- Buyer's Guide
EDC No3 – Modularity Reboot – The X3 Carry Ideology
Outdoor lover, carry gear enthusiast and man behind the blog YOMP NOTES, Neil Stevens has spent countless hours tweaking and honing his carry setups. And in doing so, he’s discovered the X3 carry ideology is the right solution for him. But what is it? Find out in his republished blog post below.
In an ideal world we’d have one bag and that would suit all our needs but the world isn’t perfect and we have to adapt our gear and carry to fit the circumstances of the day. The gear we need every day will be different to the gear we need for a commute or business trip. In turn that will be different to the bag we need for an extended weekend hike or one-bag world travel.
The solution? The X3 carry ideology
I work on this solution all the time and different configurations come and go but the one that seems to be sticking, therefore working, is based on 3 excellent bags from GORUCK. Why this works so well is that, by hook or by crook, GORUCK have designed equipment that complements each other perfectly. Given they are from the same company you could assume that you would be able to use bags from the same company in a modular fashion but this is often and frustratingly not the case.
The 3 GORUCK amigos
Okay, so the bags I currently use (6/26/2018) are as follows:
And for me, they work so well together it brings a tear to one’s eye.
It won’t be of much surprise that I use these bags with reference to size but in all cases, I will team up with the GORUCK GR1 Field Pocket. This is my EDC Grab Bag and houses the essentials, such as a phone, wallet, glasses, keys and other come and go items. The point is familiarity of use, i.e. the same bags, same gear used in the same way, whether I’m down the pub with mates, a city commute or on holiday. The Grab Bag is always there, always the same, always familiar therefore efficient in use. In essence the Grab Bag is the core. When I need more capacity for laptops, files, a thermos of coffee or spare clothes I drop it into my GORUCK GR1 rucksack. When I’m looking at a few days to a week away on holiday or a business trip I drop the Grab Bag into my GORUCK GR2, there is even a pocket in the GR2 that is thoughtfully designed big enough to fit the Field Pocket!!! Can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
EDC Grab bag [The essentials]
EDC Extended [Laptop / files/ etc.]
Hike & Travel [Self explanatory]
EDC Grab Bag – GORUCK GR1 Field Pocket
As mentioned earlier this is based around the GORUCK GR1 Field Pocket. A very well made piece of kit and has worked perfectly in all my environments. Smart enough to be thumped on a meeting table, rugged enough for damp November British countryside. In this I carry my 4 essentials.
Gear list – essentials:
• Apple iPhone 6
• Co Business cards
With enough room left over;
• Punch Cigars
I first came to the conclusion of an EDC Grab Bag when I started wearing glasses. The extra bulk tipped me over the edge from being able to easily carry all in my pockets, to not at all. This inconvenience was really hammered home when I left all my gear, including wallet and phone etc. on a table in a pub and walked out! I was appalled at myself; this could not happen again. I’ve tried all sorts of solutions for this carry but for me this works best.
Grab bag carry
Most of the time the Grab Bag is MOLLED inside my GORUCK GR1 (I’ll come to that later). When I need it as a standalone, it can be carried very comfortably by its own handle but if I need a hands-free option, I use a Maxpedition shoulder strap. This is very useful nearly all the time, ranging from paying for something in a shop to airport check-ins. From time to time I have also attached the GR1 Field Pocket to my rucksack front shoulder straps, chest-rig, kit bag style. This is weird to most onlookers but super useful to use. Obviously the Field Pocket can be attached to the front GORUCK MOLLE which is also useful.
Grab bag, what’s in a name?
Grab Bag (Escape & Evasion kit) is the name given notably by SFs to a pouch, probably mounted on a belt, that contains equipment for survival and to carry on as a war fighter should one become separated from the main body of gear. This would be something a bit more than a Personal Survival Kit usually all contained in a mess tin and within a 58 PAT utility pouch.
EDC Extended [Laptop / files/ etc.]
EDC Extended is the config I use almost every day. It’s based around the GORUCK GR1 rucksack and as it’s made by the same company as the Field Pocket, they work very well together. How the Field Pocket can be attached and integrated has been covered above but doing so gives me a very useful, larger capacity to carry laptops, files, food, water or even a soft shell if necessary.
I discuss the GORUCK GR1 in more detail here. But today I will discuss the internal config for this practical EDC variant and it’s a tale of two MOLLES.
The GR1 has 3 x 6 columns of integrated, internal MOLLE then below this is a bellows pocket I think intended for rucking plates. Once I have mounted the Field Pocket to the integrated MOLLE panel there isn’t any more MOLLE for organising so I have swung a RIP (M) from the last row of MOLLE. This means I can lift the panel to access the pocket behind. The Field Pocket is mounted via x2 ITW side lock buckles, making it quick release with one hand. The Field Pocket can also be lifted up, revealing the internal MOLLE beneath. It struck me that I could also organise gear here but as I write this I haven’t fully explored that idea. You will need a 10.75x7in RIP-(M) available from Grey Man Tactical if you would like to replicate the above.
With this config ease of modularity is at its core so it doesn’t stop at the Field Pocket. A full loaded Extended EDC for me might also include a 32oz Nalgene bottle, RAVpower power pack and a Vanquest PPM Husky organiser. With the exception of the battery pack this gear is swung from the MOLLE panel with carabiners. This is great for two reasons:
1. Pouches, bottles and organiser can also be lifted out of the way, making them easier to access
2. This makes them easier to remove. I don’t need these items all of the time so when not necessary I can just unclip them
For me this flexibility works really well as a concept. As it’s inside the rucksack and for the most part gear is in its own pouch, items don’t clang around inside the bag.
GORUCK GR2 34L – hike/travel
This is based around the GORUCK GR2 34L rucksack and I discuss the bag, its basics and my first impressions here. In this post I talk about how this bag fits so well into my X3 bags for life theory. The GR2 is a new piece of kit for me and I’ve not used it as much as I’d like. However in recent weeks I went to Spain on holiday with the family and took the GR2 as my carry-on, cabin-sized luggage for the first time. It was a joy to use. I packed it with clothes and gear for seven days easily and left the second front compartment of the bag empty. The question on my mind as I board the plane is… I hope I can get it in the overhead locker easily! This was not a problem; indeed I had about 7ins to spare in bag depth, once it was laying on its back.
I’ve already said the GR2 has an integral pocket, to the front of the rucksack that is just the right size for the Field Pocket. I loved this and it really helped to streamline my load when jumping from taxi to bus, to taxi, to plane and all the time still able to access my EDC and retrieve my Grab Bag and have it with me at my seat.
If you’d like to build a X3 bag for life system, a gear list with links to purchase can be found below, do let me know how you get on.
It’s true, if I had my time again I would change three pieces of gear. The Field Pocket I would swap out for a GR2 4L version. This is larger and would allow me to carry a Nalgene 16oz water bottle. I think this would make a great day bag, super useful on holiday. Secondly I would buy the GR1 26L version. More room for the larger Field Pocket and I think would blur the line between EDC, hiking and short trips away. Recently I’ve been looking at the GORUCK Bullet 10L. This looks like it would make a great day bag, especially on holiday and trips but we shall see. For now the GORUCK Bullet is something to think about while I’m having a bath : ) or hope someone gets me for Christmas. : )