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Survival Tips – How To Build The Best EDC Kit
How To Build The Best EDC Kit
An Everyday Carry Kit, or EDC, consists of the everyday carry gear, including emergency items you may need to face challenges or dangers that come between you and home. In the strictest sense, we all carry EDC gear with us every day. Our wallet or purse, keys, money, cell phone; these are the things we’ve decided we need every day to make sure we can do what we need to do and get home safely. But is it all you need?
Identifying Your Daily Carry Needs
If only we knew exactly what situations we would encounter on a given day, we would never leave our house unprepared. There are no warnings given for disasters. You should try to anticipate your needs before they arrive. Your daily routine can give you some ideas about the types of situations you need to be prepared for.
where do you live Do you live in an urban, suburban or rural community? Or do you live so far out in the boonies that, without a four-wheel-drive truck, you’d need a 72-hour package to get home?
Work environment? You may live in a gated community but work in a dangerous part of town. Consider where you will spend time, especially outside of your car, as part of determining likely risk.
Long Drive? People who drive long distances have a higher likelihood of certain challenges such as car problems, or dangers such as car accidents.
Responsible For Others? If you often have children with you, you may need to consider their needs as part of your daily carry kit.
Unique Medical Needs? Do you suffer from food allergy, bee allergy, asthma, high blood pressure or diabetes? Rescue medications such as spare inhalers, epi-pens, blood pressure medication, insulin and needles should be part of every kit you prepare.
Assess What Challenges or Hazards Are You Likely to Face?
There are three types of scenarios you need to be prepared for.
Challenges: common situations such as flat tire or dark parking lot, power failure; things that won’t kill you, but a little preparation makes things a lot easier.
Threats: personal assault, car accident, injury or an opportunity to help another person with one of these scenarios.
Disasters: A terrorist attack, a natural disaster, a riot, getting lost or breaking out in the wild, anything that results in a major disruption of routine, or makes it necessary for you to survive on your own, at least for a time.
You know your routine. Only you can identify your unique needs and likely threats. It’s important to be prepared, but if you try to prepare for every single emergency that could ever arise, you could end up with an EDC kit so huge that you never have it with you. The best everyday carry gear is the gear you actually have on you when the need arises.
The Difference Between EDC, GHB and a Bug Out Bag
If your initial instinct is to over-prepare, relax. At least you are on the right track. There are several types of emergency kits that are valuable to have around, and they all serve slightly different purposes. Get Home Bag, or GHB, carries a little more gear than you’d want to carry on your person and is designed to do exactly what the name implies, get you home. Another type of emergency kit, called a Bug Out Bag, or BOB, is as much as you can carry (within reason) and is designed to give you everything you need to survive for up to a week. The recommended weight limit for a Bug Out Bag is 1/3 of a man’s body weight and 1/4 of a woman’s weight.
Preparing for contingencies with all three of these types of kits in mind can allow you to prepare effectively and give you ultimate peace of mind. You could think of it this way: Your everyday carrier is designed to get you to your Get Home Bag. Your GHB is designed to get you to your Bug Out Bag. And your BOB is designed to sustain you for at least a week in the desert, should the need arise. Best case scenario, you never need GHB or BOB, but it’s nice to have them. An EDC kit, however, you’ll almost certainly need at least a few times a year.
What To Wear In Your Everyday Carry On
There are many recommended items that you may want to carry as part of your EDC kit. Based on the risk assessment you’ve already done, you’ll need to choose the items that best help you meet those needs.
Must Have Items:
Self defense – knife, box cutter, credit card knife, tactical pen – any item you can use to defend yourself.
Fire – Lighter – Windshield is best, waterproof matches, fire starter kit. Depending on the size of the kit you are creating, you can choose the size. But at a minimum, you should have at least one way to start a fire.
Light – Lantern – You can end up with several different light sources, stored in different places, and in different kits. But you should always have some source of light on you at all times. If nothing else, a mini flashlight on your keychain is a must.
Compass – this could easily be incorporated with an analog clock, rather than as a separate piece of equipment. What you can’t count on as a compass is the GPS in your cell phone. In the event of an infrastructure failure, one of the first things you will lose is your cell service. You need an old-fashioned magnetic compass, either integrated into your analog watch or by itself.
a string – a box of flavorless thread, a paracord bracelet, a package of paracord, or even replacing your shoelaces with paracord – too many situations will call for some type of cord. Don’t be without it.
shelter – Mylar covers are the easiest and lightest choice for very small kits. As you develop larger, more sophisticated GHBs or BOBs, you can incorporate better shelter. But a Mylar cover or two will go a long way in a pinch.
First Aid Kit – This can be as simple as some bandaids, some alcohol pads, and some antibiotic, or as advanced as complete First Aid, complete with a defibrillator. Consider the other tools you are preparing and carry what you think you will need. First aid supplies you may want to consider, even for a small kit, include: bandages, bandages, alcohol, antibiotic, antacids, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and should definitely include any personal rescue medications.
food – or rather, a way to get food. At a minimum, a few fish hooks in your everyday dress hat, or folded into a piece of aluminum foil in your purse, or a small medicine bottle full of supplies, you choose. These can be combined with your thread for fishing line.
Cash – You should always have at least some money that is only for emergency use. It’s probably a good idea to keep it separate from your normal funds.
Should Have Items:
Items you should incorporate into your everyday carry kit if you can. If necessary, use this list to start putting together a Get Home Bag.
Small Pill Bottle of Vaseline – Vaseline (or any petroleum-based jelly) has a variety of uses including treating chapped lips and hands, cuts and scrapes, and for use as a fire starter.
Cotton Balls – first aid uses and as tinder for ignition
Weatherproof Matches or Fire Striker
battery – at least AA size. You may already have one in your flashlight, but carry spares if at all possible. They are also useful for other things, such as starting fires.
Small Wire Saw – This can be included as part of a credit card multi-tool, to reduce the amount of gear you have to carry.
Fishing Supplies – a few fishing hooks in your everyday dress hat, or folded into a piece of aluminum foil in your purse, or a small medicine bottle full of supplies, you choose.
food – hard candy, a lingo cube, anything to give you calories and a morale boost. The more the better, within reason.
Water treatment – Either tablets or a filtration system, something to get you clean water in a pinch. There are straw-sized filtration systems.
Multi-tool – either a full size, or credit card multiplier that you carry in your wallet.
Whistle – To signal, scare away wild animals or human attackers
Super Glue – comes in mini tubes and can serve a variety of purposes, including small repairs, first aid and as a fire starter.
Good To Have Items:
A few things that would be nice to have if you can fit it in. If it doesn’t fit in your everyday carry, this could be the start of a great Get Home Bag.
Small Address Book – if you lose the use of your cell phone, you will need the emergency contact information for those closest to you. Include in it, any other information that you may have difficulty remembering in stressful situations.
shoes – a spare pair if you have to walk a long way. Walking shoes are preferred. This is especially important for women who might wear heels when they discover the need to walk.
Larger Knife or Weapon – Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Bright Yellow Poncho – good for weather protection and easier to see.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle or Thermos – This can also be used as your gear, as a weapon or just to store some water.
food – One or more high calorie energy bars or protein drinks, enough to get you through at least a few hours of stress.
Finding The Right Case For Your EDC Gear
Once you’ve assessed your needs, and selected the items you can and will carry on a daily basis, it’s time to figure out how to wear it. There are a few ways to go. The typical method is to get a small container and fit your gear inside. You will need to choose a case size based on how you will be carrying your tool. If you have a briefcase or wallet, you can accommodate a larger size. If it has to go in your pocket, you’ll have to use a smaller container and be more creative with how you carry anything that doesn’t fit.
Metal Box – If you can find something metal that suits your needs, a metal container is optimal. It will hold its shape and maintain a watertight seal better than some plastic containers. If necessary, you could also use it for cooking. Altoid cans are a popular choice, especially for an in-pocket EDC kit, although it is limited in its size.
Plastic – The advantage of a plastic container is how easy it can be to find one in a size that fits your needs. Rubbermaid-style containers come in a variety of sizes and are inexpensive. The downside is the cover can sometimes be too easy to remove; you may have to seal it with some tape.
Organization Pack – Commercial EDC organizer packs are available in a number of sizes, designed specifically to help you organize your essential Every Day Carry Tool.
Carrying Your Gear – You can distribute your gear throughout your clothing, using cargo pants pockets, your hat, key ring, wallet, chain or rope, etc. Women have a clear advantage because they are expected to carry a purse, and simply by carrying. slightly larger they can accommodate many more items with little problem. Men can improve their carrying skills, depending on their work code, by wearing cargo pants with a few pockets, or carrying a briefcase or small backpack with them to work. (Maybe now is the time to consider buying that ultra-fashionable men’s wallet you’ve been eyeing.)
Self-contained Kit – Your container could also be part of your kit. A thermos or metal container that can be used for cooking etc. The only downside to this case is that you still have to figure out how to carry it with you every day.
The Best EDC Gear
There’s what you should wear, and then there’s what you will wear. The best Every Day Carry kit is the one you have with you when you need it, and includes the knowledge to use the kit you’ve been carrying. All the preparation in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t have your gear or don’t know how to use it. So be realistic in your risk assessment, practical in your kit (remember you can also mix GHB and BOB, you don’t have to carry everything every minute), learn to use the items you have chosen and be faithful to carry your Daily Kit, every day!
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