In this video from TFB TV, Miles discusses some of the concerns and decisions that come with carrying a concealed firearm on a long-distance hike. These include the kind of holsters that should be used, handgun placement, weight concerns, actual threats on the trail, and a number of other factors that all go into responsible carrying when on the trail.
The video begins by showing Miles, wearing a backpack and gear, hiking in the woods and crossing a stream. His context for long-distance hiking is anything over 100 miles, or over a week long. This may or may not apply to weekend or overnight trips, depending on the person. Shorter trips can use inside the waistband concealed carry – anything done on a day carry applies.
He says he hiked over a thousand miles on the Ice Age trail, all the while with a concealed carry weapon, and he learned a lot of things that have to be taken into consideration. One of the most important things he learned was handgun placement.
If a person is hiking every day and sleeping in the woods, it means layers of clothing and a lot of sweat, depending on weather conditions. Typical carrying like inside or outside the waistband are not the best options in this case, neither are ankle holsters or spandex shirts with built-in holsters. This is because hiking means so much sweating that it’s uncomfortable to have even a belt on, and having items rubbing against skin while hiking causes rashes and abrasions. In addition, hikers have a backpack on, meaning there’s a hip belt that will get in the way of any holsters in that area.
Miles says his solution was to place his handgun in a concealed carry pouch on the hip strap of the backpack. This made the gun accessible, while staying hidden. His pouch was improvised, so he says he’ll get a different kind in the future. However, the downside to this was when it was time to remove the pack during stops, he had to transfer the firearm to someplace else he had on him. He says he’d rather have had a fanny pack, with the gun pouch strapped to it so it stayed with him at all times.
His biggest problem the whole time was moisture — when it rained, or in damp forests, which led to rust. He recommends checking the gun every week or so while on the trail, field-strip and make sure everything still works, and putting grease or lubricant on it.
He also says it’s best to have a holster that covers the trigger guard to avoid accidents, but keep it as light as possible because on long hikes, every ounce can be felt. Miles notes that the biggest threats they actually faced were people and people’s dogs — the closes they came to getting attacked by animals was when farmers’ dogs would run up to them. He did not have to use his gun for the duration of the three-month trek.