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Monday, July 4, 2011

Tip of the Day: Watch the weight of your EDC bag

Original Article

One thing that I constantly do is re-evaluate the weight of my EDC/"Bag of Evil" Bag. In the case of my EDC gear, it's stuff that I am going to carry around on a daily basis, so I want to make sure that it is worth its weight.



What's wrong with carrying around a giant, 50lb ruck on a daily basis? Well, if your job calls for it, nothing. But Joe Average, desk jockey, salesperson, manager, and so on don't really need that much gear. Yes, I would recommend leaving your bowling ball collection at home.



Why watch the weight?



  • Comfort: Obvious one, here. Back/shoulder health, too.
  • Speed: Ultralight hikers like to talk about this a lot. You can cover ground faster with a lighter pack than if you're weighed down.
  • Flexibility: If you keep your pack light, it gives you the flexibility to add more stuff if your day/mission requires it. If it's jam packed and heavy then you loose that flexibility.
  • Maneuverability: It's a lot easier to move around, get in/out of vehicles and a do general daily stuff with a lighter pack.
  • Low Profile: People, especially in a work environment, see a giant bag and wonder "what the heck does that guy have in there?". It's unusual and draws attention.
If your bag is too heavy, it's time to audit the gear that you're carrying around. What do you use on a daily basis, and what do you use on an infrequent basis? If it's an infrequent basis, ask yourself two questions: 
  1. How critical is this that I have this on hand?
  2. How well can I predict a need for this item?
If it's critical to have--something like a first aid kit--then determine if you can cut back on that item or switch to something lighter weight. You can also look at moving heavier but still critical items to your vehicle. In the first aid kit example, reduce the size of the kit in your bag and beef up the one in your vehicle. 


If you can predict a need for the item fairly well, then I'd recommend moving it to a subload. For example, I have a "charging kit" that contains a battery backup for my iPhone (Tekkeon TekCharge), some redundant charging cables and a couple sets of extra batteries. In recently going through my gear, I realized that I only used the battery backup  when travelling--on long plane flights, camping and similar. On a daily basis, I just don't use it. And if there were to be a disaster situation, a fully charged iPhone is not a critical item. So, I've moved the backup battery and accessories into a separate kit--when I go on a trip, I can just toss that kit into my bag. Done and done.

So, in your quest for EDC nirvana, check the weight of your gear. Take it easy on your back. and don't carry anything not worth its weight. Cut, relocate and offset stuff as you can. Good luck!