I’ve been meaning to write a post about my Everyday Carry (EDC) gear, but the recent theft of a friend’s Get Home Bag from her car made it especially timely.
Theft aside, let’s face it: 11 pounds of preparedness goodness — see What’s In The Bag (And Why)? — isn’t much good if you don’t have it when you need it.
Like personalizing a Get Home Bag, there is no “one size fits all” approach to choosing EDC gear. These are the items you choose to carry everyday. They shouldn’t require their own bag, or extra effort. Rather, they should fit in the backpack, briefcase, or handbag with which you already roll.
A good way to start determining EDC gear is to think about situations specific to where and how you live, obstacles you imagine you’ll face, and problems you anticipate having to solve. Are these items you’d be grateful to have?
In my case: I live in Los Angeles, don’t have a car, and work two miles from home. The likeliest disaster threat is an earthquake.
As preparedness minded as I am, like you, I don’t want to schlep my 11-pound Get Home Bag wherever I go.
My decision criteria: most days, I’m within 3-5 miles of home (you think my training runs are 5Ks by coincidence?), so I roll with my EDC only. If I expect to be farther away, such that getting to home or safety might involve days not hours, I take my Get Home Bag.
My EDC gear:
You’ll see my EDC gear reflects my priorities for a Los Angeles emergency 2-3 miles from home: temporary hydration and nutrition, tools related to communication and information, first aid (mostly related to walking/hiking), and the holy trinity of preparedness: a good flashlight, a good knife/multi-tool, and personal items without which I’d be compromised.
I carry just one 125ml bag as EDC, because in an urban environment within three miles of home I am reasonably confident of finding additional access to water (if I need it) until I can get to my own caches.
This is my current fave, but I’m always trying new ones.
Because information is everything and your 4G and Wifi likely won’t work.
This is a password protected, encrypted USB with which I could reboot my entire life from any computer anywhere. But if you’re just getting started it’s an optional item until you’re prepared to organize all your passwords, account numbers, financial details, contact information etc. It’s more work than it sounds! Many prefer online password managers, but I’m old school and prefer something I can hold in my hand that’s not dependent on internet access. In my view, the Aegis allows for more thorough data entry, but regularly updating it and back-ups require discipline.
There are definitely cheaper ways to go, but I dig this! Bottom line, if I’m trapped in or under a building, a good whistle at any price will save your voice, your mobile battery, and possibly your life.
First Aid Kit:
This super small kit is mostly focused on walking/hiking related first aid. There’s room to add other small items.
Swiss Army Knives have uses beyond count. Including opening cans! I don’t consider this knife a weapon, but the weapon vs. no weapon discussion is a blog post unto itself.
Don’t waste your mobile phone battery for light.
Personal Item No. 1: if like me you have medication you take daily, you’ll want some with you in case you get caught out. Same things applies for the spare prescription glasses!
Why the Stim-U-Dent Toothpicks? Because in a disaster it’s good to have at least one thing that provides a momentary sense of mastery or normalcy. This one is mine.
Nearly all of the above fits in a 5.5 x 11 zippered, felt amenities kit bag from Air New Zealand (natch) inside my sleek Thule En Route 18L Backpack (which also contains my laptop and other work gear).