So, I guess we’ll start with the backpack itself. I purchased it at the beginning of a deployment because the backpack I’d been issued was WAY too big to carry around the base (it wound up becoming my primary BOB when I returned home). This black SOC “Three-Day-Pass” bag was the perfect size, and i’ve carried it for almost three years now without failure.
The bag blends in well while i’m in uniform or while in civvies, and the reflective belt (usually mandatory while overseas, for reasons I’ve never fully understood) can be removed when necessary. It holds a TON of stuff, and it’s got lots of those small pouches that you can use to organize the little things in the 2nd/3rd pockets. Obviously the contents of the bag change with my circumstances. The current list of contents is below:
Gloves (tips of two fingers and thumb cut off to handle small items)
Hard case (for sunglasses)
2 Cliff bars
Leatherman Wave + assorted bits
Some personal stuff (listerine, chapstick, deodorant) for those long shifts
Paracord (mostly for… well, anything)
Spare water bottle (I will invariably forget the Nalgene bottle at home sometime during the week)
Sunscreen (required in AZ summers)
Sunflower seeds (yummy!)
Rechargeable battery w/USB port
Contact lens stuff (saline solution not shown)
So most of it is related to my job as an aircraft mechanic, but I did throw in a few extra comfort/emergency items. I didn’t load it up with first-aid stuff beyond the what I use all the time; band-aids and Advil. We have a couple of trauma bags at work, and I keep a really good first-aid kit in my car, so I felt adding more medical stuff was a little redundant. There’s also plenty of room for me to add more stuff, so I’m more than open to suggestions.
Thoughts from Alex:
Yep, I'm still alive!
Thanks for sharing your bag and contents. A note to those who haven't sent in their entries yet - please make sure to cover the purpose/use criteria for your bag!
A few recommendations:
The bulk of what you're packing is extra clothes and toiletry items, which are all comfort, nice-to-have things. Is there a locker/cabinet/desk at work that you could store these in instead? Leave them in your vehicle?
If not, at least pickup travel sizes for the sunscreen, deodorant, hand sanitizer and Advil. Minimus.biz has lots of options if you can't find what you want locally.
That is also a big hank of paracord. I like p-cord as much as the next guy, but find items like Gorilla Tape, electrical tape, super glue, safety pins and needle and thread more useful in a daily environment. None take up much space or weight.
As a mechanic, I would think a headlamp would be a must have. Maybe not?
Spare batteries for the flashlight, a Bic lighter and some spare cash would round out some common sense smart-to-haves.
What does the tribe say?