Discussions

Several items in the women’s clothing line from 5.11 tactical are pretty good. Their Stryke pants have oodles of pockets and are not too tactical looking, and with some creative planning could probably hold all of your EDC stuff. Their shirts can be good, too, with a surprising number of pockets, but be careful of the ones that snap vs. buttons. (I find the snaps a bit annoying and don’t trust they’ll stay put). Their advertising does rub me the wrong way – I’ve been buying women’s clothing from them for years but they insist on sending me ads and coupons only for men’s items, and with super-“macho” advertising. But hey their pants last forever so what are you gonna do? The activewear line from J Jill also has surprisingly handy pockets – you can’t really see them in the photos on their site, but they’re on the side of the thighs, about two inches above the knee (vs at the hip) and I love that because they don’t interfere with movement. The pockets stretch, and I carry a LOT of stuff in them when I go for long hikes. Finally, ScottEVest seems to have expanded their women’s line. I for one plan to try out their Dorothy dress, which seems to have very large, hidden pockets in the hemline. As I mentioned in another thread I bought one of their jackets years ago and found it a bit too bulky and awkward. But it seems they’ve really improved their designs and expanded their offers (their ball cap with hidden pockets is very cool, even if like 5.11 they market it only toward men.)   I’m very grateful to you for posting about that garter idea – I’m going to order several, not only for EDC stuff but also just for practical things when this pandemic is over and we can finally wear dresses and go to parties again! I would love it if The Prepared could get one of their writers to review some of these women’s clothing lines for their suitability for EDC stuff. I bet some of the vendors would be willing to give you samples to try them out and I’d reviews from The Prepared over anyone else’s. 

First, I think it is unlikely, though possible, that I will need to carry my pack for long distances on foot.  But I want to be prepared should that become necessary and like you I can realistically carry only a small bag.  So similar to others on this thread, I compartmentalize my main pack into smaller interior packs using Sea to Summit Ultrasil daypacks, which are super tough minimalist backpacks that weigh only 2.5 ounces each. These help me organize and protect my gear (they’re very water resistant) while also making it possible to quickly remove one, hide one under a tree, hand one off to someone else – or ditch one that it least important.  Critical stuff, like the first aid kit, is in a red interior pack which tells me at a glance that I have to keep that (and plus I can grab it quickly if needed, or tell someone else how to find it). Water prep in blue. Clothing in gray. And stuff I’m most willing to ditch is in a clear ziploc.  In each mini-pack I have a printed out inventory so I can always remember at a glance what’s in what (for example, I keep my lighter in the first aid kit) so I don’t have to fully unpack to remember what is in there.  I also have my name, contact information, emergency contact information, and critical personal details like medication allergies on that printed list so in case I am injured and someone finds me they’ll have those details and, if I have to ditch a pack, perhaps some nice human can return it to me somehow.  It is essential to PRACTICE. Like, take your fully loaded bag, fully imagine a scenario where you have seconds to dump weight, and practice actually doing that. This will help you realize (as I did) that the things you want to dump first are at the very bottom of your bag when they shouldn’t be. Also practice going “bare bones” minimum if you really have to move quickly and maybe dump your largest bag. For example if absolutely pressed I would probably grab the water bag and the first aid kit and leave everything else like the change of clothes and the contractor bags.  Practicing THAT told me that I should put my tarp in the water bag, too – I’m willing to give up my change of clothes but protection from the elements would be even more critical then.  And that is why my lighter is in my first aid kit – if that’s one of the things I refuse to ditch, having a fire starter in there will be critical.  I’d love to see an article on The Prepared about “bugging out” best practices for the elderly or physically impaired. 

This is the thread that finally got me to join the Forum! Believe it or not, tradeshows are great training for finding preparedness-suitable professional wear, because if you can survive eight hours on your feet in a tradeshow hall, in clothes that got beaten up in your suitcase and maybe drenched in the rain, you can likely use those same clothes for a “get the heck out of Dodge” kind of scenario too if you have to hike home ten miles on the highway. Footwear is the most critical but since you seem to be asking more about the clothing, I’ll recommend two brands I love:  MM LaFleur and 5.11 Tactical.   MM LaFleur looks SO froo-froo and it is so NOT.  I have been known to do yoga (at home, by myself!) in their dresses, and most of their dresses have actually useful pockets.  Their skirts look great but are cut in such a way that it wouldn’t be a problem to hike those ten miles.  Most of their outfits are machine-washable and in delicious, durable fabrics.  Their pants are fantastic – I have the Foster pant and am completely comfortable that if I had to kick someone and run in them, I could and would. Read the description of each item carefully – they do have a few things that are more silk and dry clean and some are a bit more fitted – but I’ve absolutely loved everything I bought from them and feel like I’m getting away with wearing pajamas to work.  I know you said you didn’t want tactical-looking clothing, but the pants from 5.11 are just the BEST.  I particularly like the Stryke pant, which is admittedly somewhat tactical looking, but has so many fantastic features that I do sometimes wear it to work in my professional office (at least in the pre-pandemic days when I went in to an office).  They are cut specifically so you can move freely in them – I’ve done hours and hours of martial arts in them and washed them a thousand times and they still look great – and pockets everywhere. 5.11 offers some other pants that are less tactical looking but I have not yet tried those.   As for footwear, Dansko and Born brands have been the best for me.  Pro Tip: Look for footwear marketed to nurses or chefs.  They tend to be designed to look professional while being impervious to water and other fluids and providing great foot support.  They are my secret weapon at tradeshows . If you have no choice but to wear more of a pump (heels are a big NEVER in my book), then you can tuck a pair of Tieks into your purse in case you have to make a run for it – you can swap out the shoes and Tieks, though not particularly supportive, will get you those ten miles home far more effectively than the heels and are light enough to carry around as a backup.

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Several items in the women’s clothing line from 5.11 tactical are pretty good. Their Stryke pants have oodles of pockets and are not too tactical looking, and with some creative planning could probably hold all of your EDC stuff. Their shirts can be good, too, with a surprising number of pockets, but be careful of the ones that snap vs. buttons. (I find the snaps a bit annoying and don’t trust they’ll stay put). Their advertising does rub me the wrong way – I’ve been buying women’s clothing from them for years but they insist on sending me ads and coupons only for men’s items, and with super-“macho” advertising. But hey their pants last forever so what are you gonna do? The activewear line from J Jill also has surprisingly handy pockets – you can’t really see them in the photos on their site, but they’re on the side of the thighs, about two inches above the knee (vs at the hip) and I love that because they don’t interfere with movement. The pockets stretch, and I carry a LOT of stuff in them when I go for long hikes. Finally, ScottEVest seems to have expanded their women’s line. I for one plan to try out their Dorothy dress, which seems to have very large, hidden pockets in the hemline. As I mentioned in another thread I bought one of their jackets years ago and found it a bit too bulky and awkward. But it seems they’ve really improved their designs and expanded their offers (their ball cap with hidden pockets is very cool, even if like 5.11 they market it only toward men.)   I’m very grateful to you for posting about that garter idea – I’m going to order several, not only for EDC stuff but also just for practical things when this pandemic is over and we can finally wear dresses and go to parties again! I would love it if The Prepared could get one of their writers to review some of these women’s clothing lines for their suitability for EDC stuff. I bet some of the vendors would be willing to give you samples to try them out and I’d reviews from The Prepared over anyone else’s. 

First, I think it is unlikely, though possible, that I will need to carry my pack for long distances on foot.  But I want to be prepared should that become necessary and like you I can realistically carry only a small bag.  So similar to others on this thread, I compartmentalize my main pack into smaller interior packs using Sea to Summit Ultrasil daypacks, which are super tough minimalist backpacks that weigh only 2.5 ounces each. These help me organize and protect my gear (they’re very water resistant) while also making it possible to quickly remove one, hide one under a tree, hand one off to someone else – or ditch one that it least important.  Critical stuff, like the first aid kit, is in a red interior pack which tells me at a glance that I have to keep that (and plus I can grab it quickly if needed, or tell someone else how to find it). Water prep in blue. Clothing in gray. And stuff I’m most willing to ditch is in a clear ziploc.  In each mini-pack I have a printed out inventory so I can always remember at a glance what’s in what (for example, I keep my lighter in the first aid kit) so I don’t have to fully unpack to remember what is in there.  I also have my name, contact information, emergency contact information, and critical personal details like medication allergies on that printed list so in case I am injured and someone finds me they’ll have those details and, if I have to ditch a pack, perhaps some nice human can return it to me somehow.  It is essential to PRACTICE. Like, take your fully loaded bag, fully imagine a scenario where you have seconds to dump weight, and practice actually doing that. This will help you realize (as I did) that the things you want to dump first are at the very bottom of your bag when they shouldn’t be. Also practice going “bare bones” minimum if you really have to move quickly and maybe dump your largest bag. For example if absolutely pressed I would probably grab the water bag and the first aid kit and leave everything else like the change of clothes and the contractor bags.  Practicing THAT told me that I should put my tarp in the water bag, too – I’m willing to give up my change of clothes but protection from the elements would be even more critical then.  And that is why my lighter is in my first aid kit – if that’s one of the things I refuse to ditch, having a fire starter in there will be critical.  I’d love to see an article on The Prepared about “bugging out” best practices for the elderly or physically impaired. 

This is the thread that finally got me to join the Forum! Believe it or not, tradeshows are great training for finding preparedness-suitable professional wear, because if you can survive eight hours on your feet in a tradeshow hall, in clothes that got beaten up in your suitcase and maybe drenched in the rain, you can likely use those same clothes for a “get the heck out of Dodge” kind of scenario too if you have to hike home ten miles on the highway. Footwear is the most critical but since you seem to be asking more about the clothing, I’ll recommend two brands I love:  MM LaFleur and 5.11 Tactical.   MM LaFleur looks SO froo-froo and it is so NOT.  I have been known to do yoga (at home, by myself!) in their dresses, and most of their dresses have actually useful pockets.  Their skirts look great but are cut in such a way that it wouldn’t be a problem to hike those ten miles.  Most of their outfits are machine-washable and in delicious, durable fabrics.  Their pants are fantastic – I have the Foster pant and am completely comfortable that if I had to kick someone and run in them, I could and would. Read the description of each item carefully – they do have a few things that are more silk and dry clean and some are a bit more fitted – but I’ve absolutely loved everything I bought from them and feel like I’m getting away with wearing pajamas to work.  I know you said you didn’t want tactical-looking clothing, but the pants from 5.11 are just the BEST.  I particularly like the Stryke pant, which is admittedly somewhat tactical looking, but has so many fantastic features that I do sometimes wear it to work in my professional office (at least in the pre-pandemic days when I went in to an office).  They are cut specifically so you can move freely in them – I’ve done hours and hours of martial arts in them and washed them a thousand times and they still look great – and pockets everywhere. 5.11 offers some other pants that are less tactical looking but I have not yet tried those.   As for footwear, Dansko and Born brands have been the best for me.  Pro Tip: Look for footwear marketed to nurses or chefs.  They tend to be designed to look professional while being impervious to water and other fluids and providing great foot support.  They are my secret weapon at tradeshows . If you have no choice but to wear more of a pump (heels are a big NEVER in my book), then you can tuck a pair of Tieks into your purse in case you have to make a run for it – you can swap out the shoes and Tieks, though not particularly supportive, will get you those ten miles home far more effectively than the heels and are light enough to carry around as a backup.