The Organized Angler: Best Tackle Box, Backpack, and Bag Buying Guide and Reviews

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

My grandfather’s tackle box was always a mess. He’d manage to find what he was looking for, though, often beneath a tangle of old line, a few steel leaders, and pliers so caked with rust that even a thorough soaking in WD-40 wouldn’t get them moving again.

Much of it had to do with the storage options available way back then.

You know what I mean – the tackle boxes of yesteryear. The top-opening, telescoping top compartment style with a deep, long reservoir at the bottom that was more useful for collecting odd bits of junk than keeping anything organized.

2019 offers plenty of much better options, and whether you’re trolling for lake trout from a large boat, casting for crappie from the bank, or hiking to your favorite trout honeyhole, we’d like to help you select the right tackle storage system.

Which system is right for you is largely a matter of personal taste and your particular needs. But we’ve done our homework, and every product on this list is a winner.

Best Tackle Bags

Best Tackle Backpacks

Best Tackle Boxes

What To Consider When Selecting a Tackle Bag, Backpack, or Box

Storage Efficiency

This isn’t just a question of capacity, though that matters.

A better way to think about storage is in terms of efficiency: do you have the compartments–and sizes of compartments–to store what you need?

Where will you place big items like hemostats, needle-nose pliers, spare line, and perhaps a spare spool? Can you get to what you need quickly, or do you have to unpack and repack just to get to the one thing you’re looking for?

Good storage solutions, whether bags, backpacks, or boxes, will offer you lots of options. They’ll help you organize smaller storage containers, and they’ll make sure that all your essential tools are easy to reach.

And pure storage capacity is pretty much useless. If it weren’t, then a large plastic bin would be the best choice!

Make Sure the System You Choose Really Fits Your Needs

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to think this through carefully.

If you’re fishing from a large boat with plenty of deck space, or you’re casting from a long pier or flat beach, a front-opening horizontal organizer like the Plano Angled 787 Guide Series Stowaway Tackle System might be just the thing you’re looking for.

But this same excellent tackle box is pretty much useless if you plan to scramble along the sides of a mountain stream casting flies for trout. In that situation, you’d be much better of with a small pack like the Mil-Tec Single Shoulder Strap 10L Tactical Assault Backpack or the Plano A-Series 2.0 Tackle Backpack.

Durability

I put a beating on my outdoor gear, and I’ve tried cheap no-name backpacks for some pretty rugged fishing adventures. One took a long ride on the back of an ATV, got wet, got banged around, and promptly disintegrated at the end of the weekend. Pretty much every seam had failed by then, and the zipper was already starting to separate.

Between sun, heat, cold, wet, and general knocks and bumps, you want to make sure that the choice you make can take what the elements will dish out.

Tackle Bags Reviews

If you’re looking to organize your tackle, and want access from the top, plenty of cushion, and easy transport ability, a tackle bag might be the best option for you.

KastKing “Hoss” Tackle Bag

KastKing Fishing Tackle Bags,Medium-Hoss(Without Trays, 15x11x10.25 Inches)
Amazon 

Weight: n/a
Dimensions: 15 x11 x10.25 inches
Material: 420D rip-stop nylon with PVC backing

KastKing’s “Hoss” Tackle Bag really impressed us, and from its durable material to its capacious storage, it’s easy to see why this product earns our top spot.

The material quality on this bag is excellent, and to be sure, 420 denier rip-stop nylon is no joke. Expect season after season of hard-wearing durability from this bag. But KastKing’s attention to detail doesn’t stop there.

If keeping the inside of your bag dry is a worry for you, KastKing’s hydrophobic coating and PVC inner layer pretty much guarantee that splashes and spray won’t penetrate to your gear. This tackle bag also features a waterproof non-slip coating on the bottom, a nice touch that we’re sure you’ll appreciate.

As far as storage is concerned, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Holding as many as seven Plano 3600s, there’s plenty of room for enough terminal tackle for almost any trip. The generous main compartment fits six 3600s, either vertically or horizontally, and on the top flap, there’s a nice see-through zippered pocket for worms.

Seven large zippered and slip pockets line the exterior, providing plenty of space for gear, and the zippered front pocket can take yet another Plano 3600.

That’s an impressive amount of storage space, and it’s efficiently sized and distributed.

For kayak fishermen, weekend trips to the lake, or anyone who needs portable, top-opening storage, this bag is an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Tons of space
  • Lots of places for tools and accessories

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with any storage boxes, so you’ll need to purchase those separately

Okeechobee Fats Fisherman Deluxe Tackle Bag

Okeechobee Fats Tackle Bag (Grey)
Amazon 

Weight: n/a
Dimensions:13.5 x 13.8 x 10 inches
Material: polyester

This excellent bag from Okeechobee Fats is available in two sizes, but we prefer the smaller of the two as it’s plenty large enough for most anglers’ gear. It ships with four excellent Plano 3700s inside, and plenty of space for more options.

Made from 100 percent polyester, the Deluxe Tackle Bag is fairly robust, especially at its price-point. The zippers and stitching are high quality, and you can expect this bag to serve well for years. The carrying strap is padded and comfortable, and we’ve no complaints about fit, finish, or materials.

On the inside, this tackle bag provides plenty of space for at least five Plano 3700s, and depending on what you want, you could probably slip a few smaller plastic organizers in there as well. As it’s also plenty deep, expect some space at the top for a towel, lunch, or pretty much anything else, including–you guessed it!–more Plano boxes.

Featuring big zippered pockets on either end, there’s plenty of room for a Plano 3650 (be aware that the new model is a tad smaller than the old), a fly box, or a worm box on both ends. Spare line, pliers, a phone, sunscreen–the list of things that can be kept safely, ready-to-hand there is nearly endless.

The zippered internal pocket is awesome for packs of worms, spare line, and things like that, too.

You’ll also find handy tool attachments on the front of the Deluxe Tackle Bag, including room for hemostats. There’s even a hard shell sunglass case built in! The zippered front pocket below that can hold an additional Plano 3500, too.

All in all, this bag offers a lot for the price, and for anglers looking for a top-quality storage bag, this is a great option.

Pros:

  • Good materials
  • Good workmanship
  • Lots of space
  • Lots of places for tools and accessories
  • Comes with four Plano 3700s

Cons:

  • Long-term durability can’t compete with the KastKing

Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag

Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag, 38.8-Liter, Black
Amazon 

Weight: n/a
Dimensions: 15.75 x 10.8 x 8.2 inches
Material: 1680D polyester with PVC backing

Spiderwire’s Wolf Tackle Bag is a welcome addition to our list, and a strong competitor for our top pick. Packed with pockets and storage options, it’s a great choice for anglers on the go.

Constructed from 1680 denier polyester with a PVC backing similar to the “Hoss” from KastKing, we’d probably give the edge to the lighter rip-stop nylon for long-term durability, but there’s no denying that this is thick, tough polyester. Overall, the construction quality is excellent, and from the sippers to the carrying strap, expect to be impressed.

Spiderwire put a lot of thought into efficiency–that’s clear immediately. The large central storage compartment is spacious enough for four Plano 3700s (included with the bag), plenty for pretty much any fishing trip. Four zippered compartments ring the exterior, and in addition to all that space, the front two compartments feature accessory holders for pliers or hemostats. That’s always a great touch.

The top flap features a zippered pocket perfect for worms, too.

Those exterior pockets are great for fly fishermen, of course, and there’s still plenty of room for sunscreen, a phone, your wallet, spare spools, and extra line.

In the final analysis, like the other products that make this shortlist, you get a lot of bang for your hard-earned buck.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Lots of space
  • Lots of places for tools and accessories
  • Comes with four Plano 3700s

Cons:

  • Long-term durability probably can’t compete with the KastKing

Tackle Backpack Reviews

Backpacks are ideal for anglers who demand mobility, and they’re usually easier to carry than similarly-sized bags.

Calissa Offshore Tackle Blackstar

The X-Large 'Blackstar' Fishing Backpack, Tackle Box Storage Bag - Non-Corrosive Fishing Tackle Bag with (4X) 3650 Boxes -Fisherman Gifts for Men, Tackle Backpacks Tackle Box (Includes Tackle Trays)
Amazon 

Weight: 4.6 lbs.
Dimensions: 20 x 17 x 9 inches
Material: polyester?

Calissa’s Offshore Tackle Backpack is the option we’d choose for a multi-day fishing adventure. There’s plenty of storage for your tackle, and space for clothing, food, accessories, and anything else you’d need to bring when it won’t be a quick trip to the water. Moreover, Calissa offers an unbeatable “try-before-you-buy” 30-day deal–a testament to their confidence in this backpack.

I’m not sure what material Calissa uses in the Offshore’s basic construction, but I’m certain that it’s tough and durable. Seam quality, zipper quality, and overall construction are excellent, and Calissa claims that the zippers are resistant to corrosion for saltwater. That’s a huge plus for many anglers, and something to consider carefully.

Five plastic feet keep this backpack high, dry, and stable on deck. The straps are comfortable and well-padded, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take a reasonable hike with this bag on my back.

Storage is excellent. A front-accessed tackle compartment designed to accommodate four Plano 3650s (included), indeed any 3600 series box, provides plenty of space, and when paired with four massive zippered pockets on the sides, two with mesh exterior pockets, everything from extra line, to spools, to sunscreen will find a place.

You’ll also find two places to stow hemostats or pliers near the top of the bag, as well as a hard shell sunglasses case.

But what separates this backpack from its competitors is an internally divided design that allows you to carry clothes, towels, or pretty much anything else you’ll need near the top of the bag, giving you two separate compartments and points of access.

That’s a big deal if you’re planning a three-day fishing trip far from home, and we appreciate the efficiency that this excellent backpack provides.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Tons of space
  • Lots of places for tools and accessories
  • Divided internal storage for clothes, etc.

Cons:

  • ???

Mil-Tec Single Shoulder Strap 10L Tactical Assault Backpack

Mil-Tec Single Shoulder Strap 10L Coyote Tactical Assault Backpack - 14059105
Amazon 

Weight: 1.21 lbs.
Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.66 x 5.11 inches
Material: polyester

Don’t let the military background of this single-strap shoulder bag put you off. I own one, and I’ve abused this bag for years–no failures, no problems, no regrets.

Mil-Tec’s Tactical Assault Backpack is loaded with features that, in my opinion, make it nearly ideal as an angling backpack. Made from durable, very tightly woven polyester, it’s shrugged off brambles, barbed wire, sharp rocks, sticks, and sharp objects of all kinds. The zippers are outstanding, as is it’s overall construction quality.

The strap, when secured properly, works very well and provides all-day comfort for long treks. I use mine to reach inaccessible streams, but I like it so much that it’s become my go-to angling backpack. It weighs almost nothing when empty, and in contrast to much heavier angling packs, that’s a real selling point.

And though its dimensions are tiny, it packs a lot of tackle. I can carry three Plano 3450-22s in the main compartment with room to spare. It offers three zippered external pockets, providing plenty of room for worms, fly tackle, line, spools, pliers, a multitool, and sunscreen, wallet, and phone.

A large mesh pocket in the back secures a thick pair of working gloves for me (did I mention brambles?), but it can easily hold other essential items that you want immediate access to.

There are also additional pockets in the interior, one zipped, the other secured with a velcro strap. Bags of worms and other soft plastic ride comfortably there.

For anglers who need a small bag that punches above its weight in efficiency, this is an awesome choice at a very reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Lots of space
  • Lots of places for tools and accessories
  • Great price!

Cons:

  • You’ll need to supply your own tackle storage boxes

Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack

Piscifun Fishing Tackle Backpack with 4 Trays Large Capacity Waterproof Fishing Tackle Bag with 4 Tackle Boxes and Protective Rain Cover Khaki
Amazon 

Weight: 3.52 lbs.
Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.9 x 17.7 inches
Material: 1200D nylon

Piscifun’s Fishing Tackle Backpack is a great choice for anglers who need more storage than a small pack can provide. While not the best choice for an expedition, it’s great for co-anglers and anyone else who needs a lot of gear in an easy-to-carry package.

1200 denier nylon is tough material, and there’s simply no question that it has the durability you’ll demand. The stitching, zippers, and carrying straps are all top-notch, and overall construction quality is excellent.

Piscinfun’s backpack offers tons of storage, as you’d expect. The main compartment, accessible from the front, can accommodate four Plano 3600s, and the manufacturer supplies four of their own design with the backpack. An additional upper storage can take one more, for a total of five.

That’s impressive, and very few anglers will find that they really need more. Four large exterior pockets give you plenty of room for worms, phone, wallet, accessories like multitools or pliers, and pretty much anything else you need.

A zippered, clear internal pocket in the upper flap is great for securing stuff you need to keep clean and relatively dry.

This backpack also includes an awesome plastic rain fly that can keep it dry when the weather turns foul–a really nice touch. And Piscifun has even thought to include an adjustable drink holder, making this a very smart choice!

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Tons of space
  • Lots of places for tools and accessories
  • Awesome rain fly

Cons:

  • ???

Tackle Box Reviews

Tackle boxes are an excellent choice for at-home organization, as well as for anglers who need a ton of capacity or just prefer tradition. Below, you’ll find three different styles, each aimed at a different need.

Plano Magnum Tackle Box

Plano Magnum Tackle Box Double Side Sandstone/Green 1119, Premium Tackle Storage
Amazon 

Size: 13.5′ x 4.25′ x 10.13 inches
Material: plastic

Plano’s Magnum Tackle Box is essentially a plastic storage bin on steroids. Using the now-common double-sided system and see-through lids, it keeps an arsenal of tackle organized for any adventure.

The Magnum tackle Box is about the size of a lunch box, making it easy to store, a snap to carry, and a no-brainer on any fishing trip. Each side features six smaller compartments, and three larger ones, providing space for everything from lures and hooks to spare spools and pliers.

Most standard lines won’t fit, however, so be aware of this before you buy.

It closes securely, and it’s made from tough plastic. These have been around for a few years, and if the ones I’ve seen are any indication, that can really take a beating.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Light and easy to transport

Cons:

  • Not a lot of storage compared to plastic tackle trays.

Plano Angled 787 Guide Series Stowaway Tackle System

Plano Angled 787 Guide Series Stowaway Tackle System- Includes 7 Stowaways, Fishing Tackle Storage, Premium Tackle Storage
Amazon 

Size: 23 x 12.25 inches
Material: plastic

Plano’s Angled 787 Guide Series Stowaway is the modern version of the tackle box. Designed to house plastic tackle trays and provide plenty of space for accessories, if we were going this route, this would be the product we’d choose.

The 787 holds three Plano 2-3701 (included) in its main compartment, orienting them at a 15-degree angle to keep them in place and make them easy to access. Already, that’s a lot of storage. It also has space for a similarly situated 2-3750, giving you plenty of options for worms, bigger crank baits, and anything more than a few inches long.

These trays are kept behind see-through doors, making it easy to see which trays are there while ensuring that everything stays securely in place during transport.

Two similar doors are placed to either side of the main compartment, and there’s space for both 2-3601s behind one, and the 2-3650 behind the other.

If you’ve been keeping count, we’re up to seven tackle trays already. Very few anglers will be able to fill that much space, and we’re pretty sure that it’s enough for any fishing expedition.

Two latched, see-through compartments bookend the lid storage, and they’re great places for anything you need to keep your eye on, from spare hooks to spools. Opening the lid reveals an expansive tray with compartments for pliers, hemostats, knives, gloves, line, and pretty much anything else you might want or need.

Made from tough plastic, this is a durable tackle organizer and a massive step-up from the tackle boxes you grew up with. Fully loaded, you’re prepared for pretty much anything.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Awesome storage space
  • Incredible volume

Cons:

  • Fully loaded, it’s going to be heavy

Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box with Dual Top Access

Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box with Dual Top Access, Blue Metallic/Off White, Premium Tackle Storage
Amazon 

Size: 14.25 x 7.75 inches
Material: plastic

In a nod to tradition, we’ve included the venerable Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box. While not our first choice in tackle transport and organization, some people still prefer this style.

In most respects, this is the traditional box you probably started with. Lifting the lid reveals a telescoping set of two trays that move rearward, protected by the open lid. That’s an improvement on the old design, and we like that a lot.

A variety of different-sized, dividable compartments give you plenty of storage options, and you’ll find space for everything from lures to hooks to soft plastics. The capacious bottom area can house anything you might need: knife, leaders, spools, pliers, hemostats, sunscreen, etc., but of course, it’ll all be a jumble at the bottom (just like my grandfather’s!).

Two smaller compartments on the lid are great for your wallet and keys, or anything else you want to keep clean, dry, and out of harm’s way.

The latch is tough and secure, and the box itself is easy to stow and transport.

All-in-all, if you’re a traditionalist, this isn’t a bad option, but you won’t get a ton of efficiency from this configuration.

Pros:

  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent workmanship
  • Good space for the size

Cons:

  • The bottom space if huge, but without dividers or organizers of any kind, likely to be a mess.

Final Thoughts

Organizing your angling gear is a lot easier now than it was a few decades ago, and if you’re in the market for a new system or set-up, we hope this article has helped.

And whether you’re hiking to a small pond for bass, launching a boat into a salt marsh to chase reds, or casting from the shore, you’ll find something in our list of reviews that will fit the bill.

Please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Leave a Comment