But out of that 10kg pack that you take out with you each run, what gear realistically gets pulled out and used often?
Me, I take a "what if?" approach, much more than I probably should. I like to be prepared for any eventuality, so my packs contain pretty thorough med-kits, an ePirb, various trauma gear, minimalist shelter equipment, plenty of food, etc, and it all adds up in terms of weight. But how much of it have I ever had to pull out and use? How much of it have I actually been thankful for? Not much.
So this article isn't to say "you should pack less", because I certainly won't stop packing all of my gear. I consider it just extra exercise to hump that much crap on my back, and I'm happy to do it. But I wanted to write an article to hilight - after 5 years of carrying a fairly thorough "get-home bag" with me whenever I go out (be it into the bush or off to work) - which gear I get the most use out of day-to-day. Perhaps it might give you an idea of something extra to add to your own bag? Who knows. I'm going to write about it anyway.
#1 Most Used Item - The Cotton Bandana
This thing is my lifeline. I use it so much. Be it cleaning off a knife before re-sheathing, wiping sauce off my chin after a tasty sausage roll or just drying off my hands after a good wash. I have done articles before about the uses of my beloved cotton bandana, so the long-time followers of IP were probably expecting this one.
#2 Most Used Item - The Foldable Shopping Bag
You see these things for sale everywhere. Grocery stores, dollar shops, etc, but it's hard to find nice rip-stop ones that will actually still be useful after being put through the hell they will inevitably receive. I use mine so often it's almost laughable considering the extent of gear that I carry. I've had people joke that while everyone else would need a knife and firesteel to survive in the wild, I'd just need my foldable shopping bag and I'd be set.
It carries unexpected items, it can be used as a sling, it keeps sensitive items dry, it can be tied into a buff to keep the sun off... They're just great. Perhaps I just end up carrying things more often than most people, who knows?
#3 Most Used Item - The Cotton Shemagh
#4 Most Used Item - The Basic Med-Kit
I carry two med-kits. One is for hardcore trauma and contains things like Quik-Clot, tourniquets, pressure bandages, etc. The other is my basic med-kit, which has much more simple stuff like bandaids, steri-wipes, tweezers, etc. I'm quite an accident-prone individual at times, so that baby gets a dusting off quite a bit.
#5 Most Used Item - The Quality Multi-Tool
My multi-tool of choice is a SOG PowerAssist. That thing is a beast and I love it. It handles anything I throw at it and more. There aren't many basic jobs that can't be sorted out by a decent multi-tool and if you don't carry one, try starting and you'll see just how much use it gets day to day. It also has a pretty decent blade on it which helps with cutting tasks if you're in a backward-ass country like me where it's illegal to carry a knife.
These days they come in a Cordura pouch, but I keep mine in a leather one because I'm a classy bitch.
#6 Most Used Item - The Sewing Kit
So hopefully this has given you a little insight into the realities of your daily carry, and maybe even given you an idea for your next gear purchase! Until next time!