Having emergency supplies is a fundamental component of being a prepper. We have no way of knowing where we’ll be when a disaster or emergency strikes. For instance, the 1989 earthquake in the SF Bay Area hit with no warning at all at the height of the rush hour.
Mudslides. Avalanches. Earthquakes. Levy breaks. Tsunamis. Tornadoes. And terrorist acts. Every single one of these unpredictable events has happened in recent memory.
Or you may just break down on the side of the road!
However, carrying a full survival kit around with you is not always practical or realistic. This is where an EDC (Every Day Carry) kit comes in. These kits contain everything you need to keep yourself in one piece should you get stuck in a SHTF situation while at work, in the car or anywhere else where you may not have immediate access to your gear.
Although they contain all the tools we need to survive; these kits are lightweight, durable and completely portable. This means they can be kept in your briefcase, in your bookbag/backpack, in your desk at work or in your purse, etc.
Here is a list of items for building an Every Day Carry kit that you can fit into a 1-quart ziplock bag:
- Pocket Knife – a knife is always valuable whatever situation you find yourself in. Whether you need to build a shelter, start a fire or defend yourself – a knife is a must have for any survival kit. Pocket knives are foldable knives with a blade usually between 2 – 6 inches in length. The small size makes them lightweight and perfect fit for our EDC kit (students, teachers or people that work in government buildings need to ensure this is allowed).
- Paracord – a survivalist’s favorite tool (along with duct tape). Paracord is strong, light and doesn’t rot. Like our pocket knife it can be used for more tasks than you can think of. That being said I wouldn’t recommend carrying enough Paracord to make a complicated rope ladder but having enough to enable you to tie a splint to a broken bone or to erect a shelter would be appropriate. Consider no less than a 30 foot length.
- Emergency blanket – a survival kit without an emergency foil blanket is an incomplete one. These things are lifesavers! If you get stranded in harsh conditions without an emergency blanket you are in big trouble. Besides from their obvious use they can also be used as a quick pitch shelter. Emergency blankets are light, thin and fold into a very small size square so it will fit nicely into a ziplock bag.
- Disposable Lighter – The ability to make fire is always crucial. Also used to seal the ends of your paracord after it’s been cut. Don’t scrimp here. Get a Bic brand or something similar. The cheap, “5 for a dollar” variety leak, don’t work when you need them and are a general waste of money.
- Food – Our EDC is nowhere near big enough or diverse enough to maintain our survival for a long period of time. However it will keep us alive while we make our way to our kit that will. Food in our EDC will be an energy bar of some description. An energy bar will give us the boost we may need to complete the final stages of our journey home without taking up space in our kit. These bars contain between 200-300 calories which provide us with usable “food energy” as opposed to a caffeine rush that will drastically drop off. Also consider Millennium Food Bars. While they must be ordered online, the each have 400 calories, and a 5-year shelf life.
- First aid supplies – it is very easy to get carried away with first aid supplies. Stocking up on all different shapes and sizes of bandages, splints, medicines etc is great but not suitable at all for our EDC. We need to keep things to a minimum so what we carry will depend on what you do on a daily basis and the area where you live. In any standard EDC kit I would expect to see a couple of band aids, small gauze, a CPR mouth barrier, some superglue, tape and a pair of latex gloves. This is by no means a comprehensive first aid kit but remember our EDC is to make sure we get home to our full kit – we need to carry light.
- Emergency poncho – these are essential to any EDC where there is even a remote chance of being caught outside in cold or wet conditions. An emergency poncho will be lightweight, folds small and provide great waterproofing to help keep you dry. Like the emergency blanket, this could be used for a shelter or as a water carrier if needed.
- Money – cash may be needed for an unexpected bus or cab ride. It can also be used for getting yourself out of an uncomfortable situation. ATM’s may not be working or may not be nearby, having an emergency supply of cash (no more than $100) will help you get to where you need to be.
- Flashlight – a small LED flashlight can give a bright beam of light which can help during a night time emergency. These flashlights are durable and lightweight – exactly what we need for our EDC kit.
- Emergency water – include another folded quart ziplock and water purification tablets (such as Potable Aqua or Aquamira brand tablets). This will be crucial when you’re uncertain about your water supply. Filter the water first through a shirt, scarf or bandana to remove as many particulates as possible.
- Aluminum foil – a 2-foot length of foil, folded into a small, compact square takes up virtually no space, and can become an improvised cup, a cooking surface, a signalling mirror or dozens of other uses.
This is a very basic kit and the contents should be adjusted to fit your personal needs and circumstances. This kit is designed to get you out of harm’s way wherever you may be so it must be as small and as light as it can be while still providing you with the tools needed to survive.
Using a 1-quartt ziplock bag will help you to minimize what you carry on a daily basis, making it more likely you’ll have it with you at all times.