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Survival Kit & Gear Checklist

Many folks often ask or are looking for a quick basic checklist of gear that they should have in a survival or disaster kit for emergency preparedness. It can be difficult to know what you need to put in it for your first kit.

So we have put together this short list of items you should keep on eye on to make sure you have for any general survival kit.

  • 3 Days worth of food per person (Adults need at least 1200 calories per day)
  • 3 Days worth of water (16 to 32oz of water per person depending on activity levels)
  • Battery or Crank power flashlight and spare batteries for it.
  • Battery of crank power AM/FM radio. An additional HAM or FRS radio would be a great addition
  • Blanket and/or sleeping bag to keep warm during the night or bad weather
  • First aid kit that can take care of basic cuts, more advanced is recommended with gauze pads and medical tape
  • Sanitation, such as hand wipes, soap, toothbrushes, towels, and tissues.
  • A backpack or duffel bag to keep all your survival gear, in the event you need to leave quickly
  • Spare change of clothing for at least one day
  • Important papers and documents, such as insurance information, and identification
  • Physical cash and money, be sure to have a couple dollars in a variety of coins as well as at least $50-$100 in small bills

Those are the bare basics of what you need in a survival kit, for more in-depth information as to why you might want these items you should read our full blog post “Building and customizing a survival kit“.

You can of course purchase a premade 72 hour survival kit from us that includes many of these items already.

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Every Day Carry Gear Planning

Every day carry gear, normally abbreviated to EDC gear; it’s the items that you carry on you everyday when you go about your work, errands, or even around the house. For those of you who have a concealed carry permit then you are all too familiar with this term and the concept. However this article is more for folks who have no idea what this is about, or are fairly new to the concept.

As mentioned above your EDC gear is what you have on you everyday, for the average person this usually consists of keys, wallet, a cell phone, and maybe a watch (they are going away more it seems because of cell phones). However once you start getting into the mindset that an issue could occur at anytime, such as medical emergencies, accidents, or even just typical inconveniences you start to see that you can definitely make more use of having certain things on you at all (or most) of the time. On the other hand there is a level of having too much stuff on you are once, to the point that you are carrying a backpack or a smaller pack full of stuff. When you get to that point you should consider just having a survival kit on hand at whatever locations you will be at.

The point of every day carry gear is not to be burdened down with a bunch of items, but have a few things that can serve multiple purposes and are very likely to be used throughout your day. However specific purpose gear shouldn’t be completely thrown out for something that can do multiple tasks. A good example of this would be a quick opening folding knife vs a multi-tool. The multi tool will allow you to handle almost everything you would need, but on the other side the quick opening knife can also serve the role of being a quick deploy defensive weapon if needed. Additionally it may be more beneficial to keep that additional knife on you if you frequently have to cut open items, as opening up the multi tool all the way just to get to the knife is inefficient, and wears your multi tool down more.

Choosing your EDC gear should be a matter more of what works for you, more than what someone else thinks you should have. It will depend on the kind of job you have, where you live, and what you are most likely to experience the most often. That’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to suggestions what to carry, as it can give you ideas on how to improve on your gear.

For example these items are very common and a good start for carrying on you.

  • A multi tool with knife, pliers, and screw drivers or a swiss army knife
  • Folding knife
  • If you have a concealed carry permit a pistol and a backup magazine for it (jams always happen when you don’t want them) .
  • Small high powered flashlight that can fit on a keychain or in your pocket.
  • USB thumb drive (great for whenever someone has a file you would like, and you want to be sure you get it)
  • Lighter or pocket torch
  • Camera (Just think of all the picture chances you miss everyday)

Those are just a few suggestions, and several of them could even be combined. There are swiss army knives now that have flashlights and USB thumb drives built into them. However just like we mentioned it is sometimes best to not combine items and to keep some separate.

Which brings us to why we have this article, a gentlemen the other day that had a small pack that weighed a good 5 to 10lbs stuffed full of gear. He had two of just about everything in it, lighters, flashlights, batteries for the flashlights, two full size knives, two magazines, lighter fluid, paracord, water bottles, the list just kept going. He was saying he carried all of that with him everywhere he goes, work, home, shopping, even chores around the house. Of course his logic was that if one thing broke or stopped working he would have a backup. We joked about it a bit, but what he really had was the start of a small survival kit more than everyday carry equipment. Sure things will break and wear down, but these are every day carry items, you know when they are wearing out before they break. There is no need to carry on you extra batteries, lighter fluid, and two of everything (the only exception reasonable is self defense items) because once you turn your EDC gear into a pack. You aren’t really carrying it, so much as hauling it around.

These should all be items that are on your person, things that you don’t need to take off or put away to do what you normally do throughout the day. They should not be a hindrance to what you are doing, but instead helping you with what you are doing. The gear should be lightweight, and simple to use. When you start thinking that you need two of something, or that you need to have a first aid kit on you at all times that is when you need to think about building a survival kit, and having that in the places you are most likely to be.

So if you are starting with trying to gear yourself up for anything that may occur, take a step back and think about what you are likely to experience throughout the day, and then balance that need with usefulness. Further, think about conceal-ability of your gear, do you really want to advertise that you have a bunch of stuff on you? At a certain point you will see that all that extra gear belongs more in a survival pack, than around your belt and in your pockets.

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