> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Repacking Pt. 2



Repacking Pt. 2

Good comment from Day Tripper posted on the original Repacking post that I think has some excellent discussion points:

Day Tripper:
I try to clean out and repack my stuff every couple of months. Different seasons bring different needs. Plus when it comes to EDC stuff, if I haven't used an item in a few months it probably doesn't need to be in there anyway. I used to carry around a full fire starting kit complete with tinder in my EDC but never used it. Eventually it slimmed down to now being just a Bic lighter, magnesium rod for backup, and my boo boo kit has hand sanitizer (fuel) and plenty of bandage stuff (tender) that could be improvised if needed. In many years of carrying my EDC bag to and from work I can confidently say that I've never had to start a fire, build a shelter, boil water, trap food, etc. That being said, I seem to become much more equipped and redundant when hiking in the woods.

I do the same thing with reducing unused items - if it doesn't get used, it is up for removal.

Part of the challenge, though, is balancing the oft used daily items with the "I hope I never need this" disaster/emergency stuff.

Personally, if it is a "just in case" emergency item, really, it's probably not going to get used, so I am especially conscientious of the weight and bulk. I look to balance the likelihood of needing the item and the consequences of not having the item on hand when needed with the size/weight penalty for adding it to my pack.

Fire is one of those largely "emergency" capabilities--I need a lighter for the occasional melting of paracord ends and not much else. I unfortunately spend most of my time trapped within suburbia, so the consequences of not having fire starting gear, even in a disaster, would be fairly minimal. But, simple fire starting gear is compact enough and important enough that I make sure to have some. My EDC bag has a regular sized Bic and a pocket survival kit that, amongst other things, contains a mini Bic, a small fire steel and some TinderQuik.

And, as you noted, many of the bag's other contents could be used for fire starting. Gauze in the blow out kit, hand sanitizer, alcohol-based lens cleaner, alcohol swabs, travel pack of kleenex, 100% cotton shemagh and so on. Lots of options.

Another example: water filtration is another one of those capabilities that I'm really only going to need in a bad situation. Again, I run light there--a 1 ounce water filtration straw and some chlorine dioxide tablets. Less than 2 ounces total and takes up very minimal bulk. Probably won't be needed, but a capability that I want to have none-the-less, so I ensure that it's light, compact and doesn't really get in the way.

My Blow Out/Gunshot Wound kit is the same way--I sure do not plan to every need a tourniquet, Combat Gauze and so on, but it doesn't weigh much, and if I really needed it, I would not want to be without it.

So, while some of the gear in my daily carry bag doesn't see a lot of use, if it performs a critical enough task and isn't too bulky, I make sure to include it where I can. Certainly, evaluate your situation and your potential scenarios and tailor as you see fit.

What "emergency-only" gear do you carry in your daily carry gear? How conscientious are you about the size/weight of said gear? Has it ever saved your bacon from trouble?


  1. I think you mean "tinder" there.

    I keep a GHB plus other gear in the trunk of my car. I have a pack with general supplies, plus two Maxpedition bags. One of these is for additional food, the other for a more extensive medical kit. In case of emergency, this lets me select what to carry according to the situation. It also gives me quick and easy access to the best medical equipment in case I need to help someone after a car wreck, etc. I consider all of this - plus most of what is in the tool bag - emergency only.

    I'm glad you posted about repacking your kit. I need to do that for Summer.

    1. With all that I forgot to mention my EDC. :-)

      I'm retired and don't leave home a lot. A few trips around town and one to a nearby town per week is typical, plus four or five longer trips in a year. For in town I usually just have my Leatherman belt pouch, cell phone and concealed carry, plus what's in the car. For going out of town I add a personal medical bag, with stomach medicine, allergy medicine and prescriptions.

      I don't generally mix EDC and emergency equipment.

    2. Day TripperMay 04, 2013

      I would love to blamed that tinder spelling error on "using a smartphone to post" but that beauty was all me! :)

  2. AnonymousMay 04, 2013

    Shelter. I usually dress for he weather, but an emergency poncho will keep me drier and warmer if I need to walk home unexpectedly, and let me rig up a windbreak or waterproof a shelter in extremis. (I also used a space blanket as an emergency baby change mat on a filthy picnic table once)

  3. Day TripperMay 05, 2013

    I have shifted most of my main stuff to my vehicle kit. I am rarely more than a couple hundred feet away from it any way. My job requires me to be out in the field 50-100 miles away on short notice a lot so I'm either driving somewhere or my vehicle is parked right outside the office building. So most of my main stuff is packed there like survival kit, 100ft rope, larger FAK, water filter, tarp, larger tools, duct tape, electric tape, fasteners, bungees, military shovel & axe, bottled water, food, cooking stuff, and extra clothing. I basically carry all my BOB stuff in my vehicle now and have occasionally had the need for it and been glad it was there. This has allowed me to pack quite minimally in my EDC bag that I take into the office or wear around…which is good because I need to carry a laptop, cell phone, camera, cords, notebooks, and pens/pencils for work. Its main contents which see more regular action are a smaller FAK with medicines/energy stuff, leatherman, flashlight, mechanix gloves, poncho, emergency blanket, bandana, straw filter, and about 12-15ft of paracord. I also always carry a 40oz stainless Kleen Canteen. This gear is my main go to gear and I have it packed separately in my EDC bag and can quickly move it to a larger 72 hour bag for weekend trips. Most of the “emergencies” that I’ve experienced have been more along the lines of digging a stuck tire out of mud or snow, chopping down branches of a fallen tree that may be in my way on a back road, car breakdowns, and injuries. One time I had to use my leatherman and some cordage to rig up the bumper of a vehicle I was driving after the manufacturer’s plastic snaps broke that were holding it on.

  4. All I carry fire starting wise in my EDC is a Bic lighter. I use it about once every other month for something other than starting a fire, like melting the end of a piece of rope, and I toss it out and get a new one every 6 months. The big worry around here is earthquakes and you don't want to be flicking your Bic after a quake because there might be ruptured natural gas lines.