Now if you’ve never heard of the concept of an urban everyday carry bag before you might still be able to glean the idea from the name urban everyday carry bag itself. Because it’s exactly what it sounds like, a bag you carry every day. But that’s also pretty much where all clarity ends for most people. Allow me to elaborate.
The idea of preparedness is that you organize your life in a researched and facts based manner that allows you to protect yourself and some others, most likely your direct family, in the event of an incident or disaster. – Kain Young
Since predicting when, where and in what form an incident or disaster will take place is nigh impossible, preparing for the right ones is as well. So you really don’t prepare for a tightly predefined set of circumstances. What you do is look at what the most common incidents are that someone with your lifestyle and geographical location runs into and which disasterS are likely to impact you there. The outcomes, or aftermath of those incidents and disasters is what you prepare for.
Such a brought threat surface can only be tackled when you divide the gear needed to respond to it up into different segments, each capable to deal with its assigned part. I’ve partially spoken on that subject already in this post where I explain my three tier system. The image below shows which tear is needed depending on the impact or size of the disaster and the theater involved. So as an example, your tier 3 gear is meant for a large disaster, be it one on the city, metropolitan or state level. Tier 3 gear can also be used in case of a state wide smaller disaster.
- Tier 1 ‘On Person Gear’, never leaves your sight.
– Urban Survival Tin
– Phone, Tablet, Keys, Wallet, Watch, Flashlight, Pocketknife
- Tier 2 ‘Near Person Gear’, in your car or locker nearby.
– Urban Everyday Carry Bag (EDC bag)
– Get Home Bag (GHB)
- Tier 3 ‘Stored on Location Gear’, at safe location to be picked up
– Bug Out Bag (BoB)
Considerations That Went Into My Urban Everyday Carry Bag
You know what’s in my urban survival tin already, and if not you can check that out right here, which means you already know what to expect in my EDC bag, since the two should overlap. But you’ll also find new and bigger items that bring new capabilities and some level of comfort. They way to come up with a good list of items and bag is to do what I eluded to earlier and that is to do or consider the following things:
- Sit down and think of what the most common incidents are you are likely to run into, come up with as many as you can, read this pdf for inspiration if you need some. Coming up with a list helps you to focus in on the items you’ll want to pack. — Some examples: power outage, large fire, explosion, La Lakers win the championship again, your car was stolen, you- are stuck overnight in an unheated building, witness a car accident, got a flat tire on your car/bike/bicycle, got a low battery on your phone/tablet/laptop, ripped your suit/pants, need a small screw driver and pry bar, need to surf the web anonymously at the company you work at, are thirsty, fell and hurt yourself, smell bad.
- Work out which disasters are a realistic threat to you. — Make a list again. Watching Doomsday Preppers you might think that you need to pick one scenario and go nuts at it, but I think that’s the wrong way about it. Pick the most likely ones and prep for those. If you can’t think of any, go with the zombie theme. However far fetch that sounds, if you are prepared to survive zombies, you can pretty much survive everything else. I picked floods, civil unrest, a chemical spill, a building/roof/bridge/tunnel collapse and an explosion (think Halifax).
- Think about ‘The Grey Man Concept‘, it applies to the actual bag you pick as well. — The idea here is to not stand out in the crowd but to instead hide in it. Don’t advertise your preparedness by wearing a military camouflage, multicam, tacticool internet gear-company or military style backpack covered in pouches. Be invisible! Go earth tones or darker colors and greys (works well in a concrete forest).
- What bag to pick? — Remember it is not a Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag. Despite the many conflicting and confusing stories you’ll find online, it really is not. So for this one don’t take the 5.11 Rush 12, Condor or Maxpedition, all brands I really, really like by the way (and yes, don’t shoot me fan boys. I know that a Maxpedition E.D.C. pocket organizer is great, but that than needs to be carried in yet another bag). Go for a normal fashionable shoulder bag that works. Just make sure it is comfortable, durable enough, has at least one admin and one main compartment and is ‘grey man’.
The thing I realized going through the exercises described above is that I’d come up with pretty much the same items to take with me after each disaster. The reason for that, I think, is because we don’t really prepare for a disaster, we prepare for the aftermath. The real tough part is to prepare for the small, yet very important, differences between disasters.
The disasters I have most chance of having to deal with the way I see it are floods, civil unrest, a chemical spill, a building/roof/bridge/tunnel collapse or an explosion. They need very distinct approaches to be dealt with. And I’m not yet sure how to do that by the way. I don’t want you to get the idea that I think I know it all. I don’t. I have identified my problems but still have major holes in my preps for them. That is what makes prepping such a difficult and at the same time rewarding activity though.
My Urban Everyday Carry Bag, So Far
‘So far’ as in not yet completed. This is only the beginning, much more needs to be added, but I have the first grounds covered I think.
Now I noticed that a lot of you liked my list of all the items I packed into my urban survival tin that I made with links of the items to the product on Amazon. So I decided to do that again: the items to the products on Amazon in order of appearance.
My On Person Gear
- Simple wallet
- My Urban Survival Tin
- Kershaw knife
- Google Nexus 7 tablet
- Android Smartphone
- Survival Bracelets
My Near Person Gear
– In the admin compartment
- Simple Pen
- AAA Batteries
- Sandisk MicroSD & MicroSDHC to SD Adapter
- Small Writing Block
- Google Nexus 7 tablet
-In the main compartment
- Rexona deodorant for men
- Travel Umbrella
- 2x velcro straps (holding deodorant in place)
- Pocket Tissues
- Mens hygiene bag
– Inside the mens hygiene bag..
- Small assortment of tea bags
- Bunch of alcohol sanitizing hand wipes. I took mine from KFC this time.
– Plastic bag with fire starter kit holds..
- Bear Grylls survival series fire sarter
- Variety of tinder good for 3 days of 2 fires a day.
- Bic Lighter
– Back to the main listing again..
- 1x 5GB USB flash drive with Ubuntu Live (Linux operating system that runs on about every computer)
- 1x 5GB USB flash drive with program that lets you access any password protected XP/ Windows 7 machine, without the need for passwords. You know, for when grandpa forgets his.
- Glow in the dark, water resistant rubber coated flashlight
- Same tissues again
- Same deodorant
- Safety Pins
- +/- 9 feet of 550 paracord in small bag.
- Smiths pocket knife sharpener
- Round box with 4 days worth of paracetamol and ibuprofen
- Betadine iodine first aid antiseptic
- Dettol hygiene personal care wipes (unfortunately I couldn’t find the wipes themselves on amazon. I got those at a local store.
Depending on what my plans are a given day I might take the larger everyday carry bag with me. You can see in the picture that it is an average Joe backpack not screaming for attention. I got this one at Ikea of all places. It has space for a 17″ laptop, a fairly large main compartment that fits three mens hygiene packs stacked on top of one another, a nice admin area, two separate spaces accessible on the outside and inside of the flap and on the the left and right there’s the option to hold water bottles as shown in the picture. I used to carry a Dell laptop backpack, but despite being a really nice backpack it had to much of the ‘look at me carrying all my expensive tech goodies around’ feel to it. Not very Greyman, so I dumped it.
JanSport makes a lot of inexpensive backpacks that are great and will help you blend in. The following backpacks will do the trick I think.
In order of smaller to larger..
I currently have only the one mens hygiene bag to carry in it, so no extra stuff there yet. I am however working on an urban survival tech pack to add to it shortly. For now the larger pack is great for taking a few larger, heavier items with me that won’t fit into the Baggallini bag.
The extra items I carry are the awesome Bear Grylls hatchet by Gerber and a small pry bar. My thinking is that with the hatchet I have an item that will help in close quarter or hand to hand combat scenarios, with breaking and entering and is of course good for chopping wood and all kinds of food cutting jobs. The pry bar is there just in case, you never know when you’ll need one and I just don’t want to be without one. I bought mine without the paracord and added that myself later.