Your milage may vary depending on where your backing packing might take you, be it on public or private lands. Always make sure you know: where it is legal to carry, and what you are aloud to carry, provided firearms are allowed. You never want to end up in a situation where you are carrying illegally.
First, a couple of things to consider: Can you carry in the open, or will it need to be concealed? How long are you going, just for a short trip or a long trip? Is there any possibility of you becoming lost?
If your gun has to be concealed, then a pocket pistol is your best choice. Otherwise you will need to conceal a larger pistol in your backpack. If your gun is in your backpack, it will do you no good in the event of an emergency against a two or four legged predator. So, in my case, I do both, I always have a pocket pistol in my pocket and I always pack a larger pistol in my backpack. As far as which caliber I take, I prefer a small .380 or 9mm that fits comfortably in my right hand front pants pockets. I always keep my pocket pistol in a pocket holster this greatly reduces the risk of an accidental discharge. Now as far as what you’d like to keep in your backpack, anything goes, whatever your comfortable with. I prefer a 40 Glock or a 45 – 19ll.
For open carry, I have used them all. I have come to the conclusion that a good 4 inch .357 mag. revolver is the way to go. This is what I carry out in the woods, a 4 S@W in .357 mag. I load it with 2 snake shot shells, and 4 .357 mag rounds. Now some of the newer revolvers hold 7 or 8 rounds, so that’s even better.
Now this is Texas, where the worst thing you’ll run in to could be a large pig, dog or very unlikely a cougar – which I doubt, or a variety of snakes which might include: a rattlesnake, copperhead or a big cottonmouth. Your worst enemy is going to be 2 legged and a 357 mag is outstanding against that.
Now, if I stay out over night, or there is a possibility of being lost, I like to take a small 22 rifle with me. Wether I carry it, or store it across my backpack and at least a box of shells minimum of 50 rounds. This type of gun can keep you fead and did for me in Colorado when i was much younger. On a hunting trip we were snowed in and our group ran out of food. I was able to keep us eating on rabbits and prairie chickens was sure glad i had that gun with me, it was a Marlin Model 60. There are a few good small 22s out there that are designed for backpacking. The Marlin Papoose, Springfield M6, the Henry AR-7 and the new Savage Model 42 just to name a few. Of course if you live in bear county – it’s a whole different ball game.
By Richard Schwake