When I first began prep­ping, I put a tac­ti­cal mes­sen­ger bag on my Ama­zon Christ­mas list so that I could car­ry “stuff” around to be a “sur­vival­ist” if the “SHTF”. I am putting those words in quo­ta­tion, because I had no idea at the time what stuff I need­ed to face a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion. With a bag like that, I looked cool mil­i­tary, but was real­ly con­spic­u­ous. That is, I nev­er saw anoth­er per­son car­ry­ing the same bag and nei­ther had any­one else I was around. In fact, I car­ried it into a big gro­cery store one day and got a sur­prised look from a check­er. She looked at me like I was pack­ing a shoul­der-fired mis­sile into the store. I don’t have a con­cealed-car­ry licence (yet) so even though it looked like I was pack­ing, I was not. I even saw my next door neigh­bor in the store and was con­sci­en­tious because I was car­ry­ing my tac­ti­cal bag. I also have to car­ry my tac­ti­cal bag plus my com­put­er bag to my car each day for work.  The tac­ti­cal bag stays in my car dur­ing work and I nev­er car­ry it except between my car and my house. If I can­not get to my car in an emer­gency, what good does it do me? Plus, what if my car was breached while I was work­ing? My GHB is locked in a con­tain­er, but my tac­ti­cal bag is not. It could be stolen and I would be very upset and out hun­dreds of dol­lars of gear. I would rather have my tac­ti­cal EDC with me in my office.

Since the gro­cery inci­dent and one oth­er where my wife ques­tioned why I car­ried it to Sun­day brunch, I have even writ­ten about becom­ing less con­spic­u­ous. I also want­ed to car­ry my EDC tac­ti­cal bag stuff into my office at work and stay covert. But, I also don’t want to car­ry my com­put­er back­pack every­where and look like a dork. Not that there is any­thing wrong with being a dork, because I am one, I just don’t want to look like one.

Thus, began the mis­sion to demil­i­ta­rize my EDC bag, com­bine it with my com­put­er bag and have a way to quick­ly trans­fer stuff to a non-tac­ti­cal, not com­put­er bag for week­end mobil­i­ty. An addi­tion­al con­straint was weight. I did not want to end up with a com­put­er back pack that weighed too much to car­ry.

This is my tac­ti­cal bag and com­put­er bag with a cou­ple of box­es of ziplocks in the back­ground. .

I weighed both using my bath­room scale:

-Com­put­er bag with com­put­er and acces­sories: 15.2 lbs
‑Tac­ti­cal bag: 9.4 lbs

Next, I took all of the “stuff” out of the tac­ti­cal bag. That is a lot of “stuff”!

The next step was to group sim­i­lar items and pack into ziplock bags of var­i­ous sizes. I had to work with the var­i­ous items and regroup to make things fit and be as flat as pos­si­ble.


Then came the chal­lenge: put all the ziplocks into the com­put­er bag. Now, this bag is very large, with four pock­ets (com­put­er por­tion, main pock­et, sec­ond pock­et and small, front pock­et). It turns out that I could shove a big ziplock with flat things in the back pock­et with the com­put­er. That was a major break­through and allowed me to reserve the main pock­et my busi­ness note­book. I then stuffed every­thing in the last two pock­ets with rel­a­tive ease. My com­put­er back­pack orig­i­nal­ly con­tained extra meds, but I end­ed up stuff­ing those in side pock­ets. It would be nice to have extra ibupro­fen, cold med­i­cine, heart­burn meds and cough drops in a med­ical kit, but, for now, they will stay with the com­put­er bag. I might rethink that and find a way to make more meds fit. After some rear­rang­ing, I got every­thing to fit.

There is not much room to spare. It is def­i­nite­ly thick­er than before and heav­ier, but there are always trade-offs in every­thing.

Weight before: 15.2 lbs
Weight after: 22.0 lbs

I can cer­tain­ly car­ry a 22 lb pack 500 yards a day. If not, then I will nev­er be able to car­ry my 35lb pack 30 miles to get home. Trade-off accept­ed!

The last step was to find out how long it would take to trans­fer my tac­ti­cal EDC stuff from my com­put­er back­pack to a non-tac­ti­cal back­pack. With the items pack­aged in ziplocks, it took less than 2 min­utes and all my tac­ti­cal EDC stuff was stashed in the Jans­port bag.  More stuff would fit into the back­pack if nec­es­sary. I can now trans­fer between bags with ease and blend in with the natives while look­ing nat­ur­al and not too dorky. Mis­sion accom­plished!

Final pic­ture of my Jans­port bag next to the com­put­er bag and emp­ty tac­ti­cal mes­sen­ger bag. This is a def­i­nite improve­ment over the pre­vi­ous sit­u­a­tion.



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