One of the keys to a successful forage — whether you’re hunting for mushrooms, fresh fruits, and vegetables, or anything in between — is having the right foraging accessories on hand.
When it comes to accessories, there’s none more important than the foraging bag or basket you choose to bring with you on your hunt.
In this article, we’re going to share some of the best foraging bags and baskets on the market and help you understand why choosing the right one is so important.
Our Top Picks
Hide & Drink Waxed Canvas Foraging Pouch
Gootium Thick Canvas Rucksack
Best for Morel Hunting
Morel Mushroom Store’s My Lucky Shrooming Bag
The Best Foraging Bags and Baskets
If DIY isn’t your thing, and you’d rather not spend your time drilling holes into buckets or cutting up milk jugs and threading them with paracord for hands-free harvesting, here is a list of some of the best foraging bags and baskets you can buy.
This is not to knock DIY-ers. If you’re all about reduce-reuse-recycle, that’s a wonderful prerogative, and kudos to you!
1. Hide and Drink: Waxed Canvas Foraging Pouch
This nifty little pouch is great to have on hand, just in case you spot a few mushrooms on whatever adventure you’re having.
It’s pretty much a removable pocket that you can clip to your belt. When not in use it can fold up into a portable little cube about the size of a cargo pocket and is just as durable and hands-free.
This pouch is super discreet until it’s stuffed full of mushrooms, so is best for enthusiasts just looking for a couple of specimens to add to their collection.
2. Gootium: Thick Canvas Rucksack
This is the ultimate mushroomer daypack. It’s made of strong, dirt-resistant canvas and has no zippers, making it very snag-proof.
This rucksack has multiple pockets, so you can always find your knife, field guide, water bottle, or trail mix without disturbing your mushrooms.
It’s low-profile and won’t attract unwanted attention, and is even water-resistant.
The big trade-off is that it has poor airflow, so be sure to transfer your mushrooms to a storage container after getting them home.
3. Morel Mushroom Store: Mushroom Foraging Bag
As you can tell by the name, this bag was designed with shroomers in mind! This hands-free shoulder bag is both durable and breathable, made of mesh that is comfortable but strong.
It has an attached pouch that can be used as an extra pocket or the entire bag can be folded into it for easy packing and storage.
The only con for this bag is the giant “My Lucky Shrooming Bag” print on the outside for those trying to keep their finds a secret.
4. AuSable – Trappers Hardwood Basket 20″
This is the sort of thing you might imagine nomads using hundreds of years ago to carry what they’ve gathered back to the village.
It’s just an open basket, with shoulder straps that are used mainly by ice fishermen, but is well-known in the mushroom hunting community as well.
The straps are comfortable and the basket is sturdy. It happens to be an ideal container for foragers that have to carry a large bounty long-distance.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to waterproof this container at home before you can use it.
5. Berkley Rattan Fishing Creel
These handmade baskets get points for both beauty and utility. The basket is both wide and deep, woven tightly, with a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
They will work for preserving small harvests, but can also carry larger harvests if you’re not too worried about a little bruising, and are a fashionable, and functional way to carry mushrooms a long distance.
These works of art will attract attention and are not the best choice for hunting incognito.
What to Consider When Choosing a Foraging Bag or Basket
When it comes down to it, there’s a lot of contradicting opinions when it comes to choosing the best foraging bag or basket.
This is because there are so many considerations to take into account. What might work for one forager might not be ideal for another forager with different priorities.
For example, someone looking to throw their mushrooms into a soup as soon as they get home might not be as concerned about a few bruises, compared to someone looking to sell their harvest.
It is up to the individual to understand the trade-offs in order to make the best foraging bag or basket selection for their purposes.
Remember that the more durable options tend to come with a bigger price tag.
At the most convenient end of the spectrum is the reused grocery bag.
A forager can always be ready for their next mushroom or berry find by keeping a pocket knife and a couple of folded-up plastic bags in their pockets.
This lightweight and inexpensive option is great for exploring and carrying home your harvest, just be aware that they are not the best for long-term storage, so be sure to have a more permanent container at home ready to go.
If you’re a mycophile, it’s important to note that mushrooms stored in plastic can easily spoil and become toxic.
Since moisture can’t escape and airflow is restricted, your mushrooms can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
Just as convenient as plastic, a paper grocery bag has improved airflow and can be a good way to transport mushrooms assuming they don’t get too wet.
Wet mushrooms and humidity can quickly cause your bag to rot, become moldy, or at the very least cause the paper to tear and all your precious mushrooms to fall out.
Keeping your hands free is another way to gauge the convenience of a container.
While baskets limit you to one hand, a single-strap backpack or pouch can free up your hands for climbing trees, or rocky terrain when foraging for hard-to-reach fungi or other organic items.
An everyday backpack or multifunctional bag, while convenient, is also a good choice for those wishing to be discreet about their mushroom hunting, or hoping to keep their hunting grounds from becoming common knowledge.
Secrecy isn’t always a symptom of a hoarder that doesn’t want to share, but instead, it can be a useful conservation tactic.
Mushrooms could be thought of like fruit on a tree. Harvesting mushrooms won’t kill the whole mycelium, but continual overharvesting will prevent it from breeding.
Not to mention many mycelia tend to grow in fragile habitats that could easily be damaged by too many visitors, even if they aren’t there for the mushrooms.
Some hunters may want to be secretive because they have permission to hunt on private land and they don’t want other hunters to think they are welcome as well.
Whatever the reason a forager may want to be stealthy, it’s important that their container is inconspicuous and not out of the ordinary for any hiker or traveler to be wearing.
A day-pack full of other outdoor essentials like bug spray and a first aid kit will deflect any curious stares or questions from anyone passing by.
If quality is high on the priority list, then you will want to steer clear of plastic and most bags in general.
Bags make it harder to prevent jostling which will easily damage fragile mushrooms. When it comes to maintaining quality, the best containers will be durable and have good ventilation.
For small harvests, a basket will be sufficient, but for larger harvests consider a bucket that can be strapped to a frame pack.
Some mushroom hunters will take protecting their mushrooms more seriously than others.
For example, a forager who is only focused on throwing their mushrooms into a cooking pot won’t be too concerned about damage as they will probably be slicing the mushrooms up anyways.
On the other hand, a collector whose main goal is to collect individual specimens for spore printing or other scientific research would be very concerned about damaging the integrity of their specimen.
Where the former might want a larger harvest for eating, the latter may only want a few mushrooms for a collection.
In the case of the latter, a good container would allow enough space to spread each mushroom out without smashing into each other. A wide but shallow basket with a few paper towels would do nicely.
Some in the mycophile community mistakenly believe mesh bags or mesh bottomed buckets allow for harvested mushrooms to release their spores on the journey home, leading to propagation.
Though a beautiful sentiment, this wishful thinking isn’t realistic.
If harvested mushrooms could still release significant amounts of spores, mushroom harvesting would be a very dusty, messy business.
Spore printing is possible because spores are sticky, this means that if mushrooms were leaving a trail of spores behind, the inside of the container should also have some residual spore dust to show for it.
Many mushrooms are identified by their spores either through prints or by looking at spore characteristics under a microscope.
Most mushrooms take 12-24 hours to get a good spore print, which is much longer than the average journey home from the field, even when walking.
Also, if mushrooms collected in the same bag were contaminating each other with their spores, there should be some accounts of misidentification.
In the mushroom business misidentification could be a dangerous game to play.
All this implies that mushrooms are not imperceptibly dusting each other as well as the observation that there are no guidebooks advising foragers to prevent this.
This is not to discourage the use of mesh bags, as they offer good airflow, rather to dispel misleading information that may lead to picking a container with the wrong reasons in mind.
Some mycophiles enjoy other hobbies that connect them to nature and art, such as basket weaving.
Why not weave a custom basket that is both perfect for collecting your mushrooms and a beautiful piece of art?
Choice of Foraging Bag and Basket
Whether you choose a more convenient, thriftier option of the repurposed plastic foraging bag, create a handwoven special basket, or purchase a specific foraging bag, don’t leave home without it. When it comes to foraging accessories, the foraging bag or basket is a necessity for your hunt.
Click here for more foraging information and to help you discover which plants are edible and which are poisonous.
If you have a different type of foraging bag or basket to suggest, please leave a comment below. Happy hunting.