Thursday, February 10, 2011

Every Day Carry (EDC)

The equipment that you carry with you on an everyday basis may be the only thing that you will have available if a survival or crisis situation hits. This equipment is often referred to as Every Day Carry or EDC. This article will give some examples to equipment that you can carry with you to give you some resources to handle a survival situation or everyday problems.

A Survival Knife is one of the most versatile tools that you can carry with you. Knives come in many shapes and forms. Fixed Blade Knives are great for hiking, hunting and other wilderness activities but are not an item that can be carried in your pocket. For every day carry more compact alternatives such as a Folding Knife, Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Tool is a more practical solution. A Compact Folding Knife like the Fällkniven U-4, Spyderco Ladybug, Victorinox Classic SD or Wenger Executive 81 can easily be carried along with you keys. Leatherman and Gerber also have a number of compact Multi-Tools designed to be carried on Key rings.

Flashlights can be used for many things during your everyday life. During a survival situation a flashlight may provide light, be a tool for searching after people or lost equipment and signaling for help. I recommend that you get a compact LED Flashlight that uses either an AA or AAA battery since these are widely available and has a low price. Modern high quality flashlight are often digitally regulated and can give a very low or high output of light making it possible to have the advantage of very strong light for signaling with possibility of very long battery life if this would be necessary. There are many companies but the flashlight from Fenix and 4Sevens are among the very best. Some interesting models are the
Fenix LD-10
Fenix L0D / Fenix LD01 / Fenix E01
Fenix LD05 Pen Light / Fenix LD03 Pen Light
4Sevens Quark MiNi AA
4Sevens Preon 2 Pen lamp
4Sevens Preon 1 / 4Sevens Preon ReVO

The anglelights / headlamps from ZebraLight or the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact can also be an interesting alternative. There also a number of compact key ring lights like the Photon Micro-Light II, the Photon ReX Rechargeable, Streamlight Nano Light, Streamlight Key-Mate, and the rechargeable Skylight LED lamp with solar panels from Exped.

A compact First Aid Kit containing some basic medication can help you if you would get a headache, diarrhea or smaller cuts. Plasters, sutures, sutures, disinfection wet-wipes, hand disinfection, pain-killers and anti-diarrheal tablets can help you cope with many problems. A compact tweezers can be used to remove splinters and other small discomforts. If you have any medical condition that requires medication like asthma or allergies make sure to include these in your Every Day Carry.

A Water Bottle is an excellent item to carry with you on an everyday basis. It allows you to always have water available. A normal soda bottle or mineral water bottle works very well but there are also high quality water bottles from Nalgene, Camelbak, Klean Kanteen, SIGG and other companies available.

Even if you are not a smoker some item that allows you to start a fire can be useful. A Lighter, a box of matches or a Fire Steel is the most common tools used. A normal BIC lighter is one of the cheapest and most effective methods of starting a fire but if you want a more good looking alternative you can check out the lighters from Zippo, Silva and Wenger.

The Cell Phone is a very useful item today. It allows you the contact friends gather information and call for help during an emergency. Many modern cell phones also have GPS, a flashlight, FM/AM radio, camera and many other features. A water proof container is a very useful thing to have when hiking or traveling through bad weather since it protects your phone from dirty and water. If you put In Case of Emergency (ICE) numbers in your phone it’s easy for other to contact your friends and family if you would ever be in an accident. If the battery capacity for your phone is low a spare battery or charger may be a wise addition to carry with you.

A wrist watch allows you to always keep track of time and can also be used for navigation if you learn this skill. Many watches also have other useful functions like electronic compass, altimeter, barometer, countdown timer, thermometer, sunrise-sunset alarm and other features. Suunto and Casio make some watches that have many of these features. There are also compact button compasses that are designed to be carried on a watch strap like the Silva Carabineer 40 and Suunto Clipper.

Pen and Paper are useful items that allow you to leave a message to other during an emergency and write down useful information. A normal notebook will do just fine for most occasions but if you often have to make notes outdoors or in bad weather I recommend that you get one of the notebooks from Rite-In-The-Rain. There are also very useful notebook covers from Snigel Design, Maxpedition and Blackhawk. A normal pen will make do for almost every situation but there are a long number of companies that makes high quality pens like the Fisher Space Pen. Some companies also makes what is referred to as “tactical pens”, these pens are often very expensive, made from very sturdy materials and may include features like a glasbreaker. Benchmade, CRKT and Surefire are some of the companies that make this type of pens.

550 Paracord is another very useful item that can be used for repair, to secure equipment and much more. Paracord is often made into bracelets so that it can be carried with you at all times.

Your wallet normally contains critical items like ID, Passport, Vaccination Card, Credit Cards, Cash and Coins for making calls. There are also credit card tool kits like the Victorinox SwissCard Lite and kits from Tool Logic that can be easily carried with you at all times. There are also other specialized credit card kits like sewing kits available. A fake wallet with an old ID and a little cash can be a useful item to have if crime rate and the risk of robbery are high in your area.

There is compact Nylon Pockets designed to either be carried in the pockets of cargo pants or packs called EDC Organizers from Maxpedition, Blackhawk and other companies. These pockets can make it easy to store all the items in one location, keep them organized and move them from one set of clothing to another. If you have much of your gear in a bag larger pocket or containers can also be an interesting alternative. There are many alternatives that can hold your gear, if you want a container that keeps your items even more safe an alternative can be the compact containers from Pelican. The Pro Survival Kit Company have a belt called the “Multi Purpose Belt” with small pockets that can hold some basic items concealed and make it easy to always have some gear with you.

A Pocket Survival Kit is a simple concept that makes it easy to carry the most important items with you at all times. The Get Home Bag and Light Weight Bug Out Bag is also concepts that can make it easy to always have the most important gear with you. There is no clear line between Pocket Survival Kits, Get Home Bags, Light Weight Bug Out Bags and a comprehensive Every Day Carry.

Clothing
Your clothing is also a very important part of your Every Day Carry. Your clothing provides you with your shield against elements like heat, cold, rain and wind. Your clothing must be appropriate for the climate where you live. A Shell Jacket provides excellent protection from wind and rain. Merino wool is an excellent fabric for base layers, t-shirts, socks and underwear that is both durable, still provides heat if it gets wet, is resistant to odors and can still be washed in a normal washing machine. Your foot wear is also critical, can you run or walk long distances in the shoes you are wearing and can they cope with the terrain around you? There are compact whistles that can be attached to zippers like the AeroWave, these whistles makes it easy to always have a whistle available for signaling, these are both compact and can be found for a price around 1 dollar.

How Much Items Should You Be Carrying?
How much items one should be carrying is a very hard question to answer. It’s fully possible to fit almost every conceivable item for survival into a pair of cargo pants. The important question is how much you feel comfortable with carrying. You must find a balance between the space and weight of the items in relation to you personal needs. It’s better to have a few important items that is always with you than to have a high number of items that you never carry with you. Some items you may never actually need and other items you may end up using almost every day. If you have a very comprehensive Every Day Carry and don’t want to carry your items inside a Get Home Bag or Light Weight Bug Out Bag there are Jackets and other form of clothing from the company SCOTTeVEST that have high number of pockets designed to carry an high amount of equipment.

Your personal situation may mean that you can’t carry all the items with you at all times, your work situation or other factors may prevent this. So for this reason it can be important to have a flexible system and EDC organizers can make this easier for you when they let you separate different gear but still make it easy to include them into your pack or clothing.

When you change your clothing ALWAYS put your Every Day Carry items at the same place or location, this makes it easy to always find your items and see if you have them with you or not. Your EDC items are not of much use if you never can find them. It’s also good if you always keep your items in the same pockets of your clothing or at the same place in your pack so that you can easily find them and notice if they are missing.

Summary
Your Every Day Carry is the set of items that you carry with you at all times to help you with your very day problems and provide tools to handle a crisis or survival situation. There is no set of gear that is perfect for every situation and every setting so you must find a set of gear that works for you and your specific situation. Since these are items that you carry with you at all times I suggest that you go for compact, light weight and high quality items.

It is possible to carry a very comprehensive set of equipment that can allow you to perform a high number of tasks or a smaller number of items. What you should be carrying and how much items you should carry is decision that you have to make based on your personal setting. Even if you can carry all items you would like to on your person it is still possible to have a few extra items in your jacket or bag, a small kit where you work, some basic tools or even a fully equipped Bug Out Bag in your vehicle. Find an overall solution that fits your specific needs.

Your equipment is only a small part of being prepared for disasters and survival situations. The most important part of being prepared is your own skills, knowledge, training, physical fitness, health and will to survive. The tools that you carry with you can be very useful but even if you have high quality equipment it can always be lost or break.

Also see:
Pocket Survival Kits
Get Home Bag (GHB)
Light Weight Bug Out Bags
Bug Out Bag and Checklist

3 comments:

  1. Good list.... but you forgot about a firearm..... MUCH better for self-defense than a knife....

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Partner 2AA flashlight is one of those extra things that I keep in my bag.
    It met all my needs and expectations: bright, small, light weigh and has easy operation.

    ReplyDelete