As some of you know I do parkour. It's a pain in the ass to carry your EDC while doing rolls and stuff, so I'm going to outline some of my gear and methods I've used to carry my stuff around while remaining as mobile as possible:
What one actually NEEDS for parkour:
-Nothing, actually. People do the practice barefoot. but barring that:
-Shoes: The criteria for a good shoe is as follows:
-it cannot move around much while on your foot. other than toe wiggle room, it should be snug. If your foot can move in any direction, that's a sprained ankle waiting to happen.
-decent grip. this goes without saying. Softer rubber is grippier, but lasts less time under hard use.
-lightweight. Dear god it has to be light, or you will clip your feet on everything
-Ankle support: not required, but to start off is a major bonus when you're still learning to land correctly and whatnot.
-Shoes I have used:
-SWAT side zips: Other than loss of flexibility, performed admirably. Grip is excellent, weighs no more than the average runner, great ankle support. Soles wear out fast under lots of skidding though, and it can be hard to lay your foot flat. Recommend for boot wearers. MSRP ~$120 CAD
-"pine tree sang moo sa" taekwondo shoes. Weigh almost nothing, fit like a friggen sock, 100% foot flexibility. These are magic. Except no ankle support to speak of, and the sole is hard rubber, which has trouble gripping on some surfaces, especially wet. Recommend for more experienced people. MSRP ~$44 CAD
-Gloves: gloves are controversial amongst the parkour community. On one hand, gloves protect your hands and allow you to grab things that would otherwise injure you. On the other hand, gloves reduce your grip, your ability to feel the surface, and keep your hands from toughening up. I personally use fingerless rapelling gloves. Unless you need the finger protection, use no gloves or fingerless gloves. you need that grip and feeling in your fingers. When buying gloves, make sure the grip is good. try not using gloves to start off, at least to build strength in the skin.
-Pants: It is pretty much universally agreed that combat/cargo pants are pretty superior as a parkour pant. You need durable. flexible, and breathable pants or you'll be uncomfortable. Jeans tend to be too stiff and don't breathe. Sweats, slacks, etc tend to get damaged too easily. Amongst the group I run with, we like the Canadian forces OD surplus combat pants. Double layered material breathes but is durable, flaps over all the pockets keep your stuff from falling out, and the drawstrings in the ankles for blousing are golden, they keep the pants from running up your legs while inverted, and keep you from tripping over the pants if they happen to be a bit long. Many of us have pairs.
-Shirt: whatever, as long as it's not too restrictive or flowing, catching on stuff, it's all good.
On to how I carry my stuff while out.
On body only: of course, this is the most mobile way to carry stuff, which for most means keys, cell, and wallet. Not much in the way of EDC. You can expand this with some belt pouches and some stuff in the pockets, but pouches can catch on things, and excess in your pockets is awkward. When wearing pouches, avoid having them at the front or side around your hips. move em to the back, but not by your spine, over the naturally meatier area above your butt cheeks. It'll hurt less if you land on them. Trust me.
-Vest/Jacket: you can go with a tactical vest.. but downtown you look crazy, especially when paired with combat pants and SWAT boots. A better option is a jacket with multiple pockets. One again the good ol' canadian forces have a nice OD surplus jacket (technically a shirt I guess) that has a couple mag pouches over the breast area, and a couple larger pockets with mag pouches inside. The pockets hold a lot and button shut, and the material is the same as the pants. These are golden, You lose almost no mobility with one of these on. I plan to dye one black so I don't look as crazy.
-Bag: I have a love/hate relationship with bags. On one hand, I can carry SO MUCH STUFF. On the other hand, they restrict me.
-Don't even consider a messenger bag, purse, or other similar form factor bag. They will do nothing but piss you off.
-Versipack style bags are decent, you can even roll with them on. Problem is, a single strap means that they can often bounce or slide around. Using a leg strap or that belt loop thing on the fatboy gets decent results. When approaching an obstacle though, I find myself tossing it over and then clearing the obstacle without it, which is an issue.
-Backpacks are a mixed blessing. With a lightweight load, chest straps and waist straps, they can be secured well to your body and move with you exceptionally well. Only issue is, out of all of the above they may be the least annoying, but paradoxically the most restrictive. You can do anything except roll with a properly secured backpack, but you must be aware that your back now portrudes a fair distance, reducing the areas you can slip through safely, and requires you to get more clearance from obstacles. It also messes with body awareness, since it's harder to predict how far the bag sticks out when you can't feel it or see it. In my case this is a necessary sacrifice, as I often bring my camera gear and prefer to bring a first aid kit as well. However, having a bag means I can take everything off my body, so that when I am able to set my bag down, I am completely mobile.
A side note on bags, especially backpacks: if you bring one to a group meet, and the group trusts you, everyone is going to empty out their pockets into your bag.