When it comes to survival, you’ve got to be ready 24/7. You can’t take a sick day, some time off to go to the movies or a vacation. Each and every day, you’ve got to be ready to go, regardless of what life throws at you. The best thing about this job is that it never becomes boring, at least not for us hard core preppers.
Of course, if we’re going to manage to survive whatever life throws at us, it would help to be trained and prepared, as well as have some basic survival equipment along with us.
While there might be some that like the challenge of trying to survive off of what they can scavenge, I prefer stacking the deck in my favor. For that reason, I make sure that I have a good everyday carry bag (EDC), stocked with the right things to help me make it through.
To me it seems rather obvious that your EDC items are your first line of defense for whatever challenges life may throw at you. At the same time, it might also end up being your last line of defense; especially if you get caught by the wrong type of disaster at the wrong time.
Nature has an unpleasant way of presenting us all with some of the worst surprises at the most unpleasant times: earthquakes, hurricanes and solar flares all come and go without prior notice and without asking if it is convenient to our schedule.
To face these challenges and to survive the hostile environment that they create, we need to be prepared for basically everything. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but I like to keep an open mind.
The Short List
Let’s start by making a list of our EDC items and go from there, shall we?
Your basic survival kit – Any EDC has to start with basic survival equipment. That means having the absolute minimum equipment to take care of your basic survival needs: water, food and protection from the elements. In order to do that, your survival kit should have at a minimum:
- A couple of ways to start a fire (make sure they are waterproof)
- A water filter (better yet, two)
- An emergency space blanket
- Something to carry water in (a canteen, water bottle or sturdy plastic bag)
- Some basic survival tools (multi-tool, a good knife and a wire saw)
- A whistle
- A mirror
- A compass
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Paper and a pencil
- Duct tape
- Plastic bags
- An emergency fishing kit
Your basic first-aid kit – It’s hard to carry enough first-aid supplies to prepare you for everything. Even so, you should have a few minimal supplies, such as some bandages, antiseptic cream, and some medical tape. It wouldn’t hurt to have some pain relievers and antihistamines as well, along with something to put a stop to diarrhea.
Some water – Granted, you can’t carry all that much water in an EDC, but you should have at least a bottle or two of purified water with you. Those can also do double duty as canteens, filling them once you use the water they have in them. With the water purifier you have in your survival kit, you should be okay, as long as you can find a source of water.
High energy food bars – Like the water, it’s hard to take enough food with you in an EDC for much of anything. Nevertheless, you might find yourself walking home if the roads are destroyed by an earthquake. Putting a few high energy food bars in your EDC can give you that extra boost you need to keep you going and get you home.
Clothes – Most of us dress in manners that are totally inappropriate for survival. C’mon now, can you imagine trying to survive in a $1,000 suit or in a dress with high heels? You’ll need some sturdy clothes to change into if things get bad.
Have a pair of jeans, a warm shirt and some stout walking shoes stashed away with your kit. You can change into them and leave your fancy clothes behind. If it’s cold, make sure you have a warm jacket, hat and gloves with you. Finish it all off with a rain poncho to keep you dry. The rain poncho can double as a tent as well.
Communications – In any emergency, your family is going to be concerned about you. Being able to contact them and let them know where you are, what your plans are and that you are all right will make a world of difference to them. Put a disposable cell phone in your kit and make sure that you put everyone’s numbers in it, as well as making sure that the battery is charged. That way, if your regular cell phone is out, you can still get in touch with your family.
Don’t leave your smart phone behind though, it might be able to provide you with a lot more information, especially if you have trouble getting home. On top of your phone, the whistle and mirror in the survival kit will help you make contact with civilization in the case of an emergency.
Weapons – Contrary to many people’s opinions, mankind is not that far removed from the savages. All it takes is a disaster and many people turn into animals; at least, they do in their morals and survival instinct. You might need to be able to protect yourself. If you are carrying a gun, make sure that you have your concealed carry permit to go with it.
Personal identification – With everything in chaos, there’s a pretty good chance of the police stopping you for questioning. You can make things much easier for yourself if you can readily identify who you are and where you live. Your work ID is a good idea as well, as it can show where you came from as you are making your way homeward.
Some money – It’s amazing how many of us walk around without any money these days. Yet, if there’s anything that could make your trip home easier, it’s having a ready source of cash. Even if the American dollar is declared worthless, there will still be people who will be willing to accept it for a while. Having a couple of hundred in cash could get you a ride home or something else you need to survive.
It may seem like this is a lot to carry on a daily basis, but it really isn’t. The bulkiest item on that list is the clothing. But you won’t really have to worry about carrying that, as you’ll be wearing it. Once you put your clothing on, you’re really talking about enough to fill a good sized fanny pack, no more.
We’re not talking a bug-out bag here, just an EDC. You don’t want it too big, or you are much too likely to leave it at home, where it won’t do you a bit of good.