While vacationing, my wife and I regularly take long day hikes. You may know I am a stalwart supporter of LEO’s carrying a firearm at all times, so the backpack I wear has to have good concealment and easy access for a handgun. The Maxpedition Falcon II satisfies both attributes and more.
Many backpacks and slingbags have adequate cargo space and useful features, but I went looking for a carry-all that could give me good ingress into a handgun compartment while the pack was worn on my back with both straps shouldered. In other words, a quick draw without having to doff the bag.
Years ago, I purchased a Maxpedition Condor backpack. In those days, the Condor did not have a rear hydration/concealed carry pouch. However, I did like the Condor’s construction and sturdy materials. Based on this, I started to look at other Maxpedition products. The Falcon II had a zippered pocket that is accessible from the right rear side–Bingo! This looked promising.
I received the Falcon II from an online retailer for a little over $100. I tore open the box and put it on straightaway. I could grab the right side rear pocket zipper at the base of the right strap and open the pocket. Without much effort, I could insert my hand into where the gun would go. Nice. As shown below, take extreme care and practice safe firearms handling when drawing a gun from this location. My finger is off the trigger and the gun is canted away from my back. The draw is similar to a small of the back holster presentation. (thanks, QK).
There is loop Velcro in two large strips on the left side of the pocket’s interior and a loop field on the right side, against the wearer’s back. This is perfect for mounting either Maxpedition’s handgun holder or another similar hook and loop product.
Though I bought a Maxpedition slip holder, I also have a 5.11 handgun holster, which has a thumb break for better retention. Because the thumb break the 5.11 is a little difficult to operate behind the back and in a loaded backpack, I normally use the Maxpedition holster. Fitted properly, it holds the gun securely muzzle down .
When I wear this pack hiking, I usually have it loaded down with a 72 ounce hydration bladder in the large middle pocket, emergency medical supplies, two compasses, 550 cord, cellphone, small flashlight, multi-tool, firestarter, and other sundries in all the other pockets. I know, the pack is a bit heavy for a dayhike. Screw it, I may need these things for me and the missus, or anyone else who needs a little help.
As a function of the load-out weight, the Falcon II rides heavily on my back. Even with a Glock 23 and spare mag in the rear pocket, the gun does not dig into my spine because of the backpack’s generous padding. The G23 is the largest handgun I will carry on a hike, and usually, it will be my Glock 27 or Kahr PM9.
I used to carry a Smith & Wesson J-frame on hikes until one time that we were several miles down a remote wooded trail and heard angry voices ahead. Apparently, we were about a hundred yards from a drunken gathering of Southern less-than-Gentlemen. I did not feel very good about having my wife with me and only a Snubbie and a Speedstrip. I suggested we backtrack and avoid a confrontation. It sounded that bad.
My hiking gun is for personal protection from two-legged critters, but one could easily carry a camp gun or bear-dissuader in the Falcon II’s big rear pocket. When I am traveling, I am usually constrained to a single handgun, since I do not want to go through too many hassles at airports here and afar, despite LEOSA.
There are many other reviews of the “normal” features of the Falcon II, so I will just say that mine has been a good concealed carry companion in my walking travels from Florida to California.