So a week or two ago I was driving my work truck and I was thinking about the things in the cab that I would need to take with me if my truck were to break down somewhere causing me to have to abandon it somewhere. I quickly came to the realization that I did not have the ability to carry all that stuff so when I got done with work I went straight to the store to buy a quality backpack that I could take to work among other places. Looking back that whole thought process may have been divinely inspired because yesterday my truck broke down and I had to stuff that bag full of the important stuff in the cab and abandon it for the night and the backpack worked exactly how it needed to.
For years now I’ve been resistant to backpacks, they unprofessional so if you had an office job where you need to look nice you wouldn’t want to wear one, especially with a suit. And on top of that I loose stuff in backpacks all the time, plus it is often inconvenient to get stuff in and out of them at times. During my last portion of college I avoided using a backpack opting instead for a leather satchel whenever it made sense.
But over the past month or two I’ve been opening up to the idea of using a backpack again. You’ll remember a few months ago I wrote an article on fanny packs and since then I’ve been taking one just about everywhere I go but recently I haven’t been satisfied with it and the reasoning behind that was actually my fault, I overstuffed it. Looking back I remembered that my reason for getting that fanny pack was not for me to have a bunch of extra stuff (but it was of course a benefit) but for it to be a temporary home to the important things in my pockets, namely my phone, wallet, keys and gun, when for whatever reason I couldn’t keep them there; a fanny pack is great for that but an overstuffed one is useless and on top of that a pain to carry.
So when the inspiration came I was already prepared to suck up my pride and start using a backpack and I was instantly glad that I did. I was able to take the less essential things out of my fanny pack making it usable again, and I went from awkwardly having to carry four or five things between my car and work truck (sometimes in multiple trips) to just one easy to carry bag. I can’t imagine how silly I would have looked trying to carry all that stuff around an office if I worked in one.
I now think a backpack, or at least some large bag, should be a part of everybody’s daily life, and you should try to keep it filled under 50% capacity (ideally under 40) as much as possible so that you have room to temporarily stuff it with random things whenever the need arises. I’d be willing to bet that all of you have things that you keep in your home, car or office that you’d want to take with you if you had to leave any of those places for an abnormal length of time and a backpack is a great way to transport those things.
As for things that you keep in your backpack at all times that is up to you to decide, I don’t know your unique needs and if you search the term “EDC Backpack” on YouTube you’ll see lots of different loadouts that people go with. (Many of them overstuff their bags which is a mistake) However there are a few universally useful things you should keep in a backpack, something to write with, something to write on, something that can open a box, and something that can charge your phone. There are of course many other useful things that you could choose to carry, first-aid stuff, gloves, digital storage, bluetooth keyboards, headphones, a towel, snacks, a water bottle, a multi-tool, flashlight, plenty of things, but decide what actually makes sense for you and periodically reconsider what you keep with you.
The scout motto is “Be Prepared” and it is one you should live by. Keeping a backpack close to you filled with practical items for your life and space for whatever need you may find is a great way to stay prepared.