My greatest fear.
What should be in your Every Day Carry Bag
After 25+ years in law enforcement, and many, many, hours of training, I have one fear above all others. It is not having the tools and equipment with me to help someone. Nothing will make you feel more helpless than having the training and not having equipment or supplies to make a difference. It doesn’t necessarily center around having a firearm, but that is important. It can be medical equipment or something as simple as a knife. It usually comes down to not being lazy or succumbing to the “it won’t happen to me” attitude. It takes discipline. Carrying your stuff on your person is preferable but not always feasible. Having a bag for the bulk of it is nice.
- Firearm- Having a firearm on your person and the training to be confident. It takes discipline and is sometimes a pain to always be armed. I have found a procedure that suits me and it has become automatic over the years. Find yours.
Train with the way you carry. If you carry concealed, train from that concealment
- Ammo/Extra magazine – Not necessarily because you will need the extra ammo, but in case you experience a malfunction. The only two times you can have too much ammo are when you are drowning or on fire.
- Medical – not only what I carry in my bag, but having a fully loaded med bag in every vehicle that lives there. The equipment may not be used by you, but by someone on you. Get some training. First Aid/CPR is a good place to start.
- I carry 1 CAT 7 tourniquet on my person and at least 2 in my bag. I highly recommend the CAT 7. There is 4 in each vehicle bag.
- Pressure Bandage. As many as you have space for.
- Chest seal.
- Space blanket – Not only to combat hypothermia, but makes a field expedient litter.
Your blade doesn't need to be Samurai quality
- I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t carry a knife on a daily basis. A good friend of mine stopped on a fiery crash on I-40 and was able to remove a person from the burning vehicle by cutting the seatbelt.
- It DOES NOT have to be expensive. Cold Steel makes a knife called a KUDU that is less than $10. It comes sharp as a razor.
- I’m a huge fan of Leatherman MultiTools. The Wave and MUT are my favorite. I can deploy the knives and other tools without unfolding the tool. There are also bit sets for them that are handy.
- Learn to sharpen your knife. WorkSharp makes a great sharpener called the Guided Field Sharpener. I have several and they are the best manual sharpeners I have found.
- Flashlight – I recommend a LED light that uses 123 Lithium batteries. If your flashlight uses AA or AAA batteries, buy some lithium batteries for it. Not only will they last longer, they won’t corrode like alkaline batteries. I stay away from rechargeable lights. They always seem to die when I need them most. I love headlamps (that use 123 batteries). They allow you to work with both hands without having to hold the light.
- Batteries – Carry spare batteries for your light.
- Medication – Any medication that you or your loved ones might need.
- Cell phone – Not only a fully charged phone but the numbers in case of emergency. Also, for pictures and video.
- Trip specific items – Anything you wish to add for a specific trip.
- Bag to carry all your stuff. It doesn’t have to be expensive but I’ve found that the better the quality, the longer it will last. The cheaper bag’s zippers seem to fail at a higher rate. I’ve used a Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack for many years.
- "LT" Mike Patswald