Sunday, March 13, 2016

INFORMATIVE - What gear is ACTUALLY used?

So I'm a prepper who admittedly goes overboard with the gear he takes out on trips. Many of us are guilty of it, and we dreamily watch videos of other survivalists who live six months in the wild with nothing but a knife and a firesteel as we sit at our computers and lovingly polish our Jetboils (other people do that, right???? RIGHT???)

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

It's hard to whip one of these out without people thinking you're a rogue Arab, but my collection of shemaghs (always cotton - never anything other than pure cotton) keep me cool in summer, warm in winter, fold into a carry bag, a sling, a headwrap, a pillow, can act as a towel to dry me off, a mat when sorting items, the list goes on and on. Many preppers just have the one of these things, but I have five. Three normal cotton commercial ones, a genuine issue British SAS one which has these handy pull-tabs in the corners and a larger, thicker weave, extra warm one that was custom made for me. I love them all and use them SUPER often. Particularly in the colder months.

#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

Learning to sew properly will teach you two things: 1) how handy you can actually be and 2) how crap most commercial sewing kits are. Putting together your own sewing kit with decent cottons, needles and pins will be a real life-saver one day. It's one of those things that happens fairly infrequently, but when it does, it's a REALLY big deal. Like the time I had a meeting with the CEO of the company I worked at and my pants split right over the crotch 10 minutes before. That was fun.

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!

- CumQuaT

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