Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Inevitable EDC Post:

Survival can mean a lot of different things in a lot of situations.  In a bad natural disaster situation, it can reference you surviving as you fight your way home through clogged streets and damaged urban areas to meet up with your wife because you were at work when a tornado landed in your part of town and started causing massive property damage.  It can mean you surviving as you and your family bug out to your backup location in the event of social unrest that happens to take over your area of town where your apartment is.  It can even mean you continuing to have a life in the event of total social chaos where the entire structure of civilization breaks down.  Survival.

Today, I'm talking about a different type of survival: every day survival.  That's right, welcome to my every-day-carry post.  Before I begin, I'd like to make a recommendation.  If you ever find yourself bored and want to be entertained, might I suggest doing a search of "EDC" on Youtube?  I promise you it's worth the time because some of those geniuses crack me right up.  In fact, a lot of those videos are actually a good example of what not to do.  I will now explain how so, in my typical fashion.  Please try not to be offended.  Remember, in reality, you want to be doing pretty much the OPPOSITE of what a lot of those internet spec-warriors are doing:

1.  Why carry one concealed firearm when you can carry two?  After all, during the course of the day in your quiet everyday life, you might find yourself suddenly embroiled in a major shoot-out showdown with several gang members.  So you need to be prepared!  Also, be sure to carry two different firearms made by two different manufacturers.  That way you'll also need to carry twice the number of magazines, because you have to carry a magazine and at least one spare (true internet SWAT spec-ops sheepdogs carry two or three) for each gun you have.  So be smart, make things more difficult for yourself and carry guns that feature magazines that aren't compatible.

2.  Carrying a knife?  An excellent idea, so given that logic, carrying two or even three knives would be even more excellent! Hey, you never know when one might break or be lost during that inevitable hand-to-hand combat you find yourself in, so that backup folder (on your non-dominant hand side, of course) will really come in handy.

3.  Keychain?  Real survivalists carry a keychain that has eight or nine different survival tools on it.  Mini-flashlights, screwdrivers, can-openers, Swiss Army knives, back-up rings with spare keys in case one of the keys on the main ring breaks, and one of those cool kubaton keychains that nobody knows how to correctly use, all this and more is found on a real EDC keychain.  If you can use your keychain as a bludgeon in your time of need, so much the better!  That way you're never without a way to defend yourself!

4.  Know what you need?  You need to carry multiple writing pads on your person along with multiple writing instruments at all times, because you never know when you might need to jot down an idea during a gunfight and need to rewrite it on the backup pad after your main pad is shot out of your hand Wild-West style during that mall shoot-out with that mad-dog street gang you found yourself pulled into, you know, doing your sheep-dog duty and all.

Ok, I think you get the idea.  Essentially, what I'm saying is that there are a lot of Youtube preppers out there who apparently wear cargo pants every day, and you've got to hear these guys coming with the way they're rattling and clanking around every step they take.  I mean, I myself have cargo pants that I wear on occasion, but these guys apparently have the room to stow several lbs of stuff on their person at any given time.  It is not uncommon to see a guy's EDC video laid out just as I have (sarcastically) described it: multiple handguns, multiple knives, multiple writing instruments, multiple pads, a huge keychain, and more, all that they swear they carry on their person every single day.  These are usually the same mouthbreathers who spend a great many posts or videos talking about the need to be ever vigilant every moment of every day, even when asleep, because you never know when the balloon will go up, and you, Joe Citizen will be called upon to "do your part" and "protect the sheep".  (Does the Meet the Fockers two fingers pointed at my eyes, then I swivel the hand to point the two fingers at you) Youtube poster Nutnfancy* has done a really good job of fomenting a lot of this mindset in people like that, and frankly, it's both frightening and disgusting.  Here's a hint.  If you fancy yourself some protector of the public, get off your ass and join the Military, or else become a police officer.  Any other scenario (like the ones you fantasize about where you "save the day" by taking down the bad guy with your conceal carry weapon by staging a shoot-out in a public place) is only going to land you in jail.  The real world is not Youtube-land.  Sorry. 

To put it candidly, I'm going to call bullshit (I usually get my comments deleted and banned from that particular channel whenever I do) on carrying all that stuff in your pants pockets and on your belt every single day.  Listen, part of my job is working with the Military in a capacity that I won't speak about, but one of the things I can say is that a lot of active duty guys are carrying a ton of stuff around at any given time in their pockets, and when they do, you hear it.  Do you remember what I've said in the past about not attracting attention to yourself?  Right.  Therefore, I tend to do things a bit differently.  So, at this time we'll move past the always entertaining "making fun of internet SEAL team SWAT warriors" section of the festivities and get to the actual rundown of my own every day carry.  Like many others, I have various different preparedness methodologies either planned out, or are under way.  Our BOBs and my GHB** do not serve normal EDC functions, so bear that in mind.  I will cover these other systems in a future post***.

For every day carry, I don't actually carry much more than the average guy on my person.  What I carry is as follows:

1. A good quality folding knife.  Usually, it's a Benchmade.  I consider a good pocket-knife the bare minimum of every day carry.  There may be days or times when I don't have any of my other gear on me, but you can bet I have my knife.  I am never without it.  But alas, I am not a super SWAT specwar commando, so I only carry the one.  I would advise you get into the habit.  Knives come in vast array of sizes, steels, and blade types and configurations.  I am a big fan of half-serrated blades, because even if your knife is dull (sharpen that thing before you hurt yourself, man!!  Come on!), a half-serrated blade will almost always perform the deed.  For example, find yourself in a car wreck and need to cut your seat-belt so you can get out of the car?  A good half-serrated knife will get it done whereas a dull straight blade might not.  The knife I carry is also big enough to serve as a self-defense knife in a pinch, and you may consider carrying one large enough to perform that function for you as well (although I don't recommend trying to use a knife if you don't have to).
2. A small pen-light that I keep slid into the same pants pocket that holds my knife.  The light I currently carry is about the size of a Sharpie marker.  Made by 5.11, if I recall correctly.  I used to scoff at people who actually carried a flashlight, because hey, I work in a lit office, who needs to carry a flashlight around.  But a good prepper buddy (one of the guys I talked about last post, in fact) made a good case for carrying one, so I went and bought one.  Once I started carrying this light, I have used it a million times it seems like.  If I need to step into a darkened room at home to get something from my desk, instead of flipping on the lights, I just use my flashlight.  When out walking in the evenings with my wife, I will sometimes use it to look into dark areas between buildings.  I have used it to find things that rolled off the table in a dimly lit local bar we were at.  The light I have produces 130 lumens, which is more than up to the task.  I generally do not go out without it these days. 
3. Wallet.  I think this is a given.
4. Cell-phone.  I have gone one step further and purchased a Lifeproof (look 'em up) case for my iPhone.  Boasts mil-spec level protection, plus is completely waterproof.  Protecting your phone just makes good sense.
5. Key-ring that generally only carries my car, house, office, and mail key, along with a metal tag shaped like the badge of the brand of car I own.  I am a fan of many of the neat little keychain survival tools out there, however I am a bigger fan of being able to put my keys in my pants pocket.  I work in an office environment pretty much all of the time, so a huge jangling keychain with several fob-shaped/sized tools on it just isn't practical or convenient.
6. A good pen.  Currently I am in favor of the stainless steel metal bodied pens from Zebra.  They are only several dollars, but in a pinch they make good stabbing tools.  Also, I have had various martial arts training courses, and can actually use a kubaton type instrument effectively if required.  Both this pen, and my flashlight could serve that purpose if needed, and neither telegraph themselves as useful for that purpose, which I like.  I have actually seen people get pulled aside for an in-depth "examination" by TSA authorities at airports because people had those aforementioned kubaton keychains in their carry-on.  Whereas, I breeze by with multiple Zebra pens in my carry-on bag with no problems.  The logic to take from this?  It doesn't have to look like a weapon in order to be a weapon.

And that's about it.  However.  I also carry a large messenger laptop type bag.  The one I have is a
Targus brand model I picked up fairly inexpensively at Target.  It is in this bag that I carry a good deal of my EDC survival-type gear.  I have this bag with me every day, and have relied on its contents many, many times in the past at one point or another.  I won't list out explanations for the following items unless deemed necessary, but will give you a full rundown of what I actually have full access to at any given time (not necessarily in any logical order):

- small "first aid" kit that contains: spare pair of contacts, band-aids, pain-reliever pills, decongestant pills, chapstick, eye-drops
- several pens
- two spare batteries for my pocket flashlight
- a subcompact .40 caliber pistol (Kahr) with a second magazine.  I have my conceal carry license and am thus legally allowed to carry this firearm.
- multiple charge cables for my iPhone and other miscellaneous electronics (even if I am not carrying those electronics at the time.  Cables weigh nothing, and a great many devices use the same adaptors.  Never know when a friend's cell phone might need charging)
- two or three energy bars
- a small ziplock baggie of diet/energy pills
- a large Brita squeeze bottle.  Not only do I have a bottle of water, but I have Brita's (somewhat limited) filtering capabilities to act on any other water I might source throughout the day
- a solar powered charger that all my USB charger cables can plug into
- an air pillow
- spare pair of socks
- spare pair of undershorts
- deodorant stick
- breath-mints and gum packs
- digital camera
- iPod
- iPad
- large Write-in-the-Rain pad (with a pencil)
- a large 550 paracord bracelet that I sometimes wear (contains 25 ft of paracord when unraveled)
- a USB car charging plug (anything with a USB cable can then be plugged into a car's power outlet)
- stamps
- two pairs of headphones
- a pair of foam ear plugs

This is what I currently have.  Some of these items may seem puzzling ("I mean, who carries around spare underwear in their bag, UP??") but the way this bag is currently configured, I can remove the firearm and spare magazine, and be ready to board the plane.  Knife and flashlight (which looks somewhat tactical because it's black) go into my checked luggage, and I'm on my way with no hassles.  And frankly, if you have ever traveled, then you know why I carry some of the stuff I do.  I have been very grateful to have clean undergarments to put on once or twice when my bag was lost in transit, and I was able to rely on those when my bag wasn't delivered until the next morning.  I also add a toothbrush to my bag before traveling for this purpose.

So, as you can see, I generally use this as my EDC bag, and my system has been working quite well for some time, now.  I have had opportunities to use most of the stuff in this bag, and the best part that all told, it weighs several lbs, a far cry from the backpacks I used to carry in my college days.  There is even room for my laptop when required.  Hopefully, this gives you a few ideas for things to start having with you, and if you have any suggestions for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.  Thank you for sticking with me through another short novel of a post, and we'll talk again here in a few days.  Stay safe out there.

- Unnamed Prepper

"Be prepared."
 - Boy Scout Motto   

*I won't be surprised if I get a comment or two from people defending this guy.  His zombie followers are pretty loyal.
**Get Home Bag
***Yes, I'm aware that I've promised you posts on a couple other topics as well.  I'll get to 'em, I promise!

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