Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vapur Bottles - EDC Water Bottles

The Vapur Element series come in both 0.7 and 1.0 Liter bottles.
Do any of you carry a water bottle as part of your EDC (everyday carry)? By EDC I don't mean having a bottle in a bag or in your car, but rather, on your person. I'd have to guess that you probably don't. Water bottles are generally rigid, clunky and heavy. Still, having a water bottle, even an empty one, can be a very helpful thing, if only they weren't so darn difficult to carry. Well they were, until now...

A new company called Vapur now makes collapsible water bottles. They are made out of a polyethylene material that is strong and fairly lightweight, but still rolls up small enough to fit in a cargo pocket. Unfolded, they can store 0.4, 0.5, 0.7 or 1.0 liters depending on the type of bottle. Standard water bottles take up as much room when empty as they do when full, but that's not true with Vapur bottles. When you're done with your bottle, it rolls up nicely and stores away, ready to be filled again.

All Vapur bottles roll up to easily fit in a pocket.
Vapur bottles come in a whole variety of colors, great for men, women and even children. All models come with with a carabiner for easy carry. These carabiners also allows the rolled up bottle to remain rolled up. See the picture on the left to see what I mean.

Why would you want a collapsible water bottle in the first place?

It's easy to understand why having a bottle full of water would be a useful thing. Human beings can't live very long without water. But water is heavy, so storing it on your person isn't very easy. I would argue that even having an empty water bottle could be very helpful, even in non-emergency situations. It allows you to carry water with you, should you realize that you need to.
The Vapor Eclipse series comes in subdued Olive or Navy Blue color.

Let's say that you want to go for a walk during your lunchbreak, but don't want to spend $1.50 for a water bottle from the vending machine. Instead, you fill your Vapur Eclipse bottle from the tap and are now able to carry 1 liter of water.

Vapur bottles are great for camping and backpacking, where space in your pack is not something that you have very much of. You can easily store a few Vapur bottles in your pack, fill them up when you need them, and then roll them up when you don't.

There are many situations where a collapsible water bottle would come in handy. At such an affordable price, it would be worth it to pick one up and see just how useful they can be!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review - Exotac Key Rings

The FREEKey puts a new twist on the standard keyring.
Something that nearly everyone carries in their EDC (Everyday Carry) gear are keys. We use keys for our homes, cars, lockers, etc. The standard way of carrying keys is on a keyring. This method has worked for generations, but now there's an updated design to the age-old keyring.

The Exotac FREEKey Keyring works just like a standard keyring, but allows you to very easily add or remove your keys from the ring. No more broken nails or bleeding fingers from trying to open the ring.
The FREEKey is very simple to open and use.

The way that this patented design works is that there's a slight bump in the keyring that you push again, which separates the end of the keyring, allowing you to remove a key. It's really difficult to just explain in text. The illustration does a much better job of explaining this.

The size and weight is on par with your standard keyring. The FREEKey only weights 0.15 oz and is 1" in diameter. It is made out of Stainless Steel and should last for a very long time.

The FREEKey System allows you to
organize your keys on the keyring.
If that wasn't enough, there is also a version of the FREEKey, called the FREEKey System, that comes with 3 smaller keyrings that allow you to subdivide your keys into sections for easy removal. For example, you can have keys used for around the home on one small keyring, keys for work on another and keys to the gym on a third.

If you're looking for a change to the standard keyring or dread the idea of adding or removing keys from your keyring, then I would highly recommend taking a look at the FREEKey Keyring by Exotac.

Do any of you have any experience with the FREEKey? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review - Type I Paracord

Type I Paracord - Great for EDC
I've reviewed Type III Paracord in the past, but there is another type of Paracord that may be even more useful for EDC (Everyday Carry). It's called Type I Paracord, and it's great for securing memory sticks or other small objects to your keychain, for making lanyards, or for any other jobs where a strong/durable, but very thin, cordage is necessary.

A comparison of Type III Paracord vs. Type I Paracord.
Type I Paracord is very similar in construction to Type III Paracord (aka 550 Paracord) but it differs in one key feature. Whereas Type III has 7 inner strands, Type I only has 1 inner strand, while still having a colored outer sheath.

Well, how strong is it?

Tensile Strength breakdown of Type I Paracord:
Outside Sheath - 65 lbs
Inner Strand - 35 lbs each x 1 strand
Total Strength - 100 lbs

Type I Paracord, just like Type III,
comes in a variety of colors.
The total strength for Type I is 100 lbs, which is very strong. While fairly strong, Type I is also very thin. Type I Paracord is only about 1/16" thick, whereas Type III Paracord is about 3/16" thick. It's also much lighter per foot. For the same weight as 100' of Type III Paracord, you can carry about 350' of Type I. It's rare that you would need a cordage stronger than 100' for daily tasks. If you would need more strength, you can still double or triple up on the cordage.

So, if you're interested in carrying cordage as part of your EDC, it might be good to take a look at Type I Paracord. Carrying 100' of Type I around with you isn't as difficult as you may think: bundled into a small hank, it's about the size of a multi-tool.

Have any of you had any experience with Type I Paracord? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review - Rite in the Rain Notebooks

As you go about your daily routine, depending on what sort of tasks you intend on completing, it may be necessary for you to have some paper to write information down on.

Using a folded piece of paper, or even a napkin, can work in a pinch, but it's not a very durable solution. There are small, pocket notebooks on the market, but those tend to deteriorate over time, especially if they ever become wet.

The Rite in the Rain Notebooks come in 3 basic colors.
An excellent solution to this problem comes from a company called Rite in the Rain. I'm sure many of you reading this have heard of them, because they have been around for quite awhile!

Rite in the Rain products first appeared in the 1920s and were originally developed for the Pacific Northwest logging industry. The Pacific Northwest is the rainiest area in the United States, and loggers needed waterproof writing materials to do their jobs.

Fast forward to today: Rite in the Rain now makes a whole assortment of various waterproof paper products, along with carrying waterproof pens to write with on their paper.

If you need a specific size of waterproof paper, Rite in the Rain probably already makes it.

The products that are particularly useful for EDC (everyday carry) are the 3"x5" and the 4"x6" Pocket Notebooks. These notebooks are a perfect size to carry every day, and will last for a long time, no matter the weather conditions. What's really neat is that the paper has nearly the same feel as standard paper, which makes it very convenient to use.

A cover combined with a Rite in the Rain Notebook
gives you a very durable writing solution no matter
what environment you're in.
These notebooks come in three colors: Yellow, Green and Tan, which is great if you want a highly visible notebook or one that is more subdued in color. These notebooks have 50 sheets of paper, which give you 100 sides to write on.

The covers of the notebook are made out of a Polydura polymer, which will not wear out and will protect the pages. On the inside of the notebook, covers have printed references for map reading and converting measurement units between metric and standard for the most common types of measurements (length, volume, weight, temperature, speed, etc.)

To go along with their great notebooks, Rite in the Rain also makes notebooks covers, just in case you needed a little bit of extra protection for the notebook. The notebook covers hold the notebooks (either the 3"x5" or 4"x6") and has room to store a pen.

The Rite in the Rain Tactical Clicker Pen
can write in extreme weather and temperature conditions.
All pencils and most pens (except for gel pens) will work on the Rite in the Rain Notebooks. However, Rite in the Rain teamed up with Fischer Space Pens to give you an all-purpose pen that can write in extreme weather and in extreme temperatures (-30F - 250F).

The Rite in the Rain Pens come in Black, Blue and Red Ink. My personal favorite is the Tactical Clicker Pen. It has a very sleek appearance and a nice weight to it. It's very comfortable to write with.

I hope that this quick review of Rite in the Rain products was informative. If you haven't seen these amazing products yet, I would recommend checking them out. It's really unbelievable how water just beads off of them, yet they still allow for you to write on them easily.

If you have any use with Rite in the Rain products, let me know in the comments below.

I can't say it any better than Sootch00. Here's his take on Rite in the Rain products.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review - Mora of Sweden Knives

I'm sure that you were excitedly awaiting the arrival of this next blog post. With the way that I had hyped up Mora knives, I expected you to be.

My experience with Moras actually goes back to my childhood. My father had purchased a Mora (actually a Frosts Mora) for me for my 10th birthday. I had no idea that it was a Mora. I just knew that it cut well and looked really cool. Only later, when I gained an appreciation for knives, did I realize that it was a Mora. I still have that knife to this day.

The Mora 711 has a rubber overmolded handle.
Fast forward to today. My fascination with Moras has never ended. In fact, I appreciate them now more than ever. In my opinion, they are the sharpest and highest quality knives for the money. I would put a Mora up against any blade on the market in terms of edge sharpness.


Mora of Sweden, as a company, has only existed since 2005. It was formed from the merger of Frosts Knivfabrik and KJ Eriksson. However, these two companies have been manufacturing knives for over a century. The name Mora, which comes from the town of Mora, where these knives are manufactured. The merger of these two companies has propelled Mora forward in terms of popularity and the variety of knives that they manufacture.

All Mora knives are made in Sweden, which is phenomenal considering that their basic model (Craftline Q 511) sells for less than $8. There are low-quality Chinese knock-offs out there, but since these blades are so inexpensive, why not get the real deal?

Mora Knife Construction

To have an inexpensive, but quality knife, Mora invests in the parts of the knife that matter, and saves money on less critical parts. With this philosophy in mind, they are able to give you one heck of a bang for your buck.

The basic construction of Mora knives is very simple. Mora gives you a razor-sharp knife in either Sanvik Stainless Steel or Carbon Steel. These blades are precisely ground and nicely polished. They do not look or feel cheap at all! The only drawback that I can realistically find is that most Mora knives do not have a full tang, meaning that the steel from the blade only extends partially into the handle. I have never found this to be a problem personally, but you probably wouldn't want to pound on the handle of a Mora too much or it might break.

The Mora Classic No. 2 is a simple, no-nonsense fixed blade.
Moras are known for their Scandinavian Grind (Scandi Grind), which creates a very strong blade edge. A Scandinavian Grind forms an edge profile that starts halfway down the blade and goes all the way to the tip. There is no secondary edge, which is found on most knives. When you look at the blade with the point facing you, you will see a triangularly shaped blade edge. This triangle gives amazing structural support for one of the strongest edge geometries available!

The handle on Moras is usually made of injection molded plastic, but can be made of wood. On more expensive models, the handles may have a rubber grip area. The sheath is also made of injection molded plastic. However, none of these handles or sheaths are poorly designed and perform very well. They aren't fancy, but they work.

Basically, a Mora is a knife that you can use for a season or two, and then afford to throw away. It's also a knife that you can afford to abuse, or even practice sharpening with, without having to worry about ruining an expensive knife.

Types of Mora Knives

The Craftline TopQ Electrician has a blade specific
to a certain job. In this case, the job is stripping wire.

There are dozens of different types of Mora knives. They range from standard fixed blades such as the Mora Classic Series, to specialized tools such as the Craftline TopQ Chisel or the Comfort Fishing 155 Filet Knife. Most standard Moras have about a 4-5" blade and offer slight variations on the handle, sheath or blade geometry. For an all-around knife, one of my favorites is the Companion MG, in either Carbon Steel or Stainless (they're both great).

Why a Mora?

As far as EDC (everyday carry) is concerned, a Mora would be an excellent choice if you are working outdoors, where concealment isn't a requirement. Normally, people carry folding knives so as not to scare others, while still having a functional cutting tool available. When working in the field, it is normal to see someone carrying a fixed blade knife, so having a larger knife such as the Mora isn't as big of a deal.

I hope that I have given you enough reasons to go out and get a Mora. Normally, I don't command people to buy something. However, if you're a knife enthusiast and haven't yet tried one out, then what are you waiting for. Go and get one now!

Have any of you had experiences with Moras? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fixed Blades for EDC?

For the most part on EDC Blog, when I have talked about knives, it's mainly been about folding knives since these are the knives most likely to be carried daily. This hasn't really been fair, since there I have closed you guys off to the amazing world of fixed blade knives. The selection for fixed blades is even greater than that of folding knives, since they are used far more often in various tasks.

The handle of the CRKT M21 G10 are nice,
but not as comfortable as many fixed blades.
There are times when you may carry a fixed blade knife as part of your EDC (everyday carry) gear. These would probably be times that you are hiking, camping, working outdoors or about to enter an environment other than the suburban or urban places where many of us live and work.

Advantages to fixed blades are that they usually offer a better grip, can have more job-specific blade shapes, and are usually stronger than folding knives. If you're anticipating putting your knife to hard use, then a fixed blade should definitely be your carry knife for that day.

Another great reason to carry a fixed blade, is that, for the money, they're usually of higher quality. The intricate mechanisms that go into some folding knives can make them more expensive than fixed blades.

This Mora 511 may be the best value knife their is.
A great example when it comes to ultra high-value fixed blades is the knife manufacturer, Mora of Sweden. The knives that Mora makes are simple in their construction and design, but have some of the sharpest, nicest factory blade edges that I've seen. When you look at the price, you may be shocked to find that many of their knives sell for less than $20. A particular favorite of mine is the Mora 511, which comes it at under $10. I guarantee that you won't find a better blade for that price.

Look to this blog for a more detailed look into the knife manufacturer, Mora, in my next post.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Assault (on Defensive) Weapons

I understand that this blog is about Everyday Carry (EDC), but underlying all that, this blog is about general preparedness. EDC has to do with preparedness items that you take out of the house with you. I am assuming that your preparedness as an individual does not end with the tools you take with you daily. I hope that you have the foresight to think about items that you can store at home to help you in emergencies more serious than not having a folding knife when you need to open a cardboard box, or having a first-aid kit for the off-chance that you cut yourself with that knife.

Like I said, this blog is about preparedness. You should have preps at home covering basic essentials: food, water, shelter, clothing, communication, light sources, energy sources, etc. To guard against those who would take injure you or your family, or those would wish to take your preps away, you need to have some sort of defensive plan as well. The most modern and effective tool for defense against an assault would be a firearm.

It seems like there has been a media firestorm in recent weeks with regard to guns and demonizing their owners. It wouldn't be right if I didn't at least touch on the subject.

For EDC, even a Glock 19 is a compromise when compared to a rifle.
With its 15 round standard magazine capacity, politicians would further
restrict its usefulness by limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds.
When you think of an EDC firearm, you usually would think of a compact, easily concealable pistol. You want maximum defensive capability in the smallest package. It's all about efficiency and recently, this type of efficiency has been under attack.

When purchasing a firearm for daily carry, it doesn't make sense to put artificial constraints on the capability of that firearm. You're already making compromises by carrying a pistol in the first place, as opposed to carrying a rifle or a shotgun. Politicians nowadays are calling on magazine capacity restrictions, to further limit your pistol's effectiveness.

A magazine for most handguns is meant to store the maximum amount of ammunition within the grip of the gun. It spans the full length of the grip, in order to fit as much ammunition within that space as possible. If and when you'd ever need to use it, you would want the maximum amount of firepower possible to defend your life.

With the current calls for magazine capacity restrictions, politicians want to limit the size of those magazines, limiting your ability to defend yourself as effectively as possible. If you choose to carry a gun with a longer grip, you are sacrificing comfort in return for the ability to carry more ammunition. These proposed laws would negate any defensive benefit that you would get by carrying a pistol with a longer grip.

I just don't get it. With all the calls for ending "gun violence", not once have I heard politicians call for disarming criminals, only the law abiding citizen. The only logical conclusion to explain this type of behavior must be that they consider all of us criminals or at least potential criminals.

Home Defense

Going back to an earlier topic, preparedness does not end with the things we carry with us on a daily basis. We need to have more serious preps at home. Defense, being essential to preparedness, needs to be beefed up at home to protect the things that we have stored. We also need to be able to defend that which is even more valuable, our lives and the lives of our family members.

This AR-15 is used for defense, not assault. It is chosen
because it is the best there is for its given application.
At home, we have the luxury of storing more capable defensive weapons, not being limited to only handguns. One such weapon that is commonly owned and used by hones, law abiding, everyday Americans, is the AR-15. No, it's not an "assault weapon". It's a defensive weapon and one of the best ones ever invented. It's light-recoiling, accurate, very customizable, and very reliable. Perhaps in a later post, I will look at its capabilities in greater detail.

Anyways, what is also being under attack by politicians is our ability to own such weapons. It's not really the defensive weapons that are under attack but the idea of self-defense in general. Having the ability to say no to aggression is threatening to any would-be aggressor. Do you think it's a coincidence that while the government is calling to disarm Americans, they are increasing their own weapon stockpiles?

I hope that all of you reading this recognize the urgency of this current assault against our ability to defend ourselves. Call your legislators and let your voices be heard. If you are able, take some newbies shooting and teach them the importance of self-defense.

If you disagree with this post, then take some time to research the issue and learn some first-hand knowledge of what a firearm is and what it can do. Unfortunately, what you hear in the media are mostly emotional sound-bites with very little factual information. You owe it to yourself to learn the facts.

Stay prepared and continue to defend freedom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Winter EDC

Hello everyone! I'm back from a long hiatus, but this post will be a good one.

With the changing season, your Everyday Carry (EDC) gear should change, as well. An EDC setup needs to change with the changing environment, to prepare you for the jobs and difficulties that you may face that day.

One would do well to think about how winter differs than summer. Well, obviously, there's a weather phenomena called snow which seems to coincidentally appear when the weather gets cold. Snow increase the chance of car accidents or even getting your car stuck.

Winter also brings with it longer nights, which should also slightly alter your EDC setup.

Here are some of the pieces of gear that I would emphasize during the winter months:

Hat, Gloves & Warm Outerwear
This skier may look like a marshmallow,
 but I bet that he's pretty warm right now.

While very obvious to some of us, having warm clothes on is something that you need to have if you want to be prepared for cold weather. You'd be surprised at the amount of people who don't realize this. Look at any city crowd in the winter and you're guaranteed to find a large number of people without a hat or gloves, shivering while walking to work.

"But it's only a short walk from my car to my office."
You don't know what you'll be expecting. The way that I think of it, you should be prepared to stay outside comfortably for a length of time in any weather situation that you may find yourself in. That means, if it's raining, you have a rain jacket and appropriate shoes. If it's cold out, you wear warm clothes, and at least have a hat and gloves handy. You never know what may happen to you throughout the day, but at least you won't have to fight the cold.

The Quark Turbo, now called the Turbo QB2L,
is still my favorite EDC Flashlight even after 2 years of use.
A good flashlight can be an invaluable part of your EDC. During the long days of summer, you may be able to get away with just a keychain light such as the Preon P0, but during the winter months, I would suggest picking up something brighter. A modern LED flashlight such as the Quark Turbo (still my personal favorite), would give you enough light for almost any dark situation that you may come across, while still being very portable.

A good knife is a staple part of an EDC setup. In fact, I think that carrying a knife distinguishes people who leave the house with a preparedness mentality versus those who just grab a few things on the way out the door, often not having the tools necessary for even the smallest of unexpected tasks.

With the winter months and the addition of clothes layers, namely winter gloves, your knife selection may also need to change. In the winter, you may want to consider carrying a knife that you can use with gloves on. That may mean carrying a fixed blade or a larger folding knife. It's just something to consider.

Cell Phone
Nowadays, nearly everyone carries a cell phone, but just in case you don't, having one to call for help is very important. Winter carries a higher risk of accidents, since the weather is less hospitable, meaning that you can't stay out in it indefinitely. Communication is essential to surviving an emergency. A cell phone will almost always allow you to call for help should you need it.

Automobile Accessories
With snow, comes poor driving conditions. There are some basic items that you should have in the trunk of your car just in case something unexpected were to happen.

Wool Blanket
A wool blanket should be in your trunk no matter what the season. It takes up very little room and can be very useful if for some reason you need to stay warm or keep someone else warm. It can also be used to lay down on or as a carrier for other items by wrapping them up in the blanket. It can even be used as an improvised shelter, just to name a few jobs. If for some reason you were stuck out in the cold, you won't regret having one.

First Aid Kit
Even a fairly basic First-Aid Kit, such as the First Aid 2.0,
can be very beneficial in an emergency.
Pretty common sense. If winter is a time when car accidents are more likely to happen, it is a very good idea to have a comprehensive first aid kit to treat your own injuries or the injuries of others. While I've never had to use one in a car accident, having a first aid kit has come in handy numerous times and I try to have one with me wherever I go.

Jumper Cables
Cold weather can be very tough on car batteries. If your car battery is weak, it's very likely that it will die during the cold winter months. This actually happened to me earlier this winter. Thankfully, I was trying to leave my driveway when it happened, so I wasn't stranded anywhere. A good set of jumper cables will be invaluable if and/or when your car battery ever dies.

Road Flares
Road flares are a great signaling device should you ever become stranded on the side of the road. It's actually a very common sight during the winter months. A good set of road flares will signal to other drivers that you need help, especially during times when visibility is poor due to snowfall or fog.

Small Snowshovel
Like I said earlier, cold weather brings with it snow. Snow can be very difficult to drive through, especially if your car does not have 4-wheel drive. A good but compact snow shovel kept in your trunk will help get you un-stuck should you ever try to drive through snow that's just a bit too deep for your car to traverse.

Those are just a few items that I recommend carrying with you or having in your trunk during the winter months. There are many more items that would be helpful as well, but these are some of the more basic.

Let me know what you think, along with any ideas that you may have for other items in the comments below.