An impulse buy for your fire-starting kit


I found this near the checkout at a local grocery store last night. I had been thinking about a small/travel-size container for petroleum jelly for the fire kit. This is the size I have been looking for. It was 97 cents. It seems to be a good quick buy item if you’re getting last minute provisions before going out to the field. In a disaster situation, these should go fairly quickly after the milk, bread, and D-cell batteries.

EDC, the why

Leatherman Blast that I’ve had since May 2010.

Entropy: Because things fall apart.

Nothing in the world is immutable, incorruptible, non-changing, or perfectly stand-alone. If it exists, someone will have to do something to it at some point. Wires break, screws loosen, things need to be opened, peeled, scraped, taped, pulled, taken apart, bits replaced, and put back together. The things in our lives don’t maintain themselves.

So why do I have 15+ things in my pockets everyday? The short answer is, in case I need them. A more useful answer runs somewhere between self-reliance and a life-long fascination with tools. It’s a preference and a convenience, and one for which I am willing to pay the cost. I’d rather pullwpid-img_20150108_104429.jpg a multi-tool out of my pocket, tighten a screw, and have done with it than root around in a utility room to find that the department I work in doesn’t have the tool I need, or keep a set of tools on hand. I’ve brought my own pens, pencils, and so forth to whatever jobs I’ve held. While I am used to seeing those things provided by employers, I generally don’t use them.

There have been times when I’ve been teased for carrying a multi-tool, having a pair of work gloves in my car, or something as simple as a nail clipper or Q-Tips. Everyday Carry is a lifestyle choice, just like flying by the seat of your pants. If you like living that way, that’s your decision. Understand that at some point someone will have to mop up after you. For me, planning ahead is more useful than kludging my way through life, stopping a thousand times to make adjustments. There’s enough stress day to day. Why add to it wondering where you last put something right when you need it.

I’m not saying everyone should carry everything I do, or as much as I do. The most common argument has to do with the cost. People can’t see spending $X for something they seldom use. So don’t spend $X. Look for deals. I do. Check pawn shops, Craigslist, Big Lots, eBay, or one of the dollar stores. Tools made from more durable materials will cost more. Some brands are more expensive than others.  We’re talking about a starting point here. There are many sites, including forums, devoted to EDC. The people who frequent those sites can help you make the best choice.

I do not trust people who feel no need for tools.
It makes one a burden on others, shows a lack of
personal fortitude, and is unattractive.

EDC – December 2014

This is the pile…

  1. Wallet: Swiss Gear Aluminum (I got my first credit card with a chip. Not sure the probability of being ass-scanned but it can happen)
  2. Phone: Samsung Galaxy S4 in an Otterbox Defender case
  3. Knife: Kershaw Shuffle
  4. Flashlight: Generic-ish 150 Lumen 3-mode. Ultra Fire clone.
  5. Watch: Timex Ironman (I’ve had this for at least 5 years. Changed the battery once. I’ve worn Timex almost exclusively. Decided to change the band rather than buying a new watch.)
  6. Pen: Pentel Client Ballpoint
  7. Pencil: Pentel Forte .05
  8. Stylus: Bamboo
  9. Altoids Tin: Work in progress. I have a separate video and will be posting breakdown photos shortly.
  10. Keys: Grimloc Carabiner with a split ring.
  11. Comb
  12. Cash

Preps at work

I keep a few items in a file cabinet at my desk. There are a few cans of soup, sardines and packs of Ramen noodles. It’s maybe a week’s worth as far as shifts go. That way if I’m rushed and don’t have time to get my lunch together, which happens occasionally, I can eat some of what I already have and I don’t have to go out. I have to be careful about leaving stuff in the refrigerator. No one really goes into my file drawers but people are always in the fridge. We’ve had some items disappear from time to time. We seemed to have that under control for quite a while but thieves are like rodents and they tend to resurface.

The other food related things in the “work kit” are a set of flatware, a soup mug and some spices. I hate going down to the break area only to find that we’ve run out of sporks. There’s not really much that isn’t working for me or needs changing other than bringing a couple food items every now and then.