Wednesday, March 14, 2012

EDC For the Realist

I was searching around the youboob channels the other day, and I came across a lot of EDC (Everyday Carry) videos, where guys and gals were showing off all the crap they carry around with them every day.  Now, some videos were well done, and most of the people had some quality crap that they were lugging around with them, but some were completely ridiculous.  On one video, a guy actually said he carried two sets of keys with him!  No, this wasn't like a spare house key or a spare car key.  This was a complete set of keys that included everything from the keys to his house, garage, car, boat, gate, dog house, freezer, work, to his daughter's diary.  Great, so if he loses his first set, he might be able to get home in time to change the locks on EVERYTHING before some other guy finds it!

Other videos showed guys carrying a tactical knife, utility knife, backup utility knife, backup tactical knife, a fire starter, two flashlights, spare batteries, etc.  Among other things, the wallets these people had were just so fat, I could only imagine how sitting on that giant shim hurts their back.  I imagine most of the youboob preppers were pulling their gizmos out of their tactical fanny packs that they conveniently left off camera.

Of course, there were the folks who carry their primary concealed gun (which isn't a compact), a compact gun, a 380 backup to both guns, and spare magazines full of ammo for said weapons.  Hell, it seems some guys pack the laser range finder because you never know when you might need to pull the sniper rifle out of your cargo pants pocket!

Get real!  EDC isn't about being James Bond.  You don't need to carry every nifty gadget in the world to get you out of a tight spot.  I mean, who really carries a pocket saw with them everywhere they go?

For me, EDC isn't about being prepared for the zombie apocalypse at all times, or ready to survive a nuclear blast from the North Koreans.  Let's face it.  for 99% of your everyday activities, you may need a knife, a flashlight, a bottle opener, and perhaps a small screwdriver of some kind.  What you don't need are the same 10 essentials that I'd pack on a 10 mile hike to Mt Rainier.

So, let's talk about what realistic EDC looks like.  I say "realistic" because I'd be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 youboob preppers don't carry all the shit they put on the coffee table.  They put that crap there to look cool for all the other youboob preppers that may watch their channel.  It's nothing more than your run of the mill popularity contest.  'Nuff said about that.

So what is EDC for the realist - a guy like me?  Well, I'm prepared for most anything at the house.  All my gear, emergency supplies, food storage, guns, ammo, and fancy camping gear live here.

The next thing to address are the vehicles.  You see, most of the places I go are accessible by a vehicle of some kind.  Be it my wife's grocery getter, my 4x4 SUV, or my work van, I have a vehicle near me at all times, unless I'm backpacking.  I gotta say though, if I'm out hiking or backpacking, I'm carrying a lot more gear than those youboob preppers do.  That's because I'm generally carrying a backpack with all my emergency and backpacking supplies therein.  I don't think I'll need to beat that dead horse any longer.  Getting back to the point, I'm usually within close walking distance to my vehicle.  If I really need something, like a tool or whatever, that can't fit in my pockets, chances are it is in the glove box, trunk, or in the case of my 4x4, the truck toolbox.  I carry a small variety of tools, jumper cables. big maglite, rain gear, first aid kit. toilet paper, etc, in my truck that can help me in the event I need to do more than pop a cork on a champagne bottle.  That being said, if I know I'm within range of my vehicle, I need only those things on my person that could either save my life or that I can pack in a pocket to make an inconvenience less discomforting.

Now that we have some of those larger things squared away, what does the stuff look like on my person?  What do I carry every day that I either need, have needed before, or might need in the future... and let's be reasonable.

Well, for starters, I carry a concealed pistol.  Normally, in the winter months, my Ruger SR9c rides on my hip in a Crossbreed Supertuck holster.  Spare ammo can be found in the form of a Bladetech mag pouch on my reaction side, OWB.  I wear large shirts, so the stuff doesn't print.  In any case, I always seem to wear my lightweight Columbia jacket to take the edge of the wind and rain.  It also makes a great place to store my wallet for those times when I want to carry my Ruger LCP in the back pocket.  I don't always carry the backup these days because I've been spending efforts trying to lighten the load a bit.  In the summertime, I carry the Ruger LC9 on the hip inside a Crossbreed Supertuck.  Spare ammo is stored in a small leather pouch on my reaction side hip.  The slimmer profile and deeper riding LC9 allows me to wear lighter shirts and conceal even with shorts in the summertime.  Very rarely do I carry the LCP in the summertime anymore because as a backup, it's hard to find anywhere to put it when your clothing layers have diminished for summertime wear.  More often these days, I've found myself packing just the LCP and spare ammo for it because when I go the gym, it's more discreet than a hip gun.  Also, if I want to just be at the home all day, it's easy to slide the LCP in a pocket holster and put it in the back pocket.  If I need to make a run to the store really quick, the LCP offers it's convenience because it can be put in my jacket or pant pocket without missing a stride.  For those quick trips to the convenience store and back, the LCP really lends itself to convenient concealed carry while still offering me the ability to level the playing field in the event of a bad encounter with a criminal.

Next, we go to the knife.  Now, when I'm working, I normally carry a Kershaw Needs Work utility knife because I have, do, and will use it on a daily basis for my job.  It rides in the right side front pocket, secured with it's little clip.  It's a great knife for just about anything.  However, when I'm not at work, I've come to like my Leatherman Wingman multi-tool.  It also has a knife, but it has more: spring loaded pliers, needle nose pliers, cutters hard wire cutters, flat and phillips head screwdrivers, can opener, file with small screwdriver tip, parcel opener (aka: Finger opener), and a good pair of scissors.  Is the knife tactical?  No.  But neither are some of the other so-called "tactical" knives that the youboob preppers are carrying anyway.  Please don't tell me you plan to get into a fight with a 2 1/2" folding knife.  One well placed shot to your chest from my pistol, and your Benchmade tactical folder is mine.  Occasionally, I carry a small Pikes Peak knife just because I like the small size.  Additionally, on my truck key ring is a small Victorinox Rally, which has a small phillips screwdriver and flat screwdriver for my glasses, nail file, tweezers, tooth pick, and a bottle cap opener.

Next is lighting.  Please don't tell me you carry a Surefire G2 or a 6P or some other damn thing in your pocket.  How aggravating.  I carry my new LED Lenser P2 because it tends to disappear when not needed.  It's smaller than most pocket flashlights, yet it is high quality and is bright enough for most tasks that are demanded of it.  I don't need a backup light.  If my light fails, and it is that critical, I'll walk back to my car; there's a bigger and better flashlight there anyway.

Of course, I don't need to carry every key to everything I have for EDC.  I have a set of keys for my truck, my car, my work van, and then there are the keys to stuff around my house, like padlocks, gate locks, toolbox locks, etc.  I don't need to carry all those other keys with me when I leave the house.  What good do they do me when I am 30 miles from home?  If I need a key to a gate or padlock at my house, I go into the house, walk over to the key ring hook (mounted to the wall), and get what I need.  You guys that carry 10,000 keys with you, jingle janglin' from your belt loop worry me.  Each set of keys does have a house key on it, so I always have that.  As far as spares go, they are hidden.

Of course, I do have a cellphone.  It makes and receives calls.  No, I don't carry a spare battery for it.  I have this thing at home, and in my car, called a phone charger.  Besides, if I found the need for a spare battery on a regular basis, I'd retire the old one, ie: shit can it.

Most often, I carry my Samsung Galaxy tab in my vehicle.  It comes in handy for find places, getting directions, looking up phone numbers or addresses and stuff.  Most importantly though, it allows me to play Angry Birds when I'm waiting for my wife to get out of the Post Office.  Rarely do I ever carry the tab around with me though.  It normally stays in the car, hidden from view.

Then, lastly of course, is the wallet.  I just carry a leather Columbia wallet with my photo ID, my CPL, a couple other licenses and permits I have, debit card, health insurance card, and some cash.  If I need my passport, social security card, birth certificate, etc, I'll go into the filing drawer at home and fish it out.

So, give me a break!

-James

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