We've talked previously about the general concept and specifically about the bag that I currently use in previous entries in this series. This time around, I going to run through the contents that I carry in my personal EDC bag.
My bag is set up to provide a baseline of gear to use for daily use, travel, day hikes and emergency use. You can use what I carry as a starting point for your own bag, but I encourage you to tailor your bag to your situation and needs.
I'm always adjusting what I carry--taking things out that don't get used, trying new things out to see if they get used, upgrading and substituting.
The bag gets brought along on pretty much whatever trip in order to test it out--in this general configuration, it's driven across the country 3 times, flown all over the country, gone to shooting ranges, camping, hiking, to the hospital, to school and work, etc. Certainly, the load out gets tailored to the mission at hand, but most of the core contents remain.
So, here's the rundown of the current daily contents. Note that it is intended to be completely workplace and largely airport friendly. You'll need to figure out, given your routine and local laws - if certain items (firearms, fixed blade knives, spare magazines) need to be locked up in a vehicle or left at home. For me, anything "tactical" gets locked up in the daily driver. So that's why you don't see any big fixed blade knives, ammunition or similar.
I've also taken to sub-loading the contents, to aid in organization and ease of access. None of the contents are "off-limits" for daily use - they're all meant to be used regularly, not just saved for an emergency. I do make it a point to check/restock the bag on a regular basis.
A final thing that bears mentioning - I am conscious about weight and bulk, especially when it comes to the survival-type stuff. With just the basic load out shown here, the bag only weighs a few pounds and has most of the volume left for other stuff - clothes, work laptop, lunch, etc.
- One of my pocket survival kits, which provides redundancy for a lot of the other stuff in the bag - light, fire, water, cordage, etc.
- A Leatherman Charge xTi with extension and extra bits - I don't think they make the xTi any more, but the TTi is pretty similar. The extension is pretty cool - lets you use standard bits and gives you greater reach. The Leatherman is one of my most used items in my bag - I consider it a must-have.
- Petzl eLite and spare batteries. This thing is tiny, surprisingly bright, with red and white color LEDs, has really long battery life, comfortable to wear, and comes with a good hard case AND and integrated whistle.
- Spare CR123As
- A flat pack of Gorilla tape and a small hank of bank line
- Wall and 12v phone chargers, spare iPhone cable
- A Frontier emergency filter and water tablets for emergency water filtration. The water tablets take a long time to kill Crypto and the filter is worthless against bacteria and viruses, but used together, you've got save water within about 15 minutes of adding the tablets.
- A recent addition, a Goal Zero Switch 8 - a phone charger/spare battery. I'm pretty happy with this based on my initial usage, I'll get a review up in a short bit. There's a USB charging plug for this, too.
- One industrial strength glow stick - these are actually brighter than your average glow stick. Mainly for signalling/marking purposes.
- SeaLine waterproof iPhone sleeve. Works! Keeps your phone from getting destroyed in the rain.
- SAR Eclipse Signal Mirror
- And a couple Gear Ties
The Feedbag: Snacks and food in another Eagle Creek Pac-It - this one is a medium, I believe. The contents change regularly, but there's usually around 2000-ish calories here. Zero prep stuff. Usually some Clif/Protein bars, beef jerky, almonds, hot chocolate mix, crackers, etc. These get eaten throughout the week - breakfasts are often a Clif bar from my bag, for example. That's a freeze dried granola on top, taped up for a more compact size--just add water and you've got a meal more satisfying than snacks and bars.
When selecting food, keep in mind the calories-to-weight ratio. 2000 calories isn't a ton, but it's enough to keep you fed and keep your energy up for a day or two without resupply.
I plan to add some kind of energy shot to this, but hate 5 Hour Energies and all of the others that I have tried.
Water Bottle: I've been using a Guyot stainless steel water bottle for a long while now, and it's held up perfectly well. Some dents and dings for character, but that's about it. A CapCap bottle top was added for easier drinking on the go. I drink at least a liter of water a day from this guy. The stainless is nice because it cleans easily, doesn't retain odors and you can use it in a pinch to heat/boil water.
Add a length of cordage and it can also make a mean flail :)
A water bottle is a must have, and a container capable of boiling water is also an essential. Two birds with one stone, here.
Blowout Kit: A lighter version of the IFAK from the $40 a week series. Simple, lightweight kit. TK-4 tourniquet, QuikClot Combat Gauze, some additional compressed gauze. Nitrile gloves. I could improvise all of these with other contents in the bag, but these weigh so little that it's worth it to me to carry the dedicated kit. Carried in a small red Pac-It.
Boo Boo Kit: This is the little plastic baggie on the bottom - you can see the alcohol pads, safety pins and super glue. Also has assorted bandaids, some small gauze pads, moleskin, etc. There's an N95 mask in there, too. These are also carried in the red Pac-It. These little packs are handy to have around - we've depleted a few and need to restock in other kids.
Snivel kit: Advil, heart burn stuff, lip balm, hand sanitizer and usually some cough drops (Fisherman's Friend!). A pack of kleenex and baby wipes that didn't make the picture. These are stashed throughout the bag, but made their way into the first aid picture.
Spare Cash: Not pictured. A few dollars in quarters and three $20s. This is in addition to emergency cash carried in my wallet.
Protective Gear & Shelter: Heatsheets space blanket, disposable poncho, Mechanix gloves and a 100% cotton Shemagh. Not pictured: contractor grade trash bag.
The shemagh is a recent addition, replacing a pair of bandanas. I like the shemagh because it's larger (42" square, if I remember right), softer, warmer and more absorbent--more useful, all around. Works as a scarf, towel, sling, baby wrap, dust mask, etc. I like it a lot, actually - gets much more use than my bandanas did.
This time of year, I also add a Triple Aught Design merino beanie.
I will beef up the shelter depending on the season and mission. During summer months, I will keep a lightweight rain jacket in the pack. If I'm anticipating a night on the couch/floor somewhere, I will add a Snugpak Jungle Bag.
Your EDC bag will generally be light on "real" shelter, because, well, you have limited space and, in many cases, shelter would be of limited use. For me, I work in an urban and suburban environment, so there's plenty of existing shelter available. I work about 15 miles away from home - a long walk, but certainly doable in one day. I live in a forested area, and could build a debris shelter without too much trouble if I needed to spend a night out in bad weather. And, of course, your clothing is your first-line shelter, so make sure to dress appropriately for the weather.
That said, I will eventually swap out the disposable poncho for an ultralight tarp of some variety. Mechanix gloves should probably be swapped out for something with Nomex.
Misc. Other Stuff: Spare reading glasses (not pictured), microfiber cloth, a small bottle of glasses cleaner (alcohol), old fashioned writing instruments, Rite-in-the-Rain notebook for scratch paper/notes and a lighter. The leather case was a gift from my wife and holds a pair of Bose earbuds.
So, there you go. I'm regularly tweaking the contents, but aside from where I've noted above, I'm fairly happy with the current load out. If you've been following T-Blog for a while, you may recognize a of the contents from older posts. While this may not look a ton of gear, there are capabilities and redundancies for critical tasks like fire, water, lighting, signalling and so on, in addition to all of the regular gear that I use throughout an average day.
How about you guys? You happy with your load outs or in the process of building up your daily carry bag? What do you carry in your EDC bag that others might not have thought of?