Securing Your Handgun while Camping

August 24, 2019

It might be fun to take your tactical bolt-action rifle camping, but if you are on a family camping trip, your everyday carry gun likely is a better choice.

Whether you carry a 9 mm Glock or a Ruger EC9, if you bring it on your camping trip, you want to make sure you can secure it properly.

When you go camping, you’re there to have fun. You want to enjoy fishing, hiking, swimming, and other activities that people do when they go camping.

Carrying your gun with just as you would at home, in a concealed carry holster of some sort, works well most of the time.

However, unlike at home, securing it can be tricky at night or during certain activities.


Safety is always a principal concern when carrying a gun, and while camping requires a somewhat different approach or at least a different thought process.


You want to have quick access to your weapon at night, but storing it in the corner of the tent, especially with children and others around might not be prudent.

Locking it in your trunk or glove box provides some security, but in the event of an emergency, you won’t be able to retrieve it quickly.

One solution is a portable, rapidly-opening safe. These safes don’t weigh much, many have biometric locks allowing only the owner to open them, and the safes are small enough to fit in the corner of your tent.


Carrying your handgun with you in the woods may expose the gun more to the elements. If you camp in a humid climate, you need to protect the weapon from moisture while carrying it and whenever you secure it someplace.

Use a quality holster or pouch when carrying it on your person, something that provides a snug fit and made of quality, water-repellant materials.

Bring extra gun oil with you. You will want to wipe down your gun each night given it will be exposed to the elements most of the time.

Threat Level

Assess your threat level and apply the appropriate extra safety precautions.

For example, if you are in a potentially dangerous area or have reason to believe the situation could deteriorate, carrying in the chamber may be necessary.

Around the campsite in a relatively safe area, then perhaps not.

You, however, are the ultimate determiner as to what is safe and what isn’t.


Choose the right type of ammo based on where you camp. If larger predators like bears live in the area, load your gun with the appropriate ammunition.

Consider upgrading your every-day carry load to a round in your caliber that has maximum stopping power.

Type of Gun


In some circumstances, you may reconsider the caliber of handgun you carry. A .22 may be okay under certain conditions, but out in the woods and for personal and family protection, you will need something more substantial.

A .45, .40, or .357 handgun can stop a wild animal easier than a .38 or, in some cases, a 9 mm.


Research the laws and regulations of the region where you camp.

Federal land allows you to carry a handgun, assuming you have a license to do so but have very restrictive laws about how you do so.

The federal park may not, for example, allow you to carry on a ferry or a boat in the park.

You can’t carry a weapon, due to national security laws, in any federal building in a federal park.

State laws also matter. Ensure that if you go to another state on your trip, whatever state you camp in or might transit recognizes your concealed carry permit.

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