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Concealed carry while wearing a backpack?

I’m just about done with my level 3 BOB, and as I’ve been thinking things through I realized I have no idea how I would carry a concealed pistol while wearing a pack with a hip belt. The only thing I can think of that seems practical would be to carry it in a pouch attached to the hip belt itself, though presumably that would severely limit my ability to draw the gun quickly, even with a pouch designed for concealed carry. Stowing the pistol in the pack itself strikes me as a no-go. What do you guys think? Does anyone have experience with a situation like this? I’m curious to hear whatever solutions the rest of you in the community have come up with.

FWIW, my carry gun for a bug out scenario is a Glock 19, for which I have both IWB and OWB holsters.

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  • Comments (25)

    • 4

      For belt concealed carry with a hip belt, I don’t have any good solutions. I’ve open carried with a hip belt (out in the mountains), and it was pretty uncomfortable: neither the holster nor the hip belt rode right. Exo Mtn Gear has a holster system for their packs https://exomtngear.com/pages/selecting-a-pack-holster but it’s hardly concealable from the look of it.

      If you’re open to chest carry, however, the HPG Kit Bag is excellent: http://hillpeoplegear.com/Products/CategoryID/1

      It’s not exactly covert, but it’s not exactly overt either.

      For a G19, the Runners or Recon is probably the right size. There should be enough space in the front pocket for a spare mag and other small accessories like a compact trauma kit or compass, and with a Dale Fricke Zacchaeus mini-holster (https://dalefrickeholsters.com/product/zacchaeus-concealment-holster/) in the main compartment, the gun will have its trigger covered.

      • 3

        Hi @kismet,

        It’s funny that you should bring up chest carry. I’d been looking for something like the HPG kit bags, just for hiking, but hadn’t found anything I liked, and hadn’t even thought about it as an option for concealed carry. These HPG kit bags, though, look brilliant. Thanks for suggesting them!

        After doing some research, I think the Original Kit Bag (v2) is the one for me. Here’s my reasoning:

        • I want a bag I can use for concealed carry, and for carrying a few smaller items I’d like to have more accessible; e.g. phone, wallet, multitool, flashlight, pen/pad, etc.
        • According to info I found on the site, the small footprint bags (6″x8.5″) are only just big enough to hold a G19, and not much else, without turning the bag into a “brick” that can ride uncomfortably on the chest, and is hard to put things into and take things out of.
        • The large footprint bags (7.5″x11.5″) are big enough to hold a full size gun, and all else being equal, that’s what I’d rather carry. The only reason I was planning to carry the G19 was because it’s the largest gun I have that’s still fairly easily concealable at the waist.
        • The Recon and Runner’s bags, at 1″ depth, are too thin for how I want to use the bag. A gun larger than a subcompact will print, and there’s nowhere to put much else without overstuffing the bag.
        • I don’t need or want PALS on the front (too “tactical” looking, and I won’t use it), so of the thicker bags, that leaves just the Original (v2).

        Also, FWIW, I wrote customer service to ask for an ETA on when the color I want would be back in stock, and I heard back from them in under an hour (thanks Kevin!). It’ll be back in stock tomorrow, so I’m going to put an order in then, and if anyone’s interested, I’ll post a review here after I have a chance to try it out.

        One last thing… HPG also offers a 5% discount to veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and SAR personnel.

        Later,

        Chris

      • 2

        Sounds like a good plan. FWIW in the woods I carry a Glock 20 w/ small light (TLR7) in a Recon and the gun fits just fine in there, but there isn’t room for many accessories, so for your use case, the Original sounds right.

      • 2

        Oh, also I would suggest getting a set of lifter straps in a color that matches your pack so that when you’re not using the kit bag, the straps don’t look goofy.

      • 3

        fwiw, I talked a bit with the Hill People Gear folks when we reviewed their bags for the BOB backpack roundup and they seem like a legit crew with nice gear. I haven’t used a chest rig yet, but was impressed with the Aston House Backcountry pack.

      • 2

        I find much to agree with in their design philosophy, and their customer service is certainly on point. I’m afraid I’m going to have to start saving my pennies to try out more of their gear.

    • 4

      I’ve struggled with resolving issue this myself.

      Originally, I had a Maxpedition as my BOB, because it suited my needs at the time and has a concealed carry compartment. Then, I realized how ridiculous that idea really is: Hey there. Sorry. I know you’re busy and all… Small favor? Could you stop mugging me/trying to kill me while I go into my concealed carry compartment so I can retrieve my sidearm and defend myself. I just need to get this off my back and unzip the compartment… Thanks!

      No one’s got time for that.

      So, I currently have an Osprey and I still struggle with how to resolve this issue. My pack’s belt has pouches, so, this makes it that much more problematic.

      I prefer to carry on my waist. Though, I may test ankle carry to get around this issue. It’s probably not going to feel comfortable or as accessible… We’ll see.

      I’d really like to hear other’s thoughts on this.

    • 3

      I wonder if 11 to 1 o’clock AIWB might be feasible? I’ve never found an AIWB rig that worked for me, but dealing with just the webbing and buckle vs the padded hip belt seems a lot more feasible.

      • 3

        I don’t think that would work unless your hip belt had a quick release buckle, but even then I think it would be way too uncomfortable to be practical.

    • 4

      Im going to suggest you look into a kit bag from Hill People Gear.

      • 3

        I think your suggestion is excellent. Thanks!

      • 2

        Ive got one in the grey ripstop fabric and in addition to being awesome for carrying a firearm, magazine(s), gloves, loght or whatever its pretty low profile and discreet.

      • 2

        I had to check, mine is the Runners kit bag. its just the right size for jogging/ minimalist amounts of gear. If yo are carrying more or in the wilderness I think the bigger bags would be better.

    • 2

      Unless you add something extra like a chest rig, leg (ankle or drop-thigh), or shoulder sling holster, I don’t know of any good answers and think of it as a tradeoff — the pistol is either inside of your pack, in a pants pocket, or open-carried on the hip belt.

      • 2

        I just ordered the kit bag from HPG, so we’ll see how that goes.

      • 2

        Would love to see your pictures and thoughts as a new forum thread once you’ve played with it!

      • 3

        I will absolutely do that.

    • 3

      When I carry concealed with a pack I like to use a Safepacker Concealment Holster from Wilderness Tactical.  It evolved as a secure means for SAR teams to access handguns attached to their packs and harnesses while working in extreme conditions.

      11703_the_wilderness_safepackerimages

      It’s totally “gray man” in appearance and comes in various colors and sizes.  You need to train with it, like everything else, especially because of it’s unconventional design, but it’s a versatile system that protects your weapon well while still being relatively easy to access.

      • 3

        That looks like another great option. I’ll have to try this one out too. Thanks!

      • 2

        Do you keep that pouch attached to a backpack hip belt in what would essentially be a normal holster position?

      • 2

        In the detailed description of it, they say that among other places, you can wear it “on very wide and thick backpack hip belts”.

      • 2

        I have, but it’s often easier to kind of cross link it between my left shoulder strap and the straps on the left hip belt, in more of a cross-draw formation.  The size and weight of the pack, as well as the thickness of the hip belt can make it easier to do one or the other.  I’ve even hung it off the sternum strap a few times for chest carry.

        It’s main strength is that it totally protects and conceals the weapon if you’re hanging on the side of cliff or doing some serious bushwhacking, while still leaving it relatively accessible along with a spare mag.

        And it’s Gray Man AF.  I avoid Tacticool whenever I can.

        I don’t know how many people you run across on your average trek, but in my AO I don’t need them knowing I’m armed.

    • 3

      Same problem here (Europe). Legally speaking, where I live concealed carry is practically prohibited. Therefore, transporting the firearm in the backpack would be the only option. That said, if my life is at stake, that wouldn’t bother me.

      My research has turned up the Helikon-Tex Numbat chest pack which is similar to the HPG pack, but more readily available (and cheaper) in Europe. It is unusual, though.

      • 2

        Those look like really nice chest packs. Unfortunately, it seems to me it’d be difficult to draw a firearm from one with any kind of speed.