This is my EDC bag, a first gen ITS Discreet Messenger bag that was put together by hand by Joel at Zulu Nylon. It goes everywhere with me—work, school, out and about. The only exception is if I go hiking or am training for search and rescue, in which each have their own dedicated bags.
I chose this bag because I wanted a messenger bag vs a backpack. It's more business like for my work environment, but not so much that it's not unique. (I literally have never seen another ITS bag in the wild). I needed it to hold a computer, but also a gun (where it's legal to carry), it also needed good organizational pockets and be very durable and preferably made in America. After looking at nearly every bag out there, this one fit the bill to a 'T' and was worth the 6 week wait for it.
The list of items I carry is a result of a lot reading. Blogs like TEOTWAWKI and ITS Tactical mainly, and forums like EDCforums.com. The rest of the items are a result of experience. I hate not having something when I need it. So when that happens (and it doesn't happen much anymore) I'd make a specific point to get it in the bag for next time. It's like a Cordura wrapped bundle of 'What Ifs." It's not a get home bag by any means, but for the 99% of situations I encounter daily—it's perfect.
List of items:
ITS Tactical Discreet Messenger Bag - 1st Gen - Foliage
Back Pocket (w/Frame Sheet)
Springfield XDm 9mm (12rds Hornady JHP)
Surefire G2X Pro
Left Side Pouch
32oz Liberty Bottle
Right Side Pouch
E2 Field Gear Leather Field Notes Cover
Field Notes, regular and expedition series
Small Front Flap Zipper Pocket
10 US Stamps
Starbucks VIA Packet
Large Front Flap Zipper Pocket
Large Ziplock Bag
1-2 Snack Bars
Computer and/or iPad
Front Left Pocket
Petzl Tikka Plus
2 CR123 Batteries
3 AAA Batteries
12ft Measuring Tape
MSR micro towel
$1.00 in quarters
Maxpedition Fatty Organizer
Leatherman Bit Driver Kit
Streamlight Microstream flashlight
Bogota Titanium LP Set
Extra CR2032 for Suunto Core
Small flathead screwdriver (for remote 9-pin deck control screws)
Rite in the Rain Notebook
Front Right Pocket
FAK - AMK First Aid Kit
* 12 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1" x 3"
* 1 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 2" x 4.5"
* 2 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle
* 3 Bandage, Butterfly Closure
* 4 Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2" x 2"
* 4 Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 3" x 3"
Blister / Burn
* 1 Moleskin, 3" x 4"
Fracture / Sprain
* 1 Bandage, Elastic with Clips, 2" x 5yds
* 1 Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forceps
* 1 Pair of Vinyl Gloves
* 2 Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2
* 2 After Bite Wipe
* 2 Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)
* 1 Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2
* 2 Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2
* 1 Compass, Button, Liquid Filled
* 1 Mini Rescue Howler Whistle
* BIC Lighter
* 10 Antimicrobial Towelette
* 1 Tape, 1/2" x 10 Yards
* 2 Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single Use
Outdoor Research Organizer Pouch
* Sunscreen stick
* 3x pairs foam earplugs
* Tube of advil (12 pills)
* Spray Neosporin
* Off Deep Woods
* Bite/Anti-itch Stick
* 2x Purell hand sanitizer wipes
* Purell hand sanitizer .5 fl oz
* Rewetting drops
* Vaseline hand lotion
* Roll of Tums 8
* 2x Benadryl
* 2x Shout wipes
* 1x Stride face wipe
* 2x Medium adhesive bandage
* 1x Large adhesive bandage
* 1x Extra Large adhesive bandage
First up, this is a great first entry. Solid example for everyone else out there.
The list looks like a TON of stuff, but a lot of it is individually listed out snivel kit items. So don't hate.
Last summer, I reverted for a time to a messenger bag - just a generic laptop bag. It drove me nuts, and I went searching for a better option. I just wanted to be able to carry a laptop, basic electronics and snivel kit a Nalgene water bottle, and have it not look out of place in a professional office environment. There are not a lot of good choices out there, and it's fairly shocking how many terribly designed messenger bags there are out on the market.
The Discrete Messenger Bag was - for sure - at the top of the list good choices, though the price to play kept me away at the time.
I actually have a design in mind for a messenger bag that I've been thinking about producing. Would need to get a gearmaker type on board, and have pushed it to the backburner for the time being.
Generally, though, I prefer a backpack. Messenger bags do one thing well--they allow you to access the contents while wearing the bag. They can be less prone to wrinkle up a suit or dress shirt, too. And, in some environments, a backpack is just plain out of place. Beyond that, a backpack wins in every category.
Off-body carry is the least preferred option - if you are separated from your bag, your firearm is just a velcro compartment away from falling into unintended hands. If it's the only way you can carry, then it's the only way you can carry. I'm sure you've thought through this, but if you can carry that XDm another way, I'd explore it.
Also, if you regularly carry the XDm, toss a spare mag in with that other stuff.
Gear is well thought through and covers a lot of bases. I really like the mini-tape measurer and will be stealing that for my own uses. My kids always steal my real tape measurers, but they know to stay away from 'dad's bag.'
A few items I would consider adding:
- Emergency cash - $20 - $100 in less than $20 bills
- Backup cellphone battery - for when you forget to charge or run it down to 20% before lunch
- Similarly, not sure if I see a charging cable for your phone
- Work/flight gloves - a pair of Mechanix or nomex aviator gloves don't weigh much and can come in handy
- Cotton - see our post from a couple days back - though you do have the micro-towel
- Moar food and caffeine
- Since there's some redundancy goin' on, you may want to consider a second cutting tool to supplement the Leatherman - a dedicated folder that is more readily accessed would likely be my choice.
What does the tribe say?
BTW: Don't go cramming stuff into your bag that you don't normally carry. The contest isn't going to be decided by who has the most stuff, and you won't benefit from any of my sage advice.