Many many years ago when we initially got back into fishing I didn’t have any tackle storage. I used plastic grocery store bags at first, unwilling to invest much money until I was sure it would be something we continued to do. Little did I know how much of an obsession it would become.
My first tackle bag was a Field and Stream shoulder bag that held two 3700 size or maybe larger boxes. Maybe some time I will take some pictures of that and do a post on it. It worked great for a while, but as fishing became a bigger part of my life I outgrew it. I began to look around at other solutions.
I knew I didn’t want a regular traditional hard plastic tackle box. I was drawn to backpacks and soft sided bags. Cabelas had a large selection and some really great items. I really liked the Expedition XPG (Cabelas store brand) Deluxe Anglers Backpack. But it was $100. I never could justify to myself spending $100 on a tackle bag. Well, after listenning to me talk about it and watching me drool over it for most of a year my wife broke down and got me the Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Anglers Backpack for Christmas one year. (This started a very good trend. She has bought me an awful lot of my fishing gear, usually as gifts. The biggest upside is that she then expects me to use it) The backpack is just awesome. It seems to go in and out of availability. Here is a screenshot of the stock picture and the description.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Anglers Backpack stock photo.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Cabelas Description
Here’s the link
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Pack
I have used it an abused it heavily over many years, and it’s as great today as it was in the beginning. It has more pockets and pouches than I know what to do with. In fact sometimes I fnd things in various pockets that I forgot were there. It holds, and came with three medium (3600) boxes. This is what started me on using all the same box size so I could set up the boxes and then just grab the boxes I wanted to take for the day. That decision has so far served me well. I don’t think it matters what size you go with, but once you pick a size life is much easier if you stick to it for everything. There is side access to the area for holding the three medium (3600) plano boxes. It occupies about two thirds of the top half of the back pack. You can cram a couple of smaller boxes in there on top of and in front of the medium boxes if you need to.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler 3 Medium Plano Box Pocket
As mentioned it does have a cooler. It is the bottom front compartment. I only have 2 complaints about the backpack. The first is that the cooler has nothing to give it form so the weight of your tackle and other gears causes it to crumple. This can potentially crush sandwiches or styrofoam worm containers and also prevents the backpack from standing up when you set it down. I solved this easily by finding a plastic container at Wal Mart that was a snug fit in the cooler. However it would have been nice if they had included a hard plastic form like many regular soft sided coolers do.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Cooler
Other than that the cooler is awesome. It is definately big enough, and conveniently located. I usually stick a cold pack in there along with food or bait and that will keep things cold all day. Especially if the contents were refrigerated bfore you put them in. I tried freezing bottles of water or other drinks, thinking they would thaw slowly throughout the day keeping the other contents cool and providing me with a continuous supply of cold drinks. However in the cooler they didn’t thaw fast enough and were still mostly frozen at the end of the day. The other benefit to using a plastic container inside the cooler is that it prevents dirt and crud from getting into all of the nooks and crannys. I have had styrofoam or platic worm containers break in it and getting the dirt of the corners and edges is very difficult.
If you don’t have anything that you want to keep cool then the cooler can hold 4 more medium (3600) boxes.
The main compartment takes up the back third of the backpack and extends it’s full height. It could hold a lot more medium boxes, or even larger boxes, but I use it for other things. It has a pouch for a hydration bladder, with a pass through in the top for the tube. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with the hydration bladder. But they are readily available in all price ranges from Camelback to Ozark Trail (Wal Mart). Mine is a Cabelas store brand bladder that I found on clearance in the bargain cave. I think I paid around $8 for it. I used to use that regularly for long hikes and bush whacking. In fact I would often fill it the day before and stick it in the refrigerator overnight. It would stay cold enough for most of the day.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Full Size Main Compartment Hydration Pocket
Usually I have a copy of the Pennsylvania fishing regulations book for the current year in there, a roll of toilet paper, a rain poncho, and a pasta container I use for my snell holders for pre snelled hooks. That leaves plenty of space which can hold other boxes, my big stringer on a long winder of boat line, or any sundries my wife thinks we need to drag along for the day. You could even use this to pack basics for a primitive overnighter.
There is a hard compression molded compartment on the top front which I think was intended for electronics. It is vaguely CD player shaped. That will give you an idea of how long I have had this. People still used portable CD players back then. It may be waterproof too, but I am not certain. I keep a couple of cheap walkie talkies and some batteries in there among other junk. I don’t store batteries in the walkie talkies so they won’t leak and ruin them.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Electronics Pocket
The front of the backpack, the flap that closes the cooler, has rows of horizontal loops and one verticle loop. I use the horizontal loops for holding my rod holders. The curly Q style rod holders stay in fairly well if you twist them in with the loops going through the curls. The fork style rod holders have to be twist tied to the loop or they can slide out. How do I know? Because I originally had 4 of those 😉
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Front Loops
The verticle loop was for the tool pouch. This is the 2nd of my two complaints. The tool pouch was located low enough that the ends of the pliers or other tools extend below the bottom of the backpack. If you set the backpack down the ground or a hard surface it would push the pliers or other tools up and out of the holder. There is a retention strap to hold the pliers in, but then the entire tool pouch gets pushed up off of the loop. I have lost the whole tool holder more than once. Thank goodness I have always found it again. But one time when I did not have the retention strap snapped I lost a large collection of various sized and shaped forceps and bandage scissors at Memorial lake. They got pushed out while the backpack was sitting on a picnic table and I didn’t notice. I hope whoever found them put them to good use.
Above the cooler and below the electronics pocket there is a small horizontal pocket with 3 internal pouches. I use it for papers, maps, a small Cabelas multi tool, a fish scale/ruler, and wet wipes. I used to keep my fishing license in there, but since I got my hat it stays on there all the time.
Under that is a hard sided sunglasses case. That holds my glasses strap and my clip on shades if I am not wearing them. I always use a glasses strap for my glasses when engaging in outdoor activities. I am as blind as a bat and will be in serious trouble if my glasses get lost.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Small Front Pocket And Hard Sunglasses Case
On the left, if you are facing the backpack, there are top and bottom pockets with water bottle holders on their outside. I attached the tool pouch to the upper water bottle holder instead of the intended loop on the front. There are also assorted D rings and attachment points scattered about. The yellow thing hanging there is a mini screwdriver I added to one such attachment point. The top pocket is the opening to the 3600 box compartment. I used to use the water bottle holders for my telescoping rods. I would put the butt in the bottom mesh and loop the elastic from the top one over the end of the collapsed rod.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Left Pocket And Bottle Holder
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Right Bottom Pocket And Bottle Holder
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Right Top Pocket And Dry Pouch
On the right side, facing the backpack, there are upper and lower pockets again. The lower also has a water bottle holder outside of it like the left side pockets. The top right pocket does not. It has a roll top insulated waterproof pouch. This is listed as being for electronics, but you could stick anything in there that absolutely had to stay dry. I never used it for much aside from my cell phone. I did not do much wading with this backpack on. I did a number of stream crossings, and I did slip and fall in several times. But a large backpack really alters your balance, and on slippery rocks it’s almost a garauntee that you will take a plunge. But I never fully submerged myself or the backpack so it wasn’t an issue.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Padded Back And Tools
On the other side you can see the backpack is extremely well padded. The straps are wide, thick and also very well padded. There is a large waistbelt, also well padded. It is very cofortable to wear. In fact it is probably the most comfortable backpack I have ever worn. I have to say that I have never worn a serious hiking/backpacking pack, but compared to any of your standard backpacks this one is a pleasure to wear. I have used it on some of what are long hikes to me. Before I got the kayak I used to regularly hike 4-8 miles each way on fishing excursions. For hikers and backpackers that may not be much, but for most fisherman that’s pretty serious. I have a pair of forceps and a pair of bandage scissors attached to the strap by a gear retractor and a water bottle holder attached to the other strap. There are various loops for holding the hydration bladder tube, and for attaching whatever other gear you like.
I do not plan to ever buy another tackle bag or box for fishing from land (although one was given to me as a gift). This backpack is top notch and covers all the bases and then some. It is well made, comfortable, adaptable, holds more than enough gear, and has all of the extra features one could ask for. It has held up well to more use and abuse than most fisherman probaby inflict on their gear. They seem to go in and out of availability at Cabelas. Currently they do not seem to be available. If they become available again I may get another one just to have a backup.
Below is another picture of the backpack, and pictures of tha tags that were attached to it.
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Closed
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Tags Front
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Tags Interior Left
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Tags Interior Right
Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Angler Tags Back