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6/10/14

EDC Bag Dump: CanPrep

First of all, 3 important clarifications:

1. I live in Canada. Which is great on the most part, but one of the few negative implications is that we are not allowed to carry any weapons for self defense purposes. Period. Were it not the case, my EDC list would have included a concealed-carried handgun with 3 16-round mags, plus pepper spray and a kubotan or a telescoping baton. Ridiculously, the former can only be legally carried to an approved range and back, and all the latter are considered prohibited weapons under the current legislation here. Alas...

2. I know there are no defined boundaries for what constitutes an EDC kit, and I am thoroughly pushing the envelope here ;-) What I am going to present below is an EDC / GHB / day pack hybrid. This kit is always with me - be it at work, or when I go places, or on a short hike through a forest. Essentially, always. And I don't like the idea of having to think, "Ah, today I am going there to do that, so I have to take this and that..." It's safer to just have it all there, all the time.

My commute from the suburbs to work is 30-odd km each way. If some serious S hits the proverbial F when I'm Downtown, I may find myself walking all the way back, overnight. As remote as this possibility is, I prefer not to be caught with my pants down.

On the other hand, you'll find some pretty mundane stuff in my kit, which I use most often - and isn't that the true definition of the EDC?
That being said, this is not the only kit at my disposal. There's a car kit for when I travel on wheels, geared specifically for that (with extra water, food, blankets, 12V lighter to USB adapter, and car-related stuff). And, of course, there's a BOB, which supplements the EDC/GHB content with items like a water filter, a hatchet, a wire saw, etc.

3. Although technically this is not a part of the EDC *bag* per se, I think it's important to mention that I usually wear cargo pants with lots of pockets and a sturdy belt, and I rarely leave the home in anything other than hiking shoes (or hunting snow boots in winter). I consider those a very important part of the EDC concept.

Now, after the inadvertently lengthy intro, let's finally get to the bag and its content.




1. The bag itself. A simple, inconspicuous $40 laptop backpack from Costco. The primary reason for this choice is "the gray man" approach. A tactical (or a tacti-cool) bag with all kinds of gizmos, pouches and morale patches strapped to its MOLLE would definitely stand out among the hipster sheeple crowd. And, as an added bonus, I do carry a laptop to work ;-)
This bag obviously is not something I'd want to carry for a prolonged period of time over any significant distances, but for its declared purposes it seems quite satisfactory.
2. Maps of the area (in a ZipLock bag). Hopefully self-explanatory.
3 to 8. This is my extended survival kit. It's been a bit of a contentious issue for me, whether to include it into the EDC or leave it in the BOB... For now it's here, because there are items that IMO do belong to the EDC, and I don't like the idea of breaking kits into sub-kits; that's a sure way to find out you've forgotten the very piece of equipment you need because this time - of all the times! - you've left it home. So this way I can just grab the whole pack and transfer it to the BOB, if needed.
In further detail:
3. The core survival kit (emergency bottle, signalling stuff, compass, paracord, carbines, tape, rubber bands, wire, safety pins, sewing kit, tea candles, black garbage bag, various size ziplock bags, water purification tablets, hot glue stick).
4. Hygiene kit (lip balm, hand sanitizer, dental floss, nail clipper, moist wipes, sun screen, feminine supplies - yes, that's right; you never know when the female part of the family may need those).
5. SOL emergency bivvy.
6. Emergency blanket.
7. Fire kit (it's always good to have more than one way to light a fire; but don't worry, it includes a lighter too, not just the various low-tech suvivalist / boyscout implements).
8. Zip ties. One of the more often used items in the kit.
9. Spare clothes: T shirt, underwear, quality socks, rain pants, and yes, light thermal underwear (because even in the brief periods when there is no snow on the ground up here, the nights may still get pretty chilly). This set consumes a large bulk of the bag's space, but it's important to have. Not necessarily for spending a night in the woods at TEOTWAWKI, but even in such down to earth scenarios when you spill something on your clothes, or got soaked by a sudden rain, or a baby pees all over your clothes while you're changing the diaper. In winter this kit gets even bulkier, with a pair of warm gloves, a balaclava, a scarf, and a set of heavier thermal underwear.
10. A windbreaker / rain jacket. Because it rains here too. When it doesn't snow.
11. A Tilley hat and a bandanna. Because, believe it or not, we may even see some hot sunny days, on occasion. Between the rain and the snow.
12. Backpack rain cover. If you want your bag to take of you, you should take care of it. And to keep its content dry, of course.
13. Umbrella. Not a very macho item, I know. Still... Comes in handy on occasion.
14. Sunglasses. Does this need a justification? OK, because it's cool. And because I value my eyes.
15. A bunch of plastic bags, of various sizes. Yup. That simple. Sometimes it pays off to be able to carry more stuff than you were prepared to. Say, if you get fired from your job and have to pack all your mementos and doohickeys. Kidding. Or not.
16. Work gloves. You know what? One of the most often used items in the kit. It's surprising how many times I virtually patted myself on the back for having those handy (pun intended).
17. Toilet paper roll (flattened). Because... Do you really need me to explain?
18. Respirator mask. I've been searching for a while for a mask that can be folded flat. Because let's be honest with ourselves, the regular N95s become somewhat useless when they lose their shape - which they do surprisingly easily when just thrown into the bag.
19. FAK. I'm a little heavy on this aspect - but hey, better safe than sorry, right? Contains: surgical gloves, Israeli field bandage, tourniquet, regular & anti-burn band-aids, elastic bandage, gauze pads and bandage, antiseptic & iodine toilettes, cohesive bandage, Advil & Tylenol, Benadryl, Polysporin, After-bite, heartburn tablets, a compact CPR mask, small SAM splints.
20, 21. Water. One bottle is not enough for any prolonged situation, obviously, but that's what I've got the metal bottle and the purification tablets for. Plus the emergency bottle in the survival kit.
22. Water boiler. For when you're stuck in some relatively civilized place with a power socket, but nothing to boil the water in or on - and you can't just set up a fire on the floor.
23. Dry fruit, dry beans, energy bars, protein powder, teabags. Not only to survive a night or two in the boonies, but also for when your kids suddenly get hungry while on a 200 km trip in a car. Believe you me, appeasing hungry kids is a matter of personal survival!
24. Paper towels.
25. Plastic utensils. Even if the civilization is on a brink of an untimely demise, this is still not good enough a reason to eat with your hands. For now.
26. Cell phone. Yup. Laugh as much as you want, but with our present lifestyle it definitely is an EDC item. Communication and entertainment, anyone? Navigation too, as long as those pesky GPS satellites have not begun falling from the sky.
27. Gerber folder knife. Lives on my belt. Nothing fancy, but used a lot and has definitely proven its worth. As a tool, not as a weapon, mind you ;-)
28. Leatherman Wave with a set of bits. Another invaluable belt-carried companion.
29. Peanut lighter, carried in a side pocket of the Leatherman's case.
30. Mini permanent marker and pencil, carried in the other side pocket of the Leatherman's case.
31. Head lamp. Self explanatory.
32. Crank-operated flashlight. For when the batteries in the headlamp die at the least opportune timing.
33. LED mini-flashlight, carried on the key chain. Can also be clipped to a hat. Because you can never have too many lighting options.
34. Wall socket to 4 USB jacks converter. For when the number of wall sockets is limited, and the whole family suddenly needs to charge their devices.
35. USB battery booster. For when your phone (or other life-saving device such as MP3 player) dies in the middle of the day.
36. Crank USB charger. Yeah, that's a little far fetched, I admit. For when all other options have been exhausted, but you absolutely have to make that phone call.
37. Micro USB cables, short and long. After all, you have to connect all those chargers to your devices somehow.
38. USB flash drive. Because you never know when you'll have to copy some files.
39. A few pens. Just because.

Well, that's it, folks.
Sound off.

From Alex:

Seems like we keep getting into heavier and heavier EDC territory. This has more sheer stuff than my BOB does.

Take a look through and look at redundancies, how much you need them and where you can trim weight and bulk.

We'll talk lights for an example.

You have a headlamp, crank flashlight, a key chain light, presumably a light built onto your phone, plus a couple lighters. You could lose one and not notice - I would ditch the crank flashlight, as those are usually junk and fall apart within a few weeks. If the keychain light is inadequate for general use, there are lots of affordable, high-output keychain lights out there.

Do you need the whole fire kit? Fire is not so difficult to improvise in an urban/suburban environment, and you've got multiple lighters and items that could burn.

The clothes. Could those be left in your vehicle or drawer/cabinet at work? A lot of bulk for items that I'm going to guess are rarely used--seems more prudent to 'cache versus carry.'

Don't get me wrong, I frequently pack a change of clothes in my bag if I'm doing an overnight. But for daily use in my bag, seem like a lot.

If the clothes have got to stay, use the ranger roll to compact them down and ready them for travel. 

N95s folded in half and put in a bag store fine for me. I use these medical ones versus the harder white ones.

Why dry beans? Seems like an odd choice, but maybe I'm missing something.

Toilet paper, paper towels and moist wipes. Same purpose. Pick one.

The crank USB charger...I would have a low level of confidence in that working when you needed it to.

Thumbs up on the grey man bag choice. These kinds of bags are everywhere and no one ever pays much attention to them.

Tribe - what say you?

19 comments :

  1. Hey Alex, CanPrep here, to address some of your comments.

    1. Redundancies... Yeah, I hear you, and it's been a fair bit of internal struggle for me to decide whether some of those should be cut down.
    Light... Ah, too important to have just one. "One is none, two is one", right? ;-)
    Maybe I'm a creature of light, and this is some primeval fear of the dark. :-)
    Also bear in mind that the keychain flashlight and the head lamp are intended for somewhat different use cases (i.e. the former for quick use when the light suddenly goes off, the latter for hands-free operation).
    And besides that, it's nice to be able to lend a flashlight to a friend that hasn't got one, in an hour of need.
    The crank-operated one has been doing its job for a couple of years so far.
    The same goes, BTW, for the crank USB charger: I tried it on several occasions, and it does work. For sure, you'll need to be very patient and to have a lot of time on your hands to crank up your phone's battery enough to allow a one minute call... But it's nice to know that I can do that without depending on anything that eventually depletes.
    Lighters, IMO, are irrelevant here, because they don't provide any reasonable amount of light, and I can see them used in this capacity only as the last resort.

    Fire kit? Sure, most likely won't need it - but as I said, I just hate the idea of splitting the survival kit. I know that ounces add to pounds, but this is not something I am just ready to give up yet :-)

    2. The clothes.
    Having those in the car is not a very viable option. For one, I mostly commute with public transportation. And a cache at work is out of the question; you should see my workplace... Just take my word on that ;-)

    3. Food: dry beans (alongside with dry fruit) constitute an excellent snack. When you're stuck on a long car ride and want to grab something to keep your energy levels and to prevent you from falling asleep behind the wheel... Try it ;-)

    4. Toilet paper, paper towels and moist wipes: I agree that the paper towels can go (I'll admit that I just grabbed the mini-pack at some restaurant and stuck it in the bag).
    I don't agree, though, that the toilet paper and the moist wipes serve the same purpose. And I'll let everyone draw their own conclusions here ;-)

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  2. Just too much stuff for my taste. Great write up and some unique stuff too though. How much does it weigh? If you have however tried crossing the distance you anticipated traveling (in a disaster about 18 miles ) with that on your back and are happy with it...then more power to you. My bet is that you have not. I'm in pretty good shape do some backpacking. I could not cover that distance with that much gear in a couple of days. A full backpack for three days, shelter, food, clothing, full survival supplies, and all = 16lbs. Fast is better than equipped. While the bag is great for the gray man concept it is not designed to carry heavy loads. No waist belt means that whole load rests only on the shoulders...not good for long distance hiking. I could be totally wrong but I saw a couple of shows where the prepared folks had to get out of the city. Nearly all of them found for some reason the load they were carrying was too much. I reevaluated my stuff, hiked with it on my back, and it hurt five miles in. It changed my perspective. Practice like you play.

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  3. Gnarus, you're 100% right on both accounts - the lack of the waist belt and the heavy weight.
    So right that I am not going to even try arguing with you ;-)
    I can say that I've taken this bag (or similar "urban" ones) to day hikes (10-15 km), and found that while they cannot compete with higher end dedicated tourist backpacks (broad waist belt, chest strap, back support, better weight distribution), it's quite tolerable for that amount of walking. Not ideal, mind you, not even close - but also not torturous.

    As for the weight, don't forget that this is not "just" a GHB, it's also (and foremost) an EDC.
    Which means, in my book, that I usually haul it in a car, a bus, subway, or in between. A little aerobic training with weights, nothing wrong about that ;-)
    Now, if (God forbid) I do find myself in a situation where I have to Get Home (as in GH-B), I would obviously evaluate the specific situation, scenario, location etc., and will dump (or cache, if possible) all the stuff I render irrelevant at that moment. That's likely to include most of the electronic stuff, and possibly the part of the kit that is inapplicable for the location/terrain.

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  4. Your comment on dumping stuff given a situation is an important one that is often overlooked. There was great article in here awhile back about what would you buy in a gas station if you only had few minutes heads up that things were going bad. Great idea fun game to play in different environments. I think one could do the same thing with the contents of ones bag. Its going bad so now what do I dump. Great thought.

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  5. Hey CanPrep!

    Another native here. It's very true, we can't carry firearms, but there are alternatives. Though I don't advise you per say, I will make a few suggestions and notes:

    Kabutons are oddly prohibited here. But, does a rose by any other name smell as sweet?? Yes. A sturdy metal pen or sharpie (now in alloy) will fit the same role. The pen will pass the TSA test, and will pass muster here.

    Batons are not prohibited, in fact, they are quite legal. It all comes down to justification. Do you walk on trails? Did you know there are feral dogs in parks? Batons are not a friend to rabid dogs, especially if you 'were attacked as a kid, and still fear for your safety'. Dog spray can be purchased for the same reason.

    Knives - especially folding knives - and free to be carried. These are of course TOOLS and not weapons. "Do you have any weapons on you?", " No sir, but there is a folding knife in my right pocket." Catch my drift?

    Saps and blackjacks are also legal, though justification can be difficult. As such there are a number of options that present as change purses and bags. I have one myself, and it looks class. Rich brown leather, woven handle, and it matches the belt. Change purse.

    What I would suggest is a good pair of running shoes to get out of dodge, and a good measure of training. Boxing, Kali, etc. One thing you'll notice is that some of the most skilled martial artists don't carry weapons anymore...because they know the odds are against them, and they are better off to get the hell out. Haha

    Thorough listing. Not an EDC, but a great BOB.

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    Replies
    1. Dude, trust me, I've invested a substantial amount of time (on CGN and other forums, as well as in offline conversations with knowledgeable folks) into understanding of the peculiarities of Canadian legislation where it pertains to weapons, self defense etc. - and of how to stay away from "the dark side".
      It all comes down to "mens rea" - the criminal intent (or hopefully lack thereof).
      If you've got a sufficiently convincing explanation for a cop (or, if gets to that, for the court of justice) for why you possess a certain device - you're good. Basically, you have to be able to prove that you intended to use it as a tool and not as a weapon.
      If you're on your way to a martial arts training session - carry that sword, by all means. Otherwise...
      If you have a hammer in a toolbox under your car seat - that's perfectly fine; but if you're carrying it on a hike in a park... You'd better not.
      BTW, pepper spray is prohibited, but bear spray (which has the same Capsaicin as its active ingredient) can be had at any outfitter store. Just make sure you're on your way to camping when asked about the purpose of carrying it... ;-)

      As for this being a BOB - nah... My BOB has a different aspect to it, but that's a different story.

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    2. Well, good to hear you're in the know, and not missing out anything. Interesting use of terms. MR. Sounds like a Crim major.

      Delete
    3. Bear spray does NOT have the same Capsaicin content as pepperspray, for example, Cold Steel Inferno contains 8% while bear spray contains less than 1%

      Kubatons are not illegal either. But once again it lies in intent. Why are you carrying it.

      Also, we do have the ability to carry (Technically) but the CFOs have agreed to NOT issue carry permits.

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  6. PineslayerJune 11, 2014

    My only suggestion would be find a better pack. Tons of options with a waist belt. Excess can be dumped or cached, but it sucks trying to add to your kit when on the move. I can not imagine not being able to carry defensive items, you have my sympathy. It won't be too long before we here in the former free USA have to deal with this more and more. A sturdy walking staff serves many purposes.

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    Replies
    1. If you NEED a waistbelt for your EDC, you're carrying too much stuff.

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    2. True dat.

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  7. I like the grey man bag. But I have to agree--way too much stuff. I have a very complete wilderness kit all contained in a stainless steel canteen cup. I bet you could condense some of the wilderness survival stuff WAY down and still have a considerable kit. And yes--some wet wipes can do it all--face, hands, and poopy rear end.

    Also, you gotta really think: in what scenario do I envision using all this gear? While your hoofing it back home for 3 days? You can last through just about anything for 3 days. And the heavier your pack the longer your journey is going to take. You'll walk a lot slower and take more breaks.

    Make sure you dress for the weather each day, wear good shoes, bring a headlamp, pack a few snacks, bring enough water--that's about all you'll need/use in a true get home on foot disaster scenario. Maybe throw in a few simple EDC tools and maybe a can of sterno canned heat to huddle around for 5 minutes when you take a break. If your hiking back home your not going to be building survival shelters or anything like that. Its all about covering distance and finding some kind of shelter--a Walmart, a barn, an apartment building, a school etc. If you go to work deep in the wilderness each day then that's a different situation but if your in any sort of urban or suburban or even rural area then you need to move away from a heavy wilderness rucksack and refocus towards a light-weight highly mobile bag.

    And lose the umbrella.

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    Replies
    1. KingHoju, while your advice is sound on the most part, you are missing the main point of this bag: it is neither "only EDC" nor "only GHB"; it's a hybrid.
      I am fully aware that I don't need ALL of the items as EDC.
      I am fully aware that I don't need ALL of the items as GHB.
      As I already mentioned above, I'd rather have the bag that covers the both needs - for now, when it is not too cumbersome to carry it around on my daily routine; and if the need arises to turn it into the "full GHB" mode, I'll dump or cache the stuff that is ot applicable for that place and time.

      P.S. BTW, my core survival kit is very compact and light. Most of the space and weight are claimed by the clothes, the food and the electronics - the case for which I explained above.

      Delete
  8. AnonymousJune 12, 2014

    Everyone chooses for themselves but I'd lose the plastic utensils and paper towels (you'll be packing salt and pepper shakers next, then linen napkins). Hopefully you took the cardboard roll out of the toilet roll. For my own personal use I'd use wet wipes or do without. The bedu use their left hand. (But you EDC for your SO and kids, hence the wide range I guess). Also not enough multi use items. If it can't do 2 or 3 things, ditch it. As for the bag, people who aren't paranoid like us don't know what a tactical bag is or will assume you're a mall ninja at worst (all the gear, no idea) so I think you can carry any day pack size bag with no problem. IMHO.

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    Replies
    1. EDC (for me) is not only about survival when TSHTF, but first and foremost about small convenience items that make life easier. This means sure, I can go without those, but why when you can have them?
      This explains the plastic utensils: of course, when my kids want to eat the yogurt we just bought I can tell them to suck it up and squeeze it from the package, or eat with their hands; or I can give them the utensils.
      Catch my drift?

      Delete
  9. I think the biggest problem people are seeing with this setup (not that there IS a problem, nor do I want to put words in anybody's mouth) is that it's primarily a GHB instead of an EDC. Its just a matter of competing philosophies and definitions: for me, my EDC will not save my life, or anybody else's life. It's almost exclusively comfort and utility items, very light on actual survival equipment. BUT. I'm fortunate enough to be able to stash things in my truck (change of clothes and a FAK) You don't have that option, it seems. So while all that, for you, might be your EDC, it doesn't fit with what people think of when they hear "EDC". So it's a definition thing more than anybody else.

    Whatever, just my .02.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, judging by the comments it looks like I wasn't clear enough on my intent.
      Please see my reply to KingHoju above.

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  10. AnonymousJune 12, 2014

    From the length of your post I am unsurprised by your choice of EDC. Too much of everything, but if you're happy that's all that matters. Items should be multifunctional where possible (nearly all the time preferably) to cut down bulk but retain redundancy. Plastic utensils and paper towels indicate you'll be carrying linen napkins and a silver cruet set soon :) But as I said at the start, if you're happy who are we to nitpick.

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    Replies
    1. I am not sure if you're the same Anonymous from the 2 comments above, or just a namesake ;-)
      You both seem to take a lot of interest in the plastic utensils... Please see my response above.

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