Best Concealed Carry Backpack: Top Picks, How-To Choose

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By Dennis Howard •  12 min read
Concealed Carry Backpack

There are as many ways to carry concealed as there are means of carrying anything.  Almost anything kind of briefcase, handbag, bookbag, or backpack is convertible to function for concealed carry. In fact, many manufacturers of each of these types of bags or packs now offer models that are ready for concealed carry from the factory.

Backpacks are of special interest.  Smaller backpacks have become commonplace, even in the most sophisticated and formal business environment.  It is not unusual to see attorney’s carrying small backpacks into the courtroom rather than the traditional large leather lawyer style cases.

  • Accepts a full sized pistol
  • Exceptional comfort and very spacious
  • Top-mounted grab handle
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  • Rifle compatible with a Rapid Access Pull tab
  • The concealed carry compartment will accept ballistic panels
  • Hydration bladder compatible
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  • Loop lined interior for attaching accessories and organizational pouches
  • Padded shoulder straps with quick-release buckles
  • Full clamshell opening on the main compartment
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What To Look For In A Backpack For Your CCW?

If a backpack is more your style and you want to use it as a concealed carry platform, there are certain things that you must look for in the backpack to ensure that it will perform the role properly.  It doesn’t matter which style of backpack you choose if it performs these functions.  Before I look at some of the different styles of concealed carry backpack, I want to cover the criteria that I feel a backpack should meet to pass my tests.

Firearms Access – The backpack design must allow quick and easy access to your concealed carry weapon (CCW).  The style of the backpack has a lot to do with how this factor works.  Suffice to say, in most cases, if you are traditionally wearing your backpack, a quick draw is not going to be possible. 

Security and safety – Part of the job of any concealed carry system is the ability to keep that firearm safe and secure.  On your persons carry is probably the most secure way to carry, especially if you carry outside the waistband and can use a Level 2 or Level 3 holster.  Backpacks can be almost as secure by keeping the gun inside a closed space and secured in a proper holster.

Look and Feel – The look of a concealed carry backpack is as essential as the design.  I shy away from the tactical look as much as possible.  The last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself.  A good concealed carry backpack contributes to the gray man look that allows you to blend in with everyone else in your vicinity.

Construction Quality – The quality of construction and the materials used in that construction are vital.  Good concealed backpacks need not be overly expensive but expect to pay for the quality of construction and materials that will give you a bag that can stand up to day to day use.  Cheap bags never perform well and can fail at the most inopportune time.

Comfort and Style – If the backpack meets all the rest of the criteria, then you can start to think about comfort and style.  These are essential aspects, especially if you face daily treks across campus or through a business district.  Shouldering the weight of the backpack can get tiresome if it doesn’t fit well.  Many manufacturers are now making great-looking bags designed to be easy to carry with a load and to fit into a business environment.

Best Concealed Carry Backpack Reviews: My Top Picks

The backpacks I have reviewed are all bags with which I have personal experience.  I have either sold them when I was operating my retail store and, in some cases, still have one of these bags in my personal inventory of concealed carry gear. 

Here are my top picks at a quick glance:

Best Concealed Carry Backpack – 5.11 COVRT18 Covert Backpack

5.11 Tactical COVRT18 Covert Military Backpack, Large Assault Rucksack...

If you want all the features of a great tactical concealed carry backpack in a package that doesn’t scream military or tactical when you carry it in public, the 5.11 COVRT18 backpack makes sense.  5.11 has designed this backpack to be inconspicuous, which fits right in with my philosophy of the gray man attitude. 

The pistol pocket on the 5.11 COVRT18 backpack is easily located on the face of the backpack. It features the 5.11 TacTec™ attachment system inside that allows you to customize the holster and placement of the gun inside the pistol pocket. You do need to dismount the backpack when it is carried in the traditional manner to access your firearm.

I also like that these backpacks are available in color combinations that are far from what is the standard military tactical colors.  The 5.11 COVRT18 backpack blends in well in almost any environment to the most professional office to the campus. 

Features include:

Users consistently give the 5.11 COVRT18 backpack high marks in almost every category of use. 

Some users of the 5.11 COVRT18 found some minor issues

If you want a traditional style backpack, this is my choice and my recommendation.  I have been a customer of 5.11 for many years, and I have also sold their products in my store in the past.  I don’t think you will be disappointed in the 5.11 COVRT 18 concealed carry backpack or in 5.11 gear in general.

5.11 Tactical COVRT18 Covert Military Backpack, Large Assault Rucksack...
  • Tactical Backpack COVRT18 is a full-featured covert military tactical backpack with roomy main and...
  • This Military Style Bag assault bug out backpack also has R.A.C. (Roll-down Assault Compartment)...

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Slingbag Style Backpack – Vertx Commuter Sling

Vertx Commuter Sling 2.0, Heather Navy, One Size

Vertx designs their bags around the mechanics of concealed carry.  This company also understands that concepts behind concealed carry and their bags are some of the best on the market, especially if you want stylish and unassuming bags that will keep you well within the gray man mode.

The Vertx Commuter Sling 2.0 is the best EDC commuter sling bag available.  It meets our criteria perfectly. The Vertx Commuter 2.0 comes in a huge array of colors, including combinations of blues, greens blacks, and red tones that are in no way tactical.  If you are into style, you can color-coordinate your EDC sling bag with your outfit.

One great feature of the Vertx Commuter 2.0 bag allows you to insert a ballistic panel into the sling bag giving you an additional level of protection.  The Vertx Commuter bag is also one of the few sling-style bags that comes with a detachable waist belt to enhance the load-carrying ability of the bag.

Sling bags offer some advantages in deploying your concealed carry gun.  When carried over one shoulder, they can be quickly shifted to allow access to the gun pocket, making for a smoother transition from carry to cocked.

The Vertx Commuter 2.0 is feature-rich.

Those who carry this bag daily rave about its quality and construction.

The complaints about the Vertx Commuter bag were minor and mostly about cosmetic issues

Vertx builds bags designed for EDC, and they understand the needs of concealed carry.  The fact that these bags are available in such a wide range of colors and that they are designed specifically for concealed carry gets them my nod as the best sling-style bag for EDC.

Vertx Commuter Sling 2.0, Heather Navy, One Size
  • Imported
  • Mission-ready carry platform with loop lining, a sling attachment point and a Rapid Access Pull tab

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Most Stylish Concealed Carry Backpack – Maxpedition Gear Entity 21

MAXPEDITION Entity 21 CCW-Enabled EDC Backpack 21L (Charcoal)

If style is your thing, then you should look at the Maxpedition Gear Entity 21 concealed carry backpack.  Maxpedition is well known for building the highest quality bags and packs available on the market.  However, for many years Maxpedition focused on the military and law enforcement community, and their bags reflected this focus.   The bags tended to be utilitarian and tactical.

As Maxpedition reputation grew, the company realized that there was a large civilian market that wanted high-quality gear but without the tactical look and feel.  In response to the EDC crowd, Maxpedition introduced the Entity line of concealed carry backpacks. 

I like the Maxpedition Entity bags for many reasons.  These bags meet all my criteria for a concealed carry bag, and they do it in a package that easily fits into the most professional work atmosphere.  These bags look tailored and sophisticated. 

Instead of a cross draw ambidextrous concealed carry compartment, Maxpedition fitted the Entity 21 with dual side-mounted concealed carry pockets.  I like this feature for its simplicity.  You don’t need to completely dismount the backpack to access your gun.  Simply slip off one shoulder strap, shift the backpack to your off-hand side and access your gun on the side pocket of the backpack.

Maxpedition never skimps on features on its products.  The Entity 21 is no different.

User comments reflect the Maxpedition attention to detail.

Some users found some slight problems with the design.

I carry a Maxpedition bag as my EDC gear bag.  It has seen years of use and still looks almost brand new.  These bags just don’t wear out as far as I can tell.   If you are looking for a stylish and professional-looking backpack that will go anywhere without arousing suspicion, the Maxpedition Entity 21 is my recommendation.

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Small Profile Concealed Carry Backpack – Condor Sector Sling Bag

Condor Elite Sector Sling Pack Bag

If smaller is better in your world, I suggest that you look at the Condor Outdoor Sector Slingbag.  You certainly aren’t going to pack for a three day weekend in this smaller bag, but for EDC carry on a minimalist approach, it is ideal and meets my criteria for an EDC concealed carry bag.

The sling-style bag is just big enough to get your concealed carry gun, an extra magazine, your tactical blowout kit, and some of your personal EDC gear comfortably and safely stowed in one package.  Add to that the low profile design, sleek appearance, and the subdued colors, which all add to that gray man look.

Condor Outdoor has come a long way since I first started selling their products.  They have listened to their dealers and their customers and have improved their gear based on these recommendations.  The quality of construction and materials have been steadily improving.  I like many of the Condor designs and the Sector sling bag is in that mix.

Condor offers a good feature list to go with this bag.

User comments, overall, are excellent, giving this bag top rating overall.

It is hard to find negative comments about this bag. 

If you don’t need to haul around a laptop, papers, or books and just want a low profile discreet means of carrying your concealed gun and some EDC gear; the Condor Sector Sling Bag is my choice. 

Condor Elite Sector Sling Pack Bag
  • Constructed with Mil-Spec 500 denier Cordura fabric, high tensile strength composite nylon thread...
  • YKK zippers throughout the pack with paracord pull cords

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

No one backpack can meet the needs and expectations for every situation.  If the bag meets the basic criteria for a CCW backpack and can fit your needs and your expectations, it is the bag for you.  The backpacks that I have reviewed are my recommendations for each category.  There are many other backpacks, bags, and purses on the market that meet my basic criteria and may fill your needs better than my choices. 

Also, keep in mind that having a backpack is the first choice. You must protect yourself with proper concealed carry insurance as well. You never know when you may need it.

If you have suggestions or experiences with backpacks, I would certainly like to hear them.  Your comments are always welcome in the space below.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.