Should I Carry a Gun While Hiking?
- by Casy Smith
If you’re longing for the fresh air, beautiful sights and calming sounds of nature, you may be planning for your next hiking trip. After all, a little time outside can truly do a body good. Some studies have connected potential health benefits to spending time outdoors in green spaces. Time away from everyday life and stress can help you feel your best.
However, if you’re planning a hiking or camping trip with friends or family and want to carry your firearm with you, you need to know what the concealed carry laws are at your destination and have the appropriate gear. Outdoor adventures require preparation, so it’s no surprise that concealed carry prep is essential to your trip too.
Keep reading to learn how to prepare for concealed carry on your next hike.
*Remember: This is not legal advice. Always consult local law enforcement for more information on firearm carry policies in your area or areas you plan to travel to. Compliance with local laws is essential.*
Should I Carry a Gun While Hiking?
When you obtain your concealed carry license, you put a lot of time and effort into learning how to carry your firearm discreetly and defend yourself in a life-or-death situation. After dedicating a substantial amount of time to learning the ins and outs of life with a concealed carry weapon (CCW), you want to carry as often as possible.
While it’s easier to get accustomed to a CCW in your daily routine, carrying in a foreign environment, like a state park trail, has a learning curve and may require adjustments. When you start prepping for your trip, you need to read up on the rules and regulations of the area you plan to explore.
Rules can vary based on who or what owns the property and the local and state laws of the hiking trail or campsite.
Should I Carry A Gun While Hiking at a State or National Park?
National and state parks generally follow state and local regulations regarding parks and firearms. It’s crucial to not only check the state and park’s rules regarding firearms but also to check your concealed carry license reciprocity in the state that you are traveling to.
If you visit a national park, you cannot have a firearm when entering a visitor center or other service buildings. Carrying a gun into federal buildings without written consent is prohibited. If you decide to concealed carry on a hiking trail at a state or national park, it’s a good idea to make sure your hiking setup will keep your firearm completely concealed.
Hiking requires climbing and stretching in ways you may not be used to in your normal routine. When you reach for a handhold, the last thing you want is for someone to accuse you of brandishing a firearm. Let’s dig into how you can keep your gun tucked away while hiking.
Should I Carry a Gun When Hiking?: Finding the Right Gear
If you’ve verified you can concealed carry at the park you’re hiking, you still need to make sure you have the best setup to keep your firearm secure and out of sight. If your normal concealed carry gear is made for long days at the office or in indoor settings, you will need your gear to keep your firearm hidden and secure while walking long distances outdoors.
It’s tempting to wear your old gym shorts and t-shirt and call it a day before hitting the trail. However, you should think through your setup to make sure you can carry your normal firearm. While you want to stay light and comfortable for your hike, you also want to make sure your firearm won’t swing or become revealed to others on the trail. Maintaining firearm safety should be paramount to your outfit and holster.
Here are a few clothing items and concealed carry holster options that may work for your needs.
- A long, loose-fitting fishing shirt, t-shirt or windbreaker- If you normally carry a larger caliber firearm, you may need an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster with a pair of sturdy hiking shorts and a belt. OWB holsters tend to add some stability to your firearm’s position but are more conspicuous than inside-the-waistband holsters. A long, loose-fitting shirt will help cover your firearm in most places.
- A solid pair of hiking shorts- Regardless of your firearm position, it’s a great idea to wear a pair of reliable hiking shorts that are sturdy enough to support the weight of your firearm. A solid pair of hiking shorts can also help reduce the outline of your concealed firearm, also known as “printing.”
- A belly band holster- A belly belt is a flexible band that goes around your entire waist or abdomen with an IWB holster attached. These holsters allow you to wear more athletic clothing and clothing without a belt.
- A pocket holster- If you plan to wear a pair of hiking shorts with cargo or large hip pockets, a pocket holster may keep your firearm more secure than a waistband. This selection is ideal if you carry a small handgun.
- A bag holster in a fanny pack or backpack- If you are planning a multi-day hiking trip, look at holstering options that are off of your body completely. It’s essential to note that when you use a bag holster, you are losing control of the position of your firearm. However, this option may provide relief from the physical fatigue of carrying a firearm when you are hiking long distances. It’s essential to get a bag holster that will cover your firearm’s trigger and keep it securely in place.
The most important thing you can do before going on your hike is to test any new equipment or clothing you plan to use when concealed carrying. You want to make sure it works before you step foot on the trail.
Find the Perfect Concealment Option for Your Home
Keeping your firearm concealed and secure is as essential at home as it is on your hikes. Whether you want to stage firearms around your home or you are simply looking for a flexible storage option, Liberty Home Concealment’s product lineup of concealment furniture, flags and decor can help you accomplish both. Our products are handmade in America to ensure quality when you need them.
Have questions about our product lineup? Visit our contact page to contact one of our team members who can help you make the best purchasing decision for your needs.