Opinions on best holster for backpacking?


December 1, 2003, 06:20 PM
I like to go backpacking and would like to take my new gun with me (when I get it). We're probably talking about a 1911-sized gun.

What kind of holster would you guys suggest? The problem I have had in the past with normal OWB belt holsters is that the backpack's belt overlaps them or rubs on them or otherwise causes discomfort.

Is there some kind of holster that would work good, like maybe an armpit holster? Any ideas?

Also, if I wanted to carry something smaller backpacking like a pocket-sized gun, do you think 9mm is sufficient to protect against animal attacks?

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December 1, 2003, 06:25 PM
It just occurred to me that the backpack's shoulder straps could also interfere with the armpit holster.

Any ideas? Is there any good place to carry a holster when packpacking?

George Hill
December 1, 2003, 06:28 PM
Cross draw.
Low ride/Jacket Slot.

December 1, 2003, 06:35 PM
Thigh rig...an actual civilian use for the ultimate in ubertacticality!

I use a Bianchi military one..the adapter rides under your hip belt...


December 1, 2003, 06:38 PM
You know what though? Another concern is when I go backpacking I sometimes have to ford waist-deep water. I don't wanna dunk my gun :)

Gerald McDonald
December 1, 2003, 07:20 PM
Sounds like you need to put it in the pack. If your in national parks you wont be able to carry exposed without creating a world of hassles for yourself.

December 1, 2003, 08:49 PM
Easy, one of these

Look under Holsters at the Safepacker


Good Luck


December 1, 2003, 09:20 PM
Carry a semiauto if you want, but a revolver is much better suited for hiking. You can run a variety of ammo for one thing, like snake shot first up, then maybe a wadcutter, or a JSP. I don't think much of the 9mm for this kind of work.

I carry a three inch .38 a lot. I have a quick detatch holster that was made for me, that just snaps to the shoulder strap of my pack. Any decent leather guy can rig a holster and pack strap with snaps like that.

December 1, 2003, 10:05 PM
Attach a Safe Packer to pack belt;problem solved:)

December 1, 2003, 10:20 PM
Gordon -- What's a Safe Packer? Do you have a link?

Hellbore -- What about a fanny pack with the gun in front?

December 1, 2003, 11:16 PM
I second the Wilderness Safepacker - I typically carry a CZ75B and an extra mag in the Safepacker on my hip belt and it looks like a notebook/map holder.


Unless you are in Alaska, the main animal you need to be worried about is the hairless biped Redneckus americanus. I personally think 9mm is an ideal round because it is pretty flat shooting, should you need to keep someone more than 50 yards away. My P11 is pretty light and is my backpacking piece when weight matters, although it is nowhere near as accurate as my CZ (at least in my hands).

James Bondrock
December 2, 2003, 01:23 AM
If the gun does not have to be concealed, two suggestions: a flap holster worn crossdraw on the front of your body at the waist, or a shoulder holster worn across the front of your chest (aka "tanker" holster). El Paso Saddlery makes both types.

December 2, 2003, 06:12 AM
A fanny pack should work quite well too.

Corey ACP
December 2, 2003, 03:15 PM
Check out one of the various duty style holsters either in nylon or leather. Most of the newer models have a jacket slot built in. This allows the hip belt on most backpacks to fit thru this slot in its normal position and allows you unobstructed access to your weapon. It works for me with both a small day pack as well as my large Vortex brand backpack.

December 2, 2003, 05:56 PM
Another vote for Safepacker. May be found at


AZ Husker
December 3, 2003, 12:21 AM
I've got a new Safepacker for a Gov't size pistol I'd sell for $40. Email me if interested.

December 3, 2003, 09:15 AM
Often I'll tuck the USPc under the floating lid pouch on my internal frame pack. I use the top compression strap to run through the holster slots. the whole thing is concealed by the lid, and if I need it, I just have to reach behind my head, under the lid and draw. If you use this space to pack your tent or air mat, it won't work.

Where its legal to carry, my buddy carries his .45 blackhawk in an uncle mikes nylon holster attached to a compression strap on the left side of his pack. He can draw by reaching over his left shoulder. The grip is positioned perfectly.

As a side note, if he's carrying that tank loaded with "bear medicine" I usually just pack my sig trailside 4" barrel. Then, to avoid the bear, I just have to shoot my buddy in the knee so I can out run him. (just kidding!!!)


December 3, 2003, 09:57 AM
Thanks DragonRider, I have been looking for something like that for some time.

Not cool to rock up at a geek meeting with a Goverment on your belt.


December 3, 2003, 09:58 AM
Another vote for a fanny pack. A lot of backpackers use them to keep their map and snacks handy, so no one will give you a second look.

December 3, 2003, 10:41 AM
I have a fannypack that holds two water bottles on the sides of the large main compartment. It's plenty big enough for a 1911 and the secondary pocket, in front of the main, gives me plenty of room for spare mags, maps and the like. The only downside is that it's a bit long across the front of the body and can interfere with the straps of your pack, depending on what you're using. For day hikes, it's perfect.

Blackhawk industries is making a smaller fannypack, minus the bottle holders, that has velcro lining the main compartment. Being smaller, and having the velcro, it should be perfect for carrying in conjuction with a backpack. I'm looking into it.

The Safepacker is a good piece of equipment.

For carrying in the woods, I'm drawn between the 1911 and the Smith 686. While the 1911 has better reload time, to potency of the .357 Magnum on everything from bears to rednecks can't be ignored. Maybe carry both?

December 3, 2003, 02:25 PM
AZ Husker, I sent you a PM about the Safepacker.

December 3, 2003, 07:33 PM
Safepacker is a-ok.

1911 is too heavy. I like to keep things lighter when I climb and backpack.

Polymer pistol or small .38/.357 magnum revolver.

I don't know what you'll be fearing but out here, it's mostly two legged variety amd mountain lions. The latter, you'll probably never see.

Gordy Wesen
December 3, 2003, 11:43 PM
I'll cast a vote for the Safepacker. It has its place with my 10.
Cougers here walk the County trails....for convenience I suppose. They run 150 pounds+ and look to be 6 to 7 feet through the body. They act like they own the road and will not walk off until they feel like it. We have the tree huggers to thank for this.

December 4, 2003, 01:00 AM
A revolver would be my first choice against 4-legged predators. At least .357 mag, bigger (like 12 ga. pump) if you're in bear country.

Bianchi's military flap holster (they make them for wheel-guns too) can be rigged for chest, thigh, or under the shoulder carry with the proper attachments. One of the most versitile holsters I've ever had. Replace the flap with the thumbbreak strap and its another holster entirely.


Andrew Wyatt
December 4, 2003, 01:40 AM
I use an eagle (SAS-DAH) flap holster, a british pattern 37 flap holster, or a GI tanker holster.

with the exception of the brit holster (belt holster) each does a pretty good job of staying away from the backpack straps.

If you go with the eagle holster (or the blackchicken copy) I can make a kydex insert for your pistol for the holster for 15 bucks or so.

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