Budget Chest Rig For Hiking and Biking: Everyday Carry Pocket Dump of the Day

Our very own SoCal Jack sends his Budget Chest Rig gear today for our Friday edition of Everyday Carry’s Pocket Dump of the Day.

He writes:

I’ve been testing this for hiking and mountain biking. In the main compartment, I used stick on velco sheets to hold in place a repurposed holster and velcro made mag carrier. In the secondary, outside compartment, also with stick on velco sheets, I have the M-Tac organizer (velcro backed), knife, light, phone, and CCW ID (not shown). Due to the small zipper opening of the main compartment, the holster and mag carrier are angled more vertical than diagonal for quick unholstering. Diagonal would be better. I changed out the original clancy plastic zipper pulls for quieter paracord. The bag, velcro and organizer came out to $36, so far it’s holding up and I would not add anymore load. My Camelbak, not shown, holds all the other stuff.

He is experimenting, which is good.  Don’t just buy something and start carrying it.

He’s got a nice collection of the basics.  S&W Shield 9mm, and extra mag with a Hyve +2 (welcome to California), a Streamlight 1AA flashlight and a Gerber folder.  The rest is mostly just window dressing.



  1. avatar Leslie says:

    I just wear a “ScottVest”, which has 42 pockets of various sizes…

  2. avatar LifeSavor says:

    I have never tried a chest-rig. What are the advantages? I always go with tac-pants with a lot of pockets, and a good belt for gun-holster and other tools.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Great for carrying while driving. No seatbelt snags.
      For a person with mobility issues, say, bound to a wheelchair, they work great.
      If you hike and wear a backpack, it can be dead center on your chest. No encomberances from other straps.
      If you rifle hunt and want to carry your pistol, you can sling a rifle and not have the rifle banging away on your hip mounted holster.

      Lots of advantages.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        I imagine they are quite handy when in bear country…

    2. avatar Not Larry from Texas says:

      For me comfort was a big issue. I spent at times 18 hours in a patrol vehicle some days and having my pistol and rifle magazines off of my hip and lower back helped a lot. Plus a cross draw holster on my Chester was quicker than digging around for one on my hip

    3. avatar Don from CT says:

      A chest rig is very functional.

      Fast – its really fast. So fast that some competitors started using them in IPSC back in the early days, before it was banned.

      Good for driving. As others have said, good if you are driving.

      Good for carrying really big heavy guns – the weight is on yoru chest, not on your belt. So that 5 lb X frame revolver doesn’t feel so heavy.

      Doesn’t get in the way – Its in a part of your body that youdon’t normally lean against or sit against or anything. Its really never in the way.

      Works well with longer backpacks if you don’t use a sternum strap. `

  3. avatar Hannibal says:

    Having worn a vest for some biking in the past for purposes of employment, anyone who does this for fun is certifiable.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      It’s not that kind of vest/chest rig.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Even non-ballistic, vests are awful when biking.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          The terminology used here is confusing. It’s not a vest or a “chest rig” in the classic sense.

          It’s like the “Runner’s Kit Bag” from Hill People Gear. Just a single chest pouch worn up high or attached to a pack so that you have some small stuff with really quick access. There’s not much to them. Nowhere near like wearing what is usually called a “chest rig”.


        2. avatar SoCalJack says:

          strych9, thanks for the correction. The general term pack or bag is better than “rig” which can be confused with a heavier load bearing and wight distribution. These chest pack/bags seems to be best for nothing heavier that a handgun and one spare mag.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    For hiking or biking I would go with a headlight. At least I have and still do. I like the hands free application.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      I love headlamps and use them so much all my little kids have and use their own. I’m still waiting for someone to make a super slim one to keep in my hip pocket.

      1. avatar mtn_chef says:

        tractor supply had an awesome 2 pack of simple led head lamps for $10 bucks.

        seriously though y’all, that pack/bag/rig/set up in OD green screams “GUN STORED HERE” Yeah if we’re in bear country…rock on. Out mountain biking or hiking? see the scared granola’s/snowflakes run… and soon enough, hopefully not your hike or bike get’s red-flaggged.

  5. avatar KenW says:

    I use a Pistol wear PT2. Its light and conceals well, small weapons are not noticeable even with a soaked shirt on. It keeps them somewhat dry when I’m sweating. Whats inside does not move around much.
    It’s my multipurpose carry device for hiking, running, and biking.
    It even has room for my test kit and glucotabs and insulin. Which are excellent camouflage, I was asked once when I had my shirt off what the belt was and showed them the meds. No further questions were asked.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve long considered a belly band but this one is different. I jogged once with my chest pack and moves too much, if straps are tighten I overheat fast. I like how the PT2 is easy to put on, take off and can be used when I lift at the gym. Not sure yet where to put a spare mag, light and a folder. I love the idea about the meds explaination if it prints or shows.

      1. avatar KenW says:

        They have a mag pouch available, I picked up one. What is nice is to most people this does not look like a item they would expect a weapon to be stored in. I have the rigid piece in front so it does not print at all.
        And is deep enough to keep someone from seeing the weapon. It is not hard to lift the flap and retrieve the weapon. ( Mine is either a Sig P226 or P938 ).
        And that why I went with this type for carry, it does not move. I try to avoid removing skin with repetitive movements, Bandaides do not help if an object is moving against your body .
        I tried other methods and found this to work well and still allow easy access to the weapon.

  6. avatar Specialist38 says:

    While I understand it for biking and (I guess) hiking…..just dont like something on my chest in general.

    But kudos on the engineering and making stuff that works for you.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      They’re a trade off for sure and they take, at least in my experience, some getting used to.

      Still, far superior to having a gun you cannot access without like taking off a backpack and rooting around in it.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Absolutely………my main problem would be heat retention here in Florida.

        But i would suffer a little as opposed to not having a gun.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          I’m not particularly sensitive to heat so I’ve never really “gotten” that part of it.

          Either way, yeah, I’d rather have the gun than not. It’s not like most methods of carry are the end-all-be-all for comfort but we do them anyway.

        2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “I’m not particularly sensitive to heat so I’ve never really “gotten” that part of it.”

          Live in Florida, not visit, but *live* here in summers of 100 percent humidity, high heat, and little cooling winds and I’m confident you’ll grow to hate them as much as I do… 🙂

          Winters here are the only reason to put up with the summers. The air is dry then and *wonderful* to be out in…

        3. avatar KenW says:

          The last few days have been nice. Under 90°f with lower humidity. But soon the snowbirds will be back.
          So the weather will be nice but the crowds won’t.

  7. avatar strych9 says:

    Ah, the kit bag of previous discussion.

    I can see why you’d consider the HPG as a potential upgrade since you had to mod this one to get to the same point.

    I’d note that the back portion of the HPG, the part resting on your back, is mesh. Dunno if that matters to you or not. I’d also say that the HPG zips come all the way down to the two lower corners so that the bag flops open similar to some admin panels you might for map work have on a plate carrier but as previously noted this is just for easy of access to the main compartment as the bag is too floppy to really do any actual M&C on it while standing.

    They are useful for hiking and biking, that’s for sure.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      The only issue, in general, is heat in the front when hiking, becuse I sweat a lot in the summer time. Mtb in the summer, I’m leaning foward so the pack is somewhat dangleing away from my chest, plus theres a breeze going downhill. I think it caught the eyes of other hikers or maybe they were looking at my noisy kids. This ODG is bright.
      But my biggest complaint with this pack is the main compartment doesnt open to the side for more of a diagonal unholster. I have to pull up almost vertically. The HPG zipper down the sides, like you mentioned, is a much better design. A glock 19 is a tight fit for this cheap pack. If HPG made a medium sized pack, I think it would sell well. The large takes up a wide footprint (more heat build up when it hot out) and the small one can only accomodate a sub-compact or snubnose. Overall it’s low cost way to see what works and what doesn’t before commiting to a more functional HPG chest pack. Now for some wintertime testing.

  8. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Nice thing about chest rigs, they’re up, out of the way, and if set up properly, can be faster to access than a conventional side holster…
    They’re great for hunting, back country hiking, basically any outdoor activity where you need to carry, but need it out of the way…

    This is what I use when I’m in bear country…


  9. avatar Chuck says:

    If it’s working for him, that’s all that matters. Good No Nonsense Kit, although I’d add a basic Trauma Kit (Tourniquet and Dressing) to the rig.

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