It doesn’t take a genius to see that the world is a violent place all we have to do is watch the news. In the last few years shootings at public events have made headline news around the world. This has prompted the quick growth of one particular industry in the last few years, the discreet conceal carry market. Many people find themselves in colleges, shopping malls or other places where they would like to be able to carry a firearm but still need to have a sturdy backpack. This desire to have a discreet off body carry of a firearm has lead to the growth of the Conceal Carry Backpack genre, like the one we have been fortunate enough to have been sent by Maxpedition, the Riftblade 30 Liter CCW enabled backpack.

When Maxpedition reached out to us and offered us their new Riftblade backpack for review we were quick to agree, having spoken with the company at SHOT Show in Las Vegas in 2016 I was already aware of their quality and some of their products. What I didn’t know is that the company had expanded into a full line of CCW enabled backpacks ranging from the 15 liter Riftpoint to the 30 Liter Riftblade. This move puts them in direct competition to some big movers and shakers in the conceal carry market like Vertx, 5.11, and Blackhawk.

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Maxpedition

Model: Riftblade

Capacity: 30 Liters (1831 cubic inches)

Dimensions: 

  • Length: 19″
  • Width: 11″
  • Thickness: 11″

Weight: 4.1 lbs

Colors: 

  • Black
  • Gray
  • Tan

Material: 

  • 500D Hex Rip Stop
  • 1000D Plain Weave Nylon

Other Features: 

  • Quick release yoke-style straps
  • Top shoulder strap compression load lifter
  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Bottom adjustable compression straps
  • Loop-lined middle compartment
  • Removable and stowable padded waist belt with gear loops
  • Forward cinching waist belt adjustment
  • Quadruple side compression
  • Dual hydration ports
  • Hydration reservoir can double as a laptop sleeve (fits up to 15″)
  • Lockable main compartment
  • Ample internal organization
  • Front foam padded valuable compartment
  • Two-way access to fully loop-lined rear CCW compartment with double-sided hook Security Lockout Strip included
  • Laser cut ATLAS™ Attachment Lattice System

MSRP: $259.99

Maxpedition Riftblade CCW Backpack
Admin Pouch and Padded External Compartment
Photo: Rick Dembroski

How Does It Stack Up In Field Use? 

Great video and pictures are useless if they don’t tell you what you want to know, and that is how does this bag stack up during repeated use in the field? Well as luck would have it less than 24 hours after this backpack arrived I was sent on a trip that would see me carrying this bag from campsite to the bed of a Ford F450 then onto the deck of a catamaran rolling and pitching in 8 ft swells in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Once at my destination I then slung the bag over my shoulders while I worked and played in and among the beaches of the Seldovia, Alaska area.

The rest of the trip involved another boat ride, this time much calmer than a few days before combined with climbing on rocks and bluffs to perform damage assessments and inspect previously completed projects. I really put the bag through it’s paces and it didn’t seem to miss a beat. After a few days of the bag, I came to several conclusions about the Maxpedition Riftblade CCW enabled backpack some of the major positives include.

  • Heavily padded yoke style straps distributed weight well, even without using the waist belt or having the sternum strap fully tightened
  • The zippers on the bag are some of the best I’ve seen, and I tend to be overly critical on zippers
  • Removable padded waist belt was a nice feature
  • Lots of adjustments possible by user
  • Bottom tie down straps for sleeping bag or gear were a fantastic touch
  • The pack can compress down a great deal, allowing more flexibility to pack light or heavy
  • Two large compartments is a nice touch
  • CCW enabled allows discreet off body carry of a defensive firearm
Maxpedition Riftblade CCW Backpack
Maxpedition RIftblade compressed down with XL winter coat in main compartment
Photo:Rick Dembroski

More Than Zippers and Webbing 

The Riftblade 30 L backpack is more than just cool webbing and zippers, it’s a backpack that is able to handle your gear and your CCW weapon at the same time and not cause the user any undue stress. It does this by focusing on the traditional role of a backpack first and squeezing in a well designed CCW compartment in the vacant space. This is an oversimplification of the design elements of the back but it sums the situation up well in my mind.

In the rubber lined main compartment on what I would call the back wall of the backpack the engineers designed in a pouch that can either serve as an area for a hydration bladder. It can also easily be used to hold up to a 15″ computer in the event you choose to carry your water elsewhere. On the opposite side of the compartment, there is a full-length medium gray fray resistant pouch. The pouch is semi see-through and features zippers that are of a darker gray color so the user can easily locate both of the full-length zippers.

Maxpedition Riftblade CCW Backpack
Main Compartment Maxpedition Riftblade
Photo:Rick Dembroski

CCW Compartments 

The second main compartment that also runs the length of the pack is lined with soft material that lets the user secure hook and loop backed holsters, pouches or other accessories that Maxpedition also produces. This closely mirrors Maxpeditions competition in the market, that isn’t meant to be a negative just that it’s becoming industry standard.

If you don’t want to use the massive compartment to only hold your CCW weapon, there is another option with this pack. There is a smaller dual access compartment located at the very back of the backpack that is not accessible from inside the pack. This dual zippered pouch also makes the likelihood of accidentally brandishing your CCW weapon nearly impossible. Unlike other CCW backpacks that force the wearer to use a portion of the main compartment to house their pistol. This simple design works very well.

Maxpedition Riftblade CCW Backpack
CCW Compartment
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Is There Anything I Would Change? 

This is something new that I am starting to include in my reviews IF I was king of the factory for a day or could add a creative input to the design process what would I change or add? On this pack, I want to say what it does wonderfully is giving the user 1831 cubic inches of space to store their things and give the option of off body CCW. It really has a blend of function and simplicity that I really enjoy. The zippers, compartments and hardware on the pack is top quality from one end to the other, BUT there are three things I would change on the Riftblade.

  1. Remove the webbing from the outside of the pack. I know it’s for users to add pouches but if this is being marketed as a discreet CCW bag the webbing screams “TACTICOOL” or “Defense Contractor”
  2. Offer the pack in more colors without the webbing instead of the usual triumvirate of colors, Black, Tan and Gray.
  3. The suggested retail price point of $259.99 is a little steep no matter how you sell it. I understand recouping research and development costs are needed in business but this bag has a little sticker shock to it. If you can handle the price its an amazing bag. That being said many shooters are on a budget and the price might turn them off to an extent.

I would recommend this bag to anyone who wants a CCW backpack and doesn’t mind the few minor details I listed above. If you don’t care and dig the all black bag with webbing then rest assured that Maxpedition has really put a huge amount of thought and care into developing this bag. The fact they offer it in two smaller sizes shows how much the company has invested into the entire line up. The market for off body CCW is expanding and I think will continue to do so for the next few years at least. What do you think? let us know in the comments section below.