What Is the Best Gun for Backpacking?

By Robert Palmer

For many hikers and backpackers, the thought of bringing a gun out on the trail is a scary one. But, in certain situations, having a gun can be an important part of your safety plan. So, if you’re looking to bring a gun along on your backpacking trip, what is the best gun for backpacking?

The answer depends on several factors. You’ll need to consider the type of terrain and environment you’re venturing into, as well as how much weight you’re comfortable carrying. You also need to think about what kind of protection you need and what type of ammunition best meets your needs.

For most people who are backpacking in North America, the most common choice is a handgun. Handguns are lightweight and can easily fit into a backpack or waistband holster. Many handguns are also chambered for caliber rounds that have less recoil and noise than rifles or shotguns.

If you’re backpacking in bear country or other areas where large predators may be present, then a rifle may be the best choice for you. Rifles typically offer more stopping power than handguns and can be used for hunting small game animals.

Shotguns are another great option for backpackers who want to protect themselves from both predators and humans. Shotguns offer maximum stopping power but can also be heavy to carry over long distances. If you choose to carry a shotgun while backpacking, look for one that has adjustable stock lengths so that it fits comfortably in your pack.


When it comes to determining the best gun for backpacking, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on your individual needs and preferences.

However, handguns are usually the preferred choice since they’re lightweight and easy to carry while offering decent protection against both predators and humans. Rifles may be better suited for those who are venturing into bear country or other areas where large predators may be present, while shotguns offer maximum stopping power but can also be too heavy for long distance hikes.