What has it got in its pocketses, eh?
“S-s-s-s-s,” said Gollum more upset than ever. He thought of all the things he kept in his own pockets: fish-bones, goblins’ teeth, wet shells, a bit of bat-wing, a sharp stone to sharpen his fangs on, and other nasty things. He tried to think what other people kept in their pockets. ( J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit )
We know what Gollum keeps in his pockets. In his world these are important items. Goblin teeth, a bit of bat-wing and other nasty things are what we could call Gollums EDC. I always wonder what other nasty things he carries.
EDC is an acronym for Every Day Carry. The term normally refers to a small collection of tools, equipment and supplies that are carried on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous. When we use terms like this, it is to invoke a philosophy or spirit of preparedness. If you have not read our article in Elementary called “Be Prepared” it about motivating ourselves to think ahead.This is where my interest in EDC sprang from.
I live in the suburbs just outside of Chicago and we have been hit with floods and snow and terrible storms over the last few years. These have left us without power and water for days. It just makes good sense to be ready. If you have never been to Chicago we have a saying here,” if you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes it will change.”
I also drive a great deal on weekends, usually 300 miles or so. I have learned to be ready in case a breakdown leaves us stranded. It was when I was equipping my truck with roadside emergency supplies that I discovered the idea of EDC. If you search the Internet you will find a lot of sites dedicated to survivalist or disaster readiness. So I started thinking about what I should have and where. What I came up with are lists for myself. Here are the acronyms I employ for the various lists of items I carry, where I carry them and when.
OYB– On Your Body. This is “What has it got in its pocketses ?” If you are just running to the store, this is what goes with you in your pockets. No purses or backpacks or messenger bags… just your pocketses.
EDC– Every Day Carry. This is whats in your pockets or messenger bag or back pack or purse or car. This is the standard list of what your taking where. For me this is my lunch bag.
GHB– Get Home Bag. This is the bag I take when going more than 5 miles from home. It has things like a tooth brush and power cords for cell phones and change for vending machines.
REG– Roadside Emergency Gear. This is what you keep in your vehicle. This will be things like a spare tire, a jack, jumper cables.
Good Bag– This is your Get Out Of Dodge bag. This is similar to a the “Go bag” that you see in spy films. Ours is to survive a big disaster that forces you out of your home. This is set up to keep you alive for 72 hours on foot in the wild.
I would be failing in my job as Quartermaster if I did not cover all of these with you. Since our Motto is to “Be Prepared” we need to ensure that you are carrying everything you need.The idea is not for you to just duplicate what we are doing. What we are trying to do is to have you think ahead and customize your EDC to suit your needs. This is very personal, very individualized, very “Shaken, not Stirred.”
For instance I do not own a boat. So you will not see a acronym for this on my list. If you own a boat you should create a list of what do you need to carry with you on a boat outing. This will be your standard supply check list for the boat. Or your boats EDC. Maybe you have a camper, what do you need to take with you when you go camping?
The Five Mile Rule
Most of my lists are based on the distances I’m traveling from home. Lets see how this applies.
We are going to make a quick run to the store. Assuming the store is 5 miles or less. The 5 mile rule is what I use. I do not bring my GHB unless I will be traveling more than 5 miles. I can walk , bus or cab this distance without any foreseeable issues. Many survivalists take a lot of gear a short distance. I try to be an essentialist. So lets start with Gollums question, What has it got in its pocketses?’ We will use the acronym EDC in all our examples:
So we are going to the store, what are we taking? What is our OYB – EDC?
Here is my list as an example.
Keys– both car and house keys.These should never be on the same ring. If you lock your keys in your car you can’t get in the house to get a spare. I have also learned to keep a spare car key on the house ring. You may also want to hide a house key in your car. Here is an important rule: Never put your keys in your console of your car and think you will remember them when you get out. That one cost me 50 bucks.
Cell Phone– I prefer a smart phone. Mine goes everywhere with me.
Blue Tooth- Hands free driving. This is the greatest invention because I don’t have to hold the phone anymore. I can actually do things again.
Ear phones– I like music. They are also handy for watching videos.
Wallet– cash, bank card and identification. Drivers licence and insurance cards. Medical cards also. Possibly a spare car key in the wallet.
Money Clip– I carry this with maybe ten dollars in singles. The reason is that any would be mugger will think that is all the money you have. Much better than flashing cash.
Glasses– I wear mine all the time so this is a no brain-er. But maybe you need reading glasses, or possibly sun glasses.
Lens wipes– I have a lens cloth in a small plastic wallet. I also keep pre-moistened lens wipes here…and a couple of disposable dental picks.
Hand sanitizer– a have a tiny purell bottle.It’s always with me.
Wet wipes– travel size. I learned about these when my son was born. If you spill coffee like I do these save shirts. I am also a germ-a -fobe.
Lip Balm– I use chap-stick. Mine is blue.
Aspirin– this is a tiny box that holds nine tablets.
Comb– Ace unbreakable just like my father.
Pen– for now I have been using a disposable. I have been looking for a refillable pen that’s not expensive.
Paper– I carry a lined moleskin note pad. This is for information I need to keep. For other things I just use my phone app note pad.
Handkerchief- Mine are usually red or blue bandanna’s. Sometimes I’ll carry a black one with skulls just cuz it’s fun.I never blow my nose with these. This is for the woman in your life. This is just me being old school.
Pocket knife– a small knife is always handy. Be sure to check the laws in your area so you don’t get yourself into trouble.
Belt– I have several belts. They are all leather. I always wear one. You don’t need to see my underwear and I don’t want to see yours !
Wrist watch- My watches tend to be very simple. Just a numbered face and hands. Nothing else. There is a lot to be said for classic style.
Sounds like a lot to carry right? It’s really not. Pen, paper, wipes, lens wipes, hand sanitizer and ear phones just stay in my coat or light weight jacket depending on the season. I just grab my coat when I leave and it’s set to go. The contents only come out when the garment needs to be cleaned and are returned when done. The remaining go in my pockets when I get dressed in the morning.
The idea is to be tactical and minimalist. Time for an equipment check.
So lets start with your key ring. Do you have keys that you don’t use anymore? Do you have keys that you don’t know what they are for anymore? Get rid of them. How about those little rewards cards on your key ring? Go get your cell phone. Download an app called KEY RING. This app allows you to scan your rewards cards into you phone. No more cards on your key ring or in your wallet. Get rid of them. What else is on your key ring? a flash light? The cell phone app is called BRIGHTEST FLASHLIGHT.What else is on your key ring? what about charms, bottle openers, shoes,etc? Get rid of them. Now go make spare keys. Go get them!
How about that wallet. Do you have phone numbers on slips of paper? Load them in your phone. Business cards ? If they are important numbers add them to your phone. If not throw them away. Rewards cards ? KEY RING app for the cell phone. Gift cards from three years ago that have no money left? Get rid of them. Again, Cash,bank card, identification, drivers licence, insurance cards, medical cards and possibly a spare car key. I didn’t list charge cards because I don’t use them. If you have some get rid of them.
Does your blue tooth receive stereo? does your cell phone create a wi-fi hot spot? Does your Pen double as a weapon? does it contain a handcuff key? Do we need these things?
Again your EDC is very personalized. Your set up will not look like mine…and that’s OK. That’s the idea. You take with you what you need.I have a marble bowl. At the end of the day I drop all of my pocket contents into this bowl. When I get dressed the next day the bowl contents go into my pockets again. I try to keep my routines simple and my EDC minimalistic. You will notice I don’t carry a flint strike, a mini-crow bar, a tactical flash light or the worlds smallest lighter on my key ring. There is no Para-cord 550 bracelet. If you feel you need these things then by all means do what is in your best interest. For me…I’m just going to the store.
May the Love of Christ be with you always….
…Live long and Prosper
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