When the email landed in my inbox touting a concealed carry fanny pack from Tasmanian Tiger, I immediately knew I had to test it out. Not only was I curious about how a fanny pack would handle everyday carry, but as a lover of all things the 80s, I couldn't pass up the chance to throw it back and adopt a retro vibe.
The 80s Called: They Want Their Fanny Pack Back
A few years ago, a fanny pack-wearing micro warrior would stand out like a sore thumb; but thankfully, fashion is cyclical, and the 80s are back. Fanny packs are the latest fashion trend, thanks Gen Z, which affords us concealed carriers the opportunity to carry in an obvious but no-so obvious manner. Enough about fashion, though, let's dig into the Tasmanian Tiger and what it offers concealed carry.
The Modular Hip Bag, Tasmanian Tiger's official name for the product, features a Cordura 700 construction with three total pockets. The main interior pocket is sized to fit most subcompacts. I tried the Springfield Armory Hellcat and Smith & Wesson Shield, and both fit -- though it was a little tight-- however, my Sig Sauer P238 rested the most comfortably. The interior features hook-and-loop on the inside wall, which I appreciated. This design allows users to mount a small Kydex shell into the compartment for better retention and overall safety.
I used a Crossbreed Holsters hook-and-loop style shell for this review and found it did okay inside the Modular Hip Bag. It didn't feel super secure, but it didn't fall out or escape the bag on the draw. Of course, you could always slap the gun in the pocket unholstered; but I don't recommend it as it can move around in the pocket when unsecured.
Below the main interior pocket sits a secondary, smaller compartment. This one is ideal for a spare mag or some neon pink lipstick or extra scrunchy if you are rocking that 80s aesthetic. Finally, a hidden pocket sits at the rear of the bag and is perfect for a small wallet, ID, or other sundries you might want to keep close to you.
The exterior of the Modular Hip Bag offers a laser-cut MOLLE strip and a unique clip design that allows users to remove the waistband. The removable waistband grants versatility to the Modular Hip Bag as it can move from a fanny pack to an accessory pouch on another, larger pack. I appreciated that flexibility as it doesn't lock you into only ever using it as a fanny pack.
To Fanny Pack or Not
While I usually sport a Dark Star Gear AIWB holster for everyday carry, I realize there are occasions when off-body may be the only option for some. Blending the off-body capabilities with the obvious on-body application, I was curious how the Modular Hip Bag would fair.
I tried it with the Shield, Hellcat, and P238 -- with the P238 being the easiest to draw. I chalk that up to its smaller design. It allowed me to really dig in and get a good grip on the draw. The other, larger options barely fit into the interior, so that led to a little fumbling. Could I overcome this with enough practice? Probably, but it is something you will want to train with before hitting the streets.
Additionally, I found myself compensating for the movement of the Hip Bag. On the draw, it tends to move ever so slightly. Was I surprised by this? No. Anything not secured to your beltline is probably going to suffer some movement. Honestly, it was no worse than the movement I see in a belly band holster like the Crossbreed Modular Belly Band or Can Can Concealment Hip Hugger. Again, this is just something to be aware of and train to before dealing with an infestation of invading Russians in your small town. (Wolverines!)
To access a concealed gun, you must first unzip the main compartment. There are two ways to go about this, as there are two zippers. You can orient the zippers in the middle and rip the zippers in opposite directions, or you can move them to one side and attack a zipper with one hand. The one-sided approach means if your other hand is occupied, you could still draw one-handed.
My draw was ultimately slower coming out of this rig than my usual EDC. A few factors contribute to this. One, it required a different draw stroke as I tend to wear fanny packs higher than my AIWB holster. Second, it's not a fluid stroke as I have to unzip the holster first, grab the gun, then present. Again, the key to a system like this is practice. Know the limitations, in this case the slower draw, so that you can accommodate with better situational awareness.
I do dig the fact that this system is as on-body as an off-body solution gets. I didn't have to worry about keeping it shouldered like I would a purse or tote bag. It's also pretty inconspicuous compared to a backpack or large tote bag. I also appreciate the hook-and-loop feature as I can mount a holster shell inside and increase safety and security.
Overall, each gun rode well in the Modular Hip Bag, and it performed as well as any "off-body" solution would. Am I going to trade in my EDC AIWB for this? No, but in a fashion pinch, this is a better option than no gun at all. The Tasmanian Tiger Modular Hip Bag ships in four colors -- black, olive, coyote, and Multicam -- and retails between $39 and $44.
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