My first thoughts are: Belly Band holsters
NRA, DAV Life Member
This is a discussion on Concealed Carry and Backpacking within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Curious as to what members here have done to facilitate concealed carry while backpacking. My wife and I have been enjoying hiking quite a bit ...
Curious as to what members here have done to facilitate concealed carry while backpacking. My wife and I have been enjoying hiking quite a bit this winter and I see that continuing. As such, I am investigating backpacks and fanny packs. We are likely to limit ourselves to day hikes, at least most of the time. I normally carry IWB at about 4 o'clock. The packs Iíve tried inhibit me from carrying in my preferred manner. I am looking for ideas to carry a pack and conceal carry that doesn't involve off-body carry. Thanks for any tips!
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My first thoughts are: Belly Band holsters
NRA, DAV Life Member
Several ideas come to mind. The easiest, especially if you haven't bought your pack yet, is to find one that doesn't interfere with your carry method. A backpack that rides a little higher or a sling type pack or other style that favors one side more then the other. There's 100s of good packs out there, you should be able to find one that meets your needs and works with your carry setup. As far as other carry options, one of the chest type hunting rigs could work or maybe a shoulder holster? What your wearing could greatly effect your draw speed, comfort, and level of concealment with these though. Other ideas would be pocket carry something smaller or some kind of crossdraw setup. A couple off body options would be carry in a fannypack in front if your already are considering one or they make several good packs with quick access, ccw specific designed pockets.
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I don't conceal carry in the woods, Check our Diamond D Leather.
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I'm a big fan of the Hill People Gear Kit Bag. I wear mine in conjunction with my pack and it's a pretty comfortable setup. I like that it allows me to carry things that I need quickly without filling up my pockets.
Review: Hill People Gear Runner?s Kit Bag | Breach Bang Clear
How big is the firearm you want to carry? I put together a small day-hike kit and my Shield 9mm can fit into three different pouches (four if you count the canteen pouch too):
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Something to keep in mind if you're doing both day hiking and overnight backpacking is, you need different packs. You want a big pack for all your gear on the overnights, but a small 20l type pack is perfect for day hikes. With a small daypack, you should still be able to carry how you'd like as you're probably not going to have a pack that goes all the way past your belt or that's wide enough to cover the 4 position. Another option instead of a day pack is a chest pack or sling bag type of thing.
How you carry when recreating is likely to be different than how you carry as you're going about your day to day life. In the day to day, I carry a gun concealed from humans. While hiking, I'm not so worried about humans and carry open, as do a lot of others. Cougars, sasquatch, wolves, coyotes, rabid snakes and shady gophers don't care that I have a gun hidden on me, so I don't go out of my way to hide one. I carry it on my hip where it's quick to get to, is securely attached, and won't accidentally slide out or away from me if I slide down a hill in brush or take a similar spill. A tucked in holster though, I wouldn't bet on it enough to take the chance that a polymer or thin metal clip is going to keep everything in place. Ditto for a holster that doesn't have some kind of active retention like a strap, or whatever is natural for that holster style.
If you're some place where there's going to be a lot of people and want to keep it concealed just to not be 'that guy' or whatever, then you might consider doing front pocket carry, or cargo pocket carry. Lightweight hiking pants usually have bigger, deeper and stronger pockets than regular pants, and what not may fit in your docker's or wrangler's pockets may in your hiking or tactical light pants. If you're hiking in a popular area and carrying for 2 leggeds instead of 4 leggeds, front pocket carry may be a better option.
Also keep in mind that in recreation areas, people have all kinds of things strapped or stuck on to them and their packs, belts, etc. Get a belt pouch that holds whatever gun you want to take and use that. It's not hard to find an old canvas pouch of the right size and put a good pocket holster in it, or even a covered holster that doesn't look too holster like with the cover on.
Also, check your local laws and the laws of where you'll be hiking. Federal lands have different laws than state land and they have different laws than county lands, etc.. and all of them have their own 2 cents about what you can and can't do with firearms while using their lands. And states that may not allow open carry in general may allow it for sportsmen recreating in various areas.
On the day to day, depending on what I'm wearing, I'll either have an LCP or my 442 in my front pocket. If I'm camping at a state park, same deal. I'm likely wearing cargo pants or shorts and I'm among fellow campers, so I stay concealed as I do every day. Backpacking or hiking though, I'll usually go open carry. Depending on where and what I'll be doing, it will either be a HiPoint .45 as it's a tank that can take (and give) a lot and if something happens to it, it's a $99 loss; or a Taurus poly revolver that will either ride the hip in a non-gun looking pouch or just drop into a pocket for ease of use.
If I ever can find that dirt cheap, old battered revolver that always works like a charm, it will likely find it's way into a proper covered holster and take the place of both of them. The point in all this being, in the great outdoors, you've got a lot more options, sometimes much better options. This is the place to think outside the box and find new ways (and things!) to carry. You've also got new dangers and reasons to carry a pistol, so your EDC may be better left at home while your 'woods gun' comes out.
I tend to carry on the waistband of the backpack or in a Koala made by Kifaru on my chest rig.....I'm not sure if the Koala is still made. As mentioned you can get just a daypack and carry at your normal position.
Here's what I use when backpacking:
It's not concealed, I prefer having really rapid access to the possibility of offending the sensibilities of some anti-gunner. This rig is quite comfortable even with a 500 S&W.
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