Concealed Back Woods Carry


February 5, 2010, 12:09 PM
I have been searching for a better way to carry while I am in the mountains. When I go I am usually there for at least two days and often times a week or more. While in the back country I'm a minimalist and don't carry a lot of stuff. I have been just using a small "school book" type backpack. I always take a pistol and usually carry it concealed. Carrying concealed is just easier to do when I happen to run in to someone else. When I carried open in an holster many of the people who I met (sometimes young women), were intimidated by the gun. It's just easier to carry concealed, I know it's there when I need it (I have killed a bobcat and a rattlesnake that surprised my dog). Last year I just put the pistol in the small front pocket of the bag and it works okay, but it's difficult to get out sometimes, which makes it pretty much useless.

What do others do, or does everyone just open carry? I am thinking about trying a Kifaru Koala (

What do you guys think, does this look practical?

Kifaru stuff is really expensive, but is probably either 1st or 2nd in quality and design for back country packs and equipment. I have three of their packs..

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February 5, 2010, 12:14 PM
I'm thinking about one of these: SafePacker (

February 5, 2010, 02:34 PM
I've found that packs often get set down for different reasons, so prefer to carry on person. I carry crossdraw to keep it out of my way and it is usually well concealed by a flannel shirt or poncho.

February 5, 2010, 03:51 PM
I carry a G20SF openly in a Bianchi UM84 standard military flap holster when I hike or backpack. Despite the overabundance of flaming libs around here, I've never had a single negative look or comment. The same young women who you believe to be intimidated by open carry are the same young women who will be looking for you when something scares them…

February 5, 2010, 03:57 PM
I just purchased (haven't received it yet) this - as my answer to this question. Wisconsin does not allow CCW but ... if I were to want to :) my Taurus 650 & speed loaders would fit in just fine.


February 5, 2010, 04:42 PM
That maxpedition bag looks like a good alternative.

I carry a G20SF openly in a Bianchi UM84 standard military flap holster when I hike or backpack. Despite the overabundance of flaming libs around here, I've never had a single negative look or comment. The same young women who you believe to be intimidated by open carry are the same young women who will be looking for you when something scares themů

I'm usually either in the Arizona desert or up in the mountains of northern Arizona and often run into other people unless I'm in a very remote area. A lot of the time I just don't want other people to know that I am carrying. Right or wrong, I'm not sure, I see both sides.

February 5, 2010, 05:00 PM
How about a shoulder holster?

February 5, 2010, 05:41 PM
After looking around for a while I am ready to order the Jumbo EDC from Maxpedition for travelling, camping, hiking, etc.

Anyone own one of these yet?

February 5, 2010, 06:02 PM
Safepacker all the way.

That thing looks like an awkward reserve chute.

February 5, 2010, 06:03 PM
50 mile pack trip with some young folks. Carrying everything in an internal frame pack with matching storage pouches I had acquired,..both slid onto the waist belt. Right side was the usual treking stuff,.....left side....a crossdraw for me,...I carried a Firestorm Mini Thunder (aka Bersa UC) in .45 ACP,...and a spare mag,...nobody but me knew it was there,... it was readily reachable, with a tear away velcro opening instead of a zipper. When I sat the pack down at the end of the day(s),..the pistol went to IWB holster with my shirt over it. Still carry it that way a lot. YMMV........

February 5, 2010, 06:53 PM
I have a safepacker and LOVE it! For shorter day hikes, I slide it on to my fanny pack...for longer hikes it attaches to the belt of my pack. Since the safpacker looks like a bag, it works well carrying into hotels and such while on the road.

February 5, 2010, 07:05 PM
just open carry?


The convenience, comfort, and security of open carry in the wilderness really offset a stray glance or two from anti-gunners. It may feel odd at first but you'll get over it fast. The whole idea of "minimalist" travel doesn't really jive with getting another pack to accommodate the gun.

I like the military type shoulder holsters that have it low and cross draw. Out of the way of the hips for brush, and readily to hand. Belt cross draw is also very effective. It's also not as obvious as strong-side carry as it's not sticking out and breaking your profile, which is what catches the eye quickly on most people.

February 5, 2010, 07:07 PM
Years ago I added a pouch to my shoulder strap that goes almost to the bottom. It gives me a cross draw with just a quick zip. Like the idea of the velcro and may dispose of the zipper. When hunting I carry a 357 but when hiking I prefer my little Makarov with an extra mag. Wild animals do not worry me nearly as much as two legged scum. At real close range even a bear might decide to leave.

Charles S
February 5, 2010, 07:12 PM
I will second or third the Safepacker recommendation.

February 5, 2010, 09:03 PM
I found a large belt pouch in a hiking/camping store that matches my Camelback backpack. It has a main pouch area as well as a couple of little pockets. I modified it by adding leather loops for my belt (the little nylon ones it came with ripped off pretty quick). I carry it where I would normally carry a holster, on my right side. It fits either my GP100 or my S&W 629 (both have 4" bbls). I usually leave the top zipper unzipped; it keeps the gun concealed, and I can just grab it if I need it. I think I paid about $15 for it.

February 6, 2010, 04:34 PM
I have a variety of nylon pouches that slide onto the waist belt of my backpacks and daypacks. A shoulder holster does not work well with backpack straps and a waist holster does not work well with the backpack waist belts.

February 6, 2010, 05:03 PM
I will chime in as yet another satisfied long-term user of Safepackers.

February 6, 2010, 05:17 PM
Millcreek -

Though technically off-topic, i.e. concealed carry,

I wear a High Noon shoulder rig

Which couldn't fit better if it had been

Purpose-designed for the three different packs I use.

Zero interference with shoulder/chest straps

On both the weapon side and the spare magazine (2) side.

Both clear neatly, just barely forward of the harness,

And actually hang precisely in the same position

As my normal CCW without pack.

Maybe I just got lucky,

But it sure works for me.

One other thing - CCW in the hills

Is, in my opinion, kind of a firearms oxymoron.


February 6, 2010, 05:50 PM
Anybody else notice the, "Slot pocket for airline tickets..." in the picture's of the OP's? I'm pretty sure you might get stopped at security with that set-up. :)

February 6, 2010, 06:46 PM
The only thing good a pistol is for is a cat, a snake or scaring off a two legged preadtor. Fired into the ground, it'll scare black bear away (don't shoot bears).

Last year, when hiking near Bald Mountain, CO, my buddy and I went all over the place for three days and then re-emerging by my truck. Didn't need to use it, but I think packing without some sort of defensive weapon is irresponsible. I packed my 1911 on an OWB @ 4:00. Brought only 17 rounds total. My holster is a bianchi model 82. Very comfortable and the trigger frame retention served well to keep it where it belonged for several days with now problems.

One thing when you're on multi-day hiking is you have be extremely conscious of weight and bulk. Wearing my pistol meant I forwent some luxuries in food (took all dried foods, found water as we went). Carrying an extra container such as the above backpack would be out of the question for me. The other thing you might think about is durability of that pack... It's probably designed for 'hiking' on army corp of engineer properties, not anything extremely demanding. I doubt it'd hold up after a few trips to the wilderness.

My $0.02!

February 6, 2010, 06:59 PM
Fired into the ground, it'll scare black bear away (don't shoot bears).

I've never run across a black bear here in my homerange wanderings in Upper Piedmont NC, but they are here, no doubt. I certainly never assumed "shoot on sight" is a good idea, but is there any general agreement among those more experienced than I that "fire to make noise" is a good strategy? No offense intended, exabrial...


Erik M
February 7, 2010, 12:33 AM
If I were in the woods and would be placed in situations where i would require the use of a firearm the intimidation factor of having a weapon OC would be lower on the list than my personal safety. I would just as soon not even go into the mountains with my group of friends if i had to wear a 'pack' or 'daysack' on my waist.

I will continue to carry with a shoulder holster as I have always done.

February 7, 2010, 11:12 AM
The .44 Special heavy loads I use from Buffalo Bore (255gr @ 1150fps) cost too much as noisemakers.

That's what your signal whistle is for.

Even with decent loads, shooting at bears while hiking/camping is a last-resort choice.

February 7, 2010, 12:22 PM
I just open carry,as long as I'm legal I don't really care if it intemidates anyone, I'm keeping me/mine safe. Thats what someone with potential to do you harm should see,(that your packin) especially in the backwoods.
my 2cents...

February 8, 2010, 12:13 AM
EXABRIAL - " Fired into the ground, [a pistol] it'll scare black bear away."

Uhhh... maybe and maybe not.

Your statement is mighty generalized.

Depends on the bear and its intentions. Some it won't faze; others it will. I know of three incidents where a "shot in the ground" near a Black bear in camp, didn't work at all. Two in the Sierra of California, when I lived there, and one in the "River Of No Return Wilderness" here in Idaho.

As I said, it all depends on several factors.

I agree that it is not desirable to shoot a Black bear just for the helluvit, but sometimes there isn't any choice.


John Wayne
February 8, 2010, 10:42 AM
The Safepacker looks like a great option, but $75 for a nylon pouch? Really?

I have an internal frame backpack that didn't cost much more than that! Are there any similar, more affordable options?

February 8, 2010, 11:25 PM
Fanny pack?

Charles S
February 8, 2010, 11:36 PM
The Safepacker looks like a great option, but $75 for a nylon pouch? Really?

One of the few truths I have discovered in life.... You get what you pay for!

February 9, 2010, 12:21 AM
I use this holster when biking or hiking. It's cheap and quick to draw. It fits quite well under a shirt or jacket and you hardly know it's there.

February 9, 2010, 01:41 AM
In the mountains, weight adds up fast.

I always have a 15 oz. S&W Airweight .38 snubbie in my pocket regardless that's concealed.

Other than that, it depends on where I am and what I expect to be doing. I'll open carry where legal, and carry concealed where it's not legal to OC.

My primary firearm will be fairly light, but "powerful" for its size/weight. The guns may include:

Kimber Ultra CDP (aluminum-framed, 3" barreled "Officer's size" 1911 in .45ACP) + 2 extra magazines, or

S&W Model 19, 2 1/2" barrel in .357 in a Bianchi thumb break belt holster + one speedloader, or

S&W Model 65, 3" barrel in .357 in a belt slide holster + one speedloader

Less strenuous terrain, a 3 1/4" barrel custom S&W 25-2 revolver (.45ACP), loaded with hot .45 Auto Rim cartridges, with a pair of .45ACP moonclips for reloads. I carry it either in a cross-draw belt holster or a shoulder rig.

They sell pepper spray, or OC, for bears that works great in repelling them, I've read. I'm more worried about 2-legged predators and/or wild hogs, wild dogs and coyotes . . . and in carrying more weight than I want to pack in!!!

Heck, in small game hunting season in my neck of the woods, my main carry firearm is generally a Ruger MkII Target Model .22LR automatic, carried in an Uncle Mikes belt and holster, topped with a 2nd generation Bushnell Holosight.

February 9, 2010, 01:50 AM
Unless I missed it, doesn't anyone carry in a nice OWB holster, with an untucked tee shirt over it?

I carry my 10mm CBOB this way, with two extra mags on the off-hand side. No one knows I have it, it's quick to draw, not a lot of added weight, and quite comfortable.

February 9, 2010, 04:57 PM
I bought one of these and attached a "camera" logo patch to it. It will hold almost handgun you might want to carry, and it is very well made. A great bargain.

February 10, 2010, 05:57 PM
Safepacker all the way.

February 11, 2010, 03:17 PM
I have a Safepacker that I use when hiking here in TX, because open carry isn't legal in Texas.

In the boonies of Arizona, I'd just open carry. Faster access, and from what I hear you likely wouldn't be the only one doing it.

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