The Overlander's Every Day Carry (EDC)
Show Notes for Podcast Episode #30
The Overlander's Every Day Carry (EDC)
For this Principles of Overlanding, Matt and Scott discuss the merits of EDC, and the critical items they use for international and domestic overland travel. Topics of discussion include luggage, electronics, clothing, firearms, camera equipment, knives, watches, and more.
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal, and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar travels include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world's most-remote places by 4WD, and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. Matt is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication, and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore
Hello, and welcome to the Overland Journal Podcast, I am your host Scott Brady and I am here with my co host Matt Scott. And this is a new thing for us today...
Matt: We’re going tactical. We’re talking about EDC everyone. Start foaming at the mouth. I don’t know, people seem to be really into the EDC thing. I generally don’t even carry things on my person other than my cell phone. But, apparently people do.
Scott: And there are times we do as well. So we're going to talk about the stuff that we have on our person, typically when we are traveling we're also going to talk about the gear that we bring along if we're flying into some place and we’ll touch briefly on the high points of the stuff we typically stick into the vehicle as well. And we're going to start off with Matt because he is such an interesting person. The stuff that he brings with him is so interesting that I think it’s going to be fun to talk about. So Matt, what do you always carry on your person?
Matt: You know, I mean.. Generally as a person sometimes I vary from one side to the other but I am more like a fair weather overlander, I don't go to Greenland like you do in the middle of Winter. Typically, I’m kind of the flip flop and board shorts kind of guy. Occasionally I wear pants while overlanding. I generally try and avoid that but some of the useful things..
Scott: Southeast Asia has completely ruined you. *laughs*
Matt: Southeast Asia, Baja, Australia .. I mean. *laughs* Are there any other places to go? Ya, i don’t know.. Let's start with the opposite of those places. Jackets. I have been wearing this Beyond thing that I actually got from you. I really like it. It kind of has this cool trendy camp print on the inside, it's really warm. I want to say it's a thinsulate style lining in the indie and it's really comfortable too. It's really durable too, I think when i do look for clothing, I look for stuff that.. Ok sweet, the shock reservoir falls off, something happens to your car. If I actually have to get underneath, I don't want it to be ruined. So for me, a lot of those, I call them the puffy jackets, have never really been up to it for me because they kinda tear easily, you know..
Scott: They get ruined by the fire.
Matt: ya, and this thing is like, I feel like you could fall off a motorcycle on it, but it's still cozy and comfy which is important to me. I mean who doesn't want to feel cozy and comfy. That's a big thing. Sunglasses are a thing. I guess it depends on what i’m doing. I’m a stickler for optical clarity so I really like Persol(2:56) that's mainly because of their glass lenses. They just seem to last longer. I always say I can’t afford to do things, or buy things twice. I’ve had this same pair for ten years, and they just work.
Scott: Once you find something that works, and it's’ been interesting talking about the Beyond brand. We’ve started to use some of their stuff and it’s been interesting to watch because in the last fifteen years or so, a lot of what these Special Forces, and Recon and these other guys are using is coming more into the general consumer space where people are starting to adopt a lot of these technologies and a lot of these clothing types that these operators are using and it was really interesting talking with the folks at Beyond because they recognise that ten years ago, fifteen years ago, these guys were wearing this stuff. In the beginning they kind of looked like tourists, they were a little understated but then everybody realized really quickly it's a guy in Patagonia with a set of Solomons on *laughs* He's now a target. These companies are making technical gear that now looks like what everybody else wears.
Matt: I think that is just the coolest thing with Beyond. There's definitely other brands that I enjoy that are more tactical but that stuff overseas, in my opinion I actively try to avoid it.
Scott: Me too.
Matt: I remember I was.. I am trying to remember where in Tokyo I was. There were two tactical, local kids, had the backpacks and looked like they walked out of a 5.11 store. They literally just got searched because it’s like why are you dressing like this. It's transcended from being kind of cool guy stuff to ….
Scott: You're now a target.
Matt: You're now a target .. I don’t know.
Scott: I’ve had two very serious searches in all of my time traveling. One of them was at the Canadian border, which just seems to be a thing. Then the other one was in Iceland. I get off the plane and I’ve got all of the high speed, I look like the operator guy.
Matt: That's why I wear floral and paisley shirts.
Scott: Good idea!
Matt: I never look like that guy..
Scott: I get through customs and immigration, and this guy walks up to me and says we need to have a chat. I’m like aright, and I look and he's got a badge and looks very serious. So we go into this little room and he's like you need to disclose what branch of the military you are in. I said I am a Veteran, and was in the Air Force and he just did this full breakdown, like, why are you here, what are you doing.. I’ve never had this happen before. But what I realized was what was different that day, I’m wearing Solomons, I've got that kind of tacta-cool gear on, and I realized that I painted a target on me. Military age male, I was in the military, I carry myself in a certain way and I’m wearing all of the stuff that checks the boxes and they wanted to know why I was there. What was I doing, what were my intentions. The same thing happened in Kenya. We got caught doing an illegal border crossing from Uganda into Kenya, Brian Bass and I, and the next thing you know we’re getting dressed down by the local police. They keep telling us we have to disclose our mission and it was just because we had some paracord and we had some of these things that look very tactical. I'm realizing that now, I just don’t have it at all. I avoid it almost like the plague.
Matt: I do avoid it like the plague because for our new video listeners, I wear Birkenstocks. *laughs* The surest way to not be tactical.. *laughs* I also don’t look very threatening in my opinion. What are some of the things that you carry?
Scott: When I think about my day to day clothing and what I have on me, I use to have a lot more stuff in my pockets.
Matt: I can’t stand having stuff in my pockets.
Scott: Right. The cool thing about the phones is it steadily replaces all of the stuff. You don’t have an iPod anymore, the iPods on your phone. You don’t need to really have a picket flashlight because these LED lights on the phone are super bright.
Matt: Pretty good. I have to say that I religiously carry some sort of light source with me. I had this little AA, triple ott design flashlight kind of thing, maybe it was AAA or something. Used to carry it with me, it was on my keys. Now I just have a phone. In a simple statement, what is my EDC? My phone. It can be your wallet, it can be everything.
Scott: Do you do that where you have your wallet combined with your phone?
Matt: 100%. I use it as much as I can when I am overseas. Overseas most payments are tap and go. At least when you're in first, second world countries. It’s more secure, they are not getting my actual credit card number. There is nothing for them to steal since the entire transaction is encrypted so it's really safe. I also find that I just really like it. I try and get that on all my cards these days, just the tap and go because then there's nothing for them to swipe, nothing for them to skim. If you want to talk about actual security, let's talk about knives and guns and stuff with EDC. Use ApplePay or GooglePay and a contact list, and where are you actually going to be a victim of a crime? It’s probably when you are traveling. Statistically, it’s handing someone your credit card. I mean I shouldn't say statistically, I really don’t know, but I know that when I travel especially in the United States, every gas pump I go to somebody is skimming some kind of information. Even in Prescott where we live which is pretty sleepy.
Scott: It is. And it’s become more and more of a problem. I do like the fact that we can now use our phone, or our watch to do payments. And in the days of now Covid, I think a lot of that technology is going to come into play very rapidly. I’m seeing places that I have gone to for years where I used to have to slide a card or insert a card, now I can just pay with a watch or with a phone. I do see the iPhone as this killer app now for most of EDC. When I am in North America I tend to carry a few more things. I do tend to carry a knife. CRKT came out with this pretty cool folding Karambit. When I am traveling INternationally, I do have just a pocket knife. I never want to clip..
Matt: There is a size, depending on the country that you are traveling too.
Scott: Less than 2”. 1.9” Is a good standard for that, so I have a Prometheus Designworks. Had this cool little, it looks like a Boy Scout folder that they sold for a while. Made in the U.S.A, it’s less than 2” blade length and I just stick it in my pocket because I don’t want the clip that shows that I’ve got a knife in my pocket. And in a lot of countries, it may allow a 1.9” knife. But in some cities, like if you're in New York for example, you don’t want to have a knife on you at all. There are very strict restrictions around knives in New York city. Same thing with London. London has very serious restrictions around knives. So you want to think about what is the lowest common denominator in your travels and you want to make sure you comply with that the rest of your trip so you don’t accidentally get caught with a knife.
Matt: I used to travel with a knife. Now if I’m going to Baja or something, I just like to leave knives and stuff in the vehicle. I have a DPX gear knife from Robert Young Pelton (11:07) I love it because it opens Amazon boxes very, very efficiently and it kind of has a built in bottle opener integral to the blade and I use that quite a bit.
Scott: Knives have their place.
Matt: Personally I’ve never traveled internationally with one. All the countries I go to. Australia you don’t want to get caught with that kind of stuff coming in.
Matt: They are a very by the book kind of country.
Scott: And the best way to do that is or if you are traveling into a country and doing carry on luggage only, which Matt and I both try to do in almost all cases. When I get into the country, I just buy a cheap knife. You just go to a local store.
Matt: That's what I did in Namibia earlier this year.
Scott: And then you give it to a local or you give it to your buddy that you are hanging out with, you give them the knife before you leave. But in North America I do tend to carry a knife on me. I do have a very minimalist wallet. It’s made by Mag Pole. It carries a couple credit cards, it doesn't look tactical at all. It's just a very thin wallet.
Matt: They use some really nice material and you know their construction techniques are relatively interesting. I love those little pouches that are like …
Scott: The little Daka pouch,they are money. I use them for all of my wires and they are different colors so when you reach in your backpack you know the orange Daka pouch is for all my camera gear. THe green one is for all of my wires and other stuff.
Matt: You know I don’t currently do this but after this conversation I’m going to get one of those for all the insurance paperwork, because I’ll have Mexican insurance in the car usually year round and I’ll just throw it in there. Get me the orange one is all you have to say to your passenger, they don’t have to flick through and you have your stuff in order which is generally always good.
Scott: I think they’re one of the best new products for every traveler. One of the experiences I had in South America, I had my passport in an outside pocket on my motorcycle jacket, torrential rain pour, and I got to my next hotel or wherever I was staying and I pulled out the passport and it was totally soaked. It created a problem, the RFID didn't work and created problems for me getting in and out of airports until I got it replaced. So what I do now I have one of the small Daka pouches and that is where I put my passport and I put my currency and then it's always sealed.
Matt: That's a good idea. I put my passport through the laundry cycle or something and I had to live with that, without having that e-passport thing. I think one of the cool things as Americans is that they will allow Americans through the e-passport lines or the resident lines in a lot of countries and you just don’t get to take advantage of that and you get thrown in the general customs line and that's way more time. Do you ahhh, Guns I guess? I guess EDC is a big part of that
Scott: Well I do carry a gun at times, especially if I have people with me, a family, otherwise if I’m camping in North America and I just carry a Glock-19 it's kind of ubiquitous for that.
Matt: Ya, I have a little Ruger LCP. I like it, it’s made right here in Prescott.
Scott: That is a cool story, made right here.
Matt: made about 2 miles from here or something like that. It's got a little laser on it. I always think a laser getting shown at night to somebody is probably enough deterrent for them to get the point.
Scott: I think around firearms the most important thing, because we're not going to make this about firearms at all, but the most important thing about firearms is that if you own one, invest in the training that is necessary to operate safely. And make sure that the people that are with you also have that training because they may need to use the firearm as well. Make sure you keep it secured, particularly around children. In North America, I do carry one. I have a lot of training in the use of it and I feel comfortable with it. But when I travel internationally I don’t even think about it. You just put it out of your mind.
Matt: Electronics. You’re big on the Microsoft Surface thing.
Scott: Well, I am.. But the love affair is maybe coming to an end. I mean, one of the things about Apple, once you get into this ecosystem everything world very well together. I think what happened for me was, I had a half a million images in the Aperture program by Apple. THey discontinued that, which was basically one of the first steps for them starting to abandon the creatives. It was such a blow, not only because I liked the program but it was a huge endeavor for me to move everything.
Matt: I was a huge Aperture guy, I did not like the transition to Lightroom and now I finally get on the Lightroom thing and they're saying you have to use Lightroom Creative Cloud. I mean there are things I like the cloud for but I don't need every single image being downloaded all the time. I just want them there.
Scott: Especially since just a few days ago they had a major data failure and a bunch of people lost their images off the Creative Cloud. So it starts to make you think about whether this is really safe for your images.
Matt: So I have it written down under here, Importance of the cloud. When traveling I will not talk about one.
Scott: Well it is important. Because we can keep copies of all our documents in the cloud. I use Google Drive for everything I’ve never had a failure with Google Drive. I think Google just knows that's a no-go, you can never have that kind of failure. I don't think Adobe is paying close enough attention to the critical nature of imagery and the fact there is never an option, there is never a scenario where you can lose someone's photos. And they just did that and that is going to compromise people's confidence in the application. When it comes to the Surface, what I liked was all of the Surface devices, except for some of their new specific laptops but I have a Surface book too the screen comes off and I can use it to read at night. I have a Surface-GO, in fact it's on the table right now it works like an iPad or it works like a laptop. However, i think that no one is going to keep up with the innovation that is happening at Apple. The innovation is useful, the iPhone is an incredibly useful tool and I can see within the matter of a few years I’m going to have an iPad Pro that I am going to use for travel, then I’ll have some monster Apple machine that I will use for image and video edit when I’m back at the office.
Matt: I think while we are talking about electronics, I always love to bring up Google Fi. I still have a Google Fi number although my primary number I did move to Verizon. Because we live in Prescott, better service.
Scott: Better service.. *laughs*
Matt: It’s just better coverage. But overseas Google Fi is flawless, it’s $20.00 a month, your phone world everywhere. You know I have to say that I think your phone is one of your most important travel tools.
Scott: It’s how we do everything, how we navigate.
Matt: Well think about ten years ago when you were traveling and you fly into, let’s just say Toyoko. There's not a lot of English, it's relatively hard to get around and if you don’t have the information at your fingertips how do you get around? Now it’s just like you fly in and you're like Oh Uber pick me up. Oh hotel, sweet.. Follow the map if it's there. It’s just so many things in one. So I think having a phone and having service on it, the phone is only as good as its service. Arguably wifi is ubiquitous if it's everywhere but is it going to stay that way?
Scott: It’s days are numbered. 5G will replace that and eventually satellites will replace that. We are just going to have it everywhere. We will be in the middle of the Gobi Desert and have coverage.
Matt: Tesla internet, that is coming from the sky.
Scott: All that technology enables travel. I have had the tendency to want to approach things as a luddite because you think about the days gone by and you think about the fact that people crossed the Sahara in very simple vehicles and they had none of this technology. In some ways I think they had a better experience?
Matt: It's more romantic. Emails are not pinging you in the middle of nowhere.
Scott: In other ways we are now able to work from the road, so technology has allowed me to continue to experience the remote areas while I am still able to stay connected to work.
Matt: Ya, and I think USBC is something, it’s a small thing but everything that I can get that is a USBC it means I only have to carry one charger. You know I have my little Apple brick thing that comes with the laptop, well I have the USBC cable to the iPhone, that's the only cable I really have to carry these days. I like the idea of standardized charging.
Scott: It’s such a win. Even my Sony camera charges with USBC. All of my devices that I carry now, Including my charging bricks, everything connects to USBC. The only thing I have that is non standard now is the iPhone. It still requires the lightning connection.
Matt: The only thing that I have, my Leica doesn't charge by USBC and I’m hoping that is in the future. I think the mirrorless SR2 now charges by USBC now which is great. That and the dang Boze headphones .. I have to have noise canceling headphones. If you are a traveler, they are so handy if you are in a loud hotel, you are camping at a campsite that is loud or you are camping near a street. I throw those things on and it just provides a little bit of solace.
Scott: It allows us to get more work done while we are traveling. And if I can be more efficient and have less distractions and get more work done in a smaller amount of time then it allows me to travel more and that is really the key at the end of the day.
Scott: So tell us about your camera kit.
Matt: I’m a camera geek. Listen, like cameras for me are as much about the experience as they are the end image. Everything I have is capable of creating fantastic imagery. But I do have I guess two set ups. I either carry them both with me or I will kind of pick one. I am a huge Leica guy. I Leica those cameras. *laughs* Honestly for a few reasons, I buy the bodies second hand, you know they are very expensive new. Within a year they lose 59% of their value and they kind of bottom out from there. The real reason you use Leica equipment is for the lenses. They are just fascinating, the same way people are into watches. Because of the mechanical nature of them and the engineering and the design, these lenses are new optical perfection for some of them.
Scott: Even their imperfections make them charming.
Matt: Ya. I just acquired a Summicron 50mm sorry a Summilux. Leica applies a name to the maxim aperture that each of their lenses offers. Summicron is kind of the gold standard, that a f2, and honestly after Summicron that is optical perfection. Everything from there that you are acquiring is just speed and the amount of light that can come into the camera. For taking photos of people or cities or culture, I just find that it's something that is a little bit larger than your phone obviously, in depth, but people don’t really know what they are still. Those who know, know.
Scott: Super understated.
Matt: I guess, your Sony for example, it’s gotten quite a bit smaller. I think anything that is a dedicated camera these days isn’t really discrete. I just love shooting with them. Particularly with my stuff in Southeast Asia. It’s easy to turn it to f-11 and find a hyperfocal distance and those shots that I have gotten that I just wouldn't be able to get. I shouldn't say I wouldn't be able to get them with a Canon or anything, because the Canons, lets face it. They are a better camera. It's more versatile, it has auto focus, i don’t know. The Canon for me is more of a work camera. I’m like OK, if I have to get this shot, there's going to be a lot of movement, things are going to be changing, Canon I guess is what I go for. I’m lucky enough to have two systems. But my Leica stuff everyday goes up in value.
Scott: I think that is the strongest argument for it. When you first started buying the Leica lenses, you've actually made money on your investment.
Matt: Ya, quite a bit of money. On some of the stuff, you know you get into these, and I don’t know how much it is the case today, much like air cooled Porsches, you used to be able to buy them for $ 5-10,000 dollars now they are a hundred. But there were some kind of oddballs in the lineup that were not desirable to the collectors that just wanted the very best. They wanted the Summalix, or a Noctilux which is a .95 which is crazy. So when I was younger, instead of buying the $300-400 dollar Canon lens that would have been worth nothing down the road, I guess I was just lucky enough to invest in these, I’ve always bought and sold and kind of worked my way up and made it a little bit of a hobby I guess.
Scott: Like a savings account you can use and kind of take pleasure in every day. From an art perspective. And I guess there are other things too, that we use everyday that can be an investment. We talked a little bit about watches before we started recording. There are watches that are investment grade, and they are not only investment grade but have universal value globally. So if you are somewhere in Russia and somewhere in Africa and you need a get out of jail card, oftentimes the right kind of watch will do that because when we travel there are limitations on what we can carry in currency. Even getting close to those limits even draws a lot of suspicion. So if you have a watch, let's say for example a Rolex GMT or a Rolex Submariner on your wrist, they are a little more understated, don’t get the gold one, get one that looks a little less..
Matt: never buy a gold watch. *laughs* one, People are going to think that it’s fake and two; people are going to think that you're a moron.
Scott: It’s just asking for trouble. *laughs* or they're going to think lets just take half this guys arm off to get it. Whereas if you do wear a more understated watch, from a company like Rolex, you have that get out of jail free card on your wrist at all times. So if you need to get that emergency flight home or something crazy happens to your vehicle and you just don’t have access to enough cash, or it's difficult to get access to cash, any of those kinds of scenarios, that watch can..
Matt: Any jeweler in the world will buy a Rolex.
Scott: That’s right. You may not get top dollar for it but youre going to be able to translate that watch into cash very quickly in most countries in the world. There is also that pleasure again, like the Leica, of owning something that is analog.
Matt: The whole thing is just fascinating. I am not a huge watch guy, my jewelry I guess is my Leica camera collection. Looking at the Rolex stuff, like the GMT master is like $9,000.00 new. But you can’t find a used one for under $12,000.00. If you are just able to find a new one, buy it and you can sell it for like twice the money as a new item and travel for a while. That's some interesting advice. *laughs* But you can’t find them..
Scott: They are very difficult to find. If you go into most Rolex stores, they're super limited, it's usually the stuff that people don't want to buy but that standard GMT or Submariner or Explorer those watches really can be investment grade. Less so now if you bought one 5 years ago. You’ve really seen an increase in value so it's nice to know you can buy something and enjoy it for a lifetime and then give it to your kids, and they're going to enjoy it for a lifetime. These are really special tools for travel I think and consistent with what you have done with the Leica.
Matt: Ya, and you kinda brought up an interesting point with it being a way to transfer currency, or have something on your arm that you can sell. There are countries that will kind of limit the amount of jewelry that you are wearing and things that you bring in. You have to have a carnet.
Scott: Where you have to have a carnet. Sometimes, but typically not the watch.
Matt: that kind of flies through but I have heard, I’ve actually had it happen to me. Again, going into Australia with camera gear. They're like “Why are you bringing this camera gear, do you have proof of it?” Eventually they realize that I am not selling it, I’m not there to do that, I guess it's something to keep in mind with those things.
Scott: Ya if you come in with a big pelican case full of cameras and lenses, it's definitely an issue. So I guess on my camera, I shot Canon forever. And I loved the Canon set up, but it was so big I had a 5D with that 28-300mm on it and I pretty much left that lens bolted on it for seven continents of travel, but what I wanted to do was get to something that was much more compact for use on the motorcycle. So I went with the Sony a7Riii and the a7iii so I have some redundancy on the bodies. THen I started off with the Sony zooms and I ended up not being very happy with them. They have a 24-240mm that by the time I was done with South Africa, the lens was smoked. I didn't get a single sharp image to my standards out of it. So I started buying the Zeiss Batist line of primes, Prime lenses. I use a 85mm most of the time. I have a 40mm for it as well. Also a 18mm but I find that I hardly ever use the 18mm because now my iPhone has that wide angle lens. Most of the time I don’t need this ultimate image quality out of a wide image shot. I’m shooting the inside of the building or the inside of a car. It’s not like I am shooting that beautiful last forever portrait of somebody. I just use the phone.
Matt: I remember when we were in Greece, and we were at the Parthenon or something, and I’m having my experiences with my Leicas and that's what I like about them and then I’m looking through images on the phone and like “Look what I just got on my new iPhone 11” or something pro max thing; it was so annoying. Here I am. I'm like holding a car in my hands of imaging equipment. The iPhone is just so good.
Scott: They’re really good and I do use the iPhone 11 pro max because it does have three different focal lengths. You can shoot in RAW there are some great apps that allow you manual control over the images, including what comes with the iPhone, what is standard for Apple applications. I do find now I only use the iPhone for wide angle shots and I don’t bring the wide angle lens with me so I focus on having that 40mm which is the walk around lens and then the 85mm which is what I do for portraits, and then if I am going to Africa where I am going to be taking photos of animals then I have a 100-400mm Sony
Matt: I have that 100-400mm for the Canon and it's great. It’s close enough to not get eaten and also allows you to get a little wide. I wonder how many generations we are of iPhone development or phone development before I go and say why do I even bring this Leica for street photography? I know you touched on it earlier particularly when you are photographing people or culture or cities or things like that as travelers we find ourself in quite a bit. It’s not all just remote stuff. Any camera these days draws awareness. If you pull up just your regular cell phone people just walk by. I’m interested in some of those, I think you said Leica has partnered with Wowway(34:15) whatever the one that our president has banned from the U.S. They're supposed to have some 40-50 megapixel cameras that have optical zoom, and I wonder how far off we are from seeing optical zoom in an iPhone.
Scott: Ya, they will find out some way to do it . The sensor can get large enough and now it's a technology problem which is something that they will solve.
Matt: Luggage. I’m a huge fan of these North Face duffel bags, only because I bought them at TJ Maxx like 15 years ago and they've just never really given me a reason to look elsewhere.
Scott: They last forever.
Matt: They just work. I don't know how many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of miles I have flown and traveled and how many roof racks they have been strapped to on the top. I love the duffle bags for traveling. But I have to say I was that guy that got really tired of it, even though these things have the luggage the backpack straps on them , eventually that gets old when you're going through a lot of airports.
Scott: I tend to carry most of my electronics in, there's a new Pelican air that I have been using and it's a lot lighter and you're not taking up so much of your available poundage in the luggage itself. So I tend to use Pelican air for all the electronic and camera gear etc. And then I will put some kind of duffel on top of it so I can wheel it around. I like the Red Ox bags a lot. They are made in the United States and are going to last a lifetime. The only limitation with them is weather. They are not weather sealed. So in that case I will use Aether which is a pretty cool brand out of California. They did a bunch of welded seams and waterproof bags. SO I have a backpack I use from them and a small duffel that I use from them and I probably have got more air miles on those two than any of my other choices but I either use Red ox when I’m in a vehicle and I tend to use the Aether stuff when I'm traveling.
Matt: Ya, I do have a go to duffel for weather. A good buddy of mine Jeremy Womack up in Telluride, turned me on to Watershed.
Scott: Ya, those are nice.
Matt: They are made for kayaks and river trips and that kind of thing. That is another one of those things that I have had for nearly, I’ve probably had for 8 or 9 years, and what's most impressive to me is that it's maintained its air tightness, water tightness through air travel. I always say there's probably no better test for durability then to send it through checked luggage. You don’t know what's happening, its getting pinched, it's getting hit, it's getting poked. Whatever's in it wants to come out. What's kind of cool with that is I'll fill it up air and then roll it tight. Get it closed and you can kind of strap it down to where at least on the ground where it's getting loaded, it's almost pressurized. That obviously goes away with altitude changes and it's not air tight. But for that initial it's getting shoved down into the system, umm.. Maybe I’m crazy but it seems too..
Scott: Isn’t it like a ziplock kind of seal and then you roll it up..
Matt: It is. You have to be careful. You do have to put some lubricant on that seal or it will get a little bit dried out. With regular maintenance those things have been great. And I have to say I did switch to a carryon for doing these press trips or we are flying somewhere, or I’m flying somewhere, I know that a large portion of it is going to be in transit I bought one of those Rimowa suitcases a while ago, now they have been acquired by Louis Vutton or something. That wasn't my interest in it. My interest in this is that for fifty or sixty or seventy years people have been using these things because they are an aluminum suitcase, they are well sealed and actually have an O ring around the edges and have locks built into them. They are just really high quality. I got tired of having to buy a hundred to two hundred dollar carryon suitcase every year. So I think this thing was $700.00 bucks at the time that I bought it which was a lot of money. But when you are someone that travels hundreds of thousands of miles every year, I’ve already had it for a few years and it’s already paid for itself.
Scott: And any dents that it gets just adds character to it. It's like a badge of honor on those things.
Matt: Mainly the thing that I like is built in locking system, and I know that you can get that on a lot of things, but I feel that it is quite secure. It's aluminium.
Scott: You can’t cut it with a knife.
Matt: you can’t just cut it open.
Scott: Those are a nice way to go and it's another thing, like the Lecia where they don’t really go down in value. SO if you sell it five years later, you've maybe lost 5% of the value.
Matt: I think they sell for nearly double of what I paid. It’s probably gone up in value and that's the crazy thing these days. There is so much money in the world, arguably you know, things are a bit unfair, people are paying double the price of Rolex just to get it before someone else. But I think as a traveler if you are smart with your money, you turn those consumable items into one something more pleasurable experience as the end user, and then you end up with something that is maybe worth more down the road if you ever have to sell it.
Scott: It seems like has worked well for you and there's other people in the industry like John Lee from Expedition Exchange, he’s always purchased these things that likely have future value increase. But he has timed those things and he’s been able to enjoy those items for decades and then if he does sell them he's able to make a profit on them instead of needing to go to GoodWill.
Matt: exactly. And I think, you know again I always say I cannot afford to buy things twice. I’m lucky to be able to afford the nice thing once. But I don’t want to buy it again. I don’t think that is good for the world, we're all consumerists but I think By ONce, Cry Once has always been a really strong thing for me.
Scott: So in your truck, what are your latest little hacks?
Matt: Rice cooker!! That has been my thing! For whatever reason we eat a lot of rice. It's filling, it’s that starchy thing you need in your life. So we bought this 12v rice cooker on amazon. You know it was like the only one available. But it works! We’ve probably used it 10-15 times, you know were now releasing this on YouTube, with cameras, it’s this big. So what we do is put the rice that we would have normally carried, and inevitably would have found a way to get out and coat the inside of your drawers in rice, it's now secure and it's in there. We have a pretty substantial lithium battery that can run it in that vehicle. Once it heats up, I don’t think it uses a huge amount of electricity but love, love, love that.
Scott: i just use Tasty Bites rice. Instant rice.
Matt: I’m not French, but what I have kinda loved and have stolen from them is the food. What is the point of life if you're not eating well.*laughs* I was talking to this one guy and he was like “Which Mountain House do you eat?” and I’m like…
Matt: What? Laura if you are listening I love your food. I don’t actually cook, I’m clueless.
Scott: Another reason why you are very lucky to have Laura in your life.
Matt: Of many reasons. We also have this little Snow Peak cutting board. It’s about 18”x10” it's not huge as a cutting board goes but what is fascinating is it has this cut out and this magnet and a Snow Peak knife that is included. I've had multiple versions of them, they get left somewhere or whatnot, but love them. It keeps the knife safe when it's bouncing around and it’s not like it's bouncing around and getting dull.
Scott: Those are great. And really good value and fairly inexpensive.
Matt: $40.00 bucks? Which I think some people would say is a lot for a knife, but again its one of those things that should last a lifetime.
Scott: Anything else you got any more little hacks in the truck?
Matt: I am a big fan with drawers. As travelers, they will put their recovery gear or tools that kind of stuff they always put in the drawers. I think the opposite way, my experience has told me that I spend less time unstuck then I do stuck. I spend less time working on my car than I do working on my car. The convenience that I really get from the drawers is I love using packing cubes to put my clothes in the drawer. It's like having your own little dresser.
Scott: It's your kitchen too, right?
Matt: And our kitchen so one side is basically food. We do carry a lot of cooking stuff with us because we like to eat well. Then the right side drawer we each have, I don;t know the drawers.. I should know this. They're 18” maybe 20” wide? We kind of give ourselves a 20x20” section in each one of those things and we use these packing cubes. It just makes life beet on the road when you are going for a while. You know where everything is.
Scott: Easy to access it.
Matt: If you are going to stay in a hotel or with friends you pull a few packing cubes out and go. I find when you are living out of a duffel bag how much time do you just spend looking for the clean underwear and you're just like ruffling through this bag looking for the lost sock, or I know where my sock is. I know where all of my essentials are. Then you can have a laundry bag. I think having a laundry bag for traveling is just so handy.
Scott: It’s really important.
Matt: We’ve talked about the recovery gear before and that kind of thing. I love to have an iPad with me. The Netflix app you can download offline, let's be honest there's definitely those nights when you are traveling somewhere where everything goes right and you have this beautiful sunset and you have a margarita and you're on the beach and you just fall asleep peacefully. And then there are the nights where you are camping in a campground because that's all that is available and some dude next to you has his generator running. So I stuck velcro on the back of my iPad and I stick it on the ceiling of my AT Summit and I watch Rick and Morty fall asleep too. Or Frasier, I am big on those 90’s sitcoms. I don’t know.. Just little hacks.
Scott: Those things make a big difference.
Matt: It’s based around comfort and based around longevity. This isn't a sprint for us, we have been traveling Overland on and off several months a year for a while, almost a decade. So< I like those little niceties.
Scott: It makes things easier. And I find that the more I reduce my kit the happier I am as a traveler. So I just keep eliminating things. There's a couple of items that come to mind that I didn't talk about. I’ve recently gone to this Nomad Gear. THey happen to be subscribers to Overland Journal, they run a company out of California and make these super durable iPhone cables, they make super durable USBC cables, these little power bricks, these little charging pads for your phone and your watch. I’ve just completely moved over to their kit because none of those cables have failed on me. Really durable stuff.
Matt: the cables always fray on the ends.
Scott: They all have straps integrated so you can tie them up and have different lengths and they are not a supporter or advertiser, I just really like their gear.
Matt: It's the little things like that..
Scott: It makes a huge difference.
Matt: When we went through Opuwo after the Land Rover thing in Namibia, and trying to find an iPhone cable??
Matt: Actually it was really easy that's not where I was going with that but the point being I had to take an hour of my life to find a little electronics store in the middle of nowhere.
Scott: That's cool that you found it though.
Matt: It was cool but you know everybody has smart phones. But still the point being its nice to just have something. If you're in that country for two, three, four weeks; in five years are you going to think that it is memorable to buy a new phone cable? That was an hour that I will never get back. That was an hour that meant we didn't get to the campsite that we liked…
Scott: Sure. And it’s been fun for me to just keep seeing all my electronics keep getting smaller and smaller. It all fits in a small backpack now. So many fewer cables because everything is becoming standardized. When we think about everyday carry, ask the question: what can I get rid of? What can I consolidate? What can be a multi use item? Because the less stuff we have with us the less stuff we lose, the less money we even invested in them to begin with and then we end up with a lot more enjoyable trip. Thanks for all those ideas Matt!
Matt: Ya! I don’t know, again I like to be really practical with my stuff. I’m not saying don’t take recovery gear, I am not saying don’t take all of those things. But I guess what I love to tell people is bring some things that are actually for you. YOu know? We have a little fan in the jeep.
Scott: Make your life a little better..
Matt: That fan is probably our most loved thing with its 80 degree out at night. A little spray bottle. You know, just dont forget about yourself is all I’m saying when it comes to the EDC.
Scott: That's what everyday carry is all about. Thank you all for listening and we will talk to you next time.