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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chaplain Tim's EDC

Since most of the other authors have done an Every Day Carry post, I thought it was time for me to add mine. I work at least 5 days a week now, but during harvest we went 34 days without a day off. (I spend lots of Saturdays at work, but they're good about the holidays.) For that reason, my EDC is based upon my going to, being at, or coming home from work (that's about half of any given day).

I don't carry a lot on my person for various reasons.
  • I'm tall and thin, which means I have a hard enough time keeping my pants from sliding off of where my hips should be without adding 10 lbs of accessories.
  • My work varies from day to day. One day I may be sitting in a truck for 8 hours; the next I could be crawling in and out of grain bins. A lot of my work is wet or dusty and I work with odd chemicals. I need to be able to move about freely.
  • A lot of my work is done in grain elevators, which are a severe explosion hazard. Grain dust is a FAE (Fuel-Air Explosive) bomb waiting for a spark. 
  • I have found through experience that I can get 80% of what I need done accomplished with the minimal tools that I carry. There is a shop on-site and, with rare exceptions, nobody is in a rush to get things done quickly rather than well.
  • My pickup has my first-aid and tool kits, and is rarely far from me. On days where I can't carry my pistol (remember the grain dust?) it stays locked up in the truck. Lunchbox and Get Home Bag are in the truck unless I'm working from another vehicle, in which case they go with me.
My employer provides uniform shirts and jackets and they all have pockets on them, but I rarely carry more than a pen and my cigarettes above my waist, becauseI got tired of picking things up after they fell out of my breast pocket and landed 20-60 feet below me. Most of my personal shirts have button-down flaps on the breast pockets to prevent that, but I still don't care to fill them unless I must.

My employer does not provide pants, so I buy my own blue jeans; usually carpenter pants for the tool pocket on the right leg and the extra belt loops. Any pair of pants with fewer than 6 belt loops is unsuited to my body style, and will bind around my waist.

Left-hand front pocket
As you can see in the picture there's a cigarette lighter, a small LED flashlight, and my folding Gerber knife. I like the Gerber, it's cheap and holds an edge well.

The flashlight is a NEBO mini that I picked up after buying and reviewing their Twyst light. It has a super bright LED, uses a single AA battery, and has a clip which allows me to attach is to the bill of a ball cap for hands-free illumination.

The cigarette lighter is because of my nicotine addiction, and is a way to start fires.

Not shown are the small bills and change that I carry for daily use.

Right-hand front pocket
Keychain, Boy Scout pocket knife, and a pack of paper matches.

The keychain is one of two that I normally carry. This one is with me at all times and carries my truck key, a few other keys (OPSEC), a micro ferrocerium firestarter, a Swisstech Utili-Key, and a handcuff key. The firestarter works quite well for its size, and the multi-tool comes in handy as a screwdriver, extra cutting blade, and bottle opener. The handcuff key is there just because.

The other keychain is either work keys or house/car keys. The work keys are for the hundreds of padlocks we have in use, I don't carry it any more than I have to. The house/car keys are for going in and out of the house and I don't carry them at work.

The BSA pocket knife is the second one I've owned in 30 years. Get the real BSA branded one and you'll get many years of use out of it. The can opener and leather awl get more use than the knife blade (which does NOT lock open- Boy Scout rules prohibit locking knives).

The paper matches are for giving away to anyone who asks for a light. This saves me from having to get into their personal space (and arm's reach) if I don't know them -- "Hey buddy, got a light?" is still in use by muggers. They are also backup fire starting method.

This Otterbox clip is for the Samsung Galaxy S4 that is being used to take the pictures. The phone is normally clipped to my right front pocket, but is tucked into the pocket if I'm going to be working in tight quarters. (I've had to dig it out of 4 feet of soybeans once, and I will not make that mistake again.) Rubber armor and almost dust-proof, I like the way it protects my phone. I've had it coming up on two years now, and the phone itself looks almost new.

Right-rear pocket and leg pocket
Wallet and comb in the rear pocket, pliers in the leg pocket. The wallet is kept thin because I often drive for 4 hours at a time and nothing will wear on your nerves like being lopsided while sitting/bouncing around in a tractor. ID/insurance, debit card, licenses (plural because I'm licensed for more than just driving) and a few business cards are about all I need. 

Pliers are a farmer's best friend after his dog. They aren't the best for every job, but they will help in a lot of jobs.
Left-rear pocket
Usually nothing more than a handkerchief, although there may be a container of smokeless tobacco in there if I know I'm not going to be able to smoke for several hours at a time.

On the belt
Either a Sig P229 in 40S&W (or 375Sig when I can buy it) or a 1911A1. The Sig carries 14+1 rounds and I have a spare magazine in the console of the pickup. The 1911A1 has 8+1 and two spare magazines in the truck. I switch off between the two depending on if I'm carrying IWB (1911A1) or on the outside of my belt (Sig). I don't work or live in a high crime area, so most of the threats I may see are animals.

Overall
As you can see, I normally carry three ways to start a fire and at least three knives. I have a flashlight that uses common batteries (spares in the pickup) with the phone light as a backup source of light. I carry minimal tools, although you'd be amazed at what you can tear up with a good pair of pliers. My normal day is fairly relaxed, and I have plenty of resources close to hand if I need them, so my EDC is mainly for getting through the day in a convenient way.

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