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187 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like many reading this I am a bag guy and my quest for the perfect BOE (Bag of Evil), the MCS name for our EDC bags, has over the years seen several bags from backpacks to messenger bags. Several years ago I gave up using a backpack for EDC for three reasons. One was that I seldom used both straps as intended and instead just tossed it over my shoulder using only one. Two, I like to be able to work out of my EDC bag like a big pocket since it is full of stuff that I use all the time, and backpacks did not lend themselves well to that. The last thing was that most of the time my BOE goes from the house to car and back again, and backpacks just don’t work well for front seat bags.

After relegating the use of backpacks to times when I would be on foot for long periods of time, I began my quest for the perfect messenger bag / soft sided brief case. During this time I used awesome bags from several of the top tactical nylon manufacturers. These bags were all bomb proof and well thought out. The two major problems I found was that they were either too blocky and or too big. They also screamed tactical.

In early 2007, I saw a post on a forum for an inexpensive copy of the bag Jack Bauer carried on the series 24. It looked interesting so I ordered three of them since they were only about $25 each. The easiest place to find them seems to be on Upon receiving them, I used one and gave one to both my wife and oldest daughter.

I had been using my bag for a while when my Mom was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. For better than a week I lived out of my Jack Bauer. Several times I have posted about my disdain for BOBs (Bug out Bags) that are full of break in case of emergency stuff instead of the BOE/EDC bag that you live and work out of everyday. Part of the BOE concept is making sure you have enough room in the bag to add mission essential gear in addition to things you pick up along the way. My new bag and BOE concept worked well for me allowing me to have all my normal stuff (clothes, foodstuffs, and my laptop and cables).

Later in the year my lust for new nylon continued and I went through a few more bags. Eventually I gave my original bag to my Dad. Then one day I noticed exactly how well my daughter’s bag had held up as it began it’s second school year carrying a very heavy load of books. The weight of the books along with and care of the bag on the part of my daughter left the bag no worse for wear. My wife had used hers infrequently and usually as a weekend getaway bag since it easily swallowed everything she would need. That was it. I had to have another. At the same time I looked at my website and saw an article I had written on what I carried in the BOE and decided it should be updated to reflect changes. To kill two birds with one stone, I decided to do a review on the Jack Bauer Bag by Rothco and an update on my EDC and some reasons behind it.

Before getting into the bag I will first talk about my first line gear (gear carried on the person). Most of the time this includes-

Glock 23 w/ spare mag
Surefire L2
Spyderco Military / Al Mar Payara (one or the other as a primary defensive folder)
Al Mar SERE 2000 / Strider Suspect SMF (one or the other as a utility folder)
Emerson Combat Karambit (worn reverse grip, reaction side)
Leatherman Squire S2 (my favorite multi-tool that I use for everything)
Titanium Zippo with butane insert
Foster Coin Sap

OK, now we can get back to the bag. My current bag was purchased from Galaxy Army Navy for approximately $27 shipped, which is about 75% cheaper than any other bags that have served as BOEs.

The bag is made of heavy canvas and has a two-inch wide non- detachable shoulder strap that offers lots of room for adjustment. The hardware through out the bag has a handsome antique brass finish. The pockets / compartments of the bag are as follows-

One large compartment with a small wallet type pouch that features the only zipper on the bag. This small pouch is the perfect size for my Spec Ops, the Wallet.

Two side pockets that have the ability to be snapped closed.

Two large front pockets bringing the total to six pockets overall.

The large flap easily covers even an overstuffed bag and secures with two pieces of Velcro.
Now for the contents-

Even though I carry this bag most of the time, there are occasions such as when on a day trip etc that I would rather carry my Eagle AIII. To facilitate easy transition and quality of carry I like to subload the contents of my BOE into the following.

Most often used items

Camelbak water bottle
1030 Pelican case containing Oakley sunglasses, lens cloth and repair kit
1020 Pelican case containing digital camera
Baby wipes / Hand sanitizer

Trauma Kit

CAT tourniquet
Quick Clot
Asherman Chest Seal
Large roll of Kerlix gauze
3-inch elastic bandage

Boo Boo Kit

Fabric band aides
Burn Gel
Steri Strips
Triple antibiotic ointment
Medical tape
New Skin

EIK (Emergency Intervention Kit)

Rubber gloves
Mechanix work gloves
Becker Tac Tool wrapped with 32 feet of parachute cord
Hand towel
Krill lamp
Boker Subcom rescue tool

Possibles Bag

Large OD bandana
Surefire Backup
Cylume light sticks
Laser pointer
Dental floss
Safety pins
Zip ties
(4) spare 123a batteries
Kershaw knife bit kit
Artificial tears
Mini Bic lighter
Lighter magnifier
Parachute cord fast rope
Suunto wrist compass

When the bag is packed, a folded Shemagh is folded and placed in the bottom of the bag and the contents are loaded on top. This is done so that heavy things inside are not damaged if dropped and doesn’t make sounds thus drawing attention.

The bag is comfortable when worn over one side or suicide strap style. I added a padded shoulder strap I had laying around because it was handy, however even a fairly heavy load is easy to bear without it thanks to a wide shoulder strap. As with whatever bag I am using I have a glow ring attached to the bag so that it easy to locate in low light conditions.

Except for some of the most obvious things the contents of the bag have evolved over about the past five years. Many things made their way in by being needed a few times. When that happens it makes sense to add it in.

816 Posts
For bags that size, as opposed to a hip pack or belt-worn pouch, i prefer something that is worn more securely and doesn't get in the way of the arms. From my experience, a small backpack is the best. I am a very physically active person, and I want something that can deal with me moving around a lot. When i have used the "man-purse" type bags before, you can't even bend over or reach for something without having it swing to the front or fall off the side. Forget about running, climbing, or struggling with somebody during any kind of emergency. I can take a backpack off one shoulder and swing it around to the front to access the pockets in probably less than a second, and then, with it being on one shoulder, it performs almost exactly like the type of bag you have. That one second or so that it saves isn't enough for me to switch.

21,713 Posts
Nice looking setup, I use a shoulder type bag when I'm mooching about the woods if the straps long enough you can put both arms through and wear the bag at the small of the back should you require it out the way.
My EDC I have a backpack type, mainly because thats what I have to hand atm, I'm looking at a shoulder/messenger type but havent seen what I'm looking for, I know what you mean about wearing it mainly only over 1 shoulder though.

6,670 Posts
Thanks Mercop! Very informative post.

I thought I was the only one who has an Every Day Carry-Jack bag. I also got the idea from watching 24 and thought the same thing. Back packs are great for expeditionary, E&E type activities and I love my three day pack, but indeed they don't lend themselves well to day to day life.

My "Jack bag" is about half as big as yours (my wife calls it my purse) and holds what I deem the essentials of being a working dad:
-flash light(s)
-defense tools
-fire starters
-mini first aid kit
-water bottle

I opted for the smaller size because more often than not, I don't even take it off when I jump in my truck, if I am not driving far. It's sort of like an over sized pocket that's there most of the time, on my right hip.

One modification that I did to mine using my sewing machine and my mad sewing skills was to add plastic sheet inserts to all the walls and the bottom so that no matter how little or how much stuff is in the bag, it always maintains a certain stiffness and doesn't collapse into a heap of material.

That was my biggest annoyance with the system and stiffening up the bag solved the problem.

I also added a strap with a male clip at the right bottom of the carry strap that clips into a female clip that is about a third of the way up on the left hand of the strap. If I ever need to do some serious running or fence climbing, I clip the this set up together and the back stays on my back solidly. I got that idea from bike courier bags.

YMMV=Your Mileage May Very, also known as To Each Their Own...;)

18,814 Posts
I like the over the shoulder bags like this but I prefer to use ones with an additional waist strap for when I might need to move fast. For example....old WWII gas mask bags
I have a slightly smaller version of this.....

and carry it all the time. The waist belt is completely stored away 90% of the time but can be used when doing more than just walking around in every day life. I highly recommend this style.

645 Posts
I like the idea of wrapping a tool with para cord. i wrapped manny of my big bics with gurilla tape. I like the back pack better my self but the i keep a man purse style bag with 120 rounds of various 12 gauge shells, more likely I would toss two bandoliers over my sholder but it's there.

Great post.

14 Posts
for me its a backpack, I carry it were ever I go. its a very basic bag, first aid kit, fire starter kit , small fishing kit, spare cash, extra keys, tape , 22 pistol and ammo, multi tool, gloves , small supply of instant food items ( oatmeal , grits, coco mix etc, etc.), para cord, and water.

755 Posts
I also carry a backpack, while I would prefer a messenger bag, backpacks are just normally cheaper. I will check out those from galaxy though. In mine are the basics, Fallkniven F1, Swiss Spirit multitool, magnesium fire steel, whistle, baby wipes, flashlight w/ extra batteries, lighter, stainless steel cup(pint), twine, 2 granola bars and a change of clothes season appropriate, and last a small first aid kit mostly bandaids and pain meds.

veldskoen no socks
2,715 Posts
Interesting article. It would be great to see the original bag you bought, if any of the three you purchased are still in circulation.

1,270 Posts
Thanks for the post. I'm ordering the bag. Partly because it looks like a great bag and partly because you made a very good argument for carrying the bag over a back pack. Thanks.

106 Posts
Good post, dude. But, i was reading thru your list. And I noticed you have "Asherman Chest Seals" in your trauma kit. Speaking from experience, these are crap. They work well if you get shot in an air conditioned office, and you dont have any chest hair, and you arent bleeding too much at all. Otherwise the blood and sweat makes them come off too easily. What works better is a roll of Seran Wrap, and chest decompression needles. It sounds silly, but no joke. Wrap it around the vic's chest once or twice, and it seals both sides, and use the needles to decompress the chest if they need it. I don't mean to sound like I'm preaching or anything. But i would hate to see somone die, because of somthing they thought was going to work but doesnt

Free Born
2,446 Posts
I carry a EDC bag everywhere I go, and because I travel all over my state for work I keep it with me all the time. Im considering a messenger bag set up as well, great post!!
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