EDC Part I – Gear Up

Posted: 10/10/2011 in Biker Madness
Tags: , , ,

Mojo's EDC - An Overview

As a follow up to an earlier post (in which I am riding about town practically naked) I decided to outline the gear I like to have with me when riding under NORMAL circumstances.  As it turns out, the more research I did for the piece, the more I discovered that the practice of having a set kit you keep with you every day is so common it even has an abbreviation all of it’s very own!

“Everyday Carry (EDC) or Every Day Carry refers to a small collection of tools, equipment and supplies that are carried on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous[1]. The term EDC also refers to the philosophy or spirit of ‘preparedness’ that goes along with the selection and carrying of these items. Implicit in the term is the sense that an EDC is an individual’s personal selection of equipment, arrived at after deliberation, rather than a standardized kit.”

Wikipedia

Now as you can see, by its very definition EDC is the kit which you have with you EVERY day and since I can’t afford to ride my bike to work EVERY day (much though I would love to), I decided to split my gear into two posts.  This first entry will outline the kit which I find essential to have with me all day, every day.  The second post will be a break-down of my current riding gear.

THE GEAR (a.k.a. Mojo’s EDC)

The Shades:

I don’t ever leave the house without these babies! Seriously… Never! Even if I only have to go into the yard to do something,  no matter for how short a duration, I grab my shades.  Apparently the effects of years and years of abuse my eyes have taken from dark rooms and bright monitors has finally manifested in the form of not handling natural sunlight very well at all.

As a rule, I don’t spend more than R30 on a pair as I tend to lose and break sunglasses at a rather alarming rate (Cape Town station and The Parade are both excellent places to get cheap knockoffs).  I know there is a school of thought that says “Protective eye-wear should be of the highest quality” but really, all I need is some shade for my battered peepers and protection from the wind when I ride.

The Wallet:

This is a no brainer for me and (I think) probably THE most standard pick for EDC universally among men and women.  It’s quite a challenge to operate in modern society without access to one’s funds and thus I assume it’s a given that the majority of people will take some form of wallet or money clip with them on their travels.

Ideally (as a dude) you want something that is not so bulky as to be confused for a purse but which still offers enough compartments for efficient use, preferably constructed from a lightweight but weather resistant material.  I know canvas is popular but I prefer genuine leather as it is seriously functional & durable whilst remaining pleasing to the touch and smelling so very refreshing indeed

I used to keep a number of important business cards and such handy (mostly roadside assistance, that sort of thing) but I recently scaled things back a bit and decided to relegate such information to my cellphone to conserve some space and allow for a lower profile wallet.  Now I only carry a small amount of emergency cash, plastic for big purchases and medical aid information and identification.

A popular variation on this is EDC item is to keep a second “fake” wallet with some chump change in it as a decoy.  The theory being that when you are mugged, the thief won’t shake you down for everything on your person but will happily be dissuaded with a paltry offering.  South African thugs tend to be a tad more thorough and I only have space  for a single wallet anyhow, but in case of muggings… I carry a big fucking knife!

The Wallet Pouch:

I have always been a fan of keeping one’s wallet in a snug, jeans’ side pocket, but the hassle of constantly having to semi-dismount my motorcycle every time I wanted to put in juice became increasingly more annoying.   I was recently packing up some of my brother’s old Navy gear and came across an old, black canvas ammo pouch which I immediately re-purposed for my wallet!  The military grade canvas means that it can’t just casually be ripped off whilst being mounted on my belt enables me to have easy access aswell as the ability to shift it to the front of my person when finding myself in dodgy surroundings. #WinWinSituation

The Cellphone:

This is another of those “No Brainer” items I think most people in the electronic age will have with them not only during their travels, but also during their loo breaks and possibly during sex (according to the interwebs).  I recently converted to Blackberryism, so I carry a BB Curve 8250 which is insanely cheap and enables me to communicate with my entire family (also on BB) via BIS for FREE!!! Just comms between myself and #TheWife are now saving us a buttload compared to what it was costing us before.

In addition to the usual contact information, I keep a number of important notes on my phone aswell.  I have everything from our electrickery box number to my pants size (in case #TheWife isn’t around to remember for me) aswell as a persistent grocery list which gets updated as needs be and measurements for certain spaces relevant to projects around the house.  I also keep several lists of games and movies I am actively looking for so I can refresh the old noggin if I do happen to be going to  a mall.

Another often overlooked feature of modern smart phones (even those without GPS built-in) is that you can use Google Maps quite effectively just by triangulating your position from local cell towers.  As a result, I now essentially have a roadmap in my pocket which I can access any time I get lost or confused… which is relatively often. 😛

I also recently adopted a brilliant tip I read about online regarding the I.C.E (In Case of Emergency) cellphone contact entry.  Most people keep their closest connection on speed dial “2” but our local medics have now also started searching victim’s phones for an entry under ICE for that all important emergency contact.  Well, what are you waiting for? Go do it now! It will take you 20 seconds and could just put officials in contact with your loved ones in rapid time.

As I mentioned in the “wallet” section, I also recently relegated all the information I used to have on cards in my wallet to my cellphone.  This means that the phone is even more important to me should I require roadside assistance in an emergency, hence, I am diligent about making sure that it’s always charged up good and solid before I hit the road.  As far as potential cellphone theft goes, have I mentioned my big fucking knife yet?

The Keychain:

Aaaaahhhh, this is really an old friend and favourite!  I have been using the same keychain for more than a decade now.  The poor thing has been broken to pieces in drunken street fights and then cobbled back together I don’t know how many times.  It may be a little shorter than it was when I first got it, but old trusty skulls has been keeping my keys and various bits where I can see, hear and (most importantly) single-handedly operate them for years now.

History has taught me that it is sometimes handy to have  a small, serrated edge to perform certain tasks and this is why I started carrying a tiny “claw” folding blade on my main bunch of keys.  This small blade is not really accessible or large enough to be considered an effective form of protection, but works a treat as a handy little tool.  I also keep a spare car key (to assist #TheWife if needs be) and keys for the various locks which are part and parcel of my life.

I keep my keychain in two parts which can either be worn as a set when I am pedestrian, or broken apart and separated when I ride.  The main chain contains my bike key and a bottle opener, this detaches from a ring containing my house keys, a few spare keys and my utility knife.  I pocket the latter whilst riding so that in the event of a wipeout there is less chance of losing them aswell as no chance of scratching my tank.  This also allows me to loop the chain around my clutch cable and fasten it securely to itself so that on bumpy roads my bike key may pop out of the ignition, but it’s not going anywhere 😀

Like So!

Of course, in a pinch the combination of keys adding weight to the main length of chain results in a fairly serviceable weapon.  Only to be used as a last-ditch effort, it will at least save having to take off my belt to get a slightly “ranged” weapon (and lose all my other trimmings in the process!).

The Knife:

Mr. Stabby

“Speak softly… and carry a big fucking knife!” – Anonymous (Paraphrased from Theodore Roosevelt)

Words to live by! 😉  All jokes aside though, I feel that a man is remiss in these dark times if he doesn’t take at least SOME steps toward the preservation of not only his own safety, but also that of his family or any wards who may fall under his supervision.  Though I would preferably have some form of firearm for this purpose, our local gun regulations and also my own slightly… shall we say “fiery mentality”, have required me to investigate alternatives.

I used to carry a small “Oukappie” collapsible blade, primarily for protection, when I travelled on public transport but recently I find myself doing more and more solo riding into desolate areas, so I decided to upgrade to something a bit more versatile aswell as awe-inspiring.

As with any EDC item, conscious deliberation and thoughtful planning are the key to successfully selecting the right knife for your situation and circumstances.  The Oukappie worried me on several levels.  The fear of fumbling whilst trying to open the blade in a heightened state of angst during an emergency was what prompted me to look into a fixed blade solution.  I didn’t want to break the budget and also wanted something that would not only be useful for protection but could serve as a multipurpose tool also.

I found fell in love with this little gem and scooped it at a very good price from a stall specialising in self-defense paraphernalia in Cape Gate, Brackenfell.  It’s of very sturdy construction and not so huge that it makes a nuisance of itself when worn discreetly.  I now keep Mr. Stabby IWB (Inside Waist Band) on my right hand side anytime I am wearing pants, as I know from experience that a weapon you don’t have with you every day is a weapon you should rather just leave at home.

The “Knife Sheath”:

“A knife is not carried, it is worn.” – Anonymous

Sadly, the less said about the piece of shit fabric panty waste which comprises the “sheath” supplied with my knife, the better.  Admittedly, this is known to be a common problem amongst knife enthusiasts, but a quick Google search will reveal a wealth of information on making one’s own sheath, be it leather or Kydex or even something special (Adamantium anybody?).  I will be acquiring the tools I need and some leather at the end of this month and will hopefully be able to update this post shortly with my shiny new, home-made leather sheath.

The Zippo:

Now, every man knows that the ability to make fire or “flame-age”, is quite essential to survival both in nature aswell as the urban sprawl of modern society.  Bearing that in mind I equip my person with a trusty Zippo whenever I leave the house so as to light fires to braai any lions I may have killed in the wild, SOS pyres and (of course) many, many, MANY joints! 😀

My family blessed me with my current Zippo on Father’s Day and I am eternally grateful as it is easily the most stylish lighter I have ever had.  #BadASS

Let it be noted that I AM aware that there are a shitload of alternatives for making fire.  I know all about you lot in the back with your flint bits hidden away in your twine sacks, but all I need is a rudimentary means for lighting joints and the occasional braai, I am a city dweller after all.

I did recently read that a lot of survivalists prefer the butane inserts you now get to replace the standard Zippo innards.  It makes sense, but I don’t do such heavy outdoorsy stuff that I need to worry about my fluid evaporating in the mountains and such.  Standard clink, swish, flick for me thank you very much!

The Zippo Pouch:

If you’re going to carry a Zippo, there really is only one way to do it right.  The pouch allows for easy access as well as “shock and awe” tactics if you practice your draw and surprise random smokers by lighting their ciggies unexpectedly! #GreatWayToMeetNewFolk

I had one of these authentic Zippo pouches back in the day, and it lasted for years but has now been put into storage for purely sentimental reasons as the front clip is bust.  My new Harley Davidson branded replacement is swanky enough, but I was disappointed to note that the original metal clip design has been eschewed in favour of a new folding leather belt loop which clips into the back of the pouch.  As someone who often pulls his Zippo to light “things” whilst seated, I cannot express how much FAIL this design is full of!

There are two mods I would highly recommend you do immediately once this product has been removed from the packaging and BEFORE you decide to take it for a test drive/ride.  For more details check out this other blog post of mine.

The Joint Case:

It has been mentioned numerous times now throughout this article that the selection of EDC is a very personal thing and will be quite dramatically different from person to person.  Me, I’m not ashamed to say I like to get high! Thus, I will generally not leave the house without at least a joint or two pre-rolled and packed into this bad boy.

Of course, I don’t take weed with me to work every day (mostly just Fridays) but if I’m hitting the road for a bit of random fun, you can be rest assured that I will be ready to blaze it up at a moment’s notice!

This case was a birthday gift from my old man and has been with me for many years now, not only surviving the hardships of week-long parties and numerous rallys but also doing an excellent job of keeping my stash presentable and safe.

The HDD:

In these times of global financial hardships we can no longer expect our friends to just ante up blank DVD’s anytime we want to acquire some new pirate movies & series   Seriously though, I find it handy to keep a small, self-powered 500GB Western Digital Passport drive with me as I travel.  I keep my complete music library aswell as some entertainments for when work gets slow on there along with whatever “important” documents I might currently need to review.  It’s also nice to have the capacity to grab a good few chunks of data if I should happen upon something interesting whilst visiting a friend or just arbing around the work network.

Now, this is where another of the caveats of EDC mentality comes in.  Not every part of your EDC gear necessarily NEEDS to be on your person, all the time.  In the case of my HDD, I will usually stash it in my work bag if I am heading for the grind, but can just as easily pop it into my leather’s pocket if I am travelling “sans bag”.

The USB Stick:

I can almost hear the anguished cries of “But… you already have that 500GB drive with you! WTF?” Well, in my line of work I often need to get information rapidly between a variety of machines and often that means cross-platform (Mac, PC and Linux) so I have added an 8GB Data Traveller to my EDC.  The kicker, is that this 8GB is formated to FAT32, an unwieldy file system from the dark ages, but very compatible for both reading AND writing from all the platforms I work across.  Hence WD Passport = Personal/Fun and the Data Traveller = Work Work.

The Possible Future Additions:

Of course, as I was researching this post I came across many excellent ideas for additional kit which all have their merits, but I fear that if taken to an extreme I will end up looking like some kind of Rambo-fied “Mall Ninja”!  One thing that I DO feel is lacking from my current EDC is a decent, compact flashlight of some kind.  I am going to be looking at acquiring a tactical flashlight in the next month or two, now I just have to figure out where the fuck to put it!

Another tool worth checking out might be the Res-Q-Me.  It hangs from your car key and detaches in order to either cut safety belts or break windows depending on your emergency, your car being submerged in water for instance.  Despite the ridiculous promotional video this seems to be a very solid and inexpensive tool which could just end up saving you and your family’s lives.

Sources and interesting links:

http://www.jayfisher.com/Knife_Sheaths.htm

http://www.itstactical.com/gearcom/edc/every-day-carry-careful-and-reasonable-planning-is-the-key-to-success/

http://www.resqme.com/

http://www.hausofguns.com/2011/04/01/what-is-edc/

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