We usually get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house. Whether going to work, making a grocery run, or heading for a recreational activity, we gather a collection of belongings essential to our excursions outside the home. Keys to lock the house, wallet to contain our cards and cash, and usually, our smartphone that serves as a pocket computer, music player, navigation aide, and digital journal logging the places we go.
Is this enough?
I started back in classes this week. While three of them are online, I am returning to campus for one class. I live about a half-hour away, so EDC takes on a new meaning for me. Let me talk you through the items I carry with the packs that house them and me.
The Pocket Essentials
There are the things I carry with me pretty much every time I leave the house, even if it is to go for a neighborhood ruck:
Keys - Necessary for using the vehicle and securing the home when I am away.
Wallet - ID, medical card, debit/credit cards, important information (who to contact, blood type, etc.)
Moneyclip - I prefer to carry my cash separate from my wallet. First, it's redundancy, especially if you were to drop or leave your wallet somewhere accidentally. Secondly, it's safer in case you are confronted by evil. Third, they look cool!
Pocketknife - Just one of those practical things I have had since I was a kid. My personal go-to is this lovely little Damascus blade.
Smartphone - Sometimes, this is problematic because I am a Samsung Note user, but it's with me.
Smartwatch - Ok, this isn't a pocket item since I don't wear a pocket watch (but I own an antique one), but I love watches! Always have. I wasn't sure I would love a smartwatch, but when I got my Galaxy watch a few years ago, I knew it was a necessity.
Thankfully, pants aren't designed to have pockets large enough to carry everything. When I go someplace that isn't a quick trip, like the grocery store, I often take a pack of some sort with me, depending on the purpose of the outing. These are my selections:
The EDC Backpack
This is my most used pack. It is a brown waxed canvas backpack; as you can see, it's broken in nicely. My typical EDC in this bag is:
Pen case with a few pens (regular and fountain)
Readers (sadly, I am old enough now that I require them.)
A small first aid kit (band-aids, gauze, tape, a small container of alcohol, various aspirins, and pain killers)
Portable charger for phone/tablet/laptop
Small tool kit with a multi-tool
Bottle of water
Packets of Black Rifle instant coffee
Personal Defense (No matter what you use, never share what it is.)
This is my foundation for all other packs I utilize. These other packs are modified to serve specific tasks, but the essentials are mostly consistent.
The Other Packs
These are the other packs I utilize:
Writer's Group Pack - a small canvas briefcase that carries my laptop, journal for the group meetings, a book called Complete The Story, and composition books I utilize for story notes.
UNT Backpack - the same style as my EDC backpack, only larger and gray. In addition to the content necessary for my classes, it also carries the same contents as my EDC backpack, extra supplies that may be needed for class (binding clips, paper clips, stapler with staples, etc.), and my school journal.
Work Briefcase - A nice leather case, it carries much of the same items as the EDC backpack but adds an element of "distinguished, vintage man."
This may seem like a lot of overkill. Still, for me, this works because it allows me to categorize different interests and significantly reduces having the wrong items for the activity. When it is time to go to an activity or event, I can grab and go in most cases without spending time switching things.
The Speciality Packs
I have four Specialty Packs geared towards their purpose:
The Roosevelt Pack - This is a large, beautiful leather pack I use exclusively for traveling. Like the others, many of my usual EDCs are included, along with a journal specifically for my travels.
The Medical Kit - A small canvas bag filled with medical gear to help with generalized medical situations. As nice as it is, it's evolving to meet the growing knowledge I obtain as I take various First Aid courses. It travels with me everywhere I go, never further than my parked vehicle away, if not on my person.
The Ruck Pack - My GORUCK Rucker 3.0 pack, Coyote Brown. It is a 25L pack I use for ruck exercise. It is the best build backpack I have ever owned. Initially, I only carried my ruck plate, but as I have gotten more serious, I have added additional items (simple first aid kit, towel, hydration bladder, snack bag, gloves, etc.)
The Hike/Camp/Bugout Backpack - My hiking and camping backpack that doubles as a bugout backpack. This pack is loaded with everything one would need in the outdoors, including items like binoculars, a compass, GPS, tools, food, water, first aid, and all the goodies.
As you go through life, the EDC items will need to change. Be adaptable with your EDC. A college-aged adult will more likely focus on an electronically geared pack. Conversely, an elderly adult may focus on necessary medications.
Build your EDC pack for your environment. A person living in a desert area may focus on items like sunscreen and extra water, whereas a person in a cold climate may include insulated gloves, hand warmers, and a thermal blanket. Urbanites will focus more on items they need in the city. In contrast, country folks need to consider things not present in metropolitan areas, such as proximity to wildlife that could be dangerous.
On the surface, all of this looks ridiculous. Why would anyone need to carry anything more than keys, ID, money, and a phone?
The answer is you never know what situation you will find yourself in. What happens if you get stuck in a traffic jam for several hours without being able to get off the road? How would you handle being lost with no businesses around and your phone charge is depleted? Imagine being stuck in an elevator waiting for someone to identify and repair the problem.
EDC is not just trendy; it is an integral part of preparedness. This is something that Shawn X will relentlessly promote. Too often, we take for granted access to the things we need. The COVID shortages showed us the importance of stockpiling essentials, but we see that people quickly forget these lessons. While you cannot bring a fully supplied bunker, you can carry a little bit of it with you just in case. You never know, but it is better to have something than nothing.
This is the first in a series of future articles focusing on the importance of preparedness. In the future, we will cover bugout bags, bugout plans, sheltering in place, stockpiling, and how to prepare for any disaster. Be the ants, not the grasshopper!