The Backpack for All Eventualities

Last night, I’d gone for a jazz concert by these guys. Unfortunately, due to heavy rain in Chennai (which may be a byproduct of the legendary #chennaisnow) , almost everybody in the audience came late. The organisers solicituously delayed the concert until everyone could come in. While this was nice of them, it meant that the concert ended late too. And since I also thulped dinner in Chennai, I couldn’t leave the city until a quarter to twelve. Eventually, I reached Kanchi at two in the morning. On the bright side, I now know that Tuscana’s Espresso is the real thing.

All this meant that I am now facing the day on three hours of sleep and a really badass espresso, and will have to leave work early to catch up on sleep. Had I stayed the night in Chennai and driven back in the morning, I would still have missed work (though in the beginning of the day, not the end), but not messed up my sleep cycle. But the prospect of having to sleep in my jeans, and driving to Kanchi without showering and changing held no appeal, so I did the night drive.

All this could have been prevented – admittedly, at inconvenience to either a friend or my wallet – if only I had carried a change of clothes, pyjamas and toothbrush, despite not planning to stay the night. I tweeted this as a note to myself this morning, prompting Nitin to advise me to learn about and join the Every Day Carry lifestyle.

I googled it, found the Wikipedia page, and have almost been weeping tears of joy since then at finding people who have formalised preparedness and elevated it into a lifestyle. These are people who make paranoia work for them.

Basically, Every Day Carry is the list of things you carry with you all the time, so that you’re able to deal with adverse circumstances or not miss opportunities. Since everyone is going to worry about different problems, and want to be prepared for different opportunities, everyone’s EDC list is going to be different. I’ve had a vague all-time-carry list, but I never formalised it quite this way – I shall, now.

My EDC list is currently:

On Person:

  1. Cellphone and Case Logic sleeve with combined belt strap, lanyard and  carabiner
  2. Car keys with a USB flash drive on the keyring
  3. micro-USB cable
  4. Earphones
  5. Stationery Case (described in next section) with belt strap and carabiner (but the carabiner is jugaaded onto the belt strap, and doesn’t have a dedicated strap… I should learn to sew)
  6. Wallet (also described separately)

Stationery Case:

  1. Uniball fine tip pens in eight colours
  2. Permanent marker
  3. Highlighter
  4. Mechanical Pencil
  5. Eraser (not visible)

In my Wallet:

  1. Driver’s License
  2. PAN Card
  3. Hospital ID cards
  4. Cash and debit card
  5. Credit card with enough of a credit limit to purchase a full fare ticket to Hong Kong (in case Naxalite revolution breaks out and I have to flee India)

In my Backpack:

  1. Emergency socks (in case it rains and my feet get soaked, so that I can quickly change socks and prevent a cold)
  2. Passport photos (you never know when you need them – actually, the USB stick on my keyring has a soft copy of my passport photo, and scans of my ID proofs and credit cards too)
  3. Writing notebook
  4. Work-related notebook
  5. Letter writing notepaper and envelops
  6. Postage stamps
  7. Spare stock of visiting cards
  8. Rubber stamp
  9. Chequebook
  10. Hard disks

In my car:

  1. Phone cradle and charger
  2. An umbrella


All this was before last night’s annoyances and this morning’s EDC epiphany. Based on the last twenty four hours, I have realised that I should also carry, broken down by location:

On person:

  1. Pocket sized notepad
  2. Swiss Army Knife (I used to carry one, actually, but then it got confiscated at airport security and I gave up. I need to restart. Hanging them on my keychains prevents the airport confiscation problem – the car keychain doesn’t move cities, and I have to remember to pack my house keys in a suitcase during transit.)
  3. Contraception

In car:

  1. Overnight bag containing:
    1. A change of clothes
    2. A toilet kit with (at least) a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant

In my backpack:

  1. an LED flashlight
  2. a supply of AA/ AAA cells
  3. an AA/AAA cell mains charger
  4. a spare phone charger
  5. A raincoat (if it fits – otherwise it goes to the car)
  6. A jacket (again, if it fits – otherwise it goes to the car) – in case the dreaded Chennai snow strikes
  7. A first aid kit – bandaids, antiseptic, ibuprofen, and throat lozenges at the very least. Possibly also anti-allergens.
  8. Spare stock of prescription medication
  9. Kindle (which I will have in January, whee!)


What’s your carry list?

6 Responses to The Backpack for All Eventualities

  1. aanteladda says:

    Have you been peeking in my purse? You missed the in-car tyre inflator that was at the bottom of my bag…

  2. Shrabonti says:

    Wow, people are so organised. And to think I neglect to keep a lens case filled with solution in my bag, which is basically all I need if there are sudden overnight plans. I’ve had to play spoilsport at many a party because of the challenge that the lack of a lens case poses. Of course, in my younger days I’ve dunked lenses in Bisleri bottle caps filled with tap water, but I believe once you’re past 30, you start respecting your body more.

  3. Ravikiran says:

    Why Postage stamps?

    • Aadisht says:

      Well mostly because sending handwritten letters by traditional post is more Edwardian. But an emergency case can be made out for it – there are places where many couriers will not deliver – Kanchi being just one of them.

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