I travel a pretty good bit for work. When I travel, it almost exclusively by air as it just so happens my co-workers or customers are spread all over the globe. In a perfect world I always have my EDC gear on me but when traveling, especially via plane, you have to make some concessions. When it makes sense I have basic survival gear that I pack, but my luggage has to be checked. I have flown with a firearm on multiple occasions, but what if you are unable to take any survival gear with you? What would you do if you were caught in a disaster without even your trusty survival knife?
In this article I want to go through some situations I personally have in my 9-5 life where I wasn’t as prepared as I know in my heart I should be, and discuss some alternatives when you are caught without your prepping supplies. When all hell breaks loose, are you doomed if you don’t have your full battle rattle on?
What should you be carrying everywhere you go?
EDC. Any prepper worth his or her salt knows that this acronym stands for Every Day Carry. This is the gear you have on your person virtually all the time. These are usually simple items like a folding knife, a flashlight, watch, Leatherman or multitool. Optionally, some people (like me) will add a concealed carry weapon to this list and maybe a compass, lighter or matches and spare cash. The items that make up your EDC are personal, should be appropriate to your daily routine and environment and vary greatly from prepper to prepper. I wrote a whole article about my EDC list some time back.
On any normal day, I have most if not all elements of my personal EDC on me when I leave my house. I have a knife in my pocket, handkerchief (only used it once to help a lady out) flashlight and lighter are housed on my keys and my concealed carry weapon. I have other elements in my work backpack and a ton of gear in my car. If I have nothing more than my car, I can probably live for a week very comfortably – assuming I couldn’t drive anywhere. If I only had my backpack and what’s on my person, that would be a little tougher, but I would have basic lifesaving tools or elements to help me improve my situation. If I only had what is in my pockets I would still be pretty much in the same boat. But when I am traveling, sometimes I don’t have any of my EDC Gear on me. It’s pretty much me betting that I will be OK.
How can you travel without any EDC gear?
I have written before about how to fly with a firearm legally and for most air travel I take, outside of work I still do fly with my firearm. I also keep a mini-go bag in my suitcase with a sawyer mini water filter, knife, fire starter, headlamp, first aid kit and mylar blanket. I have a stainless water bottle too so the basics are covered. But on most trips here recently, I don’t fly with my trusty Glock and if I am not checking bags, knives are out the window too. I can, and still do bring a small, but bright flashlight and hanky with me, but most of what I consider my must haves are left at home. Why?
Yes, Sheer convenience. I am admitting it now before the entire world that sometimes, it is easier to not check bags. If I am carrying my bag onto a plane, I have far fewer options on what I can bring with me but I have many more options with flights. If my flight gets cancelled and I have my bag with me, I can run to another airline. If some weather delays me mid-journey, I can take another route home, or make it to the car rental agencies before my fellow travelers. If any one of a number of hiccups happen with the airlines I don’t have to go into that important client meeting wearing the same outfit I had on yesterday. Which was designed for comfort. Not impressing clients. Convenience.
Now, many of you may be saying to yourselves: “How can Pat consider himself a prepper if he goes and leaves himself vulnerable like that for convenience” and I understand what you mean, but I look at things a little differently. Actually, major points of my philosophy evolve or change over the years. Here is what I know.
In this country, or even pretty much any country I would find myself in for business travel, if anything short of a nuclear bomb went off, I would be able to get the supplies I needed even if I wasn’t carrying them.
Obtaining survival gear in the wild
And by wild I am not talking about a jungle adventure with Bear Grylls. If that’s the place you are visiting, you better have your gear no matter what. What do I mean? OK, let me explain. Let’s say I am traveling in business to Boston, MA without any of the gear I normally carry as EDC and an EMP hits. Assuming, I would be better off with my regular EDC (and I do), where could I replace that gear quickly? Before I continue, let’s list off the basic items again:
- A means of keeping yourself warm, cool, dry
- Tarp/Poncho/Jackets, Hats, Gloves, etc.
- A method of making water safe to drink
- A container for holding water
- Enough calories to keep you going for the duration
- A means of protecting yourself from two-legged predators
The list above is only the most basic items for survival, but we can start there. Going back to Boston and an EMP hits. What is the first thing you think everyone will do?
That is your time to act. While everyone is complaining that they can’t check the weather or stocks or the latest snapchat on their phones you need to move. As a prepper, you should be practicing situational awareness. That means a lot of different things depending on the situation you are in, but when it comes to a disaster like this where people aren’t dying immediately, your job is to act. My focus will be obtaining as many survival supplies as I can before the sheeple wake up.
In a situation like that, I would head out to the nearest store. If I was lucky enough to come across an REI or a Dick’s Sporting Goods or even a Walmart you would be all set provided you had cash with you and the store was accepting cash transactions. When I fly, I try to bring $300 in cash with me for emergencies. It won’t do everything, but it could help, especially in a situation like this. For that $300, you could easily get a knife, headlamp, tarp and just about all the other EDC basics I left at home.
But that’s too easy. What if you weren’t in Boston and couldn’t find a sporting goods store to save your life. Then what?
Head to the drug store, hardware store or grocery store but skip past the food isles, at least at first. Go to the smaller section they always have with light-bulbs and extension cords and toilet plungers. Go to the housewares section. They may not have knives, but they could have box cutters. You may be able to find tarps, but if not, trash bags connected with duct tape will keep you just as dry. If you don’t already have a backpack, you should be able to find one of those too that will fit your supplies.
Matches will be there too and usually so will lighter fluid. Together, if you keep the matches dry you should be able to make a fire. You will always be able to find some form of flashlight in these stores too but don’t forget to get extra batteries. Hopefully you have shoes that are comfortable to walk in.
We can’t forget food, but skip canned food and grab items that you don’t need to prepare or weigh a whole lot but still provide calories. Think energy bars or breakfast bars and be sure to check the calorie counts if you have time.
What about security? The box cutter or knife would be better than nothing, but you really have to get close in order for those to work. Man has been using clubs since the dawn of time, really, they are still being used all over the world as the post about handmade weapons demonstrates very clearly. You can find some implement and use it as a club. It isn’t what I would rather have instead of my trusty concealed Glock, but it beats (no pun intended) not having anything.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that survival can’t be distilled down to only who has the right gear because I know that many of you could survive if you were dropped naked in the middle of a jungle. Survival is about having the will to live above all else. Skills follow closely, but you can still survive if you have the right mindset. I don’t recommend leaving home without your EDC, but if you have to, or get caught on a late-night Walmart run, you usually will have options. Look for opportunities to give yourself and advantage and maybe you will find that you are much better off than you thought you were.