How to Wash Hunting Backpacks?

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how to wash hunting backpacks

There is no doubt about it that hunting is a great hobby, sport, and best of all, a means of survival. You actually get to keep and eat whatever you hunt, and that is something we all have to appreciate.

You probably know that any good hunter needs a good hunting backpack, and if you don’t know this, but want to get into hunting, it is definitely something to look into.

After all, a good hunting backpack will allow you to carry all of your essential gear and more, and this is true whether you are going on a day or overnight trip.

However, with that being said, hunting backpacks come with their own issues besides actually being able to cram everything into them. For instance, one of the biggest problems you will face with your hunting backpack is that it will get really dirty.

This is not an assumption or a possibility, but a truth and a reality. If you are hunting the right way, your backpack is going to get dirty, and more than just dirty, probably bloody too, and you can’t just leave a hunting backpack unwashed for too long.

Related Article: How to Choose a Hunting Backpack

So, how to wash hunting backpacks is what we are here to discuss.

Why Do I Need to Wash My Hunting Backpack?

This is about a lot more than just aesthetics. You might be happier with a clean and fresh-looking pack, but in all reality, the sign of a good hunter is not that they have a clean hunting pack.

In fact, a bit of dirt might actually add to the whole camo effect, but there are other reasons why you might want to seriously consider washing your hunting backpack.

Dirt and leaves are usually fine, but what you need to watch out for is blood. The blood from your kills can carry disease, viruses, parasites and more.

You don’t want old deer, rabbit, or duck blood in your bag, because depending on what it comes into contact with, maybe your food or clothing, it could make you quite ill.

Blood, dirt, old leaves, and whatever other kind of grime might accumulate in your hunting pack is going to start to smell within days. Not only will this stench make your hunting buddies wish they would have stayed home, but it will also give your position away to potential prey.

Keep in mind that any kind of debris or residue in your bag will get all over anything in there; your hunting gloves and hat may have been freshly washed, but you put them in a dirty bag, and now you go to put them on for the first time, and they are covered in filth and smell like it too.

Debris can also clog zippers, making it hard to open and close your hunting backpack when you need your gear.

If you wait too long to wash the hunting backpack, it just gets harder to clean.

Think of it like a lasagna dish. If you wash it right after the lasagna is eaten, it’s pretty easy to do, but if you wait a couple days and that tomato sauce dries, it gets a lot harder to wash.

Now, just replace the glass dish with a hunting pack, and replace the tomato sauce with blood and dirt.

So How Do I Wash My Hunting Backpack?

Before we get to methods, let’s mention that you should never wash and dry your hunting pack in a machine. For one, the detergent you use will leave its scent on the bag, and that’s not good for hunting.

Next, all of that blood and dirt are probably best left outside the washing machine, or else it will probably leave residue in the machine and get over your clothing when you use the machine the next time around. Finally, a tumble drier will do nothing but shrink the pack.

Let’s go over the easiest and best way to wash your hunting backpack.

Empty out all of the pockets and compartments. You cannot wash your hunting backpack if there is still gear inside of it.

Turn the hunting bag upside down with all pockets and compartments open as far as they can go. Give the backpack a good shake to get as much dirt, sand, and other debris out, as much as possible.

Now, if you do a good job at washing your hunting backpack after every single trip, a light cleaning may do just fine. This means simply using a coarse dish sponge, some warm water, and very mild soap to wipe any dirt and stains from the inside and outside of the backpack. Make sure to use soap that has as little of a scent as possible.

If your hunting backpack is very dirty, it may need a deep cleaning. This entails removing all possible straps and the metal frame, if there is one. You will want to soak all of the components in a bathtub full of warm water.

Add some soap into the mix and use a sponge to vigorously scrub all parts of the backpack, including the interior, exterior, the straps, and whatever else needs cleaning.

Drain the tub of the dirty water, fill it with cool water, swish the bag around in it, and rinse it out well. You may need to repeat this rinsing process to remove all residue. After this, simply hang the bag up and let it dry, preferably not in direct sunlight.


As you can see, while washing your hunting backpack is not hard to do, or a very lengthy process, it is quite important, so don’t forget to do it, preferably after every hunting trip.