I was in St. Louis the night of the Ferguson riots. Thankfully, nothing happened, and if something did happen, I was more ready than most people to deal with bad things because I had my usual (at the time) daily carry with me: An S&W Shield, a spare mag, a Streamlight Microstream and a Boker knife. In addition to this, I was testing out a lightweight
man-purse messenger bag as a way to carry all the little stuff I need to deal with life’s daily ups and downs. I’ve had that same bag with me for the past year, and it accompanies me every time I leave the house. I doesn’t always carry it with when I leave the car, but it is close by if (God forbid) I need it. To be clear, this is not intended to be a 72 hour kit or bug out bag: All this little bag does is allow me to live 24 hours outside of the house in an urban/suburban setting if a disaster or social disruption happens that prevents me from going home. If the power goes out for 24 hours or a flood washes out the bridges on my usual commute, I want to be able to deal with having to not being home for 24 hours, no matter where I am or what I am doing. The contents of the bag are built around sheltering in-place, be it my car, my office or a hotel room, so there’s not a lot of wilderness survival gear in the bag. Another big reason for this bag is to have the things near me that I need in order to deal with the effects of a violent force for or against me. I firmly believe that if you carry a firearm, you should be ready and able to deal with the effects of using that firearm.
The bag is not hard to carry around, although I don’t traipse thru the shopping mall with it on my shoulder. In the water bottle pouch is, well, a water bottle, and in the outside MOLLE pockets, I have pens, a flashlight and a larger knife is tucked into the back. I’ve used a trick I learned as a photo assistant and wrapped six or so feet of duct tape around a Sharpie pen so I always have tape on-hand.
The water bottle has come in handy to deal with nasty-tasting municipal water from drinking fountains, and below it in the pouch I’ve stuffed a plastic grocery bag to use as a trash bag, etc. The top pocket has all the gear for my iPhone: I rely on that sucker for more than just making phone calls, so keeping my phone up and running is a big deal for me. I’ve used this extra battery for a year now, and it will recharge my phone enough to use for another 24 hours, which is just what I need it to do.
I’ve used every one of these items over the last year (I think I’m on my 12th snack bar or so). Most useful: The little microfiber lens cleaning cloth from RSR Distributing, which gets used to clean my spectacles at least once a day. The front pocket is also loaded up with useful stuff which has also seen a fair about of use over the past year:
Fortunately, I haven’t had to use the rain poncho yet, but everything else here has seen some action over the last twelve months. In particular, the lighter has been used far more often than I would have imagined: There is no substitute for an open flame, and people don’t carry matches or a lighter like they used to in days of old. One thing I am adding to the front pocket is a two-pack of disposable toothbrushes, because the darn things are so handy. As for the last-ditch emergency supplies in the bottom pouch, I’m VERY pleased to say I haven’t needed any of this:
I’m ditching the compass and knife sharpener for a micro-fiber camp towel: It rains a LOT here in Florida, and dry and safe is better than damp and safe. I’m also tossing in a pair of cheap rubber earplugs, because I always seem to never have ear pro around when I need it. As far as the inside pockets go, I have a fair amount of stuff tucked away inside the pack, but I still have room for a full-size iPad and my ancient Nikon D70 in the inside pouch, so I can toss in the little knickknacks I pick up during the day.
I *love* that Bluetooth keyboard. It’s not as easy to use as a laptop, but I can stick it and my phone into the pockets of a pair of cargo shorts and write anywhere, anytime (in fact, a significant portion of this post was written on that keyboard, paired to my iPhone 6+). The umbrella and Ballistol are new additions that don’t take up much room yet have proven to come in handy these past few months, and I’ve added enough spare cash to get me a cheap hotel room if I absolutely need to stay overnight somewhere. I’m pleased to report that aside from a couple of bandaids and some Advil, I’ve not had to use any of the gear in my first aid pouch. I’m adding a pair of nitrile gloves to the mix, something that I overlooked when I put the kit together.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: What good is it going to do you if you stop the threat with a perfect Mozambique drill on the bad guy when/if the need arises, only to find out he/she managed to squeeze of a round and now your loved one(s) are bleeding out in front of your eyes? Carry your tourniquets, people. It’s a lighter burden than regret.
That’s a fair amount of kit to haul around in a small bag, but it’s not heavy and carries easily. All in all, I’m pleased with the contents and the container of my
murse messenger bag, and I’ll continue to have it near me if (God forbid) I have another Ferguson moment. Update: I wrote this post a week and queued it up for delivery a day and a half ago. Since that time, it looks like I might get a chance to put some of this stuff to the test…