Concealing a handgun in a backpack is relatively straightforward, since a pistol, holster, and spare mags can fit in even the smallest packs with ease. However, if you’re looking for a way to carry a concealed carbine, choosing your pack carefully becomes a much higher priority. Large backpacks can hold a rifle easily, but they practically scream there’s a gun in here — that may not be the message you want to send when you’re walking through a hotel lobby, parking lot, or other public location.

Smaller packs may not fit your rifle or may look awkward and bulky once they’re loaded with a weapon. The setup seen here was designed as a happy medium between these extremes, with priority placed on carrying a fully concealed, multi-role folding carbine.

Studio photo of a carbine in a bugout bag.

Vertx has been a key name in the everyday carry backpack space for years with its Gamut series. As a happy owner of several of these bags, the larger Vertx Basecamp seemed like a natural choice for this application. I made sure to carefully compare its measurements to those of my carbine in advance, and I wasn’t disappointed when it arrived.

The Carbine Setup

The bag is a snug but functional fit for my 12.5-inch AR with a LAW Tactical folding stock adapter and 20-round magazine. This rifle is equipped with a Nightforce NX8 1-8x optic in a Badger Ordnance Condition One 1.7-inch-height mount, as well as a Holosun 509T red dot on the slimming KOENG.CO 12 o’clock mount.

The carbine was built to serve as the most effective general-purpose rifle I could fit in the bag, allowing easy access in a pinch. I wanted to ensure it could be fired immediately without pausing to unfold the stock or put on ear protection; this is accomplished by the addition of a LAW Tactical ARIC bolt carrier and a Thunder Beast Dominus-K suppressor. The base of the AR build is a San Tan Tactical Pillar matching receiver set and a VLTOR Freedom Handguard with a built-in hand stop and ARCA rail section (for quickly mounting on a tripod). It also needed to be day and night capable.

Studio photo of a carbine set up.

To this end, it’s equipped with a Modlite PLHv2 light on an Arisaka mount activated using a UNITY Tactical AXON switch. Utilizing a 12 o’clock mounted red dot also means I can passively aim the rifle through night vision, if necessary. The 12.5-inch Criterion barrel is excellently gassed, making suppressed usage downright pleasant. Equipping the carbine with a PRI M84 Gas Buster charging handle also helped reduce gas blowback to the face.

The choice to utilize a 20-round magazine wasn’t due to any regional restrictions, but rather to allow easier access to the carbine through the top of the bag without stripping the entire face open. A 30-round magazine will fit tightly, but it means having to rip the backpack wide open, which is less than ideal if you’re in a hurry to access the weapon.

Additional Features

The Basecamp is feature-rich with a removable laptop sleeve on the interior and zippered pouches for storing small items. The Dark Earth color was chosen for function as much as aesthetics. It fits the carbine with the custom M81 Arid paint job from Pro2Customs and makes it easy to conceal in an arid desert environment. To facilitate this setup, removing the laptop sleeve was absolutely necessary. This pack’s removable laptop sleeve wasn’t present in earlier versions of the Gamut series, which is another selling point of Vertx’s newer bags.

I prefer keeping things like batteries outside of direct sun and heat in the desert, so having those small storage options positioned away from the top of the pack is beneficial. I store paper goods or items less susceptible to heat in the large, zippered storage pocket on the top of the opening flap. Speaking of that top flap, I appreciate that Vertx includes a Hot-Pull Tab at its leading edge, which can be staged between the two zippers and pulled to quickly open the main compartment. This makes it faster to open without hunting for zippers that might have otherwise ended up in a different place every time.

The generous internal storage allows the effective concealment of not just the carbine but also a Dauntless Manufacturing Hiker Tanto fixed blade with its sheath mounted to the included TactiGami panel, a fully stocked Ryker Nylon ankle IFAK utilizing the hook of the kit itself to attach to the internal loop, and a SureFire Stiletto light stored beside the Dauntless fixed blade. I also keep a reversible MultiCam/black A3 Alpha Lochi jacket from Beyond Clothing inside the main compartment, offering concealment as well as warmth.

Photo of the outside top of the Basecamp bugout bag.

Lastly, there’s a GRAYL GeoPress water purifier bottle. In the metropolitan center of the desert city where I live, I can fill it with 24 ounces of clean water from any tap, or purify water scavenged from ponds and drainage ditches in a pinch. The external stretch pockets allow me to carry the GeoPress as well as a 32-ounce bottle on the opposite side.

Eventually, my buildout of the bag will be improved to utilize more TactiGami panels on the interior for better spare magazine storage. I also plan to use the external PALS webbing hidden under the flap on the outside of the pack. I’ve used this outer storage space effectively in the past by mounting specific pouches for sundry items that might require access without exposing the main compartment’s contents. Ideas that come to mind are basic toiletries, pen and paper, a book, a multi-tool, and, naturally, some snacks.

In my opinion, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded and durable backpack at this price point. The Gamut family has proven to be well-built and reliable over the years, and the Basecamp looks to be no different. If you’re in the market for a multi-role backpack that offers concealment for anything from a subcompact pistol to a carbine, medkit, and spare magazines, you should give this bag a closer look.

Vertx Basecamp Pack Info

  • Make and Model: Vertx – Basecamp
  • Capacity: 30 Liters
  • MSRP: $280
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Editor's Note: The original contents of this article have been modified for the web.


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