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- Every Day Carry: Careful and Reasonable Planning is the Key to Success
- Every Day Carry Planning – Step One: Security Threat Assessment
- Every Day Carry Planning – Step Two: Plan Reasonable Responses to Perceived Threats
- Every Day Carry Planning – Step Three: Identifying Tools, Resources and Supplies
- Every Day Carry Planning – Step Four: Assembling Your Kits
Welcome to the fourth installment of a five part Every Day Carry series that shows how to use a structured thought process to create EDC kits for the home, vehicle, place of employment, and on our person. This article is where “the rubber meets the road” as it identifies the content of various kits using information from previous steps in the process.
In the last installment, planned responses were proposed for a list of twenty-eight security threats associated with the general areas of: crime; vehicle breakdown; and, severe weather. The threats were those that I perceive as reasonably likely to occur in my lifetime, associated with my lifestyle, and threatening my security, safety and health.
For the sake of brevity, this article will focus on planned responses for six selected security threats. This abbreviated list should give us plenty to look at, and still allow us to get through this portion of the analysis in short order.
The approach to completing this portion of the analysis is to identify specific tools, resources and supplies that I consider essential to effectively implement planned responses to serious security threats. This will provide me with a list of candidate items for the every day carry kits.
Next, I’ll consider the general availability of these items, or suitable alternatives. For items that are unlikely to be readily available, I’ll include them in my kits. For items that are common or easy to substitute with alternatives, I’ll make a decision as to whether they need to be included in one of my kits, or if they can be acquired as need arises.
I’ll also be considering how versatile and failure proof I want to make the content of my kits. For example, if finding my way around with my vehicle is important, I might want to have a GPS unit, plug-in power adapter, and a backup set of batteries to allow extended use outside the vehicle. If finding my way around is of vital importance, a map and a compass might also be desired for redundancy and diversity — two elements that help make things more failure proof.
The key to success is to have what you need, but not go overboard by hauling around a bunch of gear that you’ll never use. The key is reasonableness. In the first step of the process, I identified threats that might reasonably occur in my lifetime. Only those that posed a serious threat to my health, safety or security were brought forward to the second step. In the second step, I identified what I believe to be reasonable responses. Now, here in the third step, it’s my intention to maintain that same level of reasonableness as I propose tools, resources and supplies that I think will be necessary to support effective implementation of the planned responses. Let’s get to it.
Identifying Content of the EDC Kits
In keeping with my theme of organizing the material by location, let’s take a look at two threats to my security from each of the three example locations associated with my lifestyle: errands in town; travel out on the road; and, living and working out at my country home. I’ve selected the threats and responses to help show some of the thought processes behind making decisions about what goes into every day carry kits.
In the following lists, the security threats are shown as underlined headings, the planned responses are the italicized portions of the bullet items, with discussion of the items for the kits immediately following in standard font. If there is no need for a tool, resource or supply, there will be no discussion after the noted response, except if I want to highlight other preparedness measures or related matters. Keep in mind that my focus is only on items that I’ll need that won’t otherwise be readily available unless I deliberately keep them on hand or nearby.
A “roll up” of the tools, resources and supplies is provided in the next section to help us move the results of this portion of the analysis to the last article where I’ll discuss assembling every day carry kits from the results of this structured thought process.
In Town Threats, Responses and Necessary Items
Multiple armed adversaries
- Avoid encounters. Training in “street smarts” and crime prevention could be useful when implementing this planned response.
- Seek refuge from adversaries behind locked or barricaded doors.
- Call on others nearby for assistance. Coach style whistle with neck lanyard would keep it handy for immediate use.
- Contact law enforcement. Cell phone. Although cell phones are prevalent in the general populace, I can’t count on using someone else’s phone or even having anyone else around to witness the crime and call for help. I have to assume that I’ll be alone or at least isolated when threatened.
- Stop adversarial action with reasonable force. Easily concealable six shot handgun with enough loose ammunition for one reload. My preference is a small frame revolver that is easy to conceal with or without a holster.
- Address wounds/injuries, if any. Regardless of injuries, a first aid kit is questionable with respect to utility. It seems that immediate first aid can be self-administered or rendered by others using clothing, belts, cords and bare hands until professional help arrives. Knowing how to apply pressure to open wounds and remaining calm are perhaps the most useful skills, whereas bandages, gauze, iodine and aspirin won’t be of much use on the street.
- Contact emergency medical personnel if necessary. Cell phone.
Stranded in town for three days
- Seek shelter with friends, commercial establishments, community facilities, and in my vehicle. Cell phone and travel charger. Phone numbers of friends. Local phone directory. Although I could drive around town to inquire about places to stay, or call someone with Internet access to help me secure a room, I would prefer to be able to operate independently by having a local phone directory.
- Obtain adequate food and water. Cash and charge/debit card.
- Obtain required medications. Three day supply of medications.
- Contact others regarding my status. Cell phone and travel charger.
- Stay aware of changing circumstances that could allow me to resume travel. I assume that my vehicle radio and other sources of public service information will be readily available, so there is no need to have a separate source of information.
- Maintain morale. Cash and charge/debit card for paid entertainment. Pen and paper to capture ideas for my writing. Compact puzzles. A good book.
On the Road Threats, Responses and Necessary Items
Extreme cold in my inoperable vehicle
- Periodically utilize the vehicle heater if engine starts and runs.
- Layer clothing and outer wear, top and bottom. Lightweight jacket or vest (for second top layer), and sweatpants. I assume that in the winter I’ll normally bring a jacket as part of my regular outerwear for the season.
- Keep hands, feet and head warm and dry. Two pairs of thick wool socks, ski mittens, finger gloves, neck fleece, and head band.
- Maximize solar gain by day. Solar (space/emergency) blanket to absorb heat inside the vehicle from sunshine. This item would be optional, but it works well as a heat shield in warm weather, so its double duty earns it a spot in my every day carry kit for the vehicle.
- Minimize vehicle and personal heat loss by night. Sleeping bag to capture body warmth from head to toe. The solar/space/emergency blanket also reflects heat and can be used to capture warmth, but it sweats on the inside and this will reduce the insulating effect of clothing and the sleeping bag.
Vehicle stuck in snow drift
- Rock the vehicle out.
- Dig a path out. Small snow shovel or trenching shovel.
- Use traction assist devices on your wheels. Strap-on traction assist devices or snow chains.
- Use traction assist devices under your tires. Bag of sand for traction, old pieces of carpet or rugs, and two 3-foot pieces of 2 by 6 lumber with traction material on both sides.
- Contact other motorists to help push or pull you out. Tow strap or rope with open hooks. Pocket knife to trim up rope or cut it free after use.
- Contact friends and neighbors for assistance. Cell phone.
- Contact commercial services to get towed out. Cell phone and local phone directory.
- Wait for road clearing equipment to clear a path and help pull you out. Tow strap or rope with open hooks.
At Home Threats, Responses and Necessary Items
Extreme cold without electricity
- Start a fire in the wood stove in the kitchen. Matches, lighter, fire starter, kindling, to start seven fires, and a one week supply of fire wood for the stove.
- Dress warmly.
- Light candles for supplemental light at night. Matches, candles, candle holders.
- Run the generator on an as-needed basis, not merely for convenience. Gas or diesel powered generator (already on hand), fuel in containers (bulk fuel and containers already on hand) to refill the generator several times, starting fluid for starting in bitter cold weather, and extension cords (already on hand) to reach from outdoor locations to indoor demands. (An alternative is to back-feed my electric panel and install a disconnect switch to isolate the circuits from the metered supply. This approach provides near normal household operations except for use of the electric range. Trip electric range circuit breaker to eliminate accidental usage, which would over-burden the generator.)
- Contact others regarding my status. Land-line phone (already on hand) or cell phone (not a portable phone).
- Monitor indoor temperature to ensure that indoor plumbing isn’t at risk of freezing. Use wall mounted thermostat or separate temperature gauge (already on hand).
- Drain indoor plumbing to below grade if indoor temperatures cannot be maintained at or above 40 F. This requires no special tools, just knowledge of the configuration of the water supply and pressure delivery system.
- Keep garage door closed to support insulation on the north side of the home.
- Move egg and drink storage indoors if contents of refrigerator in the garage are at risk of freezing. Temperature gauge with an external probe (already on hand) that can monitor temperature inside the refrigerator in the garage.
- Stay aware of changing circumstances that could allow me to resume normal activities with electricity. Leave a light on to indicate when power is restored.
Interruption of water for one week, and possibly up to two months (due to failed electricity)
- Practice conservation methods to minimize water usage.
- Set up water catchments from the roof. Use plastic waste baskets and 5-gallon buckets that have been cleaned out (all are on hand). During the winter, collect snow and melt in cookware on the wood stoves.
- Create an emergency hook up to feed the 240 volt well pump from the generator. Generator to well hook up. (An alternative is to back-feed my electric panel and install a disconnect switch to isolate the household circuits from the metered supply. This approach provides near normal household operations except for use of the electric range. Trip electric range circuit breaker to eliminate accidental usage, which would over-burden the generator.)
- Get drinking water at the grocery store, possibly one outside the region affected by the power outage. Cash, as credit/debit cards and checks can’t (and often won’t) be accepted during power failures and other emergencies.
- Fill gasoline containers from bulk fuel storage to keep the generator running when needed to charge up the pressurized water storage tanks. Several 5-gallon fuel storage containers with pour spouts (already on hand).
- Contact others regarding my status. Cell phone or land-line telephone service (already on hand).
- Stay aware of changing circumstances that could allow me to resume normal activities when the electric power is restored. Leave a light on so restoration of electricity will be apparent.
- Make use of emergency water storage within the house such as toilet tanks and water heater. Ladle, small buckets, shallow pans, and plumbing pliers to open hot water tank drain valve (all are on hand).
That concludes my listing of items for every day carry kits, as far as these limited examples of security threats and planned responses would suggest. As you can probably imagine, if I had included a full range of threats from the three general areas examined, my list of needs could grow rather substantially. Despite the limited scope of these examples, I trust they show the connection between: reasonably likely threats and planned responses; and, what kind of tools, resources and supplies will be necessary to ensure effective responses as planned.
Next, let’s “roll up” the list of items and organize them according to where they are likely to be maintained.
Items for Every Day Carry Kits – The Roll Up
The following list of tools, resources and supplies is assembled to get the potential content of the EDC kits out on the table in front of us. This allows us to get an idea of what the “load out” might look like. Keep in mind that what’s presented below will be a reduced version of what I’ll really need simply because I only looked at three general threats to my safety, security and health, and I only looked at two scenarios associated with each of the three general security threats.
I’ll stay consistent with an organization by location so our kits that might be kept: on our person; in our car; and, at home, will start to take shape. As I put this list together, I’m also rethinking the need for the items in light of my planned responses, and adding detail as necessary to ensure that what I have is effective.
EDC On My Person
- Coach style whistle with neck lanyard worn around my neck.
- Cell phone with the numbers for my friends and neighbors on the contact list.
- Six shot .357 revolver and six loose rounds of ammunition.
- $400 cash and charge/debit card.
EDC In My Vehicle
- Cell phone travel charger.
- List of friends and neighbors, and their home and cell phone numbers.
- Local phone directory.
- Three day supply of medications.
- Pen and small note pad.
- Puzzle book, and three small wire puzzles.
- Biography in paperback.
- Lightweight jacket (winter only).
- Sweatpants (winter only).
- Two pairs of thick wool socks (winter only).
- Ski mittens (winter only).
- Finger gloves (winter only).
- Neck fleece (winter only).
- Head band (winter only).
- Emergency heat reflecting and heat absorbing blanket.
- Sleeping bag (winter only).
- Small snow shovel (winter only).
- Strap-on traction assist devices (one pair) for each drive wheel (winter only).
- Bag of traction sand (winter only).
- Two rugs or carpet scraps about 1 foot by 3 foot (winter only).
- Two pieces of 2 by 6 lumber about 3 feet long with expanded metal grating attached to both sides for traction (winter only). These traction devices will need to be fabricated.
- At least 40 feet of 2,000 pound test rope with open hooks. This provides more options and requires less storage room in the vehicle than a standard tow rope.
- Pocket knife.
EDC At Home
- Fire starter.
- Kindling to start at least 7 fires.
- Firewood for one week of firing the kitchen wood stove.
- Candles and candle holders for one week of illuminating the sitting area, kitchen and bedroom.
- Three 5-gallon gas containers with pouring spouts, filled with fresh gasoline.
- Starting fluid.
- Generator to well hook up with a manual switch for operation of the well. This will need to be fabricated.
You’ll notice that some of the items, like money and a cell phone, are appropriate to be on the list for “on my person” as well as “at home” but are only found on the
”on my person” list since my presence at home will always complement the items called for at that location.
It’s also worth noting that some of the specifics regarding items that comprise the kits can also be added to the “roll up” listing. As an example, I’m specifying 40 feet of very strong rope in my vehicle kit simply because it gives me more options like doubling it up for a hard pull, and using it full length to reach the distance between a vehicle on the crown of the road and one in a deep ditch or down a long embankment.
Lastly, many items in my vehicle kit are clearly oriented towards winter driving since they were specified based on the assumption of an inoperable vehicle in extreme cold and a vehicle stuck in a snow drift. Nevertheless, some of the items can be used year round. For example, rope and hooks are useful for getting a vehicle out of mud or up out of a wet grassed-covered embankment, and the emergency blanket can be used to reflect sunlight and offer shade in the event of vehicle failure in hot weather where exposure to the sun is a problem to contend with. Make a check for such double-duty uses of items so you won’t inadvertently characterize them for a specific purpose and then leave them out of a kit that should carried year round.
In the last article in this series, I’ll focus on assembling every day carry kits based on the results that we have in the roll up list above. As part of the exercise of creating the kits, I’ll discuss seasonal and event-oriented kits as well as how we might package and organize some of the items so they’re not such a burden to have on hand.
I’ll also touch on the issues of shelf life, usefulness, training and mindset as integral elements of our efforts to be prepared After all, there isn’t much sense in having resources that deteriorate, tools that aren’t useful for the task, and a mind or body that isn’t prepared with knowledge, training or determination to use the items and supplies on hand. Being ready to face a challenge requires so much more than simply having stuff available, it also requires a special mindset to achieve success.
About the author: Clair Schwan is a managing editor at the http://www.Self-Reliance-Works.com and also hosts www.Frugal-Living-Freedom.com Both sites are dedicated to helping people live a more self directed lifestyle through wise decision-making, being better prepared, and getting skilled up to face life’s challenges.
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I appreciate the comments from all. With the varying opinions, one can see why I'm proposing this structured thought process for determining what should go in an EDC kit. One size doesn't fit. The process I'm suggesting allows individuals to determine their own needs by tempering the analysis with what they think is reasonable in terms of threats, responses, and resources necessary to implement those responses. If one prioritizes the threats, then this will lend itself to prioritization of content as well.
I disagree on the usefulness of med kits, especially trauma kits. A TQ and a pressure dressing could save another life or even yours and takes up minimal space. If you are prepared to shoot someone you should be prepared to be shot. What if your shootout turns into a hostage situation with you wounded? If a belt made a reliable TQ and a t-shirt a reliable pressure dressing I doubt the military would issue these to every single soldier.
On a non-tactical note, my sister, an ER nurse, stopped to render aid at a vehicle accident where a lady had stepped from her car and lost a leg to a passing car. She had a male remove his belt and shirt and attempt the improvised TQ and pressure dressing. She feels certain she could have saved the ladies life with a proper TQ, and feels guilt to this day that she, a trained medical professional, was not prepared and a lady lost her life because of this. A TQ4 is easily pocket-able and cheap, why not carry it with your spare ammunition for the pistol. Keep a more serious blow out kit in your car, home and office.
I disagree on the usefulness of med kits, especially trauma kits. A TQ and a pressure dressing could save another life or even yours and takes up minimal space. If you are prepared to shoot someone you should be prepared to be shot. What if your shootout turns into a hostage situation with you wounded? If a belt made a reliable TQ and a t-shirt a reliable pressure dressing I doubt the military would issue these to every single soldier. On a non-tactical note, my sister, an ER nurse, stopped to render aid at a vehicle accident where a lady had stepped from her car and lost a leg to a passing car. She had a male remove his belt and shirt and attempt the improvised TQ and pressure dressing. She feels certain she could have saved the ladies life with a proper TQ, and feels guilt to this day that she, a trained medical professional, was not prepared and a lady lost her life because of this. A TQ4 is easily pocket-able and cheap, why not carry it with your spare ammunition for the pistol. Keep a more serious blow out kit in your car, home and office.
I add the lighter & Fire Starter to the car kit and EDC myself.
EDC will be different for everyone by need... my wife is partly disabled and my son is autistic , so I'm always escorting them to point A to B. Because of this, I tend to look like Batman most of the time as I carry EDC for three people on my person at all times.
I add the lighter & Fire Starter to the car kit and EDC myself. EDC will be different for everyone by need... my wife is partly disabled and my son is autistic , so I'm always escorting them to point A to B. Because of this, I tend to look like Batman most of the time as I carry EDC for three people on my person at all times.
EDC, to me, should be fairly minimal. If one packed everything needed for "that time", they would need a 2 ton truck and still not have everything. I know all the above can (and was) explained but to me much of the above, while nice to have, is excessive. I know I can triple the size of my BOB and still be wanting.
Do not use a tow rope, especially one rated at only 2,000 lbs., to free a stuck vehicle. Tow ropes don't stretch, you want something that does. It will snap and could cause vehicular damage, bodily injury, and even death--it has happened many times. There's a lot of stored energy in a rope like that when in use and when it breaks, it's violent. Imagine if one of those hooks slipped off or the attachment point broke, a hunk of steel flying at 100mph will do a lot of damage. There are plenty of YouTube videos of tow straps breaking if you want to see some examples. Recovery gear is not something to skimp on, get a proper recovery strap. It will have soft loops on each end, not metal hooks. Saving a little space is not worth the risk.
A non stretch line stores very little energy, so it is actually safer for he operators but unsafe for the vehicles. The stretch allows some of the energy to store in the line, thereby saving the hardware from shock loads and likely breakage. A tow strap is the best method but should be properly sized for the loads, a 4000 lb car stap won't stretch at all pulling an tav out and an atv strap would break under most auto extraction scenarios. Best yet, most useful but hard to deploy is 300' of 3/4" hemp with a multiparty block and tackle. Difficult to deploy but one man can put a 10,000lb pull on a vehicle without risking a second vehicle. I keep that rig in the garage, and I have used it to pull a jeep out of a river.