What’s in my everyday backpack?
Although I only got actively interested in preparedness quite recently, I’ve long been in the habit of carrying a well-stocked everyday backpack, though the contents have been assembled haphazardly, never with any particular comprehensive review. This started when I was at university and carried a backpack like most university students, and I just never quit carrying a backpack. Well over a decade ago, when I was in grad school, I recall telling a friend how I keep all sorts of stuff in my backpack because I never know when I’ll need it, and my friend lightly teased that “so basically you carry your junk drawer everywhere you go”.
I just got myself a new backpack and am about to transfer the contents over, and I figure it might be interesting to do an inventory of what’s in my backpack (and I’m sure I’ll make a few adjustments to the contents as I do this, as well). The new backpack is an Eddie Bauer 29L cargo pack – the same as my old backpack, except I got my old backpack second-hand and a previous owner had cut off the waist strap and sternum strap, and I was getting annoyed by the lack.
Asterisks mark items that I’m not transferring over to the new backpack.
- A knit wool hat
- A cotton sun hat
- A flimsy disposable poncho (I’d have preferred a sturdier plastic poncho more designed for reuse, but I saw this one in the shop cheap and I figured it would tide me over until I come across a better one)
- A clean handkerchief
- A reflective emergency blanket
- A “raincoat for my backpack” – a garbage bag with slits cut in it to let the shoulders straps through
- A pair of socks (likely dirty, got separated from my laundry, oops)*
- There’s usually some combination of sweater / down vest / windbreaker in there as well, but they migrate in and out depending on weather, laundry, usage around the house, etc., and happen to all be out at the moment.
- There are also usually some gloves or mittens at least during the winter but they also happen to be out at the moment.
- An insulated water bottle/thermos
- 5 bags of green tea (genmaicha) and two small packets of salt contained in a zip bag
- 3 sugar packets; I’m moving those to the zip bag with the green tea and salt
- 5+ bags of a black tea that I find works well made in a single cup
- Some beef jerky
- Some expired coupons for my favourite fast-food restaurant*
- 5-ish bags of one of my standard black teas* (I find this tea works well made in a teapot but not made in a cup, so it’s less suitable for backpack stock)
- 2 Can99 respirators (FFP3 NR certification) – when this gets down to 1, I add another 5 from my home stash.
- Some surgical-style non-certified masks (these are mostly for giving away)
- A pack of wet wipes
- A bottle of hand sanitizer
- The end of a roll of toilet paper. (Two instances. Reducing to one.)
- 13 bandaids
- A dozen or so cotton balls
- A small container of petroleum jelly
- Some sanitary napkins
- A medieval-style bone comb
- Some extra strength Advil/ibuprofen
- Some Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride antihistamine tablets [generic Benadryl equivalent]
- An up-to-date EpiPen
- An expired EpiPen*
- Some expired Cetirizine Hydrochloride antihistamine tablets*
- A portable power bank
- A Rite in the Rain notebook
- A mechanical pencil
- A pamphlet-sized prayer book
- Another pamphlet-sized prayer book* (so well tucked away I didn’t even know it was there…)
- A small leatherbound notebook with handmade paper; two pins through a page near the back* (Notebook superseded by the Rite in the Rain notebook which I acquired more recently. Pins are not essential enough to keep in there.)
- A book that I’m reading with a friend* (This goes in and out because it only needs to be in the bag one day a week)
- Miscellaneous papers acquired in daily life and not yet filed*
- 9 grocery bags (this is way too many, they tend to accumulate; reducing to 3)
- A clean small zip-seal bag inside a larger zip-seal bag (I’m replenishing this depleted supply by adding 3 more clean small zip-seal bags and 1 clean large one)
- A BIC lighter
- A travel-sized diptych icon
One key item I’m adding to my new backpack right now: a LifeStraw that I recently acquired.
Things I carry in my pockets instead of my backpack: keys, credit card, transit card, health card, Swiss Army Knife, wallet, phone.
I also plan to add to my backpack:
- A bit of cash, probably about $60-80 – enough to be useful, little enough that I won’t be too upset if it’s lost or stolen
- The right charging cord for my phone, and a wall converter (I got a new phone recently, and so far only have one charging cord for it; the cord with my power bank fits my old phone and I haven’t yet updated it)
What do people think would be particularly useful to add to this? (One thing I’m not looking for is weapons.)
Is there anything here you wonder what it’s there for?