Used Hunting Bag Buying Guide

Like if this guide is helpful
Used Hunting Bag Buying Guide

A hunting bag is not something that is generally sold on but buying used can be a lot more affordable than buying new. The good thing about buying used kit is that it means that the best brands become more obtainable and the buyer doesn’t need to buy low quality, which is usually a false economy.

 The term hunting bags covers a number of different bags designed to help the hunter. Any bag used when hunting needs to be:

  • strong
  • have decent straps and buckles
  • take a good weight
  • be comfortable on the shoulders.

Hunting bags are usually made of canvas, nylon or leather. Hessian and plastic are also used for some hunting bags.

When buying used bags always make sure that they have not been damaged in any way and that the buckles and straps are not frayed. If a bag has been stored badly then it may be suffering from damage through damp, mould or possible vermin infestation. If the bag is leather, see under cartridge bags for a short guide on how to take care of and restore leather bags.

1. Decoy Sacks/ Pigeon Bags

These are the biggest bags on the market. They are often referred to as pigeon bags. Made from hard-wearing cordura nylon material, they are both waterproof and difficult to rip. A typical pigeon bag is roughly 22” tall with a diameter of about 12”. It will have a drawstring, usually with a toggle at the top. Pigeon bags normally have an extra strong base to prevent any damp coming in from below.

More sophisticated bags come with a built-in bucket seat and an outer system for mounting the poles to form a hide. The key elements to look out for are strength and quality; after these, make sure that the bag has a good, wide carrying strap. A broad strap makes it much more comfortable to carry on the shoulder. Generally avoid pigeon bags that are made of cotton; they tend to rip quite easily. They are also not especially good in the wet.

Pigeon bags should carry all the equipment you will need when you are shooting pigeons or wildfowling. This should include your decoys, camouflage net and cartridges. They are particularly useful if the hunter has some way to walk to set up his hide.

There is a range of other bags for specific bits of kit. A pigeon rucksack has less capacity but is more comfortable to carry. There are also bags for Long Hide Poles as well as bags designed to carry or store pigeon magnets and rotaries.

Waterproofing is important when you are wildfowling; avoid the canvas bag in this sport. Canvas becomes heavy when wet; a good, waterproof cordura is a better choice..

2. Game Bags

When choosing a game bag, go for a bigger bag with a good, broad carrying strap; smaller game bags are just that bit too shallow; this could allow game to fall out as the bag is filled with game. A net on the front of a game bag is useful. It is a good compartment for carrying food and drink in, keeping it away from any game inside. Good game bags have a washable plastic lining which is easy to clean after use.

The classic English game bag is the Brady. Made of canvas, it is usually brown in colour. The Brady is available in a range of different sizes and styles.

You will see that there are also bigger, simpler game bags. These tend to be made of cordura or nylon and are helpful when there is a lot of game to be carried.

When choosing a game bag, make volume, or capacity, your priority. So many manufacturers produce bags that just aren’t big enough for the job. Your game bag should have good quality straps and buckles and allow you to carry a fair weight of game in reasonable comfort. Ask the seller how much game they have usually carried in the bag you are interested in.

Cartridge Bags

Used cartridge bags are amongst the best things to buy pre-owned. The best designed cartridge bags were produced between the wars. Old leather cartridge bags of this vintage, or in this style, are usually of better quality, having been handmade.

The quality of the stitching and the leather are always better if the cartridge bag was made by a master craftsman. If the bag is old but the leather is still in good condition, not rotted, you have spotted something that is well worth buying.

Designed solely for carrying shotgun ammunition, cartridge bags are usually made of canvas or leather.

The design should allow you to fill the bag up with ease. It should be just as easy to take the cartridges out of. It should be durable, with a flap that opens to give fast access to your cartridges without them spilling out.

Cartridge bags come in a range of sizes, which hold different numbers of cartridges. The most common size carries about 100 cartridges of 12 gauge size.

Smaller bags are useful to load into from another bigger bag, which you might leave in your vehicle, using the smaller bag on a longer walk or when shooting rough.

With buckles and straps, aim for the best possible quality as they have to put up with quite a lot of hard work. It is also hard to carry a bag with a broken strap when full. The strap is often a wide canvas strap, which sits comfortably on the shoulder. Sometimes the strap is a ‘stable belt’ design, which is a strong but light material.

The price of cartridge bags varies; the most affordable canvas bags cost about £40. The best quality can be as much as £500.

Brady is a good manufacturer of canvas cartridge bags. The best-known gunsmiths, such as Purdey, Holland & Holland, William Evans and Churchill, all produce ranges of cartridge bags.

If you have bought an old cartridge bag which is damaged, a good saddler or cobbler should be able to repair any snapped or rotted straps. A good saddle soap treatment will breathe new life into old leather. If the leather has dried out, apply some neatsfoot oil or dubbin.

Roe Sacks

This is a type of large rucksack . It was designed in Austria, where roe deer stalking demands covering some distance on foot. They are designed to carry deer. These are a useful addition to any deerstalker’s kit list.

Buying a used roe sack is a good option. Take care to check whether it has been used too much; make sure that there are no holes or damage to the sack. Pay careful attention to the stitching around the buckles to make sure that it isn’t frayed.

This canvas rucksack usually has two broad shoulder straps. It is big enough to hold a good-sized roe buck. It is very useful for transporting deer when on foot and a deer is shot but the stalker wishes to carry on and try for a second target.

Leaving a carcass can be unpopular, particularly in areas where there may be public rights of way. The deer is simply dropped into the roe sack, its head and legs stick out of the top of the bag. This distributes the weight, making it easier to carry over a distance. This also leaves your hands free to use your binoculars or rifle if required.

Be certain that the straps and buckles are of good quality. Also be sure that the sack has a detachable plastic lining so that it can be washed easily. The pockets on the outside of the rucksack are useful for butchering accessories, spare ammunition and knives. The top of the bag should have a drawstring so it can be tied tightly around the deer and stop it from moving about as you walk.

The roe sack is only suitable for deer up to the size of an adult roebuck. Larger carcasses must be transported in a different way. Harkila, Garlands and Napier all make well designed roe sacks ranging from £60- £100 in price new.

The better type of hunting bag will be:

  • washable
  • weatherproof
  • strong enough not be ripped
  • designed to carry all your equipment or game
  • as light as possible.

Take great care that all the straps, buckles and stitching are in good condition. Spending too little on any hunting bag can be a false economy.


When buying a used bag, ask the seller how it has been used, for how long. Remember, it is often in storage that the bag gets really damaged. Even if the hunting bag has not been used much, check for rot or vermin damage.

How to buy a Used Hunting Bag on eBay

Now that you've worked out which Hunting Bag you want, find them quickly on eBay. While you shop, don't forget Pellets, Bags, Rifle Scopes, Hunting Decoys, Belts. To start shopping, go to the Sports and Leisure category. Click the Sporting Goods portal and click Hunting.

Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Accessories, Cartridge Bags, Catapults, Clay Pigeon, Shooting, Clothing, DVDs, Falconry, Footwear, Gun Cabinets, Night Vision, Shooting Sticks, Sights & Scopes, Sunglasses, Targets, Trophies and Other Hunting. As you refine your search you'll be able to narrow down your choice by subcategory.

Product Finder: Use the Hunting products Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by type of product, brand, model and condition (new or used).

Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find new hunting bag, type the keywords "new hunting bag" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Buy Hunting Bags with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your item

Read the details in the item listing carefully.

Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.

If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.

Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

Know your seller

Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.

  • What is the seller’s Feedback rating? 
  • How many transactions have they completed?
  • How many positive responses do they have?
  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? 
  • Are they positive about the seller?
  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.
  • Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
  • What are their terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection your purchase price plus original delivery cost.


You can find a wide selection of used hunting bags on eBay, and you can easily narrow this down by the filters and search options available. When looking for a hunting bag it is key to consider what you'll be using it for, the climate that you'll be experiencing, and how many times you'll be planning to take it out. It may be an option to have a lighter bag for the summer, and a more rugged, waterproof variety for the winter. Having the right equipment can give you a significant advantage whilst hunting.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides