A recent fire drill at work started me thinking about the use of an “Everyday carry bag”. What is an ECB? It is similar to the “Everyday Carry” which many Preppers espouse, yet it is a bag. I usually don’t go anywhere without a backpack… it is something I have done for decades. In addition, I can carry much more in a backpack than I can fit in my pockets.
I have posted previously about my Get Home Bag (GHB) which I keep in my car. The ECB is meant to assist me in getting to my GHB, or (in a pinch) serve as a rudimentary Get Home Bag.
As I mentioned, it was during a fire drill at my work that I started thinking about the need to write about this essential piece of equipment. It was as I was walking down the stairs to the ground floor when someone asked why I was bothering to carry my backpack out. I told them that I would take it if it was a real evacuation, and that it contained everything I needed for an emergency.
Why doesn’t every Prepper carry an ECB? I don’t know… It could be that they worry about how people may perceive them. It could be that they worry people will think they are Preppers… or it could be that they just don’t want to carry a backpack.
I think this leads to a good question… what bag makes a good EDC bag?
When considering which backpack to carry, I would recommend steering away from military style bags. I love the design and look of a military backpack as much as the next guy, yet I think going in this direction will make you stand out more than the normal person carrying a backpack. I know that when I see someone wearing military style clothing, or carrying a military backpack, I pay them a little more attention. This may not be something you wish to do. It is also important to choose a bag which you are comfortable carrying, will allow you to carry everything you need, and also a bag which is within your budget. Finally, you will need to consider how large your back should/could be. It will need to be large enough for your needs.
The bag which I carry was purchased off eBay and was pretty inexpensive. It isn’t the greatest bag in the world, yet it serves most of my requirements. In my case, I wanted a backpack which would carry well on my back, wouldn’t scream “Tactical”, and also featured a separate lower area that would allow me to place all my Everyday Carry items without mixing them with the stuff I needed for my work day (such as my lunch).
Contents of pack
Firstly, I have to say that my bag contains a lot of junk. I use it every day and I keep receipts, empty packets of food, and other things in my bag till I do my weekly dump. Secondly, I don’t have the money to buy high quality items, so I have to make do with what I can afford. If you want to make your own bag, don’t copy mine. Think about what you believe you need and head towards making it a reality.
I some of the items I have included are:
- heavy-duty poncho
- around 20m of Paracord
- a Multi-tool
- a large woolen blanket
- some snack foods
- basic first aid supplies
- head lamp
- small pocket survival kit
- Emergency blanket
- A small roll of duct tape
Why are these items included?
For the majority of the items included in the bag, the reason is that they can serve multiple uses. I also wanted them to be able to be used in non-survival, “Prepper” type situations (such as a broken button on my pants). This bag isn’t for the end of the world… it is for the more likely events which happen in the real world. What do I mean by that? Well, I am not sure if I have talked about this before, so please forgive me if I have. A year or so ago, I was walking through Hobart city. As I walked, through the crowded lunch-time streets, I noticed that my inner thigh area was feeling cool and breezy. I stopped at a pedestrian crossing and looked down, my heart skipped a beat in my chest…. the inner seam of my pants (on one of my pant legs) was split open from my crotch to near my knee. I did have my bag with me, yet it wasn’t as kitted as it is now. It didn’t contain any of the current items which would have allowed me to fix this situation. As it was, I had to (as discreetly as could in crowded city on a lovely sunny day) walk back to work and put on a spare pair of pants I kept in my desk. If I had my current bag I could have slipped into a public restroom and repaired my pants.
I will explain some of my considerations for a couple of these items.
The poncho is chiefly for situations when it rains and I don’t have a rain coat. I can easily cover up and protect myself from the elements. It also is large, features clasps and has grommet holes. It could easily be fashioned into a spacious shelter with some additional items.
The paracord is useful in case of repairs which may need to be fashioned, use as a tourniquet in a medical emergency, or it can be combined with my poncho to make the shelter I mentioned previously.
The multi-tool combines a large number of useful tools (such as a screwdriver, a knife, pliers and other tools). It can help repair most issues and is reassuring just to have it should I need it.
A large woolen blanket is there due to the fact we are in the middle of winter. I would prefer to carry a micro sleeping bag, yet they are expensive. The blanket will serve as a poor replacement till I can afford the item I wish to buy. Why a blanket? If I am stuck in my car due to a breakdown, it can help keep me warm. I can use it if I am assisting someone injured, to help prevent shock, I can also use it as a blanket for when I eat lunch in the park with my friends or family.
Snacks… these are important to include as I travel far to and from home each day. Eating something while driving can help me to stay awake.
I have included some basic first aid supplies, such as some compression bandages, band aids, latex gloves, etc. They take up so little room that it makes sense to include them as they could help prevent someone (or me) in the event of an accident.
These are the items which I believe I need to carry in my EDC bag. I would love to be able to afford some lighter, smaller, and higher quality items… yet I only have so much money to spare on this. Carrying this bag with me gives me a sense of security. Knowing that within reach I have the capacity to deal with most daily situations, or those unlikely events which can occur in our modern world.