Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EDC Series: Air and Shelter (Part 1 of 5)

What do you think of when you hear Everyday Carry (EDC)? EDC means different things to different people. (see blog 7/16/2014 EDC What’s In Your Wallet?)
In this series, I’m going to go through ideas for “kit”, loadout, or whatever you may call your basic EDC.
In doing this series, I’ve reevaluated my idea of EDC. This is where I am working from:
Level 1: Clothing and everything on your person.
Level 2: Items in a pack, bag, purse, or case that you have with you all the time.
Level 3: Items in your vehicle (Obviously if you are on foot Levels 1 and 2 apply only)
When I teach survival or preparedness I teach with this foundation and the acronym ASWiFFS. That is: Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, Security. That is what I will base this basic EDC on.
The first being Air. We need air to survive. So do I suggest keeping a can of air in your backpack? I might consider it… Air is free but the quality can sometimes be in question. I have a nephew who was a smokejumper. Air quality is very important to your survival around a forest fire. My EDC actually includes a N85 or N95 mask. This mask is good for pandemics, fires, and nuclear mitigation. But I keep this in a “get-home-bag” in my vehicles. I’m not sure that counts as everyday carry. A handkerchief or hand towel is also better than nothing. If you carry a mask, take note in how to use it correctly. That’s all I really have in the area of air.
What you carry your EDC in will determine if shelter items can be included. I believe in considering 3 things when it comes to EDC, size, weight, and bulk (SWB). When I am in my vehicle, my get-home-bag takes care of a lot of needs. I also carry water (at least 3 gls) and a first aid kit, toilet paper, and blanket. Each vehicle has a basic tool kit, and jumper cables. Each car has a basic knife and lighter in each glove box. So, if I am with my vehicle, I am with a lot of preparedness gear.
Some people may take a fanny pack or a small backpack with them everywhere. Many women carry purses. If I am on foot, I only have what’s in my knife case and holster, what is in my pockets, and what is in my wallet. So the way you decide to carry everything with you everywhere, will determine what you can carry.
This entry is actually going to be about Shelter.
I do not carry anything with that would be considered shelter. If I am in my vehicle, I consider it shelter. But what I do carry, is things to build shelter with. Learn what improvised shelter is and how to make it. Anything can be shelter. A cave, a tarp, a fallen tree, a car, or a building. Determine what your needs are for your situation. I have tools, and paracord. With these two items, I can make a shelter.
There are numerous places to learn to make shelter. A class or course would be best. But you can learn from the internet, videos, books, and magazines. Boy Scout and old military survival manuals are a good source. Learn what works for insulation and what will keep out rain.
I keep a length of paracord on my knife case and wear a parcord bracelet all the time.
Some would say the shelter is not the first worry in survival. If it is cold you need shelter before anything else. If it is hot water may take priority over shelter. But depending on the situation, shelter may move up to the top in a hot environment too.
Depending on your EDC preferred carry, a emergency blanket or emergency poncho could be used as a improvised shelter. Some people may use a fanny pack, briefcase, or backpack in which case they would have room.
There are tube tents which are light and portable. Those would fit nicely into a backpack and are very SWB friendly. Just a small tarp could be a shelter against rain, sun and wind. A poncho, similar to a military poncho, is designed to be more than a poncho.
A debris shelter can be built with a variety of things.
Here is a basic design and instruction:
1. Find a large forked tree or rock that looks like it would make a great place to stay. You may also make a bottomless triangle with large sticks and place the ends of the sticks in the ground. Not too close to the water or not near the home of any animals.
2. Find one big stick known as the backbone. It must be very tall and thick. Lean it up against the tree or rock that you have picked.
3. Find many sticks. Gather lots of then and lean them according to height to the stick. When all of your sticks are tightly together, leave an opening for you to get in.
4. Take lots of leaves and put them on your structure there should be more than 1 inch of leaves and small branches.
Any variation to these instructions can be made to fit what your situation is.
In the end, skill trumps gear and you should know how to improvise to survive.
Carry what you need and you will never be caught unprepared.

Semper Paratus