Gear Review: Bodyguard Elite Armored Backpack

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

I’ve never owned body armor before. I’m not opposed to it, I’ve just chosen to spend my dollars differently. If you own it, good on you. If that makes you feel more comfortable and more prepared, I say…why not? The only barrier should be the cost, which can be substantial, depending on the type of plates and protection level you want. Which is why I’ve never understood attempts to make it illegal for “civilians” to own it. Body armor is entirely defensive, but that’s another topic for another day.

Most body armor simply isn’t practical to wear on a regular, everyday basis. I’m not going to wear a plate carrier on a typical trip to the range. And even putting on slimmer vest-type armor is hot and can be fairly cumbersome.

But there are now more options available to the average person who wants to have the protection of ballistic armor with them as a daily carry option. Bodyguard Armored Backpacks makes, well, armored backpacks that let you carry ballistic protection with you just about anywhere.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack
The Elite armored backpack has plenty of room for a large laptop and all the other gear you carry on a daily basis.

I went for the Bodyguard Elite backpack because it’s virtually indistinguishable from any typical EDC pack. It’s just as functional as a regular everyday carry pack you’d use to haul around a laptop, cords, and other basic gear.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

You can carry this around all day and no one will be the wiser that you’re also toting armor with you. The Bodyguard Elite looks to all the world just like any other backpack.

The Bodyguard Elite model is a 25 liter pack with no (visible) MOLLE or (visible) Velcro fields on the outside…nothing that in any way looks “tactical.” Bodyguard makes a couple of larger packs (both 40 liters) that look a little more tactical and you may want to go that way. For me, and probably most people, the Elite is perfect.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

The Elite is made of nice, substantial Cordura that’s triple-stitched. The seams are clean, the zippers are high quality and move smoothly, and the bag’s reasonably water- and cut-resistant. It’s nicely designed, apparently by someone who actually carries a backpack on a daily basis, with plenty of pockets you need for everyday use.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

There are also side cinch straps secured by removable metal “hooks” that you can use to expand or compress the pack as you need to to keep if from flopping around. The difference, here, of course, is that in addition to your laptop, cords, Field Notes book, pens and protein bars, the Elite is also packing body armor.

Bodyguard gives you a few choices here. You buy the pack itself without the armor ($369) and add your own if you already own plates. Or you can buy the pack with two Level 3A soft armor panels that are rated to stop any handgun round up to .44 Magnum ($469). If you want to go whole hog, you can get the Elite with two Level 3+ rifle-rated polyethylene plates ($769).

There’s obviously a big cost delta between the 3A and 3+ plates, not to mention the rifle-rated plats are significantly thicker and will weigh more than the thinner soft panels. You’ll obviously have to decide which makes more sense for you based on the thickness of your wallet and your risk tolerances.

Statistically, in the unlikely event that you find yourself in a situation where body armor is needed, you’re about eight times more likely to face a handgun than you are a rifle. I chose the Elite with the soft panel 3A armor for its light weight and relative affordability.

Here’s how it deploys . . .

Both plates are carried in the Elite’s rear pouch. One lives in a pouch in the rear of the pack and the other in the chest plate, ready to deploy when needed. Two straps extended and are Velcro’d to the shoulder straps so they’re always accessible.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

No one will likely notice the straps coming out of the pack. The top of the pack is held closed under normal conditions by magnets. They allow the chest plate to be pulled out, up and over your head when you need to deploy it. You can carry the pack using the top handle without the plate compartment coming open.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

I suppose you could carry other items in the reach pouch that holds the chest plate, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s a good chance it would pop out along with the chest plate when you deploy it.

As you can see in the video above, the chest plate carrier has plenty of MOLLE real estate and a Velcro field at the top for your favorite patches. The MOLLE lets you attach an IFAK or a MOLLE-attachable holster and gun that will deploy with the chest plate and be instantly ready if you want.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

Plenty of thought went into the Elite pack’s design. Each shoulder strap has a metal cobra-style quick release buckle to let you get out of it quickly if you need to.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

The waist belt has the same kind of buckle along with Velcro fields you’ll use to secure the chest plate once it’s deployed.

You don’t need to walk around with the waist belt secured and most people don’t like to do that on a regular basis. Just be aware that if you really need to deploy the chest plate you can either take the time to buckle the waist belt. If you choose not to, the chest plate will still be there, but you won’t be able to secure it at the bottom and it will flop around as you move.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

The pull straps stayed secured to the shoulder straps and out of your way. Again, virtually no one will even notice them, let alone wonder why they’re there.

Body Guard Elite Bulletproof Backpack

One of the only criticisms I have of the pack is the shoulder straps are on the thin side, both in width and thickness. You can see the Elite in the photo above next to my 5.11 LV Covert everyday pack.

This isn’t much of a criticism, though, as the pack is still comfortable enough to use on a daily basis. I prefer the LV Covert’s wider, thicker shoulder straps, but the Bodyguard Elite’s straps won’t dig in or make it uncomfortable to carry. Oh, I also wish they’s added water bottle carry pockets on the sides.

The Bodyguard Elite is a really convenient, stealthy way to have easily deployable body armor with you virtually wherever you go. With the Level 3A panels, the Elite weighs only about 5½ pounds empty, so it’s very manageable to carry on a daily basis. It’s not inexpensive, but if you’ve priced body armor and carriers, you know that none of it is cheap. The Elite with the 3A soft panels is a well-made, easily deployable design that’s comfortable and functional.

One Response

  1. Thank you for the review! Much appreciated and a lot of time was spent on it. Great work.

    I should mention that the other models (Switchblade and the First Responder) have thicker straps :).

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