Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Incredible $99 EDC Kit




One thing I love about blogging and writing is that it allows me to be productive with what I enjoy doing anyway. It gives a new sense of meaning to all those hours thinking about survival, gear and the more philosophical questions in the survival and preparedness world. 

A couple hours ago while I was in the gym on the stationary bike. Few things are as boring as pedaling (or walking) and going nowhere. I had my iphone with me but I had finished watching The Patriot (extended edition) during my previous visit to the gym. So while I was there I kept thinking about Preparing with very limited Funds post. What’s important, and what isn’t as much. 

We’ve covered having the right mindset and learning. Getting into proper physical shape was also mentioned as a top priority SHTF or not, even though many self claimed survivalists chose to ignore this little topic. Food and water? Absolutely. Other than a few other random items such as a well stocked first aid kit, flashlights and camping gear, I kept thinking that when it comes to gear what matters the most is what you have with you at all time, you Every Day Carry gear. 

Here I quickly remind everyone how important it is to get the CCW license and be armed at all times, but other than that there are other tools you should carry with you 24/7. While you can go as crazy as you want regarding EDC with a 400 USD Chris Reeve Sebenza or a custom made $3000 ( yes, that’s three zeros) Spy Tri-V flashlight, most of us don’t have that kind of money to put into gear. In fact, most of my readers are on a very tight budget. Students, young families, people that lost their jobs or suffered salary cuts, a lot of folks reading my blog and getting into survivalism have little cash available for gar, so what to get?
Before I start, know that there’s always cheaper. Yes, I’ve seen the 10 dollar knife and 9 dollar LED light, I even own dozens of both, but I also know that when you have a very tight budget its better to buy affordable quality gear, and not throw money away in slightly less expensive stuff that may or may not work. This 99 USD EDC I’m proposing here is not sacrificing quality and will last a lifetime with proper care.

Folding Knife (Use: general purpose with an inclination to defensive use)
 Spyderco Tenacious G-10 Handle Folding Plain Edge Knife 
At  $33.29, its hard to beat the Spyderco Tenacious. I like Cold Steel a lot, but I used to like it even more when their prices where more competitive.
With the Tenacious you get a 3 3/8” full flat ground blade, 8Cr13Mov Stainless Steel which is pretty good, takes a good edge, beefy liner lock and G-10 handle. It has the very practical Spyderco trademark thumb hole witch combined with a clip that can easily be reattached with a torx scredriver to any of te 4 possible positions you have a product that is hard, excuse me , impossible to beat for that price.
If you have a better alternative for under 34 dollars please let me know, post it in the comments.

Flashlight(Use: Every day use, signaling, emergency light for short or extended periods of time)
Quark Mini AA 1XAA 90-Lumens Cree XP-G R5 LED Pocket Flashlight Black 
This is a hard one. There’s so many awesome LED lights out there its hard to go for just one. I wont recommend here some of the generic brandless ones. For a one and probably only light, go with quality. Quality brands are offering some lights at a very competitive price, and in this category 4Sevens and Fenix are my favorite brands.
For an EDC light? The Quark Mini AA has an Cree XP-G R5 LED. This may be Japanese if you’re not a flashlight geek, but its simply one of the latest LEDs from Cree, the best LED manufacturer.  These are efficient, reliable and have great color, pure white in their cool white models. If you remember the first LEDs, even the Nichia LED currently used by the Fenix E01 (excellent little light by the way) has that purple/bluish tint to it. My personal choice is this same model but it CR123, the Quark Mini 123. This is of course brighter, but batteries are also more expensive than the cheap and widely available AA, so I think it’s a better choice for a budget EDC.
At 39 USD for The Quark Mini AA R5, if you find a better light for that money I’ll let you hit me over the head with a crowbar next time you’re in Bs. As.  We still have 26.71 left. 

Multitool (Use: General use, repairs)
Leatherman 831195 Squirt PS4 Black Keychain Tool with Plier 
A Leatheman Charge it is not, but some of you may be surprised that even with 26 bucks left you can still get a very functional multitool and oh yes my friends, it’s a Leatherman. The Leatherman Squirt PS4 wotn be used to disassemble your car’s engine, but for general use such as repairing a broken light switch in your house, opening your desktop CPU and opening up and repairing small home appliances it does get the job done. He pliers are small, yo wont be cutting nails with this one, but your can twist, tighten an cut wires and it has scissors, Phillips and flat screwdrivers, wood/metal file, bottle opener and of course a little Clip point 420HC for when you don’t want to get tape glue all over your brand new Spyderco Tenacious. The Leatherman PS4 costs 22.36, leaving us just 4,35 on our EDC budget.

Lighter (Use: Starting fires, burning rope, etc)
Bic Classic Disposable Lighter Single Pack 2500 Lights [Health and Beauty]
Bic Classic Disposable lighter.  $1.99
You wont be impressing your friends with this bad boy but it is reliable and time proven. Even when wet, you can still use it if you wait until it dries up.
The advertisement says you get 2500 lights (flame) out of this lighter, which in my opinion is more handy than 3000 sparks from your average firesteel. Even if you run out of gas, you still have a bit of flint and the wheel. Removing the metal cover you can use it as an improvised flit to ignite some fibers (make a bit of lint using your clothing) and start a fire.
We only have $2.36 left in our budget and this is the end of our shopping spree.. or is it not?

Miniature FireSteel Rod(Use: Emergency Fire starter)
FireSteel Miniature 

I just found this puppy when I thought we were done. $o.69 guys.
Lets go totally nuts and get a couple these for a total of 1.38. One goes into the wallet (where it folds, should fit nicely and secure with a bit of tape) or you can keep it in your shoe. The other one can be placed inside a bit of Paracord after removing the core strands. This you can tie to your keychain along with the Leatherman PS4 in case you need to start a fire during an emergency and your’ trusty Bic died on you.

So that’s it guys, a pretty neat EDC setup for under 99 USD. Excellent folding knife, LED light, quality little multi tool and means to start fire for both emergencies and ordinary use. You still have 0,98 cents, but I leave that to you, just go crazy on it, life’s too short.  :-)
Take care!

FerFAL

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Very useful for starting survivalists. I especially like the mini flint rod, I wasn't aware of it.

Gomi said...

It's not available from Amazon, and it pumps you $7.15 over budget, but I would highly recommend the Split Pea Peanut Lighter from CountyComm, instead of the Bic disposables.

It's smaller and tougher than the Bics, and refillable. Plus, unlike a Zippo or other standard refillable lighter, it seals up so the fuel won't evaporate.

For an emergency/occasional fire source that will mostly just be sitting in your pocket, on your keychain, this seems like a better solution than a plastic disposable lighter.

But, like I said, since it's not Amazon, there's more shipping, and it's more expensive anyway. But it doesn't go that far over budget.

refuse/resist said...

Hi Ferfal,

What is your opinion about SanRenMu knifes?

I read pretty good reviews about them and they seem to be a huge bang for buck at 12-18$ with shipping costs.
If someone is on a tight budget, aren't these a better option than 35-60$ knifes?

Anonymous said...

The little Leatherman Squirt is good, but I've never had much luck with anything with pliers that small. I like the original scissored S4 version better, those scissors rock! Can be found still on internet for low prices, I bought three for $25, used with some damaged finish but tools were still good, just cosmetic damage.

As for knife, I think an ordinary SAK Hiker that has a knife, saw, awl and can opener is probably more useful than the Tenacious, but probably not much good for self defense. If it had to be for self defence, nothing sez 'Leave Me Alone!' like a machete, and a 12" CS Bowie is a pretty intimidating piece of steel.

Very good post - Thanks Ferfal!

Don Williams said...

I would suggest also a large plastic garbage bag (a few cents). Folds up to next to nothing and yet is extremely useful in keeping you warm (keeps clothes dry in cold rain, is a shield from cold wind, and traps layer of warm air next to your outer clothing. )

In some emergencies you can't light campfires (e.g, in California city struck by earthquake where broken pipelines have spewed explosive gas.)

A temporary poncho made of the same plastic material costs about $3 and also has a hood to protect your head --from which much heat can be lost. (I am prejudiced against space blankets --they reflect radar. )

Another thing to have is a plastic bag to serve as a canteen. With some water purification tablets.

Finally, a small roll of duct tape (8 inches?) will allow you to patch any leaks in the poncho or canteen and will also give you patches for foot blisters --which otherwise will immobilize you.

FerFAL said...

Thanks guys, good suggestions.

"Gomi said...

It's not available from Amazon, and it pumps you $7.15 over budget, but I would highly recommend the Split Pea Peanut Lighter from CountyComm, instead of the Bic disposables."

Absolutely, the peanut lighter is HIGHLY recommended.
http://www.countycomm.com/sslight.htm

DX used to have one cheap but they dont have them anymore, I have one of those in my keychain. Although the Bic isn't survival tough, I do add a couple mini firesteels that should get the job done during emergencies. All in all, Do get the Peanut lighter i you can instead of the Bic, or get both and keep one in your bag and the peanut in your keychian like I do.
I do like tohse mini firesteels very much though, I'll get a bunch to try out and stash here and there.

"refuse/resist said...

Hi Ferfal,

What is your opinion about SanRenMu knifes?

I read pretty good reviews about them and they seem to be a huge bang for buck at 12-18$ with shipping costs.
If someone is on a tight budget, aren't these a better option than 35-60$ knifes?
"

I've read some reviews as well and they do seem to be well made, and use high quality steel. Having said that for a one and only knife I'd rather spend the extra 10 or 20 bucks and get a Spyderco. Not only are you buying one of the best known brands, the knife itself is better for defensive use as well, and the pocket clip can be adapted to your personal needs. Well worth the money difference, specially for your one and only knife. If you alrady have something you'd trust your life too, by all means experiment with other gear, I do that all the time, but first make sure you have the good stuff you knwo wont let you down. I believe that when in a tight budget, its just not worth the risk of wasting moeny in mystery gear, not when the stuff you know is good can be had for a marginal difference of money.

FerFAL

Anonymous said...

Lots of good ideas. To bring the price down, the most useful part of the multi-tool is the pliers. Instead of the multi-tool, a cheap $5 pair of needle nosed pliers may prove more useful. With the savings, in addition to the other suggestions made, pickup as much cordage or better yet, 550 paracord as possible. light rope or cordage has many, many uses from rigging up a temporary shelter to a strap for an expedient carry bag. a

Jack said...

For about $.50 you can get one of the large P38 can openers. You can get 2 for a dollar at the local military surplus store and you can keep on in your BoB and one in your wallet. You don't want to ruin your Spyderco trying to get the food out of a can.

+1 on the large heavy duty trash bag

Anonymous said...

I just bought a spyderco endura 4. The blade is just shy of 4" and the steel is VG10. It cost me $47 with shipping included. The thing came razor sharp out of the box. I shaved a few hairs off my arm to test this. I'm extremly happy with it.

Gallo @ GTA Forum

The Urban Survivalist said...

Ever since I bought a couple of peanut lighters for myself I haven't been able to understand how they could possibly have such a large following in any circles. They're worthless pieces of crap. They're hard to light. The fuel DOES evaporate just as fast as any zippo I've ever owned. If you do get it lit you had better hope that a light breeze doesn't happen by or the flame will go right out. I just hate the things.

I've got Bic lighters that are 10 years old that still light. Get a mini bic and it's about the same size. Sorry that it doesn't come with a nifty keyring to attach to your keychain. It's unobtrusive enough just sitting in your pocket. That was longer and more ranty than I intended but yeah...peanut lighters are a waste of money in my experience.

Everything else seems pretty spot on. I like my Streamlight Stylus Pro. It's about the size of a pen and it runs on 2 AAA batteries. It's also bright enough to light up a pitch black warehouse. Mine was about $20 at a police supply store so I'm sure that you can find them cheaper. Ideal? Of course not. Great bang for the buck? Absolutely!

$35 is about the least that you can expect to pay for a decent quality folder with a blade long enough to be useful for self defense. I'm a CRKT guy myself. Just get on Amazon and search for CRKT and you'll find plenty of choices for less than $30.

I carry a Gerber clutch and it does the job. I wish that it had a pair of scissors but that can easily be covered with a classic swiss army knife on your keychain. The Gerber Clutch and the swiss army knife together cost less than the leatherman and you're not supporting a libtard activist by buying their brands. I only buy Leatherman products used.

The firesteel is a good idea for the price. I've carried one in my wallet for a while now and, besides using petroleum soaked cotton balls, I have yet to start a fire with one. The idea is good but it takes a LOT of practice and knowhow to be able to use it. Of course, I'd never discourage anyone to not carry one. If you have it then maybe you'll play with it when you're bored. You might even get proficient with it. If nothing else maybe you'll learn just enough to cobble together a fire when you're really desperate.

FerFAL said...

"The Urban Survivalist said...

Ever since I bought a couple of peanut lighters for myself I haven't been able to understand how they could possibly have such a large following in any circles. They're worthless pieces of crap. They're hard to light. The fuel DOES evaporate just as fast as any zippo I've ever owned. If you do get it lit you had better hope that a light breeze doesn't happen by or the flame will go right out. I just hate the things. "

I've got twelve (12) peanut lighters. Not the nicer ones by countycomm but the cheap ones DX used to sell. They all work very well, easy to light and hold the liquid fuel for 2 or 3 months. I know this becuase I check the one in my keychain once every couple months and more often that not I find it soaked in fuel. Sounds like you got a bad one, probably tries up on you becasue the o-ring is broken or maybe even missing. About lighting it, can't understnad why you're having the problem. Dead simply actually, maybe you're getting the flint soaked with fuel?

"The idea is good but it takes a LOT of practice and knowhow to be able to use it. Of course, I'd never discourage anyone to not carry one. "

I'd tell people to get a couple and use one up until they have enough practice and understand how it works. Making sparks is the easy part, the hardest one is having enough lint. Oh, and you should move the firesteel away from the lint and not the striker towards it. Takes some practice but its worth learning how to use.

FerFAL

Anonymous said...

Well, based on your review of that Spyderco, Ima gonna give it a try, but opted for the slightly smaller Persistance. Other than slightly smaller handle and shorter blade, pretty much the same knife. At least, according to the reviews I've read of them.

Anonymous said...

Also came across this Meyerco Darrel Ralph folder that looks sweet! Might give this one a look as well.

Dan009 said...

Feral,

My local (and locally owned) sporting goods store recommended I take a look at the Kershaw assisted open Leek.

I liked it.

Kershaw Leek Folding Knife:
http://www.amazon.com/Kershaw-Onion-Folding-Knife-Speed/dp/B0009VC9Y0

Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Serrated Folding Knife with Speed Safe:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009VC9YA

http://www.kershawknives.com/productdetails.php?id=60&brand=kershaw

If you buy through Amazon, you will get under your 34 price point.

And, unlike the Spyderco, this knife is not made in China, but the USA.

Question: do you recommend a straight edge, which would be easier to sharpen, or a half serrated edge?

Anonymous said...

You should try out the Photon Rex Photon Rex, also available for under $20 at Amazon. This is a rugged, very bright keychain flashlight, with continuous dimming, flashing modes, etc. and a unique recharging ability. There's even a solar and USB charger for it, and I think a clip to make it a headlamp.

It's been my EDC for a couple of years, after trying several AAA lights. I wear one out in about a year, using it several times a day.

A big feature for me is that it's easily used one-handed. Also, it's one of the few keychain lights to compare in brightness to the latest AA lights.