In my day-to-day life I spend allot of time in what most people would probably regard as “primitive” or “survival” situations. If you want to gather allot of cattail root flour it’s simply most practical to hike out to a good bog with some waders and a couple pots and general tools to spend a few nights there boiling starch. So for me the primary concerns might not be exactly the same as someone working on perfecting their every day carry for emergencies in the city, but I still think there’s allot of overlap.
So without further ado, here’s my list;
And that’s it. Really it’s quite simple.
Knives: I know of no more useful tool, and if I was limited to carrying only one thing with me at all times it would be this. (although having just spent a rather cold windy night in the snow last night I’m half tempted to say I’d forgo the knife and go with my poncho, haha.) As Ryups we have a moral requirement to keep a blade on our persons at all times and I’ll probably write a post about the philosophical theory behind that at some point. But this post is intended to be a general critique of the Every Day Carry philosophy so I’ll not elaborate upon that right now since it probably wouldn’t interest the same people who’d be interested in the other content of this post, eh? The reason for two knives is that I keep one knife sharp and one knife dull. The dull one I use for pretty near everything, the majourity of that consisting of thigs that’d probably make knife enthusiasts cringe. I use my dull knife for things like prying stuff apart, unscrewing screws, rough wittling or splitting kindling, cooking and eating (and if I ever need any other utensils I usually just go out and carve some chopsticks. I don’t see much point in keeping other utensils around. Except for the occassional guests, but usually they’re scared away by my not having indoor plumbing and sleeping on the wood floor of a cold smokey cabin before the subject of utensils comes up, haha.), and all sorts of other stuff. My sharp knife I reserve for special occassions like butchering, and even then it’s used in combination with the dull one. The other big reason for having two is I’m awfully prone to losing knives, and by having two I’m never without one. And even then I’m liable to carry around a piece of ground slate or a chert shard and call it a ‘knife’. It serves for the most common purposes even if it doesn’t hold an edge long. And I like the simplicity of simply being able to pick my tools up off the ground, so I try stick to that as often as possible. I also think there’s little point in being picky about brand or design of knives, they all more or less do the job. Maybe I can see being picky about having high carbon steel in some scenarios though.
Wallet: This item is perhaps a but deceiving. You see, even though there’s usually a bit of American and Canadian money in my wallet and my bank card and hunting and fishing and trapping licenses, that’s not really what I consider it’s primary purpose. In my wallet I keep a book of matches, a bunch of strong thread and twine, another flat piece of steel that can make a rudimentary cutting or prying tool, a couple folded up sheets of blank paper and a little flat pencil, and on the outside are a bunch of needles and fishing hooks. I usually just punch then into the leather when I finish carving one. I don’t really use the fishing hooks all that often, I keep my creel in the truck and just go get that when I intend on fishing, but the rest of that I use at minimum on a weekly basis. It’s worth buying one of those big boxes of new matchbooks just to have some matchbooks on hand, no matter how nice those wooden ones can be.
Cellphone: Now in this matter I think most EDCs I’ve seen are bollocks. Almost always they’ve got some sort of top of the line smartphone or something, and in most cases I’d say they’d be worth less than a rock. Surprisingly enough, I do carry around a cellphone. Ando it’s an amazingly handy tool. It’s helped me out in more than a small way in numerous cases, getting lost, the truck breaking down way back there, having people call me when an emergency happens back at my land and I’m not there, being able to get in touch with people if I’m unexpectedly late or can’t make it to an arranged meeting,, conducting business, &c. I also can’t get a landline where I live, so if I want a phone at all it would have to be a cellphone. As it happens I do not want a phone, and I do intend on getting rid of it someday, but while I’ve got it I’ve got on opinion on which kind works better for every day and emergencies. Smartphones are no good, they get the most restricted service ranges of any model from each brand, they take up the most electricity and can barely hold a charge for any time (my tablet holds a charge for longer than most of them!), and they break all the time. That is the exact opposite of a good phone in my opinion. I’ve got a simple tracphone, it is wicked durable, lasts for more than a week without being charged, runs off other company’s cellphone towers so gets service pretty near anywhere a cellphone is capable of getting service, and it doesn’t take a very big charge to fill it up. You can actually charge it up full several times on a pair of AA batteries if you’ve got the tool for it. I also use it as an impromptue light and watch in more situations than I, being a luddite, would care to admit. But a good analogue watch is something that shouldn’t be overlooked so easily either. You don’t need to charge them, and many models come with built in lights and compasses. And in a way they function like rudimentary cellphones, if you arrange a meeting in advance, then with a watch you can get there on time! Heh, so perhaps I’m stretching terms there quite a bit too far. :p
Poncho: So I don’t always wear this every day in the Summer, but most of the year it’s on my back every single day. It’s just a simply bulky knit rectangle I tied together in the middle and folded over. I guess it’s really more of a cloak than a poncho then, but terminology doesn’t really matter, this thing is plain useful. It’s warm, and thick enough to keep dry in light rains, and unfolds to just the size that I can wrap up in it as a blanket if I ever need to stay somewhere unexpectedly which happens on a fairly reguliar basis. The only modification I think I’d make is having it be felted instead of knit, then it would keep the wind out, could serve as a tarp type shelter if need be, and would be even warmer than it already is. Because it’s cloak-like and not held close to my body and is open in frompnt (unless I pin it together or closer to me) it can be worn when it’s fairly warm out too.