This time of the year it’s still a little cool to work outside, cabin fever is starting to subside and I reach a point where I find odd jobs to keep my mind on things other then being ‘outdoors’. Yesterday I was kicking around my reloading room and grabbed my Maxpedition Fat Boy (aka, my ‘man bag’) and realized it was a good time to take inventory and lighten the load. Not sure it really qualifies as a true B.O.B., but it’s pretty close.
I call it my ‘man bag’ to make sure no one mistakes it for a purse. On top of that, considering my physique, I prefer to shy away from “Fat Boy”. My wife’s nephew bought one of these immediately after seeing mine. Considering he’s an attorney, owns a Tae Kwon Do school, has survived several levels of Krav Maga training and practices conceal carry, I felt reassured throwing a bag over my shoulder wouldn’t detract from my otherwise rugged character.
It never fails that someone will see me carrying it at a gunshow or I’ll pull a tool or some other necessary item out and they’ll ask what all I have in there. Well, that changes but here’s what I’ve found to be the necessities.
One of the main reasons I bought the bag to begin with was for an easy way to ‘carry’ without necessarily having a weapon on me. There’s a great concealed carry pocket that will hold most any compact to medium frame handgun. These three go into rotation depending on what & where I’m going, if my wife is with me, if I’m going to carry concealed on my person when I get where we’re going, etc.
What I quickly discovered was this was the perfect means of packing up all the necessities I might need traveling or working a show. Just keep your head, only pack what’s important and you’re set.
Then we come to the cutlery that’s always with me. The Fallkniven Garm is perfect carried on the shoulder strap in case you need to stick something quick. Of course the Leatherman is an indispensable tool for everything the Swiss Army Knife won’t handle. For any task short of rebuilding the engine in your car, these three tools should git ‘er done. And of course you want to have a light source. I’m a great believer in redundancy whether it’s knives or flashlights. Losing your only knife or having the bulb burn out in your only flashlight ONLY occurs when you need them the most. That’s not only a promise, it’s a law.
And of course, you never leave home without a Zippo. And a Zippo canister full of extra fuel and a spare flint. I know a Bic makes more sense, but when I started carrying and using a lighter the disposable butanes weren’t available yet. Being a bit of a traditionalist, it’s hard to break old habits.
And of course a couple of pens, a note pad, a few zip lock bags are necessary, and ya, a calculator. It comes in handy at a gunshow if you have to calculate sales tax or add up a number of items for someone.
Now inside the main pouch is where the contents can really get changed up. Short hank of para cord, Firefork, Spice container, ammo, mints, snacks, Gatorade, a sandwich, ketchup packets, it almost gets scary what all gets stuffed in there. There’s also enough cash stashed away to make sure if I lose my wallet I can feed myself or find shelter till I get home.
There’s lots of other items that go in depending on the circumstances. Playing cards are pretty common during the summer when we go camping. A charging cord for the cell phone is usually in there and in fact, should always be in there. For the shows, there’s usually a compact set of Grace Gunsmith Screwdrivers as well as a set of Torx and Allen wrenches.
Although I’ve been tempted to buy one of the bigger bags, the whole point was to keep it to the essentials in a package that’s compact. These are odds and ends that are always next to the drivers seat in the Jeep. Wind shirt, Fire Steel, couple more blades, paracord, Gorilla Tape, pliers, sharpening stick, fire making materials in a zip lock. Sometimes it’d be nice to get them in the bag, but where does it end?
A feature I really like is that the shoulder strap allows me ‘tie’ the bag to the Jeep’s seat frame or roll bar making a snatch and grab damned near impossible. Even cutting the strap doesn’t immediately free it. There are enough pockets and pouches a thief is gonna spend precious time going through them all to find something of value to them. At a gunshow it’s great to set it under the tables attached to the frame of the table. Even when you know the procedure to unhook it, it takes some time to sort things out before it’s loose.
There are all kinds of small pouches that can be added to the basic bag for more storage space, but so far, I’ve pretty much resisted the urge. With a minimal amount of forethought and planning, I’ve usually got most everything I need in the bag as is.
So when someone asks me ‘what’s in the bag?’…. there’s not a quick answer. Maybe the best response to that question is … ‘what do you need?’.