What Do I Wear? Choosing an EDC Bag

| August 30, 2016 | 2 Comments

YouTube channel viewer PerfectTangent asked

What informs your decision to carry a given bag with a given weapon on a given day? Situation? Taste?

This article will address why I choose the bags / tools to carry at any given time. This is not an article about what I look for in a bag (see this article or a more recent one about sling / cross body bags).

This is my current practice, and is subject to change.

In general, I want the biggest bag that holds the most stuff that will blend into my environment as effectively as possible.

95%+ of the time I carry my Adidas Rydell sling bag (the Capital is the current model). I can carry my second largest trauma kit inside, as well as my AR15 pistol in 300 Blackout or my Mini Draco vSBR. It blends in well in many environments, including downtown sidewalks, casual restaurants, big box retailers, movie theaters, and corporate headquarters.

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The other 4.5% of the time I choose the Solo Active Universal Table Sling. I carry my MasterPiece Arms MPA 930SST vSBR inside, along with a smaller trauma kit.

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The remaining time (very, very small minority, probably 5 times in the last 3+  years), I carry a laptop bag with my vSBR inside, usually my Mini Draco vSBR.

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Because the Rydell combination is such a dominant choice, I want to focus on the other two options, and why I choose them.

I carry my Rydell unless:

I am going from my home to a very crowded place where I will be stationary for a longer period of time and I expect there to be a lot of traffic around me.

Example: The She Shepherd, her children, and I go to Dim Sum to meet our friends to eat. There may be over a dozen people at our table, and 60+ patrons eating at their own tables. A dozen waitstaff flit about, some pushing huge carts of delicious food. After we’re done eating we come directly home.

To describe it a different way, I’m going to and from a single, specific point where my regular bag will cause a social disruption and/or be difficult to manage due to its size. My sling bag is annoyingly large under a round table with 24 feet under it, but the Solo Active sling with my MAC inside is easy to manage and keep track of. The Active bag is smaller than the average woman’s purse.

At first I took the Active Solo sling (or equivalent at the time, like the BLACKHAWK! Waxed Canvas Satchel when I still used that) to crowded movie theaters during opening night. I learned that people stopped moving once the movie started. I didn’t have to worry about under the table shenanigans, so the Rydell turned out to be just fine.

I carry my Rydell or Active Solo sling unless:

I am meeting with some important people in a professional setting. To me, this is a C-level executive, president, or vice-president at a major national company.

The CEO of a five person startup doesn’t count ; I’m talking about the US or global headquarters of extremely large, well-known companies and meeting with their top decision makers. I visited a major recreational vehicle manufacturer a few times this summer for consulting purposes, but only with senior management. Rydell bag we go.

In this case I’ll take a laptop bag. In 4 out of 5 times I can recall, I used a nylon laptop case from Samsonite. It is extremely durable and voluminous, but understated and more professional than an outdoors backpack (when I carried one), or a sling bag with a sportswear logo on the side.

I have used a leather laptop bag one time.

In all cases of laptop carry, I carried my Mini Draco AK47 vSBR.

It’s a Psych Out

Carrying a PDW / SBR in public reminded me of when I first started carrying a handgun in public over 20 years ago. I thought everyone was going to see me, that I was incredibly obvious, and at any moment mothers would hug their children to their chests and scream for the police to arrest a man with a gun.

I’ve realized that there are very, very few places will care about a man carrying a bag in public. We may see increasing scrutiny due to terrorist attacks, but for now as long as the bag fits your environment you will be able to go about your business.

I almost always choose the Rydell, unless I’m going to a crowded, high traffic place where I will be stationary and around a lot of people.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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2 Comments on "What Do I Wear? Choosing an EDC Bag"

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  1. Retriever222 says:

    What bags do you carry when you go go shopping (groceries, department store, mall, etc.) where having a bag could lead to people assuming you might be stealing since seeing a bag in that setting is out of the ordinary (at least where I live)? Also how have you thought you would handle it? I personally can’t see myself carrying a backpack into a movie theater, since I would assume I would draw some unwanted attention and that could lead to the bag getting searched (in a lawful area). Just got into PDW (krink) carry, so I am taking it a step at a time. I could see being in a large metro city, a bag might be more “ordinary”. As always, a great article.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Great question, and something that I’ve learned to deal with over the last few years. In short, nothing has ever happened. The only questions I’ve ever received were from co-workers (why do you carry your bag with you all the time?). It’s another reason I carry a big trauma kit in this bag. I can honestly say, “so my trauma kit is with me.” People may think you’re over-prepared, but it’s easier for them to accept that you’re ready to help out in the event of a big car wreck than fight your way out of a terrorist attack. 🙂

      I take my Rydell bag almost everywhere, except for the situations I detailed in the post.

      I was concerned about movie theaters because of two reasons: 1) “cam” recordings of new movies is a pretty big concern with theaters, and I was worried they would want to search my bag. It never happened. 2) Some theater chains are “searching” bags as a matter of course ; I avoid them.

      This is not legal advice, but I did find these articles to be helpful regarding police wanting to search my bag (also never happened, despite being in close proximity to officers in many locations, and talking with them on several occasions):
      https://showbams.com/2013/09/25/what-to-do-if-the-police-stop-you-at-a-music-festival/
      https://showbams.com/2013/10/09/festival-lawyer-what-to-do-police-stop-you-music-festival-part-2/

      If it’s private security (e.g., mall, store, etc), just say no to a search and leave. I used to be concern that retailers would think a bag means an easy way to conceal stolen merchandise, and that this would generate additional attention. It never has, at least as far as I know. It is possible that the security team followed me on the store’s cameras, etc. but it is clear I’m not shoplifting.

      For more information about bag checks in a retail store (or similar), check out this article or similar:

      http://www.crimedoctor.com/loss_prevention_3.htm

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