Monday, April 18, 2016

EDC Criteria

EDC: The Basics 7/7/2015
Philosophy Of Use For EDC and BOB 9/24/2015
EDC: Important Part Of Preparation 4/13/2015
5 Part EDC Series starting 7/23/14
EDC (Everyday Carry): What's In Your Wallet? 7/16/2014

From the above articles you can see that I think about, and write about, EDC (everyday carry) often. One of the reasons for this is that we all do it, I just think it should be better thought out and planned. In the military we have checklists for everything.

Here is a typical “Purpose” from a military checklist’s Forward.

“This checklist is a step by step guide in abbreviated form for use as a reference to ensure accomplishment of selected tasks by a predetermined sequence procedure. The intent of this checklist is to eliminate the probability of omission of a step in accomplishment of the intended task. The procedures contained herein are presented for use by qualified personnel and are not intended to provide full technical instructions.”

This is why I like lists. I’ve followed them for many years and they work! Follow your checklist and you will not miss a step. Most people seem to want a list for preparation. A food list for food storage, an item list for a first aid kit, a list of contents for a bug out bag. This is what I see and hear in the prep world. I will admit, I use lists too. But preparing is a very individual thing. What’s good for one may not be good for another. Each person likes certain gear, sometimes certain brands of gear. That’s why I always say, look at a list you like, and use it as a foundation and build your own. EDC is no different. I’ve put out what I carry, but that may not be what will work for you. So this article is going to be a little different than most EDC articles. I want to focus on generalities. Between this article and a list you like, you should be able to determine why you carry, what to carry, and how to carry it. Remember relying on someone else’s list just to give you “peace” can be disastrous.

Here are basic concepts.

Why we carry
What we carry
How we carry
What are expectations of what we carry.

Why: Let me say here that I think about this a lot. What are the reasons for what I carry? If I carry something that is not basics of survival (ASWiFFS air, shelter, water, food, fire, and security) then I had better have a specific reason. I also consider SWB (size, weight, and bulk) of my EDC items.
Figure out your own philosophy of use. Why do you carry those items? Are they one of the basics of survival? Does it just give you peace of mind? Is there another item that will do the job better? If you can answer these questions that will give you an idea to whether you should add that item to your EDC.
I carry a gun, a knife, and a tactical pen. Except for the gun the other two items have other uses other than defense. But I’m OK with the redundancy. In contrast, I carry only one item to start a fire with. I’m confident enough in my skills to know that I can also use the batteries in my flashlight for firestarting if I have to.
You have to approach it this way unless you want to carry a bugout bag with you everywhere. Some people do. I have no problem with that. Each of my vehicles has a get home bag in it. Plus every glove compartment has a knife, and a lighter.
I know someone who carries an abbreviated bug out bag with them. It’s a fanny pack. I’ve thought about it but haven’t drank that Kool-aid yet!

What we carry.
I think there are four ideas you should consider when thinking about what you carry. Remember this is only a concept.

1. Who you are. What kind of person do you consider yourself? What kind of shape are you in physically? Would you carry only for you?
My wife sometimes get a little annoyed if I don’t have my EDC pouch. I usually say “I’m sorry I wasn’t prepared FOR you!” My children do the same thing. They know I’m prepared and sometimes they rely on that rather than their own preparedness.
2. Skills. What type and how much training do you have?
I carry a first aid kit in my car. I’ve used it several times. I know how to use everything in there. Would I ever put something in there I don’t know how to use? Possibly. I may learn myself, or be with someone who knows how to us it.
The more you know, the less, or sometimes more, you will have to carry to make up for the lack
of knowledge, or in support of that skill you know. Training trumps gear every time!
3. Location. What is your environment? What considerations must you make because of that environment? Weather and location can change this in a dynamic way. If it goes from sunny to rainy and cold you must consider how to handle that extra threat.

How you carry. How will you carry that gun, knife, first aid kit, tool bag, or whatever you are considering? Will it be safe for you and others? Can you still move/run/walk freely? Will it be accessible? Will it be easy to retain? What are the weight constraints? Can you carry these items anywhere? Are their legal considerations? You must be able to answer these questions at least.

Expectations. What realistic demands do you have from your equipment? There a some considerations when it comes to gear. It’s hard to find an item that will fulfill ALL of these considerations.

1. Fulfills a Survival function. It is real easy to get burdened with lots of “stuff”. EDC is about carrying small items that make a big difference. Investigate every piece of equipment and make sure you are carrying it because it’s essential.
2. Difficult to make. This comes from my “wilderness” standpoint. Be careful not to load yourself down with items that can easily be scavenged if you needed to.

3. Multifunctional – Some items may clearly have more than one use (ie. Multitool), however with some creative thinking, we may come up with multiple uses for even the most basic items you carry. This is a great mental exercise and also a good way of really pairing down your gear if you feel you are currently carrying too much.
4. Legal. You should not be so foolish as to carry anything that is not legal. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Get informed. Also understand, there are many, many, legal alternatives to items that maybe banned. Be creative.

5. Discreet – I am a firm believer in the ‘Grey Man’ theory. You may want to walk around primed for imminent apocalyptic action, just don’t look like you are. Blending with your environment is something you want to and should be able to do. EDC item selection and carry methods can greatly help or hinder this process.

With these considerations, you can determine what you may want to carry. When I have a new item I want to carry, I consider these things and then teat it out. I may want to move the item to a different position or just stop carrying it altogether.

In the military we considered items in our load out on a 4 level scale.

Level 1 – Items carried on your person AT ALL times. In the military these would be items carried in your pockets, affixed to your belt or worn on your person ie. morphine syrettes worn on a neck chain. This translates directly to civilian standards. Our level 1 items would be keys, phone, wallet, personal defensive items etc.

Level 2 – These are items that are always within arms reach, but maybe removed from the body. In military terms, this would be your weapons system and ‘fighting order’, (Body Armor, Assault Vest or equivalent). Fighting orders revolve around the necessity to carry ammunition, water, emergency medical equipment and some key survival items.

This easily translates to civilian applications with the exception being the method for carrying items. Military style webbing system may not be an appropriate choice in most cases. More likely, essential items are going to be stowed in a fanny pack, small shoulder bag, backpack, or purse. Also consider the type of clothes you are wear and what stowage options are afforded to us by these. I like heavy duty 6 pocket pants and a good belt.

Level 3 – These are items needed for extended operations (>12hrs), but maybe stowed during attack/assault phases of operations. Normally this larger pack (Ruck or Bergen) will contain additional supplies ammunition, batteries, food, sleeping system, field equipment such as shelter, wash kit, stove, additional clothing items etc.

For those who have given consideration to larger scale preparedness, level 3 is the equivalent of a ‘Bug Out’ bag. The intention here is to carry the essential items to sustain the individual for a period of up to 72hrs. This bag is normally stowed in a vehicle or at home/office, as opposed to being constantly carried.

There is a lot written about what constitutes the ‘ultimate’ Bug Out Bag, but often, in my mind, there is WAY too much equipment advised to be carried at this level, and this is where the dangers of ‘the list’ really begin to manifest themselves. That doesn’t mean there aren’t advocates of burdensome carry at level 1 and 2 also!

Level 4 – These are typically ‘on base’ level items, which can be kept in a trunk, locker, in barracks or equivalent.

In EDC terms, level 4 will be items we potentially have stored at home for replacement or supplementation of regular EDC items if needed.

I know this seems like a lot to consider with only a handful of EDC items you carry but it’s necessary. You could carry quite a bit plus the kitchen sink, but occasionally you should reconsider what you’re carrying and whether it is necessary or needed.
You will find that your EDC will change as you change. You will get older, wiser with more knowledge or training, experienced, and there is gear that may not be invented yet. You should be open and have a set of standards and criteria your EDC items must meet before you will consider them.

Semper Paratus
Check 6