Wednesday, July 16, 2014

EDC (Everyday Carry): What's In Your Wallet?

I left the house a few weeks ago and left my phone. I felt almost naked all day. I do use that phone throughout the day, but not extensively. Have you ever forgot something like that and felt off all day? That’s because that item is part of your EDC or every-day-carry system. Everyone has one. It may just be a purse or wallet. It may be a little more involved depending on the work you do. I used to spend some time on a very active flight line. There were lots of loud aircraft blasting back and forth. Part of my EDC was my earplug container with 2 pair of plugs. Now, I carry different things. During training in the military we were tasked with carrying LBE (load bearing equipment) with various items, canteen, first aid kit, weapon magazine pouch, flash-bang grenades and also our primary weapon, the M-16. If you were caught further away from any of these things, especially your weapon, of more than an arm’s length, you were punished either verbally or through the written word. You didn’t want to have to answer to the 1st Sergeant why you did not secure your weapon.
EDC is something I don’t think about much but is a big part of preparedness. Every person will carry a different group of things. Most of us have a cell phone and a purse or wallet. Ever since I was a teen-ager I have carried a band-aid in my wallet. When I played basketball once in a while I would get a blister. I didn’t want to have to stop playing to take care of my feet, so I carried a band-aid and that would take care of it. I can’t tell you how often that has come in handy for me or for others. This is true especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. I would encourage you to take a look at your EDC system and see if you can change it to make yourself a little more prepared. When I was a Scoutmaster I started to carry a pocket knife. I loved the Swiss army knives for their size, weight, and bulk (SWB) capabilities. I carried one for many years before I went to a Leatherman multi-tool. I now carry a Gerber multi-tool but I think I may switch back to a Leatherman. As you try different things you’ll find out what works for you and what doesn’t. I wanted a knife pouch that had a clip on it so I could transfer my knife from pants to shorts easily without removing the belt. Well, I found one brand called “Rip Off”. It happened to have a side loop for a flashlight. I didn’t want it just sitting there empty so I bought a mini-mag flashlight to go there. I use the flash light at least as much as the multi-tool. It always makes me smile when I use it. I tease my wife with a quote from the movie “The Burbs” with Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks neighbor’s name is Rumsfeld who is obviously ex-military, and he has the best lines in the movie. My favorite quote is “A soldier’s way saves the day!” My kids get sick of me quoting it but it fits how often I use my EDC.
The question is, whether you should incorporate a weapon, lethal or non-lethal, into your EDC. Obviously, if you can’t legally carry a gun you should not. But if you can, and you feel the need, get the proper training and experience, and carry always. The last thing you want to live with is the regret “If I only had my gun, I could have saved that person.” If you have the license, you should always carry, and carry legally. Other weapons are also an option. Non-lethal such as pepper spray, a telescopic baton, or a fighting knife are options with a lethal potential. Get trained and experienced with any of these also. There’s nothing more dangerous than an untrained person with a weapon. Each state and city has their own laws concerning lethal and non-lethal weapons carry. Find out the facts and if you choose to carry a weapon, do so legally.
I realize an EDC system is individual but I’d like to make some suggestions in addition to hearing your suggestions.
I’ve spoken about multi-tools and flashlights. I feel they are invaluable. I also suggest a good pen. I don’t use a pen as much as everything else, but enough to know I need one.
I don’t go anywhere without paracord. Paracord is the cord used to suspend a parachute. It’s strength is 550 pounds. That’s a good amount of strength in a small light package. (More SWB) Since my jump school days when a great guy named CSM Billings gave me a paracord bracelet I have made it a point to have paracord handy. I usually wear a bracelet but I also have about 10 feet wrapped around my knife case belt clip. Ensure the cord you are going to purchase is the true military spec cord. Many will be labeled “military spec” or “official” but don’t be fooled. The actual government stock number is NSN- MIL-C-5040H Type III. Different “types” have different strengths. The true specs on this cord is:
305 tinsel strength on the cord sheath and 35 on each of the 7 strands inside. Ensure your cord has 7 strands. 5 or 3 are lower strength types. Each of the inside 7 strands is made up of 3 strands. Anything less and you get less strength.
I am also a proponent of carrying something to start a fire with. I like a firesteel sparker. I love it’s SWB. A lighter is always a good option. Matches are another. What ever it is, ensure you know how to use it to start a fire. I carry a sparker because I’ve used one for years. But I believe in redundancy. I also know how to build and use a bow and drill. I would have to have the material to build a bow and drill set but I am confident most places I will be I can find what I need. Maybe not in the middle east or northern Africa, but I don’t plan on being there. If I was to be deployed there or would be in those areas for an extended period of time, I’d change my EDC.
Little things such as a safety pin, a band-aid, a spare $20.00, or any other small items you think you may need would be appropriate. I also carry a carabineer and my original “P-38” can opener on my key chain. I don’t feel as strongly about these items so they are not always with me. Most of the time they are. For those of you who are LDS I also carry consecrated oil.
A non-lubricated condom may be a good item (again SWB) that may be used for a water carrying container.
Lost? A compass is a life saver. But, you have to know how to use them. Take a course, find a good book (Boy Scouts of America has great manuals), or ask someone who knows to teach you land navigation. I know of several ways to find direction with the sun and so forth, but I like to carry a button compass so that I don’t have to take the time to do these skills. It’s not a difficult skill, but you need to take the time to learn.
I would recommend a personal weapon of some kind. Lethal or non-lethal weapons should be accompanied by training, practice, and legally carrying.
Survival skills are such an overlooked tool in basic survival. All the equipment in the world won’t help you if you don’t have basic skills. Your EDC should contain you! The skills you have acquired before there is an emergency or disaster. Your preparedness education is the best tool in your EDC.
Like the Boy Scouts “Be Prepared”. Look at your EDC and see where it can be improved. Then use your items to know if they have flaws you can correct. “Carry On”.
Burn
Semper Paratus

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