While the tradition bushman may carry nothing more than his spear and a brain full of knowledge, what I refer to as the modern bushman may want to have a few more things handy to make everyday journeys a bit easier. Whether your out for a short stroll around town or headed crossed country, the personal Every Day Carry, or EDC, kit is a good idea to have handy. Highly personalized to the individual carrying it, the EDC can be anything from a simple key chain flashlight and a pocket knife to a miniature emergency survival kit. The sole purpose of the EDC kit is to have what you need when you need it. So when assembling your kit, be reasonable in the things you pack. Keep in mind that if the kit is too big, you probably won’t carry it everyday.
To Each His Own – My EDC Kit:
Below is a list of the items I carry in my personal EDC kit. During the planning phase, I made a packing list to deal with two types of scenarios. The first list was of things I may need from time to time, perhaps as frequent as bi-weekly usage. The second list covered the survival scenario with just enough kit to get me to my car (and to my vehicle bug out pack) or home. As mentioned before, the EDC kit is highly personalized and the items carried will vary in importance with the person carrying it, so pack wisely.
The EDC Packing List:
- 1 each, Voodoo Tactical EMT Pouch (available here from our friends at Bugout Equipment) – used as the carrier for the kit. The pouch as molle compatible webbing sewn on both the front and rear exterior for use as additional attachment points for other items.
- 1 each, Omega Carabiner - rated to 8,000 pounds, this mil spec carabiner is attached to the outside of my kit via the M.O.L.L.E. straps. It can be used as a handle, a hook to hang the kit from, as a pulley, rappelling, etc.
- 1 each, Sharpie permanent marker – a permanent marker is great for writing on just about any surface. Use it to make a patrol map, leave notes, or doodling when your bored out of your mind.
- 1 each, MiniMag LED AA flashlight – this small sized flashlight uses the latest LED technology and features two brightness settings, a flashing mode, and a S.O.S. mode . Using only two readily available AA sized batteries, it’s capable of emitting upto 96 hours of usable light.
- 1 each, Outdoor Research waterproof dry bag (small size) – can be used as a water container to carry water, dry bag to keep your tinder dry, a container for transporting foraged foods, etc. You can never have enough containers, in the city or in the wild.
- 2 each, plastic waterproof match containers – I use the first container to store approximately 19 hand selected “Strike Anywhere” matches. Although I don’t think the matches can rattle enough to accidentally ignite, I stuffed a dry cotton ball into the top of the container to prevent movement and to use as emergency tinder in a pinch. The second container is stuffed with six (6) petroleum jelly covered cotton balls (P-balls). These make excellent emergency tinder as it’s a “single spark ignition” tinder and burns for over 4 minutes, giving you plenty of time to tinker with the kindling and get your fire going. The petroleum jelly can also be rubbed off onto your finger to treat chapped lips, wind burns, lubricate mechanical parts, etc. The exterior of these plastic match cases are wrapped with 5′ each of commercial grade duct tape.
- 1 each, Gerber Multi-Tool – this is just a basic multi-tool that certainly has multi-uses. It’s got needle nose pliers w/wire cutters/wire crimp and a short ruler etched into the handle. Inside the handle is are both straight edge and a serrated edge knives, philips screw driver, small + medium + large flat screw driver, can opener, a lanyard ring, bottle opener, file, saw and a pair of scissors. The way you utilize this tool is endless.
- 1 each, emergency “space” blanket - 52 x 84 inches of heavy duty mylar sheet. This is sold as a emergency blanket, boasting 90% reflection of radiated heat. I haven’t tested these claims yet, but in a non-formal testing, I did notice it does reflect quite a bit of radiated heat. Other uses include building a shelter, waterproof rain gear, emergency pack roll, signaling device, rain catch, rolling it into a makeshift sleeping bag stuffed with dry leaves for insulation, etc.
- 1 each, Rite-In-Rain All Weather notepad – this notepad provides approximately 50 sheets of 3×5 waterproof paper. I will not write down all the uses for paper here, but you get the idea. On the covers of this notepad are map scales for 1/25,000, 1/50,000, and 1/100,000 maps, as well as a standard and metric rulers, and a conversion table for measuring various lengths.
- 1 each, 100′ roll of bright orange surveyor’s tape – this tape is simply awesome for marking trails. Use it to aid you in making a patrol map or tie strips of it to trees to help you find your way back from an unfamiliar trail. Twist it into twine and use it to make rope. The uses here are many, all up to your imagination.
- 1 each, pea-less safety whistle – although this is a single use item, it’s an indispensable one. They are inexpensive and generate a tremendous amount of annoying noise so search & rescue can locate you. The noise can also we used to scare off predators. I know, I’ve scared off my wife into the next room a few times.
- 1 each, LARABAR cherry pie fruit/nut bar – this is my emergency ration. I chose this bar because it tastes great. I figured if I’m lost and I have one bar, I want something that I’m going to really enjoy eating. As an added bonus, this bar is 100% natural and provides the following: Total calories: 200 / 70 from fats to keep me going, 380 mg of Potassium (almost 10x more than Gatorade) to keep my muscles working, and 23 grams of Sugar for on demand, turbo-charged performance.
- 1 each, 50′ mil spec paracord in a ZipLoc bag - the milspec 550 paracord is made from 7 strands of white nylon that’s covered in a nylon sleeve. When used as is, the cord will support upto 550lbs non-shocking load. In an emergency, the inner strands can be removed from the sleeve to give you eight times (8x) extra cordage for binding, tying, or making whatever you want. My 50′ length of 550 paracord is tied into a daisy chain to make it easier to handle.
- 1 each, ferro rod with 10′ paracord lanyard – by far the coolest way to start a fire in any situation. Ferro rods last for thousands of strikes, work even when wet, and can be used to light anythings from paper to P-balls (mentioned above) to natural tinder. Don’t get wrapped around the axle about one brand claiming they throw off more sparks than another or that it’ll last 1000 more strikes. Fact is, if you’re ever involved in an actual survival situation and started so many fires that your ferro rod is heavily worn down, you probably should replace it once you’re rescued. I have 10′ of mil spec paracord lanyard attached to my ferro rod. It may not seem like much, but even 10′ of mil spec paracord is extremely useful and can come in handy when you’ve burned through your regular supply of it.
- 1 each, 4′ length of 1/4″ clear plastic tubing – primarily kept as an emergency drinking tube for extracting water in unreachable places, this tube can also be used for siphoning other liquids. I suppose in a pinch, it can be used as a snorkel, but with limited efficiency. I tried it. Its use as a snorkel really is limited because it’s really hard to get enough oxygen through it. If anything, you have 4′ extra of cordage.
- 1 each, 3′x4″ clear plastic tubberware – I hate clutter and this is what I use to organize some of the smaller items in my kit. However, if need be, it’s a drinking cup or a storage container for fishing bait or edibles.
- 10 each, water purification tablets – water is by far, one of the most critical items in a survival situation and having a way to purify water from a questionable source is life-saving. I carry ten (10) of these, enough to give me 10 quarts or 2.5 gallons of safe drinking water. These do expire so be sure to check your expiration dates.
- 4 each, BC Powder – some of you may already know this compound, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with BC Powder, you’re now stoked. This white powdery substance is a compound made from 845mg of Aspirin and 65mg of caffeine. It’s used for FAST treatment of headaches, muscle aches, fever, colds and minor arthritis pains. I do mean fast. And the taste isn’t too bad, either. Imagine what powdered aspirin tastes like and there you go. Follow manufacturer’s direction when consuming.
- 9 each, large size Band-Aids – cuts and scraps aren’t life threatening for the most part, but when your immune system sucking, you don’t want to take chances. Beside, little cuts are more annoying than anything and you can use these Band-Aids to keep the flapping skin out of your way.
- 1 each, clear plastic cigarette lighter with flame adjustment – although starting a fire with a ferro rod or a hand drill is way cooler, the plain ol’ plastic lighter with a see through body is the way to go. It’ll start fires faster than you can say “Oh crap, I’m lost.” Or at a BBQ, you can save the day by being “the guy” who has a lighter handy. Be warned, these lighters have gassed out on me a few times, so be sure to periodically check the butane level. When it gets low, give it to your buddy and get you a new one.
- attempt to pack items that serve more than one purpose – you have limited space so think about using one item to accomplish two or more tasks
- steer away from highly specialized items if you can (specialty items are hard to service/repair)
- remember that it’s not just for survival items. It’s stuff you can use daily if need be. Just remember to replenish your supplies as needed.