Like all other suggestion lists, EDC suggestions abound and are wide and varied. The only thing I will suggest to you is that you think long and hard about what you have on you, physically on you or very near you that will help you survive the first hours of a disaster or prevail in the event of a personal attack. I don't mean what you may have in a closet in the other room or downstairs in the car. I mean ON you, right now. I will bend slightly and allow a purse or briefcase that is within arm's reach at all times. Disasters frequently come with little or no warning. They may come from an unexpected direction. You may not be able to get to that closet or down to the car. What I ask people in my classes is what do you have on you at any given moment during the day, if you were to literally have to jump through the window or dash out the nearest doorway in the event of a disaster, that will help get you to a place of safety? Sadly, all too often, the answer is virtually nothing. Below, I will tell you what I carry on me every waking moment of my, 365 days a year. No exceptions.
My EDC, counting my boots and clothing, weighs 13 pounds. Here's the list in no particular order...
- At least one good quality knife is imperative and non-negotiable. I carry 3; a folding, 3-bladed utility knife that I probably use 100 times a day, a Leatherman SuperTool 300 that saves me countless trips to the toolbox in my truck and a small, 3-bladed penknife that is surgically sharp. The penknife has two smaller blades that work well for opening low security locks like cabinets, toolboxes, etc. I have no desire to open any if these things for illegal purposes but during a disaster, it could be a useful skill for finding needed supplies and materials like 1st aid supplies, bedding, food or other potentially lifesaving items. - Chapstick – good for mild burns and protecting minor wounds, helping to start fires, quieting noisy metal-to-metal squeaks in your gear, lubricating threads and it even soothes chapped elbows, knuckles and lips! - A P-38 can opener on my keyring. Good for prying off lids, etc; use as a screwdriver and opening cans. - A small, good quality, one cell flashlight and extra battery. The reason I say one cell is because batteries die at the most inopportune times and it is more convenient to carry only one spare and it takes less time to change it in an emergency. I also carry a little key fob flashlight. It is about the size of a quarter and has a red led light. I carry it for those few times that I may need a subdued, low intensity light. - Earplugs - How many times have you been inadvertently placed in a situation where there was uncomfortable noise like maybe from machines, heavy equipment, music or shooting? - Small disposable lighter. This one really needs no explanation. - A small punch. I carry a Glock punch. Lots of utilitarian uses not only involving firearms but for small, incidental tasks, not necessarily disaster-related. - A watch. This may sound silly as many people, like myself, are never without their watch. Others say that they can simply look at their phone if they want to see what time it is and that's ok for normal, day-to-day use. However, during a disaster, it is more likely that you will lose track of your phone than something that is strapped to your wrist. Why is the ability to tell time so important? Determining pulse rate, accurately reporting events and sightings, meeting up with family members, etc. - Smart phone - barring an EMP, the smart phone can have many uses in an emergency even if the phone system is down or you are out of the service area. Camera, compass and maps to name a few. - Pen - take notes and leave messages. - A quart-size Ziplock bag to protect phone and wallet in case of heavy rain or a water crossing.
- Finish up with a good quality small to medium sized handgun and extra magazine for self-defense. - Training!
How do I carry all this stuff comfortably? Partly because I wear 511 Tactical shirts or equivalent every day of my life. These shirts have large cargo pockets secreted behind the conventional breast pockets where I carry some of the smaller items. Everything else goes in pants pockets or on my belt. It has never been uncomfortable for me. In fact, the comfort that I get from knowing that I have done everything that I can reasonably do to be as prepared as possible negates any inconvenience that any of this may cause.
Your mileage may vary but that's what I do...ALWAYS!