The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

EDC Bags of the RECOIL Staff

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Not everyone requires a pack or bag every day. But if you frequently travel for work like we do, then undoubtedly you’ll at least need some sort of sack. At a minimum, most of our staff run around with laptops, tablets, cameras, and assorted work/life accouterment. We all have strong preferences for what EDC bags we use, even though most of us carry the same sort of gear and perform similar tasks.

And, of course, we like bags that are tailor-made for firearms. While off-body carry isn’t our preference as a whole, you’ll find that most of us simply use the bags to hide firearms with greater capabilities than our carry pistols provide — should the need arise.

Somewhere in the following article, you’ll likely see an EDC bag that’ll fit your personal gear requirements —all of them have been road-tested and are explicitly recommended by the editors of RECOIL, OFFGRID, and CONCEALMENT.

Iain Harrison — RECOIL


Vertx Gamut Overland
Capacity: 2,014 cubic inches (33 liters)
Colors: Black, Canopy Green, Drop Off/All the Blue, Sienna/Shock Cord, Smoke Grey/Grey Matter
MSRP: $240
URL: vertx.com

The Gamut Overland easily passes as climbing daysack, but has a concealed compartment big enough to stow a PDW — just remember to take it out before attempting to pass through a TSA checkpoint.

The top pocket has a zippered flap inside, useful for stashing a flashlight, and its lanyard makes keys easy to find when you’ve stepped off a plane and are on your way to the parking lot. An exterior flap on the main compartment expands to accommodate a helmet, should you need to carry one, and beneath that is a field of PALS webbing coated in Velcro, giving you two options to hide mag pouches or a holster.

Unzipping the main compartment to the extent allowed by the helmet flap gives access to a bias-cut, flat pouch big enough to store three pistol mags in individual slots, as well as a couple of pens. There’s separate storage for a full-sized laptop, plus a hard insert to protect it from anything in the PDW storage area. Outside, water bottle pouches made from a stretchy material are equipped with drawstrings to cinch down their openings, and beneath them are zippered compartments to hold your earphones, snacks, and other items.

Shoulder straps are wide, without being ungainly, and there’s a sternum strap that’s adjustable for height, should you need it. After several post-COVID range trips across the country, I’ve given this one a run through airports and rental cars and found it handles those duties well. It escapes the “look at me” glances that MOLLE’d-out patrol packs sometimes garner, while providing the same — or better — functionality.

Dave Merrill — RECOIL

dave merrill EDC bag
Vertx
Commuter Sling 2.0
Capacity: 1,037 cubic inches (17 liters)
Colors: Black, Black/Mustard Grass, Drop Off/All the Blue, Heather Black/Black, Heather Navy, Ranger Green, Sienna/Shock Cord
MSRP: $198
URL: vertx.com

While covert bags aren’t a new concept, Vertx takes it to a different level. While there are endless low-profile style EDC bags on the market, the Commuter Sling 2.0 actually looks like it came off the line at Osprey or North Face. With bright colors and modern styling, no one would guess there’s a short-barreled rifle or submachinegun inside. This has been my constant companion since the moment I began using it in January 2020, and, with confidence, I’ll say it’s the nearly perfect EDC bag. It holds the essentials, a 16-inch laptop, camera, armor, and a rifle, all without telegraphing its contents in any way. It was made even sneakier by swapping out the Vertx-branded zipper pulls for bright purple ones, and there are plans to violate some trademarks with the addition of a bootleg Osprey logo.

Deploying a weapon from the Commuter is easier than any other EDC bag of its type that I’ve used; simply swing the bag in front and grab the Rapid Access Pull Tab. The Maxim Defense PDX is right at hand, and with the addition of an optional stop, the bag won’t clamshell entirely when you do it.

The entire bag is lined with fine Velcro-brand loop, so any sort of hook-attachment pouch can be added, though we’re sure Vertx would prefer that you use their Tactigami pouches.

Read our full review here and check it out on RECOILtv here.

 

Tom Marshall — OFFGRID

tom marshall edc bag
5.11 Tactical AMP12 Backpack
Capacity: 1,525 cubic inches (25 liters)
Colors: Black, Kangaroo, Ranger Green, Tungsten
MSRP: $140
URL: 511tactical.com

I carry off-body fairly often. There’s no denying the convenience factor, but the primary reason I do it is to have some increased preparedness and response capability above and beyond what I can fit on my belt or in my pockets. While I don’t want to be carrying around a full-blown mountaineering backpack, I’m willing to tote something a little bigger in exchange for on-board storage.

For me, the AMP12 backpack from 5.11 splits that difference. The All Mission Pack series is a line of backpacks and accessories meant to provide a wide array of sizes and great flexibility in custom configuration by the user. The AMP12 is a 25-liter pack with a main compartment lined with a soft cloth that’ll accept Velcro pouches, a rear compartment for laptop or tablet (which will also take a hydration bladder), plus several smaller zip or Velcro-flap compartments on the front side.

For increased modularity, I paired the AMP12 with a custom-sized Rigid MOLLE Panel (RMP) from Grey Man Tactical. These panels are lightweight, laser-cut polymer that allow the use of any pouch that uses MOLLE, MALICE, PALS, or other similar attachment systems. The RMP can be secured inside the bag by Velcro strips and simply torn out when not needed, or when needed independent of the bag. Grey Man has a whole line of these panels in different dimensions to fit a variety of popular EDC bags and backpacks.

Steven Kuo — RECOILsteven kuo edc bag

Sneaky Bags Original Covert Rifle Bag, Medium
Dimensions: 30 by 12 by 2 to 6 inches
Colors: Black, Coyote Brown, Khaki, Medium Navy, Sneaky Grey
MSRP: $160
URL: sneakybags.com


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Sneaky Bags makes a line of covert bags and cases for concealed carry and transport of various types of weapons. I’ve used them for over a decade, starting with the very first incarnation of their Covert Rifle Bags that predated the one shown here (which was succeeded by the updated Spyder Covert Rifle Bag line).

Made of 1,000D nylon, the Original Covert Rifle Bag is designed as a discreet method to carry a long-gun, ready to be immediately used. It features a rounded overall profile that doesn’t look like a typical rifle case, but also looks rather generic so that an observer might subconsciously fill in the blanks with whatever makes sense to them. Contrast this with discreet cases that have a distinct look — for instance, like a tennis racquet bag — which can appear out of place if you don’t specifically match the profile or context.

The main compartment extends the full length of the bag, with a sturdy plastic insert at the bottom for pointy muzzle devices. It has a padded divider and removable foam and stiffeners on the front and back. It’s meant to be carried vertically, with two padded straps for use like a backpack or a quiver. A large external pocket contains a Velcro MOLLE field and another mesh pocket. It’s a perfect fit for one of Sneaky Bags’ small shoulder utility bags, configured here with a grab-and-go load-out of spare rifle and pistol magazines and a small med kit. There’s also a small zippered pocket at the top for small accessories like a flashlight, a hidden pocket below that, and bungees to lash down extra kit.

I have several of these bags in different sizes and have used them in many public venues without attracting any unwanted attention. We’ve also carried light stands, tripods, and other photographic equipment with them. They’re particularly handy for “truck guns” — the gun’s ready to deploy out of the bag, and when you need to park on the street, you can discreetly take it in and out of the car to avoid leaving your gun outside overnight.

Patrick McCarthy — OFFGRIDPatrick McCarthy EDC bag

Grey Ghost Gear Gypsy
Capacity: 1,200 cubic inches (19.7 liters)
Colors: Black, Charcoal, Field Tan, Olive
MSRP: $225
URL: greyghostgear.com

With its waxed canvas construction and old-school flap-top opening, the Gypsy has what I like to call hipster camouflage. A lot of tactical packs attempt to blend into urban environments by stripping off external PALS webbing and patch panels, and switching camo 500D nylon to a solid color. Rather than trying to make a tactical EDC bag look less tactical, Grey Ghost set out to emulate a totally different category of pack — the kind commonly used by “young urban professionals” or cyclists clad in skinny jeans. It still has a few tells, such as a slotted Hypalon rubber attachment panel and an embossed Grey Ghost skull logo, but these are discreet enough that it wouldn’t look entirely out of place on a shelf at Urban Outfitters or J. Crew.

There’s plenty of organized storage for small items in the zip-open admin pocket and dual flap pockets; a pair of expandable bottle pockets on each side tuck away neatly when not in use. Concealed strips of PALS webbing at the base of the pack and under the flap offer the ability to clip or lash other gear in place.

The main compartment is cavernous, containing a large zippered mesh pocket as well as a field of loop fabric for attaching other pouches or accessories. Thanks to hidden zippers on each side of the main compartment, I’m able to swing the pack around one shoulder and access its contents without removing it from my body. This makes it convenient to reach for any item I might need at a moment’s notice, from a camera or raincoat to a handgun or trauma kit. The Gypsy’s barebones shoulder straps don’t cope well with large amounts of weight, but this pack is a great choice for casual urban EDC, especially if you want to blend in at the nearest downtown coffee shop.

Rob Curtis — CONCEALMENT

Rob Curtis EDC bag
Camelbak Urban Assault
Capacity: 1,950 cubic inches (32 liters)
Colors: Black
MSRP: $190
URL: camelbak.com

I picked up my first Urban Assault 11 years ago. It served as my EDC bag and mobile base of operations while traveling the world as a photojournalist. I used that bag for six years before forcing it into an early retirement when an updated UA came along with a few more bells and whistles. For the past five years, the UA2, as I’ll call it, keeps my collection of work-related electronic (and ballistic) accoutrement organized and ready for action. Aside from the name and a small row of PALS slots on the front that appear as a decorative flourish to the unaware, the bag bears no martial signature and blends into any environment.

The UA2 is deceptively shaped. Its triangular profile is slim, making the bag look small, but a couple of straps control the top of the bag’s expansion, giving it as much capacity as an original three-day assault pack. It has three main compartments, each with a ton of excellent internal organization, plus six more externally accessible pockets for fast access to often-used, smaller items, such as shades, water bottle, headphones, notepads, and a large USB power pack. There’s even a small-of-the-back, zippered stash pocket that holds my small trauma kit. While this pocket will fit a compact pistol, there’s no way to properly secure the firearm in there. So, when my G19 goes in there, it’s wearing a Raven Concealment Vanguard on the trigger guard.

The large compartment thoughtfully clamshells completely open and has a durable, elastic netting to hold papers and the like. The middle compartment is a purpose-built space with padding on all sides to protect both a laptop and a tablet when carried at the same time. The front admin pocket runs top-to-bottom and has layered sleeves for organizing small items and a window to see what’s in the large top-front stash pocket. The bag is comfortable to carry for hours and is full of thoughtful touches like the brightly colored interior that makes it easy to find stuff. It’s the ultimate briefcase for guys who don’t want to carry a briefcase.

Forrest Cooper – RECOIL and OFFGRID

saddleback leather edc bag

Saddleback Leather Company Medium Classic Leather Briefcase
Capacity: 1,417 cubic inches (23 liters)
Colors: Chestnut
MSRP: $649

There's always going to be a fight of form versus function. That being the case, this truly EDC bag has travelled to no less than 3 continents, from the depths of the Sahara, to the keeps of England, to the every-day contours of city and rural living. For years, various bags have tried to make the transition of carrying a multitude of coursework requirements for academic and professional use, to concealing a handgun in the event that off-body carry was required, to sufficiently containing a diversity of tools, from writing utensils to lockpicks to cameras to meet the needs of the task at hand, and not give out under strenuous use.

It has suffered rain, snow, and unbearable sunbeams when strapped on the back of a motorcycle, the scrying eyes of urbanites looking for nothing but their imagination, and a trial-and-error approach to survivalism. Make no mistake, the price itself can wrestle an uncomfortable cringe, but coming in at less than the new iPhone, and expected to last until one's children are considering buying the 36th or 300th version of the silicon valley's pet cell phone project, there's something to be said about warranties and craftsmanship.

The cross-body strap can be run through the top ring, to be worn as a backpack, which helps when trekking a spontaneous hiking trail or when riding a bike or motorcycle. Internally, the softer pigskin leather protects electronics from gaining those strange wear-marks, but also translates into what can only be described as expectation: I'm looking forward to what the interior of this EDC bag says to my future grandchildren.

Where it supremely lacks is carrying a long-gun, even an SBR or AR style pistol with a brace. That's simply out of the question. However, where it has paid off is in the field of inconspicuousness: commenters are more interested in the who made it, than what's inside. Whether the bearer is investigating the halls of academia, the law office, or downtown, the bag itself distracts from the trauma kit, lockpicks, and evasion tools tucked into hidden compartments. I would be lying if I said I haven't forgotten a small stack of dirhams somewhere in the EDC bag.


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