The Boy Scouts of America truly have a great motto, “Be prepared!” For those of us who have decided to join the prepping and survival movement, this is, at least unofficially, our motto too. Being a prepper is all about realizing that bad things happen and decided to be ready when they come.
Because of this decision, we invest our time and money in stockpiling supplies, learning skills and otherwise making sure that when and if a disaster comes along, we won’t be some of those people who are waiting for Big Brother government to rescue us. Rather, we focus on becoming self-sufficient, so that we don’t have to depend on anyone else, when the time comes.
Of course, we never know when such a problem is going to occur. Therefore, we actually need to be ready all the time. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or at work, we need to have the right gear, supplies and attitude to help us survive.
That’s where the EDC comes in. EDC stands for “everyday carry.” Everyone has one of these, whether they realize it or not. Your EDC may not be anything more than your watch, wallet, car keys and cell phone, but it’s still an EDC. Those are the things you have with you every day, no matter what.
But that EDC isn’t likely to help you survive in the midst of a disaster. It might help you get home in that disaster, but even that’s a bit iffy. How are you going to drive home if the bridge is out? How are you going to survive if you can’t get home? If we’re going to follow the Boy Scout motto and be prepared no matter what, we have to be prepared whether we are at home or away from home.
So, What’s in an EDC?
Your EDC can be broken down into two parts: the items you carry on you and the things that you carry in an EDC bag. While there are many different ideas about what an EDC bag is, basically it boils down to being a super-survival kit, with a few extra things thrown in to help you on a day-to-day basis. Basically the reason that you need an EDC bag is that you really can’t carry enough in your pockets, to take care of you in an emergency situation.
There’s another bag, which some people refer to, as the “get home bag.” This is another form of EDC, which has enough survival gear to get you home, if something happens while you are away. But in reality, a good EDC also functions as a get home bag, eliminating the need to carry both.
Start With Your Pockets
Any EDC starts with what you’re carrying on your person. Like I already said, we all have one. Ideally, the things you might need immediately, to get you out of an immediate problem, should be in your pockets, not an EDC bag.
My EDC consists of:
- Concealed carry pistol (obviously I have a license)
- Two spare magazines
- Pocket knife (a knife is the most useful piece of survival gear, bar none)
- Multi-tool (I use this for lots of things, but it’s also useful for survival)
- Wallet – which also contains:
- Stainless steel survival card
- Stainless steel card lockpick set
- Fresnel lens (both for magnifying and to start fires)
- $100 cash, hidden away
- Change for phone
- Tactical flashlight
- Keychain – which also has:
- P-38 can opener
- Handcuff key (not really necessary, but I can’t lose it that way)
- Streamlight “nano” flashlight
- Aluminum vial with tinder
- Cell phone – loaded with useful apps and information for survival
Granted, this is a much more extensive list than most people carry in their pockets, and I have to confess that my keychain is a bit more massive than most people like; but this EDC has evolved over time to what it is today. While I probably could eliminate an item or two, there really isn’t much fat in what I’m carrying.
The EDC Bag
Even with all the stuff I’m carrying in my pockets, I don’t have enough to survive on. About the only thing my EDC will help me survive is a situation with an active shooter. Other than that, most of that stuff is for convenience, more than anything else.
On the other hand, I can easily survive for several days off of what I have in my EDC bag, assuming that I can find sources for water. In addition, it has various things to help me get through day-to-day problems, like getting stuck working in the office overnight, and needing to brush my teeth and apply some fresh deodorant. It also has some minimal first-aid supplies, just in case.
I’m going to break the contents of my EDC bag down into categories, just to make it easier to understand:
- 2 emergency rescue blankets
- 20′ paracord
- Small roll of duct tape (10 yd)
- Rain poncho
- Lifestraw water purifier
- Water bottle (attached to outside of EDC bag)
- Spare plastic bags (4, for use as canteens)
- Snacks (jerky, granola bars, nuts)
- 2 – 12″ x 24″ heavy duty aluminum foil (for cooking food)
- Esbit stove & hexamine fuel tablets
- Collapsible cup
- P-38 can opener
- Survival fishing kit (line, bobbers, weights and hooks)
- Fire starting
- Windproof butane lighter
- Stormproof matches (in waterproof container)
- BlastMatch Jr. – works much better than a Ferro Rod
- WetFire fire starting cubes
- Cotton balls in petroleum jelly (for use as tinder)
- Tactical flashlight (yes, another one)
- Spare batteries for both flashlights
- Sheathe knife
- Multi-tool (another one here too; sometimes I don’t have one on my belt)
- Wire saw
- Military compass
- Maps – both topographical and road
- Abdominal bandage
- Knuckle bandages
- Adhesive bandage strips
- Cohesive medical tape
- Stretchy gauze
- Insect repellent (pocket size)
- Alcohol wipes
- Topical antibacterial ointment
- Steri-strips (for holding closed open wounds)
- 3 day supply of my personal medications
- Personal hygiene
- Anti-bacterial hand cleaner
- One-use toothbrushes
- 3 Compressed towels
- Signaling mirror
- Everyday tools and helps
- Phone charger
- Car cigarette lighter adapter
- Hair bands (for use as rubber bands)
- Paper clips & binder clips
- Safety pins
- Pen & pencil
- Waterproof paper
- Copies of my driver’s license and passport
- Emergency contact phone number list (laminated)
All of this is packed together in a Condor EDC bag, which is a very comfortable cross-body carry bag. While it seems like a lot, the bag is only about 10 inches tall, 8 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Fully loaded, with everything on that list, it doesn’t weigh more than about 10 pounds. But it’s enough for me to use while getting home, even if I have to walk.
Rich is a long-time survivalist, having gotten started in his youth, during the latter part of the Cold War. Yet the collapse of the Berlin Wall didn’t put an end to his survival instinct. He has since added military experience and a career as an engineer to his survival knowledge. This has allowed him to design and build his own survival equipment. He is an accomplished author, who has written over 100 books on all aspects of survival.