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Archive | EDC

Topo Designs Daypack

1000 denier Cordura nylon, high visibility coated pack cloth lining, heavy duty hardware and zippers, seatbelt webbing reinforced shoulder straps, internal organization pouches and laptop sleeve… Sound like a new tactical pack? It does, but it isn’t. Those are all features of the Topo Designs Daypack.

I am always on the lookout for EDC bags that don’t look so “tactical” but that offer the durable and functional materials that I have come to appreciate from a typical tactical pack. We all have stuff that we carry every day but no one wants to look like they just got dragged through a military surplus store. The Topo Designs Daypack would be at home on the trail, at the office, or around town and all without drawing any undue mall ninja attention.

Topo Designs manufactures bags that have outdoor adventure ready durability and discreet, retro design sensibility. They make all of their bags, including the Daypack, in their LEED certified building in Colorado and still manage to offer them at very reasonable prices. Check them out at TopoDesigns.com.

Swiss Bianco M-Sharp Sharpener

When it comes to touching up your knife’s edge in the field, there are few things more convenient than a small diamond sharpener and I can’t imagine a more convenient way to carry one than the Swiss Bianco M-Sharp.

The M-Sharp is a small diamond sharpener that can be carried in an ingenious way. The diamond sharpener is mounted on a blackened stainless steel backing that is hooked at each end which allows it to mount on MOLLE webbing. The M-Sharp also has a small lanyard hole for additional carrying options. The grit is somewhere between fine and medium according to the manufacturer.

Check out the M-Sharp at SwissBianco.com.

5.11 Tactical Battery Case

I always have spare CR123 and AA batteries with me. I suspect that many of you do, too. I am always on the look out for a good way to keep them organized and at hand. 5.11’s new Tactical Battery Case looks like it may be a good solution.

The Tactical Battery Case is a small waterproof case that can carry up to 4 batteries (either AA or CR123) without allowing them to rattle. It utilizes a thumbscrew closure which 5.11 says is operable with gloved hands. It can be attached to MOLLE webbing or just carried loose in a pouch.

Check out the Tactical Battery Case on 5.11Tactical.com.

Kletterwerks Returns

We have been watching for the return of Kletterwerks ever since Soldier Systems Daily scooped the reformation of the iconic brand that was an early venture of Dana Gleason (founder of Mystery Ranch). Now the first of these retro packs that have been updated with some modern amenities are finding their way to retailers and they look great.These bags should be at home handling just about any chore from EDC to busting brush.

If you are looking for a tough as nails pack with a non-military appearance, you may want to check out the Kletterwerks offerings at Wilderness Workshop. The Kletterwerks website is still “Coming Soon.”

Kletter Day


The knife world is infatuated with small, skeletonized handle neck knives for good reason. They are nearly as easy to carry as a folding knife but offer the strength of a fixed blade. TOPS Knives offers several knives that fit this description but their newest, the TOPS TIBO, is one of the best looking examples that I have seen.

The TOPS TIBO has a 6 1/2″ overall length with a 2 3/4″ blade. It is made from 1/8″ 1095 steel and features a sweeping curved edge with a full height flat grind. The handle is skeletonized to reduce weight and it has jimping to enhance grip in key places.

The TOPS TIBO certainly looks like a very useful knife. Check it out on TOPSKnives.com.

Bad Blood Knives Push Dagger at TacStrike

The Sean Kendrick designed Bad Blood Knives line from HallMark Cutlery is really making a name for itself as a high value brand. TacStrike has been carrying them for sometime now and the customer feedback has been great.

They recently received their first shipment of the Bad Blood Knives Push Dagger and they are offering some special deals to help spread the word. If you purchase a Push Dagger and an Arch Frame Target Carrier, you will receive 50% off the Push Dagger. Additionally, any purchase of a Push Dagger will also include a Bad Blood Sticker, a TacStrike Pin-Up-Girl Sticker and a Pocket Constitution.

Push daggers can be a very intuitive and easy to retain option for those who are looking to add self defense knife to their EDC. The user needs only to grip the knife properly and make a fist.

Check out the Bad Blood Knives Push Dagger on TacStrike.com.

Fight and Flight Tactical YUCK II

At JTT, we love the original YUCK from Fight and Flight Tactical. Each of my daughters have one and they see constant use. So, we were excited to see that Dave at Fight and Flight Tactical is now making an upsized version, the YUCK II, that is designed for grade-schoolers just in time for back-to-school.

The new YUCK II is made with all the same great materials as the original YUCK. That includes 1000D nylon, full 420D pack-cloth lining, quality hardware, heavy duty mesh, and everything else that you would expect to see on a bomb-proof pack made for grown-ups. It has the same pocket configuration with a large main compartment, inner mesh slip pocket, mesh bottle/cup holders, and an exterior pocket for small items. It even features the same leash attachment points and oversize grab handle so you can keep your hand on junior in a crowd or grab them quickly when they are about to knock over a stack of soup cans at the grocery store.

There are a few differences between the YUCK and YUCK II. The first was already mentioned – it is larger (12″W x 15″T x 3″D). The YUCK II features a hydration sleeve with bladder hanger and port at the back of the main compartment and the shoulder straps have been moved higher to give extra room to accommodate bigger kids.

Check out the new YUCK II at Fight and Flight Tactical.

GORUCK Adds New Color Options

GORUCK has a reputation for making some great gear and are especially well known for their backpacks. It used to be that you could get a GORUCK bag in any color that you wanted so long as it was black but now they have released 2 new color options: Sand (tan) and Multicam.

Check out the new color options at GORUCKGear.com.


Review: GearPods Survival Pro

When it comes to pre-assembled survival kits, the contents don’t seem to vary much from one kit to the next. Many kits use the same components from the same vendors or at least similar components. It is often the container itself that differentiates one kit from another. However, the GearPods Survival Pro is one kit that differentiates itself by its container and contents.

The GearPods container system is versatile, unique, and innovative.

The caps allow you to terminate a module, join modules to make a longer module, or join them as separate modules.


The bread and butter of GearPods is their innovative container design. The GearPods containers are translucent plastic tubes in various lengths that are capped at both ends. The caps can be end caps or couplers (open or closed style) that allow multiple tubes to be connected together. This tube form factor allows the GearPods to be carried like a water bottle and they can even function as a water bottle in a survival situation.

The Survival Pro kit is one of GearPods pre-assembled kits.  It comes with the container and several items packed inside that cover a variety of survival needs:

  • Navigation
  • Signaling
  • Fire starting
  • Water purification
  • Food gathering
  • Food preparation
  • Equipment repair

Removing the top reveals the cap on the cooking cup.

The Survival Pro kit contains two modules: the cup and the stove.

What’s Inside?

The list of items that the GearPods Survival Pro contains is extensive. There are many standard items that are survival kit mainstays and a handful of very innovative items that you won’t find anywhere else.

  • GearPods CookMug: Compact 4.0” anodized aluminum cooking mug/pot with snap-in lid
  • GearPods Stove: Solid fuel stove with windshield
  • Esbit® solid fuel tablets (2)
  • Rescue Flash™ signal mirror – 2″x3″ signal mirror with retro-reflective targeting, protective film, plastic sleeve and instructions
  • Fox40 Micro Safety™ – loud emergency whistle for signaling distress and communicating location
  • Spark-Lite™ – dependable, one-handed fire starter
  • Tinder-Quik™ (4) – weatherproof waterproof tinder that burns 1-2 minutes
  • NATO “Storm” Matches (10) – vacuum sealed, NATO-approved waterproof and windproof matches with striker
  • 20mm Liquid-filled button compass – simple navigation tool
  • Mini-LED flashlight – small keychain-type flashlight with rugged case and battery with 24+ hours of continuous use
  • Folding saw – light- to medium-use saw blade constructed of 18TPI steel for cutting wood and metal, and housed in a rugged handle
  • Folding knife – light- to medium- use knife with stainless steel razor blade and rugged handle
  • Katadyn Micropur-1 Water Tablets (6) – 1 tablet per 1 liter (33.8 fl oz) of water; effective against viruses, bacteria, guardia and cryptosporidium
  • Sterile, self-standing water bag (36 fl oz) – for pre-treatment water capture and storage
  • Heavy duty needle – for repairing clothes and gear
  • Heavy duty thread (50ft reel, 10 lbs BS) – for repairs and emergency line for fishing
  • Safety pins (2) – 2″ – for repairs, first aid or even improvised hooks for food procurement
  • Wire (8ft) – 0.02″ stainless steel wire, non-magnetic – use for repairs and snares
  • Braided nylon cord (25ft, 70lbs BS) – many uses including securing gear and building shelters
  • Fishing kit – 4 hooks, 2 split-shots and 1 snap swivel
  • Duct tape (2″x30″ 9mm) – many uses from first aid to repair
  • Weatherproof stationery – 2”x3” (4) – keeping logs, leaving messages, drawing maps
  • Pencil (with protective cap) – use with weatherproof stationery
  • Fresnel Lens (2″x3″) – redundant fire starting method
  • Waterproof and tearproof instructions – with illustrations (PDF)
  • Stuff Sac – with drawcord and fastener (2)

Cup module and contents

Stove module and contents

Observations from Use

I won’t talk about every item in depth. Much of what is contained in this kit are items that are already proven performers. GearPods has done a great job of sourcing quality components for this kit but the parts that really shine are the parts that they designed themselves.

The Survival Pro kit comes with a small cooking set that GearPods designed to fit their containers. The design of the cook set is ingenious. It consists of a small stove, a cup that nests into the stove top, and a windscreen. The stove is designed to work with fuel tablets like those from Esbit and has three legs that can be spread out to stabilize the whole unit. The cup has a heat resistant fabric ring at the top which makes it a bit easier to handle when it is hot and a concave bottom which helps catch and hold the heat from the stove.

The cook set can boil water fairly quickly, which isn’t really surprising since it is a relatively small cup. The set up and take down is very easy. The windscreen can be rolled tightly and inserted into the cup for storage but you should take some care when storing it because it will scratch and scuff the anodization on the cup. The fabric on the cup won’t make it possible to handle a cup full of boiling water but it does make it possible to handle the cup sooner than you would be able to without some protection from the heat.

The Survival Pro comes with an instruction sheet that contains valuable information like general survival tips and information about items in the kit. It is printed on a material that feels like Tyvek. That may seem like a small thing but it shows just how clever the folks at GearPods are. Tyvek is extremely difficult to tear and basically water-proof. Those are desirable attributes for something that may have to be used in adverse conditions.

Cup on stove

Many of the items in the kit allow for one handed use in the event of an injury. The Spark-Lite fire starter can be used with just one hand without much trouble. Additionally, the kit includes a rescue Flash signal mirror that has a retro-reflective aiming reticle which allows it to be used one handed (some mirrors require a second hand to aim).

The kit doesn’t include any shelter specific items but it does include items that can be used in shelter construction (cordage). An A-frame style shelter can be built without any tools or cordage if the right materials are present. You may want to consider supplementing the kit with a GearPods Shelter unit or at least carrying something like an emergency blanket/bivy, poncho, tarp, or similar item.

The kit itself is very efficiently packed. You will want to take note of how things are packed when you are using the various components or you may have some difficulty packing the contents. I played around with different configurations and there is some leeway with how you pack the kit but a little bit of care goes a long way. GearPods thoughtfully provided two small stuff sacks that hold every component of the kit except the cook set. These bags let you keep the kit components together and organized even if you are using the cookset.

Cup, stove, and wind screen

The kit contains some redundancy (the good kind). There are multiple ways of starting a fire, multiple ways of food gathering, multiple ways to purify water, and multiple repair items. Redundancy can be a very good thing in a survival kit. Take the fire starters for instance, you will likely find that the Tinder-Quik are a very easy and reliable fire-starting method. However, in situations when you have direct sunlight, you will want to use the Fresnel lens in order to conserve the Tinder-Quik tabs and matches. The redundant items allow you to conserve resources by choosing the tool for the job.

The kit itself is very easy to carry. It fits in most water bottle pouches or rides fairly unobtrusively in your pack. You can even add another small container module and it will still fit in most water bottle pouches. GearPods sent me an additional small module so I could see how the connectors work and I found that it was great for storing natural tinder that I foraged (something you may want to do immediately once you realize you are in a survival situation).

Wrap Up

The GearPods is a well-stocked kit with a good mix of innovative original components and proven standard components. Its water bottle-ish form factor is unique and functional. The cook set’s design is ingenious in how it fits the container format while still retaining a lot of functionality. Between the container and the contents, this is easily one of the most innovative survival kits on the market. Check out the Survival Pro on GearPods.com.

Disclosure: This kit was provided to me free of charge by GearPods as a “thank you” for mentioning their products on JTT.


Eberlestock Cherry Bomb and Secret Weapon

Eberlestock is well known for making backpacks that are designed to carry longarms. Their packs work very well for this task but they leave little doubt as to what the backpack is carrying. If you wanted something more discreet, you had to look elsewhere. That is no longer the case with Eberlestock’s introduction of the S25 Cherry Bomb and S34 Secret Weapon packs.

The Cherry Bomb and Secret Weapon packs are styled to look more discreet but they still offer the ability to conceal a long arm. Some so-called discreet packs really aren’t all that discreet but I think Eberlestock was quite successful at styling these packs to look like normal day packs. The colors are subdued but still manage to look innocuous.

The Cherry Bomb is the smaller of the 2 packs. It is capable of carrying a very short (7″ barrel) AR-15 with the stock collapsed. You could probably also fit a larger SBR (short barrel rifle) AR-15 if you were to separate the upper and lower receivers.

The larger Secret Weapon pack will accommodate an 11″ barreled AR-15 (or larger if broken down). It is also capable of carrying a 20″ barreled bolt action precision rifle if the user utilizes the Eberlestock M1 Stealth Chassis which folds shorter than just about any other stock like it.

Both packs also have an array of features and pockets for organization which make them very well mannered for use as a typical backpack when you don’t need the ability to carry a long arm. They are hydration compatible, have a removable waist belt, and have rain covers that stow in the bottom of the pack.

Check out the new S25 Cherry Bomb and S34 Secret Weapon packs from Eberlestock.

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