Ted’s essays

everyday kit

What we have on us at any given time is occasionally quite important – that is when you aren’t just hanging around the house in your jammies. I stopped liking anything bulkier than a handkerchief in my pockets and have carried fanny packs from the time I had to make my own because they simply did not exist commercially … that is a long, long time ago.

fanny pack contents 500xI refined its contents down to a list of items that I use regularly enough to drag them along whenever I leave home:

with me always:

moderate-sized wallet
Swiss army knife with one surgically sharp blade
two pens (will soon change to pen & mechanical pencil)
lip balm
calling cards (miniature note pads)
3′ tape measure
reading glasses
metal [fingernail] file
antihistamines for stings/bites
tiny flashlight (I’m adding this soon)

I sometimes wish for something more, but for everyday use, that set works for me most of the time.

Last fall I began reading more about prepping, and have geared up some on what crises we could survive at home without major short-term needs screaming at us. I am pleased and comforted by what we have accomplished, but clearly have been restrained by budget in achieving ‘sitting pretty’ status. Recently I have read over half a dozen novels set around earthquake, EMP, economic collapse and scenarios such that our rather fragile, intricate world comes unraveled.

The big message jumping out at me was our exposure when away from home. Gearing up for that is MUCH more important than spending our discretionary pittance on more beans, bullets and bullion for the home.
JOB ONE: Get Home.

From nearby tiny town it is a 7 mile walk in worst case scenarios. Two or three hours I can handle with almost no change except I better make sure I have decent walking shoes for the season with me at all times.

We have weekly exposure to being in the larger town. Hmmm… 25 miles is significant if we are relegated to walking, and the trip is unlikely to be completed the same day we start. Okay, think two days. Shoes, water and overnight comfort are considerations. We need to gear up to get home from there.

EveryDay Kit

batteries (standardize everything on common AA)
cell phone (won’t work in some scenarios)
first aid kit, compact
flashlight, medium-sized, strong
handkerchief and/or bandanna
lip balm
radio in foil bag, with spare AA-battery adapter (ham, gmrs, frs in that order, depending on license)
socks (change back and forth every two hours)
vest with pockets
walking shoes
water system – bottle + Sawyer Mini

Bump it out to our occasional Missoula trips 75 miles away and we should consider a week on the road. A week during which a whole lot of people on the route might be wanting whatever it is we are packing. Anybody walking tall with a backpack HAS SOMETHING the less ready can use. “How dare they have water and maybe food when I (we) have none?”

Lemme back off from that precipice and list what it would take us to get home from Missoula or farther if nobody interrupted, bothered or helped us. This list assumes you have the everyday list above also.

Get Home Kit

backpack – lots of pockets, straps, comfortable and within your freight-hauling capacity.
batteries (AA rechargeable with solar charger)
brain – you had better be thinking a million miles an hour
can opener (on multi-tool/Swiss army knife)
cane or walking stick (as a tarp prop, tool, weapon)
char cloth (fire starter)
clothes pins or bull dog clips
duty belt + suspenders, great way to carry readily accessible gear
earbuds for quiet radio operation
eyeglasses (if you wear them, carry backup in your bag)
eyes – pay attention to everything – it will be dangerous out there
hair ties
hand warmers, chemical
head lamp (past a couple of days, you probably should travel at night)
jerky and dried fruit
Bic lighter [wrapped in duct tape as a way to have duct tape on hand]
map (what if your memorized route home has problems?)
mirror w/magnifying side
paracord 25-feet (+)
poncho, slicker, broad-brim hat … be ready to trudge along in the rain
sewing kit
silver and FRN’s – honorable people will exchange for dollars at first, silver later
sleeping mat (with moisture barrier built-in or extra)
sunglasses – quite important in snow season
suspenders for all the gear you are wrapping around your waist
tarp – cammo, for shelter and to avoid being seen while you rest
toilet paper (the obvious, plus facial tissue, fire starter, notes…)
tooth brush
trail mix – some say “energy bars”
trowel, compact digger
watch (foil wrapped to protect electronics)
zip lock bag (quality resealable)


First Aid Kit, medium, contents:

aloe gel
baking soda
bandages – butterfly & regular
coconut oil (with essential oils added)
feminine napkins (multiple use)
Neosporin or silver gel
pain reliever (acetaminophen & ibuprofen)

Above is a list most can agree on without any major contention. I left out what to me is an obvious part. Samuel Colt’s great equalizer. Firearms.

Having everything you need to survive by yourself for a week is all well and good, but KEEPING it will almost assuredly become a challenge after the first 24 hours… and worse, daily, for the next month. Some will live. Some will die.

I hate to put it so bluntly, but you have to decide which side you are on. Make up your mind before the time comes, because when it comes, it will be an instantaneous decision that you have either made in advance or it will be made for you.

If you would rather be sheep than lion, prepare all you want, but include in your preparations dying at the hands of immoral, ill-prepared people … and not necessarily mercifully. It will come to that if whatever disruption our current house of cards suffers extends beyond a few days with no solution in sight.

If, and only if, you can be comfortable with the morality of good triumphing over evil, AND can be mentally capable of following that through with action – strong, quick, violent action – you should arm yourself and prepare to use those arms. In that case, add to the above:

self defense

pistol, extra magazine, extra box of ammo
holsters, concealed and open-carry

#1 rule of gun fighting: Never take a handgun to a gun fight.

However, they are handy. Long guns are much heavier and harder to carry. While many times more effective, they are a commitment to defense that does not fit most of us, nor most situations. If I had choices, I’d be in the company of a squad of riflemen with a few shotgunners in the lead. But you need to plan for a more realistic world. Have a handgun READILY ACCESSIBLE. Know how to use it. Be ready to use it. Survive to get home to your family, neighbors and community. They want you a whole lot more than they want the thugs who would steal from you.

I merged a lot of lists and customized to suit our needs and expectations. I link below to a number of resources I used. You might want to go read their text as well. A lot of thought went into all of these. Discard what doesn’t suit you. Add anything that they mention or comes to mind while you read their thoughts.