Holiday, or vacation for those international readers is always a funny time for us EDC’ers, it poses a lot of conundrums for us, the main one being, what should I take… surely I can’t take everything, what is legal, what am I going to do whilst I’m there, how will i get there, will I need this…. all these questions come in to play when we are weighing up our potential edc, it is a literal minefield. It takes longer to choose what I want to take away for a couple of nights away than it does for my wife to choose an outfit to wear for a night out in three weeks time, let alone a proper holiday…
A week away in the sun is sometimes just what we need, a break from work, the monotony of life at home… the urge to explore new places, experience new cultures and foods, well, you know the sctript… holidays can also bring extra stress on to people though, before you even get there, the leading up to the actual holiday, buying any new clothes, sorting your work out, watering the plants, cancelling the milkman, ensuring security is covered at home, leaving the kids enough money for a takeaway each night…. nope… wait.. scrap that, they’re coming too, then there’s the travelling to the place of organised chaos that we also call the airport, working out if it is going to be taxi, train or airport parking, then checking in hours early to sit in a large but congested mass of people on uncomfortable seats staring at overpriced menus all the while smelling of some horrible aftershave that you just had to accidentally press and get all over you… Then you get on the fart filled flying cigar tube, yet more uncomfortable seats, screaming kids kicking the back of said uncomfortable seat, overhearing people’s conversations around you and hoping… praying that they are not going to be staying at the same hotel as you… it’s probably this sort of point that your telling yourself, it will all be worth it in a few hours when you’re at your destination with a beer in your hand, just man up and deal with it…
All this is not a reason to have a break from your EDC… unless that is what you’re after… if it is… you may want to stop reading this post around about now. It will hopefully help forge in your mind what it is that YOU will need. Let’s face it… you’ll be EDC’ing something whilst there, whether it is sunglasses, ski boots or just trousers… for a change, why not slip a few cheeky actual edc things in to the mix… I know you want to, you know you want to… so let’s stop kidding ourselves and get it sorted..
In this article, I shall mention a number of items and practices that I have, and do, all to get me on my holibobs and discuss my thoughts and reasoning behind them. Believe it or not, I am not the oracle, these are my musings, this just works for me, as we are well aware edc is subjective, what works for me, may not work for you, have a read, if you think it could work for you, great, if you think you can adapt it to work for you… even better. I have worked in the close protection industry over seas and some of my travel prep and planning has been borne from there really, i will share things that I think are relevant in some way, I won’t be telling you to get yourself a signal jammer or bug sweep kit though just in case, this is what I perceive as everyday carry related.
One of the first jobs I like to do is just ensure that all home security procedures are in place. Now, you may have read that line and instantly thought, what the hell is this guy on about… and you’d be forgiven, by security, I don’t just mean building gun turrets and paying the local organised crime gang to man it for you day and night whilst you’re away and if Mrs Miggins walks past and gives so much a glance at your front door, her eyebrows get burnt off with a flamethrower… no… there’s far more to it and it is a lot simpler than you may think. Security in this sense is all about ensuring your house is safe whilst you’re away, this could mean safe from a water leak, pipe bursting, electrical fire and of course billy the burglar. I generally turn the hot water on my boiler off and If appropriate, the radiators all the way down to the frost setting. The frost setting is good in winter and should help prevent any pipes bursting. If I’ve been away for an extended period of time, the water and gas have been turned fully off. I usually pull out the plug of non essential electrical items, I unplug the tv, any chargers and extension leads and what not. Now, in this age of modern technology, it is all well and good to have these WiFi wnabled products at home that you can access and turn lights, sockets and boilers on an off… these all depend on having an internet connection at your location as well as at home, they are not something I would rely solely on whilst abroad in certain countries, if there’s a power cut at home whilst you’re away, will these reset and still be active, if you have no signal to control them… your lights may end up being on at home for the full holiday. Old school socket timers aren’t too bad of a shout if you want a lamp or radio to come on at a certain time of day. I have a few ‘eveready’ branded ones that have served well, I live in a four story house, so I could easily make it look lived in at any time by over lapping lamp times, these would obviously be the normal sort of time that they would be on should I be at home, getting up for work and going to bed in a normal’ish routine.
As an extra note, it may also possibly worth mentioning to a neighbour… if you get on with them that is, that you are going away. I didn’t tell my neighbours. Failing that or indeed in addition to that, a friend, family member, work colleague, someone that you trust, leave them a key so they can check the house if needed and move your post etc. On that though, Royal Mail do do a holiday service and will hold mail in between certain dates for you, it is a good service, I don’t use it this time however, but I have in the past, they will also hold parcels for you, this is especially good as my friendly postman usually hides parcels for me so I don’t have to visit the post office, which is great ordinarily, but if i am away… there’s a potential risk it may go missing or get damaged.
If you have a milk man or newspapers delivered, make sure they know to not deliver whilst your away as well. Other than it is just wasting money, having them piling up piling, there will be a nosey yet good spirited neighbour who will end up getting your front door kicked in thinking your brown bread inside or something… plus Its a green light that billy the burglar will be looking for.
Don’t leave your Brie festering in the fridge, or anything for that matter, the last thing that you want to be treated with when coming home from your trip is a house sticking of some rotten food… I also like to pre-bleach the toilet…
It’s probably a bit late at this stage, but is your passport in date, some places won’t let you in if you have less than six months on your passport, so it is worth taking that into account. Do you need a visa for where you’re travelling to..? You should check before you go, sometimes they will remind you on the plane just before you land, which is nice, but if you have already done the relevant and accounted for any additional costs at the destination airport, you’ll have less to be worried about when you land.
Health insurance and travel insurance… with taking a lot of my camera gear away and the drone etc, I always make sure that I know that I am covered for specific items, should something go wrong somewhere along the lines, I know I will get some of the cash for the items back.
As a little nugget, check your home insurance too, some companies have a clause in saying that the property cannot be vacant for more than a specific amount of time… did you know this… I didn’t until I spoke to an insurance broker a few weeks before I went away, it tends to be for if you’re away for a month or more though.
The first proper hurdle is Suitcases, are you going to use a case, a bag, a holdall or will you be using a bag for life from Aldi as you’re only taking one spare pair of boxers and are planning on wearing nothing but swim shorts for the month. 22kg seems to be the general weight limiting with a lot of companies (check this-a lot of operators are different and will charge a kidney if you go slightly over) so aim for not packing beyond that limit, that means, you done necessarily need to buy the biggest case possible, the bigger the case the more likely you will be r and to put a few extra things in because there’s space….
There are literally thousands of options out there for you to consider and these can only be decided by you reall, what is going to be adequate and appropriate for your specific trip and needs.
Let’s say you’re using a standard suitcase, the kind with wheels and a telescopic handle as they’re all the rage these days, not like when I were a lad, I can tell thee…
Start off with putting anything heavy at the bottom if it is going to be stood up most of the time. I tend to wear my heaviest shoes to travel in, in this instance, they were my Nike ACG walking trainers so that they were sturdy enough for travel over here but also good enough to do the mountain walks I intended to do once at my destination.
Packing cubes, I have used a couple of ‘osprey’ packing cubes for a while, along with some amazon basics ones, there are loads of companies out there that make them of varying prices, quality and specific uses. I find that my packing is easier using these as I know that, for example, any clothes that I will be wearing for a night time will be together and daytime will be together. Doing it that way also makes it a little easier if you wanted to share items between cases if you are going away as a family for example and you want to split items just in case a case goes missing on the journey or, you’re doing a multi centre holiday and you can live out of one case per location. Digging past your skiing stuff just to get to your posing pouch can be a pain let me tell you…
Packing cubes also, in my experience help to conserve space, roll your clothing t-shirts, boxers, shorts, whatever and can get, what I feel, is a lot more into a a smaller space. If you’re unsure of how to do this, there’s hundreds of videos on YouTube showing you how to do it.
Then, there are padlocks to consider on your case. You want something good quality to give you peace of mind, however, your case gets taken away from you and you don’t see it for a number of hours, anyone with the right set of skills and mindset will get in to that case irellevant as to what case and lock you have. So don’t be fooled by the all singing all dancing options, they may not always the best. I bought some ‘lifeventure‘ TSA approved ones that are a cable type lock with a combination, but they have a key barrel on them well so that TSA can open, if needed, without damaging the lock, zip, case as they regularly do. The peace of mind is there with them.
You may want to look at tying a ribbon around the handle of your case or some sort of luggage strap so you can identify your case at the other end, I’d also recommend that if you do do this, take it off as soon as you get your case back just in case someone is eyeing you or your property up and this is a distinctive thing that makes it and you stand out that little bit more than you probably do.
Dopp Kit, wash kit, toiletry bag, whatever you call it, will the smaller, travel sized essentials that you can now get from most supermarkets suffice or will you need full size things? Do you have a travel specific razor, toothbrush etc. What ever you have, ensure that your stuff is wrapped up snugly and protected from things if they were to burst. A good little tip is to wrap some, if you have it, parafilm around the tops, keeping them a little more secure. Parafilm can be reused if used correctly, in a holiday situation, travelling to and from your destination. If ou don’t have parafilm (it is pricey and if you have no other use for it…pointless) You could, instead, take the tops off things, and put cellophane over the opening before screwing the top on again, reusing it may be a bit more of an issue and you’re not going to want to take a roll of cellophane away with you.
I have a Dopp kit that has a little hanger built in, I like it for that fact as I can hang it on a shower door, rail, hook or whatever, but it keeps each item separate. I then, put this in some form of plastic bag, sometime you need to double bag just to be safe. It is worth adding in a little sewing kit, just in case, with some heavy duty thread to make repairs to shoes, case or bags, just in case, this usually sits in the Dopp kit.
Now I’ve taught you to suck eggs with the suitcase, the next bit may actually be a bit more use for you.
Documents and the way you carry them is important for obvious reasons, all your personal details, holiday reservations and so forth. I generally photo copy all my documents, I put one lot of photocopies squirrelled away in my main suitcase, a spare set in my carry on and some documents that I have will be on a usb drive as well. The hard copies need to be looked after, I tend to have them in a travel document wallet where they are all together and easily accessible to me, these are close to my body and guarded. This time I went away, I took my drone and took a copy of the airlines policy with me as well, just in case there was any questions raised when checking in.
I also had a small map of where it was I was going to, this is good if you haven’t got connections and your making you’re own way there, it will help ensure the driver knows exactly where it is you’re going as well as you knowing you’re not being taken for a ride… well a ride that you don’t really want to be paying for. A paper copy is always going to be the options, we can’t rely on google maps a;l the time.
I’d look at cash in this section as well, where are you storing it, that is if your taking reddies with you and not using travellers cheques, cards or just exchanging it when you are at your destination.
Your carry on bag, you may be tactical, you may be tacticool, but if you’re going on a family holiday, a lads holiday or whatever, is it really necessary to have the tactical bag. As someone that has travelled around with maxpedition, hazard4 and 5.11 bags, all black, desert tan, camo and what not… it can be more hassle than it’s worth. I am always the one that gets the curly finger whilst Olga is putting her rubber gloves on at he best of times, with these style bags, it is just amplified. With the times that we are in, is it really appropriate to be walking round as a tourist, visiting all local monuments and places of interest, taking photos with an odd looking molle’d up pack, I’d say not, this is a point that I’m sure many people will argue against, I will point out that these are my current thoughts on it and leave it there. That being said, In more recent years, I have opted to use something a little more discrete, this time I used a Fjällräven Greenland rucksack,
it is my current favourite pack I own. It was stuffed to the gills with all the gadgets that I needed for the break whilst looking like a normal bag. I was able to use it to go hiking we as to the beach on my trip, it performed admirably.
The carry on bag will essentially be the bag to have anything that cannot go in the hold and anything that you want for the flight itself. Just think about the weather at the destination, time of day etc, is your travel clothing appropriate, do you need to take a change of clothes, or just add a jacket or have a space to put the jacket you are wearing at the time of boarding. I would say, make sure you keep it light as you’ll be carrying this a lot longer than your cases as well as when you have your cases… but mine wasn’t light.
As I have already mentioned, I took a drone with me, this was in my carry on bag and was in a small case of its own and the remote control in a separate one along with the two batteries that were in a LIPO case.
I had a med kit in a red dry bag, keeping it perfect go to the beach and by the pool, this contained a CAT tourniquet as well as more general items such as LOL Doll plasters and other necessary first aid items. I do also have a little more comprehensive kit in my case, this will generally have all the pills that I may need, such as the antisquit tablets, antihistamines, paracetamol etc.
I also stashed a small ball in the case and a frisby that weighed nothing at all so that I had something to play with and entertain from the get go saving valuable pool time from trawling round the shops, there are people that take their own lilos away with them as well.
Don’t forget your mosquito repellent and after bite stuff… along with sun cream of course. If you’re planning on sitting out on a balcony on your own or similar, citronella candles may be an idea… the majority of these things can be bought when you arrive, but, just in case, you could consider taking your own, something along the lines of the UCO lantern as they are long burn and good quality. I also took a roll of usb led lights, no, not my favourite of all time ‘luminoodle’ but ones by ‘revl gear’, they came in useful when sitting out at night.
I won’t go through every single gadget that was in my carry on but one thing I feel necessary to mention was the sidebysidegear powerpacker. I have already done a YouTube video on our channel but I shall be doing a second one showing the contents. It housed all cables and extras that may have been needed at any time, along with a European usb charger, usb-c hub for the iPad Pro and the hootoo tripmate. The hootoo basically allows you to bridge wireless network to your mobile devices a little more securely. You can also link numerous devices to it. This comes in handy at a hotel where you have to pay for WiFi, this is usually per device, using this, the hootoo will be the device connected but then you can add whatever devices you wish to it at no extra cost to your self.
In my sidebyside powerpacker is a number of items from portapow, now these are products that I use on a regular basis at home as it is and I intend to go into more detail about them in a separate post. Essentially they are items that allow charging only and no data transfer. The cables seem to charge faster than any other cable I have. In a travel situation, they come into there own at places where you are allowed to utilise the provided sockets, USB ports and computers where to charge your device, they will give you that extra security. I highly recommend these.
A good little tip for you is to get a collapsible water bottle, one that rolls up or just goes completely flat, I use a **vapur ** and an evernew these are good to sit in your bag, and once you go through passport control, you can fill them up at the water fountain… as long as the airport has one… Manchester does. It no fountain is available, restaurants should oblige. You can of course, also take it out with you on you trips whilst abroad, filling it up with bottled water of course, and that way, you’re not having to lug an empty plastic bottle around until you find a bin, you can just roll it up ant stick it in your pocket or hang it from your back once it’s empty.
Another little tip, reusable bags, I mean the material kind, not the plastic kind and I’m not talking about the bulky cotton ones or jute. I have a couple of nano bags, these are made from a really fine ripstop material, they fold up to next to nothing but are durable. Not that I like to admit it, but they regularly go shopping with me in my pocket, but they come in handy on trips too. They’re good at the airport for if your buying sandwiches for the plane and what not but also for when your abroad. You know in the morning when us dads have to pop out for a fresh loaf of bread and the bottled water for the day… it it good to have your own little bag… some countries still use paper bags, which are good… until they get wet and with walking and sweat… well, it’s not pretty, so these are a good start. I also take a spare dry bag, only a small one, 2 litres or so, this is useful if you have a night flight on the return journey and you are making use of the pool/sea on the last day… or just have wet gear, they will of course in to their own if your going to be somewhere wet and you want to keep items dry.
Talking about taking extra bags… nappy bags are a good consideration, if you’re going to an area where you’re not allowed to put paper down the toilet… biodegradable ones of course, we are not heathens. Thes of course aren’t a necessity, just a consideration.
A little on security of your room, villa, apartment now. If you get a choice, don’t have a ground floor room, ensure that any windows can be locked secure as well as the door. There are many types of doors out there and you cannot cater for them all and I am not going to explain how to secure them all to you, this is going to be long winded enough. If you google where you are staying, you may be able to see the type of door on the photos and assess whether you want to add your own security. There are a few different devices out there that a help you. I use a simple wedge, this went in my case and weighs not a lot. It could be that a glass behind the door when you get in bed will suffice if you’re worried about coming in, if someone opens the door, the glass will move and make a noise. You don’t have to go full home alone and attach blow torches and what not, but it’s just something to think of if your travelling to dubious places.
The next thing, is hotel deposit boxes…. having been away with people who’s hotel deposit box mysteriously got broken into… I don’t trust them. This is where your own ingenuity will have to come in and not making it easy for would be thieves. But… I use a pacsafe travel safe I think mine is the five litre version, it is good to put passports in and a bit of cash, watches or whatever. It comes in useful to use at the beach and on the sun bed, again, someone with the right mindset and a longer amount of time will get in to it, but it is a great item and will be atleast a deterrent to the petty opportunist criminal.
**Personal safety ** is another thing to think about, not necessarily carrying a big stick or taking some form of self defence classes on the lead up to your holiday but, you need to be on the lookout for pickpockets, thieves in and any other potential situations in general. The easiest way to keep your items safe is to keep them close to you, I am aware that this is not always the easiest thing to do though. I like to try and stash things under a layer of clothing and not always in the obvious places. Don’t be pulling out a wad of notes in a bar, looking like you’re a weekend millionaire and generally attracting unwanted attention to yourself. Money belts and neck wallets are a reasonably good idea as they keep the items close to your body. Think about RFID blocking protection as well. Neck wallets, money belts, stash boxers/bras, ankle wallets, shoving stuff in the soles of your shoes any of these can help. Have a think about what you’re doing and what may work for you, there is a plethora of things out there that will help you.
Now, in to the meat and potatoes of it… the actual ‘EDC’, In my carry on bag, I had a number of actual EDC items and the rest were stored away in my case. This trip took me to Greece, now, the law in Greece is something along the lines, you can carry what you want as long as you’re not going to kill someone with it. I wouldn’t want to put that to the test in its entirety so using your common sense and not taking the mick, not walking down the street with a zombie slaying sword would be my advice. I would say that wherever you are going, check the local laws and respect them and the people around you… but I know you’ll do that anyway.
I shall start with the items that we’re in the case, I had my skinth solutions skinth that generally goes everywhere with me. It contains the leatherman wave the bit kit and bit extender, a led lenser p3 as a back up light (aaa batteries are easy to get in most places), some reflective dyneema cordage, a mini grappling hook, fisher space pen, county comm pry bar, mini sharpie, button compass and fire steel.
Believe it or not, I took a dump tray with me, packed in my case. The maxpedition travel dumptray, it has been to a few places with me and has come in handy stripping things and keeping screws and bolts together but it also makes a great dump tray in the traditional edc sense, I press the pressstuds and it folds flat, perfect for travelling around with. On my recent trip, this stayed on the bedside table with all my gear in it and my cooperator patch and adventure alliance patches velcro’d to it.
I took four different hanks from different makers, hanksbyhank, firefly 15 and beardedguymade, as well as the EDCcooperative one, if you were wondering. I had a small keychain corkscrew, just in case, it didn’t get used though.
I had three different Swiss Army Knives, all of these were modded, one by imodsak, one by beaverbladeworks and the other by Jay Loden. My serge bean flipper, the EDCcooperative mig pen, lawindustries wallet and their smaller neck walletthing, stuffed with a few sere goodies. I also took a handful of the Musk and Hustle nitro stubbies, these were in my Dopp kit in the case and once at the location, were put into the valet tray with the rest of my gear.
Now, in my pockets when boarding the flight were, the EDC Cooperative edition Griffin Pocket Tool, the Titanium Pocket Tool or TPT from Bigidesign with the fork blade in and not a utility blade in sight. The coop coin, my little titanium carabiner from Paaf EDC with the Pangea designs pico bottle opener, mini pry from bigidesign, along with their screwdriver bit, a spalinger designs tritium fob in zirconium and one of his mini knucks. As my main way of transporting cash around, I used the Griffin pocket tooledition of the Hellbent holsters money clip, this, whilst on the trip, generally had enough money in it to pay for an evening meal and a round of drinks in a bar, typically €60 ish. Then as my wallet, with some extra goodies in as well as my bank card and driving licence, plus some emergency cash (€100) ish was the Blackscout Survival concealed wallet, the reason I chose this is that it is small and lightweight, very discreet and can clip into the inside of your waistline, the clip is extremely strong so it isn’t going to come lose anytime soon. I also had the bigidesign EDC Click pen and the olight H1 Nova.
Now, that olight, why that specific one? Well, I shall tell you, it is a powerful light with many features and ways to carry in such a small form factor, it is not far off being the perfect edc light… well, it was for these conditions, let me explain. Having the ability to charge a light is important, these rechargeable tail cap lights are revolutionary. I can put a single cable in my bag and charge the light anywhere, everywhere has usb capabilities and if not, my battery packs or the usb wall charger I took have the ability to charge it. The light is small enough to fit in a pair of shorts, on the waistband or even in a shirt pocket without it being noticed by me or anyone around me. With the narrow winding roads of little villages, speeding vehicles and the darkness that remote places bring, it is important to have any form of light in my book. This particular one was a gift from and amazing Cooperator after I specifically wanted this light for this specific trip, thank you buddy, it worked a charm, he knows who he is!
Whilst we are on the subject of lights, but going a little off topic again, I had with me both a northface ‘man bag’ and a **patagonia waist pack these were used at night mainly to carry a camera and my sunglasses when it had gone dark, on the straps of them, I have the little usb rechargeable Nitecore nu05, again, a great little light that can give out a bit of light but can also be used as a little marker light when walking at night. It flashes or is solid white or red, well worth the little money that they cost. These are with thinking about as are some things that maybe reflect light.
On my wrist, I had the Garmin tactix Charlie and the hand cop bracelet and the ‘GTFO’ get the fuck out, glass breaker bracelet. The garmin is a great watch. It has gps maps and compass amongs a whole range of other bits and bats, this helped me keep track of the few hikes out I did as well as doing the basic function of telling the time. It is fun to keep track of these activities and what not, if I was back in Kenya, Morocco or similar, I would have probably not worn the same watch and probably opted for no watch or a basic silicone banded Breo type that literally just tells the time. This is something you will need to assess yourself as per the destination. The handcop is basically a set of handcuffs, these are only to be used if you know what you’re doing in general, they won’t be for everybody. The gtfo, it smashes windows, if you need to get out of or in to something… I had the answer right there, again… not always something you’d want or need… thinking kidnap situation, car accidents and so on, but this will depend on specific destinations and situations.
Anyway, my trip has now come to an end, as I am sat cruising at around 500 miles an hour at roughly 38000 feet, starting to write this post after just having just pumped my own espresso… yes… you read right… I have just made myself an espresso with the wacaco nanopresso… I think that means I’m in the mile high club or something now… well I have just been… well, they charged me £1.50pfor the hot water to make it… I thought I better take a pocket dump photo at this height, not something I have seen done before, but… I am hoping now that over the summer we see more of your holiday pocket dumps.
Most importantly, Regardless of what I have written, whether or not you took not of any of it, if you made it all the way to the end, just enjoy your travels wherever you go and be safe.