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There are five survival items that you should carry at all times. We never know when we will be in an emergency survival situation. One does not need to be going deep in the backcountry to prepare for an unplanned event. There are many discussions about everyday carry (EDC), bug out bags (BOB), and other solutions to address emergencies. However, emergency survival does not gradually creep up on a person.

An emergency survival situation happens suddenly and catches someone by surprise. It is similar to an ambush in combat. In the chaos of the initial minutes of a survival situation, the survival gear you are carrying will be the first items employed. Therefore, it is essential to carry these five gear items as a baseline in your emergency survival planning. These items are compatible in any environment in which a survival situation arises.

1. Triple Sensor Solar Digital Watch

 

The triple sensor digital solar watch is a versatile survival item that you can carry at all times. The vital aspect of these watches is that they are compatible with wearing business attire or rugged outdoor clothing. The triple sensor watch is also known as an ABC watch. These watches give you three sensors that display, (A) altitude, (B) barometer/temperature, and (C) compass readings.

Advantages

All three capabilities allow you to have situational awareness of your environment at all times. Most of these watches have a built-in light, so the watch display is readable at night. The solar cells in the watch face charge the internal battery. As a result, the watch stays operational at all times. For example, I purchased my watch in 2015 and have never encountered a need to change the battery.

Disadvantages

The main disadvantage with a triple sensor digital watch is that the compass readings can be tricky to understand. Additionally, the compass does not constantly display for use like a baseplate or orienteering compass in the outdoors. Thus, the compass enables dead reckoning for gaining a bearing rather than shooting and maintaining an azimuth. However, during an emergency survival situation, the triple sensor watch can get you through the mad-minute until you can stop, observe, assess, reassess and reorient (SOAR) your situation.

2. Pocket Knife/Folding Knife

 

The pocket knife is a traditional survival tool. The history of the pocket knife spans human history from the Iron Age to the present times. However, the pocket knife in its current configuration came about in the 1600s. A pocket knife goes by another name, such as a folder or tactical folder.

Nevertheless, the pocket knife is a versatile tool to carry at all times. The environment that you function in every day will influence what kind of pocket knife that you carry on you at all times. Like the triple sensor watch, carrying a pocket knife works as well with business attire as it does with outdoor clothing.

Blade Length Consideration

The knife blade on a pocket knife does not have to be very long to meet your needs. The smallest blade length to of practical use is one that is between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. Some companies offer pocket knives with shorter knife blades. Consequently, those knives have a limitation in their use. However, a pocket knife blade that has a minimum length of around 3 inches will allow you to get through the initial minutes of an emergency. However, a pocket knife with a 4-5-inch blade is optimal.

Is a pocket knife a tool or a weapon?

The local laws governing the carrying of knives influences what kinds of knives one can carry. For example, the famous stiletto switchblade knives are illegal to carry in some places because they are classified as weapons rather than as utility tools. Some survival experts recommend carrying a knife to use as a tool and as a self-defense weapon. However, it is prudent to understand what your local laws allow and prohibit regarding the carrying of knives.

Recommended Pocket Knives

The Swiss Army Farmer by Victorinox is a good pocket knife to carry. Another decent pocket knife is the Stockman by Buck Knives. A budget-friendly pocket knife is the TecX® X-Pro I by Case Knives. One of these knives is a great cutting option to consider carrying as part of the baseline emergency survival gear that you carry at all times whether you are in the office or out in the backcountry.

3. Butane Lighter

 

The butane lighter is a standard fire starting method in most emergency survival kit configurations. Butane lighters have been around for a long time. The most recognizable butane lighters are the Zippo® and Bic® brands. Zippo® lighters are made of stainless steel and can be refilled with butane lighter fluid. Bic® lighters are a disposable lighter made of plastic. Therefore, either type of lighter can enable making an emergency fire in any environment.

Advantages

The advantages of carrying a butane lighter are the ability to produce a flame with relative ease. These lighters can be carried in the inner pocket of a suit coat or the trouser pocket of casual or outdoor pants. Therefore, if you need to make a hasty fire in an emergency, the butane lighter enables the completion of that survival task.

Disadvantages

A disadvantage with butane lighters is the limited amount of fuel they carry to produce a flame. Butane fuel also evaporates over time. The Bic lighter has a vapor release button that if depressed, will release the vapors of the fuel. Bic lighters are not refillable once the fuel is gone. By contrast, Zippo lighters have a saturated cotton batting on the bottom. The butane fuel evaporates from this batting and requires periodic refilling. Thus, one needs to carry a can of butane fuel to refill a Zippo lighter.

Survival Considerations

Despite their disadvantages, in an emergency survival situation, the butane lighter is reliable enough to enable you to start a fire when necessary. They are safe to carry in an urban environment or on the trail. They are simple to use.

4. Micro LED Flashlight

 

Micro flashlights are an essential item to carry on you at all times. These flashlights are sometimes known as keychain flashlights. There are two common types of these flashlights: tubular and flat. The tubular style micro flashlight looks like a miniature version of a traditional flashlight. It usually has to be twisted to be turned on. The flat style flashlight tends to have an oval or rectangular shape and operate with a button depressed switch.

5. Hand Sanitizer Wipes

 

Hand Sanitizer Wipes are a convenient way to carry a dual purpose survival item. In a previous article, we gave some discussion about hand sanitizer as a survival item. Hand sanitizer wipes are single-use wipes that can clean your hands or function as tinder to start a fire. These wipes fit easily into a wallet, purse, shirt, or trouser pockets. A hand sanitizing wipe used with a butane lighter will allow an emergency fire to be built.

Final Thoughts

Emergency survival planning involves decisions about the gear one carries. Sometimes these discussions transition into everyday carry, bugging out or getting home kits. The items in the list above are not comprehensive in nature. Instead, they are a simple baseline which allows for additions and modifications to fit your environment and needs.

However, one of the lessons that 9-11 teaches is the importance of carrying survival gear on you during an emergency. For example, in a mass casualty event in an urban setting, you may not be able to access that EDC bag or get to your car and pull your get home bag. Therefore, those survival items that you have access to in an emergency can influence the outcome.

Moreover, in an emergency survival situation in the backcountry, you may be separated from your main pack. Thus, what you carry on yourself, such as, in your pockets, may determine the difference between life and death. For example, you may suffer a mechanical injury that immobilizes you or severely limits your ability to move. Your pocket knife, microlight, or butane lighter may be the x-factor in your being rescued. The story of Aron Ralston reveals the value of carrying survival gear on you when emergency survival happens to you.

There are 4 tips to consider for decisions about EDC options. My wife and I, recently, were discussing the topic of Everyday Carry (EDC). That conversation became the motivation to write this article. Prepping and survivalist interest is growing. Consequently, there are many people new to the jargon and concepts they are seeing on the internet. Therefore, it is helpful to keep in mind these four tips when considering what to carry for your EDC loadout.

Tip # 1: Assess Your Daily Environment

The first tip about EDC options is to assess your daily environment. The environment in which you will function everyday is the foundation for considering your EDC options. The world that we live in is not homogenous. My particular daily situation does not have the same nuances as someone else’s environment. Some people live and work in the suburbs, like Poway, California. Other people live in rural areas away from daily access to the high energy of a big city. Still, others live and commute within a highly urbanized metroplex, like Los Angles, New York, St. Louis, or Dallas-Fort Worth.

A particularly challenging daily environment to assess is one in which a person commutes long distances between work and home. I remember hearing about a professional athlete in California, who travels almost two hours, one-way, every day between his home and place of work during the season of his chosen sport. Thus, a person like that will have a unique set of EDC considerations. Therefore, it is essential to assess your daily environment.

As you assess your environment, you will want to ask and answer some crucial questions about your situation:

  • What is the level of crime in my area?
  • What is the most common kind of crime in my area?
  • How often will I be away from home?
  • How much and how far will I commute every day?
  • What is the type of transportation that I will use every day; car, bus, subway, train, taxi, carpool, airline?
  • What is the nature of the traffic in my area (easy, hard, frequent traffic jams, etc.)?

If you can answer some of these basic questions, then you may find yourself drifting into a discussion about getting home. Thus, you should be very thorough in assessing your daily environment.

Tip # 2: Assess Your Level of Readiness

The next important EDC tip in your item considerations is to assess your level of readiness. How physically fit are you? Do you have handicaps that require special equipment? Have you included an EDC, prepping, or survival line-item in your yearly budget? How proficient are you in self-defense, handling firearms, or using non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray? The point here is not to imply that you should shore up your weaknesses. Instead, these are influences in determining what items you should be considering for your everyday carry loadout.

For example, if you have never handled a firearm, you have no business carrying one until you get properly trained and licensed to carry it. If you have never had martial arts training with knives and weapons, then you have no business carrying a karambit knife because an internet personality demonstrated using one. Furthermore, how often on a daily basis will you be employing the things you desire to carry? Therefore, assessing your level of readiness should determine what you include in your EDC loadout.

Tip # 3: Assess The Practicality Of Your EDC Item Considerations

A third EDC tip concerns practicality. Now that you have assessed your environment and your readiness, you can now begin to think about what items to consider for your EDC loadout, in essence what are your needs? An important principle to remember is what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, some people carry an EDC backpack. There are many videos on the internet discussing what to pack in an EDC backpack. Remember the keyword in Everyday Carry is everyday. How practical is an EDC backpack to your situation? It might be overkill, especially if you are at your suburban house most of the day.

Furthermore, the practicality of your items will be influenced by your level of familiarity with them. Multitools are a favorite everyday carry item that you find as a recommendation on the internet. Yet, how often will you use something like that everyday? I remember in the military the only people carrying multitools every day were our vehicle mechanics. Why? They are fixers in their hearts. Thus, they discover that they need to carry a multitool. They need to be ready to repair, fix, attach, or detach something, even when they are not under a vehicle. Their experience dictates that they carry a multitool. Therefore, assess the practicality of your items along with your needs or requirements.

Do not put something in your EDC loadout that you will never use or will hardly use on any given day. Everyday carry items are intended for regular or frequent use. By definition, they are not for an emergency survival SHTF scenario. For example, I saw someone on YouTube recommending an ankle-mounted first aid kit as an EDC item. First aid kits or trauma treatment items, such as tourniquets, are, technically, emergency items. It is crucial for those off-duty medical professionals and first responders to carry emergency medical kits as everyday carry items. However, for the general public, emergency medical items should be part of your individual emergency survival kits. Furthermore, your personal emergency survival kit should be part of your EDC loadout.

Tip # 4: Learn The Art Of Modifying Your EDC Items

The fourth EDC tip is learning the art of modifying your EDC items. Many people are carrying a multitude of items on any given day. As you are assessing your daily environment and item needs, remember to be flexible. As you carry your items, you become used to them to the point of not noticing that they are on you. Then, you find yourself having to travel via airline, bus, or train. Suddenly, you are facing a TSA officer screening you, and you forgot to place your multitool or folder in the checked baggage. Now you lost that $180 Benchmade Griptillian folder or $100 Leatherman Center-Drive multitool even after putting them in the bin to go through the x-ray machine. Limit your “oops” moments by learning to modify your EDC loadout for each situation.

A good practice to employ in the art of modification is layering up or down according to the need. In the military, you are trained to modify your clothing as the climate dictates. Layering your clothing is an essential technique for the winter months and in cold weather conditions. This same technique can apply to EDC considerations. You may find yourself not carrying some items on the weekend. They are simply not needed. Similarly, you may find yourself adding items if you go out of town for the weekend with your family.

Concluding Comments

Everyone carries some kind of an EDC item, such as a wristwatch or wallet. However, as we consider carrying items beyond the obvious, it is essential to be thoughtful, diligent, and practical about what you include in your EDC loadout. There are at least three conventional approaches to EDC philosophy: EDC as items of regular or frequent use, EDC as items for personal defense, or EDC as items for emergency survival. Some advocates blend elements of all of these and call it Everyday Carry. The environment in which you operate and your level of readiness will determine what you carry daily. Remember that there is always room for improvement. So, choose your EDC items wisely and continue to improve your knowledge and experience. As a result, you will modify and enhance the things you carry with you every day

There are seven essential wearable EDC survival gear items to consider making part of what you carry all times. The main factors that determine what a person carries is location, experience, and necessity. The everyday gear that you take is as simple as what is on the body like watches or items in pockets. By contrast, EDC survival items can be the more sophisticated gear that you place in the bag, pack, or briefcase that you carry to school or work. However, there are a few essential items that one should consider having on your person regardless of location, experience, and necessity. What are these seven essential EDC items that one should wear or carry at all times?

Microlight or Flashlight

The first survival item to consider carrying on you at all times is some type of flashlight or microlight. Flashlights come in many sizes and configurations. The best EDC flashlight is one that you can place in your pocket. One of the best flashlights to consider is the Nitecore MT1C Flashlight. You can buy this item at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. This flashlight comes with a pocket clip and is roughly 3.5 inches long. It will fit in most trouser pockets or leg cargo pockets. This flashlight can also fit in the shirt pockets of most outdoor or tactical shirts. However, there is another type of flashlight to consider.

Another type of flashlight to think about is the microlight or micro-flashlight. These kinds of lights are sometimes called keychain lights. One recommended microlight is the LRI® Photon Micro-Light with a Covert Nose. This light is one that I personally own and is in the EDC survival kit in the cargo pocket of my pants. The second type of microlight is the ThruNite® Ti3 EDC Cree flashlight. This light has a pocket clip and is about 2.75 inches in length. Microlights are very versatile and convenient to carry on a daily basis. What is the next survival item to carry daily?

Lighter

The next survival item to carry daily is a lighter. There are many types of lighters on the market. The most recognizable is the Bic® lighter. This is a disposable butane fluid lighter. These lighters come in two basic sizes: the classic and mini. The mini Bic lighter is a favorite to carry among those who do not smoke tobacco products.
Another iconic butane fluid lighter is the Zippo® lighter. The lighter fluid in the Zippo lighter can be replenished through a cotton felt pad in the bottom of the lighter case. The main reason for carrying one of these kinds of lighters as an EDC item is their reliability. The Bic and Zippo lighters will function under most circumstances encountered on a daily basis. What about tools?

Multitool

The first tool to consider carrying every day is a multitool. Multitools come in various sizes and configurations. The two most reliable multitools are those manufactured by Leatherman® and Gerber®. I personally have owned both Leatherman and Gerber multitools, and each is quality tools. However, I would recommend the Leatherman® Skeletool™ multitool for EDC purposes. It is the right size for carrying on a daily basis without the bulkiness of the Leatherman® Wave™ or Gerber® MP 600™. Yet, the Skeletool offers the same versatility as its larger counterparts.

Pocket Knife

The second tool to think about carrying every day is a pocket knife. There are many opinions about pocket knives and other folding blade knives. A pocket knife does not have to be an elaborate tactical folder for EDC purposes. The intent for pocket knives is that they are tools and not weapons. There are folding blade knives that function more as weapons than tools. The classic stiletto switchblade knife is an example of a folding knife being a weapon and not a tool.

Furthermore, pocket knives come in many sizes and configurations. The most straightforward pocket knife has a single blade, such as the Gerber® Paraframe™. Most pocket knives have, however, at least two blades, one small and one large. Pocket knives can have various blade shapes. The most common blade shape is the drop point and clip point. There are pocket knives that use 1095 high carbon steel in their blades. The Bear & Son C205 Heritage, Walnut Midsize Lock back Folder, is an example of a pocket knife using 1095 high carbon steel in its blades. These kinds of pocket knives are excellent for bushcrafting and other outdoor applications.

However, some of the best makers of pocket knives are Victorinox® and Case®. The recommended pocket knives to carry on a daily basis are the Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer or the Case 6.5 BoneStag® Medium Stockman. These knives have blade lengths that are legally compliant most anywhere. They need minimal maintenance and will do most cutting jobs, such as cutting cordage, making a trap, stripping wire, cutting bandages, box cutting, or letter opening. The Swiss Army Farmer has more features than the Case knife, such as a saw and awl.

Wrist Watch (Solar-Powered Triple Sensor)

The final survival gear item to consider wearing on a daily basis is a solar battery powered triple sensor watch. A good watch is a valuable piece of gear to wear every day. A triple sensor watch has the features of an altimeter, barometer, and a digital compass, hence ABC. The barometer on these kinds of timepieces gives the current temperature when this feature is engaged. The solar battery that characterizes these outdoor watches keeps the watch working all year in all types of weather. The compass on this type of wrist watch is helpful because you do not have to worry about ambient magnetism affecting its reading. For example, the metal from your belt buckle or wedding band will not influence the direction given by the watch as it would your lensatic, baseplate, or wristband compass.

Furthermore, the best solar-powered triple sensor watches on the market are the Casio® Pro Trek™ Pathfinder™ PRW2500T-7 and PAG240T-7. These watches come with a titanium watch band. This watch band is excellent for rugged outdoor activities. Additionally, the more sophisticated smartwatches are great but have their limitations because of the need to update their software periodically. These two Casio watches can be worn every day in every situation. The solar-powered triple sensor wrist watch is an essential survival gear to wear on a daily basis.

Tourniquet

The final item to consider carrying at all times is a tourniquet. These used to be cumbersome to carry so most were stored inside of bags or packs. However, in recent years, manufacturers have started making belt pouches to hold a tourniquet. Blue Force Gear® and Rescue Essentials® sell tourniquet pouches that can be worn on a trouser belt or mounted on MOLLE gear. There are several versions of tourniquets on the market. The two most common are the combat application tourniquet (CAT) and the rapid application tourniquet (RAT). There is a third option available called the ratcheting medical tourniquet. This seems to be growing favorite tourniquet among emergency preppers and SOF personnel. Therefore, carrying a tourniquet should be considered as part of your wearable EDC survival gear.

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