Pack Report: Vertx Commuter Sling

Vertx Commuter Sling
February 14, 2024  
|  4 Comments
Categories: Gear Curious

I’ve owned many backpacks in my time. And I’ve long been a practitioner of off-body-carry. Over the last 25 years, I’ve carried a messenger bag made by MountainSmith, several Lowe Alpine backpacks, a Maxpedition man purse or two, and—a standout go-to for a go bag—the 5.11 Rush 72. None of these, though, can hold a candle to Vertx and their covert line of EDC bags.

Vertx Bags

We are now in a kind of golden age of intentional design that has made the entire concept of off-body-carry highly effective. There are three things I look for in an OBC bag: it can’t look tactical, it has to be strong enough to support the weight of a loaded gun, and it has to allow for fast access.

The Caveats and Warnings for Off-Body-Carry

One benefit of traditional in-waistband concealed carry is that it keeps the firearm securely under your control (when done correctly). I’m not an advocate of small-of-back carry for this reason, but that can work, too, if you do it right.  

With off-body-carry you need to be mindful of your bag. There’s no leaving it unattended. You shouldn’t leave it where prying hands can get inside. Every year there are tragic tales of people learning this lesson the hard way.  

Think it through. Consider how you will keep your bag secure and within your control.  

Back to Work on the Commuter Sling

Vertx Commuter bag on Range Day

Range day with the Vertx Commuter Sling. No, I’m not trying to fit all of these in the bag. I was doing some instruction, showing a new shooter a variety of guns, and the Commuter Sling made an excellent gun rug to keep the steel off the concrete table.

The deep concealment of the Commuter Sling, by Vertx, is its ability to blend in a world of similarly shaped bags. Vertx walks a fine line between wanting to stand out as a recognizable brand and wanting to blend in and disappear.  

Rapid-access and rifle-ready, the Commuter is up for whatever the day throws your way. The Commuter’s hands-free sling design makes this pack the perfect option for on-the-go and active applications.

“Rapid-access and rifle-ready, the Commuter is up for whatever the day throws your way. The Commuter’s hands-free sling design makes this pack the perfect option for on-the-go and active applications.”

The recognizable traits will likely only be noticed by members of the tribe. You know what I mean by this, I’m sure. There are tells, brands, types of clothing, etc. that are those of us who take an active interest in self-defense recognize. And for Vertx it is the long Rapid Access Tab—a zipper handle that allows you to rip open one of the over-built zippers to get access to whatever might be inside.  

Look More Closely at the Details on Vertx Bags

Front of the Vertx Commuter Sling Bag

From the outside, there’s nothing overtly tactical. Details are there if you know what to look for, but there are no molle loops of big Velcro patch panels. Just a simple-looking bag, and that is sometimes the best camouflage.

The Commuter Sling’s zippers—those on the main compartments—the places you might want to access under adrenaline-fueled stress, are overbuilt. They’re much more robust than the zippers you find on most bags this size—even the ones built for heavy use.  

This robust design is present in the fabric the bags are sewn from and in the nylon thread used for the stitching. All of the stress points on the bag are bartacked to provide greater strength for forceful movements.  

While the main pockets are designed to open 180 degrees, making for easy access, Vertx has considered that this may not be an option that socially appropriate in all circumstances. To keep things both accessible and hidden, there’s a G-shaped hook that attaches the two sides that prevents it from flopping open when the zipper is thrown wide.  

The Pedestrian Elements of the Commuter Sling

Inside of the Vertx Commuter Bag

The back of the Vertx Commuter Sling has pyramid bumps that help with air circulation and padding. And there are pass-through slot for luggage handles, but don’t take it loaded to the TSA.

Inside the sling, there are two main, large compartments. The one closest to the back of the bag is large and open—just two wide facing flats that are built of a fuzzy material that the hook-and-loop hooks bite into. These are wide open spaces for you to design as you see fit.  

The other compartment has more of a typical bag layout. There’s laptop pocket and more of the fuzzy material for placement of add-ons. While you could easily keep a firearm in this side of the bag—a broken down SBR would fit here—this compartment feels like a safe place for a laptop and all of the other large elements of everyday life.  

I’ve been experimenting with what’s practical in the sling. While Vertx makes a larger version, I’d hoped to be able to get an SBR in this one without breaking it down. It would be possible with a folding stock. As is, the space is ideal for a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 or something similarly sized.  

Tactigami

Tactigami inside the Vertx Commuter

There’s a lot of Tactigami options. I don’t have the wraps, as I prefer to use IWB holsters in the molle cuts, but the add-on options are just about endless.

Spellcheck hates this word. The concept is easy enough, though. Take a piece of paper, fold it into almost anything: origami. With the hook side of the Velcro equation, you fan fold up holsters mag holders… or just use laser-cut molle panels to secure other types of holsters and mag holders.  

Vertx’s Tactigami is rather elaborate in its conception and endless in its variety. There are wide flat panels, admin panels, pouches that stick in place and hold securely, even wraps that can be tailored to provide secure enclosures for just about anything you could envision carrying in a bag this size.  

How Does the Commuter Sling Manage the Weight?

The back of the Vertx Commuter Sling has pyramid bumps that help with air circulation and padding. And there are pass-through slot for luggage handles, but don’t take it loaded to the TSA.

The Commuter Sling has two other component parts that add to the ergonomic functionality that makes for a good self defense bag. The first is that the back is built of molded foam. The pyramid pattern prevents any gun in the back section from digging into your back. Even with the bag loaded, the back rides flat.  

The padding, there, is both functional and cooling, too. The air can move more freely through the textured surface.  

The second component is a wide strap that holds the weight of a loaded gun, computer, water bottle—all quite comfortably. This strap is angled to allow the bag to swing under your arm in a fluid motion. Pulling the bag through, on most other bags, would leave the thin tail end of the shoulder strap biting into your shoulder. This, though, isn’t the case with the Commuter, as it is built to move in precisely this manner. Simply swing the bag under as you jerk back on the Rapid Access Tab and whatever you need inside is instantly available.  

What is the Commuter Sling Really Good For?

I’ve used these types of bags for many different applications, but I’m not likely to carry an AR for EDC. Even the Sub 2K, while an interesting and effective gun, is a bit much. I do, though, like to carry something larger that my typical Hellcat sized 9mm, especially if I’m going somewhere sketchy.

This bag is ideal for a full-sized handgun. It is balanced well enough that you can drop in something like a Staccato XC and several mags without feeling burdened. And larger guns have their place.

Even with a Hellcat Pro, though—something slim—you have the benefit of taking your average pocket dump and adding to it a larger light, more mags, a fixed blade, an IFAK—even a panel of armor, if you want. And all of it will look completely innocuous.

That, I think, is the strongest selling point of the whole concept—and something Vertx has mastered. The Commuter Sling is an excellent addition to any attempt at urban camouflage. For those who want to blend in, yet have more resources than a typical EDC loadout, Vertx is the way to go.  

The Commuter Sling comes in a few muted colors—an FDE, grey, black, and a green. The MSRP on this bag is $226.99.

Find one or learn more at VERTX. 

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David Higginbotham

David Higginbotham

About the Author

4 Comments

  1. Clark Kent

    NOPE! The ONLY way to make sure your firearm is secure is to carry it in a holster on your body. Back to the drawing board for the author!

    • Bruce Wayne

      🤔 I’ve been securing a firearm to my body with a rifle sling for years.

      I digress, in general I agree. But it’s still a silly comment, every tool has its use. I’ve carried “off body” in a Hill People chest rig, when the hip belt of my pack would interfere with a belt-line carried firearm.

      Currently, I have a sling bag on the back of the bedroom door. It contains a full IFAK& 2 CAT TQs; Spare glasses, IDs, house keys; it also carries pepper spray, a Surefire G2, fixed blade, a kydex holster for a TLR1, so it fits both my wife or my gun and spare mags for both. And a backpack armor plate in place of a laptop. It carries what I need, even if I’m moving to contact barefoot in my skivvies.

      Because depending on the situation I may not have time to be gearing in the middle in the night. And lets be honest in most situations I am not. This setup allows me to move w/ gun and phone to the door, grab the bag and move to a cover position in the hallway while my wife retrieves the kids. Then I can decide whether to hold or to follow the fur missiles to the concern.

      And that’s how we’ve practiced it. But in reality, that bag has gotten more use out of my wife. Who took it when our elderly neighbor called frantically incoherent and screaming for help. I wasn’t home and she wasn’t not going to go.

      It presents as a non-tactical bag. And it gives me a place to safely stow the gun should I encounter the cops half naked, or any other number of things that required me to either use my hands or present myself non-threateningly. I can move with it, otherwise naked, with one hand on a holstered, concealed gun, the other on white light and a plate covering center mass vitals.

      And for me, that is practical & realistic in a way that a gun belt, plate carrier, and FAST mounted NODs will never be for that 2am bump in the night.

      • Clark Kent

        Blah, blah, blah. Does your train of thought have a caboose? Nobody cares if you think you are G.I. Joe. Fa*ting around with a bag/backpack/purse when you need your firearm PRONTO is what causes you to assume room temperature, period, end of discussion.

        • Bruce Wayne

          LOL. Nah, but my caboose trains… you should give it a try.

          If you feel safer only carrying when you can do it in a holster, I’m not here to change your mind. You do you. I’m just pointing out that there is more rational thought that goes into all this than regurgitating some maxim you read in American Rifleman 25 years ago.

          There are no one size fits all solutions, only compromises that fit the context of you in that particular moment. I’ll defer to you to determine the wisdom of your methods while you wander around Walmart open carrying your 1911 in a nylon Uncle Mikes.

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