What Did You Prep This Week?

Walk With God

Made it back to Sunday school this week which was a positive. On the down side I really didn’t spend much time at all in prayer or studying the Bible.

Self Defense/Hunting

A few weeks back I bought a “Tactical Pen” to carry in non-permissive environments. While on my way to board a plane for a business trip last week I discovered that I had left it in my other bag by mistake. So, as I went from meeting to meeting in and around New Orleans (one of my least favorite places to be disarmed) I basically had nothing to defend myself with. To make sure this didn’t happen again I went ahead and purchased another “TactiPen” so I can have one in each bag and won’t end up in quite that situation again.

Tactipen!

ETS has been getting a lot of press lately for their magazines and a buddy told me that they had released a line of magazines for the Glock 42 and 43. They are polymer magazines and offer an extra round of capacity over the standard Glock magazines. They also have a +6 magazine that is most definitely not flush fitting but I had to order one anyway! I decided to go ahead and try one of their AR magazines too since I was already placing an order.

I de-primed and cleaned the brass from my last range session. I like to have the brass prepped and ready to go then I can reload it when I get around to it and the brass is ready to go.

Supplies/Gear

When we started our little garden last year I decided to use stakes for growing tomatoes. They seem to work reasonably well on varieties of tomatoes that don’e grow too tall and produce fairly small fruit like cherry tomatoes. For the larger plants and varieties we are growing this year they don’t seem to work all that well so I broke down and purchased the wire cages for all my tomato plants and even a few of my pepper plants. Wonderful Wife had already done so on her one tomato plant that she has on the back porch and it has worked well for her so, hopefully, this will help the plants in the garden produce better and be a little more hardy as well.

With hurricane season kicking in we rotated food out of the emergency pantry and into the regular pantry and then put a list together to replenish what we need.

We received another shipment of freeze dried foods this month and I have been very pleased so far…I really need to do a post on it….

Finances

No activity this week.

Fitness/Health

Like my walk with God I have done very little this week to improve my physical health. In fact, it has been more the opposite. I haven’t exercised all week and only stretched a couple of times. I have been eating tons of junk food and drinking lots of soda…

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless

Knives Tale

First off, I want to make it clear that I am not a “knife guy.”

Yes, I carry a knife almost every day.

Yes, I have a nice collection of knives of various sorts.

Yes, I love checking out cool new knives.

But to me, knives are just tools. Tools that are to be used, regularly, for whatever I need to use them for. Most of the time that involves cutting something whether that is opening boxes and packages, trimming plants, opening the mail, or preparing food. They also get used for any sort of other purpose that may come up; pry bar, hammer, screwdriver, or even for self-defense should the need arise.

I sharpen them as needed but don’t use stones or fancy equipment. Generally I use a Smith’s Two Stage Sharpener like this one:

They are cheap, easy to use, easy to carry, easy to use and result in a serviceable edge.

Knife guys cringe when they read or hear about how I use, abuse and “care” for my knives. Which is how I know that I am not a “knife guy.”

For a big chunk of my adult life a cheap single-bladed Barlow picked up on a whim accompanied me every day, generally in a pocket with keys or in the coin pocket of my jeans. It did everything I needed it to for years and cost less than $10 at a small town WalMart. Eventually, the blade snapped off (completely this time) and I went looking for a replacement. Knives like this are apparently no longer in favor with most folks and the ones I could find were either super cheap knives made in Pakistan that I wouldn’t trust for anything other than being a display or really nice, really high end knives.

After trying quite a few different knives and styles I finally found the STL 2.5 from Gerber.

Gerber STL 2.5

I picked one up from a large sporting goods retailers based on how thin and light it was. I worked in an office that was non-permissive when it came to “weapons” and I wanted something as thin and light as possible to carry in my pocket. That was at least five or six five years ago and I have been carrying it ever since on an almost daily basis.

Despite being a pretty simple, and cheap knife it just works and, more importantly, lasts. Despite being used and abused in a high humidity and somewhat corrosive environment (lots of saltwater on the Texas Gulf Coast) it hasn’t rusted. The black finish is a bit worn in areas mostly from living in a pocket with keys and other random items but the finish is unbelievably tough for the price. I like this little knife so much I bought a spare for when I lose or finally destroy this one.

I have tried several different knives during the time I have carried the STL but none have been able to replace it on a daily basis. The Kershaw 1830 OSO SWEET has come about as close as any.

Kershaw 1830 OSO SWEET

The 1830 is a little too big and bulky to carry in most office settings or when wearing nicer clothes but it has replaced the STL outside of those situations. The blade is about a half inch longer and a good bit thicker. The profile of the blade makes it a lot stronger than the STL but it still holds a nice edge. The only complaint that I have is that the un-coated 8Cr13MoV steel stains easily. I haven’t seen any rust but it has picked up discolorations from several tasks including cutting steak and potatoes for a camp dinner one night.

Based on my experiences with this Kershaw I tried the 3840 Freefall. It was a bit bigger and heavier knife but seemed to be a good choice for a more “survival” oriented knife plus the blade is coated with a “stone washed” finish that I thought might prove more stain resistant.

Kershaw 3840 Freefall

Unfortunately, the finish on the blade does seem to stain pretty easily compared to my cheap little Gerber and, to be honest, the extra weight and bulk has been tough to get used to. It get’s left behind most of the time.

The newest knife in my carry line up is also from Kershaw. On paper, the 1660CKT Leek seemed to be an almost perfect replacement for the STL 2.5. It had everything I was looking for. It is thin and light so it could replace the Gerber in non-permissive environments but with a longer, heavier blade and it is coated (also in black). It has some other features that I really like as well. It is super fast and easy to open (almost scary fast). In fact I can open it as fast as any auto opening knife I have ever tried. It has a lock to keep it from opening in my pocket (has never happened) the the clip is removable and reversible. To be honest it is more than double the cost of the STL as well. However, in just a few months of carrying this little guy I did discover one weakness, the tip of the blade is very thin and is already bent from using (inappropriately) as something other than a cutting tool. It is still usable and, to be honest, the bend is very slight and not terribly noticeable. Nevertheless, it will probably end up in the drawer when I keep my knife collection rather than in my pocket…

That’s my knive’s tale. What’s yours?

God bless

Modular EDC Project: The Results

This was, overall, a good exercise. Even after spending several hours digging through and organizing my stuff I honestly didn’t change much but what I did change is good. As a personal exercise, this really was a pretty good investment of my time. I found some items that were either expired or ruined, tons of duplication in what I was carrying and I reorganized all my first aid supplies.

Probably Shouldn’t Use Light Colored Carpet In A Shop Area…

Goal Number One: A Smaller “Critical Items” Bag

It is not perfect, it is not as light or small as I would like but it works and it has what I consider to be my “critical items” and a few that are not so critical but it works.

Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer

It is nowhere near what I would call “micro” but this little pouch/bag/organizer does fit in any of the cargo pockets I have tested it in. It is a little heavy but I should be just a matter of getting used to it being there as I have with my gun, knife, etc. I added a small carabiner clip which allows me to attach it to a belt loop or another bag. I can also just toss it into another larger bag. The front pocket holds a few packets of hand sanitizer.

Opening it up I have a small tube of lip balm, a little container of over the counter pain relievers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen), flashlight, over the counter antacid (rantidine), and the first truly critical item Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Wonderful wife has a sever food allergy that we have, as yet, been able to identify. One of these as soon as the symptoms start to show saves a trip to the emergency room (or worse).

(Very) Minor First Aid

In the pocket to the left I have a few first aid items to treat (very) minor injuries; antiseptic wipes, band-aid, bandage, antibiotic ointment and eye drops. I won’t be able to deal with any serious injuries but it is small and light enough to carry and will help when the grand kids (or Pappa) get a little injury. I plan on adding a few more items as there is plenty more room in the pocket. I keep all of it in a sealed plastic bag to make it easier to get in and out and to help keep the antiseptic wipes from drying out.

The right hand pocket contains a surgical mask (thanks thoughtfullyprepping for the suggestion) and glucose tablets. Both of these items could be considered “critical.” I have issues with my blood sugar and the glucose tabs can help keep my going until I can get some real food in me. The surgical mask can help protect against airborne toxins and contaminants. I plan to upgrade to a better mask shortly and to include a second mask as well.

Everything in here is TSA (and other restricted environments) safe and can be easily pocketed or carried with most of my clothes. It has just the basics and some critical items so it is not too bulky or heavy.

Goal Number Two: Better Organization

Starting out, I had visions of several small packs that could be combined and recombined as needed depending on what was going on and where I would be. That was probably just a little bout of OCD and I got over that quickly. I did however combine all my TSA unfriendly stuff into one of the organizers I bought. That way I know quickly and completely that I am safe for airport travel and I can also tell at a glance that I have restored it when I am done.

Not TSA Safe…

I will probably change out the knife for a better one shortly. The rest will stay.

Goal Number Three: Deduplication

This part worked pretty well. Other that work related items I only have a few things in my work bag.

Work bag contents

Gone is almost all the stuff that is in my EDC bag and the only items left are things that make sense. Yes, everything here duplicates what I have in my EDC bag but this is WAAAYYY less that what was there before. By cleaning out my laptop bag of the duplicate items I can fit the entire EDC bag into it if I need to. The “critical items” bag can be tossed in or kept in a pocket.

All in all I am pretty please with the (small) changes I have made. I think it will go a long way to making sure I have what I need, when I need it and that it is still usable.

God Bless

What Did You Prep This Week?

Walk With God

My walk with God is still going well. We went to church and Sunday school on Easter. It was a great and uplifting service. Our Wednesday night Bible study resumed this week after the break for Easter and, as always, I learned a lot. I was not 100% on my prayer time and personal Bible study. Work and laziness provided excuses to skip a day but I was able to pick it back up again and finish the week strong.

Self Defense/Hunting

I bought a “lead sled” be Caldwell to help me sight in my rifles. I still haven’t made it out to the range but I was able to make  short work of laser bore-sighting a couple of rifles out to 24 yards in my backyard.

I bought two more lower parts kits. I plan on building an AR for each of my grand kids. It will be a while before they are ready for them so I buy parts when I see them on sale for a good price. I am also considering another pistol build, possibly in 300 Blackout…

Supplies

I reorganized my EDC. I’ll post the details later in the week.

Fitness/Health

My blood pressure is almost back to “normal” and the secondary infection I picked up is healing so I should be fit shortly. My strength and stamina are still not back to where I was before we got sick but it is moving in the right direction.

I did my stretches every day this week and only missed one day of exercise. I was also able to increase the number of reps I do this week. Wonder Wife wants to join a gym so we signed up for trial memberships at a small place around the corner. I hate exercising in those laces but Wonderful Wife thinks it will help her so I’ll go along to help support her efforts to get in shape.

Finances

One of the stocks we own paid a dividend and we requested a check for them. I plan on reinvesting the money in something more stable than the stock market or making a contribution to our IRA.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

God Bless

Modular EDC Project: Part One

A week or so ago I posted about trying a more modular approach to my everyday carry (EDC) approach. I purchased a couple of organizers from Maxpedition and was eager to get started. Silly things like work and family seemed to keep getting in the way so this took a little longer than expected.

I had several goals in mind when I came up with this little exercise.

First and foremost was that I have become a bit lazy of late with regards to my EDC and I have been leaving the bag in the car rather than carrying it around everywhere. The problem is that some really critical items (and some not so critical items) were in the car instead of on my person.  For an idea of what I was lugging around and what my EDC looks like check these posts:

My EDC

Everyday Carry (EDC) Bag Dum

The secondary goal for this exercise was to be able to organize certain types of gear into discreet containers. One example was that I could have an organizer with TSA unfriendly items so I could pull them quickly and easily without having to pull the bag apart and run the risk of missing something.

The final goal was to reduce a little duplication. I have my EDC bag and I have a laptop bag that I carry when visiting client sites. I have a lot of stuff duplicated between them such as first aid kits, flashlights, knives, multi-tools, etc. With so much duplication it is easy to overlook something that is running low in one or the other bag. It’s also hard to rotate through it especially since some of it can go bad or expire.

It was not one of my goals originally but ThoughfullyPrepping provided some very useful advice on the initial post:

Everyone considers the kit. It’s the be all for everyone.
Only when you think about it there is little you can’t find if you look so the only thing that never leaves my side is a d@mn good knife and a FFP3 (N99) grade face mask.That’s it.

What I consider a decent knife (or two) is already part of my EDC. No matter where I go (except when flying and a few other times when even knives are prohibited) I have a knife on me. I consider it an essential tool. I carry a couple of different models depending on my attire and the circumstances but a knife is a given. I also carry face masks (as well as other items that can provide a similar function such as bandanas) in my EDC bag but, as I mentioned, I have been leaving that in the car of late. So this was well timed advice when deciding what should be in my “always with me” organizer.

So, what did I come up with?

I’ll show you next week!

God Bless

Modular Organization For Carry Gear

Since I have been sick and pretty much grounded from doing much of anything I have spent a bit of time thinking about all the stuff I pack around and what’s the best way to do that.

Here’s the deal. When I worked across town I kept a “get home bag” in my office. It contained snacks, food, toiletries, first aid kit and very basic tools in case I was stranded at work for a few days (happens fairly often in flood prone areas). I also kept another “get home bag” in my car that also included a change of clothes, good walking shoes ad a better supply of things that would be needed should I need to get home on foot.

Since I work from home most of the week these days I don’t need to keep a bag in my office. I still keep a bag in my car but I took out a the extra pair of jeans, walking shoes, and t-shirt. Mainly because I wear the same shoes for work now that I carried in my bag before (more casual work environment), the jeans are not too small and the t-shirt…well that needs to go back in.

I also carry an EDC bag with most of the same stuff minus the clothes. The EDC bag tends to get left in the car these days because it is a pain to lug it around. So, that leaves me with two bags in my car with essentially the same gear. That’s fine when I am in someone else’s car but possibly a bit wasteful most of the time. Plus it means that some items I should really have on me are back in the car.

So, here is what I am thinking…

Yes, that could be dangerous.

Micro Pocket Organizer

I ordered a Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer. From what I can tell I can keep most (or all) of what I consider essential to have on my person at all times in it and it fits quite nicely into a cargo pocket. I will have to see how well it works with jeans or slacks but I may be able to either attach it to a belt loop or find another way to carry it. To be honest that would be less than a few hours per week and mostly at church.

http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/Mini-Pocket-Organizer-13p1559.htm
Mini Pocket Organizer

I also bought the larger Mini Pocket Organizer. I plan to put the remainder of the stuff from my EDC bag in there. That way I can put the important stuff in my pocket and have it with me at all times. The “nice to have” stuff can be tossed into a backpack or whatever I happen to be carrying that day and still be close by. If this modular approach works I could even do some specialized organizers too like one for when I am flying (I tend to strip my EDC gear down when flying out of town and sometimes forget to put things back in place), camping, or hunting. The idea is that I can just grab the organizers I need, toss them in the bag and I’m off.

 

I am hoping it will help simplify thigs too. Instead of a different medkit in each of three bags I can carry one medkit and transfer it as needed. It decreases redundancy (that’s a positive AND a negative) and makes it easier to keep track of what’s where, what’s been used and moved around.

What’cha think? Has anyone out there tried this approach? If so, how did it work out for you?

God Bless.

Everyday Carry (EDC) Bag Dump

Since I was going through my everyday carry bag to do an inventory check I thought it might be a good idea to go ahead and do a post on what I pack around with me. Sit back and grab a beverage it’s time for an EDC dump!

First off, the bag…

My Current EDC Bag
My Current EDC Bag

How do I schlep all this junk around with me every time I leave the house? Glad I asked. I am currently carrying the NC Star PVC First Responders Utility Backpack (Yes, the link it to Amazon but no I don’t get a cut should you decide to buy one). In actuality I have been carrying this bag for several years. Not this particular one, this is the second one I have had. I wore the other one out. It seems to be just about the perfect size and weight and carries all I carry on a regular basis.

On of the things I like in a bag lots of pockets and compartments to keep all my stuff organized. There is nothing I hate more than to reach into a pile o’ stuff at the bottom of a bag and sift through it in order to find what I want. This bag hits that spot perfectly.

I have tried out several different bags over the years but always seems to come back to this one. Here are a a couple of the other bags I have tried over the years:

img_2397
5.11 RUSH MOAB 10 and 6 flanking my carry bag

All have been good bags but either didn’t carry easily, were too big, lacked sufficient compartments.

Now back to my EDC…

I keep a couple of items attached to the outside of the bag; a small light and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

img_2400
Light
img_2399
Sanitizer

I use the clasp on the light to lock the concealed carry compartment of the bag locked. I don’t carry a firearm in there but it still helps to keep little fingers out of there just in case. The hand sanitizer…well, I have five grand kids under the age of six and four of them are three or younger. This get’s a lot of use by me and them.

The lower front pocket has a fairly random set of stuff; super glue, “duck” tape, electrical tape, zip ties, a lighter, a small flashlight/pen combo, coffee filters, ziploc bags, safety pins and a small can opener:

img_2401

The super glue, tape, and zip ties can be used for small repair jobs (and some not so small jobs. They, along with the filters and safety pins, have secondary uses for emergency first aid.

The larger front pocket holds anti-bacterial wet wipes:

img_2402

Great for clean ups and can serve as TP in a pinch but may sting a bit.

The top inside pocket contains glucose tabs, tooth pain gel, heartburn medicine, benadryl, sinus medicine, two types of lip balm, more hand sanitizer and a tube of over the counter pain/fever reducer.

img_2403

The front inside pocket holds a bandanna, write in the rain notebook, two PowerBars, a pack of Cool Off, bug repellent, sunblock and a cigarette lighter adapter for a USB charger. The cable I normally keep in here to charge my phone is missing (need to buy another).

img_2409

Clipped to the side of that same pocket are a Streamlight flashlight, a multi-tool and folding knife from Gerber, a pen and a pencil.

img_2408

The back inside pocket holds a small first aid kit, emergency blanket and disposable poncho.

img_2406

I usually have a pair of cheap sunglasses in the bag as well, the kind that are less than $10 at a convenience station as well but I didn’t grab a picture of them. They can double as safety glasses in a pinch. Sometime I have extra magazines or ammunition in one of the pockets but that’s fairly rare. I generally want my firearm and ammo on my person.

Do I carry my “man purse” everywhere I go? No, but I do have it pretty much every time I leave the house. If we are going in someplace where I can get to my car quickly and easily I will just leave it in there. If it is the mall, the movie theater, or someplace else we will be for an extended period of time and where I can’t get to the bag within a few minutes I carry it with me. The glucose tabs and the benadryl are fairly critical to be able to access within a few minutes. My blood sugar issues can hit fairly quickly but Wonderful Wife’s food allergy is much more time sensitive. If we catch it within a few minutes she takes a benadryl and a nap. If it is much longer than that it can mean a trip to the ER.

That’s my EDC bag.

I am hoping I have time to go through the contents in a little more detail in future posts.

In the meantime, if you have questions or suggestions about the items in the bag please post away in the comments.

God Bless