Everyday carry is a hot topic nowadays. The reality is that while the “rave” is new, the concept has been around for a while. Hell, even Indiana Jones had his everyday carry items. For him it was in the form of a cowboy hat, a Smith and Wesson 1917, and a damn whip. So, what should you carry every day? While I am not going to recommend a whip, I will talk you through my take on the topic.
If there is one thing the Marine Corps has taught me, it’s the value of good, multi-function, reliable gear. In the Corps we have a name for a guy that likes his gear a little too much, they call us “gear-queer.” Politically correct? Certainly not, but it gets the point across. I will admit, I myself am quite the gear queer. I’m always looking for something that will give me an edge, but I also try to be a minimalist. With all the high-speed gizmos and gadgets, the infantry gets in today's day and age, an “assault load” is damn near fifty pounds. Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal more shit the team has to carry if you go down. So my everyday carry recommendations will provide my take on how to achieve a minimalist mindset, while still being prepared.1. Tourniquet
- I put this first on the list for a reason. In my opinion if you are going to carry anything daily, this should be it. I have heard too many stories of people passing away unnecessarily because they didn’t have the ability to stop an arterial bleed. This could be the result of a car accidents or getting cut on glass. If you somehow cut an arty and you don’t stop the bleeding you WILL die in a matter of minutes. It differs depending on person and artery but we use a planning factor of ninety seconds to apply a tourniquet in the military. For everyday carry I recommend the RATS (Rapid Application Tourniquet). Its on amazon for less than twenty bucks. Its not bulky and its lightweight. This is not the tourniquet I carry for military use, it is not DOD approved, but it requires minimal training and it gets the job done. If you are going somewhere where you plan on being shot at or you would not receive professional medical care for an extended time (like hunting out west) then I would recommend either a CAT or the SOFT-T tourniquet.
- This is where the list really starts to place emphasis on multi-functional tools. In this instance a knife can be used to cut, pry, screw, hammer, break glass, etc… It’s a long list of useful things this small item can do. Here are some of the most crucial in my opinion. Cut a seat belt in the event of an accident. Cut your dog’s leash in an emergency. Make kindling. Open bottles and cans. Stripping wire. Perform an emergency tracheotomy. There are too many items to list. I would recommend a folding knife for everyday carry, but I prefer a fixed blade for hunting and military use. This is really personal preference. I won’t go into brands, mainly because there are hundreds of quality brands out there, and once again it mainly comes down to personal preference. I also carry a multi-tool for military use, but in my opinion, they are too bulky for me to keep in my pocket or on my belt every day.
- Call me paranoid, but with a waffle house, movie theater, or school seemingly being shot up every other week, I just feel vulnerable walking around unarmed. So, to alleviate this feeling of unease, I carry around my M&P Shield .45. It's easy to conceal, has decent capacity, and it can actually shoot pretty damn good for a conceal carry. I have no quarrels with 9mm, I honestly just got the .45 because I shot a friend’s and I was thoroughly surprised with its accuracy at longer distances. If you haven’t shot before, obviously get some training first. Also look into your respective state regulations for carrying firearms. I won’t go over the uses because they are obvious.
- Duct tape literally has hundreds of practical uses. Bandaging, temporary car repairs, water sealing, retrieving small items from tight spaces, or securing someone’s hands together. Duct tape was being used so often in emergency combat care situations that the Marine Corps started including some in the standard issue individual first aid kits. While I was fishing, I slammed my canoe against a sharp rock, resulting in a small but steady leak. After drying and cleaning the area I applied one piece of duct tape and it hasn’t leaked since. Oh, and I haven’t replaced that one piece of duct tape in over FIVE YEARS. Pretty impressive stuff.
- This one might seem obvious, but I put it on here to counter what a lot of other every day carry lists have. You’ll see recommendations of flashlights, compasses, and even a GPS. Your phone can obviously do all of this. There are compass apps that work great, and your GPS will work without service. The big thing with this, is to make sure you have the apps you would need downloaded prior to actually needing them. I would definitely recommend a compass app and global positioning app with satellite imagery.