Whats in Guest Blogger Caseys Bag

Outside_bagWhy I carry a bag everyday.

First let me start this off by saying that this is not a bug out bag (BOB) or anything like that. I like to think of my bag as a toolbox I haul around with me most places because I never know what I will need. I typically have this thing crammed with pretty much everything I may need. On a serious note, you would be amazed how beneficial it can be to carry one of these bags. Obviously there are many important components to a EDC bag but the most important is having a solid foundation, the bag.

Lets start with my bag.

Insidebag_1Insidebag_2Kifaru Koala

Why I chose this bag.

Versatility and size were the two most important factors that went into choosing this pack. I wanted a bag that could transform to multi-task yet be lightweight and comfortable to carry on the go. The Koala is an 800 cubic inch pack that weighs in at less than 2 lbs. Two things make this pack stand out from others in its size class. First is the availability of straps and slings that can transform this pack into a waist pack, chest rig, or shoulder bag. It is nice to have to options available to fit the necessary tasks an everyday carry bag requires. The second most important aspect to this pack is the available CCW pouch and it’s easy accessibility. This pack offers a CCW pocket that utilizes a Velcro patch to organize your pistol and additional magazines. For those who do not know, “CCW” is an acronym for Concealed Carry Weapon.

contents_FNLFirekitThe contents.

Starting from the bottom left.

Moleskine notebook (Got to love the embroidered Arc’teryx logo)

Rite in the rain – Black ink Clicker pen 97

Tree finder manual – Identification of Trees by their leaves.

(Just for fun BTW I’m a nerd)

Replacement Lacets for Salomon XA Pro shoes

Blind Horse Frontier Valley 3”fixed blade

– O1 Tool Steel

– Orange Micarta handle

– Custom Kydex sheath

Benchmade Combo Field Sharping Kit

Jetbeam RRT-0 XM-L (CR123) Flashlight

Jebeam AA Extender

Zebralight H502 CW Headlight (AA)

-260 Lumens with 1 x Eneloop AA battery

-3 months runtime at min output

-Glow in the dark reflector

-2.8oz with battery and headband

4 x Sanyo Eneloop AA NiMH batteries

The benefits of using Sanyo Eneloops.

One Eneloop battery is equivalent to purchasing 1500 Alkaline batteries. Each battery can last over 3 years, compared to 6 months to a year with traditional rechargeable sets. Additionally, each battery can discharge at a higher and faster rate.

4 x Surefire CR123s

AMK Survival Medic Kit

-SOL Emergency Blanket,

-Fire Lite sparker

-Tinder-Quik tinder

-SLIM Rescue Howler whistle

-Duct tape

-Button compass

-Antiseptic wipes

-Gauze, Bandages

Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets 12 Pack

Personal Medic Kit

Burt’s Bees lip balm

Harmonica

Hand Sanitizer

Ice Breaker Quantum Merino Gloves

Benchmade – 7 hook Black Oxide X15-T.N

Leatherman Carabineer tool

Glock 19 Gen 3

2 x Glock 17 magazines

I am always adding and taking away items from my pack. I personally enjoy seeing what other people are using in their EDC packs because there is always a different perspective and purpose.

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What is in “My” Bag

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I have always been drawn to what people carry in their bag . As you might have gathered, I am a big fan of putting systems into place so you are never without anything you would need on a daily basis, like the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”. Over the years I have started to dial in what I carry on my person, as well as in my bag to make my systems a little more efficient. I’ve read a lot o blogs on what others carry that was super helpful. If you’re not careful you’ll carry way too much stuff – stuff you don’t use or stuff you double up on. You always want to make sure when it goes into your bag that is well thought out, and that you use it. To make it simple I have a rule: if i don’t use it at least once a week I take it out.

The Bag Itself:I have tried just about every type of bag in different configurations to find the one that would fit all I wanted to carry as well as organize all my gear ina logical way. I tried backpacks, messenger bags, just plain computer sleeves, etc and I finally came across one of the best bags on the market in my opinion – the Ram from Timbuk2. This bag is amazing. It is made out of ballistics nylon and has a TPU lining but the best part? It’s a hybrid – both a shoulder bag anda backpack, all in one.The bag looks like a messenger style with a flap in the front that opens to a little front pocket. To gain access to the main compartment you open a zipper. Themain compartment is where all the organization is held. On the back wall of the bag there are two fairly deep zippered pockets. On the front of the bag thereis your traditional organization pockets – places for pens and pencils and a couple of different sized pockets for various small things. Inside the main compartment in the back of the bag there is a zippered laptop sleeve. Then on the back of the bag itself is a sleeve that can be used to slide your bag over your rolling luggage (which may be closed via velcro when not in use). The bag can be worn vertical as a backpack with the backpack straps that are attached. If you do not wish to use the shoulder straps they can be tucked away in a secret compartment or you could use just the shoulder strap – which is how I personally like to carry the bag.What’s inside? These are the thing I’ve come up with:

The Main Compartment:

‣ iPad

‣ Moleskin Plain Note book

‣ Cannon Powershot G10

‣ Book (changes depending on what mood I’m in)

‣ Pens (I have a bunch of different pens I like to carry)

‣ Nintendo DS (to relax)

‣ Notecards and sticky tabs

Zipper Pouch 1

‣ Hygeine kit

• Body Spray

• Gum

• First Aid

• Toothpicks

• Floss

• Mouth wash

• Toothbrush

• Titanium Spork

• Nail Clippers

• Tweezers

Zipper Pouch 2

‣ Electronics Kit

• IPhone ear buds

• Gorilla pod (mini tripod)

• The Glif

• IPhone lens kit

• Batteries

• Moshi Charger

• Griffin mini connecters

• IPhone plug

• USB cord

• SD cards

• SD card reader

• Square reader

• IPad SD card reader connector

• car charger

Front Flap Conpartment

‣ EDC Kit

‣ Fire Starter kit

Computer Sleeve

‣ Blue Tooth keyboard For IPad

Everything in my bag i use on a regular basis. Trust me when I say, this bag has come a long way since I started! It takes time to come up with what works for you in your daily life. I encourage you to start gathering things for your bag and through trial and error you’ll get your systems in place, too. Good luck.

Review Of Fenix E15

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Fenix E15 Light – Will this little light be the powerhouse I need it to be?

I picked the E15 to be the first product I reviewed since I had mentioned it earlier in my EDC Keychain post.

I needed something that fit in my pocket without being too bulky; that gave off a considerable bit of light both in close range and in distance. The downsize to most little pocket-sized lights is that although adequate for up-close projects like viewing maps or fidgeting with your keys to unlock the door in the dark, they’re not good for viewing anything at a distance. I wanted something that I could use not only to illuminate my backyard but to potentially use as a light while on the trail at night (I may have a burly beard and some may consider me to be a big, strong guy – but one little twig snap in the middle of the woods at night and I scream like a little girl and I need a sufficient light to investigate).

After some research online and a bit of time playing with all the small lights we had in my outdoor store, I found the E15 to be the perfect match to the criteria I had established. It is a big light in a little package.

 SPECS:

-Max output is 170 lumens.

-3 modes (at 10 lumens, 75 lumens or 170 lumens – bright, brighter, brightest).

-Max run time is 30 hours.

-Runs off 1 lithium CR123A battery.

-Beam distance is 290 feet.

-Impact resistant to 1 meter.

-Has an IPX-8 Rating

-Light source is a Cree XP-ELED.

-Weighs 23 grams.

It’s a simple little light to operate. It’s a one-handed twist of the head to turn on – which will automatically bring you to the medium setting of 75 lumens. Turn once more to get to the low, then once again to get to the maximum setting. The one downside to this light is that there is no internal memory – which means every time you turn it off it will reset back to the medium setting.

Insert plug of my store here – You can find the Fenix E15 at Diamond Brand Outdoors online or in store. Otherwise check with your local outdoor retailer or head over to their website – www.fenixlight.com.

This is an overall great light and I recommend it!

EDC KEYCHAIN LIGHT HACK

EDC KEYCHAIN LIGHT HACK

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So this is a fun little hack for your EDC keychain light. It was brought to my attention by one of my customers at Diamond Brand. We were talking about how our EDC light lenses were getting hazy from scratches they were receiving from the stuff in our pockets. He showed me what he was using to help with that –  a vinyl cap that he got from his job. These caps come off industrial drill bit tips, but you can pick some of them up from a couple of different websites. One of the best ones I found is called stockcap.com. You can get different sizes, shapes and colors. The downside is it is hard to get these caps in small quantities. But the cap is a very nice add on – It not only protects your lights’ lens but if you buy it in red it turns your light into a red light which is great for doing small tasks at night without losing your night vision. The cap that I found fits my Fenix E15 light but you can find different sizes on the web to fit different light you might use. Have fun with this hack.

EDC Keys

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First, let’s start by defining what EDC is. EDC stands for EveryDay Carry and it refers to a small collection of tools, equipment and supplies that are used on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous. I have adopted this practice and have built some systems to be able to deal with whatever life can throw at me. It starts with my keys, goes to the bag I made to carry with me, then to the gear I have in my truck. All the systems I have in place are to get me from work to my truck and then home.

    Over the last couple of months I started to think about all the things that I thought I would like to have with me. Or the times I needed something and I didn’t have it, I made a mental note or wrote it down. I recommend doing this exercise to determine what you need on your keychain before you go out and buy a bunch of stuff – before you know it you might have 10 pounds of stuff in your pocket. So I went through all those exercises and came up with a combination that works for me. My keys, or what I refer to as my ‘EDC keys’ in my previous blog, are the first system I go to if I need anything or if I have a situation that comes up.

        So what exactly do I carry on my keychain? Or course the basics – house keys, car keys. The things that I have added:

  • Fenix E15 Light with Red cap
  • Leatherman Style Multitool
  • True Utility Pea lighter
  • LaCie Key 4gb USB key

Fenix E15 Light w/ Red Cap: I wanted a light source that was usable light, meaning a brighter light than most keychain lights. I wanted it to go a good distance. I came up with the Fenix E15 light. The E15 is 140 lumens and throws a beam up to 100 yards and runs off one CR123 battery. The red cap that is on the end is for protecting the lens of the light and also it can be used as a red light. I will be doing a full review of the Fenix E15 in my review section of my Blog. Also I will talk about the red cap hack in the hack section.

    Leatherman Style Multitool: I was in need of a tool that had the knife, scissors, nail file, tweezers… The tool that had all these was the Leatherman Style. It is small, low profile and fits the keychain well and of course it came in matte black. I needed a small knife to open boxes and do other small tasks and this was a great tool for it. I play outside a lot and get dirt under my nails so I needed a nail file and then you never know when you need scissors and tweezers.

     True Utility Pea Lighter: The next thing that I wanted was a lighter. I used to carry a zippo with me even though I’m not a smoker… I like carrying a lighter just in case you need to light something on fire. The down side to the zippo was the fuel would evaporate too fast. It took a little bit of searching and reading of some EDC blogs until I came across the True Utility Pea lighter. This is a great key-sized lighter. The best part is the fact it has an o-ring that keeps the fuel from evaporating, so you will always have a flame on you.

    LaCie Key 4GB USB key: The last thing on the keyring is the LaCie USB 4G key. This idea came to me after reading a lifehacker blog post about how you should always have a USB on you. So I thought about it and it’s true –  you never know when you need to save a document or carry a couple of movies in your pocket. One of the reasons I chose the LaCie key was that is is shaped like a key and looked great but also it came with not only 4GB storage, but it also came with 3 gigs in a cloud that you could encrypt with a password. On my key, I have a word document labeled ‘Emergencies’ where I have names and numbers for all mine and my wife’s contacts, such as phone numbers and close relative information.  I also have a copy of our insurance cards. On the encrypted cloud storage I have my drivers license and passport photos as well as some other things I felt I should have on me just in case of emergencies.

   Well, there you have it  – what I carry with me everyday on my keys. Like I said earlier, these are the things that I deemed necessary to have with me. You might find you need some of these things,  but not all or that you find you just want a light. This blog post was merely an example of what I carry. You can find most of these items at your local outdoor gear store. If not,  look for them on Amazon.

Whats in “Your Bag”

I have always been intrigued with what people carry in their bags. It is interesting to see what people deem necessary to have with them on a daily basis. It’s also cool to see how the bag they choose to carry directly influences how they like to organize and what kind of style they have.

So I thought for the fist series of posts I would show you what I carry on me everyday; the bag I use and the way I organize it, and also the things that I deem necessary to carry with me. I will review some of the gear that I have, as well as give some ideas on organizing it all, and a couple of hacks I have learned over the years. And further on down the road, I’ll delve into my EDC – Every Day Carry Kit- which I believe is essential to have with me above all else.

Speaking of EDCs, we’re starting with the basics… My EDC keychain. Stay tuned…