Last Updated on December 27, 2022
A well-prepared hunter always sets the stage before hitting the field, and one piece of gear that’ll help ensure a successful 2023 harvest is a quality set of game bags.
Because once you take an animal down, you must protect its meat from dirt, bugs, bacteria, and temperatures that can spoil it. It’s essential to cover all the bases before setting off, which is why we put together this comprehensive guide to the best game bags in the world today.
Whether you need sacks for elk, deer, moose, bear, small game, you name it; we’ve got a set of bags on this list that’ll suit you.
This list includes some of the best, most durable, breathable, and downright reliable options on the market today. We’ve made sure to include products across several price points since we know that every hunter’s budget is different than the next.
And if you’re an ultralight hunter who likes to go deeper and farther into the woods than the average Joe, we’ve included some super lightweight options for you. As a backcountry hunter who averages 25,000 steps a day, I know every ounce and square inch inside your pack matters.
From KUIU, Caribou Gear, Argali, BlackOvis, and other trusted names, 2023’s best game bags are just a couple of clicks away. So, buckle up, grip that cup of coffee tight, and let us help you keep that meat fresh, pack it out comfortably, and ensure that not a single ounce goes to waste.
Table of Contents: Best Game Bags of 2023 [Show/Hide]
- Why Use Game Bags?
- Best Overall: KUIU Quarter & Boned Out
- Best Game Bag for The Money: BlackOvis Lightweight
- Best for Elk Hunters: Caribou Gear The Wapiti
- Best for Deer, Antelope & Bear: Argali M.O.B.
- Best for Moose, Caribou & Bison: Caribou Gear Magnum Pack M.O.B.
- Lightweight Backcountry Bags: Argali High Country Pack Ultralight
- Budget Lightweight Bags: Allen Lightweight
- Ultra-Budget Bags: Koala Buck Economy
- Best for Full Carcasses: Allen Backcountry
- Vest for Small Game: ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Upland
- Game Bag FAQs
- Final Thoughts: Best Game Bags of 2023
- More Hunting Gear & Resources
Can’t you just go at it old school, throw that quarter up over your shoulder, and lug it back to your truck the old-fashioned way? After all, that’s how your grandpappy did it back in the day.
As manly as that sounds, here’s why game bags are the smarter, easier, and more ethical way to haul out your kill.
Your harvest is a precious resource. Not only did you spend a lot of time and money trying to down that animal, but you’re probably really looking forward to grilling up its meat.
And if you don’t take care of the meat, you stand to lose a lot of it to dirt, bacteria, scrapes, and gouges.
I learned this lesson the hard way. I shot a cow elk when I was a teenager, deep in Colorado’s nasty, dark timber. I was an unprepared beginner and had forgotten my game bags at home. As you can imagine, the meat was in really rough shape by the time I dragged that girl out of there.
Furthermore, I underestimated how fast the flies would get to the meat. By the time I got home, I could see hundreds of fly eggs planted on the unprotected quarters. Two quarters were covered in tiny larvae within two days in the garage. I lost a lot of meat.
A quality set of game bags could have prevented this tragedy, which I why I’ve never forgotten to bring a good set along since that day.
Best Game Bags in the World
KUIU Quarter and Boned Out
If you’ve finally drawn that coveted sheep tag after years of trying, a top-of-the-class bag set like these from KUIU might just be worth every penny. They’re our top overall game bag of 2023.
By all accounts, these sacks from KUIU are among the most durable, antimicrobial, and temperature regulating options available in 2023. If you’re a professional hunter or guide who must protect their harvests at all costs, look no further.
Some of us want our gear to perform at the highest level — whether game bags, socks, or rangefinders — and these bad boys won’t let you down. For those hunters who leave nothing to chance and want to up their game to the top level, you’ve met your match.
- Materials – Lightweight synthetic fabric blend
- Weight – 4.5 oz per bag
- Why We Like Them: Good as it gets in terms of breathability, temperature regulation, and durability
Best Overall Game Bags for the Money
BlackOvis makes hunting gear that strikes a balance between durability and affordability, which is why I consistently buy their products. They stand behind their top-notch gear and have a straightforward return process if you’re not satisfied. That’s been my experience, anyway.
This set of bags is the best value of 2023 because they are reusable, reliable, and tough as nails. This kit includes five sacks, which are excellent if you want to keep those choice cuts from getting all buggered up inside a bag with the bulky quarters. The bags are super compact, lightweight, and do well at keeping the bugs away.
I’ll be using the XL-sized bags this year on my elk hunt. I used their large size last season, but I had a hard time getting the hindquarters to fit, so I had to trim a few roasts off. To be fair, the bull we took down was a monster.
- Materials: Taslan nylon with reflective strip
- Weight: 1 lb 9 oz
- Why We Like Them: Breathable, lightweight, durable, they come with gloves and a tarp
Rugged and Reliable Option for Elk Hunters
Caribou Gear The Wapiti
Elk harvests do not come easy, and you must protect that meat when you’re lucky enough to take down one of these formidable beasts. The Caribou Wapiti sacks are perfectly designed just for this purpose.
I’ve seen a few of these in action in the field, and I’m always quite impressed at how form-fitting they are for a Meat on Bone (M.O.B.) elk pack-out. They’re lightweight and pack down tiny but are also made of modern materials that make them very tough, durable, and breathable.
They’re reusable and will make for an excellent investment and represent a considerable step up from the old cheesecloth bags that your grandfather taught you to use. There’s nothing wrong with old-school hunting tactics, but sometimes it’s beneficial to introduce a little innovation now and again.
- Materials: Synthetic nylon blend
- Weight: 1 lb 2 oz
- Why We Like Them: Designed to fit elk, super small footprint in your pack
Sacks for Deer, Antelope & Bear Hunters
I’ve had my eyes on these Argali bags for a while, and I may just pull the trigger for this year’s 2023 muzzleloader mule deer hunt in Colorado. They’re versatile and robust from what I can gather and have plenty of room to haul all parts and pieces from your harvest.
Argali has gone from a niche brand to a pretty well-known name in hunting gear. I’ve seen a few backcountry guides use these exact bags, and they had been using the same set for a couple of seasons. (Although you couldn’t really tell since the fabric doesn’t hold stains all that much.)
Argalis are machine-washable, meaning you can use these bad boys for several seasons if you’re lucky (or skilled) enough to get the job done.
- Materials: Nylon blend
- Weight: 12 oz
- Why We Like Them: Well-reviewed online, check back with us in October when we (hopefully) knock down a monster muley
BIG Bags for Moose, Caribou & Buffalo
Caribou Magnum Pack M.O.B.
These are essentially the same quality game bags as the pick mentioned above, but they’re built for bigger animals. These can hold moose or bison quarters with ease and will work well during long-distance backcountry pack-outs when it’s tough to keep the bugs off the meat.
No, these aren’t the cheapest game bags of 2023, but they’ll be well worth the investment if you’re hunting areas with lots of bugs and tough haul-outs. It takes many people a lifetime to draw a moose tag, so you don’t want to skimp on caring for that sweet meat and prized trophy.
Buy an extra XL bag if you plan to take the cape with you, as is often done when hunting bison or moose. Bringing along the extra storage will help keep that hide and skin in showroom quality and prevent it from getting ripped up and damaged by thorns, thistles, and timber.
- Materials: Synthetic blend
- Weight: 2 lb 14 oz
- Why We Like Them: Durable and perfect fit larger animals with ease
Lightweight Sacks for Backcountry Hunters
Argali Highcountry Pack Ultralight
If you’re anything like me, you like to push your limits in the backcountry. That means hiking farther and working harder than the other hunters on the mountain to give yourself that little bit of extra advantage.
When drop-camp-style backcountry hunting, we hunters must be aware of every single ounce of equipment we put in our packs. When considering how many working pieces there are on our gear lists, we need to get creative when saving weight and space in our backpacks.
These Argali high country game bags are just what the doctor ordered regarding weight efficiency and packability. They pack down to a soda can, and the whole set weighs a meager 9 ounces. For my money, it’s harder to find a more lightweight and compact set of game bags.
- Materials: Nylon blend
- Weight: 9 oz
- Why We Like Them: Superlight and amazingly light footprint in your pack
Budget & Lightweight Option
I’ve included these sacks from Allen little more economical than the previous set from Argali. Allen is a household name in the world of quality hunting gear, and this inexpensive set of meat sacks is an excellent example of why.
These bags aren’t as lightweight or packable as the Argalis above, but they’re super reliable and durable enough for even the most challenging conditions. I’ve never owned these, but I may buy them in a pinch if I don’t pull the trigger on a more expensive set from this list.
They weigh in at 2.3 pounds total, so they are a bit heavier as well. However, they can hold some pretty big quarters with a size 40” x 20” bag. You may be pushing it on a big bull Moose, but you shouldn’t have problems fitting a cow, an elk, or caribou quarter inside.
- Materials: Nylon blend
- Weight: 2 lb 5 oz
- Why We Like Them: Fantastic economical option for those who don’t want to skimp on quality
Ultra-Budget Old-School Option
Koala Buck Economy
I’ve been hunting most of my life, so I know firsthand how expensive the sport can be. The truth is, some seasons you might not have to budget to spring for the best gear. Or maybe you’re just an old-school hunter who only wants basic bags to haul their harvest.
These bags are plenty good enough for most hunting applications regardless of your situation. Yes, they are bulkier and heavier than other options on this list, but their cheesecloth style fabric lets in plenty of air to cool down your meat as you pack it out.
They won’t take a beating like BlackOvis or KUIU bags, but what would you expect for a kit of sacks that typically rings in under $25? If you’re after a no-nonsense set of game bags that’ll save you some serious cash to spend on your other gear, here they are.
- Materials: Cotton polyester blend
- Weight: 1 lb 3 oz
- Why We Like Them: Reasonably priced, breathable
Best Full Carcass Sack
Allen Backcountry Full Carcass
If you’re the type of hunter who likes to take their harvest out whole, I’ve got you covered. After all, there’s nothing better than bringing every last bit of that meat and trophy home with you to work on in your well-lit garage.
These bags are pretty lightweight, but if you’re using them to take out an animal in one piece, I imagine you’re not super concerned with their weight. All you need to know is that these are exactly as tough as you’ll need them to be when it comes to hauling out a whole animal.
Strong enough to hold an entire bull elk but delicate enough to keep your cape, these full carcass bags from Allen are an excellent option for those who don’t quarter their animals in the field. They come in two sizes; the longer one is better for elk or caribou, and the shorter one will excel for deer.
- Materials: Nylon Blend
- Weight: 1 lb
- Why We Like Them: Super durable and rugged fabric helps keep your whole animal’s meat intact, clean, and free of the elements.
Vest For Small Game Hunters
ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Upland
When I hunted small game in my younger years, I’d carry my birds in a small grocery bag or with my bare hands. Well, I grew up, and now I pack out that pheasant, rabbit, or squirrel in a vest. It’s so much easier to slap that small game into my vest’s convenient back pouch than to put it onto a hanger or into a sack.
Yes, I get it, this isn’t a standalone game bag like the other options on this list, but this ALPS Outdoor vest will carry your kills all the same. There’s also room in this bad boy to hold a bunch of my other gear, like my hunting knife, headlamp, GoPro, and more.
It sports several convenient pockets and has a large area in the back that’s big enough to hold your daily bag limit. I also love how the shoulder straps on this vest allow for unrestricted movement, which helps when it comes time to take a shot and drop that bird you’re after.
- Materials: Polyester
- Weight: 2 lb 12 oz
- Why We Like it: Super useful for small game, high-quality materials, blaze orange
It’s common knowledge that you’ll need some sacks to store your meat after the harvest, but choosing the right bag isn’t always easy. If you’ve spent any time researching game bags online, you’re probably aware that there are loads of different styles, sizes, and materials to choose from.
Modern-day game bags run the gamut, so the best you can do is study the terrain you’re hunting, know the size of game you plan on taking down, consider your budget, and pick an option that works for you. Not all game bags are made the same.
What Type of Material is Best for Game Bags?
The old cheesecloth-style sacks are timeless; they allow the meat to breathe and cool down while also protecting the harvest from the elements. But there are new lightweight options made from synthetic fabrics that will breathe better, hold up for longer, and stave off bacteria better.
Synthetic materials are also less bulky and typically stronger than cotton-made cheesecloth bags. If you anticipate traveling deep into the mountains and lugging your harvest for miles, I highly recommend the synthetic bags over the cheesecloth style.
How Many Bags Do I Need?
If you’re hunting big game, you’ll need room to carry four quarters, backstraps, tenderloins, as well as all the neck, brisket, and miscellaneous meat. I like to keep most of these cuts separate, which helps with the cooling process, and I never recommend putting two quarters in the same bag.
Four or five game bags will likely be enough to hunt for mule deer, whitetail, or similar-sized big game animals. But how many game bags for an elk? I personally always carry five in my pack, although on occasion, it’s nice to have an extra on hand, in case you take down a monster.
How Big Should Should My Bags Be?
Deer? Moose? Squirrel? What size animal are you shooting at anyways? The answer to that question will determine which size of game bags you need.
Most game bags are available in S, M, L, and XL sizes, but some are tailor-fitted to the type of game animal you’re chasing. Small and medium-sized bags should be good for most small game, whereas big game should call for large, extra-large, and a few mediums for the premium cuts.
Do I Need M.O.B. or Boned Out Bags?
If you keep your meat on the bone (M.O.B.) and take the whole quarter out with you, you’ll need some larger bags to carry the entire kit and caboodle. But, if you are like some hunters, you may separate the meat from the bone while in the field. If that’s the case, you can purchase “boned out” bags.
There you have it, the absolute best game bags for your 2023 hunting season and beyond. We hope you’ve found a bit of everything from small game vests to ultralight backcountry bags to super tough and durable sacks for the biggest of beasts.
Whether you’re tracking elk through the Rockies, chasing moose through Alaska, or stalking monster muleys in Arizona, you’ll need the best possible game meat sacks for the job. They’re one of the most critical pieces of gear in your pack when it comes to protecting and preserving that hard-earned meat and trophy.
We included several selections from the industry’s top brands — like KUIU, Caribou Gear, Allen, Argali, and Black Ovis — so you can rest assured you’re buying bags that’ll last. And, if you think we’ve left out an option that deserves to be on this list, leave us a comment below to help us keep up with the top products in an ever-changing market.
Thanks for stopping by to check out the best game bags 2023 has to offer.
Now, get out there and fill them.
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