Hip holsters while backpacking


September 16, 2010, 12:03 AM
Seeking advice on those who carry a handgun while backpacking/hiking regarding their choice of hip holster. This also touches on the subject of how to properly fit a backpack.

So Iím looking for a holster while wearing my backpack. My concern is that with those hip pads, it might interfere with a standard belt holster. I looked and looked for something that might work and found a Drop and Offset holster by Blade Tech on-line. I received it in the mail the same week I got my Eberlestock Dragonfly backpack.

Retrieving the gun from the holster felt clumsy, though itís adjustable and Iím going to try different settings. I think it would feel much better held tight against my hip. Also, the Eberlestock hip pads really arenít all that poofy and it looks like a regular holster might work. I DO NOT want a holster on the pack itself, I want to be able to take the pack off but keep the gun on me.

It also got me thinking if Iím not wearing my pack like I should. I put about 80 pounds in it and strapped it on as it came out of the box. I understand how the weight should fit on your hips, but the way I have it, the hip pads were covering my belt. My friend tells me that that is too low. For him, his might touch the top of his belt or not at all. Heís done a bunch of backpacking so heíll help me fit the pack.

So for those who pack a handgun on their hip, what hip holster do you recommend? My gun is a S&W 629 Mountain Gun. Thanks for the feedback.

Take Care,

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September 16, 2010, 01:02 AM
Check out this site. Its for Osprey packs and has good fitting info. Also there is another link on the site on best way to pack your pack.


And this site too. REI has lots of good info.


September 16, 2010, 01:44 AM
For backpacking I always used a Bianchi cross draw with a thumb strap on a heavy belt. Most of the time I had a a 65-5 S&W in it. A cross draw on the belt puts the gun where the pack will not interfere with access. You can take off pack and weapon stays with you. With pack on it is not highly noticeble. Warm leather gently with hair dryer, work in a little bees wax, warm sidearm with hair dryer, wrap in plastic wrap, place in holster, let cool to form and lube holster, rub just a little beeswax on metal snap. Gun clears holster with no more than a touch to thumb strap.


Art Eatman
September 16, 2010, 08:54 AM
I needed a poor-boy solution to wearing a handgun while hunting with a rifle and using a back pack if I were so far from a road that I needed to do field butchering. I used a GI pistol belt and moved the holster to a cross-draw position for my Redhawk. Slightly loose, so it hung a trifle low--just below any pack's belt on the left side; at the top of the belt on the right side. A tie-down thong made everything secure.

No scratches on the rifle's stock; no discomfort. Hardly knew it was there. It also worked great when quail hunting in cougar country.

September 16, 2010, 10:39 AM
I've had good luck with a chest rig. Situates a full size auto across my sternum. Another solution I found that works well is the leg drop holster, strong side. If adjustable, bring it up as high as possible.

September 16, 2010, 10:50 AM
I carry crossdraw with a Galco SAO or DAO rig, depending on what handgun I am carrying. Doesn't interfere with the packs hip belt if the pack is adjusted to fit correctly.

September 16, 2010, 10:57 AM
The Wilderness Safepacker is blocky, but protects your firearm from bumps and rain:


September 16, 2010, 12:11 PM
I have found no good way to get a quick draw while hunting with a pack. So, instead of trying different holsters, I just decided to stick to my OWB hip holster and try different packs instead. The Sitka 1400 Ascent pack is what I ended up buying, and have been using for the last 3 years. It's a pack designed to sit low on your back but it's height is adjustable so I've been able to get to right where I need it, and can still get the Glock 20 out pretty quick.

Blue Brick
September 16, 2010, 01:23 PM



September 16, 2010, 05:12 PM
I've got an eberlestock pack, and even adjusted properly, none of the hip holsters that I use with my camelbak style hip belts work well with the larger padded hipbelts. I don't like safepackers unless concealment is required. Big boxy thing that my arm keeps hitting.

The eberlestock's have MOLLE belts, so a UM92 holster can be swapped back and forth between pack and belt. But I also don't want to worry about a pistol when I take off the 100 lb for a break. Nor do I want to be disarmed while said 100 lb meat lure is sitting next to me.

I'm going to try one of these this year: http://www.davidjohnstonleather.com/Pages/GuidesChoice.html

Seems to work fine. Lots of chest holster options available. I even managed to get a sidekick crap shoulder holster to fit ok with the eberlstock pack. More comfortable than my OWB's, anyway.

September 16, 2010, 09:48 PM
First of all, thank you all for your input. I feel after reading some that it might help to clarify my situation a bit more.

I will NOT be wearing the handgun while carrying a rifle. So Iím not worried about interference on my right side. I will carry it bow hunting, hiking and maybe fishing (with chest waders). Concealment is not an issue.

I donít want to wear it Ďcross drawí, which Iím pretty sure means carrying it on my left side (Iím right handed) with the butt pointing forward. My left hip is reserved for the canister of bear spray.

Iíve been adjusting the Blade-Tech Drop and Offset holster tonight and Iíve gotten it to ride fairly tight against my right hip and works with my pack. I do not like all the noise it creates drawing it out. I donít need to mimic Doc Holiday, but as long as I have clear access to the gun and can pull it out without drawing too much attention, thatís what Iím looking for. So I guess Iím looking at some kind of open leather holster.

You know, Iíve brought this question up on a few other sites and even in the past. Many swear by a chest holster. I initially shy away from that because Iíll be carrying a pack and want to leave the option open for binoculars. But maybe I should look into that option more. Would certainly be better if wearing it fishing.

Slabuda Ė thanks for the links on pack fit! Very informative and may help me answer my own question on the matter. Thanks for taking the time.

Dougwx12 Ė I like the looks of that chest holster. Looks to hang down far enough to not interfere with binoculars or when drawing a bow. Does the gun come out easy enough?

Iím pretty sure Iím sending the Blade-Tech holster back, so keep the comments coming. Thank you.

Justin Holder
September 19, 2010, 01:05 PM
You might try this place for a good chest rig.

Last fall on a hunt in Colorado I carried my Glock 20 in a holster attached directly to my pack frame belt.
The G20 was in a Bianchi Accumold holster on the right side belt along with a matching double mag pouch on the left side belt.
This setup worked well and was very comforting while we packed out my deer for over a half mile after dark in lion country.

When I wasn't wearing the pack I just slipped the Glock in my pocket.

September 19, 2010, 09:04 PM
When I wasn't wearing the pack I just slipped the Glock in my pocket.

With a G20, those are some big ass pockets. :)

September 20, 2010, 11:16 AM
How much trouble would a thigh rig be? I've never tried it while backpacking but I think the Army Mans carry a lot of stuff on their back and chest and that's why they carry a sidearm in a thigh rig.


September 20, 2010, 10:02 PM
I have put an accessory pocket on the belt of a backpack for odds and ends, this may be an option. Just make sure you don't have it flopping around. It will get annoying if you can't stabilize it enough to traverse terrain.

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