Hey Alex! First off, I want to say that I’ve been a big fan of your blog for a while. It’s given me a lot to think about—keep up the good work!
The Bag: I got the bag on sale at K-Mart for about $30, so I’m not entirely sure what the make and model is. The best I can figure is a Victorinox Teardrop Monosling, but the pictures on their web site don’t quite match what I have, so take that for what it’s worth. I carried a messenger bag for a while, and I grew to hate the way it thumped against my legs—this bag is big enough to hold everything I need and small enough to be carried wherever I go.
The Gear (going in a sort of left-to-right, top-to-bottom fashion):
-“IFAK” Bag: Not a professional or comprehensive kit by any means, the black bag pictured here is the carrying case for a set of clippers I bought a while bag. It contains the only real “emergency/tactical” gear in this setup, including some other essential elements. Contents are:
-QuikClot: Bought on the recommendation on this blog. We all know what this is, what it’s for, and what it can do.
-Altoid Tin: This is my snivel kit. It contains individually-wrapped OTC medications (antacids, aspirin, Imodium, and Pepto), a couple of wet-wipes, some Neosporin packs, and a Colgate Wisp disposable toothbrush.
-A full-sized Neosporin tube
-A roll of waterproof medical tape. Allegedly waterproof, it never seems to stand up to a session washing dishes.
-An old credit card wrapped in duct tape, as well as some far-more-waterproof medical tape
-Potable Aqua (and Plus!) tablets: In the vastly unlikely event I survive whatever disaster renders local water sources undrinkable, I’ll be prepared!
-Dramamine capsules: I rarely get carsick, but when I do, it isn’t pretty
-My toothbrush: Sometimes, the Wisp just doesn’t cut it.
-Lip balm: My favorite brand is called, funnily enough, Cat Crap. This isn’t Cat Crap, but it’s not bad.
-Bug spray: I live in the South, where the summers are hot and the mosquitoes are bigger than the birds. This makes life more bearable.
-A WD-40 pen: Because I can’t carry a whole can of the stuff.
-My Platypus water bladder: This thing is the boss. I can’t fit a Nalgene bottle in this bag, but I can either keep this empty and take up no space, or fill it almost fill and bend it until it fits. I love this thing.
-Altoid Smalls tin: This thing is a little more accessible than the full-size tin in the black bag. I keep a couple extra meds in here, as well as a pair of earplugs and a single-use tube of Krazy Glue.
-A cheap keychain light that serves as a backup to my identical keychain light.
-A Smith’s sharpener: Barely visible right under the Small tin. I prefer sharpening stones, but this is good for quick touch ups.
-5 Hour Energy: I work at a coffee shop, so caffeine isn’t usually too hard to come by. But I got in the habit of always having one of these nearby back when I was waiting tables.
-This is a FourSevens flashlight in a homemade leather sheath. I used to belt carry this, but then I got the keychain light, and this shifted into the bag. I loaded it up with rechargeable batteries that I keep topped up.
-A cheap beater blade my friends got for me at a flea market. I’d hate to have to depend on it, but it’s sharp enough to serve as a backup in case I lose my other blades.
-Cash: About $40 and some quarters.
-Leatherman Sidekick: For a while, this was my EDC blade. It’s been replaced by box cutters (more on that in a second), but having this thing nearby is better than a security blanket.
-A Torx screwdriver: Mostly for tightening/loosening knife pocket clips and the Leatherman’s screws.
-Snacks: Snacks! I’ve got peanut butter crackers, raisins, and a single-serve peanut butter container (I like peanut butter).
-Two lighters: I don’t smoke, but I work with enough people that do that I know the importance of having these around. The black lighter is wrapped in Gorilla tape.
-Backup cellphone battery: This thing is cheap as dirt, and it won’t give me much of a charge. But in an emergency, when you need to make that ONE LAST CALL, it works great.
-Two sets of earbuds: A good set of earbuds is almost more important to me than shoes, so I try to always have a backup. That’s right: no extra batteries, but two sets of earbuds.
-A deck of cards and a harmonica: I play the harmonica (poorly) and do card tricks (even more poorly). These are for those rare times when there’s no internet, no 4G, and nobody interesting enough to talk to.
-The black thing under all the pens is a Google Nexus 7. I can’t exaggerate how much I love this thing. It’s replaced my laptop for all but the most elaborate tasks (I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard for my typing). I resisted e-books for a long time, but I am head over heels for this thing. Always in my bag.
-A collection of pens, pencils, markers, at least one box cutter (and some spare blades), and a sommelier’s corkscrew (the other remnant of my table-waiting days). I use cheap razor blades as my EDC knife these days—they don’t scare people, they go through cardboard like butter, and if it gets dull? Pop the blade off and replace it. I keep a bigger knife close to hand, usually, but it never gets used.
-Finally, a USB charger for my phone and Nexus.
That’s it! I’m very excited to hear what everyone has to say!
Comments from Alex:
I'd recommend investing in some organization for inside your bag - some cheap-o zip pouches to help keep the little bits and pieces contained. I'm seeing a lot of loose stuff - writing tools, first aid, snacks - and unless I'm missing something, it looks like its all mixed in together. That can make finding what you want a challenge. Subloads help win that fight.
A couple spare batteries for that flashlight would make a lot of sense.
A better backup battery would allow you to recharge your phone and/or the tablet. They're not that much money.
I bet some variety of cotton - bandana or shemagh - would end up getting used fairly regularly.
A travel toothbrush would probably work better than that loose full-sizer. I like the folding ones you can get from Target, or in bulk on Amazon.
That's it from me - what does the tribe say?