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Bag Man

Early on in our marriage, my wife and I were shopping in the local mall, and she decided to look for a new purse. After a good half hour looking at various styles and sizes, she noticed that I wasn’t complaining about how long it was taking her to make up her mind.

“Aren’t you bored?” she asked.

“Honey,” I said, “I’m a photographer. I have spent literally weeks carrying around a gadget bag on my shoulder. I know how important having the right bag to carry all your stuff really is. Take your time.”

And it’s true to this day. I am constantly tweaking my camera bags, adding and removing gear from assignment to assignment. Since embraced the concealed carry lifestyle, however, I have few other gear bags near me at all times as well.

The Bag Of Doom

This goes with me when I leave the house. Inside is a camera and strobe (a Sony RX100 v2) and strobe, a tourniquet, a PHLster Pocket Emergency Wallet, a multiool, a fixed blade knife, some water, pens, business cards, ear buds, spare batteries and all the cords and whatnot I need to keep all my electronics charged and running. This is also the bag I take with me on location shoots for work, so there’s also room inside for an iPad Mini and keyboard.

However, as I’m also a paranoid right wing gun nut, there’ s a small mesh bag inside with stuff like a rain poncho and water purifier and space blanket and all the things that I might need to live 24 hours at the drop of a hat without any outside help. It’s kinda nice to know that I can absorb a day’s worth of utter chaos if I have to.

The bag itself is a 5.11 COVRT Satchel which, for some reason, they don’t make anymore, which is silly because it doesn’t scream “TACTICAL!” yet it loaded with

The Home Away From Home Bag

This comes out on longer road trips, when I’m staying overnight somewhere. I’d not really a bag I carry when I fly somewhere, it’s more for trips in-state by car. This has a lot of the same kinds of gear as the Bag Of Doom, only more of it, and the gear itself is more robust. Rather than a cheap plastic rain poncho, there’s a poncho liner for shelter. There’s a small Esbit stove for cooking, and a fresh socks, underwear and t-shirt as well.

The idea with this pact is to stay out and about without other assistance to 72 hours if needed, and that includes defense as well. Rather than keep a gun in this bag, which means I’d have to keep track of it as I go about my day, I keep a Recover Tactical 20/20 Stabilizer and a couple of spare mags. This means I can leave the bag in my hotel room or in my car and know that I’m not leaving a gun unattended, yet I can still use the brace to convert my carry pistol (a Glock 19 with a red dot) in a minute or less into something that effectively doubles my effective engagement distance.

Not bad. The bag in this case is a Hazard 4 “Plan B,” which I’ll admit is a little tactical-looking, but honestly, this is what messenger/sling bags look like these days.

The Bug Out Bag

You know ’em, you love ’em and honestly, if you live in a hurricane zone like I do, you’re a moron if you don’t have one ready to go at a moment’s notice. I’ve had this bag for years now, and I honestly forget who makes it. Inside is everything you’d expect in the home away from home bag, but taken to an even higher level. There’s a hydration pouch with a micro filter. A couple of days worth of freeze-dried food. A solar panel for recharging electronics. A big honking knife. A full IFAK. You get the idea.

Once again, though, there are no guns inside this bag. If this bag comes into play, I am grabbing an AR and a pistol, as is everyone else in my family, because the S has well and truly HTF if I need this bag.

Which I hope never comes.