We’re Americans. We travel. A lot. Whether it’s commuting to your job, going to the movies with a buddy or family, to the beach with the family, or any other locations life brings us. You want to be prepared in case of an emergency or disaster of sorts always, but let’s face it, there are times when it’s just not practical or we’re simply unable to have a Bug-Out-Bag/72-hour bag/get home bag (what are we calling it these days, anyway?) with you. Even some of my closest friends would look at me funny if I said, “hey, you mind if I bring my 30-pound bug-out bag with me on our 20-minute drive to the movies? You got room in your truck?” And the wife, well, she kind of thinks people who feel the need to stay prepared for disasters unknown are kind of off-kilter, so I kinda gotta try to sneak the bag into her SUV if we take a family trip. But, there are times when it’s just not feasible.
A scenario that makes my heart start going wibbly-wobbly on me is one that Jarhead Survivor put forth a couple months ago, where he mentioned going for a quick walk in some unknown woods, and he almost got turned around when he didn’t have any gear with him. I try to combat a situation like that by ALWAYS having a couple things on me, depending where I am and who I’m with, method of travel, etc. Having a few basic items on your person will help you stay prepared, even if all you’re doing is donning the flip-flops and heading to the beach with the wife.
ALWAYS WITH ME GEAR
There are a few items that go with me everywhere, and they stay in a pile on my night stand, do I can don them every morning. What are they? I’m glad you asked!
–Clip-on pocket folding knife: I don’t leave home without a small knife on my person. Ever. A folding knife with a small belt or pocket clip can be a godsend, and as soon as you start carrying one, you’ll wonder how you got by without it. From opening up boxes to cleaning under your fingernails, these puppies are a must-have. I carry one visibly clipped on my pants pocket so it does not violate any concealed weapon laws, and I also carry one with a 3″ blade or less, as this keeps me within the confines of local laws on knife carry. Keep it sharp, and buy quality. The $7.97 Wal-Mart knife looks like a good deal, but they break pretty frequently.
–Flashlight: In the opposing side pocket from my knife, I clip on a Streamlight MicroStream. This thing is the cat’s ass. It is only about three inches long and barely a half-inch in diameter, and it uses one AAA battery. It has a dual-clip system that allows you to clip in on your belt/pocket, or onto the brim of a hat to use hands-free. And bright? Holy crap…its white LED will outshine my two-AA battery Mini maglite with NO problem. You never know how much you use a flashlight till you have one with you all the time. And at like 17 bucks (get them through the above link, or Cabela’s has them), it is a complete no-brainer.
-Cigarette Lighter: I don’t smoke, never will. But a small mini-Bic lighter gets slipped into the coin pocket of my pants. The knowledge that as long as it’s dry, I can make fire is comforting. Plus I can give smoker babes a light if they need one.
–Watch: On my honeymoon in St. Thomas, I bought a killer Timex Expedition E-Tide Compass watch. This little baby, while battery-fed (that sucks), has a built-in compass that is remarkably accurate. It also will tell you the tide and ambient temperature, and oh yeah, time and date. It’s waterproof, good-looking, and rugged. Plus I don’t need to find a place to keep a full-sized compass on my person.
Those four items, along with the other daily must-haves such as cellphone, wallet, and truck keys go with me everywhere, and it helps me breathe a little easier. With a bit of knowledge, these four items can really help my ass out in a survival scenario.
If I can get away with it, I have an L.L. Bean backpack (very non-prepper looking and unobtrusive) that I keep a spare pair of socks, appropriate footgear (in case I head out wearing flip-flops or what have you.), waterproof matches, a jacket, a bottle of water, and a couple protein bars in. That way, I can keep calm knowing I’m a bit more prepared when I’m on the go and can’t go with my BOB.
What makes your “Don’t Leave Home Without It” list?