Top 5 EDC Skills 0
Survival skills should never be undervalued. Every single ability you learn will be a benefit and every single ability will unquestionably be applied when you're in a bad situation, even generally in the day to day life. In this blog post, we aim to uncover some skills that often get overlooked and don’t get the credit that they deserve. So below are the five most overlooked survival skills:
Sewing can seem like such and older thing, but it’s not! Being able to patch up tears in clothing and among many other things can say in survival. It’s not a craft that should be left to the Grandmothers of the earth it’s one that should be handed down the generations.
We’ve just mentioned some of the prominent uses for sewing so far, being clothing, but what if you needed to sew up a cut? This may seem manageable, but if you’ve never sewn before you having zip to base this opinion on.
There are some excellent tools out there which can help you to no end. Tools like Speedy Stitcher come into their own here. It can assist you to make those repairs quickly and efficiently, without a high level of experience.
Hunting demands to spend a lot of energy, and there’s a reason that humans moved from hunting to agriculture by growing food and raising livestock. The knowledge to grow fruits and vegetables not only keeps you from having to hunt as much, but it also gives nutrients for your diet that you may not otherwise get, especially when attempting to survive longer term. Some illnesses can be induced by simply not getting enough nutrition such as Scurvy. The raising of livestock would be a difficult task but not implausibly so.
When in times of plenty, it’s smart to prepare for times of nothingness. In a survival scenario, take nothing for granted. Just because there is an abundance of food now doesn’t mean it will last forever. There are some ways to keep foods for longer periods of time. Canning preserved fruits and vegetables are still popular in many rural cultures. You’ll also be amazed to learn how many ways there are to preserve meats with salt and smoke.
The knowledge to not only use tools but also how to produce them. Because what happens when your knife breaks, or when you were bugging out, you forgot your axe. The more a tool is used the sooner it will need replacing or repairing. Learning how to make a new knife or axe can mean the difference in any survival situation.
Hunting and Foraging
Of the five types of skill mentioned here, these are probably the most well known. However, we’ve seen that many people either focus on the ability to hunt, or capacity to forge. To give you the greatest odds of survival, knowledge of both skills is vitally necessary. Developing on from that you’ll also want to think about clothing because those beautiful winter coats you’ve brought probably won’t last. Crafts like skinning will come into their own.
There are loads of guides and videos out there, so if you are inspired by anything I've mentioned in this blog, a Google search will help you get started!
Your Car EDC 0
Here are essential items that every vehicle should have on board at all times. Some of them are obvious and some not-so-obvious. A good EDC'er doesn’t wait until something occurs before he starts to make a plan.
Some of these items should be carried at all times and some should be taken if you go on long trips. Only you can decide what is suitable based on your comfort level, the weather, area, how long you intend on being away from your home and how much capacity you have in your car. You will probably find that you’ll require more than one kit in your vehicle to keep everything in a logical order.
Firstly, EVERY car should have a car jack, a tire iron or equal and a recently inspected spare tyre. Spare tyres go flat without warning so make sure you check the tire and set it on the floor to make sure it still holds air. If your car has wheels that have a unique key, make sure you keep it somewhere you can easily find it or your tire iron will be worthless.
Plan Your Trip
Keep emergency contact details in the car. You should possess something in the vehicle that will inform first-responders who they should contact if you are incapacitated. You should also keep contact information nearby for yourself in case anything comes up and you lose your mobile. This information should be held on you and not your vehicle when you are not driving.
Make sure you own at least two reliable flashlights in your vehicle. If you run into trouble at night and need to change a tyre or repair something under the bonnet, it is a lot simpler to do if you can see. Battery powered lights are extremely portable.
Make sure you have extra sets of decent clothing items. Gloves are useful when working on a vehicle and can be utilised if the weather turns colder. During cold weather, your needs expand. A scarf will take up limited room in your vehicle but may keep you warm if you have to trek to get help during cold conditions. An emergency rain jacket is also perfect for this. If you have space, you should keep some light jackets during the colder months.
Always keep some bottled water in your vehicle. You will not only need it to cool your radiator, but you may also end up on the roadside for extended periods of time and dehydration can quickly kill you. Just make sure you never open a warm radiator if you decide to fill it.
If you have space, an empty gas can will save time if you run out of fuel. Some areas may not have them available for sale when you need them. Do not store gasoline in your car in any place other than your fuel tank.
Tools are always necessary when fixing a car. You should keep a small toolbox if you are far from home. This box should at the least contain:
1) A full set of wrenches
2) A socket set
3) Good screwdriver set
4) Locking and non-locking pliers
5) Duct tape
6) Good sharp knife
7) Good quality multi-tool
8) Don’t skimp on jumper cables
9) Battery booster
Other Items To Pack
Antifreeze is extremely handy if you have the space but water will serve for short distances. Having the heater on and air conditioner off will help dissipate heat to cool your engine if it is overheating.
Some First Aid Kit should always be available so if you don’t always have a bug out bag that has one, you need to put something in your car. There are many different types of kits available and many different items that could go in them. What goes inside this package could easily be an article in itself.
Have a good set of jumper cables in the car. Cheap cables have a smaller gauge wire and flimsy connectors. They will not jump your vehicle sometimes when a better set will. If you’re going to scrimp on anything, don’t make it your cables. Longer cables mean less power goes to your battery but they’re useless if they don’t reach. The heavier the wire, the less resistance it has to the current.
Keep at least a quart of oil in your vehicle at all times.
An old blanket can be helpful for lying on the earth while you work or keeping you warm.
Have a few rags or paper towels in your car for cleaning your hands after working under the bonnet or with liquids. I keep one in my boot and one with my tools.
A little decision like keeping your car with essential items can have a huge effect on someone’s life – including your own.
Getting Lost 0
Being lost in the wilderness is an especially terrifying experience to open with, but it’s certainly worse if you have no sense which direction you need to head in to be saved. Luckily there are several hard and fast rules of wilderness survival that can be followed despite whether or not you know specifically where you should head.
Look for Human Footprints
By footprints, I don’t mean actual human footprints. I mean any significant signs that one or more person has lived worked, or even passed through a particular area. Some telltale marks of human existence include roads, tamed animals, buildings of any sort, bridges, tree stumps that are a result of sawing, tire tracks, deserted fire pits, etc. If you find any footprints, chances are higher that there is somebody who can get you to safety nearby, or at the lease a person may pass through the area again. If it’s safe for you to do, explore the area that surrounds these human footprints to find out if rescue is closer than you might think.
If In Doubt, Follow the Water
There’s a reason civilisations are more often than not close to water: before we put giant pipes beneath the ground to carry the water for us, we had to go collect the water to stay hydrated. Thus, to conserve energy, time, and an incredible amount of effort, humans built their homes near bodies of water. To find people, then, locate and follow the water. As a general rule of thumb, with running water such as rivers and streams, unless you have some evidence that there might be civilisation uphill, follow the water downhill. Travelling downhill will be much easier than travelling uphill, and in survival situations, you should always preserve as much energy as possible. You will need that energy to continue in case you are lost for longer than you initially expected you would be.
Water has a second advantage of keeping you hydrated. If you’re lost in the wilderness for a long time, you’re going to want to drink. Humans can’t go on for more than three days without water, and this 72-hour window drops rapidly the more you perspire. If at all physically possible, purify the water before you drink it. Certainly do not drink the water without cleaning it if you’re only moderately thirsty, as it will likely make you more ill than the hydration is meriting, but if worst comes to worst and you just cannot go on without drinking, at least the water will be available for consumption.
Find a High Vantage Point
If you find yourself in a spot where it’s especially difficult to see what surrounds you, try to find a high vantage point to take a better look at what’s nearby. To get a better idea of where to go, you’ll need to have a reasonably clear picture of what surrounds you. There may be individuals near, and if not, there may at least be some human evidence left of their having been someone present at one time or another.
Be sure when using this method that you are incredibly safe. Although climbing an extremely tall tree will give you an excellent vantage point, the danger of falling if you’re a new tree climber is not worth the risk of trauma. Remember, no one can provide you with the medical attention you require if you’re already lost and may not be recovered anytime soon, and locating people on your own will be particularly difficult if you’re injured. Climbing a steep hill is more reasonable to be worth the risk, particularly if you’re doubtful to fall. Always err on the side of caution in endurance circumstances because during survival situations your health is the most vital asset you can possess.
Head for Clearings
If you ultimately cannot find a high vantage point bordering you, say because the area is too densely populated with foliage you should try getting out of the woods. Clearings make it much easier to get an actual picture of your surroundings, which will certainly help you to assess what your next point of action should be. You may even find domesticated animals feeding in a clearing that turned out to be a field, or assume that the clearing was the result of a massive number of trees being sawed down. Clearings may also lead you to find low-flying aircraft, which when indicated to, may provide rescue. So long as it’s not unsafe to get to or far to travel to, is a good idea.
Once you’ve got a good look at what’s around you, you should start heading downhill. That’s because, as I’ve already said, you should be following water toward civilisation. But what if you haven’t spotted a body of water? Head downhill! Water consistently flows downhill due to gravity, so you’re extra likely to find water in low-lying regions such as at the bottom connections between two steep areas. If you have discovered a body of water, you should be moving downhill alongside it unless of course there is evidence there may be people uphill. Travelling downhill will help you save your energy, and as a result, it will improve your chance of finding your way to rescue.
Common EDC Mistakes 0
EDC is a popular and developing past-time, but as more and more people start it, we see a resurgence in simple mistakes. In the most part these errors are just annoying, but sometimes it can totally ruin the experience. Do not be caught out, take your time preparing, and don’t make the blunders mentioned in this post and you’ll have an excellent time out in the wilderness.
But, until that time, here are seven common mistakes the average bushcraft sharp
Not Researching The Geography Before Departure
This is critical. Especially so if you are going somewhere, you’ve not explored before. Do you know what animals live there? Do you know the types of trees? Simplistic questions like that can make a huge difference. Let’s take for example knowing the kind of animals. In the UK, there aren’t a large number of apex predators, although there are animals that could either do you harm or steal your provisions. Foxes, Mice and Badgers are excellent examples of animals that could do you harm and take your provisions. Now focusing on the tree example, there are loads of various types of trees, each with their unique attributes. Some of which are ideal for shelter building, but poor for fire starting or visa verse.
This can make or break a bushcraft experience. Well, that is if you get the weather you want. Checking the weather has some benefits. Firstly you know what clothing to take. Secondly, you see to avoid areas that are prone to flooding if torrential rain is anticipated. lastly the weather good or bad can be a hazard. By this, we mean too hot and you get dehydrated. Too cold and you get frostbite. Too wet and you get freezing.
Wrong Gear, Wrong Place
This leads on from the above two subjects but deserves a title in its right. By investigating the geography and weather you get a rather good idea of the kit you require, but it’s then not only a case of getting some stuff out and adding others into a bag.
Although this takes time, make sure you have all the right kit. Leaving without something is just tempting fate. We don’t want to scaremonger; we just wish to make sure that you do have all the right gear for the right environment.
The Rule Of Two
Although this can be applied to people in this example, we will focus on equipment. The rule of two means is having at least two of key items such as maybe a torch, knife or a water filtration system. We aren’t saying have two of completely everything, as that would be ludicrous. What we are saying is necessary items should be doubled up. But, not doubled up as in having two of the same items. Have two similar but different things. Take for example a headlamp. You can buy ones who give very similar outputs but run on multiple batteries, which means that may work better in a particular situation.
Too Much Or Too Little
This is a tough balance to get right! And the likelihood is that you’ll never get it 100%. If you are going to fall one way, though, make sure you fall to the slightly more side.
The one thing you want to ensure you do have lots of is food and water, or at least have the ability to get more easily. In some environments, both food and water can be difficult to come by. Therefore, it’s essential you take food and water with you, but also, bring things like water filters.
Wrongly Packing Your Kit
This is arguably one of the toughest things to get right, but of vital importance, and there are some keen bits of knowledge we want to get over to you.
The first bit of kit you pack is going to be the item you take out last. If it’s something, you are likely to require in a rush or before you have made camp then don’t pack it in the bottom! The more useful and versatile the kit, the more available you will want it to be.
However, that’s only half the story, as packing it by solely putting handy stuff at the top isn’t going to make a tremendous difference by itself. The next point to look at is the placement of weight. You want your bag to be properly balanced. You want the weight evenly going straight down so that it’s not straining your shoulders back. It’s not a simple thing to do, but by practising re-packing your bag in a mixture of ways can help show you how small changes can have a pretty significant impact on the comfort of your bag.
Appropriate Carry Bag Size
Too big and you'll be carrying irrelevant stuff, too small and your not carrying enough.
There are a couple of ways of dealing with this. By possessing a big bag you give yourself options which are great. But, don’t buy the kit for your bag, buy a bag for your equipment. Get all your kit ready first, and then get the bag. If you’ve not made any of the mistakes already mentioned you should be okay, and you should have the right kit. The short of it is, don’t let you bag size dictate the package you take, let the environment and your needs guide you.
EDC And Working With A Budget 0
There are a lot of items that you could be carrying as part of your every day carry gear. The difficulty is that you probably don’t have sufficient room to take everything that you’d need in case of crisis. Getting some of these things can be rather inexpensive if you just stay with the basics.
There’s an entire following of people who do budget EDC kits that fit into an Altoids tin. I have one personally, and it’d be pretty awesome if I held it with me if I were stuck someplace, but I find that even though it packs a lot of stuff, it’s a relatively bulky item to pack so I don’t always put it in my pocket. It now sits in a bag as a part of my motorcycle EDC. When I have room, it goes in my on person kit. The kind of EDC bag I’m talking about here today is spread out in different pockets, including on your keychain.
A sound EDC kit will have things you need to get through a situation but be comfortable enough to carry so that you never forget it at home. So what should you carry? Assuming you’ve acquired enough skills to enable you to make due with what you can obtain, you just need several things to help the process a bit. There are a few broad categories to survival equipment:
Since this is an inexpensive EDC kit we’re focusing on, your knife will have to be on the lower end as far as blades go. Your knife is reasonably going to be the most expensive item on the list. You want the thing to work so I would not suggest a £3 piece of rubbish that you find at your local car parts shop. You need something that’ll work when you need it to or there’s no reason to have it in the first place.
A good example is the Smith & Wesson CK105H Ops Knife. It’s usually under £15 and has a rather good reputation. It’s a folding blade with a pocket clip so you can easily carry it.
Unmistakably, being able to light a fire is an immense advantage in a lot of survival situations. Even something as inexpensive and easy to find as a BIC disposable lighter can be a tremendous advantage to keeping warm and purifying water or cooking. These can usually be found for about a pound or even less, or free if someone leaves one behind someplace. You can cut a strip of duct tape and wrap around to add more grip. This BIC is fantastic. They last for ages, don’t leak out their fuel, and they’re just incredibly cheap!
Just like the knife mentioned above, Survival Life currently has a free Everstryke Match that works in virtually any environment.
For a torch, on the cheap end, you can’t knock a Cree 7w flashlight. It’s under £5 and pretty impressive. It’s also little enough to fit in your pocket and takes double A batteries. This thing is super bright too. A must-have for a budget EDC kit.
For shelter, there’s not a lot you can do in your EDC kit. My suggestion is just to get a couple of 84″x52″ space blankets. They’re very cheap and fit in a back pocket no problem. Just remember that these are a one-time use kind of thing and tear pretty quickly.
For cordage, the problem is having it on you at all times. Probably your safest solution is to get some dental floss. If the packaging is too big to carry around, just pull the spool out of it and tie down the end. You can get around 55 yards of cordage his way. Another option is just getting some fishing line. The key is just to find a way to carry it efficiently so it doesn’t take up much room. The best ways I know is just to use a cheap plastic bobbin.
For an EDC kit, you have to stay small. If you’re not going just to eat plants and berries, one of the best value food is fish. Your bugout bag may have a full-on fishing kit in it but you surely can’t wander around with that in your pocket. For a casting line, just use the dental floss or the fishing line from the section above.
It’s good to pack things that serve multiple purposes. You’ll need to have something on the end of the line to keep the bait and grab the fish when they bite. Fish hooks are small and cheap so you might as well just toss a few of them in your kit.
Five Top Survival Items 0
We had a discussion at Carry Smarter about what we would want if we could have only five survival things to get us through an average UK based wilderness survival scenario, up a mountain or in secluded woodland. We wanted to consider five easily carriable things that would give you the best odds of survival. Obviously, a fully-stocked extensive first aid kit, a tent, five litres of drinking water, British Army ration pack and a gas burner camping stove would be sincerely helpful, but hauling those around with you all the time you’re hiking may not always be possible.
Our top choice for a survival item is something that most of the population carries with them at all times already! A mobile phone with a fully charged battery and network coverage would enable you to make emergency rescue services informed of your situation, which would mean it was only a matter of moments before help gets to you. Just acknowledging help is on its way would be a tremendous psychological lift from the outset, helping you to stay cool and approach the other survival priorities, such as signalling to the rescuers when they get near.
Even in the absence network coverage, modern smartphones still have several uses for the survival. Built-in functions such as the flashlight, digital compass/GPS system, mapping apps and even survival knowledge apps can all be a tremendous help.
- Foil survival blanket
In the UK, exposure to the elements can swiftly become fatal, the compound of the wind and rain wicking away your body heat and putting you into hypothermia. To stop this happening, you will need a way of both keeping them out and retaining your body heat.
The foil survival blanket is a fine pocket-sized item, when unfolded and wrapped around the body offers shelter from the wind and rain, as well as maintaining the body heat that you would otherwise naturally lose. It’s the nearest thing you can have to a portable pocket shelter, and it can keep you warm just enough to survive until rescue happens.
- Haemostatic agent
One possibility that we agreed could bring a quick and unfortunate ending to a survival scenario would be that of traumatic blood loss. While somewhat unlikely to occur on a regular outdoor excursion in the UK, cuts and wounds do happen, and it’d only take an unusually severe slip with a blade to cause a life-threatening loss of blood. Applying a tourniquet is a good way of slowing blood loss, but this isn’t much use if you’ve sustained a head wound.
However, there are haemostatic products available, such as these haemostatic granule sachets. Applied right to the wound, followed by pressure and bandaging. These are easy to carry an item that could prevent an otherwise fast demise from blood loss.
- Ferrocerium rod and striker
Creating fire can turn a bad situation to your favour. Having a way of staying warm and signalling to rescuers is important, and fire will help you achieve both.
We finished up going for the Ferro rod. The idea being is that although it's slower to produce a flame than a lighter. Butane lighters can fail to ignite if the air temperature falls below 4°C, but a Ferro rod and striker will perpetually be able to produce hot sparks in any weather.
- Water bottle with inbuilt filter
We also considered what could occur if rescue didn’t take place within hours or a day of the survivor finding themselves in their state, and how after this period the need for water would become a significant role in their survival.
A bit of survival gear that immediately came to thought was the Lifestraw Go; that is essentially a plastic water bottle with a filter element built into the cap. The excellent point about this is that you have a container in which you can get water from nearly any source, and when you must to rehydrate you just drink through the spout like a typical water bottle.
A sound knowledge of survival techniques and the environment will go a long way towards surviving. So maybe the most important survival item you should carry would be your brain.