My interest in EDC and ultimately bags probably came fairly young, and likely stems from my love of camping. As a kid I used to pack a ‘camping’ ready kit into different shoe boxes. Little bits and pieces more than serious camp equipment. I found a pack of Australian native bush food cards, a bic lighter, a little spanner, string, cotton wool and the list goes on. Everything that I thought I would need to survive if I were to ever go on a spontaneous camping trip. I remember asking my father for a Swiss Army knife in Kmart one time and he finally bought me one. A little $2 cheap piece but that thing went with me everywhere. It was a gun, a lightsaber it could do anything and everything; in my mind at least.
As I got a little older my family started to get into camping, we would go every year with another family. I used to spend hours packing the perfect kits to take, always ending up with a stupid amount of useless tools and clothes. But this is what I enjoyed, it didn’t matter what bag I was packing it into as long as I had the right gear.
During high school I started to appreciate the philosophy buy once cry once, however since I had no job and my parents purchased everything for me still this made things a little difficult. Compounding this I also had no clue what quality was or where to find it. When looking for my new grade 10 back pack I pleaded with Mum to buy me something a little better than what Kmart could afford (we shopped a lot at Kmart). Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money and so everything was strictly budgeted. I finally convinced Mum to buy me a High Sierra bag *Gasp*. This thing was so comfortable compared to what I was used to. And surprisingly it lasted all through year 11, 12 and into uni. This really cemented the buy once cry once philosophy for me. Even though this bag was only relatively cheap and low quality (around $80) it lasted 3-4 times longer than a $25 bag would have and felt great in the process.
Throughout university I was given a shoulder strap satchel bag, from girlfriend at the time. One of those fashionable more-style-than-function bags. It served me well I must admit, this may have something to do with the poorness of a uni student and the need to ensure everything lasts 10 times longer.
After graduating university my love for bags grew a little weak and became a distant memory as EDC started to become a big deal around the world. I was given a Wenger Swiss Army Knife as a 21st present and this kick started my EDC obsession. I got sucked in, and packed my pockets like I used to pack my camping bags. Too much stuff, all useful but way over the top. Now that I had a job I could afford better and better quality items. And started to actually discover what quality was and how far down the rabbit hole I was prepared to go in terms of quality vs price. After making a number of job changes and being more and more involved with Facebook groups dedicated to EDC I became acquainted with Nathan Ryan. For anyone that knows Nathan, I guess this is the part where you all collectively sigh (or gasp). Because this is when my love of bags truly began.
It became painfully obvious that I needed a good bag for travel and outings; pointed out by Nathan but also coming to the realisation myself. So after a few recommendations and discussions with him I bought a 5.11 Rush 12. This bag was great. So many pockets and organisation, quality stitching MOLLE; and many other awesome features that I never thought of. I loved the sunglasses pouch on the top and Nathan can confirm that my love for it is a little unnatural.
After rocking the Rush 12 for a few months I was again talked into another bag purchase. While I was currently full into pocket EDC by now (helping administrate the largest EDC Facebook group in the country) I had not yet moved to a full bag daily carry. Just relying on what I could carry in my pockets. This is when I purchased (read: swapped for goods) a Vertx EDC Ready Pack off Nathan. This was to be my carry over the next year and a half. This pack truly brought me into the EDC bag world, previously it was all about camping, hiking, holidays and overnight packing. More focused on fulfilling an immediate role/task. So while I enjoyed the concept of EDC and enjoyed a good bag it had not been up until the point I had the Vertx that they both met. This may not have been a life changing event but it would forever change the way I thought and bought for EDC and the daily struggle that is work life.
Once fully configuring the Vertx EDC pack was incredibly organised. I literally had everything I needed, first aid (I am big on first aid), phone cables, portable battery, heavy duty torch (flashlight to you Americans) etc etc. I won’t bore you with my full carry at this time. I felt like I was an island in a sea of incompetence always ready at all times. I was happy, for now at least, aside from the odd pouch here and there to optimize my carry nothing really changed. As time went on I grew to really enjoy the Vertx, but knew that something was missing. It was hard to put my finger on it.
Nathan as you all my know cycles through bags like a pill addict through codeine. So when he settled, that’s right Nathan SETTLED on a BOgear bag I knew one day I would need to get one.
To cut a long story short, or shorter in this case. For my wedding present Nathan organised with a few mates a voucher for a custom BOgear Spare Camel. Something my wife wasn’t too impressed about, but she just got an awesome wedding….. I’m still alive and I ended up meeting up with Dave from BOgear Australia and designing my very own Spare Camel. I’ve had the bag for about 4 months now and can see myself using it in some capacity for the rest of my life. The workmanship is excellent so I can trust that the BOgear will have no trouble lasting 20 years or more. The SC has been epic, carried everything from my Vertx and some. Being a little bit bigger allowed for more carry however it has less built in organisation. Luckily I have a decent supply of pouches from various different manufacturers.
I am always on the lookout for a new pack, my search is slow and methodical usually hindered by my budget but eventually I will find ‘the one’. Or maybe more accurate ‘the few’ that work perfectly with what I need and want.
At the time of writing this has been my pack journey.