Thursday, June 4, 2009

Introducing the Z Kit

This post is probably going to wander all over the place for a bit, so bear with me.

A while back, I commented on my love for gadgets and my desire to keep them with my laptop in what I called a Rob Liefeld Bag: all pouches and flaps and zippers and compartments so that each tool and gewgaw could nest in its own cozy little bed. I was all set to get this bag, and then when I was ready to order one it turned out the price had gone up. It wasn't by much, but when combined with shipping & handling it reached the critical tipping point known as "Screw this, I'll go to Target and get my #2 choice," which, as luck would have it, just happened to be on sale that weekend.

Behold my Rob Liefeld Bag: the Swissgear SA9259. It didn't have everything that I ever wanted in a bag, but it has some nice features:
  1. Padded laptop sleeve
  2. Padded back with airflow system (this is Florida, sweat is a fact of life here)
  3. The ability to completely swallow a 1-liter bottle in each of its side zippered pockets
  4. Lots of pouches and flaps and zippers
  5. And of course, it was here and on sale.
So, yeah. It carries stuff (seriously... a LOT of stuff), looks sufficiently Liefeldian, and balances nicely on my shoulders. It even holds all my crap with room to spare. Problem solved, case closed, right?

If you thought it would be that easy, just slap yourself now, because you so don't know me. I am Miss Complication.

The problem, you see, was that I realized I could fit a lot more crap in there, and make it much more useful. I could, in fact, turn the RLB into my James Bond Kit Mark II. (Because if it's useful now, then cramming it with twice as much crap makes it twice as useful, and that's logic.) So, amused by this notion, I added all my doohickeys. And I still had room.

And that, doctor, is how the madness began, because not long after that I started to develop... I don't know, "compulsion" is too harsh a word, so let's try "lust" instead ... to make this bag as optimal as possible for any contingency. Somewhere during this hobby-madness, I realized that what I was actually creating was what some call a Bug-Out Bag or a Go-Bag, but if that was the case then what am I doing with a Kukri Machete and snare wire? Do I chalk this up to having watched too much Man vs. Wild and Survivorman on Discovery Channel? Am I basically a bored hobbyist with too much free time on her hands, and losing myself in the creation of this kit is my way of dealing with loss and depression?

Well, yeah, that would be the reasonable assumption. It's probably even the correct diagnosis. But that doesn't feel geeky enough for my tastes, and so I offer you this alternate viewpoint: Somewhere along the way I realized that I was assembling a modern-day version of the classic Dungeon Delver backpack, complete with Iron Rations (MREs), torches (flashlight) and flint & steel (magnesium firestarter). Which is much cooler, and explains a lot, because I am the type of person who, upon gaining a Handy Haversack of Heward in a game of D&D, will immediately work out how much I can carry and where ("Ooh! I can fit an entire tent in the left side pocket! I'll do just that!"), partly because I've had strict and lethal DM's of both the "If it's not written down you can't have it" and "I can't believe you actually fit that in there, let me see your volume assignments" variety, and partly because it's a fun mini-game.

(Also, I once stuffed a dead PC halfling into the main pocket, and that was worth a few giggles. )

But, it could be argued, why am I making a Dungeon Delve kit when there are no nearby dungeons into which I could delve, and indeed even if there were, would I so do? (No.) And then the meaning to my madness was revealed to me. You see, what I was really making was a Zombie Survival Kit.

Yes, I really am that big of a dork.

However, let me qualify myself before you think too poorly of me. Do I really think the undead will rise from their graves to devour the living? No. However, a kit which is designed for surviving an undead apocalypse will also serve admirably in event of natural disaster (Florida has tons of them) or terrorist attack (God forbid).

And that's why I listen to those little nagging voices in the back of my head, folks. Because even if I'm wrong, this is a good thing to have. Even if I lose interest in building the perfect Z Kit, it will still be good if I ever need it.

And perhaps most importantly, it gives me blogfodder that I can stretch out over days, maybe even a week, as I talk about the various aspects of my Z Kit, and how it relates to both D&D and modern survival. Because I'm passionate about this, I can use it to pad my postcount while still passing it off as a "legitimate" blog post.

Tomorrow: My Cold Steel Kukri Machete, aka "Why I don't need a poleaxe to kill zombies." (I still crave it, though.)


  1. I once had a character with Heward's Handy Haversack, a Quiver of Ehlonna, a Belt of Many Pouches AND a Bag of Holding.

    I could outfit a small army with just what she carried =)

  2. That bag needs a collapsable 10-foot pole.

    It might be useful...>_>

  3. Actually, I'm also slowly building a zombie kit... details and photos when I get it done.

    In fricking 2010.

  4. You know, reading this after my newfound fascination with the idea of geo-caching.... is a very, VERY bad thing. Now I want to buy a decent GPS, and equip a decent "bug-out bag". Oh god..... I can already feel the compulsion.....


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