(Dr. Bones says: Today we have a guest post from our friend Nora Holloway. Nora Holloway is a gear expert and social media specialist for TacticalGear.com (link: http://tacticalgear.com). Raised by a survivalist, she knows the importance of being ready for anything and shares her insight on everyday carry (EDC) items; do you have any to add?)
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re a prepper. You know that disaster can strike at a moment’s notice. Practicing everyday preparedness means having basic tools on you at all times. While having bug-out bags for the car and home are essential to many disaster scenarios, what about having the tools to get to your car? If you happen to work in a mega-sized office building, it certainly won’t be a cakewalk getting to your wheels.
What kinds of everyday carry (EDC) items should you invest in? First things first, they should be very easy to transport. Lugging around a 5-pound flashlight can really weigh you down after a few flights of stairs (or however long it takes you to get to the safety of your vehicle). Second, you should research the brands to determine the most reliable ones. Having a tool break when you need it the most will not make for a pleasant experience.
Check out the basic tools every survival-minded person should carry daily:
This one is a no-brainer, because it’s probably one of the first things you grab in the morning. If you have a signal, you’ll be able to call for help if you need it. If you have an Internet connection, you might be able to figure out what is going on and where to find help.
(Dr. Bones says: Even if voice communication is not possible, you might still be able to text. Make sure the older folks in your group know how to use this very valuable function)
As mentioned above, you should always be armed with a reliable torch. Whether you get stranded at night or there is a freak power outage, a flashlight with a bright beam can get you out of a pinch. However while one flashlight is good, two is even better. Some carry a keychain light and a pocket light to ensure they have quick access to a light source.
(Dr. Bones says: As a physician, I have always had a head lamp in addition to standard flashlights. Head lamps have the benefit of keeping your hands free while providing a light source. Of course, in OPSEC situations, a light on your forehead could be a handy target…)
Compass and Map
Even if you rely on your phone’s virtual map, it’s important to know how to use the real thing. The ability to correctly navigate the old school way could mean the difference between you arriving home safely and you winding up on the wrong end of town. It might even be worthwhile to plot out your escape route home on the map. Of course, you would want to account for potential high traffic areas to avoid at all costs.
Pocket Tool or Knife
A resilient pocket knife will prove its worth over and over again. From cutting open a box to slicing into some delicious food, the handy tool has millions of applications. Or if you like to have all your bases covered, you might want to pick up a sturdy multi-tool. In addition to a knife, it often features things like screwdrivers, can openers, scissors and so on. This added with a MacGyver attitude will get you out of pretty much anything.
Whether it’s fashioned into a bracelet or belt, a healthy amount of paracord is always helpful. It can go from accessory to survival tool in the flash of an eye. Simply unraveling a belt could give you enough cord to help create a makeshift shelter, secure something to your bag or repair broken equipment.
In a world run on credit, many people don’t carry cash on them. However, when the power goes out, you won’t be able to use that plastic card. While in a long-term survival scenario cash won’t maintain its value, it will come in handy immediately following the disaster. Carry whatever amount you feel comfortable with, but keep in mind anything under $40 probably won’t get you far in the current economy.
If our ancestors taught us anything, it is the power of flames. Fire can keep you warm when it gets cold, or it could be used to create a SOS signal. Lighters are not just for smokers—they’re for preppers, too!
(Dr. Bones says: In addition to lighters, consider any of the many magnesium firestarters on the market. Always consider having more than one way to skin a cat (or light a fire).)
First Aid Kit
Never doubt the importance of a well-placed bandage! Injuries happen during disasters. Protecting wounds from exposure to dirt and germs can limit the chances of infection. So if you want to keep it, disinfect it and slap a Band-Aid on it.
(Dr. Bones says: Durn Tootin’! For a look at our personal carry kit, go to: http://store.doomandbloom.net/products/personal-carry-trauma-kit.html. I don’t care if you buy the kit, just look at the items in the content list provided and add what you think is useful.)
Always carry a bottle of water and a power bar within reach. If you’re going to be trekking anywhere, you’ll need your energy.
Pen and Paper
While there’s no doubt that smartphones are awesome, a pen and paper are much more effective when there isn’t a signal or that cell battery has died. The duo especially comes in handy when you need to leave a note for someone.
Most ladies already have the luxury of carrying a purse, so EDC is relatively easy for them. However, there are a number of sling bags that are both discreet and light enough for everyone. Pick up a bag and load it up with the essentials—bet you’ll even have room left over for carrying other personal items as well.
Here is some great advice:
“Always consider having more than one way to skin a cat”
I could not agree more. As a backpacker (and prepper) I learned years ago, sometimes from painful experience, to always carry at least two aids to performing certain survival essentials: fire building, water disinfection, knife, and signaling.
Fire: a lighter in a pants pocket, and waterproof matches in a shirt pocket. Adding a flint and steal on a necklace is a good idea too.
Water disinfection: Disinfection tablets in a pocket (I like chlorine dioxide, but other chemicals work) and a way to put water over a fire to boil it (heavy-duty foil works).
Knife: an appropriate knife for circumstances in a pocket or on a belt, and a multitool with a blade stored elsewhere on one’s person.
Signaling: A visual signaling system (bright fire by night, smoky fire by day works well), signal mirror (especially on water trips), flashlight, etc. And, an auditory signal device (a loud whistle is great).
1. Keep vital equipment on your person, not in your pack, so that you have both even if separated from your pack.
2. Keep the two tools in separate locations on your person, so you will have one if the other is lost.
3. Of all gear one could carry, a good knife and a fire-building kit are probably the most essential.
Nora Holloway Tacticalgear.com
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