I've received requests for more information on the small pocket emergency kit that appears in my articles now and then. Some want to know more about it; how it developed and what it contains, so I thought I'd dedicate this article to it.
My work takes me to some interesting areas, especially lately. Some are more questionable than others, and it's usually late night or early morning prior to sunrise. To avoid disruptions and distractions I try to not draw attention. I try to just blend in with the environment, go gray so to speak and be uninteresting, but be prepared for mishaps knowing some could be life or death depending on environment and/or season. So these little kits have developed to contain a variety of contingency items, chosen based on their likelihood of use at the time and place, and still discretely disappear into a pouch or cargo pocket until needed.
These kits are built using Maxpedition® EDC pocket organizers, it began about 12 years ago when the young lady photo bombing the image was a lot smaller and had just started going to work with me most days. Most of the time we were miles from pavement, much less from our house or medical care if anything went wrong, and with small children things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. This pocket organizer is in their “Mini”. I settled on it because it fits more pockets, though I did experimented with the others. The next size up was too big to fit a cargo pocket, and the next size down, the “Micro” didn't hold enough to suit me with my daughter in tow.
This is the kit I've been carrying this summer. When my daughter was little I always carried the little Neosporin® plus pain sprayers, so I could ease the pain of her cuts and scrapes before touching them to remove any debris, and it made things less traumatic for her in the beginning. As she's matured some items have changed and feminine products were added to all our kits, which could come in handy for lady friends as well. The orange pill fob contains diphenhydramine.
The left side of the kit is devoted to first aid, and is pretty basic and straight forward. However the Band Aids and gauze are stored in the back pocket on the other side to keep them away from the scissors and tweezers that could tear their packaging and make them non-sterile. I keep a small light that I can hold in my mouth to leave my hands free, just in case someone needs first aid in the dark. It's usually a AA or AAA torch to simplify battery replacement, but the AA light that's usually in this kit is out on loan and I haven't replaced it. To be fair, the small Streamlight is 9 years old, has been in numerous creeks, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico and is still going strong. It has been stored in my truck console for years, I just couldn't replace the disc batteries at many convenient stores at 1 a.m..
The right side of the kit is devoted to cold weather-issues and ad hoc shelter fabrication. As well as field expedient equipment repairs, and basic direction finding. Most of this gear is pretty straight forward as well, but there are a couple more specialized pieces in this side.
Duct tape is one of the greatest contingency supplies ever created, but big roles of duct tape can be cumbersome and unwieldy. They're great in a vehicle, but a bit out of place on a friend's penthouse patio. One of the newer pieces in this kit is a ripSPOOL™ emergency repair kit from Exotac Inc.. It includes just over 4 feet of duct tape, 60 feet of 30 lb test braided line, and a large sail needle. It can be used to repair holes in shoes clothing or gear, fabricate other tools, make an improvised fishing kit, or even used as a tinder material.
The nanoSPARK™, which is also made by Exotac is another of the more specialized pieces of equipment. This one is a fire starter that throws sparks the same way a cigarette lighter does, but uses an over-sized flint and a larger and more aggressive wheel to throw a stream of much larger and hotter sparks than a lighter, and with much more control than a ferro rod. The nanoSPARK also has a tinder compartment in the handle that holds one Tinder Quik™ tinder tab. So it's a good emergency fire kit as a stand-alone, but I keep one stored in tube with extra tabs just in case. It also works really well with other commercial tinder materials like Fat Rope Stick™, and Epiphany Outdoor's Badest Bee Fire Fuses, plus lots of common natural tinder materials as well.
This is a pretty small kit, so obviously it's in no way intended to be a do all survival kit for the apocalypse. Yet as you can see – and the case will close with all of these items in it – when personalized to ones own needs these small kits can bring a lot to the table when mishaps and accidents occur. And we all know stuff happens, especially when kids are involved.
I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure. And that was at 18th century prices. I imagine with the inflation over the last 250 years, an ounce of prevention is worth much more by today's standards. Most insurance policies cost a lot more than the $100 or so dollars I've invested in this kit, and they do little if any good in the middle of nowhere. Between helping me avoid frostbite, and helping to stave off infections in wounds as well, this kit has paid dividends well beyond the initial investment, and has more than paid for itself. And making sure I have it on me anytime I'll be away on foot, is now a matter of habit.
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