My 100g OSK (Oh Shit Kit)

My 100g OSK (Oh Shit Kit)

When I was about 8 years old my familysunsites took a camping holiday in the South of France. The holiday was run by Sunsites who offered a ‘Magpie Club’ for kids. I remember it being a lot of fun; playing games, sports and earning coloured stickers through completing tasks. The gold and silver stickers were the most sought after and one day we were given a scavenger hunt task. I did not win. In fact I came last as I was unable to locate a tea bag. I earnt no gold or silver stickers that day. This scarred me and from that day forward I carried many of the things on the scavenger list in my pocket just in case. This included a tea bag which would regularly split in my pocket… a small price to pay, I felt.

Of course, over the years, I have managed to let go of most of the crap I used to carry in my deep coat pockets, but there remains a core set of small items (notably first aid related) that have proven remarkably useful over the years. Despite being a minimalist I do not believe in getting rid of things which add value to my life and so I created my ‘Oh Shit! Kit’ (OSK).

osk-closedI carry the OSK with me on a daily basis and the contents are designed to be TSA friendly so even the hyper paranoid security at Sydney (who confiscate TSA approved scissors and screwdrivers) can unclench. My most recent addition to the OSK is the case itself; an Eagle Creek Zip Stash clearly originally intended for cash and coins. It weighs just 16g with the key loop and has three distinct sections for organisation. It’s also water resistant and perfectly sized for the contents.

osk-contentsIn terms of First Aid I carry:

  • 2x Large Elastoplast Plasters 4g – for the elbow and knee grazes
  • 8x Medium Medistrip Plasters 5g – for cuts (most commonly used)
  • 10x Small Butterfly Plasters 4g – for deep cuts (to hold the cut closed)
  • 8x Ibuprofen 5g – my go to pain relief and long haul survival mechanism
  • 8x Paracetemol 5g – for pain relief on an empty stomach
  • 3x Lemsip 15g – surprisingly useful, mostly for other people who are suffering, but three sachets is enough to curb the effects of an oncoming cold

I also carry:

  • Sewing Kit (6x Thread, 4x Needles, 8x Buttons, 5x Safety Pins) 8g – This kit started out as a posh hotel freebie but I replaced the bag with a tiny ziplock and ditched the green and pink thread in favour of black (since I use this the most). I also replaced the needles with three quality needles, added the spare buttons from my suit and shirts, and threw in a few safety pins which do come in (mostly at weddings!)
  • Ultra Slim Stainless Steel Nail Clippers (Zwilling J.A. Henckels) 15g – I actually carry these, not for clipping nails, but in lieu of scissors which aren’t permitted in hand luggage. These clippers do a good job of trimming thread but are also strong enough to cut tags off clothing and I’ve even used them to extract a pair of scissors from the retail card (genius design right there).
  • Stainless Steel Tweezers 8g – Good for removal of splinters, and ticks (although I’ve never had to deal with that thankfully). I have also used these when fixing computers and phones in a pinch.
  • Titanium Pocket Bit 4g – The closest I am going to get to carrying a screwdriver these days but despite the size these things are cleverly designed. The key ring allows a good grip and enables decent torque. I’ve tightened up the screws on chair legs and even dismantled an old laptop with this thing.
  • Chapstick 9g – A remnant of Winter living in the UK but still useful for long haul flights in harsh aircon. I’m toying with replacing this with a small tube of antiseptic cream if I can find the right one.
  • Finally; Interdental brushes and Floss Stick 2g– These are stored in my Dopp kit but since I don’t carry that with me every day and occasionally need the services for that stray bit of spinach I carry spares here too.

So that’s it – TSA approved and 100g on the nose. Don’t leave home without it 😊

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The Ultimate Daypack

The Ultimate Daypack

In my experience the notion of ‘onebag’ is seldom actually a reflection of the number of bags carried by onebag travellers; because most travellers prefer to have a separate daypack for carrying at destinations on a daily basis (touristing / trekking etc).

Generally, these daypacks are around 20 litre capacity – enough for the daily essentials; a hoodie or coat, a bottle of water, a battery backup, sunscreen, basic first aid and maybe some food. Since this is very much a subset of a full travel packing list, using a onebag for this purpose is inefficient and weight wasteful, it also means completely emptying said onebag before it can be used as a daypack. The sensible solution is therefore a separate daypack which must be carried inside the onebag on travel days. Ideally, therefore, the daypack should be as light and small as possible, but remain functional and comfortable.

For thes2s last two years, I have been using the Sea to Summit UtraSil 20L Daypack which is a marvel of efficiency weighing a mere 72g and packing down to something little bigger than a tennis ball. It’s durable, fairly water resistant and spacious and I actually like it a lot.

If I were to criticise the S2S it would be the lack of water bottle pocket (an essential for trekking in hotter countries), the poor bag structure (a symptom of the material) and the uncomfortable straps which have a tendency to slip even when tight. I was also aware after a recent rather rainy trek in the Blue Mountains of Sydney that the ‘water resistant’ claim was not entirely true after my hoodie, which was safely packed away in the S2S, was decidedly damp on the train journey home.

matadorI recently discovered and purchased the Matador Freerain 24; a slightly larger, more expensive but altogether more feature rich daypack. The Matador addresses all of my issues with the S2S. With water bottle pockets on either side I’m spoilt for choice and despite being made from exactly the same Silnylon as the S2S, the Matador offers a much more impressive support and structure with a double layer face and thick but light and breathable shoulder straps.

The waterproof aspect is covered by taped internal seams and a rolltop in lieu of a zip and while the contents would not stay dry if the bag was submerged nothing got wet during my testing in the Sydney March showers (fairly heavy of late). I was also aware that sealing the bag with air inside created a balloon effect which demonstrated how airtight the bag is. The Matador Freerain24 is also black (or black/grey) – as opposed to the garish yellow/red/green/blue options of S2S which is a pretty big win for me and my monochrome simplicity.

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The bottle pocket on the size is brilliantly designed – deep enough for a large bottle (700ml Smart Water bottle in photo) and elasticated at the neck to prevent movement. Even holding the bag upside down the full 700ml water bottle did not shift.

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Fully loaded bag containing the following gear:

Main pocket:

  • 1x Arc’teryx Atom LT Hooded Jacket 358g
  • 1x Icebreaker Sierra Merino Hoodie 450g
  • 1x Packtowl Ultralite XL 104g

Front pocket:

  • 1x Anker AstroMini 3200 mAH Battery Backup 83g
  • 1x iPhone cable 18g
  • 1x Sunscreen 47g
  • 1x Bite cream 30g
  • 1x OSK (Oh Shit Kit containing plasters, painkillers etc) 40g
  • 1x Ray Ban Case & Cloth 50g

TOTAL = 1334g (inc 154g for the Matador)

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L-R: Meds, Sunnies case, Towel, Charger & Cable, Icebreaker Hoody, Matador Bag Arc’teryx Jacket

Of course all of these features come at a price. The Matador Freerain24 is 154g and almost twice the size of the S2S when packed down. It’s also more expensive at $59.99 USD compared to Sea to Summit’s $32.95 but for me, the extra cost and weight is worth it for the functionality (water bottle pocket, taped seams) and particularly the comfort when carrying.

s2s-vs-matador

The Matador Freerain24 It is available now from the Matador website. Matador also offer a slightly cheaper and smaller 16L / 116g daypack for $49.99 but this has been sold out for a while now.