OK, time to fess up. This post has got very little to do with hiking. I never, ever, carry the stuff I am chatting about here on any hike. It is bulky, heavy and other than one or two of the contents, mostly of little practical use on any backpacking trip.
What it is, is an example of what I am prone to do. Which is plan. Learn from my mistakes and inaction and be better prepared for repeated events in the future. I have been like this since I was a nipper.
Every day I go to work I have a pack slung over my shoulder. For the great majority of my time I work in London, but I always have a torch, screwdriver set, multi tool, water bottle and any number of other items in various pockets of my battered urban commuting 35lt pack from The North Face. Also, being in England, I have a waterproof packed, every single day of the year…
Recently I have been pulling much of my oddments together into one of the fantastic Vanquest EDC Slim Maximizer Organisers. I have also added a few recent purchases and am now content that my Every Day Carry (EDC) has the tools and other equipment that have not only proved themselves of use to me over the years, but now also give me a little more practicality and usefulness. I can put many of the contents to use most weeks, and on occasion most weekdays. It can get slung in the car for trips away and visits to my Mum where there may be the odd task that requires completing, as her battered old red biscuit tin under the sink with its even older selection of poor tools isn’t quite cutting it these days.
I have packed a lot into my EDC. Not only can I carry out a number of repairs, alteration, fixing or general ‘handyman’ tasks that require attention, but I also carry a modicum of First Aid items and small selection of hygiene products that will see me through the very occasional unexpected overnight stay.
Hygiene and First Aid
I have included a minimum of hygiene equipment for the occasional and unexpected overnight stop. Two of the great little compressed towels are incorporated. These can be used with the mini dropper bottle of Dr. Bronners Castille soap. This is a very concentrated and versatile soap that I can also use for shaving, brushing teeth or washing out clothes. A small compact Avid razor is included. These are of a very thin profile and I wish they were still made as I have few left. The mirror is one of the mini Star Flash acrylic mirrors (in a baggie to prevent scratches) and the toothbrush is a two-part affair from Muji. I also carry a small dropper bottle of hand sanitizer. For convenience, I have this more easily available and packed outside of the wash kit.
My First Aid kit is basic, a few band aids, dressings, tape, a couple of alcohol wipes, nitrile gloves and a little medication: Ibuprofen and Piriton. There are a few extra meds in my ‘midget’ EDC kit that I also carry. This is so very heavily based on that devised by The Urban Prepper that I need not show it here. Though I do also include 5m of 1mm spectra cord, different meds, a razor blade, emergency cufflinks (yes, really) and a couple of other items in my ‘Altoids’ tin in addition to his list.
Electronics in my Vanquest EDC are limited but useful. I have included a high quality Micro/USB charge cable, folding Mu USB plug. The 200mm long Innergie charge and sync cable is very adaptable. This will fit USB to Micro/Mini/30 pin Apple, I also have a Lightning adaptor on the end. Spare batteries carried are two CR2016 and two CR2032. All of this is in an especially tough and waterproof baggie. Two torches and a flood light are carried- the Thrunite T14 Penlight takes two AAA batteries (fitted), has a Cree XP-G2 LED and delivers four forms of light:
- Firefly (0.3 lumens for up to 137 hours)
- Low (24 lumens for up to 12 hours)
- High (252 lumens for up to 51 minutes)
- Strobe (252 lumens for up to 90 minutes)
As back up to this, the Photon Freedom Micro belies its diminutive dimensions. While it can deliver any strength of light from dim through to its maximum 5 lumens, the almost indestructible body holds two CR2016 or one CR2032 batteries. and will run for up to eighteen hours. Also in the kit are two AAA batteries stored in AAA to AA cell converters.
These will also fit the Lil Larry Nebo floodlight. This is handy piece of kit that will provide task lighting. It has a magnetic base so can be used for changing tyres or during power outage. While in its full length it takes three AAA batteries (fitted), it can also have a section of its length removed so that just two AAA batteries can be utilised. In full configuration it provides:
- High (250 lumens for up to 3 hours
- Low (95 lumens for up to 10 hours)
- Red Hazard flasher (for up to 10 hours)
Leatherman Raptor shears
These are an amazing piece of kit and really well made. Invariably they get used most as simply a better set of scissors than those on the Leatherman Charge carried in my EDC. However the 320HC stainless steel blades on these shears will cut through just about anything I may encounter- clothes, leather, webbing, straps etc. The tiny serrations on one blade really grip well and prevent items sliding out of the blades. There is a carbide glass breaker for auto glass windows in the base and a seat belt cutter that is easily deployed yet remains locked away until required. Obviously this can be more often used simply as a box cutter. There is handy little ring cutter placed discretely and un-noticed under the handle too. I seldom require the 5cm ruler and have never used the oxygen tank wrench incorporated. One of the best features of these 163g shears though, apart from their high quality, is their ability to swiftly fold away, or open, easily, with simple little lock buttons. They do come with a holster for First Responders, but I don’t include that in my kit. Instead I have it fixed to a mini carabiner hanging from the Maximiser pouch key fob and keep it in place, nested against my Leatherman bit extender, with one of the rare earth magnets in my kit.
Bit, driver and drill system
This kit has a complete and highly adaptable system. It mostly involves the excellent Leatherman Charge. Mine is one of the older models. Most frequently tasks will utilise the bit holder in the Leatherman Charge, possibly with the Leatherman Bit Driver Extender, extended still further if necessary with 1/4″ hex extender. Or the 1/4″ extender can be used just with the Victorinox Bitwrench. I can also use one of my three drill bits in any combination here. While it takes a little time, I have drilled clean through 2 inches of wood with the 6mm drill bit attached to the Leatherman Charge.
The majority of the bits included in my EDC are the ingenious flat, double ended, Leatheman Bits plus a couple of extras. In total there are 44 bits in my EDC, plus four tiny Phillips and flat head mini bits. Two sockets are also included. A dedicated 10mm head/ 1/4″ hex drive, while the Gator socket adaptor grip will fit heads from 7mm-19mm.
With the contents of my EDC I can loosen and tighten most common and uncommon screw heads, bolts and nuts from 1mm to 19mm. While Torx head bits are included, what I am looking for, to eventually include, are some 4mm micro bits for Security Torx heads. As an aid to this capability, a small adjustable spanner or the (smallest available) Knipex water pump pliers can be pulled from the kit. The pliers have recently replaced the small set of mole grips I used to carry.
Solkoa Grip-S handles
Though expensive, the hard anodised 6061 aluminium Solkoa Grip-S handles (there are two, joined together) are very useful. Not only can any standard flexible wire saw be fixed in using the set screws in each handle, and I include a 28″ wire saw in this EDC kit, but the handles can also take any round or hexagonal drive tool, up to 1/4″ diameter. A two ended flat/Phillips head bit is stored in the handle and the two handles are quickly separated by loosening one of the set screws with the flat screwdriver on the Gerber Shard pry bar. Any universal saw blade can be fitted into the Grip-S handles. I could have included a couple of the small jigsaw blades, which fit, but instead included two larger 130mm blades. One for wood (and nails) the other for metal.
I won’t go into detail on every item as reading from the list below they really are self-explanatory. There is an emergency twenty pound note secreted in the rear of the notebook. Tape measure gets used frequently. The titanium short-handled spoon is a ‘must have’, nappy pins can be used for hanging washing to dry and a thousand other uses, as can the paper clips and bobby pins. The lengths of wire can be bent into hooks for retrieving items or combined with the rare earth magnets to similar purpose. I would add a sachet of Sugru but it goes off too quickly if stored out of the fridge.
|Pouch||Vanquest EDC Slim Maximizer|
|Combination padlock||TSA compliant|
|Adjustable spanner||Small- 100mm. Jaws open to 13mm||Unknown make|
|Pliers||Knipex Cobra water pump pliers. Grips up to 27mm wide||Model 87 01 125. The ‘125’ in the model number refers to their length|
|Leatherman Raptor- Folding medical shears||420HC stainless steel scissors, strap cutter, ruler (1.9″/50mm), oxygen tank wrench, ring cutter, carbide tip glass breaker|
|Leatherman Charge multi-tool||Needlenose pliers, regular pliers, hard wire cutters, wire cutters, crimper, wire stripper, S30V knife blade, 420HC serrated knife with cutting hook, saw, scissors, 8″/19cm ruler, can opener, bottle opener, wood/metal file, diamond coated file, large bit driver (double ended 1/8″ / 3/32″ flat screwdriver bit fitted), small bit driver (small, double ended flat/Phillips screwdriver bit fitted), medium flat screwdriver. Pocket clip fitted|
|Leatherman bit driver extension||Fits into bit driver of Leatherman Charge, other end accepts Leatherman bits and 1/4″ hex bits||10mm socket is stowed attached to end of driver|
|1/4″ extension piece||75mm, magnetic|
|Victorinox Bitwrench||1/4″ hex drive||VICBW|
|23 double ended Leatherman bits||– Hex 3/32″ ; 5/64″
– Hex 1/16″ ; .050″
– Square bit #2 ; #3
– Square bit #1 ; pozi #3- Pozi#1; pozi#2
– Torx #10 ; #15
– Torx #20 ; #25
– Torx #27 ; #30
– Phillips #0 ; #3
– Phillips #1 ; #2- Phillips #1-2; screwdriver 3/16″
– Screwdrivers 3/32″ ; 1/8″
– Screwdrivers 5/32″ ; 3/16″
– Screwdrivers 7/32″ ; 1/4″
– Hex 1.5mm ; 2mm
– Hex 2.5mm ; 3mm
– Hex 4mm ; 5mm
– Hex 6mm ; 1/4″
– Hex 7/32″ ; 3/16″
– Hex 5/32 ; 9/64″
– Hex 1/8″ ; 7/64″
2 x – Phillips; flat tip eyeglasses screwdriver
|In two Leatherman bit holders with one mini bit and one double ended bit in the Leatherman Charge.
46 bit options, though a couple are duplicated.
|Wolfteeth universal gator socket adapter,with 1/4″ drive adapter||Fits 7mm – 19mm sockets. Also fits various nuts, screws, hooks, bolt heads, broken taps and knobs|
|Socket- 10mm head/ 1/4″ hex drive||A common size|
|Gerber Shard pry bar||In addition to pry, has Phillips head, two flat screwdrivers, wire stripper and bottle opener|
|Solkoa Grip-S handles||2 x hard anodised handles with set screws joined together over double ended Phillips/flat head screwdriver||Will hold any round or hexagonal, up to 1/4″ head, tool or any standard flexible wire saw|
|28″ flexible wire saw (in baggie)||For use with Grip-S handles|
|Stanley 152mm wood saw blade||For use with Grip-S handles||Model STA21192|
|Stanley 152mm metal saw blade||For use with Grip-S handles||Model STA22132|
|Retractable steel razor||With snap off stainless steel blades|
|Excel aluminium handle||Handle has adjustable jaws. Inside handle are six various mini file needles and an additional sewing awl||Model 70001|
|Hex drive drill bits- 6mm, 4mm,2mm||For use with either Grip-S handles, Leatherman Charge or 1/4″ drive turn key|
|1/4″ plastic turn key|
|Double ended steel craft tool||Arrow point and spatula end|
|2m steel tape measure||Muji||Code: 8215607|
|1m x 16swg tin plated copper wire|
|1m x plastic wrapped 12swg steel wire||Use with magnets for retrieving lost screws, keys etc.|
|4 x small rare earth magnets||Three stored attached to the bit holder and one attached to the bit extender keep tools in place in the pouch|
|Small tin with slide top||Contents:
2 x stainless steel M6 hex bolt, nut, washer
3 x zinc plated wood screw
2 x small countersunk brass woodscrew
2 x rawlplug
2 x nails
1 x small, 1 x large stainless steel screw eye
1 x stainless steel split ring
|2 x nappy pin|
|1 x paper clip
1 x medium paper clip (insulated)
1 x small paper clip
|2 x bobby pins|
|1 x binder clip|
|Anker Powerline USB/Micro||3′ braided cable.||Very tough double-braided Aramid exterior and toughened Aramid fiber core|
|Mu folding USB plug||Single USB outlet. 1amp||There are two USB oulet Mu plugs available, this is sufficient for my needs|
|Photon Freedom Micro||Button torch|
|Thrunite T14 Penlight||Cree XP-G2 LED
Firefly: 0.3 lumens, 137hours
|With 2 x Alkaline AAA (Duracell Plus Power).
One cell reversed to prevent accidental discharge
|Lil Larry Nebo- floodlight||Magnetic base, C.O.B. LED chip technology
High: 250 lumen, 3 hours
Low: 95 lumen, 10 hours
Red hazard flasher: 10 hours
|3 X Alkaline AAA (NEBO). One cell reversed. Light can be reduced in length with just 2 AAA batteries but I keep mine full length|
|2 x Li-ion Duracell AAA batteries||Stored in Sodial AAA to AA battery cell converters|
|2 x CR2016 batteries|
|2 X CR2032 batteries|
|Sharpie pen, stainless steel||Black, refillable, 0.4mm fine point||Model 1849740|
|Zebra F701 ball pen, stainless steel||Black medium||Model 44970|
|Faber Castell Perfect Pencil||With eraser and integrated extender/sharpener|
|Backpocket Journal||Tomoe River Edition||From Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork|
|£20||Stored in back of notebook (above)|
|5m x 550 paracord||In quick deploy hank|
|2 x velcro cable ties|
|6″ Nite Ize Gear Tie|
|2 x 400mm cable tie
1 x 150mm cable tie
|These are threaded into the lining of the pouch interior|
|2 x mini-biner|
|1m gaffer tape||Flat wound onto silicone release paper|
|Sewing kit||2m black Gütermann Sew-All thread
1 x large black button, 2 x small white buttons
2 x No. 7 embroidery/crewel needles
1 x No. 18 chenille needle
1 x Microtex 60/8 machine needle (for use with Excel handle)
|Stored in SD card case|
|Spoon||Small, Sea to Summit, hard anodised alloy|
|Mini Bic lighter||With 1m electricians tape wound on to it||Has quick release mini zip tie on it to prevent accidental discharge of gas|
|Hand sanitiser||Alcohol free||In mini dropper bottle|
|Hygiene kit||Mirror (mini StarFlash), Razors (Avid, fold flat), 20ml Dr Bronner’s liquid soap in mini dropper bottle, folding toothbrush, 2 x compressed travel towels||All in 130mm x 120mm Aloksac|
|Uncle Bills Sliver Gripper Tweezers||With holder|
|Fox 40 Micro whistle|
|Shelby mini tin opener|
|First Aid kit||2 x alcohol wipes, 2 x plasters (silver), 1 strip ‘cut to size’ plaster (10cm), 1 x dressing (small), 1 x Melolin dressing (5cm x 5cm), 4 x 45cm strips Leukotape, 30cm x 1cm zinc oxide tape, 30cm x 2.5cm Transpore tape, 4 x Ibuprofen, 7 x Piriton.
1 pair Nitrile gloves
|All in baggies|