kuiu PRO LT 5500 Full Hunting Pack Kit (Best Kuiu Pack For Elk Hunting):
The Kuiu PRO LT 5500 hunting kit offers a full packing system for a 4 to 6-day hunting trip in the late season with a lightweight setup!
The fit features adjustable shoulder straps, which you can fit your body shape by taking the Velcro off and setting it up to suit you better.
The waist belt has a pulley system, enabling you to tighten the fit at the hip by pulling forward.
The hip belt strap allows you to attach accessories, such as a sidearm or bear spray, too.
The lumbar area is also adjustable, allowing you to change up to an inch and a half up or down. It allows for better weight distribution from your back which is always a plus.
Stable and Comfortable
The pack is comfy thanks to the dual foam, durable, breathable mesh, and more comprehensive back contact, which provides stability even with heavy loads.
Plus, the central channel provides some airflow and keeps your back dry.
Pretty impressive system
As for the layout, it features plenty of pockets.
You’ll also find 2 straps at the bottom supporting the heavy load of the pack.
The frame is carbon fiber, making it very strong. You can load up to 150+ pounds which is excellent for bag in bag out.
The frame is exceptionally lightweight, weighing only 11 ounces.
It is versatile as it moves with your body when hiking.
Dedicated meat shelf
It has a dedicated meat shelf between the frame and the bag.
You can hold up to 2,500 cubic inches of storage after the kill.
Adequate hauling capacity
The hauling capacity of the pack is 5,500 cubic inches, which allows you to take long hikes with an overnight load of meat pack out.
Easily convert to single/multi-day hunting
The bag is removable so that you can change to a larger (or smaller) capacity, depending on whether you’re going on single or multi-day trips.
To change to a one-day hunting bag, remove the lid and cinch the bottom of the bag to the hip belt.
Lightweight for a multi day backpack
On that note, for a multi-day trip, this is the best lightweight hunting backpack, weighing in at around 7 pounds:
Tough as nails
The material is upgraded to 330D Cordura Ripstop from the 500D Cordura Ripstop, making it a bit more durable, too.
The fabric isn’t waterproof as advertised, though, so you should carry an additional cover for it.
Compatible with the hydration bladder
It’s compatible with a hydration bladder, located on the top and designed to keep you hydrated during longer hikes.
The ultimate downside is that this pack costs plenty of money.
7. ALPS Outdoor Z Traverse EPS (Best Elk Hunting Pack For The Money):
If you’re looking for a more affordable pack, here comes the ALPS Outdoor Z Traverse EPS!
It’s the ideal pack for hauling whitetail on a short trip - up to 2 nights or saddle hunting.
You will need multiple trips if you pack a front elk quarter without a deer card or sled.
Easy to adjust
As for the fit features a waist belt and padded shoulder straps to make it more comfortable, especially for long treks over rough terrains.
There is no guesswork for sizing and adjusting the frame, either. You can adjust it anywhere from XS to XL.
Space for days
Did I mention that the pack features an internal aluminum frame with an adjustable torso?
Expandable meat shelf
The meat shelf can be extended to handle 1,200 cubic inches of storage for the harvested meat.
Carry plenty of the weight
As for the carrying capacity of the main compartment, it’s 4,500 cubic inches total. That said, you shouldn’t overpack it.
If you need more loading weight, you should get an external frame pack.
The pack is heavyweight, clocking in at 6 pounds - which isn’t great for long trips.
The best part?
The integrated orange cover is hidden in the bottom, preventing rain, snow, and dust from getting into the pack. And it provides high visibility on top of it.
Note that you can cover the fully loaded pack without the crossbow or rifle.
The pack itself is hydration bladder compatible.
However, keep in mind that it’s not waterproof, only water-resistant for a bit of rain.
The bag is heavy - but it’s not intended for heavy hauling. Also, the bag is not interchangeable for long day trips.
Besides that, the material is not too durable. So don’t expect it to last for many seasons.
How to Choose The Best Frame Pack for Elk Hunting:
Finding the suitable elk hunting pack could be a challenge - primarily if you haven’t owned one before.
Plus, there are several things you will need to be on the lookout for, too.
So, let’s begin with the detailed guide on picking the right elk hunting pack!
The first - and most important - is the hauling capacity.
The capacity essentially refers to the total storage available, and it can be usually divided into three distinct ranges:
The hauling capacity is not just the storage, though; it’s the loading weight, as well.
When you want to load elk into your backpack, you’ll need to ensure that your pack won’t break from the weight.
So, your new elk hunting pack needs to come with at least 100 pounds loaded weight.
Extended meat shelf
What’s more, an extended meat shelf is a nice detail, as well. It allows you to haul elk meat after a successful hunt or pack more stuff for a backcountry hunting trip.
The frame needs to be rigid and sturdy while remaining lightweight enough.
The suspension system needs to be comfortable for those long hikes up and down elevation, too.
It should have padded straps and lumbar foam and should generally adjust.
Day hunt vs multi day hunting
When you have an interchangeable bag, it means you can use it for different trips without the need to invest in various backpack sizes.
It’s certainly a nice touch to convert to day hunts or multi day trips without changing the backpack, isn’t it?
Of course, that does mean that your backpack could come at a higher price, but you’ll still save plenty of money you would have spent on different packs to serve you for all the purposes.
I generally recommend interchangeable packs, as they’re far more convenient to keep at home, too.
Do keep in mind that your backpack needs to be quiet - just like your clothes, your weapons of choice, and your other equipment.
The material needs to be quiet, even when you’re searching through your pack for something.
On the other hand
Also, when you’re checking out a specific pack, be sure that the zippers and buttons don’t make noise, either.
Try them out; if the buttons or zippers make plenty of noise, they could spook your bull.
I can't stress enough how essential it is for the pack to be waterproof.
All your gear needs to be dry - and the woods can be a rather damp place. Plus, there’s usually unexpected rain.
At the very least, your pack needs to be made out of a water-resistant fabric that will repel some of the rain.
If that’s the case, buy an additional cover for it; some packs even come with a waterproof cover!
Heavy packs can be a pain for long packs in and out.
Look for packs that weigh under 6 pounds when empty to ensure that you don’t carry any excess weight for no reason!
There are plenty of best elk hunting packs out there for different needs.
Some hunters prefer day trips, while others switch between day hunts and multiple day trips.
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