As a mountain biker who carries concealed, I’ve tried multiple carry methods. Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) holsters under Lycra only work with the lightest pistols. Otherwise, they bounce out. An Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) holster with an accessory belt interferes with a hydration pack and you can lose the gun in a wreck. In the search for a better solution, I threaded a plastic Glock brand holster onto my belt. Comfort and retention were high. But I didn’t feel like fielding questions about why I was armed, the gun was exposed to the elements (rock scratches suck) and there was no guarantee it would stay under my control after a wreck. I wanted more concealment, more protection and better retention. Enter the Wilderness Safepacker . . .

As you can see in the Safepacker promo above [go to 1:15], it’s easy enough to attach and detach the system to any belt. For most casual riding or commuting, you can attach the bag/holster to your standard pant’s belt and cycle away. And when you hike with the kids, just add it to the belt of the baby back pack and no one’s the wiser.

Riding on rough, technical terrain with a belt-carried Safepacker is another matter. The holster/bag slides forward on your belt, moving from the side position to more of an appendix carry. I had to keep pushing the Safepacker back next to the pack. While I never lost the Safepacker or the Glock, the movement was annoying. So I attached the Safepacker to my main pack with velcro.

I added some velcro to the belt area of my hydration pack and sewed some additional, matching velcro to the Safepacker. The velcro connection keeps the bag/holster back next to the pack and it stays put while riding in the roughest terrain possible.  The Safepacker attachment does most of the work.  The additional velcro just keeps the Safepacker back on the belt next to the pack.

One downside: draw speed. To retrieve a weapon from the Safepacker you have to manipulate the pinch buckle, lift the flap and get your hand inside the bag. I can do it in less than a second without gloves. It takes me significantly longer with bulky gloves on.

Another minus: given the way I’ve set-up the Safepacker, I can’t draw while riding. I have to bring my cycle to a controlled stop before I can gain access to my weapon. I’m OK with the trade-off between speed and access and increased retention, concealment and protection.

And then there’s the whole “gun bag” debate . . .

RF is firmly against any holster system that isn’t attached to the body; he feels that a defensive gun should be immediately accessible and that the danger of losing your weapon to children or thieves or simple forgetfulness is too high. The Safepacker offers both on-the-body and off carry. It’s down to the user to decide; but it’s not necessarily a “holster and forget it” solution.

In my case, my hydration pack rides “shotgun” in my car after the ride. With the attached Safepacker, my Glock tags along. (Sorry RF, that’s how I roll.) If you refer back to the promo video above, at 1:45 they demonstrate how a safe Safepacker user can pack a gun in a car using a lap belt. It offers far safer and faster access to a concealed weapon than a “normal” holster. In my case, the gun goes back in to the safe, or into a regular holster once I’m home.

That said, inserting and removing the gun from the Safepacker and placing into and out of an IWB or OWB holster before and after every journey increases gun handling and the chances of a negligent discharge.

There is no ideal holster solution for every situation. But when it comes to bike riding, the Safepacker is my preferred system. It covers the gun completely, protecting it from inquisitive eyes as well as abrasions and impacts. The Safepacker securely retains my Glock in the case of a crash. If there are other secure, protected options for concealed carry in technical mountain biking, I’d like to hear about them. Meanwhile, I’m good to go.


24 Responses to Gear Review: Wilderness Safepacker

  1. In Massachusetts, a Class A licensee may carry a loaded handgun in a car, but only if the gun is under the licensee’s “direct control.” That means “on his person.” Otherwise, a handgun in transport must be unloaded and contained in a securely locked box. A plastic gun box, or the trunk, or a lockable glove compartment are all permissible containers, but the center console isn’t. So, if I’m in my car and wearing a waist pack with a loaded gun in it, I’m okay. If I take off the pack and put it on the passenger seat, I’m breaking the law. It’s nonsensical, yes, but it’s what we live with in MA.

  2. This pack intrigues me because of it’s inocuous look & flexibility. The thing that interests me most is whether or not this pack has loops large enough on the zipper to place a small lock or something. As long as you can’t get access to the firearm in a “locked” state.
    I live in kali where it’s nearly impossoble to attain an LTC (License to carry) the only option besides UOC (unloaded open carry) is LUCC (Locked unloaded concealed carry).

    Do u think it would be feasable for this purpose?

    • It will not work for unloaded locked container carry. This pouch is closed by velcro and a fastex buckle, no zippers. The Bagmaster Belt Pistol Pouch would better meet that need. 

  3. Cool. I spotted a guy using one of those at the grocery store the other day. He had it configured like a shoulder holster ish. The lump looked like a G26.

    When I take a hard spill on my Dirtbike, the second or third thing I check is if my gun is still on my hip. Iwb, Thumbreak, it never budges. Even after flying over the bars at 30 mph. Everyone teases my 5.11 pants, but they provide excellent support for my belt and holsters. I can see where spandex might be a little lacking.

  4. Seriously Ralph, why do decent, normal people continue to live in the PRM? Is it the low taxes? “Common sense” gun laws? The great New England weather?

    jd

  5. The Wilderness SafePacker is a great product. Owned one, a long time ago, and it gave stalwart service. However, there are some issues with trying to use it for true concealed carry.

    Here’s the thing: It’s a well-known product. I helped out a friend who wanted to have a reasonably discreet way to carry while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington state. After a lot of experimentation, and quite a bit of discussion, we settled on the SafePacker as the way to go.

    Weeeeellll… As a holster, it worked fine. As a means of “concealing” that he was carrying a gun? Not so fine. Within about the first five miles of his first hike along the trail, three different people asked him why he was carrying a gun, and he was taken aside by a state DNR employee, and asked to put his pistol into the inside of his pack.

    If you’re looking for a holster that’s going to cover the gun completely, the SafePacker is the way to go. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for totally discreet carry, this isn’t it. It’s too well-known, and too easily recognizable for what it is.

    • Interesting because I have worn the safepacker around at least 50-100 other trail users, none of whom have shown the slightest interest in it. Some of these folks I have been riding with for years, and they didn’t even notice the additional kit on the pack. Of course, I don’t hang much with LEOs.

    • There are a number of carry options that use a sort of fanny or belt pack approach, but most of them seem to come in “hey, I have a gun” colors – black or a “tactical” color – camo, coyote brown, etc. These things would look a lot more innocent if they were in royal blue, purple, emerald green, yellow, or other spandex/bike gear colors.

      These kinds of gaudy colors would also add to the tactical surprise level if you had to actually draw a gun in self-defense: most goblins would probably figure you were reaching for a cell phone.

      • I think the idea of more colors than black or camo is good, but how often do guys buy bags that are bright yellow or purple?

        Well, maybe I’m the exception, but that’s just because my university’s colors were purple and yellow…

  6. Update: I continue to use the Safepacker several times a week. I have actually fallen several feet, directly on to the gun without discharge, or injury to myself, the gun, or the pack. I have moved it a little lower and more to the 3:30 position which has improved draw considerably.

    Anyway, I still recommend this holster, and have found no better solution for my application.

  7. Hi Eric, have you tried mounting the Safepcker to the sternum strap in your backpack? I’m just wondering if it’s thick enough to hold it securely.

    • I also tried the Hill People Gear kit bag in this role and found I did not like t as much at the Safepacker. It would be fine hiking, but bounced around too much in rougher conditions.

      • I’m interested to hear about the HPG bag. I’m planning on getting their Recon Scout bag for carrying a Glock 20 while hiking, mountain biking, and dirt biking.

        Did the bag you use have the bungee cord for keeping it close to your body?

        • It would work fine for those roles. It was too jiggly for running. I liked it mountain biking.

          Mine did not have bungees, but did have an adjustable cheat strap.

          Hill People makes very high quality stuff.

  8. I’m not sure if anyone mentioned it but I purchased a Hill People Gear Kit bag about a year ago and love it for running, bicycling, hiking and backpacking. From what I’ve read most of you will love this. It’s spendy but WELL built and designed. The small kit carrys my G27 just fine.

  9. I am really interested but not for 100 bucks, I could get a couple of nice IWB holsters for this, or just a nice small bag and configure it a similar way. This is way to expensive for what it is. Like I have always said gun accessories are over priced. In recent years as I have really gotten into the sport I have been forced to get over this and for the most part I have but this hit my threshold for acceptance. It cant be costing them 50 bucks to be making this…. I like it but at that price you could buy 2 holsters and be just as versatile if you bought the right ones.

  10. I have one of these in black; no one has ever made me after thousands of miles run, biked, and hiked.

    However, the belt loop has fallen apart a couple times at the attachment point to the holster. And it’s too thick there to sew properly with anything except an awl.

    Therefore, I simply went and punched 2 holes with a soldering iron and secured the belt loop with some small bolts and washers. Never a problem since.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *