If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that you can always be better prepared. Several months ago, we were returning from what felt like our 1000th trip to the farm this year. This is when the protests and rioting were happening. While I wasn’t concerned about encountering one of these groups, it got me to thinking. On this trip, I had my Glock 19 with an extra mag and Glock 43 up front and very accessible. In the back, buried under all of the luggage, there were two semi-automatic rifles. This is when I realized that if, God forbid, we were in a place where a rifle was really needed, it would be difficult to access. This drive back home is what started my search for “The Best Gun Backpack of 2020.”
Downsizing for the Ultimate Gun Backpack
When we got home that night, my project started. But before I selected a bag, I had to know what was going in the bag. Obviously, I was needing something short and compact (which is how I like most of my hunting gear anyways). However, I needed something even shorter and more compact than what I had in my arsenal. At this point, I could try to buy a weapon that fits this description or I could modify one of my own. I ended up opting for the latter. My custom built 300 Blackout pistol is the shortest AR-type weapon I own and the task was to make it even smaller.
In today’s market, there are a bunch of different gizmos, gadgets, and widgets to allow your gun to become more compact. While I considered some less known options, I wanted a Law Tactical Folding Adaptor. In 2020, I have observed that there might be items you want but finding them can be a challenge. I searched high and low for this part. Searching for hours on the big websites and even more time at on sites where nobody has probably ever heard of them. I was desperate and even placed a WTB (want to buy) ad on ARFCOM that got zero replies. This was becoming a unicorn hunt. Fortunately, in one of my late-night internet searches, I found one in-stock at Brownell’s. Jackpot! Well kind of. I still needed one more part to complete this transformation of my pistol and asked our publisher, Jonathan, if he could assist me.
When I built this pistol a couple of years ago, I wanted the best parts in it. However, I still needed one last part: the Silent Captured Spring Conversion Kit. Jonathan reached out to the good folks over at JP Enterprises and due to a case of mistaken identity, which is a funny story for another time, they were happy to oblige. Once this last part came in, I swapped out the parts and the hunt for the bag was on.
The Hunt for the Best Gun Backpack
So, how would I find the Best Gun Backpack? Like most of the things I purchase, I spent a lot of time researching it. Maybe too much time. This includes hours upon hours of reading reviews and different forums, watching YouTube videos, and scouring over manufacturers’ websites. It even got to the point where I was stalking some social media “Influencers” to ask their opinion but never heard back from them. Needless to say, there is an abundance of backpacks/bags. With the addition of the Law Tactical Folding Adaptor, the length of my pistol from the front of the suppressor to the back of the new folding stock was right under 21.5 inches. This length was going to eliminate a lot of options and I was going to need a big bag.
After all my research, I had my eyes on the Vertx Gamut Overland. This is the biggest backpack they make and surely it would do the job. If only I could look at one before purchasing it. Unbeknownst to me, Texas Gun Experience had received a big shipment of Vertx gear which included the Gamut Overland and I bought it from them. The final piece of the puzzle was now in place. Now let me tell you about the bag.
The backpack is big. But it takes space to get the best gun backpack! I would say it’s between, “I’m going backpacking through the high country for 3 days” and “Jimmy, don’t forget to grab your homework and backpack before we leave”. So in conclusion, it’s bigger than a normal backpack but not huge. Officially it is 26.5″H x 16″W x 7.5″D with a 33 L capacity. This isn’t a bag that I plan on toting around (although I probably could), but it’s to provide easy access to a firearm while traveling. Since it is a bigger backpack, the padded mesh shoulder straps are very robust and comfortable. Not only do these straps provide ample support but there is also a waist belt that helps distribute the burden of your load to other parts of your body.
Space in the Vertx Gamut Overland
Let’s talk about storage. Instead of having one pocket for water like many backpacks, there are stretch side pockets on each side for your hydration needs. Each one of these pockets does have a bungee that can cinch down onto a smaller water bottle. Behind each water pocket there are zipper compartments that are about 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. Inside this pocket is the first of many mesh pocket bags in this bag. This is a great spot to keep an IFAK, another water bottle, a flashlight, or whatever else you might need. This pocket extends all the way to the top of the bag and integrates with the hydration port so you could run comms. There is also a drop-in pocket in this compartment on both sides. This gives you a lot of options to set up your bag with the equipment you need.
In the main compartment, you’ll find a moveable padded laptop sleeve. You could put a laptop in here if you are taking a business trip but that’s not how I’ll use it. This sleeve is velcroed in and can be moved around to accommodate your cargo or removed completely. If the sleeve is removed, you find a large Velcro patch you can use. This is where my AR pistol will reside.
In order to make it fit into the padded laptop sleeve, I am using a 20 round mag instead of a 30 round mag. Also in the main compartment, you will find the biggest mesh pocket bag in this backpack along with another swath of Velcro. One of the things that I appreciate about this bag and didn’t realize it until after I bought it is that even though the exterior of the bag is black, the interior is tan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked over an item in my black range bag. There is so much thought that was put into this bag and we’re not done yet.
At the very front of the backpack is a convertible front flap. This will give you quick access to items and can expand the space by unzipping the zippers and loosening the straps. You could throw some shoes, a jacket, or even a helmet in this area. Once you unzip this flap you will discover the loop-faced MOLLE webbing panel. Vertx put a ton of thought into this bag and continues to impress me with every compartment that I explore.
More and More Features of the Gamut Overland
At the very top of the bag is what they call an admin compartment. This is where we will find our 4th and final mesh pocket. This one is different than the other mesh pockets as there’s a key lanyard to help secure your keys. You could also throw things like your wallet, eye pro, or snacks in this pocket.
On the back, you will see a molded backface. There is also something called a “luggage pass-through handle” which allows you to put your arm through the back of the backpack and use it as a shield. The zipper for this compartment is very different from the others. Well, it’s really not the zipper that’s different but it’s what is attached to it. The Rapid Access Pull tab allows you to grab the zipper and quickly access the “weapon” compartment. In this compartment is another HUGE section of Velcro.
You might be asking, “Why is there so much Velcro in this bag?”, and that’s a legitimate question. What I haven’t explained is that Vertx has a patented system called Tactigami which is several different Velcro accessories that allow you to customize what you put and carry in your bag. These Tactigami features could hold your EDC or could be something that holds a multi-tool and a couple of mags.
If the 4 mesh pockets aren’t enough, you can buy extra ones and they attach easily with Velcro into the backpack. They come in small, medium, and large. Also in this compartment is where you could insert your soft or hard armor plates. The “weapon” main compartment and front flat open all the way. This makes accessing items and packing it super easy and convenient. Vertx has literally thought of everything.
Can you imagine??? A bulletproof backpack with an AR-pistol, EDC, comms, and whatever other tools you might need. Well, you can get your own “Best Gun Backpack”! There are so many things I LIKE about this bag that I could probably just go on and on about it. While a written review helps, I think this bag might be worthy of my first video review. Visit Vertx’s site to get yours! Yes, this bag is big but I’m from Texas, man. That’s just how we roll!
Maybe you’re looking for a smaller bag that has the same Vertx quality and reliability? Read our review on the Vertx EDC Gamut Plus!