I’m one of those weirdo’s that carries around basic supplies one might need in an emergency. Whether it be surviving a power outage at the office, or a hurricane wiping out your entire city, I’m ready. And you can be too. I take some jokes for carrying around a backpack everywhere, but I seem to be everyone’s friend when they need a multitool, some water, or a flashlight. In this blog entry, I would like to discuss what I feel is important to include in a general bug-out bag, for Every Day Carry use.
The bag: I suggest a bag or tactical backpack that is comfortable enough to carry for at least 10 miles if necessary. My personal choice is the X1-E made by Eberlestock.com. The pack is comfortable, discrete, and holds all my daily gear. Blackhawk tactical also makes some decent packs as does 5.11 tactical.
Water: I suggest at least 1L, or 32 oz. Nalgene screw lid bottles work great, they are solid and leak proof. Bonus points for having a way to purify it, so tablets or a filter are a nice plus to carry as well.
Tool Kit:In addition to a tactical knife, I keep a Leatherman Surge or Wave, with the accessory bit kit which covers most Phillips, common, and torx screws. A small folding allen wrench set is also useful. Additional saw blades are handy too if you ever have to use it.
Spare batteries: I recommend at least 48 hours worth of batteries for anything that will be using them. If your flashlight lasts 8 hours on one set, you need 6 extra sets. Repeat for all critical electronics. Only buy Energizer Lithium brand, and Surefire brand. Nothing lasts longer.
A Map: Do not depend on your smartphone to work. Keep a folding map so you can find your way if lost. Include a sheet with a list of important addresses, like fire and police, and your most reliable friends and family.
Trauma Kit:Usually a simple blow out kit for dealing with massive hemorrhaging is all you need. It really only needs to keep you alive until you can reach professional care. Compression bandages, gauze, tape, more gauze, anything to stuff in a wound to slow the bleeding.
Convenience medical supplies: I suffer from seasonal allergies, so I keep some Benadryl in my pack, as well as chap stick, and insect repellent.
Flashlight: Spend a few extra bucks in this area and get a good quality tactical flashlight. I highly recommend any Surefire brand LED model. Definitely get LED over incandescent. LED lasts far longer, and is usually brighter, and you wont need to carry a spare bulb. In addition to a tactical flashlight, I also suggest a simple headlamp. Energizer makes a good one. Mine has Spot, Flood, Both, and Red light selection. Sometimes you need your hands free.
Spare socks, underwear, and clothes: These seem to get the most use in my kit. If you have to wear nice expensive clothes to work, its nice to have something to change into if you have to change a flat tire in the 100 degree Texas heat. And if you end up walking, you will be glad you brought spare socks. Pack spare shoes too if your daily footware is not comfortable for walking long distances.
Rain Gear: I cannot stress this one enough. Get a cheap GI poncho and roll it up. No one ever thinks about bringing rain gear until its raining. Plus a poncho can double as a lean-to shelter, or hammock.
String/Cord: You will inevitably need to tie something together, secure something, or repair something. Some 550 parachute cord is a lifesaver. I suggest carrying about 100 feet. Its breaking strength is 550 lbs, so its pretty strong for its size. If you don’t need that strength for that particular task, you can remove the inner fibers, their should be 7, and save them for use for something else. Keep the 550 cord wrapped around something so it doesn’t get tangled. I wrap mine around my nalgene bottle and it also serves as a koozie to keep my drink cold. You can also toss the bottle to someone if you need to throw them a line, IE: drowning person, etc.
Snacks: Realistically you aren’t going to NEED food for just a few days. But it is a nice convenience. I keep a couple cans of tuna and a few cereal bars. Sometimes a snack can boost your morale.
Optional (for those who don’t want to be defenseless)
Rifle: In my bag I also carry a rifle. I prefer a short to medium range semi-automatic. I choose the Mini-14 with a scope because it is simple, accurate enough for self defense, and has a non-menacing look. I also suggest carrying at least 75rnds of ammo, in magazines already, for the rifle. Note: make sure carrying a loaded rifle is legal in your state first. In TX, it is.
Pistol: If you don’t have your concealed handgun license yet, I’m not sure what you are waiting for. Get it. Carry a pistol (preferably the same caliber and model) in your bag as you carry on your person. That way you can share magazines with your daily carry pistol if necessary. On my person, I carry a Glock 26. In my bag, I keep the slightly more accurate Glock 34. But they are both 9mm and use the same magazine.
In Summary: The greatest asset you can carry with you is creativity and willpower. But you need to have some basic supplies to assist in a time of need. If you are depending on anything but yourself, you have failed to plan properly.