I’ve been using a backpack as a range bag for a while now, and I don’t know why I ever used a conventional gym-bag type range bag for so long. It certainly depends on what kind of shooting you’re doing—if you’re a skeet or clays shooter and your bag will regularly be toting five or more boxes of 12 gauge field loads, then you probably want to stick with the overbuilt, dedicated range bags that can handle that kind of weight. But for rifles and pistols at the range, I realized I’ve been hauling my ammo in a large ammo box instead of a bag anyway. Mostly this is to ensure I’m in compliance with my local laws, but also, its easier to keep everything neat and organized, and to make sure I’m not forgetting anything. Plus it’s a lot easier to dump collected brass in an empty ammo can that can be rinsed out later, but I digress. I recently got my hands on a Stingray pack from Blackhawk! and it’s a perfect choice for a “range pack,” if that can now be a thing. It’s a great choice for an all-around backpack too. First of all, the pack (which comes in two sizes) opens up all the way, and I mean all the way, allowing you to lay it down flat and get to everything all at once, like a duffel bag. Alternately, the main enclosure has four zippers, which means you can open it up a little bit from the bottom or the top, left or right side, so you can get to anything you need without fully flopping the pack open.
The inside is lined with hook and loop panels and MOLLE webbing, so you can attach any magazine carriers, holsters, or pouches in any arrangement you choose to help keep your gear more organized, along with a healthy amount of cargo space, even in the EDC size.
Outside, there’s a panel of heavy duty MOLLE webbing on the front for attaching additional pouches. There’s also a large fleece-lined pocket for a smart phone or for your shooting glasses.
On either side is an EVA-molded area, each with two zippers of their own. One features small mesh pockets for organizing little stuff, while the other is wide open. They’re great for shooting glasses, electronics, hearing protection, batteries, sights, Allen wrenches, or anything else you need to keep protected from bumps and light impacts.
Additionally, a separate padded compartment with its own zipper at the back accommodates a laptop or a hydration reservoir.
This bag has survived multiple range trips, while keeping its contents completely safe. It’s made it through a healthy number of flights, being jammed under seats, without my laptop or anything else getting damaged.
And if you need to pack it out heavy, there’s a chest strap and a kidney belt, that makes it easy to haul.
I even recently dragged it through a unique shooting range constructed in a cave hidden in the Kentucky wilderness. It got plenty dirty, but came out no worse for the wear and my high-end electronic hearing protection and shooting glasses were just fine being jostled around with boxes of ammo—and they stayed dry despite the fact that the pack isn’t waterproof.
If you’re looking to make the switch to a backpack for a range bag, the Blackhawk! Stingray series of packs is a great choice that you can easily use as a regular every day pack with no problem.
It doesn’t have a super tactical look as it is, but you can add pouches and patches to change that.
MSRP: EDC Pack – $103.99; 2-Day Pack – $115.99