There are many ways to carry a concealed handgun in public, but only two basic options: on the body or off the body.

While I don’t generally favor off-body carry as my primary carry method, I have used it while hiking on mountain trails. More often, though, I have used it as a backup system to my on-body gun, either carrying a larger/higher capacity piece or as a way to carry supportive gear such as a Taser. Even though I don’t use a pack as my primary carry method, I am always on the lookout for upgraded systems for use in supportive carry modes.

Craft Holsters is a distributor of holsters and concealed carry products in Europe, and currently works with Falco and Vega, two companies known for their custom, hand-manufactured products. A couple of years ago, Craft provided me with a very nicely rendered Falco belt holster for a surplus Walther P1 I was testing. I was impressed that anyone had a newly manufactured holster available for a fine old—but not regularly encountered—pistol like that. It isn’t exactly on most manufacturers’ priority list.

Recently I decided to take a look at Craft’s current line of concealed carry bags, and selected the Vega Holsters Cargo Explorer Concealed Carry Bag as an alternate carry bag for days when I don’t need a full-sized backpack.

The Explorer Cargo bag is a small, ambidextrous sling-carry-type pack with a number of well thought out features. Constructed of Cordura nylon, the Explorer is available in Coyote tan or Black and is ambidextrous.

The Explorer is centered around its concealed carry compartment, which is the largest compartment and the one that is closest to the wearer. The CCW compartment is closed by two zippers and can be set up to be accessed quickly by either hand by rip cord pulls, a critical feature in a pack whose primary mission is the concealed carry of a defensive handgun.

The compartment comes with a universal holster. However, the holster is not truly universal, as you must order your pack to accommodate revolvers or semi-automatic pistols. This way, you can be sure the setup will work with the primary type of gun that you wish to carry in it.

The exterior of the Explorer is also well thought out. The mesh padding at the rear serves as another hidden compartment and is Velcro lined. A spare AR magazine or two could be kept back there, giving the Explorer potential as a compact “active shooter” bailout bag. There are MOLLE fastening points on the front, sides, and padded shoulder straps, and two “D” rings can be found on each side of the top carry handle. There is a Velcro patch tab in the front to help personalize and identify your bag. In addition to the gun compartment and rear compartment, there are three additional zippered compartment in the front: a small, medium, and larger size. Inside the medium pocket is elastic to hold extra pistol magazines, while the largest exterior pocket has secure interior pockets to hold a wide variety of extras.

Although the Explorer Concealed Carry bag is primarily a sling shoulder pack, it can be secured at the waist and the thigh, allowing it to function as a low mounted tactical holster with the included straps. But just because you CAN do a thing doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. I went from using tactical thigh holsters to using chest holsters mounted on body armor while on SWAT because of the difficulty in maneuvering in tight places. Personally, I would not want to carry the Explorer bag on my thigh. Slinging it over the shoulder keeps you from getting hung up as you move about, even if it is just walking down a crowded sidewalk while on vacation. You can move the Explorer bag out of the way or into action very quickly with the sweep of a hand. However, in certain situations, thigh carry may work for you, so consider testing it for yourself.

I decided to test the Explorer Concealed Carry bag by using it for my daily “carry to work” bag. In it I packed life’s important items, such as spare knives, a Gerber MultiPlier, various medications, keys, flashlight, and whatever else might be needed for the day’s “mission.” In the weapon compartment, I have been carrying my Taser C2.

As I mentioned previously, I don’t normally use a bag such as this for my primary carry method, although I certainly could. But the Explorer pack gives me a great option for packing along a Taser, knowing that not every situation can be resolved by the threat of, or use of, a firearm. The C2 fits securely in the holster provided for a semi-automatic pistol, and in the two weeks I’ve carried it, it has never slid out of place, even though the bag has been unceremoniously tossed about as I’ve traveled. The padding used for the gun pocket protects the Taser from damage. A spare C2 Taser cartridge is carried in the medium pocket.

The Vega Holsters Cargo Explorer Concealed Carry Bag is an extremely well thought out and useful design. It is large enough to carry full-sized pistols or other defensive gear, yet small enough for all-day comfortable wear. MSRP is $112.95. Learn more at