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The first thing that many interested in survival/preps start out with is a bug out bag (BOB)/72 hour kit/Get out of dodge kit. They spend some time researching, picking out gear and assembling. Then their loaded up kit sits in a closet, collecting dust.
Instead of putting all of your emergency/survival gear into one place, I suggest instead looking at a layered approach to your preparations. These layers are nothing new, and they are meant to supplement preparations that you have at home or at your dedicated retreat. They are:
Layer 1:EDC (Every Day Carry - on person)
Layer 2: EDC bag (Every Day Carry bag - carried with you)
Layer 3:Truck/Car Kit
NOTE: I have chosen to avoid using the terms 1st line, 2nd line and 3rd line, which are typically used in reference to a military-style fighting load. These EDC layers are different in nature and purpose, so I wanted to avoid use of the "lines" to avoid confusion.
What gear composes your various layers depends greatly on what your day looks like and what tasks you will be called upon to accomplish. As most of us lead fairly quiet lives, my discussion of EDC layers take into account that most of the problems that we face on a day-to-day basis are rather mundane--boredom, hunger, bumps and scrapes, dead cell phone--but also that we may find ourselves in extraordinarily bad situations, and should prepare for those when possible. If you find yourself in bad situations fairly often, adjust accordingly :)
Also--keep in mind thatmost of us live and work in an urban/suburban environment--not the back country. Your gear should reflect that.
I will go into each of these layers in more detail in separate articles, but a brief run down of each:
1st Layer: EDC
These are the tools that you ALWAYS have with you when you are outside of your home. These should be comfortable for you to carry--if it's not comfortable, you'll generally tire of it and leave it out. These items should also be generally work-friendly.
- Cell phone
- Pocket Knife
- Small flashlight
2nd Layer:EDC bag
This is your bring-everywhere-bag, with additional tools that don't find their way into your on-person carry. It's a pseudo Get Home Bag, but also the bag that you live out of on a daily basis, and always have nearby. The bag should be light enough that you can move quickly and long distances with it if needed.
This could be a shoulder bag or a backpack, depending on your needs and tastes. A discrete, average-looking bag is wise--nothing that screams "tactical" or "steal me." This gear should also generally be work-environment friendly.
- Water bottle
- Spare batteries
- Chargers for electronics
- First aid kit
- Additional tools (less used or too bulky for on-person)
3rd Layer:Vehicle Kit
Your vehicle is an important tool--it allows you to travel quickly away from danger, gives some protection from the elements, and carry more gear and supplies than you can on your person. You should incorporate these traits into your plans.
This layer can take the form of a full-sized bug out bag and a box of tools and parts, or gear stored throughout your vehicle.
You can store additional, heavier and less-work friendly tools and supplies in your vehicle kit.
- Blankets/sleeping bag & rain or cold weather gear
- Dedicated Get Home Bag or Fighting Bag
- Comprehensive first aid kit
- Extra clothes
- Car repair tools
- Bolt cutters, pry bar
- Food & water for several days
- Extra fuel
- Long gun & ammo
- Long range communications gear (Ham radio, etc.)
NOTE:If you do not have a vehicle, do not have much storage space inside your vehicle, or can't store much gear due to security concerns, then you will need to adjust your EDC bag (and your plans) accordingly. You may also consider setting up a cache of gear at some point convenient to your place of employment.
The Layered Approach
This layered approach ensures that you always have at least some of your important tools with you. When you're away from your vehicle, you have your EDC bag, and if you're away from that, you still have your on-person EDC.
These layers are also intended support each other, filling in gaps and adding capabilities as they expand out. Your 2nd and 3rd layers are intended to supplement your EDC, so keep that in mind when organizing them. Focus on adding and expanding on capabilities that you otherwise lack, and including backups of important gear.
Over the next several weeks, I will go into more depth on the various layers and show you some of the my EDC and EDC bag.
Note: As part of this discussion, if anyone would like to share the gear that they carry, send pictures and a description to our e-mail address at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be glad to post 'em on up for you.