Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives. He also has a martial arts background.
Investing in Quality Outdoor Gear
If there is one thing Batman taught me about everyday carry, it is that quality stuff doesn’t come cheap. Superpowers can cost you money, from gear to training. Yes, there is budget gear out there, but it too will add up until you need to take on overtime at work to pay for your things. Nevertheless, allotting a budget for hobbies will save you money in the future. Most of the time, quality items cost extra for a reason.
The last thing you need is your gear to fail in the middle of an emergency. Hence, big brands go to certain lengths to provide consumers with quality gear. It never comes cheap.
Understandably, extra costs are the result of investing in materials, designs, quality controls, productions, and other measures to ensure that your gear won’t let you down. It’s just a reality that needs to be accepted. However, when shopping online, one might stumble upon gear that promises to outperform the bigger brands, at a way cheaper price.
Legit brands are already doing that, and yes, they succeed in giving customers cheaper options that won’t affect quality. It’s just that some lesser-known brands will offer even more inexpensive gear, and claim they are worth their salts.
Buyers beware. When dealing with barely known brands, you will likely get what you pay for.
A Three Dollar EDC Pouch
I always wanted a pouch that I could hang on my belt, to maximize my carry without bulging my pockets. Plus, a belt pouch serves as a side holster, allowing me to deploy more efficiently.
I considered getting a Maxpedition, but it’s the Benchmade of bags and pouches. Being pretty pricey, my friend suggested instead that there are budget-friendly alternatives out there. Hence, I searched the bowels of the online stores, and to my surprise, I found this curious little fellow.
It had no brand and was known by a number of names. I determined it was definitely Chinese-made, and they call it Tactical Molle pouch, EDC side holster, EDC multipurpose pouch plus many more. It’s basically a small pouch made to house your mobile phone, pen, and a number of other things, like notebooks, knives, flashlights, and multitools. It only cost three dollars or so!
Out of curiosity, I bought the thing, much to the horror of my friend. Since it only costs three dollars, there is not much to lose, and it won’t hurt if it got ripped or lost. After a few days, it finally arrived.
The product specification claimed that it was made of 1000D nylon fabric, with high-strength stitching. It was waterproof to protect your valuables inside from moisture. Overall, it claimed to be hardy and built for everyday torture.
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On the outside, it’s a nice-looking pouch. It had a solid and robust feel, and the large zipper inspired confidence. The first impression alone suggested that it was gear you can rely on, but only regular use would tell for sure.
You can either use a carabiner to clip the thing to your belt or use the strap. For everyday use, it carried my usual gear, like my mobile phone, multitool, notes, and pen. It also held my pepper sprays, though my knife goes to my pocket together with my flashlight. Carrying it brought mixed feelings.
The thing was never slim. Unlike most premium organizer kits, it’s fat and bulging. I have no complaints about the carrying capacity, as it was able to house my everyday gear. Again, it could carry a note, pen, multitools and mobile phone. It’s just that the way it bulged out of my belt required getting used to. And when you have a fat something on your side, it could get snagged as you sneak around tight spaces, as happened to me.
As I lift a box of goods in the warehouse, this chubby organizer kept getting caught in corners. Nevertheless, I was able to compensate by simply adjusting the pouch so it won’t stick out of my side.
Eventually, it became a part of my everyday attire, from the office to the warehouse and in the field—I got used to it. Everything was okay, until a month later when problems started to appear.
The straps that hang the pouch on my belt were secured by snap buttons. A week or so, and the snap buttons got stuck. I never bothered to pay much attention to this, until I saw discoloration. After prying it off I found out that the metal snap buttons got rusty.
Now how the heck did that happened? It was only a few weeks old, and it was never exposed to moisture. It left me scratching my head. It was then I realized that this was a cheapo pouch after all. So cheap that the manufacturers never bothered using stainless steel buttons. Again, it was never a big deal and I wholly ignored it, until one fateful day.
The Strap Failed
When the seller advertised that it’s for rough handling, they are lying. Again, I never subjected my pouch to heavy torture, but I notice how the straps seemed to be getting loose by the day. Upon closer look, I discovered the problem. The supposedly rigged stitches were failing in one of the straps. It only took a week before the stitches completely failed. Before I knew it, the pouch was missing a belt strap.
My friend is a quality engineer from an electronics company, and he gave his hints on how the pouch lost a strap just after a few months of light use. Obviously, we could blame it on sloppy workmanship, as stitches shouldn't just fail like that. The fat profile of the pouch also contributed to its failure—as it bulged out and flopped down, it put additional strain on the already substandard stitches. But then, that was to be expected with cheapo gear.
The pouch only lasted three months. Again, I got what I paid for, so it wasn’t much of a surprise. It's a good thing that it only costs three dollars, but it reinforced the age-old life lessons that we are taught—don’t trust unbranded items, being overly cheap is not a good thing, and don't trust everything from the internet.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.