by Brian Griffin February 03, 2021
As much as we enjoy them, not every day can be a picnic on the shore with our special someone. And I think that's by design to keep those days as special as they are. As it's only through the not so great days that we gain the ability to appreciate the blessings in our lives, and not take them for granted. And us learning to not take those times for granted is exactly how we learn to prepare for the days from the other end of the spectrum.
In our experiences in preparation, we learn that ounces add up to pounds and pounds add up to more exertion, and that they can even add up to problems. When considering weight, factoring in any likely alternate modes of transportation is a must. Because a few extra pounds of gear or clothing in a vehicle is seldom a bad thing, whereas on foot or on a bicycle it could be overwhelming and well out of the realm of reason.
Luckily for us, with time has come the development of more durable light-weight materials, and there are also more options in gear sizes to choose from than a few decades ago. So all we really have to do now is prioritize the weight distribution based on our expected uses , abuses, and dependency. Thus the most weight gets relegated to the equipment which will be the hardest used and the most missed if failed or lost, and we work our way down from there by order of likely needs.
I do ruck trips on my bike twice a week, just trying to keep myself in decent shape as I grow older. I carry enough food supplies and equipment to fuel me for the trip, as well as sustain me for a few days even in very deteriorated circumstances if things happen to go wrong while I'm out. But those trips are for physical training and exercise, so I choose those items for extra weight because I'd rather carry useful items than dead weight to train with. Not to mention we are living in some very curious times, and one never knows what's around the next curve.
For the recreational rides I go the opposite direction and minimize the weight. I carry a good bit less food, water, gear, and ammo, in order to make the ride less work and more enjoyable.
Any injuries currently being dealt with need to be taken into consideration as well. After a torn meniscus last summer, and being in pain but having no choice but to keep going for a while, I had to temporarily re-prioritize my EDC gear. I had to lighten it to help avoid re-injuries during the healing process.
My Tuff Writer pen was replaced with a bamboo pen I had semi-retired earlier in the year, due to its sentimentality during some risky photography work. My Leatherman Wave was replaced by a Gerber Dime. And the ultra-light Benchmade Bugout, originally bought for beach carry in Panama City, replaced my heavier pocket knives for a while.
Yet sometimes weight isn't necessarily the only concern. Even at 4 times the weight, I kept the Zippo over carrying a disposable lighter. For it's dependability, durability, versatility, and refill-ability. And of course the Ti chopsticks have been a near constant companion for me the last 8 years.
Another area where I had to adjust my daily load-out for a while was in reducing the amount of extra ammunition in my pack. Once the violence and riots began in so many cities in the spring and early summer of 2020, I had added several extra magazines to the pack I carry while working, as well as expanding my first aid kits.
When it comes to spare magazines the weight adds up quickly. To give that some perspective, each 10 round magazine weighs about as much as a Leatherman Wave which weighs about 10oz on the belt case and all. The 15 rnd mags weigh a couple ounces more. So adding or removing 6 magazines changes the load-out weight by almost 5 pounds. Which is a pretty significant change in weight when carried over a long distance.
In some cases, the choice of adding a little more weight just in case is made with an anticipation of pleasantries rather than a fear of catastrophes. Like the Swiss Army Knife I often carry, and optimistically so. Though the SAK is the original multi-tool, it doesn't have the very useful pliers accessory. However the Wave doesn't have a cork screw, tweezers, or toothpick, and the special someone in my life likes to enjoy a little wine on our picnics. So I ensure I can open it for her even if we go old school. And a toothpick is almost never a bad thing to have on a picnic.
Oh, and though the size may vary from time to time, depending on the environment, a small fixed-blade knife is a near constant for me and largely in anticipation of picnics as well. This is because when it comes to food consumption, much like with food prep and game prep, most fixed blade knives lack the little nooks and crannies folding knives and multi-tools have. And as such they are simply much easier to clean and far more hygienic.
The year 2020, and even 2021 so far, have given us many points to ponder and things to take into consideration. Fortunately for us there have been many advancements and innovations in materials and gear in recent years, and we can keep ourselves well equipped as we wander circumspectly through our world.
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