How to Wash a Hunting Backpack?: A Simple Guide

When you’re an avid hunter, your backpack becomes your trusted companion on countless adventures. It carries your gear, sustenance, and memories of successful hunts. However, after extensive use, your hunting backpack can accumulate dirt, bloodstains, and odors that need to be addressed. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of washing your hunting backpack, ensuring it remains clean and scent-free for your next expedition.

Gathering Supplies

Before you embark on the journey of cleaning your hunting backpack, it’s essential to gather all the necessary supplies. You will need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • A large basin or bathtub
  • Lukewarm water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Scent-eliminating detergent (optional)
  • Waterproofing spray (if applicable)
  • Towels
  • Clothesline or hanger

Preparing the Backpack

Start by emptying your backpack. We have Written a simple guide on What is the neoprene pocket on Cabela’s hunting backpack. Check all pockets and compartments for any hidden items. Open all zippers and loosen any straps. This step ensures that you have access to every part of the backpack for a thorough cleaning.

Cleaning the Exterior

Remove Loose Dirt

Begin by shaking out the backpack to remove loose dirt and debris. Use a soft-bristle brush or a damp cloth to wipe away the remaining dirt. Pay special attention to areas with visible stains.

Soak the Backpack

Fill the basin or bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. We have written a detailed review on Best Backpack for Saddle Hunting. Submerge the backpack completely and gently agitate it. Allow it to soak for 15-20 minutes to loosen dirt and stains.


Using the soft-bristle brush or an old toothbrush, scrub the exterior of the backpack, paying attention to stained areas. Avoid using harsh brushes that may damage the fabric.

Cleaning the Interior

Empty the Pockets

Remove all items from the pockets and compartments. Shake out loose dirt and vacuum if necessary.

Hand Wash

For the interior, create a solution of mild detergent and water. We have written a simple guide on How to Clean Out a Bloody Hunting Backpack. Use a cloth or sponge to wipe down the interior surfaces, paying close attention to any soiled areas.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the interior with clean water to remove any detergent residue. Ensure that no soap is left behind, as it can cause odors.

Handling Bloodstains

Pre-Treat Bloodstains

Bloodstains can be tough to remove. Pre-treat them with a mixture of cold water and salt. Gently rub the stained area with this solution before proceeding with the cleaning process.

Use Scent-Eliminating Detergent

Consider using a scent-eliminating detergent specially designed for hunting gear. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Dealing with Odors

Sunlight and Fresh Air

After cleaning, hang your backpack outside in the sunlight and fresh air. This helps eliminate odors and ensures your backpack smells fresh.

Scent-Killing Spray

Apply a scent-killing spray to your backpack for added odor control. Make sure it is compatible with your backpack material.

Drying Your Backpack

Pat Dry

After cleaning, pat the exterior and interior of the backpack dry with towels. We have written a detail review on Best Backpack for Archery Hunting. Remove as much moisture as possible.

Air Dry

Hang your backpack on a clothesline or hanger in a well-ventilated area. Avoid using direct heat sources, as they can damage the fabric.

Maintaining Zippers and Buckles

Lubricate Zippers

Apply zipper lubricant to keep them functioning smoothly. This prevents them from sticking or jamming.

Check Buckles

Inspect buckles for damage and ensure they are securely fastened. Replace any damaged buckles promptly.

Reproofing the Backpack


If your backpack is designed to be waterproof, reproof it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures it remains water-resistant.

Storing Your Clean Backpack

Proper Storage

Store your clean and dry backpack in a cool, dry place. Avoid damp areas that can promote mold and odors.

Tips for Longevity

  • Clean your backpack after every hunting trip.
  • Use a scent-free storage container to keep your gear odor-free.
  • Inspect your backpack for wear and tear regularly.
  • Avoid overloading your backpack to prevent strain on seams and zippers.


A well-maintained hunting backpack is crucial for a successful hunting expedition. By following these steps, you can ensure that your backpack remains clean, scent-free, and in excellent condition for many hunting seasons to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I machine wash my hunting backpack?

No, it’s not recommended to machine wash hunting backpacks, as the agitation and harsh detergents can damage the fabric and components.

Q2: How often should I reproof my backpack?

Reproof your backpack as needed, typically when you notice that it no longer repels water effectively.

Q3: Can I use regular detergent for cleaning?

Using mild, unscented detergent is recommended, as it won’t leave strong odors that can spook game animals.

Q4: Can I dry my backpack in a dryer?

No, avoid using a dryer, as the heat can damage the fabric and components. Air drying is the best method.

Q5: Should I store my backpack with gear in it?

It’s best to empty your backpack and store it without gear to prevent the accumulation of odors and maintain its shape.

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