Holsters are the most traditional way to carry a concealed weapon, but backpacks certainly have a lot of unique advantages that can make them more beneficial depending on your preferences while carrying. After comparing 15 CCW-specific backpacks and bags on their design, storage, comfort, and tactical functionality (aka firearm location and ease of access for quick draws), we’d recommend the 5.11 Covrt18 as the best concealed carry backpack. With that said, if you’re a woman and would rather have something a little more stylish, the Purse King Magnum is an attractive concealed carry handbag that has it all. Article Summary
Carrying a concealed weapon is a choice that many people make, and we don’t have to explain how that’s beneficial to your safety. However, carrying on your hip isn’t very concealed, and concealing other places can be uncomfortable. Even if your firearm is relatively compact, any protruding piece of steel jamming into you when you sit down or get into your car can be an inconvenience. There are several ways to get around this issue, but one of the easiest is to carry your firearm in some type of bag or backpack.
Concealed carry backpacks are simple wearables that have specially-designed interiors to accommodate a firearm and usually feature a quick-access zipper or special compartment that keep your firearm within reach and also safely out of the way so you can go about your business as usual without hindrance. As with normal bags and backpacks, there is quite a bit of variety with concealed carry backpacks, so you can mix and match the design aspects you’re looking for to find the right one for you and your lifestyle.
To help narrow down some choices, we took a look at over a dozen popular concealed carry backpacks and bags to figure out which are the most ideal for the average firearm carrier. We judged packs on things like design (including firearm location and ease of access), functionality, comfort, and more, and then we added each model’s scores to come up with a top three. We know everyone has different styles and preferences, but if you’re looking for the best concealed carry backpack, we’d recommend starting with one of the models shown below.
The best concealed carry backpack overall
Although it might appear subtle on the outside, the 5.11 Covrt18 Backpack is far from basic. This pack has a ton of tactical features, and it’s clear that no expense has been spared on its design which is highly functional, durable, and comfortable. It’s not the cheapest concealed carry backpack on the market, but it’s by far the best.
5.11 has built the Covrt18 using a combination of 500D nylon, Duraflex hardware, and several reinforced components. To say that it’s durable would be an understatement, and that’s not where its toughness ends – it’s also water resistant to keep your firearm and your belongings dry in unexpected wet conditions. The straps on this bag have also been well thought-out, with comfortable shoulder straps and sternum strap to keep the bag from swaying side-to-side should you have to break into a run.
The highlight of this bag, with CCW purposes in mind, is the discreet side-zip compartment for your firearm. This compartment is on the side of the bag and allows for a quick draw without even completely taking off the pack, which is one of the most important design aspects to look for in a concealed carry backpack (many bags require too many steps just to get your firearm out). Another great feature is a roll-down compartment on the front that can house a full-sized firearm or be used for additional sights or spare magazines, as well as a Velcro patch on the inside in case you want to attach a holster.
In addition to its firearm-oriented features, there are a number of other pockets and sleeves for your other everyday items. There’s a padded pocket for your sunglasses, a flip-down ID panel for quick identification, and there’s even a sleeve for an iPad or a laptop if you choose to carry one with you. Plus, of course, you’ve got the usual main storage area in the middle, water bottle holders on the side, etc.
Overall, we think the 5.11 Covrt18 is the best concealed carry backpack because it’s the perfect blend of casual appearance and tactical functionality. On the outside, it looks like any regular school backpack, but a closer look reveals its impressive quality and specialized design for carrying firearms while allowing quick access in case of emergency.
A sling-style pack for those who prefer a single strap
The Trek Sling Pack by TRU-SPEC is different than our top pick in that is a different style (a single-strap bag worn diagonally across the body), and it is also quite a bit smaller in volume. These differences can make it more effective for someone who doesn’t carry as much, but it can also have a few drawbacks. We’ll explain the differences so you can figure out if it’s right for you.
TRU-SPEC is a brand that produces quite a bit of tactical gear, and for that they’re well-loved in the firearm, survival, and outdoors communities. Heavy, reinforced nylon is the material that makes up most of the Trek Sling Pack, and its durability is further shown in the thickness of their strap and the massive size of their zippers.
This backpack features three options to carry a concealed weapon: a side-zip pocket, a front compartment and a rear compartment that would normally be against your back. Just like the Covrt18, the side-zip pocket allows for the fastest firearm access, requiring just a quick rotation of the bag to reach. There are also dedicated magazine pockets throughout the bag so that you’re always prepared, and never have mags bouncing around inside the main storage area.
The fact that this is a smaller bag can be great if you generally travel light; however, if you have a heftier load day-to-day, this bag may present some challenges in getting everything inside alongside your firearm. In addition, since it’s a sling-style pack with only one cross-body strap, it can take a little getting used to if you’ve never worn one before. Single-strap bags don’t distribute load evenly like traditional double-strap backpacks, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’ve got any back issues.
Other than the minor style limitations discussed above, the TRU-SPEC Trek Sling Pack is a great, compact alternative to our top pick (and also about half the price). It’s got dedicated space for your firearms and mags, and still holds the subtle appearance that most concealed carriers are after.
A subtle-yet-attractive handbag for women
A good portion of the personal firearms community is female, and to accommodate this, there are several styles of concealed carry handbags available. The style we felt was worthy of recommendation is the Purse King Magnum. Not only is this a subtle-yet-attractive purse with several options for every day storage, it was designed with the ability to draw quickly in mind, should the need arise. If you normally carry a purse, but want a more specially-designed bag to safely and securely hold your firearm, this concealed carry handbag might be just the thing for you.
First and foremost, this bag has a ton of storage relative to its size. It’s got a 10” main storage area in the center just like any regular purse, but it’s also got two front zipper pockets – one 9” pocket along the front, and a 15” wraparound pocket. There are also several other smaller pouches throughout the interior of your bag, including some for your phone, wallet and credit cards to make your day a little more convenient. The dedicated firearm pouch is in the front for easy access and a quick draw, measuring roughly 7” wide.
The Magnum bag is materially constructed of vegan leather with durable zips and straps – a little unconventional for tactical equipment, but remember, the point is to stay stylish and subtle. And trust us, with over a dozen colors to choose from, stylish you will be! The bag can be carried over the shoulder or cross-body, which gives you a few comfortable options for hauling your stuff around, and although it has a spacious firearm compartment and other sizeable pockets, it’s not at all bulky.
If you already carry a purse or a handbag, switching to one with dedicated CCW capabilities can make you more confident when walking home or catching the bus late at night. If you want the best one out there, the Purse King Magnum is absolutely worth the money.
How we picked our top three
When you consider the specific purpose of a concealed carry backpack, it’s no surprise that little changes in pocket size, location, and materials used can be of extreme importance if a situation arises that requires you to draw. Therefore, we based our top picks on a certain set of criteria that would produce the most practical backpacks in the case of an emergency.
The first thing we looked at when comparing packs was their material quality and durability. If you have books, files, and maybe even a laptop or iPad in there, you’ll want a backpack that’s durable so that it lasts over time and protects your belongings. This is even truer considering you’ll have a firearm in there, too. Areas where many backpacks wear out is the bottom and the straps – the backpacks on our list have these areas reinforced. We also only chose backpacks made out of solid, sturdy materials that won’t suddenly rip and cause a catastrophe in the middle of walking home. Double and triple-woven nylon, reinforced canvas and other tough materials were top-priority when seeing how the backpacks were made.
Firearm storage and location
If you’re purchasing a backpack specifically to make carrying more convenient, you probably don’t want a ton of obstructions and hassles in between you and your firearm. Concealed carry backpacks should be good able to lug a decent amount of stuff around, sure, but they should also be tactically superior and convenient for carrying your firearm and accessories. With that in mind, we chose packs that are designed with specific pockets for your firearm as well as extreme convenience and a tactical advantage in mind. This way, you’ll have easy access if you’re ever presented with an emergency situation that requires you to draw your weapon.
Once we verified that bags were made of strong materials and offered the necessary design to keep you in short reach of your weapon, we took a look at comfort. After all, a concealed carry backpack is, of course, a backpack first and foremost – and backpacks that are worn daily need to be comfortable! We checked for padded straps and back panels, and also read through customer reviews to see what daily users thought of each pack. Needless to say, the three picks on our list all passed the comfort test with flying colors.
Things to consider before buying
If this is your first time buying a backpack dedicated to carrying your weapon in it, there are a few things you should think about before buying to ensure you choose the right one. These considerations aren’t much different than those you would have buying a backpack for school or work, but they are obviously more focused around your firearm and your preferences when carrying it.
How big is your weapon?
Depending on what you personally choose to carry, whether that’s a Glock, Beretta, revolver, or something else, you always want to make sure your weapon will actually fit in the specific backpack you’re considering buying. This should be obvious to most, but too often, people just assume that any size pistol will fit because “backpacks are bigger than holsters.” Sure, the firearm pockets in CCW backpacks are generally more universal than a fitted hip holster, but there are still limitations. Always check firearm and pocket sizing first.
How often do you plan to carry your weapon?
Most people who have a CCW would probably carry every day if they could, but not all of us have that luxury, so consider how often you will realistically be carrying your weapon with you. If you work in restricted areas or spend a lot of time in areas where weapons are barred, your chances to carry around your new backpack may be limited. However, if you aren’t as restricted, you’ll have your bag around more often, in which case you’re going to want a bag that is more comfortable and more durable to stand up to daily use.
What other essentials are on your EDC list?
EDC, for those unfamiliar with the term, stands for Every Day Carry. Everyone has different things they choose to carry with them every day. For some, it might just be your firearm, but others like to carry extra mags, knives, flashlights and more. Needless to say, the more accessories you have, the more space you need to carry them. If you have a CCW backpack with limited space and you plan on carrying a healthy number of accessories, you’re going to quickly run out of room. Consider your EDC accessory count ahead of time and make sure you get a bag that can accommodate your preferences.
Do you want room for additional non-everyday stuff?
In addition to your firearm and your other EDC essentials, you should always think about anything else you might need to carry in your backpack – laptop, notebooks, clothes, snacks, etc. (of course, assuming these aren’t already on your EDC list). Buying a smaller backpack than you need is going to leave you cramped and limited, while picking one with too much space will leave extra room and load you up with unnecessary bulk. If you have an old school backpack lying around the house, try to use it as a template by loading it up with all your things. This should give you a rough idea on the size you’ll need.
The benefits of using a concealed carry backpack over other methods of carrying
Holsters are the most traditional way to carry a concealed firearm, whether they’re strapped to your side, shoulder, ankle, or elsewhere. Using a backpack might seem a little unconventional to those who have never done it before, but there are actually several benefits that make them a great choice.
Carrying on your person can be bulky and uncomfortable
If you’ve been carrying for a while, it’s pretty likely that you’ve tried out at least a few different types of holsters. Shoulder holsters, hip holsters and ankle holsters are convenient and allow for a quick draw, but are ultimately bulky and can be a pain (literally and figuratively) to carry around all the time. If you’re always on the move, holsters can also chafe and cause irritation. If you have your firearm in a backpack, you won’t need to worry about a piece of steel jutting out from your hip or ankle, or a spare magazine digging into your side.
Holsters are limiting to your wardrobe
If it’s a nice, warm summer day, wearing a jacket to hide your shoulder holsters isn’t exactly pleasant. Along that same vein, if you’re clad in a dress shirt and pants, shoulder holsters aren’t really concealed, are they? See where we’re going with this? While it’s not the biggest deal in the world, carrying on your person is limiting to what you can wear. Bulky clothing that can effectively hide a holster, or set of holsters, can be hot and uncomfortable. Carrying a backpack, on the other hand, will allow you to wear whatever you want without affecting how well your firearm is concealed.
Regular backpacks are inconvenient and unsafe
If you’ve ever tried to carry your gun in any type of traditional backpack or bag, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of inconvenience. A regular backpack, without tactical features, won’t effectively hold a firearm or any accessories – they’ll bounce around and could end up under your laptop or yesterday’s presentation notes. On top of that, there’s the whole safety concern of not having your weapon properly secured, but you already know that, so we won’t even get into it. Tactical backpacks that are made with carrying a concealed weapon in mind are much more secure, and safe, plus they allow quicker access to your firearm than a regular backpack.
Wrapping it up
There are numerous ways to carry a concealed weapon, but a backpack is definitely among the most convenient. It allows you the freedom to wear whatever you want without sacrificing the ability to have your firearm in close reach in the event of an emergency. In addition, it allows you to hold accessories like extra mags, which isn’t quite as easy with holsters. We’ve chosen the three CCW backpacks in our guide based on their material quality, subtle design, and ease of access. Needless to say, there are other styles available that you may personally prefer more, but we believe our picks are the best out there when it comes to safety and convenience.