Its 11:30 pm, and you went out to Walmart to get a few things to make your family breakfast in the morning. what does your every day carry consist of? … no wait, its 6:30 am and a close friend called, his truck made a loud bang and now sounds like that $1500 Kirby vacuum that he bought, (in place of the $94 starter that you told him he needed last time you visited . ) Now what do you carry? … no wait its 1:00 pm on a Saturday, and you have to take your child to a bouncy castle birthday , that will immediately be followed by a pizza and ice cream party. (nothing like children too wired on sugar to be able to sleep, even though they are exhausted from the two-hour mosh pit inside that four-sided life raft. They call it something catchy and cute like, happy hippos “no one is going to get hurt or run, or cry because they can’t play like the other kids, and everyone wont get concussions or black eyes or friction burns because they obey all the rules, and it definitely won’t kill all the grass in a 13’6″ by 13’6″” bouncy fun zone. now what’s your EDC consist of?
If you, (like I did) went through all these scenarios, you find that your “EDC”, or as I like to call it, because I’m not much for acronyms, “my everyday survival gear” changed slightly with each situation. this really made my start thinking about what it is that we all are trying to accomplish when we leave our castles, to peacefully conquer the world one day at a time. I think that we all want safety for ourselves and our families. I don’t carry a firearm or a multi-tool or any of that to make a statement (I try to be a good person to make that my statement, the fact that I carry and I’m prepared is just the cherry on top right. :)) Then I started to break down my “gear bag” if you will, of daily necessities. and what and where I classify them. my classifications are only my own, but it made it much easier to justify their purpose. so I came up with 3. On body, on hand, and on premise. On body are the things I don’t walk out the door without, on hand are things that I carry in my vehicle (atv, truck, camper, boat etc.) On premise are the things that I can get to in an emergency (stuff that I have inside my residence, or things that are supplied to establishments that i frequent).
I have, and still own a few different carry firearms. That is my preference as for personal protection. From NAA Mini revolvers in .22 wmr, to .38 snubs, to my personal favorite Smith and Wesson M&P45C . they all have there advantages and disadvantages. But most of all they all work, they have been used, appreciated, taken care of, and proved to me that they are reliable and accurate.
The second thing that I don’t walk out of the house without is a decent multi tool of some sort, Leatherman and Gerber both make nice pliers based multi tools that can be purchased for a reasonable amount, with tools that come in handy everyday. pliers, wire strippers, awls, screwdrivers, files, a knife and even scissors. no one realizes how handy they are until they need one (kind of like a jack and spare tire for your truck. )
Number 3 is a decent knife. a good folding pocket knife is a very personal thing, a knife that fits one man (or women’s) hand like a firm hand shake, may feel like a slimy fish to another. Brands and prices be damned, find one that fits, and that works. learn your knife and how to care for it. keep it sharp, keep it clean and it will last multiple lifetimes. I know your probably thinking, “why would you need a pocket knife when you have a knife on your Leathermen?” well you really don’t need one, but when I want a knife, I want a knife. one-handed opening, sharp and readily available in my right pocket, and if I need to use my pliers and my knife at the same time its possible. Just my preference. I’ve Carried CRKT, Kershaw, Spyderco, and a few others. all have served me well.
Number 4 is a wallet. sounds kind of funny but you would be amazed how many people don’t have their wallet on their person at all times. Drivers license, ccw permit, Cash (yeah remember that green stuff that we all use to carry in our billfold), cash works everywhere, even when the computer system or atm is down. most wallets will also carry an extra truck and house key.
Good ol number 5 is a cell phone, if you can call for help, you can start the ball rolling for any situation that may arise. 911, EMS, poison control or even a tow truck. a cell phone (even though I hate being tethered to technology) is a really important part of your on body safety kit.
On hand: Call it a truck kit, or car kit, or… well you get the idea. This is what you can get too quickly if you need to. It’s the stuff that you don’t need to bust your back carrying on your person constantly, but you want to be able to get to if need be.
The first thing that I always make sure to throw in is a First aid kit. I enjoy outdoor activities and you never know when you will need a band-aid or a triangler bandage, an asprin or a Benadryl. Cater your first aid kit to what you do and who goes with you. If you have a family of 4 and 2 dogs that go hiking anytime that you do, your kit will be different then a single guy who aggressively rides enduro races on his motorcycle every weekend. A good starting point for a family are the kits put out by Lifeline, they can be purchased at Home depot for $30 to $100 dollars. they are compact and versatile. After you purchase your kit (I build my own first aid kits, but store-bought “kits” are definitely a good starting point. you can always add as you go.) the first thing that I do is inventory the items included, then laminate that list. It sounds silly but it makes it easy to replace those items as they get used. if you or your family members use any sort of medication, then make sure to include that in your kit and on your list. I also like to include a note pad and a couple of pencils and permanent markers in the kit. If (God forbid) something happens, its nice to be able to take notes. If little johnny takes a spill on his bike and hits the left side of his head, its nice to be able to document what time it was when he fell, what he hit, and what hurts. As well as any first aid administered. If a little trip to the ER becomes evident, those details are greatly appreciated. The Devil is in the details right?
Number 2 is water and food. granola bars and water will keep the hunger down in case your broke down for any amount of time. if you have insulin issues, your snack list may be different, whats important is to have what YOU will need on hand. Trail mix and electrolyte drink powders pack well but will need to be checked frequently for freshness. a vacuum sealer is priceless, buy bulk and ration it up. If water and air can’t get to it, most of the time it wont spoil. A little bonus item to throw in is decorating icing like that made by Dec A Cake or Betty Crocker. They are instant sugar and can help with a low sugar (bleeding or shock) situation. They are tiny and don’t go bad if unopened. plus there cheap.
Number 3 is a basic tool kit. Once again, have what you need available when you need it. If you have problems figuring out which way to flip the lever on a ratchet to tighten a bolt, you probably wont need an oxy-asetalin torch in your tool box. Keep your kit on par with your skill level. Basic tool kits can be purchased about any place, Home depot sells a great kit that covers most situations. it’s fairly reasonably priced, and has a lifetime warranty. The reason that I believe a tool kit is something that you shouldn’t leave home without, is because without the ability to fix small issues, small problems can become big problems. A loose battery cable, can mean an over night impromptu camping trip, add in extreme cold or hot weather and you have a recipe for disaster. While you’re at it, you should probably throw in the fire extinguisher, at least two ways to start (and keep) a fire going, a tow strap, and a collapsible shovel. you can never be too careful right?
I guess you could call on premise more of a mindset then a kit. I make it a practice to have back-ups for my back-ups. Everything that I carry on body, and on hand, has a back up in my residence. That way there is never a question if I have what it will take to provide for my family. Also I remain cognitive of my surroundings, most establishments have detailed escape plans, maps to fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Those are all tools that are at your disposal.
So what did I really learn about myself while analyzing my EDC items? Well, I came to the realization that it’s a good thing that I drive a F-350 crew cab 😉 and I learned that it takes far longer to write down and justify your kit then you would think. I have always just carried all of this stuff, and I never really broke it down to why I do. As a youth I participated in the 4-H survival programs in my home town of Coeur d’alene Idaho. We learned the basics, and I took the lessons to heart. But that wasn’t enough for me, so off to the library and book stores I went. Soaking up all of the information that I could. Back then it wasn’t called prepping, and it had nothing to do with doomsday or zombies. It was just called survival, and it was awesome. While most kids were reading goosebumps books, I was reading Tom Browns guide to wilderness survival. While some kids were playing with play-doh, I was building debris shelters… I guess it stuck. Maybe I do go a little overboard with what I consider “my everyday survival gear”, but it gives me piece of mind to know that I can take care of myself and my loved ones. Plus it is pretty cool to be the only dad in town that has a mobile army navy store in his tool box.