Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Every Day Carry (EDC) - VERSION 2.0

Ok, i have to admit, that carrying my old Leatherman kit, while very comprehensive, was also very heavy. I started to notice that when i went to work, and sat down, that i would tend to take it off and leave it on my desk throughout the day. Whenever i would go somewhere, it would stick out enough to push out my shirt and make it noticeable that i was carrying something on my belt.

So i decided to try to go for a new Leatherman 2.0 EDC kit.

I know an EDC usually evolves and changes over time, and now that i've gotten more used to carrying everything around every day, i'm starting to find where my comfort zone is for these things. I no longer wear my watch, as having the time on my phone works out well enough for me.



currently the things that are the same are as follows:

  • my keys (with pill container, tweezers, ITP flashlight)
  • wallet (fresnel lense, knot tying cards - which i've used a few times already)
  • phone
  • lighter
  • paracord bracelet
  • Rat 1 knife

Old items, but changed are:

  • i moved the 1 liter water bag  and water purification tablets to the emergency blanket bag. This keeps it still pretty thin and unnoticeable in my back pocket.




New items:

  •  a Leatherman Sheath 934840 (meant for the Charge Ti, Xti)
  • Exotac nanoStriker
  • Nite Ize, Inc. - Inka Pen - Stainless Steel (pressurized pen, similar to a space pen)
  • Bosch T500 5-piece blade set (currently only carrying T144D - speed for wood saw)



I basically moved my Leatherman Surge into the sheath. Now i have easy access to all the items, it's snug, but not overly tight. The sheath is much slimmer and rides easier on my belt. There is a little pocket inside the back of the pouch that the saw blades can go into, and be totally out of the way of the tool. This is an excellent sheath and i highly recommend it.


As for the nano stricker and pen, sure i could of gone with the cut down version of the bic pen, and i could use a 1/4 inch x 3 inch firesteel but i wanted to class it up a little.

So basically these are the things i've given up for weight / easier carry are as follows:

  • Signal mirror
  • Reflective dogtag
  • Whistle
  • mini Compass
  • Band-Aid
  • 2nd Flashlight
  • Small Paracord 
  • Wetfire Tinder
  • Small firesteel (replaced by nanoStriker)
  • Chapstick / Beeswax
  • Makeshift Straw
  • Q-tip
  • Extra Lighter w/ mini compass

The only thing on this list i'm really sad about loosing is the whistle. I'm planning on purchasing a Whistle Buckle from REI over the weekend, and making a new Paracord Bracelet. I'll let you know how that turns out.

I think that it's not so bad, plus i gained a nicer saw blade, and comfort. Plus i now leave my leatherman on my person all day long, never taking it off. I think that trade alone is well worth anything given up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Survival Fishing Kit

Ever since i saw the various pvc pocket fishing kits on youtube, i've been fascinated with just how little you can get away with and still catch fish. I remember having to lug out several poles, tackle gear, buckets, and bait, and still not get very many bites. Watching hobo/pocket/tin can fishing kits on youtube, sparked an interest in fishing within me, and once again i'm excited about fishing. This time i'm more interested in minimalistic fishing gear, while still enjoying fishing and actually catching fish.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQMUu2mijNQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsqNkWz8QWI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS80MMOAsEU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rwsq6RWtNNw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qd_VjQNFOw



I'm probably going to make several different versions of fishing kits, but this one focuses on the smallest one i have, and is inside one of my survival kits.

A small bit of epoxy inside the cap keeps it waterproof,
while still being able to have a nice lanyard to hold onto while casting.



The kit contains:
1 Waterproof plastic vial
2 comal tackle weighted bobbers
1 All purpose size 2 hook
2 Size 10 triple hooks
8 Small bullet lead split shot
2 Slightly larger bullet lead split shot
2 Size 1/16, #4 Premium Jig heads
1 Mini tube jig (size 1/32)
2 Steel leader lines with swivel hooks
2 Extra swivel hooks
4 Gamakatsu size 12 hooks
1 Ranger band (to hold the steel leads)
25 foot of 20 lb. line
A length of orange 550 paracord
Some electrical tape to keep the cord in place



Here you can see the size comparison between the fishing kit and my phone and RAT 1.



I'm hoping to test this kit out soon. More pics to follow once it's been field tested.

My Every Day Carry (EDC)

A good "every day carry" (EDC) is the one you're willing to carry. You can create the most elaborate and fancy gear list, but if it's not on you at all times, it's pretty much worthless in case of an emergency.

A lot of people feel that if they carry items in their car, or at work, or at home, then they're prepared. The thing is, what happens when you don't have access to any of those locations. When you come to the realization that all you will have is what is on your person at the time, then it starts to sink in, that if you carried just a couple more objects, that you could significantly increase your chances of survival during that emergency situation.

Of course, it's silly to think that you will become immune to everything by carrying an edc, but that isn't the point. Humanity's greatest weapon is his mind, and the ability to create tools. We should all carry the tools and skills necessary for simple survival.

Now that I've gone on with my rant, let me post what my edc consists of, and some of my thinking behind it. Maybe it'll give you some ideas to create a edc for yourself, even if it's nothing more than carrying a lighter and a knife. (Please note, that i'm in California, so good luck getting a CCW here.)

Here's a complete view of all the things i carry everyday.
(AND I MEAN EVERY SINGLE DAY)

The only exceptions of course would be if i were to walk onto a school or government property where they wouldn't allow my knife / tools, but otherwise, this is always on me. I wear the watch on my left wrist, the para-cord bracelet on the right wrist. I normally wear jeans, so i put the lighter into the mini pocket on the right hand side, i put my keys and knife in my right large pocket, i put my phone in my left large pocket, and my wallet in my right back pocket, and the emergency blanket in my left back pocket, and i put the leatherman case on my belt.

This Gear weighs in at: 2.8lbs total
(1.2lbs just for the Leatherman case)


First item is the paracord bracelet:
this is the 2nd bracelet I've made, and as you can see i already broke the clasp, but it still works fine, so i haven't bothered making a new one yet. In an emergency situation, i doubt I'll have fast access to this cordage, but if i was lost somewhere, and had time to undo this, it would give me 25 feet of paracord, not including the inner fibers. I shouldn't need to explain the many uses of paracord. Having access to a significant amount of it will always come in handy.

I use Rothco 550lb. Type III Paracord - Black & OD green
with 20 - 5/8" Economy Contoured Side Release Plastic Buckles


Next item is my watch. Even though it's a cheap watch, i plan on upgrading to one that can at least show me the temperature and altitude. But for now it's enough to just show me the time, and has a stopwatch ability, and alarm.

a cheap allsport armitron - about $20 bucks when i bought it.

Next item is my wallet. I tend to only keep 1 credit card on me at a time, my medical info, a cvs card (only because i pick up my meds often enough that i could use it), plus my AAA card and Drivers ID.

NOTE: Please do not carry your SOCIAL SECURITY card in your wallet!
There really isn't any need to carry it, and losing it could cost you your identity.
The only time you should be carrying it around, is when you have to show it for proof, like getting your passport, or dealing with government offices.

Plus keep a list of all the items you have in your wallet somewhere at home, so in case you do loose your wallet, or it's stolen, you can at least know what you need to replace and any credit cards that need to be canceled.

Besides the usual cards, i always carry a 4x Fresnel Magnifier,
PROKNOT Outdoor Knots card (not only is it handy for fire starting, but good
for reading small print), and 20 dollars (it's always handy to carry spare money.
Just make sure not to use it when you are not in an emergency situation).
About the Knot cards.. I know i should already know how to tie knots,
but honestly i don't tie knots often enough to be well practiced in them.

Next item are my keys
I live and work near places that require me to valet my car often.
So i use this type of keyring (Lucky Line 70701 Pull-Apart Key Ring)  so that i
can leave the keys with the parking attendant, but still keep the rest of my items.
Along with my house, work and car keys, i carry a (32 gb) usb drive (great for quick data storage), Uncle Bill's Tweezers, a ITP A3 EOS Flashlight (this is a nice flashlight, that is very powerful, i use it quite often), and a large aluminum tube with 3 day supply of  medication (very important if you are somewhere you cannot access your normal medications).
The big chunky thing is my alarm key fob.

Next item is my Phone. A phone can be used for all sorts of emergency situations. Plus try to get a phone with a camera so if you get into a car accident, or you need to film some police brutality, you have a ready to use camera on you all the time. Plus it's always a good idea to have your emergency contacts well displayed so if someone needs to call them if your not able to, they can find them easily. I also make sure to have the US Consular phone # listed:
   1-202-501-4444
   1-888-407-4747

An original Droid! Has all the survival apps!

Next item is a Zippo Lighter. Even though i have another lighter in my leatherman case, this is my "Go To" lighter, since it's very accessible in my mini pant pocket. I use it for all sorts of things like burning paracord ends, to starting any kind of fire from survival to cigarettes. Very handy in many situations.


Next item is an Emergency Space Blanket. I went with this option, because
the poncho and trash bags just felt too bulky. With the paracord and some
small stones, i can create a shelter, or just use this to wrap it around myself
for warmth. I plan on buying some SOL Heatsheats, and maybe
i'll use those instead. But for now this is small enough that i'm willing to always carry it.
I got this 10 pack of Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket - 54" x 82"
Next item is a R.A.T. 1 folding Knife. I've carried a few different blades, and i will admit that at first, this blade felt slightly larger than i was normally used to, but i quickly got used to the feel, and now really enjoy it. It comes very sharp from the factory, and has taken a lot of abuse so far.
The Rat 1 Folder, Satin Blade, Plain. I added a length of paracord, to tie it to my pant loop.

NOTE: Having any kind of cutting tool on you is a must. I use this on a daily basis for cutting mail, and boxes.


One other reason i really like the Rat1 is because it's large enough that i could actually baton wood with it if i really had to. There are a few videos on youtube that show how you can get away with using a folder for wood batonning. I will admit, it is not the greatest or safest idea in the world, but in an emergency it CAN do it.


This brings me to my leatherman pouch. This is where the bulk of my "survival" items lay. I have Tried to cram as many things onto this as possible, so i will admit that it is a little on the "heavy" side. But everything is secured, and the outer items are all things that i actually use alot. So here's a breakdown of the item:



I have a small plastic bag containing:
The Base is a Leatherman Surge w/ Sheath
4 Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
1 Flexible Band-Aid
1 FireSteel Miniature
1 Signal Mirror - Dog Tag
Mirror (1 inch)

here are the rest of the components:
1 WetFire tinder
1 ACR Whistle
1 20mm Compass (Grade AA)
1 Quart bag for water
1 Tiger Windproof Lighter (they don't seem to carry these anymore on amazon, but here is a ebay link)
I know it's hard to see in this picture, but i
attached a Tandy Belt Clip. I used a piece of
paracord and tied a knot at the end, to prevent
it from slipping out. I am still deciding
if i want to use a rivet to permanently attach it.
1 Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Tube
1 A 10 foot Paracord Fob
1 ITP Light A3 EOS Black Flashlight
1 Leatherman Surge
1 Cut down Bic Pen - Black
1 Cut down Bic Pen - Black w/ Q-tip inside
1 Leatherman Sheath (2nd version)
1 Ranger Band (Inner Tube)

I built this portion of the kit thinking about the basics of survial, which are "Fire, Shelter, Signalling, Water, First Aid"



compass and whistle fit in the front pocket
Also I sometimes switch out my multi-tool to a Leatherman Core or a Leatherman Supertool 300 (depending on what i'm doing). These all contain saws that can be useful for cutting larger diameter branches of wood.


NOTE: remember, that leatherman saws are made to cut on the PULL not on the PUSH like other saw blades. Whats nice about the Surge is that you can actually buy replacement saws that cut on the PULL and PUSH. You could also carry a larger saw blade, and replace it when you needed it. Here is a great post on the bladeforums.com about it:  LINK


Here is what it looks like all laid out:
The small bag, is in the far upper right hand corner, i wrapped it with a couple pieces
 of electrical tape, because of the rubbing from the knife. Notice i also wrapped the compass with
 the string i got from the acr whistle. The reason i carry both the dog tags, and the 1 inch mirror is
because i'm testing out how the glass mirror holds up. If it breaks, at least i'll have the dog tags. To be
honest, the 1 inch mirror actually reflects better , and farther than the dog tags. I might wind up ditching
the tags and just keeping a slightly larger mirror. Amazon also carries square mirrors.

To create mini bic pens, just take normal pens, remove the insides and end cap, then cut the tube to length, then re-assemble.
                          I have a good bit of electrical tape wrapped around both these. having
2 of these i can actually create a decent sized straw in case i needed to
 drink water from somewhere too difficult to reach normally

When i got my tiger lighter, there was a bubble in the compass. So i removed the old compass, and replaced it with a 14mm higher quality compass. I had to attach a little plastic bit to it, so i could push it out. Also, the 14mm button compass was just slightly smaller than the old one, so i used some electrical tape around it to make it snug.





Well, that's it for my EDC kit. It is always evolving, and i'm always trying new thing out. Here are some of the items that i was playin with, that didn't make the cut.

a Mini Micro Light
a Streamlight Nano
ChapStick
Sabre Pepper Spray w/ UV Dye
Krazy Glue


Here are the differences in some of the shelter type items i was trying to use:

42 gallon - 3 mil - Husky Garbage Bag
an emergency poncho
and the Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket (which i went with).



And some alternate Lighters:

Honest slim lighter
Coleman Windproof Navigator Lighter
Bic Chrome Mini Bic Lighter Case
antique thin lighter (ebay)
novelty cigarette lighter (ebay)
peanut lighter from county com
Mini Bic(not pictured) 



Please leave comments, and opinions. Most of all i want to make people think about at least taking some simple items to make surviving easier. I suggest people always carry at least a pocket knife, and some kind of lighter, at least you have the two biggest things that can save your life in an emergency.