Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Practical Minimalism, Another Attempt...

In my last post, I tried trimming down to manageable levels of gear. I thought I'd done a fair job. I carried that set-up for a few weeks. I became a tad dissatisfied with the loose gear clanking in my pockets. I was displeased with having to try to remember what was where. I was also somewhat uncomfortable with miniature items and being able to manipulate them in this cold weather. I needed some organization. I felt I could trim down a bit more and add items which were easily manageable with cold, wet digits.

Enter a leather pocket organizer that I'd had Spen from JRE Industries make for me a couple years ago...

The pouch is constructed of a heavy leather front to reduce pocket signature, with a sewn on suede back which forms the three pockets. The rough side of the suede is sewn inside, in order to add friction to hold items in the pockets in place. The pouch is approximately 4" by 4", with a slight taper from top to bottom. This allows it to fit inside trouser pockets and stay somewhat stationary. It works equally well in my cargo pockets or inner jacket pockets. In the pocket, it becomes nearly invisible.

Gear selection was fairly easy. I wanted to keep it light weight, with items that supported me 24/7, whether at work or play, in town or in the field. The main (knife) pocket will support a one or two layer Swiss Army Knife or a smallish lockblade. I opted for a single layer Victorinox Swiss Army Waiter model with an added eyeglass screwdriver and straight pin. The knife has proven itself quite capable in managing day to day chores, thus far. If I feel I need more knife, the pocket easily supports an alox Swiss Army Woodsman, Pioneer or Soldier model.

To fill the middle (flashlight) pocket, I had a wide variety of single AAA battery size flashlights to choose from. All fit fairly well. I selected a Fenix E01 for it's bulletproof construction and long battery life. It is a tad short, so I added to it a Traser tritium GlowRing. The GlowRing helps me find the light in lowlife conditions and it aids in drawing the light from it's pocket.

The last pocket had originally been designed to carry the mini Light My Fire firesteel. Having broken every one of the mini LMF's I have had, I looked for a better option. To fill that pocket, I selected the ExoTac Nano Fire Striker and an Inka pen. Together they fill the void perfectly. The ExoTac Nano is my preferred fire starting device for this application as it breaks down and screws into itself, thus protecting the ferrocerium rod from damage and from premature corrosion. It also carries and protects it's own striker. The ferro rod is a tad smallish, but it strikes easily and throws a decent spark for it's size. In as far as the Inka pen, well, I had it available and it fit. I needed a pen in the mix for my work. Thus far, the choice has been a great one, I was writing tickets with it this morning in -9 degree F weather conditions. It didn't skip and it wrote very smoothly. The Inka's tip was more than sufficient to press out the two copies required.

Something was missing and I didn't know what until reading Kevin Estela's recent slideshow on Urban Survival. I needed a lanyard! I raided Care's cordage supplies and made a lanyard that would easily attach to all of the previously mentioned implements...

The lanyard rides wrapped around the pouch, affixed only to itself and protected on the inside by the two filled pockets it rides between.

I've been carrying this setup for a couple weeks and am very satisfied. It has addressed all of my concerns with my previous carry options. The gear is handy and accessible. There is no question about what is where. I like it...



Perkunas said...

Stylish pice of kit, very nice lookig indeed and whats the most, its still made out of good quality, working stuff.

Leather pocket like that is something i have to try to make some day too.

Thanks for the tip.

Adam said...

Great Post Mike!

Thanks for the mini-review on the Exotac Nano - I've been wanting to try one for a while and I think your post just convinced me to buy one. :-)

SgtMike and Care said...

Thanks for the comments.

Adam, I recommend spending a few extra dollars to buy a spare ferro rod for the Nano. That way, you have one to use for practice and a reload. The spare rods come with new O ring seals, too... M

Anonymous said...

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