When it comes to survival kits, there are a group of items that are traditionally found in all kits. A flashlight, a knife, and some sort of fire-starting tool are ubiquitous and universal. But beyond that there are so many variables that I really have to go with the cliché: one size never fits all.
Personally, I have a number of different kits. Most are currently in a state of disarray as, over time, they are being reworked and broken down into additional separate and discrete kits. You know the old saying, “if only I knew then what I know now”? Most assuredly that applies to bug-out-bags, go-bags, survival kits, and every day carry bags!
Today I want to share the best practices of Karen Skoog, a long-time Backdoor Survival reader. Like me, she has determined that for her purposes, it is more suitable to have a separate bags and kits serving different purposes. When she offered to share the contents of her kits with me, I was thrilled.
We all can learn from the research and experience of others. My opinion, after all, is just that, an opinion. I still want to grow and still want to do things better and thus, the term “best practices”.
Today Karen writes about her personal EDC, or Every Day Carry Bag. Like me, she relies much of here gear but whether you choose to your gear online or locally, makes no matter. Her gear and her insight in putting together this kit is fantastic!
The Every Day Carry Bag According to Karen
Have you ever noticed that over time, with more great posts on Backdoor Survival and more reading and searching on the internet, that the contents of your Bug Out Bag change or are updated?
That is what has happened to me recently. I noticed I was adding more items to my purse, such as a knife, fire starter, flashlight, and a big rain poncho. The navy blue poncho is sturdy enough to use as a tarp, and it really does fit in my purse.
Adding all these items led me to wonder if perhaps there was a way to carry more basic survival items on my person, without looking tactical or downright odd in the middle of the city.
At the same time I asked more “what if” questions about disruptive events.
What if I was somehow prevented from getting to my car?
Or, a question I read online: What if there was an earthquake and a slab of concrete fell on my car?
What if a sudden blizzard swirled to life while I was inside all day? Traffic would be at a standstill, no one could see, my car might not start, and AAA might be so backlogged with calls they could not help.
Perhaps the biggest disruptive event to which our minds turn is an EMP strike or electromagnetic pulse. It can be caused by nuclear detonation high above or by a solar flare. Much has been written about this event, although it is not an immediately likely crisis. In this situation I would not be able to drive my car home.
My goal is to be able to walk the long way home with nothing but what I can carry without calling attention to myself. And so I have outfitted several ways to carry supplies and equipment. I am also concerned about civil unrest, therefore I wanted my carry methods to be redundant. If one or two bags are lost or stolen, I may still have the others.
Getting the Right Gear – Finally
The big excitement today is that all the items arrived so I can complete one of my small everyday carry bags.
This survival bag itself is actually a 32 ounce water bottle holder. It is large enough to hold a Nalgene bottle within a stainless steel cup, and has a handy side pocket. The cup has folding handles. The bag is a Molle bag, so many items can be attached, or the bag itself can be attached to a belt or pack.
Although slightly tactical, this is a small over-the-shoulder bag. Many people carry water today, so I feel comfortable carrying this daily, each time I leave the car or house.
Karen’s Choices: Rothco MOLLE Compatible Water Bottle Pouch, Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle, and GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup/Pot
Speaking of redundancy, this bag includes several ways of obtaining and purifying water. The bandana can be held over the mouth of the water as a pre-filter. Then it can be boiled in the stainless cup, or a water purification tablet can be added.
Karen’s Choice: Military Army Trainmen Paisley Bandana
From Gaye’s recent podcast on water, we learned that there are only three approved ways to sanitize water. Distilling, boiling, and bleach. Therefore I chose purification tablets that are essentially bleach. Please note that they require four hours to work once you have added a tablet to the bottle. The tablets purify 32 ounces.
Karen’s Choice: Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets:
Besides finding water in streams, I have included an urban way to find water. It’s called a Sillcock Key and will open faucets on the outside of commercial buildings. Perhaps it is not legal for an unauthorized person to do this, so it falls into the category of things we might do during a crisis that we might not otherwise do. A very personal decision.
My apartment building has several faucets without handles on the outside. Since learning about Sillcock keys, I have been seeing faucets everywhere. Of course this water, like all other water in a crisis, should be boiled or treated.
Karen’s Choice: Cobra Products 4-Way Sillcock Key
The bag incudes two ways of making fire, a lighter and a Swedish fire steel. There are many great Bushcraft videos on You Tube that detail making a fire with a fire steel. Even with a lighter, I would still follow the guidelines of shredding fibers for tinder, then adding sticks starting with pencil lead size and increasingly larger. I also save drier lint and it is easy to cram a small bag of lint into any carry bag.
Karen’s Choice: The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter (2 Pack)
Finally I’ve got a small flashlight clipped to the bag. And there is still room in the side pocket for a knife, the bandanna, socks and a granola bar.
Karen’s Choices: Dorcy Waterproof LED Flashlight and MTECH USA MT-378 Tactical Folding Knife
One Week Later
It has now been a week since my gear arrived and I wanted to add a real-life update. I’ve been carrying the water bag over my shoulder every day. The strap is a bit narrow. So I’ve purchased a guitar shoulder pad which will be easy to fit around the shoulder strap.
Karen’s Choice: Planet Waves Gel Guitar Strap Shoulder Pad
In addition, my food pouch arrived. This is a small zippered bag that is Molle compatible. That means it has many straps covering the surface and can be easily attached to other Molle bags. I have attached the food pouch to the water bag. It is large enough to hold ½ pound of almonds and many breakfast bars or protein bars.
Karen’s Choice: 5.11 Molle Padded Pouch
Note that my skills are rusty I could not insert photos of all of my items but these are the actual items I have chosen. Thank you for reading and thank you for the opportunity to share my latest Every Day Carry bag with you.
I look forward to posting about 2 other small bags and a Paracord lanyard that complete my EDC.
The Final Word
As I said in the beginning, Karen has been following this website for quite some time and is a familiar voice in the comments section. So who is Karen, really? I asked her to tell us a little bit about herself:
I’m married with 3 pets and live in the Washington DC area. My introduction to homesteading and survival was the Foxfire series of books that I read in the 70’s. I also completed an Outward Bound wilderness skills course in 1979. I am interested in anything low tech and off grid.
Most recently I’m working on bush craft skills. I love Backdoor Survival because Gaye covers so many important topics but keeps the fear factor as low as possible. I appreciate that because the world is scary enough as it is.
I so love it when readers are willing to share their personal experience while coping during a disruptive event, learning a new skill, or, as in this case, researching the right gear to suit their practical needs. If you have something to share, then by all means, do get in touch.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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For your convenience, here is a list of most of the items Karen as shared with us today. A few are new to me so of course I plan to check them out. I love the idea of the Rothco Water Bottle Pouch and “food bag”.
Rothco MOLLE Compatible Water Bottle Pouch: I never would have considered using a water pouch as an EDC bag. This one is a MOLLE compatible pouch so it can be easily attached to the rest of your MOLLE gear. It features MOLLE loops around the entire pouch, two 6 inch straps on the back, and D-rings on each side. The straw hole on the top and a drain hole makes hydration simple. A perfect companion to my favorite Rothco Medium Transport Pack. I own three of these packs – two in black and one in tan.
5.11 MOLLE Padded Pouch: When I read about the “food pouch”, I had one of those “why didn’t I think of that moments”!
Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle: This is the bottle that Karen chose and it is one that I have recommended in the past.
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup/Pot: Nice and something that I am adding to my own shopping cart. It is designed to slip over standard 1-litre water bottle and holds up to 18 ounces.
Military Army Trainmen Paisley Bandanas: Speaking of bandanas, be sure to check out the article How to Use a Bandana to Save the Day.
Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets: Ultralight tablets provide fresh drinking water anywhere you go. Effective against viruses, bacteria, giardia and cryptosporidium. Fresh tasting water-no unpleasant taste. These easy-to-use tablets meet EPA purification guidelines. Purification method: Chlorine Dioxide tablets. 1 tablet treats 1 qt. of water.
Cobra Products 4-Way Sillcock Key: This 4-way sillcock key has a 1/4″ , 9/32″, 5/16″ and 11/32″ stem to service most sillcocks in common use. It is durable, easy to use and has an attractive finish. Used to open and close sillcocks or spigots and made of durable steel construction.
The Friendly Swede Magnesium Alloy Emergency Easy Grip Fire Starter (2 Pack): Firestarters are an essential piece of any survival/outdoor kit – waterproof, durable and easy to use as follows:
1. Scrape off black protective coating from firestarter rod
2. Prepare your tinder
3. Hold the striker at a 45° angle to the firestarter. Scrape striker hard and fast down the firestarter
4. Allow sparks to fall onto tinder
Dorcy Waterproof LED Flashlight with Carabineer Clip: This is a floating waterproof flashlight that provides 55-lumens of light output and a 31-meter beam distance. I am a big fan of Dorcy products so this one is definitely going in my shopping cart as well. Not that I need more flashlights! Wait – you can never have too many!!
MTECH USA MT-378 Tactical Folding Knife 4.5 Closed: This folding knife features a 3 inch black finished 440 stainless steel tanto style blade with a quick opening thumb stud. The comfortably contoured black steel handle features a brushed metal finish, a heavy duty pivot pin and the liner lock blade locking design. It has a closed length of 4 1/2 inches and comes with a durable pocket clip.
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