When I first got into survival, I constantly hear people talk about their bug out bags. They would scrutinize the bag itself, the items included, the weight, the size, and the cost.
However, I soon realized that a bug out bag does little good if you cannot get home to get the bag. Most of us spend our days at work away from home.
When disaster strikes, you need a way to get home or at least to safety to meet up with your family. This is where an everyday carry kit comes into play.
Don’t worry. I am not going to suggest that you take a big bag of survival gear with you everywhere that you go. The key to a good everyday carry kit is having important items that either blend into your daily life or are small enough that they can be concealed.
If you want to add to this kit and pack items in a briefcase, backpack, or purse, that is always a good thing. However, the purpose of this article is to cover items that will not need an additional bag.
As is with a good bug out bag, these items should first cover the four pillars of survival. These are food, water, fire, and shelter. After these items are covered you can focus on other priorities such as navigation, self-defense, first aid, and signaling for help.
Just keep in mind that the purpose of the everyday carry kit is to get you home from wherever you spend your time during the day. If there is an earthquake you probably will not be signaling for help on your way home. Roads will be blocked and getting home on foot will likely be your best option. Stick to what you will need.
As is with a bug out bag, your knife is often your most important survival tool. If you work a job in which you can have a large knife on your belt, this is your best option. It will allow you to have a quality, full-tang survival knife.
However, most of us must conceal blades. You can choose to carry a folding blade knife to keep in your pocket. Just be sure you trust the knife you choose as these are more prone to issues.
For a full-tang knife, you can wear a push knife on a chain around your neck. You can keep a boot knife in the ankle of your boot. You can also keep knives in your wallet. Many survival tools are made the size of a credit card so they can be kept in a wallet. I have both a push knife and a folding blade knife in mine.
Cordage can serve multiple purposes when trying to make it home. 550 paracord is an excellent option for an EDC kit as it is strong and compact.
To add this to your kit you can buy paracord lanyards to hook onto your key ring or water bottle. You can replace your boot or shoelaces with black paracord so you have some extra cordage with you. You can also buy bracelets that can be concealed.
I typically keep a bracelet around my ankle that cannot be seen. This gives me about 150 feet of cordage between the bracelet, laces, and lanyard. They even make paracord that has snare wire, fishing line, and a flammable strand built-in for additional tools.
Food is typically not a major concern with an EDC kit. Most people can make it home without having to eat. If you want to bring some snacks for energy, you can keep granola bars or jerky with you and nobody will ask any questions. If you know you will be hiking through the wilderness to get home, you can bring a small fishing kit in a mint can. That would be small enough to keep in your pocket.
There are two primary options for water purification in an EDC kit. I always like to take a filter bottle with me when I go out.
Everybody carries a water bottle these days. A filter bottle largely looks like any other quality bottle, but it will purify water to 99.999%.
Fire can be very important when getting home. If you get wet in the winter or must spend the night somewhere, you will want a fire for several reasons.
The most obvious choice for a Firestarter is lighter. Zippo lighters are windproof and can be refilled with any flammable liquid. Bic lighters are both cheap and reliable. Somebody having a lighter in their pocket is largely a normal thing these days.
I also like to keep a ferro rod in my pocket, around my neck, or as part of another survival tool. This will allow me to light a fire with no fuel in wet or windy conditions.
I also like to pop a Wetfire cube in my pocket. To anybody else, it looks like mint in a wrapper. However, by shaving the wax off of the cube you can use it as tinder when it is windy and everything else is wet.
Chances are you will not need shelter for an everyday carry kit. On your way home you probably will not be getting much sleep. However, you need a way to stay dry and warm in certain weather conditions.
With your knife and cordage, you already have the tools needed for a natural shelter such as a lean-to or debris hut.
In addition, I like to carry a disposable emergency blanket in my back pocket. This is about half the size of a folded handkerchief.
It is waterproof and reflects 90% of your body heat back to you. It can also be made into a waterproof shelter in a pinch.
Having a source of light can be very important when trying to get home. You may want to hike through the night, and you will not want to do that without a way to light your way.
I have a flashlight in my wallet and also have one built into the tactical pen I keep on my desk. You should also have apps like a flashlight app and compass app downloaded on your phone in case it is still working.
My tactical pen serves as another weapon for self-defense and has several other functions. However, it looks just like any other quality pen.
If it is allowed where you work and you have a permit, you may want to consider a handgun for your EDC kit. I have worked places, where every single person employed, had a handgun either on them or in their desk. In some cases, this is completely fine.
In the end, you can bring anything with you that you think will get you home. It is up to your imagination as to what you can conceal in your everyday carry kit. Multiple purpose items are always a plus. Keeping a multitool on your belt is always smart. Many survival bracelets have whistles, ferro rods, compasses, or even blades.
My tactical pen also has several functions. You can find wallet-sized tools such as fishing kits, multitools, knives, flashlights, signal mirrors, and lock pick kits. Just be sure you do your research and find tools that will last, and you can be sure that your EDC kit will get you home.