My First Regular BattlBox: An EDC Upgrade.
Although this was the second shipment I received from BattlBox, it was my first regular monthly shipment. My previous BattlBox was the Welcome Box which every new BattlBox subscriber gets.
The BattlBox March 2017 was Mission 25 (all BattlBox shipments come branded with a “mission”). The theme for this particular mission was EDC Gear 2.0. EDC, of course, is shorthand for EveryDay Carry, a selection of items that someone carries with them everyday. As the information card tells us in its “Stirep: Mission Equipped” description:
“Your everyday carry loadout is your first line of preparedness & defense when SHTF.”
To me, the 2.0 in the title this implies a certain upgrade to the average goods one might have in their EDC. So let’s take a look at how that claim stacks up.
Bastion Gear EDC Utility Aluminum Wallet
This Utility Aluminum Wallet from Bastion Gear is a heavy (5.5 ounces/156 grams) chunk of machined aluminum with an elastic strap and four fold-out tools. The elastic strap, of course, is the wallet part and holds a fair amount of cash and about four credit cards. The tools—a flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, bottle/can opener, and emery board (an odd addition)—are really strange.
When each tool folded out, the wallet acts like a thick, awkward handle. Actually putting the tools to use proved to be an adventure in frustration. Because the tools are all but useless and the whole thing sits like a brick in the pocket, in no way can I say this is an upgrade to my EDC. Retail price: $40.
- Usefulness: 1/10. Way too heavy to be useful and the tool are way to awkward to use.
- Purchasability: 1/10. I never would have bought this.
- Usability: 5/10. I can’t imagine a scenario I’d use this device.
BattlBox Zippo Lighter
The Zippo lighter is a timeless classic. It’s also a classic piece of many an EDC. This bushed chrome number comes printed with the BattlBox logo on one side. I don’t carry a lighter in my EDC, but I will always have one in my pack when hiking. Retail price: $20.
- Usefulness: 7/10. A lighter has plenty of uses in the field. Not so much in my EDC scenario.
- Purchasability: 5/10. The lighter market is crowded these days, and the Zippo might be a tad too heavy for my needs
- Usability: 8/10. Although it’s a little on the bulky side for me, if I had this in my pack, odds are I’d use it.
Swiss+Tech Utili-Key 6-in–1 Tool
Another classic. I had one of these Swiss+Tech Utili-Keys for years until it was confiscated by the TSA. I’d flown many times with it and, since it looks just like a key, had no issues. But at some point, the TSA got wise to these things. I don’t really miss it, though. Overall, it’s more of a novelty item than a useful device. Its three screwdriver heads are pretty useless, but the knife is plenty sharp. Enough so that it’s reasonably dangerous to use the device’s bottle opener. Retail price: $7.50.
- Usefulness: 3/10. Moderately useful to open packages. But dangerous and/or useless for much of anything else.
- Purchasability: 3/10. I owned one once. I probably never would again, unless I bought it as a novelty gift.
- Usability: 6/10. I’ll give this a better than average rating for package opening ability.
Readyman Covert EDC Belt Sleeve
The Covert EDC Belt Sleeve is just a simple elastic loop that you slip over your belt. It offers an extra place to carry anything you might need, like a knife, some paracord, a flashlight, or even an Altoids tin-sized first aid kit. I’d put this firmly in the EDC upgrade category. Retail price: $7.00
- Usefulness: 8/10. I was surprised how useful this simple tool could be.
- Purchasability: 5/10. I’m not sure I would have ever bought this thing without a recommendation.
- Usability: 10/10. I’ve used this a few times on adventures. It’s a great place to stash my Leatherman Skeletool where it’s out of the way but still easy to reach.
Combined Goods Total
At $74.50 in retail value (although BattlBox claimed it was valued at $84.44), this subscription box is a decent value over the $35.47 I paid for.
Unboxed Gear Score
This box totaled 62 points out of a possible 120, earning an Unboxed Gear Score of 52.
I can’t say that this box lived up to its promise of upgrading my EDC. The main problem is that, aside from the belt sleeve, the package didn’t really contain anything I needed or wanted. That’s sort of the point of these boxes, though—to introduce you to gear you may not be aware of. I get that. But this one fell short on making that gear something I would actually use.
Unboxed is the continuing report of my personal foray into the world of subscription boxes aimed at the outdoor enthusiast.