​Range Backpack Essentials Guide

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Are you unsure of which range backpack essentials to include in your bag? I prepared this guide just for you. Carrying important essentials to the shooting range is vital for a fulfilling day.

If you are still struggling to figure out which essentials to carry with you or even which bag to use, this range backpack essentials guide should set you on the right path.

Range Backpack Essentials Guide

This is a two-part guide. First, I will take a quick look at what kind of backpack you should go with for your shooting range. Secondly, I will go through what to put in a range bag for a super-fun day.

Person rifling through his backpack

What to Consider When Selecting a Range Backpack

When picking a range bag from the store, you need to look for qualities that meet your stature. You do not want to buy a backpack just for the sake of doing it. Below is a list of features you need to consider before choosing the ideal range backpack.


Budgeting is an obvious pick for this list. While you want to go with a bag that is within your budget, make sure that it is not so cheap as to compromise on quality.

Some brands are more expensive than others. There are those that are low-priced but still offer good quality. That is what you should look out for. Generally, try to find a good balance between cost and quality


If you already know what to keep in your range bag, you probably know what size you are looking for.

Your range backpack should not be too small to carry all you need to take with you to the range. Also, it should not be so big that you have a lot of extra space in it.

The size of your bag will depend on what you need to carry to the shooting range. If you are going for a shooting event that will take several days, then a medium or large backpack will be excellent.

On the other hand, a small backpack is ideal when your only need to go to the range for a few hours of shooting practice.


Your choice of fabric will depend on your sense of style and the durability of the bag. I recommend that you find material that strikes a good balance between style and durability. The shooting experience can be rough, so you need a range backpack that can withstand such treatments.

Although some materials like Cordura are durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, they might be heavy to carry around. On the other hand, cotton canvas bags are lightweight but fail on the durability end.

You also need to factor in what to put in your range bag before you choose a fabric. If you , for instance, you are carrying pointy metallic essentials, you will need stronger fabric.


Brand labels tell a lot about a particular product. While it is not be an absolute priority, it is always good to choose a brand with a good reputation and a proven track record.

This is because some upcoming brands sell inferior bags that will give in a few days into using them. While trusted brands tend to have high price tags, they guarantee value for your money.

Range backpack essentials


Your bag should be as comfortable is it is stylish and affordable. It should not subject your shoulders to additional strains. Your range bag should be friendly with padded back and adjustable shoulders straps.

I advise that you try your bag out at the purchase point before you pay for it. You need to feel the material in the back. Torso adjustability and size matters.

Additional Features

People have different tastes and preferences regarding range packs; some people will choose one with several pockets and zippers while others prefer minimalist bags. Whatever, you do, remember the point is do go for something unique to firearms and not commonplace.

Some of the extra features you should consider in your new range backpack include:

  • Water resistance
  • Torso adjustability
  • Side water bottle holders
  • Sleeping bag compartment

The features may vary depending on the type of gun and whatever else you want to carry. If you know what to keep your range bag, picking the right combination of features should be easy.

What to Include in a Range Backpack

Most of my readers have been asking ‘what gear should I have in my range bag?’. Well, this guide should give you an idea of what should be in a pistol range bag (or any other kind of firearm you may have).

To make things orderly. I will be looking at different categories of essentials you need. These include:

  • Safety essentials
  • Essential accessories
  • Refreshment essentials
  • Cleaning essentials
  • Medical Essentials
  • Emergency essentials

Safety Essentials

Your safety is of utmost importance while at the shooting range. That is why it is important to carry safety essentials such as shooting glasses and ear PPEs.

Shooter with complete gun protective wear

Safety Shooting Glasses

Every legit shooting range provides shooting googles. Depending on the facility you practice in, you can either rent or buy theses gears whenever you are there. However, it is a good idea, and a cheaper option to have a pair or two safety glasses in your bag.

The safety glasses you buy should meet the minimum safety shooting standards. For instance, they should not interfere with your vision. Also, they should be as comfortable as possible to help you maintain your focus. While you can also include some sunglasses, do not use them for shooting.

Ear Protecting Equipment

Most guns shoot in the range of 140 to 175 decibels, which is way too dangerous for your ears. Exposure to such high decibels could cause permanent hearing damage. You can avoid such dangers by investing well in protective devices.

Your ear protection should be able to minimize the loud gun noise and accentuate the quiet sounds. It should also be durable, comfortable, and tight-fitting. Always check for the best specification before you buying hearing equipment.

Essential Accessories

A gun has accessories that you need to have with you at the shooting range. You must have all of them for good shooting experience. They include:

Brass Catcher

You will need to collect your cartridge castings when you are shooting. That is where your brass catcher comes in. This gear is necessary if you shoot several rounds but don’t want any to hit you.

The type of your brass catcher will depend on the number of firearms you own. If you have several guns, I recommend that you have a brass catcher to attach to a Picatinny or flat top.

Spotting Scope

The spotting scope comes in handy when shooting more than 25 yards away or when you want to track your shooting target.

Make sure to pack one with the best magnification and objective lens diameter. Also, check for other specifications like the field of view, fog proofing, and lens coating.

Pocket Knife

Right off the bat, a pocket knife is jack of all trades at the shooting range. You can use it to do different chores like cutting the tape or tweaking the gun. Basically, you will need it when you don’t have the appropriate tool for handling specific emergency cases.

Pocket knife is a range backpack essentials

Chamber Flags

While it is unlikely that you are going to use a chamber flag in most shooting ranges, it would be imprudent to leave it behind. If it is a low-key shooting practice, you can check with your range before your visit to confirm if you will need it.

However, if you are going to an organized event or shooting competition, you should definitely carry a chamber flag.

You can use them in such events to indicate the status of your gun. For example, you can use it when you want other people to know that your riffle ins not ready to use.

Shooting Gloves

Although most gloves will cut it, I advise that you carry those specifically designed for use with firearms. Shooting glove is better since they are more flexible, comfortable, and offer a better grip on the gun.

Even with shooting gloves, you have to get good quality. You can identify a better grade by the stitching and material. Choosing a quality pair of gloves should not be a brainer for any experienced gun handler.

Flash Light and Batteries

Flashlights are essential when you want to spend a couple of night hours in the range or when you are in a shooting competition that goes for several days. You can always have a flashlight just in case you need it.

Magazine Loader

A magazine loader (also speed loader) will help you insert subsequent rounds with ease. Several designs of magazine loaders are available in the market, so you can buy one and always have it in your range bag. 

However, if you have more than one gun, I recommend you get a universal magazine loader.

Refreshment Essentials

Shooting is quite an activity, especially when you do it for long hours. It comes with lots of dehydrations and sometimes hunger. That is why, you should always pack some refreshments.


You should never leave your water bottle behind when going to a shooting range. Hydration is important especially when the shooting range is in a hot area.


During your breaks, you could use some takeaway chips. Most shooters prefer energy bars because they are healthy, delicious, and easy to pack.

Cleaning Essentials

While I recommend that you clean your gun before leaving for the range, you should also carry your cleaning tools. You never know when you need them.

Gun cleaning kits and accessories are staples for range backpacks

Cleaning essentials include:

Gun Cleaning Mat, Towel and Hand Sanitizer or Lead Off Wipes

Although you can use any soft cloth or towel to clean, you should be specific on what you place your gun on. Gun mats are made explicitly with thick waterproof materials to help protect your devices and the surfaces you are cleaning them on. They are also resistant, so using them will help you maintain tidiness.

After cleaning, you do not want to stay with the oil and solvent stains. Have a sanitizer to keep your hands clean.

Cleaning Kit

The type of cleaning kit you need in your range backpack will depend on the kind of gun you have. For example, a cleaning kit for long firearms has more components than that of pistols and other short guns.

They come in several forms. You can either assemble each component of your cleaning kit separately or buy a one-in-all equipment. Whatever you do, always ensure that the cleaning kit is compatible with your gun.

Essentials for Mechanical Emergencies

Just like any device, a gun might fail to work correctly due to unforeseen reasons. The following items will help you troubleshoot your weapon in case of mechanical emergencies.

Squib Rod

Squib is an emergency case that could happen to your gun. This when the gun lacks enough force to fire a projectile out of the barrel. When it happens, you can use a squib rod to push the bullet out of the barrel.

Snap Caps or Dummy Rounds

Carrying a dummy round will help with occasional maintenance checkups. You will need to fire some dry dummy round now and then to check the status of your riffle.

Unpredictable Weather Essentials

Unexpected weather conditions can mess your day at the range. So, you should have pertinent clothing for comfort in case of unconducive weather.

They include:

  • Rain Gear: You must keep rain gear in your range bag before you go out for outdoor shooting.  You might have to shoot while it is raining. These include a raincoat, umbrella or a typical rain suit.
  • Weather Clothing and Shoes: For a hot sunny condition, you should put on loose and fresh clothing. On a cold chilly day, carry something heavy and warm.

Self-Appraisal Essentials

If you want to keep track of your progress, carry the following items whenever you got to your favorite range:


You can create your targets and have them in your range bag. It will save you extra cash that you would have used to pay for the range targets. Having your targets also makes you try something more exciting than what is in the range.

Target paper is also considered as a range backpack essentials

Masking Tape

If you cannot naturally cover your weak eye, you can tape the shooting glasses on the weaker eye to help you focus on the strong side. You can also use masking tape to recycle your targets by concealing the bullet hole.

Stop Watch

A watch comes in handy when you need to to keep track of your shooting progress. I recommend that you carry a timer to help you determine the speed at which you can hit the targets.

Journal and Pre-planned Drills

Every shooter needs to have some written/drawn drills for their next shooting session. At the end of each training, you might need to note your improvements and shortcomings.

Therefore, you should have a journal or a note-taking app to take notes on how your day at the range went.

Marker Pen and Measuring Tape

A marker will help you establish your target distance, measurement, and the spots you aim to hit. The measuring tape will help you select the space you have shot and the stretches you target to cover with your next shot.

Staple Gun and Pins

A staple gun with pins will help you keep your paperwork in order. It is useful, especially when in an outdoor shooting, where wind may cause many disruptions.

Medical Essentials

You never know what can go wrong at the shooting range. Always carry your medical kit in case of any emergencies.

First Aid Kit

When thinking about what to have in a range bag, you should always prioritize your first aid kit.

I advise that you buy the components of the first aid kit separately. A complete pack could have items you do not need or lack the most critical items.

If you have any pre-existing condition that will need medication while you are at the range, then pack your prescription medicines too.


Enjoying your trip to the range requires you to have all the necessary items and accessories with you. The biggest challenge comes when you have to carry them to and from the field now and then. Now that you know what to put in a shooting range bag, I hope that you get the best for your specific needs.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created KeepGunsSafe.com with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.