Small Personal Survival Kit
What can you carry on your person, in your clothes pockets and purse, that can be used as a small personal survival kit? Hey, I’m not talking of being dropped in the middle of the wilderness kind of survival necessarily, but what you can carry on your person to get you through those little disasters that we run into frequently and that can help you in those bigger disasters should the need ever occur.
1) Cell phone- As a prototypical neanderthal, I resisted the whole cell phone thing until 2006 believe it or not. Now I am chained to the silly thing. Communications is always a good thing and is one of the most essential tasks for preparedness. In the Army patrolling techniques I was trained in almost 30 years ago, when you move into a new position or patrol base, the first step is always setting out security followed by assigning fields of fire. #3 is establishing good commo. I always have my car charger in my vehicle and I also carry my wall charger in my briefcase to work.
2) Swiss Army Knife/Pocket Knife/Leatherman- I have carried a pocket knife on my person almost every day since I was 8 years old. Of course these days, kids are not allowed to carry pocketknives to school…grrrrr. I use the real Victorinox Swiss Army Knife:
My knife was purchased at Ranger Joes in Columbus GA when I was stationed at Ft Benning in 1981 as 2Lt.
I have carried that knife everywhere since then and it has served me quite well. While I do not have a Leatherman multi-tool, I want one, even though it might be a little bit redundant with the Swiss knife. You can easily carry both. There are so many varieties to choose from it may be hard to make up your mind. Some folks prefer a more traditional pocket knife. If that is what you like then I would definitely recommend a Buck Stockman with 3 blades:
but then be sure to also carry a Leatherman or other name brand multi-purpose tool.
Ladies-do not even think that carrying a pocket knife, multi-tool, etc. is just for the guys. My wife has carried a Swiss Army Knife off and on for years. Come to think of it, I think she needs a new one…hmmm…Christmas is coming soon…There is a reason you have a purse; get a good knife or multi-tool and carry it every day!
3) Folding Hunter-You might be able to also carry a folding, lock blade knife of some sort. These are bigger, heavier blades that can be considered a weapon by some. Usually, if the blade is 4″ or less it is not legally considered a weapon, so there is no problem wearing it. I do not usually carry my folding hunter unless I am traveling far or going hunting, etc. I carry a Browning with 3 blades: 1 for cutting, 1 saw blade and 1 gutting blade. While my model is not shown on this page, it is much like these:
Again Ladies, don’t assume that carrying a folding hunter is un-ladylike. One of the ladies who works for me carries her folding Buck to work evey day.
You might think that carrying all these knives and multi-tools is a bit much. I USE my Swiss Army Knife ALL THE TIME. I never use an electric can openner, I either use my Swiss knife or an old army P-38. If I am going hunting I will sometimes carry 3-4 knives with me for different purposes, but more of that later. Suffice it to say that my Swiss Army Knife and my Buck pocket knife have been used to skin and gut wild game.
4) Cash/Credit/Debit Cards- A lot of emergencies can be handled with good old fashioned money, or, these days, credit/debit cards. I recommend that you carry all three. I use my debit card for almost every purchase now, but I always try to have at least $20 on me at all times; it helps to have about 5-10 ones for a vending machine should you get stranded without food but are near a vending machine. For example, maybe your tire goes down and you are able to air it up with the can of fix a flat I recommended in my blog on car survival kits, but your wait at the Discount Tire shop turns into a 3 hour marathon and the kids are hungry, etc. I also usually try to carry some quarters, even though there are few pay phones anywhere and I now carry my cell. Again, the coins are good for snack machines in case you get stranded somewhere so you can get a dose of sugar, fat and caffeine. Having the debit card can be useful for bigger emergencies and the credit card for seriously big emergencies. Ask any of the hurricane evacuees about having cash and credit ready during an evacuation! Sometimes it is good to just spot check yourself, family or close friend to see if you have any cash. I am surprised at how many times I have allowed myself to go without cash. Obviously the wealthier you are the larger your cash on hand can be. I have heard of guys who never leave home without $1000 in cash at all times. My goal is $20…..:-(
5) Cigarette Lighter- I do not smoke but I always carry a lighter. Mostly it is used for my smoking friends at work who seem to always forget their lighters. They all get a kick out of me carrying a lighter when I don’t even smoke. So why do I carry a lighter? Fire can be a useful tool. In a radical situation you may need a fire for warmth or for cooking or even to signal for help. Lighters weigh next to nothing so I always carry one in my pocket. Maybe I watched one too many episodes of McGyver back in the day….
6) Whistle- this is one that I admit to only carrying once in a while, not every day. I ought to carry it every day though. A whistle can be a good way to warn off an attacker or signal for help. It weighs next to nothing and could be a lifesaver in a weird situation.
7) Wristwatch- Again, I have worn a watch every day since I was about 8-9. I think I started carrying a knife before I wore a watch. I tend to go with watches that have extras- the watch I currently have on comes with a compass on the band. Some watches I have had had an electronic compass and some have had a thermometer. I go for the inexpensive Timex watches and have never had a problem. If I had a Rolex I would sell it and buy another gun. A lot of folks do not wear watches anymore due to carrying a cell phone, but when that cell battery goes out…my Timex will still be ticking. Why should anyone carry a watch? Knowing the time can be useful in a survival situation as you can determine how long you have been gone or when to expect someone to come help you. You can use it to report a crime’s time or an accident’s. Time is a valuable commodity and a watch can help you manage that commodity.
8) Light- When it is dark having access to a light always helps. This can be accomplished with three of the items I have already listed- cell phone, cigarette lighter and wristwatch. There are some very small keychain sized flashlights that are very effective and some other small lights that can clip to your belt or fit inside your briefcase or purse. My briefcase has a chemlight in it instead of a flashlight but I need to obtain one of those very small lights. My large survival kit does include a flashlight as does my car survival kit.
9) Pen and Paper- It was standard procedure in the Army for every soldier to always carry pen/pencil and paper. It helps if you have to call or ask someone for directions, if you have to leave a note on a car that has died and you need to move on or in case of a minor traffic accident you can exchange information. The paper can also be used for kindling a fire.
10) Personal Medication- some folks have a medical condition that requires medicine be available at all times. Diabetics should carry their pills or shots and maybe a candy bar; heart patients should carry some nitro and those folks with deadly allergies need to carry some antihistamine, etc.
11) Personal documents- In my work I am checking people’s drivers licenses all day long. You would be surprised how many folks do not carry their wallets or licenses with them on a regular basis. Voof! If you get stopped without a license by the Police you could go to jail and will likely get a ticket. Medical/Dental insurance cards are always good to carry so that if you find yourself needing to be admitted to a hospital you can get in a bit easier. If you have a concealed handgun license you better have that with you at all times, even if you are not carrying a weapon. My late mother always carried a small medical history in her purse with a list of all her medications. She was sooo organized compared with me! If you have a complex medical history this is a recommended plan. Know your own bloodtype and include that on a document somewhere in your wallet.
12) A hat- Why do I suggest carrying or wearing a hat? Personally I do not like wearing a hat, but I always have one in the car with me. If I have a car breakdown in summertime and have to walk…a hat can be protection from the sun. If I am out grocery shopping and a Texas Thunderstorm blows in…that hat can help keep my head dry and the water out of my eyes. I have seen many days in Texas where we got a 40 degree temperature drop from the 80’s to the 40’s in a couple of hours. That hat came in handy then!
13) Cold/wet weather gear- even if you are going on your normal, well established route to work, church or wherever, if it is cold outside (or might turn cold suddenly, or wet) always carry, if not wear, cold weather gear. Have it available. As my dad always says, “You can take it off if you don’t need it, but if you need it and don’t have it you can’t put it on.” If it is cold and wet and you have a vehicle emergency of some kind and get caught without a poncho, jacket or gloves, you can be pretty miserable at the least, and catch a bad case of hypothermia perhaps, in a very short time. During Fall-Spring in Texas (Oct-April) I always carry my jacket with me to work, and in my jacket pockets are a pair of gloves and a balaclava. If you have to change a tire and it is 20 degrees, you will wish you had a pair of gloves.
14) A sewing kit- In the Army I knew guys who really carried a sewing kit and I have seen several ladies with one in their purse. I don’t sew, so I don’t carry one, but many of you do. It can come in real handy if you have a sudden wardrobe malfunction.
15) Handgun/other means of self defense- If your state does not allow the average citizen to obtain a concealed or open carry license for a handgun, move. Or check into carrying some pepper spray or some other means of non-lethal self defense. If you are in a state that allows the personal carrying of guns, get some training, get a license and get a gun, or 2 or 3. Here in Texas we have a very good concealed carry law and we have a law that allows the carrying of a weapon in your vehicle without a license. The law has long allowed us to carry in our vehicles if we were travelling from one county to another and spending the night. The current law basically looks at your vehicle as an extension to your house. Funny how car jackings have gone down.
My carry weapons of choice include my Ruger P-89 in 9mm, a Taurus PT-58 in .380 ACP or my wife’s Sig P-230 in .380, or my Taurus CH85 in .38 special. Pages and pages could be and have been written on which guns to carry, what leather gear/holsters to use and all that. I don’t want to get that deep into it here; maybe later. Others are much better informed and experienced at carrying concealed than I. The bottom line is, get trained, get licensed, practice, buy a good gun that you are able to handle proficiently and get more training. I do not carry all the time, it is so hot in Texas most of the time that the whole concealed carry thing gets really old and sweaty very quickly. I do carry in my car most of the time, however.
Less than lethal weapons include mace, CS or pepper spray cannisters and a few varieties of Tazers that will shock someone. I do not like the stunners but I do believe in the pepper sprays.
Conclusion: These items are all lightweight with the exception of the guns and cold weather gear. They can be easily carried in pockets and purses or briefcases and can be very useful in everything from a minor rain storm to an attack on your life.