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Every day carry
March 25, 2011 8:05 AM   Subscribe

In preparedness circles, EDC means Everyday Carry, being items one keep on or near one's person at all times, to help with both planned and unforeseen events during the day. A lot of opinions about what should be in an EDC kit exist, but the minimum usually recommended seems to be a cell phone, light source and small folding knife. The EDC blog shows pictures and lists of submitters' EDC kit.

The web overflows with discussion and lists for EDC, including The Disaster Survival Guide, and this sysadmin EDC on an EDC forum.

Full disclosure: I don't leave the house without my Leatherman Wave multitool... (Via BoingBoing)
posted by Harald74 (218 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
a surprising amount of hand guns.
posted by empath at 8:06 AM on March 25, 2011


So many weapons! I don't like to think of all these strangers wandering around with big knives in their pockets.

I get teased about the tape measure I carry with me but I can't tell you how many times its come in handy. Same with dental floss.
posted by something something at 8:09 AM on March 25, 2011


I think you mean unsurprising. I myself never leave the house without a glock 9mm, a sword cane, a small folding shotgun, and a taxidermied snake, for intimidation. It gets pretty rough around the watercooler at my office, war of all-against-all and all that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:13 AM on March 25, 2011 [37 favorites]


Preparedness circle sounds kinda kinky.
posted by Damienmce at 8:13 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who knew so many freelance time-traveling firemen posted on Tumblr.
posted by theodolite at 8:15 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


ha! I'm surprised that they didn't include their penis next to a ruler in those photos, 'cuz it sure comes across as a "mine is bigger than yours" blog.
posted by tomswift at 8:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


EDC is like a survivalist blog for hipsters.

I can tell you that in a catastrophe, a fixed gear bike will be easier to service than a geared bike.

On the other hand, beards and lumberjack checks are a bit last year.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:19 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Knife, watch, flashlight and phone would be my staples if I went out anywhere."

Emphasis mine.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:19 AM on March 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


This is also why I recently bought pants with extra cargo pockets at the ankles, so I could carry a water dehydrator, dried apricots, taser batteries, disposable stepladder, dental dams, a miniature counterfitting machine, garlic darts and extra taser batteries. The world is a very very dangerous and unpredictable place. For you!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:20 AM on March 25, 2011 [26 favorites]


While I have to admit I do understand EDC nerdery, it does seems somehow quintessentially dude-like to make the shit you carry into some kind of statement.

Too bad we gendered handbags so aggressively, though, right? It's like, I want to add a couple more super-manly pieces of kit to my EDC ensemble, but a little shoulder bag to put it all in just undermines the whole enterprise.

Leatherman Squirt/iPhone/Ricoh GRDIII
posted by pts at 8:22 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


What amazes me most about the "Everyday Carry" crowd is how much ready-made stuff they're depending on. Largely, these look like guys I wouldn't want around me in an emergency 'cause most of the stuff they're carrying is the sort of thing you could fashion out of your environment.

Small multi-tool, and some rope and a basic first-aid kit stashed with the spare tire in a vehicle, seem like a given, but it sure seems to me that disaster and emergency preparedness isn't about how big a man-purse you can lug around to demonstrate that you're compensating for something, but in what you can McGyver up after the tsunami has hit and you've had to shed your clothing and drop your "go bag" in order to float.
posted by straw at 8:22 AM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


SLAP HAT EXTREME DEFENSE
This standard baseball cap is one the most simple, least noticeable, and efficient personal defense items on the market. The secret of this hat is a pocket of unique impact material that is 100% the density of lead and which is sewn into the cap. Simply use the bill as the handle and the cap becomes an instant impact weapon to be used against a threat. Simple, fast, and effective! The cap includes Velcro adjustment to fit all sizes.

EXTREME CARBON FIBER TACTICAL BANDANNA
While I use mine primarily to blow my nose and clean up messy kids, it can be used (depending on the size) as a head covering, a sweatband, a washcloth, a potholder, a tourniquet, a bandage, a signaling device (if it is brightly colored), a dust mask, and the list goes on.

EXTREME WEAPONIZED PEN
Besides the obvious applications of a pen (i.e. writing) it can be used for self defense as an improvised Kubotan (sometimes spelled Kubatan and also known as a Yawara stick). Proper training would be necessary to make effective use of this as a self defense weapon, however. While there are a number of resources on the internet relating to Kubotan technique, you really need in-person training to effectively learn any self defense or martial arts techniques. Look in the phone book for training centers in your area.

While the concept seems somewhat sound – some of these applications (using my pen as a knife, seriously?) are pretty hilariously bad. Like tactical mallcop patrol bad.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 8:22 AM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


The sad thing is that this could be really interesting if it focused on the "everyday carry" of Antarctic ice core drillers, or Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina Faso, or rice farmers in Cambodia, instead of these repetitive knife and Ray-Ban fetishists.
posted by theodolite at 8:23 AM on March 25, 2011 [29 favorites]


My EDC:

Cash. Debit card. Oyster Card if in London; Metrocard if in NYC.

I glide unhindered, baby.
posted by Decani at 8:23 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Posting high res photos of your house keys is a bad idea... even if you include a photo of a firearm.
posted by K'an at 8:26 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Heavy urban kit? pfft. Where for, Mogadishu?
posted by fatfrank at 8:28 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am ashamed to disclose the contents of my pockets.
posted by mikelieman at 8:28 AM on March 25, 2011


EXTREME CARBON FIBER TACTICAL BANDANNA ...

One thing you can say in favor of that, its owner certainly knows where his towel is.
posted by Reverend John at 8:29 AM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


The stuff I carry every day is the stuff I use at least once a month. Like a swiss army knife (AND a leatherman), a tape measure and a flashlight. I never carry a cellphone because I can never remember to charge a cellphone.
posted by DU at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised how many of them have smartphones - big glass screens, poor battery life. S40 for life.

(That said, in the event of an emergency, one of these people will hunt me down with their pen torch, gut me with their knife, cook me on a fire started with their firesteel, eat me and then take my portable charger, so I probably shouldn't scoff.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Perhaps primarily, I believe, due to the particular social context within which I grew up.

Something about the particular naming of this product for instance just makes me go heh heh....

It goes downhill from there...
posted by mikelieman at 8:31 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obligatory
posted by mikelieman at 8:33 AM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


kurosawa's pal: I thought you were kidding, but at least one of those items is real. Is that from one of the links?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:33 AM on March 25, 2011


And this stuff is all kept in a fanny pack?
posted by From Bklyn at 8:36 AM on March 25, 2011


I can tell by what you carry
That you come from Barrytown
posted by fixedgear at 8:37 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, my scouting days have given me an appreciation for lightweight and multiuse tools, on the other hand, the people who frequent EDC seem a bit preoccupied with violence (the proliferation of watches suggests a lot of para-military to me). The world I live in does not include localized every day anarchy. So I treat these forums as a "get what you want (info) and get out fast" kind of website.

As a enthusiastic Gerber owner, I used to be a bit dissapointed at Gerber's antagonistic attitude about stuff that might be useful for IT. But now that I think about it, today's smartphone's is the electronic version of a multitool-- in ten years time it may replace the wallet as well. The number of cellphones in the EDC blog confirms this, and I guess Jeff Atwood does too. Unfortunately, there are datacenters that ban phones with cameras which is problematic both because they're useful and because it's damn hard to find any without one anymore.
posted by pwnguin at 8:38 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


@NSAID – Yeah, I took most of the descriptions from this link (http://www.disaster-survival-guide.com/everyday-carry.html) and fluffed them up a bit.

But sadly, the Tactical Slappy Slap Hat and the Cold Steel super-defense defensing defensed tactical pen do exist.

If you want a real laugh, the 'Cold Steel' dude actually has some pretty hilarious videos. Granted, I think the Onion has been pulling a steady gag for years, but I think he's actually serious about his tacticality.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 8:38 AM on March 25, 2011


Tacticool. (sorry.)
posted by kurosawa's pal at 8:38 AM on March 25, 2011


Remember boys and girls, if it says "Tactical" in the description you can double the price!

(Substitute "Technical" for outdoor gear fetishists. "Tactical" is for Walts.)
posted by pharm at 8:38 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh lordy:

Spare clip not pictured.

Spare clip? This guy is going out every day expecting to have to shoot 10 people, and knife or baton others? Forget Mogadishu, does he live in Deus Ex?
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:40 AM on March 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


Redstone compass, an iron sword, at least two cobblestone picks, minimum of 40 torches, a boat, and a spare crafting table.
posted by Mister Cheese at 8:41 AM on March 25, 2011 [33 favorites]


EXTREME CARBON FIBER TACTICAL BANDANNA ...

One thing you can say in favor of that, its owner certainly knows where his towel is.


IT IS NOT A TOWEL! IT IS A TACTICAL BANDANNA! AN EXTREME CARBON FIBER TACTICAL BANDANNA, IN FACT!
posted by Naberius at 8:42 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread requires a link to this comment from loquacious. "Good luck finding me in the dark and smoke without a flashlight, asshole" - classic.
posted by exogenous at 8:42 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


......(using my pen as a knife, seriously?).....

Obligatory
posted by lalochezia at 8:46 AM on March 25, 2011


I don't understand the hate. I live in a city and try not to drive unless I have to. So I have a shoulder bag that I carry basically everywhere if I'm going out for more than 2 hours and not driving (which is every weekday to work and wherever afterwards, and 50% of the time on weekends, unless I'm going to a bar) that has this much stuff or more.

-lunch
-checkbook
-whatever book I'm reading
-umbrella
-nintendo DS
-notebook(s)
-phone/charger
-Pens
-flashlight
-yes, pocketknife (only one though, why do you need 4?)
-leatherman micro
-ipod/headphone
-whatever else happens to be in the bag today

Maybe these guys are a little too e-penis measuring about thier stuff, but we is everyone pretending like carrying a bunch of stuff around on you is stupid?

(although the handgun with a spare clip is pretty ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as this guy)
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:47 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Regular trips through court metal detectors have very effectively broken me of my pocket knife habit. I totally agree that a more focused EDC on specific locations/occupations/hobbyists would be really awesome, though. My biggest question: if you've got a phone, why do you need the fancy watch, too?
posted by norm at 8:50 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


All this heavy crap will prove inconvenient when they fall into water.

I love all these toys, but it's a pain in the ass to restructure your life around them. Especially for low-frequency events like societal collapse or more common things like muggings. I'd rather enjoy life as it is, and have the know-how to improvise for other circumstances. Let's not forget making friends will help you avoid those who might do you harm.

Mr. Cheese: Don't forget a bed.
posted by Mercaptan at 8:51 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have keys and sometimes a knife in my pocket, but I don't go taking tacticool photos of them. The iconography of this site is really funny.
posted by Forktine at 8:51 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


>INVENTORY
You are carrying:
  a box of waterproof matches
  a bottle of iodine
  a portable hammock
  a ... oh Jesus, you live in Peoria, rats will probably eat your eyeballs before you get the chance to use any of this crap.

>DROP ALL AND WATCH LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY RERUNS
Now you're making sense.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:54 AM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Outside of keys, wallet, phone, notebook and novel the other constant for me is my bottle opener keyring. I might not be able to fight off street punks Bronson-style, but I've never been unable to open a bottle of beer.
posted by spectrevsrector at 8:54 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yea, I really want to get stopped by the Friendly Police (cough) having all this stuff on me. Double worse if it's my black friend who gets stopped.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:58 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


So many weapons, so few first aid kits.

This sort of preparedness stuff is sort of crazy, but it's been on my mind lately. Not so much for ridiculous knives but for, you know, actual preparedness. The Japan quake reminded me I ought to have some sort of earthquake plan. San Francisco's 72 hours site has some suggestions. I also had to plan some sort of emergency kit for my airplane, in case I go down in the god foresaken high plains of Arizona. I ended up with fabulously expensive water in foil pouches and a tiny pocket survival pack.
posted by Nelson at 9:00 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


From the gear list: Titanium Twister Pen. It's a pen. A $625 pen.
Military and law enforcement personnel have found that the sturdy pocket clip and tactile grooves machined into the bodies and caps ensure positive retention and control in adverse field conditions.
posted by Nelson at 9:02 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe these guys are a little too e-penis measuring about thier stuff, but we is everyone pretending like carrying a bunch of stuff around on you is stupid?

Because it is. Why carry five pounds of just-in-case stuff when you can live fine with less? And I say this as someone who can legally carry a concealed firearm -- there just isn't much call for all this stuff most of the time.

But as with many things in life, if it makes you happy, what's the harm? As funny hobbies for office guys go, this seems particularly benign.
posted by Forktine at 9:03 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite editors note:

Haha, come on, this isn’t a fashion blog or something like that!

Of COURSE it's a fashion blog! Look at all those "divers watches" with custom white wristbands and polished folding machetes. Look at how everything is laid out in a visually pleasing and harmonious manner. If these were pictures of the contents of handbags, it would undeniably be a class of fashion blog. But because it's for Manly Men in preparation for Urban Defense... that makes it somehow not fashion?
posted by muddgirl at 9:05 AM on March 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


SLAP HAT EXTREME DEFENSE
I totally want to see Vince do an infomercial for the Slap Hat.
posted by xedrik at 9:07 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


But we can all agree on the usefulness of the tactical self defense umbrella.
posted by Iron Rat at 9:08 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The idea of these guys (they're all guys, right?) carrying knives and guns on a daily basis for self defense just seems so sad to me. They must be so frightened and lonely.
posted by Wroksie at 9:10 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I usually have between ten and fifteen different lip balms and glosses in my handbag. I'm totally paranoid I'll end up somewhere without one, so whenever I find one around the house, I toss it in.
posted by JenMarie at 9:10 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Tactical dorsal carry-all, that is.
posted by From Bklyn at 9:10 AM on March 25, 2011


Gad do I feel inadequate. 40+ years as a firefighter and now on call 24/7/365 for disaster response and all I'm packing in my EDC are two phones, a pen and note pad, identification and cash. My go kit has office supplies and a folding solar charger for my phone, plus a Learherman multitool. The only gear in my suitcase other than my clothes are a headlamp, a bowl, plastic spork and foon, and extra batteries.

Last year while walking around in Leognane Haiti three days after the quake the only protection I felt necessary for carry in addition to my camera was a bandana.

I'm simply going to have to catch up and acquire appropriately stylish tactical and technical kit.
posted by X4ster at 9:11 AM on March 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Anyway, if we're concerned about light carry, doesn't it make more sense to keep stashes around a city, rather than port everything around on your person like this purse-owner? Instead of one bag, make up a bunch of kits (I guess he calls them "bug out bags"), stash one in your car, one at the office, one at home, one in a rental locker at the bus station, one in a tile over the men's toilet at the library, etc. etc. Carry everyday essentials in your zip-off cargo pants and now you are a resourseful secret agent.
posted by muddgirl at 9:11 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I often wear a cap, but must sadly admit that it is in no way extreme. It would be useless to me in a self defense situation. I also usually have a pen with me, but it isn't tactical at all, but in its case I comfort myself by calling it a strategic pen instead.
posted by Drastic at 9:11 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So many weapons, so few first aid kits.

Thus, why I carry both.

I again feel my fringe nature in the mefi community with this post. I very much respect the mindset of the EDC folks, but I do think many of them do not think through past the first few hours of a disaster situation with their carry.

Currently, in the backpack I take with me every day to campus:
A first aid kit that has basics, like bandaids, antiseptic wipes, bee sting stuff, etc.
Small sewing kit with sterile needles and suture thread. As well as normal sewing stuff.
Two days worth of my normal medication
Two additional days worth of those meds I REQUIRE to function.
An additional few doses of painkillers (various grades and types), antihistamines, and cold/flu pills.
An extra long sleeve shirt.
Flashlight and extra batteries.
Metal water bottle.
Caffein pills.
Pill cutter.
Cables for cellphone, laptop, kindle.
Jump drive.


In pockets:
One knife, small, utility blade.
One knife with 4" blade and gut hook.
Sunglasses in a hard case (double as extra glasses).
Wallet with hidden pocket with 20$ cash in it.
Cell phone.
Two cotton cloth handkerchiefs

I mean, I see why some people find it weird that I carry all this stuff. But at the same time, I know how thankful some people are when I can come up with a bandaid or a tylenol for a little emergency, and that makes me think that I have the right sort of idea for a big one.
posted by strixus at 9:12 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Related AskMe.
posted by longbaugh at 9:12 AM on March 25, 2011


Because it is. Why carry five pounds of just-in-case stuff when you can live fine with less?

Well, I use everything in my bag at least once a week, other than maybe the flashlight (which cost $20, not $150). And I need something to carry my lunch in anyway. 5lbs isn't that much to carry if you use it.

But yea, there's no reason to carry a gun everyday. Or multipule $300+ knives. Or a spare clip, what is this, Zombieland?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:12 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


END OF THE WORLD

GONNA NEED A WATCH AND THREE KNIVES

I CERTAINLY WON'T NEED A PEN, A PAD, A FLASHLIGHT, WATER, OR FOOD

I'LL JUST USE MY THREE ARMS TO KILL THREE MEN WITH MY THREE KNIVES TO GET ALL THE REST OF THE MORE PRACTICAL STUFF

THAT I SHOULD HAVE PACKED IN THE FIRST PLACE
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:13 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My EDC list, including location on body (sorry, no pics available):

- POUCH, BELT, LARGE (#1-- right side)
holds:
-Tinder box, with flint & steel
-Candle, wax (x 3)
-Oil, flask of (x 3)

-POUCH, BELT, LARGE (#2--front center)
holds:
-Thieves' picks & tools
-Spike, iron, large (x 6)
-Mirror, small, silver
-Sling bullets, score

-POUCH, BELT, LARGE (#3-- rear center)
holds:
-Tinder box, with flint & steel (spare)
-Oil, flask of ( x 3)
-Wolvesbane, sprig
-Sling bullets, score

-BELT (right side, next to Pouch, Belt, Large #1)
holds:
-Dagger & scabbard

-BELT (left side)
holds:
-Sword, short & scabbard
-Sling & Bullets, dozen

-BACKPACK, LEATHER
holds:
-Oil, flask of (x 3)
-Rope, 50'
-Rations, iron, 1 week ( x 3)
-Boots, low soft
-Sack, small (x 2)
-Sling bullets, score

-LEFT HAND
holds:
-Pole, 10'

Happy to discuss my tactical clothing (Armor, leather; Boots, high, soft; cap) as well if anyone's interested.
posted by dersins at 9:15 AM on March 25, 2011 [31 favorites]



After years of metafilter I have learned the two most important things to have in my possession when leaving my castle are my wit and my sense of humor.
posted by notreally at 9:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I forgot, my first aid gear that I've been packing since my son was an accident prone little one. I've got a couple of band aids in my wallet. I replace them with fresh ones every couple of months.
posted by X4ster at 9:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where are these people going every day where a gun is an everyday carry?

And shouldn't you not be going every day to places like this?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have a fairly limited but (imao) practical set of pocket things - my keychain on my house keys has a bottle opener and a few hex-shaped holes that can be used to unscrew nuts, and i nearly always carry my spyderco delica, which gets used for everything from opening mail to peeling oranges to opening boxes to trimming my hangnails. my usual bag has other useful things -- small folding umbrella, reading glasses, a good (small) flashlight, some bandaids, a cpr barrier mask that i got with my first aid certification, pens, a lighter, a bandanna or hanky, a res-q glass breaker, and some usb thumbdrives with encrypted password files and a known-good copy of passwordsafe. i also have string/thin cord, and some flat-pack tape. which is to say, tape (masking or duct) wrapped around a piece of cardboard so it stores very flat. Things that end up in the bag sometimes include a 'widgey bar' (tiny 2 or 3 inch long prybar thing good for, well, prying things and pulling small nails), crochet supplies, snacks, assorted small tools, trash bag.

the potentially emergency or life-safety related stuff - a little zip-case (containing cpr mask, some non-latex gloves, and bandaids), the glass-breaker, the flashlight - are all connected together on a little mini-carabiner and stuck in an outside pocket, so that i can easily find them and yank them out of the bag. the mask was a freebie, the gloves come in handy *way* more often than you might think (the trick is to remember to replenish the stash), and the glassbreaker is because i had a relative who died when his car went into the water so the idea that i might be on either side of a glass that has to get broken is a (somewhat understandable) thing for me; aside from that i don't think any of it's going to flag as suspicious if i got searched or anything. but i feel fairly prepared for the expected and unforseen-but-plausible events of my life and yet none of my guns are in my EDC stash.

i get a bit more survivalist with emergency stuff in the car, with blankets and fire starting stuff and a can of mace. but mostly i'm worried about "i may run off the road and have to spend the night in a snow bank" rather than "i may have to hold off the undead hordes for days at a time".

and, yeah, that is totally a fashion blog. denying this is like saying action figures aren't dolls.

sorry, boys, the truth can hurt.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


strixus - I don't think anyone thinks you're weird to carry around a first-aid kit and a pocket knife - you are prepared and in an emergency we will leech off you gratefully. I do think it's weird to consider a concealed handgun as an essential daily-wear type thing. A handgun is the exact opposite of a multi-tool. It is a waste of pocket or bag space.

I have no problem with gun-owners, and I used to cat-sit for my ex-Navy grandfather (that sounds soo paramiltiary - he was a chief petty officer in the supply chain) who would keep loaded shotguns in the office and propped up behind the kitchen door, and even he did not carry a handgun - I believe he kept it under the dashboard of his car.
posted by muddgirl at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2011


I had a buddy that was a preparedness guy, it was sometimes strange hanging out with him because we would be out drinking and he would start whipping out the various knives he carried with him everywhere. Did not endear him to bouncers.

He found out I owned some sort of out of production leatherman, the "flair" , that featured what I took to be an escargot fork. I gave it to him so he could complete his collection, now I have a friend for life, one who carries 20 knives, a police scanner, and some kind of ultra loud nautical whistle.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


oh, yeah, my bag also has some spare prescription meds in case i unexpectedly spend a day or two away from home.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:22 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love the guitar pick. Nothing like ending the world with song.
posted by monospace at 9:23 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa: I agree with your sentiment, but the argument goes that it's not a place. It's events and people, which are unpredictable. Like wearing a seat-belt, you don't just put it on before you drive into a high-risk place.
posted by Mercaptan at 9:23 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every day carry
posted by chavenet at 9:26 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Why carry five pounds of just-in-case stuff when you can live fine with less?

I can't "live fine" with the door on the fridge at work being loose. I can't "live fine" not knowing ahead of time if this table will fit on that wall. I can't "live fine" without having something to scribble math problems down on.

I need my tools.
posted by DU at 9:26 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


muddgirl, I cannot legally carry my handgun on a daily basis because, as a law abiding citizen with a concealed carry permit, it is illegal for me to carry my handgun on my unv campus - it is a state institution.

I do understand the desire to carry a handgun, but it is NOT my first choice for self defense nor for emergency situations. The only time I usually carry my gun is if going into the woods for an extended period (2+ days) when not on federal or state property, or if I am on a long distance car trip, where it remains in my glovebox for the trip. Why these? Because I am a physically rather small woman traveling often alone, and these are two of the more dangerous situations I'm in where my usual street intelligence does me no good.

If these individuals are trained, licensed, and legal concealed carry holders, they respect the laws that bound the use and carry of a weapon. If they aren't, then they are dangerous idiots.
posted by strixus at 9:28 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Should I carry a bag of O+ blood in case I am ever in a situation where events and people require that I perform an on-the-spot blood transfusion? It seems to me that the likelihood that a handgun will be both necessary and effective is about the same.

Now, some of the EDC's featured are clearly from people traveling in other countries. I won't speak to those. I will speak to the guy who's carrying both a gun and a copy of the US Constitution. In this case, it will take a lot to convince me that the gun is a tool and not a fashion accessory.

Some might argue that CPR tools like a breath barrier are also uni-tools and of little use, but a breath-barrier weighs like 1 gram and takes up no space. A gun is both heavy and requires room.
posted by muddgirl at 9:28 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Grown men still playing Batman.
posted by Ratio at 9:29 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Spare clip? This guy is going out every day expecting to have to shoot 10 people, and knife or baton others? Forget Mogadishu, does he live in Deus Ex?

My understanding is that magazine problems are a major source of handgun malfunctions. The training for handling this in situations where deadly force is authorized (immediate threat to life, no ability to retreat) is to drop the magazine, cycle the action, and insert a fresh magazine.

If you're in the mindset where you're carrying a firearm for preparedness, carrying a spare magazine to address a potential problem isn't completely unreasonable. If I understand correctly, they're normally carried for redundancy, not capacity.
posted by theclaw at 9:29 AM on March 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


titanium sporks

This, this I would buy. And carry every day.

Oh dear, it's real.
posted by chavenet at 9:29 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just hang out with Captain Caveman.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 9:30 AM on March 25, 2011


Keys, wallet, spectacles, testicles.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:30 AM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


titanium sporks

Don't know if I need to carry one but I am going to replace all my outdated legacy spoons and foks with this. Spoons and forks are dead tech.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:33 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mister Fabulous, I always heard that one as "Keys, wallet, watch, spectacles, testicles, scotch." It probably speaks to the people I know...
posted by strixus at 9:33 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where are these people going every day where a gun is an everyday carry?

And shouldn't you not be going every day to places like this?


They're going the same places as the rest of us, mostly-- to the office to sit in a cubical, to Chik-Fil-A or Chipotle for lunch, maybe to Applebees and a movie on a Friday night.

I'm not a gun owner, and am not interested in becoming one, but I've taken several classes on firearms use and safety at a local shooting range (an experience I recommend for everyone-- there's seriously no reason not to learn how to safely handle a gun), and the instructors were all guys like this.

They'd talk about stuff like going out to dinner with their wives and choosing their table and seat based on tactical location, fields of fire, etc. in case someone comes into the restaurant, guns a-blazin'. And they weren't talking about eating at sketchy places in dodgy neighborhoods, they were talking about the Chili's in their safe, suburban towns.

And I couldn't help thinking that, yeah, if I was in a restaurant, and one of these guys was there too, and someone came in, guns-a-blazing, they'd be more likely to survive than I was. But at what cost? They spend their lives TERRIFIED THAT SOME RANDOM STRANGER WILL START SHOOTING AT THEM IN A RESTAURANT. That's no way to fucking live, especially since the odds of your winning the fucking lottery are higher than the odds of some random stranger going postal in the restaurant you're eating in.
posted by dersins at 9:34 AM on March 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Those are actually Optimus Titanium Sporks, nice to see Chyme geeting on with life post MeFi.
posted by biffa at 9:36 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got some groceries, some peanut butter, to last a couple of days. You oughta know not to stand by that window. Somebody see you up there.
posted by gimonca at 9:38 AM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


These dudes have nothing -- NOTHING -- on a mom with a purse and a diaper bag.

I mean, small but well-stocked medical kit, granola bars, cheerios, kleenex, tape measure, change of clothes for the diaperpocalypse, copious dishware, multitool, transport mechanisms, layers of clothing for weather changes ... I think if the apocalypse comes, you're better off allying yourself with a mom with a well-laden diaper bag. Especially if she's in her car, because you could probably scrounge food out of the seat cracks for days.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:38 AM on March 25, 2011 [20 favorites]


"Keys, wallet, watch, spectacles, testicles, scotch."

Surely 'Testicles, spectacles, wallet and watch' has the more pleasing scansion?
posted by biffa at 9:39 AM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Consumer circle jerk. Whee!

I'm like the EDC antichrist. I don't even lock my door so I won't have to carry a key.

I was arrested a few years ago with nothing. No money, no ID, no keys. Ah, good times.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:40 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


No clean underwear though? Or socks? C'mon, people.

Granted I don't carry them around on my person or anything, but I keep a spare change of clothes at my office along with a towel, and I think they've proven more useful than any combination of multitools, knives, or handguns (all of which I own; there's a time and a place) ever have. Especially socks.

When I used to work in an office building with a lot of people who were around on 9/11, it was fairly easy to spot them -- they were the people with an extra pair of athletic shoes under their desks. Because once you've had to walk home from the office in your work shoes, you don't want to have to do it a second time, ever.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:40 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I grew up with both back-to-the-land gung ho DIY parents and a terrific fear of being unprepared for the task of rebuilding society after a giant atomic war (I'm in the last stretch of the Cold War kids), and was constantly drilled by my father to always have a flashlight in the car or I MIGHT DIE. These days, the knapsack I carry between home and work always contains a Leatherman Wave, the little accessory pack of alternate drivers for the driver slot in the Wave, and a powerful, but bijou, LED flashlight. With my iPod Touch to cover my teenycomputing and music-making needs, I'm pretty prepared for a variety of things.

Every once in a while, I'm trying to pare even this down, but on the days where I've left my Wave on my desk at work (where I use it quite a bit, being a facility manager), I just keep thinking I'm going to feel awfully silly when I'm trapped in an upside-down commuter train car sinking into the Patapsco River at the base of the Thomas Viaduct and I can't get out for want of a very basic tool. Just in case, I keep it all together, in my bag, for just such an occurrence. Besides, I might be called upon to fix the train in some dire brake failure emergency and become a nationally known DIY hero.

When I was facility manager as the museum of crazy art, my every day carrying load was much heavier. I had two retractable keyrings (one for each hip, so I didn't create a false sense of my sexual proclivities) loaded with a big jingly mass of keys, a cellphone, my Wave, my Wave accessory kit, and a wickedly sharp little 4" knife that I used to work on the log meditation chapel in the museum's garden. It was enough to pull my pants down, so I had to get a heavy-duty belt, but I was always prepared.

I had a sort of caretaker relationship with a poet, too, and when he was completely addled with a cancer that had slipped throughout his system, I ended up trying to get him ready for a trip to California. His version of preparedness revolved around different things, though, and the haze of drifting consciousness in which he lived just made it all the stranger.

I walked him through packing his suitcase, down to making out a list for him.

“David,” I called as he clattered around the other room, “You better not have packed a smoking jacket in here like last time.”

“That was a beautiful trip, Joe. Cary Grant wore smoking jackets. It's all in the grand manner,” he opined, looking in on me.

“Maybe so, but you don't have space for the grand manner.”

I took my list and opened his bag. He'd packed a swim suit, a pair of goggles and flippers, one shirt, one sock, toothpaste (no brush), a hairbrush, and exactly seventy-two tubes of topical testosterone gel.

“David, what the hell is this? Didn't you read the list?”

“Is something missing?”

“Clothes.”

“There are some there.”

“Okay, more than a shirt and one sock. And, seriously, why are there seventy-two tubes of topical testosterone gel in your suitcase?”

“I might get lucky.”

“And whatever poor woman you get lucky with is going to get a goddamn handlebar mustache from overexposure to testosterone, too.”

“Why?”

I just clenched my entire face into a knot.

“Unfortunately, you're going to be brutally murdered before your trip, so you won't have a chance to try it out.”

“You say that, but you're not going to murder me.”

“Oh, I am, and I'm going to make a fortune writing a scandalous hatchet job biography about you. I'm going to describe your genitals as 'bijou', too.”

“Bijou!” he laughed. “Like the movies!”

“Yeah, David, tiny movies. Indies.”

“That's not the grand manner.”

“So watch it, okay? Go and get me three white shirts.”

Maybe it's me. You stare these things in the face, and you've got to laugh back, or be destroyed. I made it a point to threaten him with murder at least once a day, for the notoriety and all that.

“Joe, this is serious,” he said one night, as we wrapped up a long, long, exasperating day of labor on his website. “I'm really scared for my life here.”

“You're too annoying to die,” I said, but I knew the feeling well. I just wasn't going to give in, because I couldn't.

I got him on the plane. It nearly killed me, as it turned out. I'd pinned notes into his coat, with contact information and instructions, because he'd been having a particularly rough stretch where reality and David never seemed to be in the same room at a given time, and I followed him right up to the security checkpoint, panicked that he'd be refused boarding, and after talking with the airline and the folks at security, we suddenly ended up getting escorted directly through without any checks at all, shuttling down the guarded lane behind a TSA agent. I stood there, talking with him, going over his plans, explaining where he needed to go, and abruptly realized that, having just come from work at the museum, I was still wearing a knife-laden multitool and a wickedly sharp 4" knife and the TSA had just put me right inside the secured perimeter.

“David, holy shit, I'm inside the airport with a pile of knives,” I whispered. “I'm gonna get shot to death!”

He grinned a broad, almost demonic grin.

“No, you're too annoying to die.”

“David, I'm not kidding.”

“Well, then I'm going to be the one to write the scandalous hatchet job biography of you!”

I tried not to look wild-eyed, but I was wild-eyed inside. I was carrying knives in the airport.

You always wondered with him, sometimes, what was real, and what was a bit, a piece, or a fragment of work he was mulling over in his mind, but I stood there, inordinately concerned that, at some point, someone would find me wandering the airport with a belt full of knives and take up the issue.

“And you're going to be the one who's 'bijou',” he laughed.

It amazed me that he'd remembered that, when so much was slipping through his grasp, but nothing got by, even at the worst, as long as it mattered, in the grand manner, or in the sense and systems of poetry. You think someone's lost, that they've gone away, and there they are, if only for a moment.

“Just get on your goddamn flight and call me when you get there so I know you made it.”

“Sweet dreams, Joe,” he said, and found a seat near his gate.

I dug my hands deep in my pocket and tried to saunter innocuously out of the airport, knives and all, with a casual, devil-may-care bearing and the composure of someone who's got no reason at all to be shot to death by the police, but I've never had the knack that he had. That day, I was probably just lucky, but then I have been lucky for a quite a while.

Since I can't always depend on luck, it's good to have a little back-up, too.
posted by sonascope at 9:42 AM on March 25, 2011 [39 favorites]


I carry about 40 lbs of body fat around with me.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


One (1) balaclava, black
One hundred eighty five (185) disposable Bic lighters
One (1) 24oz bottle of Eros 'Pjur' personal lubricant
posted by FatherDagon at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Social skills are woth 1000x any of this stuff.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh yeah, I forgot, I keep a stainstick and some super glue in my desk drawer at work.
posted by fixedgear at 9:47 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I carry with me is regret and shame. It's more than enough for any situation.
posted by briank at 9:49 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


My dad's EDC consists of a gun, and nothing else. He's retired army. He has a concealed weapons permit, and he carries his .45 in a specialized fanny pack that has a "quick-release" feature so he can pull out his fully loaded gun within half a second.

He's carried it everyday to work for the last five years and never had occasion to use it. For him, I know it's part fantasy; he just feels cool knowing he has a weapon on hand. I also know that for all his bluster, deep down he's a major softy and would only ever use the gun as a last resort. The fact is that he talks a lot about violence as a solution but in the 27 years I've known him he's never gotten in a fight of any kind. I mean, the guy cries in movie theaters.
posted by jnrussell at 9:52 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Came for the snark, left with the cool story from sonascope. All is right in the world again.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 9:52 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I keep the back of my fridge and freezer full with stacked water bottles. This essentially cuts the available space in half. There are several advantages to this:

● If the power goes out for an extended period, the thermal mass keeps things cold much longer.
● Energy savings from less air volume to re-cool each time the fridge is opened.
● Gallons of ready drinking water in case of plumbing failure.
● Gallons of ready ice water for mixing drinks.
● No space in back for leftovers and neglected produce to be forgotten.

All of which I've benefited from*. The only disadvantage is I can't fit an entire cake in there.

*except maybe the energy savings. It's a minuscule effect I can't measure.
posted by clarknova at 9:55 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


So I'm at my son's karate class last night, carrying a ball of yarn and measuring out lengths for a project. Evidently, other parents find it disturbing for a mommy to whip out her Leatherman and use the blade to sever her yarn. Oops.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:55 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, here's the #1 thing you're going to want if things get wacky: sufficient layers of clothes to deal with the weather at night. Wait, what's that? You already carry that in a bag or in your car or wear it on you? Good job!

3 minutes w/o air, 3 hours of exposure, 3 days w/o water, 3 weeks w/o food.

(I moved from Seattle to the Bay, we know all about layering and carrying an extra jacket... just in case).
posted by yeloson at 9:55 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


ObStrangelove: "Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."
posted by straw at 9:59 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I see no-one's linked to the epic story of the mall ninja yet. Nice to know he's got a community around him now!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:01 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most of my stuff is carried in my car. I carry around the following: full change of clothes, towel, first aid kit, a road atlas, pen, leatherman, flashlight, sleeping bag, a small stash of money, food, a box of condoms, two gallons of water, snow chains, alcohol (usually both bourbon and beer), a cigar, gloves, toque, lighter. If I'm somewhere remote, I was probably out target shooting, so I've got at least my .22.

More often than not, the only parts of my kit that get used are the change of clothes, booze, sleeping bag and condoms. It saves me from preparing this every time I go out, and allows for me to sleep wherever I wind up and has prevented me from even considering drunk drives.

Then again, there's been a few times where I've wound up somewhere in the Cascades needing a pretty good combination of the equipment in my car. When you are stuck in the snow near Lolo Pass near Mt. Hood and realize that there won't be another car for several hours/days with only 3 hours of daylight and a 10-15 mile hike to the nearest house, you become thankful that you have so many various items to get your ass out of a bad situation.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:03 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


They must be so frightened and lonely.

Sort of like the 21-Foot Rule Guy on YouTube, who is so crazy prepared that he keeps a knife in the shower.

There's another video where he pulls a small arsenal out his shorts, and no, that's not a euphemism.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:05 AM on March 25, 2011


although the handgun with a spare clip is pretty ridiculous

I used to carry a handgun, and have actually used it in self-defense (without hurting anyone, thankfully), and carrying one without a spare clip is more ridiculous. Guns jam, and if you're going to actually have to use it, that's not a good time to have to deal with not having a spare magazine.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:05 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn. I screwed up that shower link. Could some kind mod correct that for me?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:06 AM on March 25, 2011


This reminds me a bit of the Mall-ninja post where the guy was talking about walking around wearing an effing trauma plate in his LBV.

I have a penknife in my jeans "watch" pocket, a mobile phone and some spare change. It is highly unlikely that I will ever need anything other than this equipment unless something happens that is really, really bad. In that instance nothing I could carry will likely be of use.

In my car I have a blanket, heavy coat, torch, first aid kit, lighter and a selection of easy-listening music featuring Scott Walker. I take preparedness seriously, but not too seriously.

Carrying a SureFire Defender Tactical Light with Crenelated Strike Bezel attachment is not going to help me when the cops or bouncers pull me up and will in fact be considered an offensive weapon. That's just the UK laws however. The best self-defence advice I have ever been given was "get certified in first aid, stay fit and try to eat healthy".
posted by longbaugh at 10:09 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reverend John: One thing you can say in favor of that, its owner certainly knows where his towel is.

As soon as I read the FPP blurb, I knew I had to come see the comments and find out how long it took for someone to make a "towel" reference. I was not disappointed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:09 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, I love this comment from the editor: "but do you honestly think that such a large community has no justification for purchasing and carrying gear other than to take pictures of them to post on the internet? Haha, come on, this isn’t a fashion blog or something like that!"

OF COURSE IT'S A FASHION BLOG.

And it amuses me that it's basically all men posting their manly tools, when women's purses probably carry more stuff and more useful stuff on a daily basis. I was in a meeting not long ago where a screwdriver was needed and all these dudes started digging around for fashionable multitools, while three women produced screwdrivers from their purses and a fourth came up with pliers (but couldn't find her screwdriver).

And hey now, RobotVoodoo, "you live in Peoria, rats will probably eat your eyeballs" ... just get up on the bluff, the rats stay down by the river. You could do worse in the apocalypse than a site that's been continuously occupied for around 12,000 years.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:10 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am continually surprised at how often in day-to-day life a decent pocket knife comes in handy. Especially one with a switch-blade assisted-opening mechanism. Holding onto the work with one hand, and opening the knife with the other is addictive in its usefulness - opening packages, trimming cords and wires and fishing line, pruning, small cooking jobs, prying at this or that, etc. I find I'm simply able to do more with less conscious effort.

Even so, I only carry the Kershaw Leek when at home or commuting, and I have the toolkit in my bike pannier. The rest of the time, I carry a multi-tool, most often a Gerber Multi-Plier (love the one-handed opening), as it's more convenient than a folding knife when the call goes out to tighten a screw, loosen a bolt, open a bottle, or poke a hole.

Sometimes, when in a retro mood, I'll carry an old wood-handled Opinel twist-lock, or an original Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool. This is the very first model - not as practical a selection of tools as more recent Leatherman models, but the craftsmanship is that of a small-batch tool, at once rougher around the edges and far more refined than something mass-produced.

In any event, I see no need for anything larger than a 3" blade for a daily small-tasks cutting implement. If I wanted a weapon, I'd pack a claw-hammer or a small nuke.

I also carry a moleskine and a stainless-steel Parker Jotter with gel cartridge - 8 bucks and indestructible and looks damn awesome. My smartphone case has a small pocket, in which I've hidden a $50 bill. I should carry a flashlight and watch, but the phone does a good-enough job in both roles. I should also carry a lighter, as it's useful to trim thread ends, seal frayed or torn synthetic material, and do some quick-and-dirty brazing, but then I'd have to carry around some low-temp solder, too, and then I'm past McGuyver and into Inspector Gadget territory, and I might decide that yes I do need a pocket combination barometer/altimeter/thermometer/aerometer and miniature multi-tester.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:11 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


EDC, or just ED?
posted by Flashman at 10:13 AM on March 25, 2011


There's another video where he pulls a small arsenal out his shorts, and no, that's not a euphemism.

In his defence, he's making a point about the rightness or otherwise of high schools banning loose clothing and baggy shorts.

However, I feel that most schools would be tipped off to the danger by the fact that he is too old to be attending high school. And that he is using the word "jorts". The dozen handguns, ten knives, samurai sword and garotting wire would only be the third strike.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's all guys. Surely some of them have kids, but there are no action figures, pencil & paper, or other emergency kid amusement supplies for when you get stuck somewhere. No granola bar, animal crackers, juice box. No pacifiers, diapers, etc.

I have a cheapass multitool because people "borrow" them. It's my personal experience that men who borrow tools from a woman seldom return the tool. Multitool is too heavy to carry everywhere; pocket knife with bottle opener and corkscrew has saved many a picnic. I carry medical supplies I may need, lip balm (can be used as a fire starter!) matches because nobody smokes anymore, but birthday candles still need to be lit. I usually carry a bandana, often used as a napkin. 1st aid stuff, mini sewing kit, hairbrush, gum, spare reading glasses. For IT work, I carry a rescue CD.

I have a few emergency supplies in the car because I live in a cold climate, and have a fear that I'll get stuck in a blizzard on a remote road.

Most of all, common sense, 1st aid training, smart phone with friend's email and phone numbers, cause my friends are good at helping.
posted by theora55 at 10:17 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Especially one with a switch-blade assisted-opening mechanism.

My college roommate had sort of a, um, personal relationship with knives, and I admit that there's nothing cooler than when she'd whip out one of her balisongs (butterfly knives) to open a manilla envelope or a care package.

If I wanted a weapon, I'd pack a claw-hammer

My dad gave me the same advice - it fits in the bottom of a purse and it's a multi-tool.
posted by muddgirl at 10:19 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to frequent the kind of forums where these guys hang out. Maybe I am one of "these guys," actually. I'm pretty sure I've posted a picture of "my EDC" before. I think where I differed from a lot of them is that I realize that it's more about satisfying that primitive part of my brain that goes "KNIVES! SHINY! GUN! COOOOOOL!" than it is about rational preparedness.

I've never owned a gun, nor do I plan to unless circumstances change in unlikely ways (stalker, civil breakdown) but I do carry a super-strong flashlight, a multitool, and often a knife. I have half a dozen "tactical" knives. They are awesome and I love them beyond any semblance of rationality. I have spent hours poring over pictures of $50-60 knives and thought "what a great deal!" I bought one knife (a butterfly knife) that isn't even legal to carry in my state. (I don't carry it.) I have a $30 knife-sharpening set and I have used it. I have a chef's knife that cost more than a hundred dollars and is the only thing that was on our wedding registry that I put on there.

So I have to say, I clicked the link to this blog, and I saw the pictures, and part of me thinks "wow these guys are kidding themselves" but most of me goes "WANT!"
posted by callmejay at 10:26 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My EDC kit contains diapers, wipes, small washcloths, a backup set of clothes in size 6 months and 4T, a menstrual pad, a couple of granola bars, my phone, a pacifier, my keys with a Resq-Me on them, my ipod, and a water bottle.

Wait, does it count if it's a diaper bag, or is that not badass enough?
posted by KathrynT at 10:29 AM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, wait, I do also have a Spyderco in there, now that I think about it.
posted by KathrynT at 10:30 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Raven's EDC. All you need.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:30 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, I totally get the shiny tool lust. I own what some might consider an excess of knives (I buy a fair number of tiny cheap knives because they get lost or loaned out, but I also buy shiny pretty toys sometimes). But they're not for every day carry. :)

county comm has a crapload of the edc kind of stuff. I will note that their "bug out bag" is actually a great bag for a reasonable price. Useful for travel and also makes a great diaper bag.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:37 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like to think smaller is better. I carry one of these with me everywhere. I've been able to start a few fires with it (and at least one bonafide campfire), so it works for that much. Still need to get some paracord, though. That stuff is boss.

I keep a pretty good survival kit on my motorcycle. I don't carry a first-aid kit on me, but if I got certified, I might. But there's definitely one on my motorcycle (and I actually occasionally remember to keep it fresh!). Oh, and I wear a watch that has a compass and a barometer (the latter is helpful on motorcycle trips for anticipating sudden (and unforecast) downpours!). Shut up, I got it for like 70% off retail!

And yeah, I occasionally get weird looks when I pull out some random improvised tool or needed object, but when you actually fix something, people are usually pretty impressed by your preparedness. It's a fine line.

(Also, I'm thinking about doing a team-up comic with Batman, Drywall, and Jerry from Parker Lewis. Maybe call it the Readymen, or the ThingGuys.)
posted by Eideteker at 10:37 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


whups. borked the county comm link. it should be http://www.countycomm.com.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:39 AM on March 25, 2011


County Comm IS great. Their bail out bag really is my diaper bag.

You know what? I'm taking a picture of all my diaper bag stuff and submitting it to this blog. A diaper bag IS an EDC.
posted by KathrynT at 10:40 AM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I like to carry one of these - beautiful and functional.
posted by exogenous at 10:46 AM on March 25, 2011


What I don't understand are the EDC folks who are clearly planning to handle a scenario with some measure of violence (guns, combat knives, etc), and yet carry zero first-aid supplies.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:50 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's easy. Medkits are scattered around on the ground - if you run over one, you heal automatically. But you have to start with a knife, and the pistol makes life a lot easier in the early levels.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:52 AM on March 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


I am a very, very big believer that everyone should have a knife (or multitool) and matches and/or lighter on them whenever they leave home. And a pen.

Sadly, I'm a teacher.

I guess one out of three is...well...I'm sure I could loot the bodies of my fallen students and get whatever I really need in an emergency. (Sweet, sweet iPhones...)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:55 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some of these people must lead rich fantasy lives. I think, somewhere in their future, they see themselves being dropped behind enemy lines with no warning or prep time. I like to carry my wallet, keys, phone and, lately, a raincoat or an umbrella. I suppose that indicates that my fantasy life is pretty boring and perhaps rainy, oh well.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:57 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


So this all reminds me of scifi fans who would discuss what to bring with you if aliens were going to take you away. Some would put together elaborate lists of survival gear, food, design odd clothes that could protect you from both hot and cold and vacuum, etc.

Ultimately, either where you're going is habitable or it isn't and so the best list I ever saw was this:

- a comfortable pair of shoes

Because in the end, the only thing I can guarantee you is that there will be some walking.

I am a very, very big believer that everyone should have a knife (or multitool) and matches and/or lighter on them whenever they leave home.

Yeah, too many plane flights cured me of this habit.
posted by GuyZero at 11:02 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


DONE. Let's see if he posts it.

My husband says, "My EDC includes an umbrella and extras clothes for weather, plus a book. Plus a wallet, keys, and a relaxed sense that I don't have to be prepared for everything."
posted by KathrynT at 11:07 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


dersins: "... they'd be more likely to survive than I was. But at what cost? They spend their lives TERRIFIED THAT SOME RANDOM STRANGER WILL START SHOOTING AT THEM IN A RESTAURANT."

I'm not sure this is a fair characterization. I think these gun guys were trying to describe situational awareness. Among people who consider personal security to be a priority, seating the most-alert or most-capable (or best-armed, I suppose) person facing the door is simply sensible. A healthy amount of situational awareness will keep you alive in everything from driving your morning commute to spotting the pissed-off drunk boyfriend before he reaches the girl at the bar.

Admittedly, though, it's a fine line between situational awareness and hypervigilance.
posted by workerant at 11:10 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the trunk of my car is a roll of toilet paper. I haven't really needed it yet, but if I do, one day ...
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:11 AM on March 25, 2011


I used to have a pretty hefty EDC setup, but have pared it down into a couple of keychain screwdrivers from CountyComm, handcuff key, Gerber "Shard" keychain tool, Fenix F1 keychain flashlight, Leatherman Juice, asthma inhaler, and my iPhone.

Everything else is in my 72-Hour / Oh-Shit / Another Hurricane / Bug-Out Bag (link goes to HTML version of a Google Docs spreadhseet) contained in a CountyComm EDC bag and/or a Maxpedition Falcon II backpack.

My late wife made fun of me before Hurricane Ike for "All that silly crap you put in that bag that you'll never end up using". She changed her tone when, after the hurricane and having no power for nine days - repeatedly she'd say "I wish we had X" and I'd pull X out of my "bag of silly crap". I recently built my own five-gallon water purification system and use it for daily drinking water.

I also have a Texas Concealed Handgun License, but I don't talk about what I carry or when / how I carry it for various reasons.

My girlfriend is an ex-Mormon, so she's a fan of preparedness too (without going all Mall Ninja/Neighborhood Militia).
posted by mrbill at 11:13 AM on March 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


I carry a large U-shaped pipe with which I can turn bullets shot at me back upon the shooter.

What? Look, if these guys can have their fantasies, so can I.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:13 AM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Leatherman Charge XTi
Swiss Army Cybertool 34

Because as a computer technician that's all of the tools I need to do my job, unless I'm actually making Cat5e cables.

A Buck folder because they make damn fine knives.

A ultra-bright led flashlight on my keychain and a cell phone.

The only time I don't leave my house with this is if I know I'm going through a metal detector at my destination. And believe me, I feel damn uncomfortable without any of it. I do not apologize for my paranoia. Expect the worst and hope for the best.

Back when I carried a Mini MagLite instead of the LED, NYC had a blackout. The flashlight came in real handy when the emergency lights on the train dimmed. And then again when we had to walk down a pitch black subway tunnel to an emergency exit.

You all scoff and make jokes. I'll be prepared.
posted by Splunge at 11:13 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


One piece of advice I've found about equipment of almost any strip is that when you see the word "tactical", you brain should register "lol". Lolflashlights. Lolknives. Lolwebbing. Honestly, that's how it is.
posted by mhoye at 11:15 AM on March 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm not scoffing, Splunge. Everything on your list seems reasonable to me. (I need to get a new ultrabright LED.) But for the guys who carry 12643219 knives and a handgun, but not an advil or a bandaid. . . let's just say I've encountered more unexpected situations that can be fixed with a cheese stick, a menstrual pad, or a pacifier than with a gun.
posted by KathrynT at 11:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


KathrynT: I recently recommended the CountyComm XL BoB to a mommy friend as a diaper bag. :)
posted by mrbill at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Multitools are useful things. But for serious on the spot repair work, you want a well-equipped maintenance truck. We have several, and I swear there is nothing the guys who drive them can't fix. They carry at least a ton of tools and supplies on big 4wd diesel flatbeds, from a large chainsaw, to welding gear, to a pretty complete set of threaded nipples and pipe fittings, to carpentry tools. (The guys at the railroad have even better support trucks, because theirs have cranes on the back. Our guys are jealous.) The guys have to be able to fix anything, in all weather conditions, with no support or help.

When the zombie wars come, I'll put my money on one roughneck jack of all trades over all of the tacticool office guys. No contest.
posted by Forktine at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


mrbill - I like that water purification set up. very nifty. (and glad you were well-prepared for Ike, although it must've been a pain to go thru.)
posted by rmd1023 at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2011


I'm gonna play "What's Moofoo got?" just to see what leaves the house with me every day.

Wallet and keychain in right front pants pocket. The smaller-than-my-thumb Swiss Army Knife is on the keychain, mostly for the scissors and tweezers.

Cell phone (dumbphone, no touch screens here), which obviates the need for watch or flashlight, to some degree, in the left pants pocket.

And the bag:

Front compartment:

Computer, avec power supply. Wacom tablet. 6x9" notebook (graph paper). A notepad I stole from work. A Palm Zire 21 a friend gave me as a half-joke (it's not Windows 7 compatible, so that should stay home). A home-printed, saddle-stitched copy of Roadside Picnic.

Middle pocket:

Noserag. Moisturizer. Gum. 3x5" notebook (also graph paper). Checkbook. Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Hairbrush. Tape measure (cloth). Headphones. iPod. 4" paper clip (yeah, a giant Gem clip. I think they're funny). Lip balm. Nail file. Quartz fiber dosimeter. 4 pens. Silver Sharpie. Mechanical pencil (2H). A few Cold-Eeze from when I was sick a few weeks ago.

Back compartment/pockets:

Altoids tin with some wintergreens and a few Fisherman's Friend cough drops. SD card case (2, 4, and 8 gig cards inside). Dental floss. Spare iPod cable. 6-LED flashlight with one non-functioning LED. Folding utility knife (probably the heaviest thing in the bag after the computer). Scatter dice (2).

Do I need all this crap? Mostly, no. A lot of that stuff is just-in-case for situations far less dire than societal collapse. Like boredom, or lending out a pen I won't miss.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:20 AM on March 25, 2011


rmd1023 - I'm going to redo it with translucent buckets so I can see the water level, but otherwise it's been working great.
posted by mrbill at 11:27 AM on March 25, 2011


when you see the word "tactical", you brain should register "lol".

I have a hard time with the phrase "tactical pants."

Don't get me wrong, I like cargo pants as much as the next guy. But it's difficult for me to say those words together with a straight face. I just keep wondering "what if they're not enough? Can I get strategic pants?"
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:28 AM on March 25, 2011


Can I get strategic pants?"

Plaid golf pants. because if you're at the point in life where you can pull off plaid golf pants, you have been planning ahead.
posted by GuyZero at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm also in the process of building up a secondary BoB/72-hour backpack to leave in the trunk of the car, along with blankets, a couple pillows, extra pair of shoes, and one of my spare CPAP machines with a spare mask.
posted by mrbill at 11:34 AM on March 25, 2011


http://terminallance.com/2010/06/18/terminal-lance-44-smear-the-gear-queer/
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2011


Re: EDC being a fashion blog, I'm pretty sure the author's denial is tongue in cheek - he started the blog off the back of a thread on Superfuture's forums (for the uninitiated, that's a place where men go to argue about the correct way to fold a pocket square/the relative qualities of obscure Japanese denim weavers/etc.).

Anyway, despite the guns, I rather enjoy browsing the site. It introduced me to the wonderful Peanut lighter, which is just about the handiest thing I own.
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 12:14 PM on March 25, 2011


Ugh, hanging out at Denny's with a bunch of [other] white suburban goth kids has exposed me to enough of this kind of "Yeah man, total situational awareness blah blah cover of heavy suppressive fire wank wank insertion point belch" bloviating when showing off their new bad-ass "tactical" knife they got at Chesapeake Knife And Tool at the mall that day with their birthday money. Sadly, this blog shows me that they never grew out of it, but also what happened to the ones who stayed more 'hipstery' instead of turning into My First Republican "An armed society is a polite society" neocons like a surprising amount of 90's goth kids ended up, and why I largely stopped hanging out with most of them.

Also when I see things like "Spare clip not pictured" next to iPhones and $200 watches, I can't help but hear it in Dwight Schrute's voice.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:17 PM on March 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


My EDC flashlight (which is a "SureFire Defender Tactical Light with Crenelated Strike Bezel": they're dead reliable compared to the knockoffs, plus Surefire has already replaced the belt clip for me for free) has saved my ass more than once when out and about. Just the other week a friend and I stayed out on a day hike longer than we should have, and I opened my pack only to realize I'd left my headlamp behind. There was no moon that night -- if I hadn't had a flashlight on me, we'd have had to hike back almost an hour in pitch dark. And that's the joy of every day carry. It's not something you can forget, as opposed to things like the headlamp, which was sitting on my end table just when I needed it most.

As for my knife: it's funny how often the "lol you think you need a knife, what is this Silent Hill?" people ask to borrow it. I use it daily, often more than once a day... and, again, it has been just what I or someone else needed more than once. Besides, this is perhaps the best reason to carry a knife; sometimes, when someone asks if anyone has a knife, a "no" answer could kill.

And yes, I almost always have a first-aid kit, though it's big enough that I keep it in my bag rather than on my person. I also carry a lighter, though I don't smoke (cigarettes, at least).

Still need to get some paracord, though. That stuff is boss.

Paracord is very easy to carry. You can make a keychain like this out of ten feet of cord in about half an hour with no prior experience (and, if you're a nerd like me, you can make a lanyard for your flashlight next! Synergy!) Paracord makes a great substitute for shoelaces, also.
posted by vorfeed at 12:30 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have this hammer I found in the woods and a copy of Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" on vinyl.
posted by I Foody at 12:34 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


vorfeed: I've got the same knife but with a black handle. Amazon had it for $15ish a couple of weeks ago, and I've been *very* impressed for the price. It makes easier pocket carry than my $150 Emerson knife.
posted by mrbill at 12:37 PM on March 25, 2011


"it's funny how often the "lol you think you need a knife, what is this Silent Hill?" people ask to borrow it."

No kidding. Of course, I love when people ask me to borrow a knife, knowing of the smaller one I carry, and I hand them the big one with the gut hook. The gut hook is SO much better for opening boxes and cutting tape and what not in my opinion.
posted by strixus at 12:45 PM on March 25, 2011


mrbill: yeah, my knife has the black handle. I bought it for $15 on Ebay in 2006 (from seller "bouldercitynv", which sold nothing but used knives, scissors, and corkscrews -- I'm guessing someone got it confiscated at Hoover Dam!), and it's still the best knife I have ever had. If/when I lose it, I fully intend to cry a single tear and then buy another just like it.
posted by vorfeed at 12:47 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most of the stuff I carry seems to be about caretaking more than facing danger.

Things I carry in my purse, and more importantly, how useful they are:

A tiny first aid kit (used about every two months, mostly for bandaids), hand sanitizer (used weekly and to break the ice in socializing, people like mini grooming rituals), Tide stain pen (every time I eat out, seems like), menstrual products (more likely to lend than need), ear plugs (every event with music I've been to, Jesus people, are you all deaf?!), condom (in protective packet), hair elastics and small brush (the former gets given away a lot and used in McGyver style repairs), cash, wallet and packet of tissues. I'd like to start carrying matches again, and I used up my itty-bitty sewing kit.

A cheap "pashmina" it truly an awesome invention, being fold-able into a bag, hat, modesty cover and aftercare blanket. I regret that these are mostly out of style because a bit of soft, durable cloth is a trend I'd rather see become a classic.

I don't carry a knife because I don't own a good one and it's a nuisance to remember to carry it when I never have been in an instance where tools were out of reach. I need to remember to carry a sugar packet, given the number of diabetics I know. That should probably go in my first aid kit.
posted by Phalene at 12:48 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


One reason to have a lanyard of some sort (even if it's just a repurposed shoelace) for tools or flashlights: if you drop it, you haven't lost it because it rolled into a dark field next to your car or into a place you can't reach it. (my car has a fuse-puller in the nether regions of the interior frame, now.)
posted by rmd1023 at 12:49 PM on March 25, 2011


A friend of mine has taken to mocking my gear nerdery by observing that x-random exercise in technofetishism "looks pretty tactical".
posted by brennen at 12:49 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


...this could be really interesting if it focused on the "everyday carry" of Antarctic ice core drillers...

I can tell you first-hand that Antarctic ice core drillers carry, in their shredded oil-stained Carhartt overalls, a pack of camel lights, a bic lighter, and chapstick to stick up their nose so it doesn't spontaneously bleed because of the unbelievable dryness of the air. Also, not in pockets but definitely everyday carry: a crushing hangover.
posted by deadbilly at 12:49 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


ear plugs (every event with music I've been to, Jesus people, are you all deaf?!)

Oh, man. A pair of these $13 Etymotic Research earplugs have been one of the best investments I ever made -- they actually make loud shows sound better.

They live in my bag next to the first-aid kit, of course.
posted by vorfeed at 12:53 PM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I only carry a silk handkerchief, into which I may demurely snicker when my riding companion drops a particularly pointed bon mot.
posted by gordie at 12:54 PM on March 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


Pregnant EDC:

Food: candy, saltines, ramen, mixed nuts, hot chocolate mix

Plastic bags for puking

Car service #s

Money for food

Tampons (just for kicks!)

Matches (to seduce smokers I mean PREPAREDNESS)

Advil (so people can judge me for taking something class B)
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:54 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never leave the house without wallet, keys, phone with discrete os modifications allowing limited pan-dimensional access, portable necrinomicon, small hand of glory in leather bag around neck, and one of the runes of sha-kabbath.

What? It's an unpredictable world.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:56 PM on March 25, 2011


And, of course, I always carry rope.

I have never needed a knife ever.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:57 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


lumpenprole: you're Bob Howard of the Laundry?
posted by mrbill at 12:59 PM on March 25, 2011


Anyway, despite the guns, I rather enjoy browsing the site. It introduced me to the wonderful Peanut lighter, which is just about the handiest thing I own.

When I quit smoking I missed carrying a lighter, but couldn't justify carrying a real, full-size lighter that I would so rarely use, so I had a peanut lighter for a while on my keychain. A tiny keychain lighter should be really useful, but the peanut lighter is just an obnoxious pain in the ass. It requires two hands to operate! That's ridiculous. I finally got rid of it after I dropped it on the sidewalk and the fucking threads were so badly deformed from that single fall that you couldn't screw the top on anymore. Not so tactical.
posted by enn at 1:02 PM on March 25, 2011


lumpenprole: you're Bob Howard of the Laundry?

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of either of those things without my head exploding.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:06 PM on March 25, 2011


Grown men still playing Batman.

As long as they're not playing Bateman...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:40 PM on March 25, 2011


A good flashlight (Fenix P2D) and a good knife (ZT-0300). And a handgun of course, because while I'm not expecting to get into a gunfight, I'd hate to miss the opportunity to get into a gunfight!
posted by Standeck at 1:47 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


A totally cool EDC by any measure.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:52 PM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'd hate to miss the opportunity to get into a gunfight!

So I know you're probably not serious, but on behalf of bystanders everywhere, just don't.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on March 25, 2011


Oh, man. A pair of these $13 Etymotic Research earplugs have been one of the best investments I ever made -- they actually make loud shows sound better.

Run, don't walk to Etymotic's website and order yourself a pair. Pretty much every show I've gone to is 10dB too hot, and real musician's earplugs are a godsend. They REALLY pay off at the end of the night when you're not physically exhausted from dealing with the loudness.

But again, I'm old.
posted by mikelieman at 1:57 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only ever carry a flower in my buttonhole, a monogrammed handkerchief, a small box of snuff and a slim volume of Keats. Luckily, I have been trained in how to use any of them to kill a man.
posted by reynir at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


3 minutes w/o air, 3 hours of exposure, 3 days w/o water, 3 weeks w/o food.

That's a really good rule of thumb.

The air bit is an expensive and impractical base to cover, though. A good trade off might be a surplus gas mask or commercial respirator in case someone accidentally mixes the wrong household chemicals.
posted by clarknova at 2:21 PM on March 25, 2011


Pretty much every show I've gone to is 10dB too hot, and real musician's earplugs are a godsend. They REALLY pay off at the end of the night when you're not physically exhausted from dealing with the loudness.

Agreed... but they REALLY REALLY pay off ten or twenty years later, when half the people you know have permanent tinnitus. Even shows that don't seem too loud often are, as far as your inner ear is concerned.
posted by vorfeed at 2:28 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re the Slap Hat Extreme:

a unique impact material that is 100% the density of lead

That seems like a very huckstery way of saying "the same density as".
So this unique material: it's lead, then?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:32 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tactical lead.
posted by ryanrs at 4:05 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Foamed osmium?
posted by Splunge at 4:09 PM on March 25, 2011


My EDC is the trove of Wodehouse quotes I carry in my useless head.
posted by everichon at 4:36 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also I had assumed the Slap Hat Extreme was a commentator's joke until I looked it up. I wish I hadn't looked it up.
posted by everichon at 4:38 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I generally carry a small quantity of tools, a decent flashlight and a knife. And I grew up and still live in quake country so I actually have a reason to. Yeah, I'm a little hypervigilant, but I'm sincerely terrified of being trapped in a collapsed or rubble-strewn building in the dark. A good reliable flashlight is an incredible tool to have handy, and I use it every day. I also use it as one of my bike lights.

But I don't carry a knife with the intent that it'll be a self defense tool. A pocket knife is a really bad choice for a weapon, self defense or otherwise. Like I've mentioned in other threads I used to mess around with (fake) swordfighting and I've also worked as a bouncer at some really rowdy parties so I'm pretty realistic about what actually happens if someone uses a knife in a fight - and it's nothing like the movies. I'd much rather face someone with a knife (or even a gun) with my bare hands.

Anyway, if I was that paranoid about unlikely urban combat scenarios I'd just buy a gun and a CCW.

I carry a knife because it's a tool. Heck, I do most of my cooking with my pocket knife because it's the best blade I have and since I've had a highly nomadic life I'm used to it. People look at me funny but I'm so used to it I don't have any technical problems slicing wide objects like a loaf of bread or a large squash with a short blade, or properly dicing an onion or mincing garlic just like a chef would.

I generally carry two of the smaller leatherman multitools. One is the classic Micra w/ scissors, the other is the Juice which is a combination of needlenose, wire strippers, wire cutter and an assortment of drivers, files and blades. I actually use these all the time. I can open and fix almost any computer or gadget with those two tiny tools. I can crack open an ipod case or strip a laptop down to the motherboard and put it all back together again.

Some of the other things I also sometimes carry are a small first aid kit, a space blanket or two, some parachute cord. Spare medicine. Water purification tablets. Paracord. A tyvek sheet for a ground cloth or rain fly. I'll even carry nicotine patches or gum or spare/leftover tobacco.

But, again, it's not all about "omg, earthquake zombie apocalypse" survivalism. Sure, that's part of it, but it's also about being prepared to have fun and be ready and willing to go on adventures at the drop of a hat. It's not about trying to unrealistically avoid danger or control one's environment, it's about having fun and being ready and willing to dive into an adventure with perfect ease.

I haven't done this in a while but more than a dozen times I've run into friends and discovered they were going camping or heading to some outdoor party or other adventure, and I've been invited to join. And when I've been carrying that kind of stuff I'm able to just go without going home and overpacking for a simple overnight or weekend campout. "Don't you have to go home and grab a sleeping bag or a tent or something?" "No. I just need to stop and grab some food and water on the way out. Other than that I have everything I need. Shelter, appropriately layered clothing, fire, tools. Yep, I'm good to go."

And since space blankets have a shelf life before they start to turn brittle and degrade, and since they're only a couple of bucks each it's good to actually use them before they decompose into confetti. With a little paracord and a suitable tree or bush and I have shelter from rain or sun, or I can just wrap myself in it like a cybernetic silkworm.

And I actually like being that nerd that just happens to have a sewing kit in his pocket. Or safety pins. Or a bandaid, or an aspirin or advil. Or a tube of superglue. More than once I've been at parties 500 miles out in the middle of nowhere out in the desert and I just happened to be the only person out of hundreds who thought to bring a soldering iron on a camping trip so we could fix a blown amp or speaker on the sound system. Or a pair of nice scissors to help roll up a perfect, humongous joint to share with the party. (I swear the Leatherman Micra was designed by stoners, for stoners. They are based in Oregon, after all.)

Anyway, not all hypervigilant tool-carrying nerds are paranoid survival wingnuts. Some of us just want to have a good time.

And yeah, it's nerdy, and some people take it way too far. You welcome to point and laugh. I don't really care. I'll still be there ready and willing to help you after the quake or zombie civil rights riots or whatever. I'll probably have a safety pin or needle and thread when you bust your pants while dancing too hard.
posted by loquacious at 4:53 PM on March 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Also, it should be noted that what I don't carry is a credit card or much cash. I can't just buy my way out of trouble like a lot of people can. I don't have a car. I bike and walk everywhere. If I break my bike I'm either fixing it right there or I'm walking/busing home, not calling a cab. I've been functionally homeless for most of my life so I'm used to having to carry everything with me.
posted by loquacious at 4:57 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


1 bottle scotch (Lagavulin)
1 bottle bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
1 bottle wine (The Prisoner, zin/cab/syrah blend)

A bit over-prepared, some might say.
A bit heavy for everyday carry, others insist.

But today is not a normal day. I am on vacation.
posted by ryanrs at 4:57 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Casanova (according to Pratchett and Gaiman, at least) had all of these beat.

Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (1725-1798), famed amourist and literateur, who revealed in volume 12 of his Memoirs that, as a matter of course, he carried around with him at all times a small valise containing "a loaf of bread, a pot of choice Seville marmalade, a knife, fork, and small spoon for stirring, 2 fresh eggs packed with care in unspun wool, a tomato or love-apple, a small frying pan, a small sauce pan, a spirit burner, a chafing dish, a tin of salted butter of the Italian type, 2 bone china plates. Also a portion of honey comb, as a sweetener, for my breath and for my coffee. Let my readers understand me when I say to them all: A true gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman, wheresoever he may find himself." (Good Omens)
posted by casarkos at 5:18 PM on March 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh man, now I want an omelet.

When I worked at a startup, I used to keep a butane camp stove and a Le Creuset pot at my desk. Some of my more popular creations were my crab cakes and my chicken pot pies (both from scratch using my stove and the toaster oven in the office kitchenette).
posted by ryanrs at 5:38 PM on March 25, 2011


The guns are a little concerning, but I at least understand the utility in certain situations. It's the multiple knives thing going on here that really has me perplexed. What the hell is the deal? Is one for practical use, while the other is just for crocodile dundee "Thats not a knife... THIS is a knife" type situations? Is there really a pressing need for numerous different types of bladed weapons in everyday use outside of Jack the Ripper/Patrick Bateman type scenarios?

This is also a good time to question why the Swiss Army knife is so universally highly regarded. When was the last time the serially neutral Swiss Army was in a goddamn war? You would think the knife preferred by the military forces of basically any other nation, ever would be considered in significantly higher esteem...
posted by Thoth at 5:54 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Knives as fashion accessories. Who has just one pair of earrings?
posted by ryanrs at 6:02 PM on March 25, 2011


When was the last time the serially neutral Swiss Army was in a goddamn war?
1847? Even then, though, it was all very civil.

(Drumroll, rimshot)
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:09 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


My main beef with the EDC crowd is that many of them seem to be out of shape. Since the number one killer of Americans is heart disease, then why don't these guys do their cardio and stay in shape? Matt Thornton has a great essay about this. I also see this often with the ''gun guys," the ones carrying a gun openly who look like they'd have a heart attack if they had to run up a flight of stairs. Guys, defend yourselves from McDonald's first and then I'll start taking your claims of "self defense" a little more seriously. To me it just comes off as play acting, grownups LARPing with live blades and real firearms. Jeez.
posted by wuwei at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


It is generally acknowledged that Swiss Army knives suck as working knives. They're tiny, delicate, difficult to open, and the blade does not lock in place. Buy a Spyderco instead.

PROTIP: If you intend to use your knife for killing, get a simple fixed blade with a plastic sheath. Much easier to clean.
posted by ryanrs at 6:25 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


MY main beef with the EDC crowd is that they seem to be planning for unlikely contingencies while overlooking very common scenarios. I mean, let's face it, the things that are most likely to help you in an emergency are a smartphone, $100 in cash, a high-limit credit card, and a AAA membership. And if you're priding yourself on being able to help out OTHER people in an emergency and you're carrying a handgun but not a spare tampon? You're doing it wrong. I might extend the "useful stuff for getting out of a pickle" kit to include tweezers, a spyderco, a bottle opener, and an ultrabright LED flashlight, but anything more than that is overkill IMHO.
posted by KathrynT at 6:51 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was browsing the EDC blogs for a while. As an engineer, I often carry around too many things, and it was interesting comparing what I carry to others.

Yeah, a lot of it is lol-worthy. Tactical "bags" aka man-purses or murses. Tactical flashlights and knives. You can often identify an EDCer by the brands they carry. Spyderco and SureFire are good signs.

But I did find some really awesome and useful things among my brief time lurking.

First, the amazing Peter Atwood, who creates custom pocket-carry knives and multitools. These things are works of art as much as they are tools.

Second, tritium keychains. These are small phosphor coated tubes with tritium in them. They emit a constant faint glow that lasts for several years.

Finally, they're a great resource for those looking for small or sturdy pens and pencils.
posted by formless at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I always start to feel inadequate after reading about preparedness stuff. Thinking that hard about the future just makes my head hurt. I can barely manage to plan for the remainder of a day off...
posted by Scattercat at 8:10 PM on March 25, 2011


Judging from this thread, the most common MeFite EDC is a withering sneer.
posted by Scoo at 8:10 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never leve the house withoutvat least one phone. If I am going to a demonstration, I take the cheap Tracfone. Otherwise I take it and an old used iPhone. I carry a small, cheap stainless steel spoon. This is because I hate loathe an despise plastic spoons. Sporks and forks are another thing I don't like. I carry a couple days of my various meds. I carry a pen or two. Wallet, with usual contacts. Cheap reader. Like most people who have spent time in the Northwest, I am prepared for sudden changes in the weather. I do not carry a knife. I have been on too many plane trips for that.
I was in a situation that required me to maintain a bug-out bag. I usually keep bottles of water and extra food.
I recently thanks to MeFi learned to cook in a thermos, I learned to cook on an open fire long ago. I am actually good at it.
I have been through a few natural disaters and spent a lot of my life in eartquake country. I also spent some time in Mexico and in Bosnia, as well as desrt parts of the U.S.
Several people have mentioned how important being in decent shape is. They are right! You don't need to be the Incredible Hulk, just in decent shape. As well if you have kids, teaching them basic survival skills is a wonderful idea. Take them on long walks. It's good for them!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:54 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember back in the eighties seeing two young couples walking on one of the little day hike trails in back of town and one of the guys was carrying one of those 16 inch long survival knives. I was embarrassed for him to this day. At least these guys are discreet.
Also I do not know if it has been mentioned up-thread but hand sanitizer not only helps stop the spread of disease but is an excellent fire starter/napalm so carry some in your car so you are less likely to die in the snow.
posted by Iron Rat at 10:16 PM on March 25, 2011


ryanrs: "It is generally acknowledged that Swiss Army knives suck as working knives. They're tiny, delicate, difficult to open, and the blade does not lock in place. Buy a Spyderco instead.

PROTIP: If you intend to use your knife for killing, get a simple fixed blade with a plastic sheath. Much easier to clean.
"

As my ex-wife used to say (who worked as an EMT for ten years) the small blade on any Swiss Army knife is as sharp as a scalpel out of the box. They know how to make a sharp blade. If you have to cut the trachea, you want one of those. Not some butter knife.
posted by Splunge at 11:08 PM on March 25, 2011


It's the multiple knives thing going on here that really has me perplexed. What the hell is the deal?

The deal is that knives are fucking beautiful and amazing.

I only carry the one, but I do have quite a few at home which don't see much use, and exist mainly because they are, as previously mentioned, fucking beautiful and amazing.

Glad to clear that up for you!
posted by vorfeed at 12:00 AM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never leave home without a black Swiss Army bag.
I use it to carry a notebook, iPhone headphones, a book or DS, headache medicine and some pens.
Should add a multitool and bottle opener. Last time I needed a knife was when I wanted to cut down a cloth banner advertising a band I like.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:54 AM on March 26, 2011


The best one there is this guy, who posted a picture of his shoes:

Perhaps I am not “operating” in the same reality as the people posting on this site and I certainly am not trying to judge anyone’s lifestyle. I’m very much about freedom to do what you like, especially when its as harmless as the displaying of one’s kit. -but I am interested from an academic perspective on your thoughts of marketer’s cultivation of grown men as boyish consumers. My gut feeling is that a large percentage of “Everyday Carry” items never see useful operation but are merely for display. When I was a boy I thumbed through the back of comics and kung fu magazines to catch a glimspe of all the gouge that could be purchased but never had the means. As an adult I finally have the cash to get all those things but still don’t have the enemies, foreign or domestic, to vanquish. Imagined risk without accompanying horrors. Call of Duty without the actual duty. Red Dawn from a comfy bed. It is a marketer’s dream. I could be wrong. Perhaps my workaday existence is the outlier and the norm is a chaotic dangerous existence rendered tame with tactical flashlights and titanium sporks. I conclude that, in my perhaps unwelcome and certainly irrelevant opinion, this is another manifestation of our hyper consumptive state of affairs. However, in the spirit of it all, I will offer that I do get a lot of use out of these Red Wing steel toe oxfords. Thoughts?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:59 AM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have a (relatively small) messenger bag book bag that I carry every day. In, every day, I have:

-mini flashlight
-Squirt P4 Leatherman
-mini nalgene full of water
-a book (currently 1984 because my high school failed me)
-a copy of the US Constitution
-a small notebook I've copied my favorite recipes into
-fruit leather or some other small, indestructible snack
-a condom
-a small assortment of drugs (tylenol, etc)
-at least 3 days of the Rx drugs I take
-hand sanitizer
-hand lotion
-tissues
-cell phone
-cheapo mp3 player that uses an SD card so if I need to copy something on the go I can
-anti bac. moist towelettes
-bandaids
-two AAA batteries (mp3 player and flashlight)
-notepad and pen
-small amount of cash in a non-wallet compartment
-matches
-nail clippers
-chap stick
-phone

...I think that's everything. Everything is impeccably organized and I can produce a needed item in under 5 seconds. No kids, just always prepared. You can blame my 12 years in the Girl Scouts.
posted by phunniemee at 9:17 AM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


PROTIP: If you intend to use your knife for killing, get a simple fixed blade with a plastic sheath. Much easier to clean.

PROTIP: If you intend to use your knife for killing and you are not an active-duty member of the military, there is something seriously, seriously wrong with you and you should seek professional counseling as soon as possible.

posted by dersins at 9:25 AM on March 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Relax, citizen. I have been licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game, and can present the requisite paperwork.
posted by ryanrs at 1:13 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Paracord makes a great substitute for shoelaces, also."

Do you melt the tips? Or dip them in wax to make aglets?
posted by Eideteker at 1:29 PM on March 26, 2011


Oh, please, Eideteker-- like you care. You just wanted an excuse to say "aglets."
posted by dersins at 2:38 PM on March 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ready for anything. As long as "anything" takes the form of three envelopes that need to be opened simultaneously and two friends without knives.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:11 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and floss. I forgot floss. Always gotta carry dental floss. I remembered that I left this off my list today after lunch, while removing the delicious reuben remnants from my teeth.
posted by phunniemee at 5:17 PM on March 26, 2011


Don't any of these people ever have to go through security? Jesus.

And what is with the triangular blade / penis shaped knives? How the hell are you going to filet a rat with a knife that looks like a cardinal's beak?
posted by gjc at 10:43 PM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you melt the tips? Or dip them in wax to make aglets?

You melt the tips. It works best with a butane lighter (protip: press the melted end against the plastic cap of your butane bottle for a perfect flat finish!)

Boots seem to have small eyelets these days, so I usually cut a couple inches of the inner strands out on both ends. Then I use scotch tape to compress the hollow ends to the size of a regular shoelace aglet, so I can pull them through. Once the shoe has been laced, I cut the hollow part off and melt the ends as usual. I often tie a little knot in the ends for extra grippiness, also.
posted by vorfeed at 1:38 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have never needed a knife ever

Me neither. What do you need to cut that can't be cut with a standard house key?

Expect the worst and hope for the best.

Smiling has a better track record.

My main beef with the EDC crowd is that many of them seem to be out of shape. Since the number one killer of Americans is heart disease, then why don't these guys do their cardio and stay in shape?

Yep. Similarly confusing is the amount of energy and resources expended to prevent (or not) people from blowing up planes vs. driving their fucking automobiles more slowly.

The whole exercise stinks of cognitive dissonance. Emergency preparation is is no joke--I've got two earthquake kits stashed around my residence. I change the water every 3 months. I've worked with my office to spread info about our company's emergency preparations. But ... I really don't get the EDC mentality at all.

Perhaps a lot of my confusion comes from the fact that I live in an urban area, commute by public transit or bike, and am very rarely more than 10 miles from home. If my pants split while dancing, I can wait until I get home to fix them.

I'll cut anyone who's functionally homeless all the slack they need, but don't most of these guys have homes to keep their stuff in? Also, if you don't drive a car, how the hell do you carry all that shit?

When I reduce the # of objects I carry/own (I admit to almost always carrying around a phone and a book and owning far too many books and LPs/45s), I almost always lower my stress level.

I'm curious to know how many people die or are seriously injured every year because they didn't have enough shit on them. I'm guessing it's less than the number of people who die from listeria.

Most of the anecdotes I've seen in this thread lean more toward convenience (i.e. a brighter evacuation tunnel or opening packages) than necessity. Perhaps a zombie apocalypse is more likely than I imagine ...
posted by mrgrimm at 2:51 PM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Me neither. What do you need to cut that can't be cut with a standard house key?

A suggested experiment, if you're actually curious on this point: Get one of those crappy little keychain sized folding knives, the kind that has one tiny blade and a pair of barely usable scissors, and stick it on your keychain. (Here's one I picked at random on Amazon. You can probably find an even cheaper one minus the recognizable branding, but anyway, don't spend more than ten bucks.) Carry it until you lose it. See how long it takes you to decide you'd really better buy another one. That's pretty much what happened to me, anyway.

The office job dudes with their collection of giant blades artfully arranged next to the handgun and the tactical handkerchief (plus accompanying caption about creepy self-defense fantasy!) are good for a laugh, but I really do use my little keychain Leatherman scissors+knife thing a couple of times a day.
posted by brennen at 4:01 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm with Eyebrows McGee. Your best bet to survive the apocalypse is to get with a mom. Forget all that knife nonsense--my purse is always stocked with 4 different types of snacks (raisins and sunflower seeds--in a Cookie Monster cup, naturally--, granola bars, fruit leather, crackers), books (currently the renowned literary classics Dr. Seuss' ABC and Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks), copious quantities of wipes and kleenexes, a diaper and a spare pair of pants (for an unforeseen poopageddon) and a variety of entertaining toys (compact mirror, Mardi Gras beads, mini car). The knives might make you feel safer, but I'll be well fed and amused.
posted by Go Banana at 4:59 PM on March 27, 2011


*stands up, clears throat, licks lips*

Hi, I am wenestvedt, and I carry a bunch of stuff with me. Yeah, keys & wallet & phone, but also a little light and a pocket knife. My bag has more stuff -- but it's stuff I use! My "boo-boo kit" gets opened at least once a week, and I use a spork every couple of days at work (and more on Cub Scout campouts!). My GPS is in there for when I go find a geocache at lunch, plus some cables and stuff for my laptop. And a couple of simple hand tools for fixing things.

See, I got used to being able to do something when I see a problem. And now everyone else kind of expects it, too -- which is fine by me.

So yeah, I carry around a bunch of stuff, but I know that some people think it's funny. And I read the edcforums.com web site, too: there are people there who make neat things, in and among the gun nuts. :7) But we're a big tent -- we like knot-tiers and pistol-polishers and smelly mountain-bikers and the occasional lady, even.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:15 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't be the only one who carries a nickel-to-dime bag's worth of marijuana (and glass pipe) with me at all times, can I ... ?

My honest EDC list:

* Phone (+charger, headphones)
* MP3 player
* Book (whatever I'm reading now)
* Notebook + Pen
* Matchbook
* House key, bike key
* Cocoon Grid-It (for all that shit (except the book))
* Marijuana in waterproof jar; glass pipe; windproof lighter
* 3 six-sided dice (you never know when you'll need to roll attributes)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:59 AM on March 28, 2011


What do you need to cut that can't be cut with a standard house key?

Oranges. And sometimes apples, the odd persimmon, and various types of cordage, but mostly oranges.

My plain old non-locking barlow knife is the opposite of tactical, though.
posted by enn at 10:34 AM on March 28, 2011


Oranges.

If they can't be peeled with teeth, they ain't worth it. Cordage I'll give you.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:58 AM on March 28, 2011


Grown men still playing Batman.

Which is to say striving to work at the limits of human mental and physical capacity in the service and protection of others? Except for the actual vigilante part, I think we'd be better off if more of us played Batman.
posted by Zed at 9:48 AM on April 8, 2011


We'd be better off, surely, if more of us played Bruce Wayne - developing and applying our natural gifts (in his case, physical strength, mental acuity and vast wealth) to improve the world? Given that people are generally _not_ Batman, and cannot _be_ Batman, I don't think he's necessarily a good role model in anything more than the loosest aspirational terms.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2011


We'd be better off, surely, if more of us played Bruce Wayne

Bruce Wayne is a continuation of Batman by other means. But given that I'd already said "except for the actual vigilante part", I think we're mostly in agreement.
posted by Zed at 10:16 AM on April 8, 2011


Well, the question of whether Bruce Wayne is a mask worn by Batman or vice versa is a pretty old one, but in this case think the issue is what's meant by "playing Batman". You think that it means "striving to work at the limits of human mental and physical capacity in the service and protection of others". However, I think in the content of this discussion it means "having a utility belt stuffed with gadgets". What you're describing, more specifically, is being Batman, or at least imitating the heroic elements of Batman.

Someone with a gutting knife, a flensing knife and a stabbing knife but no bandages, emergency rations, water purification tablets or antiseptic isn't prepared to serve or protect people - they are prepared, at best, to stab, gut and flense people.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:17 AM on April 9, 2011


Someone with a gutting knife, a flensing knife and a stabbing knife but no bandages, emergency rations, water purification tablets or antiseptic isn't prepared to serve or protect people - they are prepared, at best, to stab, gut and flense people.

At best, yes.

Somehow or another, this thread led me to reading some survivalist forums. (You know how it is: "Well, I'm bored on the Internet. Maybe I'll go find some weird people saying weird shit to be weirded out by.") I was particularly struck by this one guy and his Bug Out Bag with something like 7 knives in it.

'course, the other people in that thread actually took him to task for it, but there is rather a lot of this mentality going around. A big expensive knife is a more appealing toy than, say, some gauze and a roll of surgical tape. You'd probably rather get into trouble with the person inclined to the latter.
posted by brennen at 10:36 AM on April 9, 2011


(And on following my own link, I notice that that guy is carrying a first aid kit in addition to all the excess hardware, so I suppose I could have found a better illustration for that point...)
posted by brennen at 10:39 AM on April 9, 2011


A big expensive knife is a more appealing toy than, say, some gauze and a roll of surgical tape. You'd probably rather get into trouble with the person inclined to the latter.

Agreed, but that guy and his seven knives (and his tent, warm clothing, first aid kit, firestarter, flashlight, and stash of emergency water and food) is still going to have a much greater chance of being able to help himself and others in an evacuation than someone without a bug-out bag, whether or not carrying seven knives is stupid (it is).

If the collector/Batman mentality actually leads to useful preparedness, I don't particularly care how dumb or silly it seems. Perhaps carrying seven knives is the evolutionary spandrel you get when you have modern American consumers capable of carrying useful stuff like duct tape and water...
posted by vorfeed at 10:59 AM on April 9, 2011


Perhaps carrying seven knives is the evolutionary spandrel you get when you have modern American consumers capable of carrying useful stuff like duct tape and water...

Yeah, that's not unreasonable. I view my own tendency to accumulate certain kinds of utility object as a mostly-harmless byproduct of 1) a culture of absurdly ramified material wealth, 2) having more money than I spend on the rent, 3) actual utility. Pretty much nobody needs as many kinds of pens and notebooks as I own, let alone the four different typewriters or six backpacks. But whatever. It's not doing much harm, apart from being kind of silly. At least I'll be able to take good notes, come the apocalypse.

I do think I'm going to put together a couple of "bug out bags" for the car and by the door in my apartment, probably working from Jim Macdonald's list, where it says:

"You can live to be ninety without a Rambo knife but hypothermia or dehydration will kill you deader'n dirt by this time tomorrow."
posted by brennen at 11:51 AM on April 9, 2011


I do think I'm going to put together a couple of "bug out bags" for the car and by the door in my apartment, probably working from Jim Macdonald's list, where it says:

I like to keep a bag at work, too: it has water, some food, some cash, a change of clothes (plus extra socks & undies), a flashlight, and a warm blanket, plus basic toiletry stuff. It's more like an "if I have to stay overnight at work" bag rather than a bug-out bag (that's in the car and at home), but it has come in handy more than once.

And yeah, the hypothermia/dehydration thing is key. I'm in the desert, where there's no ambient water and it gets cold at night -- I keep a lot of water and a sleeping bag/space blanket plus warm outerwear in the car. Those little chemical hand-warmers are good to have, also.
posted by vorfeed at 4:20 PM on April 9, 2011


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