One of my favorite new pieces of gear is the Takedown Firearm Backpack from Copper Basin. It’s a backpack specifically designed for takedown-style firearms. There are plenty of similar backpacks out there, but I don’t like most of them. I prefer the covert look, rather than a tactical bag. And this one doesn’t scream “mall ninja”, or even look tactical.
What I want in a backpack or bag
To me, the perfect firearm bag is one that doesn’t cause anyone to take a second look. I was reading on a firearms forum a thread about transporting firearms. A member explained that he lived in an apartment, and wanted to be able to come and go without attracting the attention of nosy neighbors. Totally innocent. Some of the suggestions included tennis racket bags, and guitar cases. To me, that’s just awkward. Or it could get awkward quickly. Especially if you don’t play tennis, or the guitar. And if you’re someone who feels the need to carry more than a concealed handgun on the daily, neither of those options are very discreet.
So, no tennis racket cases, no guitar cases, and definitely no violin cases. Not even if you own a Tommy Gun. And no camo, no miles of MOLLE webbing, and no fancy (expensive) brand logos. That’s what I don’t want. What I do want is something that fits my firearms, and fits me. That I can take into a store or restaurant after a range trip, without attracting attention. It should protect my gear and my privacy. It shouldn’t attractive thieves or even small talk (like a tennis racket bag or musical instrument case might).
What Copper Basin offers
This bag checks all the boxes, and then some. At first glance, you can see that it’s a good-looking bag, but doesn’t look expensive. It’s black and grey, with some external attachment points. Definitely not too busy looking. The small logo is actually a patch attached with velcro. It’s got useful features and quality hardware. You could be forgiven for thinking it’s just a regular backpack. Which is why I’m going to give you a tour, inside and out.
First, the outside
On the top of the front is a zippered compartment where most people would probably store sunglasses. Or safety glasses, for range trips. Across the main body is some shock cord, perfect for attaching a light jacket. Below that are three zippered compartments, stacked on each other. The biggest has a clasp for keys. In the middle one are three elastic loops, similar to pistol magazine holders. The smallest compartment has a zipper, but the bottom is all mesh. In my case, that’s for snacks. Can’t go digging for that Clif Bar when I’m hangry. On either side are mesh pockets, which are sized for water bottles. So it’s not unlike any other quality backpack for outdoor use. Discreet.
Inside is where the magic happens. On the left is a large fleece-lined pocket. This will hold an AR upper, or the back half of a 10/22 Takedown, with scope or optics attached. There’s a small patch of velcro for the flap, an adjustable strap, and vinyl reinforced base. On the right is a similar pocket for a lower, or front half of a firearm. Same features. Next to that is a pocket suitable for two standard capacity (20-30 round) magazines. Below that is a mesh pocket which is as wide as two boxes of .22 rimfire ammo. And the whole thing unzips all the way open so it can lay flat to load, or while at the range.
I’ve checked out and reviewed a lot of backpacks over the last ten years or so. Although I don’t have the full specs for the Copper Basin, it’s definitely the right mix of materials. Durable nylon, breathable mesh, and soft fleece make up most of the backpack. Zippers are sturdy YKK, and each one is size-appropriate for the task. Stitching all around is straight and even. Over about 6 months of use, I have had no issues at all.
Being a bigger guy, I like the U-shaped, one-piece shoulder strap, as opposed to single straps that attach in the center. This wraps around the back of the neck, rather than attaching behind it. Padding on the straps is sufficient, unless you’re packing way too much ammo. The straps have a height-adjustable sternum strap, which has a whistle built-in. There’s also a small lumbar pad, covered in the same mesh as the rest of the back panel. It’s not going to stay cool hiking Death Valley, but it helps a bit with airflow.
I’ve used this pack for range trips with an AR pistol, my Ruger 10/22 Takedowns, and a Ruger PC Carbine. Weight is manageable with the firearm, ear and eye pro, 2-4 loaded magazines, and a couple of extra boxes of ammo. On arrival, it’s also nice to be able to unzip it completely, lay it flat, and have access to all the internal contents.
For anyone thinking that they need a carbine or high-power pistol to defend themselves these days, it’s not a bad choice. While I think it’s best to avoid ending up in a situation where you might actually need a firearm, others may not have a choice. If a concealed handgun isn’t enough, this backpack can hold a defensive weapon, ammo, and a first aid kit. Just swap the boxed ammunition for a few more magazines, if it makes you feel better.
Where I live, my neighbors wouldn’t look twice if they saw me walking out to my car with an AR in each hand. And our indoor range has its own parking space. So this level of discretion is more than I need, most of the time. But for those living in an apartment, dorm, or the entire state of California, nosey neighbors wouldn’t think it’s got a firearm inside. And that is why I like it. Not just for me, but for anyone looking to fly under the radar.
I’d like to thank Copper Basin for supplying their backpack for this review. If you’d like more info, check it out at CopperBasinGear.com.
Comments? Questions? Have any of our readers tried out the Copper Basin backpack? Feel free to share below.