Concealed carry backpacks are useful bags designed to discreetly carry your weapons as well as other gear. While some people prefer to keep their weapons in a shoulder holster or a belt, many prefer the utility of backpacks. With that being said, people often wonder how to go about choosing a concealed carry backpack.
A good concealed carry backpack should be discreet in appearance, without looking like it may carry a weapon. It must offer safe storage for your firearm while providing easy access, while being durable, protective, and comfortable.
There are many things to consider when shopping around for a concealed-carry backpack. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
- How to Choose a Backpack for Concealed Carry
- Our Recommendations For The Best Concealed Carry Backpack
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Choose a Backpack for Concealed Carry
For individuals that need to use, carry, or travel with their pistols daily, it’s good to know that you no longer have to choose between a concealed carry accessory or a daily backpack. Concealed carry backpacks today are designed to offer the best of both worlds.
Many of today's concealed carry backpacks have the appearance of a traditional backpack. They come with features that allow you to discreetly carry your weapon, plus your other essentials whether it's a laptop and other stuff for work, or ammo, a medical kit, and supplies you will need on the field.
Here’s what you should look for in a concealed carry backpack:
Concealed carry backpacks are designed to disguise the fact that they are carrying a weapon. It should be completely discreet and covert, and in many cases, they look like a traditional backpack as opposed to a tactical or military backpack, which offers lots of clues that they may be carrying firearms. After all, the whole purpose of this bag is to allow you to blend into your environment.
Concealed carry backpacks come in all kinds of designs to suit your style and personal preferences. They can be adapted to several uses such as hiking, business, or everyday backpacks. They are widely used by law enforcement authorities, but CCW packs are growing in popularity among citizens who want to carry their self-defense equipment without causing trouble.
Just don’t use a backpack filled with MOLLE loops, suspicious patch designs, or logos of firearms manufacturers or you’ll give everything away.
You’re after a bag that is low profile.
Quick, easy access to your weapon is critical for shooting at the right time.
Nothing should get in the way of reaching for your firearm, or you could risk your own safety. This is why the best concealed carry backpacks in the market have a dedicated CCW compartment, which is hidden from plain sight. Depending on the design, you should be able to reach for your weapon after the seamless unzipping of a zipper, and opening of a flap or a pouch.
A dedicated pull handle is also beneficial for access because it prevents the need to fumble around for zippers when you need to locate your pistol. Practice the method of drawing from your bag so that you have the muscle memory needed to save a life – or your own.
A good concealed carry backpack should be able to store the firearm safely and securely. This means that it should have a top-notch holster that ensures the pistol will not move, and the trigger is protected at all times. We can’t stress enough how important this feature is because you absolutely must not just drop a firearm into any pocket in any backpack; you could accidentally hurt yourself and other people in the process.
Molle, hook, and loop panels are popular safety options inside concealed carry backpacks. Molle panels enable you to mount a compatible holster in the backpack, and many prefer this because it allows you to use a holster that was made to cater to your firearm. Additionally, mole panels allow you to mount several types of magazine pouches inside your backpack.
Meanwhile, hook and loop panels have a spacious surface for mounting, usually made with Velcro to strap the pistol in place. Hook and loop panels typically come with generic-size holsters though holsters can also be purchased separately. Holsters may come with a snap, thumb strap, or other retention points that give you a secure combination when strapping your pistol on.
Keep in mind that if you opt for the hook and loop, you can choose a holster that’s specific to your firearm. It’s always ideal for the concealment compartment to stay closed until you take action to open it.
A concealed carry pack should be extra durable than a regular backpack because of the nature of the things you’ll be packing in it. Firearms, as well as magazines and guns are heavier, which will cause more strain on the backpack. On top of that, firearm accessories also have sharp edges that can easily break cheap material, which is why you want to invest in a high-quality, durable backpack made specifically for this purpose.
Look for high-quality fabrics such as Kodra, Cordura, or a high-denier nylon count of 500 or 1,000. Also, check for the quality of the zippers; don't underestimate the importance of this part of the backpack. If your zippers break or are unable to close and open at a time you need to open your backpack, no good could come from this.
YKK brand zippers are always recommended; they are well-known for their durability.
Comfort and fit
Backpacks come in an array of sizes, so always make sure to choose one that fits you properly. Adjustable shoulder straps, a waist belt, and a sternum strap can help perfect the fit. Padding in the shoulder straps is non-negotiable, but these days more backpack brands add padding to the waist belt for better comfort.
Additionally, for breathable, moisture-wicking, and ventilated back panels. The presence of mesh fabric greatly helps minimize hot spots.
Once a backpack has met all the important criteria, then you can start thinking about its style. Many world-class manufacturers already make great-looking concealed carry backpacks that are just as functional as they are modern.
Depending on your work and lifestyle, there are other features you could find useful in a concealed carry backpack:
- Laptop sleeve: A padded laptop and/or tablet sleeve will protect your computer as you commute to and from work;
- Water bottle pockets: If you carry around water bottles with you, the presence of dual side pockets will allow you to store and access them with ease;
- Style: Many concealed carry backpacks are available in a sling bag backpack design, or offer multi-way carry. If you don't want to be limited to carrying your firearm in a backpack, check out designs that allow you to carry it in different ways.
MOLLE pouch or attachments: The presence of MOLLE pouches and attachments gives you the ability to attach other gear inside or outside of your pack. Some backpacks come with the webbing, while in other cases you may have to purchase pouches separately. Either way, these are excellent for maximizing pack storage without affecting the other contents of your pack.
Our Recommendations For The Best Concealed Carry Backpack
There are many world-class concealed carry backpacks out there. It helps to do your research and read reviews carefully, because one feature that may sound appealing in the review could be the thing that causes a nuisance when in use. Understanding the pros and cons of each product will help you make an informed decision.
Below are popular CCW backpacks in a variety of categories:
Eberlestock Little Trick Pack: Eberlestock is a respected brand name in the world of CCW as well as tactical and outdoor gear. The Little Trick Pack is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and everyday consumers who need a reliable, versatile CCW backpack.
The pack’s volume of 1012 cubic inches or 16.5 liters makes it just right for daily use, though the expandable bottom is a great feature, allowing you to increase storage up to 23.65 inches. It has a compact egg-shaped silhouette with dimensions of 21.25 x 11.25 x 7.5 inches. Weighing 3.80 lbs., the weight is at par with most other CCW backpacks.
The Eberlestock Little Trick Pack boasts superior construction and a better harness system compared to other everyday carry backpacks of this size. Long guns, carbines, or rifles can be kept safely in the scabbard sleeve, which is 19 inches long in compact mode, though it can be extended to 23.5 inches. Meanwhile, a handgun can be kept in the concealed carry pocket – which is accessible from any side of the backpack and sealed off with rare-earth magnetic openings.
This handy backpack is convenient for commuting to work too. The interior 17” tech pocket can keep documents or your laptop. Any other accessories or gear you need to bring can be attached easily with the use of the loop-velcro PALS webbing. Inside, a handy compartment is ideal for keeping magazines, small organizers, and even a hydration bladder.
There were many features to appreciate in this backpack, but over time and several tests, we realized that the expandable features made this backpack stand out. It just becomes so much more versatile. Unfortunately, we did find that the water bottle holders on each side were too small to hold average water bottles.
That said, it isn’t a dealbreaker. The Eberlestock Little Trick has a modern yet rugged design and is available in beautiful neutral colors.
Best Everyday Concealed Carry Backpack
Maxpedition Entity 23 CCW-Enabled Laptop Backpack: Maxpedition has been innovating high-end tactical gear since 2003. They are well-known for their American military-grade MOLLE gear as well as backpacks that are used by a wide range of customers, including SWAT teams and the US armed forces.
If you are in the market for a multi-use CCW pack that you can use every day, look no further than the Maxpedition Entity 23 CCW-Enabled Laptop Backpack. It has a volume of 23L, while its dimensions are 12 x 9 x 18 inches. Several strategic compartments in and out of the backpack enable easy organization of different kinds of gear.
It’s equipped with a lockable and padded compartment that can fit laptops up to 15”, while drawbridge straps provide another layer of security by preventing the front flap from completely opening. Dual pockets are found on each side, ideal for storing your electronics and accessories such as chargers, cables, headphones, and more.
The concealed carry weapon (CCW) compartment is found in the back, with dual access options for convenience. A Security Lockout Strip safeguards the CCW compartment. Travelers will appreciate the trolley pass-through feature, enabling you to carry your weapon off the body while in transit.
This superior-quality tactical backpack is made with tough 500D Kodra Fabric, and coated with Polyurethane for added durability. The buckles are strong, too: they are constructed from Duraflex Xlite, which is lightweight and long-lasting. The design also features MOLLE/PALS attachment points, fray-resistant gossamer, and skin-friendly nylon seatbelt webbing, allowing you to maximize this backpack in many different ways.
Ample padding on the bag’s shoulder straps makes the Maxpedition Entity 23 CCW-Enabled Laptop Backpack truly comfortable to carry. Other excellent features include a removable waist belt, quick-release buckles, easy-access side pockets for your magazine, and YKK zippers.
During our testing, we found that the drawbridge straps and the magnetic ear flaps really do come in handy by thoroughly protecting the bag’s contents. Unlike other concealed carry backpacks, we also appreciate that this doesn’t look like one – making it perfect for professionals.
However, Maxpedition could improve the pack by padding the bottom of the laptop compartment to better protect computers. Do exercise caution when setting the backpack down on the ground. The zippers also do need breaking in, so it’s best to manage expectations about the type of zippers used.
Elite Survival Systems Guardian EDC Backpack 25L: Elite Survival Systems specializes in premium tactical gear, including holsters, backpacks, cases, and accessories. Each of their products is designed with the belief that all individuals have the right to protect themselves with the responsible use and carry of firearms.
The Guardian EDC Backpack is a testament to their core beliefs. This pack features a unique design, merging the best of modular packs with a daily CCW bag. It has a dedicated compartment for your firearm, equipped with an internal holster that can be accessed from either the left or right side – a useful ambidextrous feature.
The dimensions of this pack are 20 x 12 x 8 inches. It comes in several color options, such as black, indigo, tan, and a Trifecta colorway. It weighs just 2.9 lbs.
Elite Survival Systems always impresses with the quality of its gear, and the Guardian EDC pack is no different. From the exterior, it looks rough yet maintains a low profile. It’s the only bag on our list made from 1000 denier fabric – nylon at that – so you can be guaranteed that it can effectively protect your belongings.
On the inside, it has all the right features you need in a CCW backpack. The main compartment has enough room to carry your everyday necessities, plus it opens up with a clamshell design for easy packing and unpacking. Elite Survival Systems even include PALS webbing in the main compartment so that you can attach MOLLE pouches inside for more efficient organization if the situation calls for it.
We found that they also included padding on the sides of the main compartment, which is really useful for outdoor use. The compression straps allow you to cinch the pack when you don’t need all that space, though the padding does a good job at providing stability when the pack isn’t full too.
A padded and lined laptop compartment is found behind the main compartment. It’s only accessible at the top, which is ideal for individuals who like to segregate their tech. Slim laptops will slide in with no problem.
Should you need more organizational features for your other tech, just use the tablet compartment in the front. It comes with mesh zippered pockets and a few other slip pockets for office supplies, pens, or any other accessories you need.
Based on our testing, we find the Guardian EDC to be a solid pack. The padding all throughout adds to the overall comfort and protection. However, the front organizational pockets could be improved with bigger sleeves and pockets.
Best Large Concealed Carry Backpack
COVRT 18 2.0 Backpack 32L: Brought to you by 5.11, a leader in men's and women’s tactical gear, the COVRT 18 2.0 Backpack is the top choice for individuals who need a camouflaged yet spacious CCW backpack. It’s designed with numerous tactical details, yet they are hidden from plain view to allow you to blend in with the crowd.
This new iteration of the already popular model has undergone improvements in design. These include making the bag look more discreet while adding modern features found in traditional and more functional bags, such as water bottle side pockets, a shove-it pocket, a TSA-friendly laptop compartment, and slip pockets to name a few. Professionals will appreciate the presence of the dual-access CCW compartment, zippered drop pocket, and flex cuff channel.
The COVRT 18 2.0 Backpack is compact and offers a diverse array of pockets that work well to organize all your gear. The pack’s dimensions are 19 x 10.5 x 6.5 inches, and it weighs just 2.64 lbs. – which is light, considering all the interior and exterior pockets it has. The signature Center Line design of 5.11 is another feature that makes this pack stand out from the rest.
The bag is a solid build: constructed with 500D and 840D nylon, it is one CCW pack that can withstand the wear and tear of professional use while remaining light and multipurpose enough for non-professional needs.
Based on our research, the COVRT 18 2.0 is a winner in many categories: versatility, durability, comfort, and price. The extra-thick shoulder straps really make a difference in comfort, allowing you to use this even during long hikes or traveling. The TSA-friendly laptop compartment was a nice touch as well.
5.11 is a brand whose products are known to withstand the test of time (and abuse!), and this model won’t disappoint.
However, when packed to the brim, this backpack does tend to be bulky and rather obtrusive for office use.
Maxpedition Tehama 37L: Another terrific bag from Maxpedition is the new Tehama 37L. It’s bigger than the COVRT, though the sleeker profile makes it a good option for everyday or office use.
Maxpedition designed this backpack to complement their Lassen pack. That said, the Tehama has more volume thanks to the loop-lined middle compartment. There are several new Maxpedition elements to look forward to in this model, such as the molded tooth zippers that are designed to be self-lubricating – ideal for those looking for a low-maintenance pack.
There are several notable features, though we find that the removable flexible internal frame is worth mentioning. Outdoor and photography enthusiasts will also find the side pockets useful for water bottles, tripods, or umbrellas. They are zippered, though they can only hold narrow objects.
The Tehama’s dimensions are 19 x 17 x 10, and the spacious 37L is roomy enough for an overnight trip. Minimalist packers who want to be able to bring along a firearm during short trips will find this pack spacious enough.
The curved, ergonomic shoulder straps do a lot for comfort. Fit can easily be customized with the removable and adjustable waist and sternum straps. Meanwhile, the side-release buckles are replaceable.
The 1000D ballistic nylon boasts superior toughness – it’s virtually unbreakable! The fabric is further strengthened by a triple polyurethane coating to repel water, and the use of high-tensile strength nylon will hold up to just about anything. That’s not all: Maxpedition uses #AS-100 high-end foam padding for the ultimate in shock protection.
Upon using this pack, we could easily tell that it was designed for easy access and maximum comfort. Maxpedition knows the needs of its customer base very well, and they always do a five-star execution in its backpacks. Some may find the $199.99 price tag expensive, but given the durability this bag has to offer – it’s worth it.
Vertx Transit Sling 2.0 Backpack: Vertx is a trusted name for comfortable and highly functional tactical gear. They are a pioneer in developing affordable yet highly effective apparel, bags, and accessories trusted by professionals.
This list would simply be incomplete without including the Vertx Transit Sling 2.0 Backpack, which also happens to offer the best value money can buy among concealed carry backpacks. Priced at just $99 (or even lower, depending on where you purchase it), you’ll be able to enjoy premium details and features found in high-end backpacks at a price that won’t break the bank.
This CCW backpack is ideal for individuals who prefer a medium-sized bag, and for those who prefer the flexibility offered by a sling backpack with just one shoulder strap. A modern silhouette and neutral colors make this a suitable choice for commuters, doing errands, or going to the office. However, it’s packed with rich features and functionality.
The Vertx Transit Sling 2.0 has a 13L capacity, with dimensions of 16.5 x 10.5 x 4.75. It weighs 2.7 lbs., and the concealed carry compartment measures 16.5 x 10.5 x 2.5 inches. This backpack may not look like it, but it was designed to provide quick access to your EDC or CCW should the need ever arise. The pocket design deserves a special mention: it’s extremely easy to open, easy to use, and very spacious especially when compared to many other high-end CCW backpacks.
The front convertible flap can be stowed behind the MOLLE webbing, allowing you to access items that you’ve mounted there. Doing so will camouflage the bag. Additionally, the concealed carry feature is compatible with ballistic panels.
Even though it’s extremely affordable, the Vertx Transit Sling 2.0 is constructed using very durable and comfortable top-of-the-line materials. The entire backpack is reinforced using bonded nylon thread, especially in attachment points and seams. VELCRO-brand loops are used in the Tactigami, while only YKK self-repairing nylon coil zippers are used.
While testing this bag, we can verify that it is indeed ultra-comfortable. The 3D molded foam back panel was effective in preventing sweat from accumulating in the back while promoting airflow and maximizing comfort during wear. The adjustable waist belt and adjustable, padded shoulder straps made the backpack feel lightweight, even when packed to full capacity.
When all is said and done, the Vertx Transit Sling 2.0 is a well-rounded concealed carry backpack. The only drawback is that it’s rather small.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is carrying a gun in a backpack considered a concealed weapon?
Before you decide on a concealed carry, it’s important to also know the laws in your state. Currently, there are 19 states that allow the carrying of concealed firearms in a bag without the need for a permit, though all states except Vermont will issue permits. These are:
There are also seven systems that require concealed carry applicants to supply a good reason why they would need a permit. There are also 10 states that require applicants to prove they are of good character before they are granted a permit. The states that require proof of good cause are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
An example of a good cause is when an applicant can prove they are exposed to danger, or their family, employees, or spouse are at risk of clear and present danger.
Meanwhile, the states that require applicants to prove they are a suitable person or of good character to be issued a permit are California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
Therefore, if concealed carry is illegal where you live, or you don’t have the necessary permits for it, you shouldn’t be carrying a pistol in your backpack whether it’s loaded or unloaded.
Carrying a firearm requires caution and great responsibility. The use of a concealed carry backpack is an effective way to protect yourself and others around you by enabling you to bring your weapon along privately. The guidelines set out in this article can help you find the best concealed carry backpack for your needs.