Prepping does not have to be all about the end of the world. Especially in rural or wilderness areas you need to be prepared for everyday life and mishaps. There’s a few items it’s always good to have on hand that can help you deal with life’s little problems like a flat tire or major problems like economic collapse.
No matter where you live or what you do your EDC should be personal to you. If a SHTF scenario does happen you should feel comfortable and confident with your EDC choices.
Many people love multi-tools but for any large project they’re really not ideal. Larger fixed blade knives can be used for rougher jobs like splitting kindling, de-barking logs, and even digging wild foods easily and without taking any real damage. Plus how many things can you really do with a multi-tool in a survival situation that you can’t with a fixed blade?
In many rural areas and at rural based jobs it’s acceptable to wear a fixed blade knife. This Winchester knife is super durable and affordable.
Ultimately though they’re are a ton of good knives out there. When you’re looking for a knife look for something with full tang and a good quality steel like damascus, stainless, or high carbon. Also remember fixed blade doesn’t have to mean huge.
If you need something smaller check out locking, pocket knives. They aren’t quite as sturdy but they’ll certainly work in a pinch. This Swiss Army Hunter Pro is an awesome option especially for those who work with gloves on.
Unless you’re skilled in making fire by friction you’re going to want a way to make fires. Fires can keep you warm, dry your clothing and gear, purify water, and cook food. Being able to make a fire in a wilderness can keep you warm while you’re working in the woods or can make the difference between life and death in a survival situation.
There’s a multitude of options but the key to remember with fire starters is that if you can’t get a fire going with it in wet conditions you can’t rely on it.
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This Bushcraft Ferro Rod Fire starter is easy to learn to use and small enough to be worn on a lanyard or as a key chain.
If you’re not comfortable with that you can always carry a lighter or waterproof matches as backup. If you need something really small check out capsule lighters like this one.
Flashlights are a really obvious EDC item. People are often out after dark and frequently drop things into dark places and yet most people do not carry a flashlight. If you live in a rural area the lack of streetlights is another reason to have a flashlight handy at all times.
The Olight flashlight is perfect for even the most minimal EDC. It’s tiny enough to fit on a key chain but still well constructed and bright offering 90 lumens.
If you’re okay with a larger light, a headlamp may be the way to go. There are so many different scenarios where you need to hands-free both everyday like changing a tire and after TEOTWAWKI.
Petzl headlamps like the Tikkina Headlamp are notoriously tough, reliable, and bright. The Tikkina is relatively small and offers different light modes, 80 lumens, and an affordable price.
A good, sturdy compass can get you where you’re going if you’re evacuating an area or just get a little turned around on a family hike.
Some of the best compasses are actually the cheapest and lightest. Skip those fancy ones in big hard cases and opt for a compass with a clear base. This allows for the best map reading and route planning.
If you don’t feel you have the space to carry a regular compass check into compasses that come as combos with your other favorite EDC items like this Survival Watch that features a watch, compass, paracord, and fire starter.
First Aid Kit
First aid kits are obviously going to come in handy if SHTF but they can also help you stave off disaster in your everyday life. If your home or work is in a rural area first responders can often take a long time to reach you in the event of an accident. Having access to a first aid kit while you wait can save your life.
You can purchase a first aid kit or make your own. If you’re an avid outdoorsmen you may consider a wilderness specific first aid kit.
If you’re trying to assess a first aid kit’s quality or want to make your own important things you want to make sure your first aid kit has includes:
- Ibuprofen – It helps ease pain and slow bleeding
- Butterfly sutures/steri strips – they can be used in place of real sutures
- Quick clotting gauze
- Gauze and tape
- Antibiotic ointment
Putting together your own first aid kit also gives you the option of adding herbal remedies like a pouch of yarrow to stop bleeding.
Water is key to life so wherever you are it’s always great to have some on hand. In a rural situation it can help keep you comfortable if your car breaks down or even keep you alive if you get lost in the woods.
The best water bottles are stainless steel. They don’t leach harmful chemicals into your water and can be heated in a fire for comfort or to purify water. Remember to take the lid off before heating of course!
There are many choices available insulated or non-insulated, cap style, and color but if you’re not too attached to something specific a cheap, plain stainless bottle will do the trick.
Depending on where you’re located fishing can be one of the easiest ways to gather food in a rural or wilderness survival situation. The fishing line can also be used for sewing. Fishing kits are also extremely compact and easy to carry.
On an ordinary day, bandanas are great for tying hair out of the way, keeping wind or dust off your face, or as a handkerchief. However if you’re in a survival situation they can be used to filter large particles out of water or as a tourniquet.
Emergency blankets can help keep you warm and dry in a variety of situations. In rural areas any accident can mean waiting quite a while for help to arrive so even before SHTF they’re great to have around. They can also be set up or laid out to signal searchers if you’re lost in the wilderness.
These lenses are tiny, cheap, and multi-purpose. There’s no reason not to carry one. They can be used in everyday to communicate with relatives on a large property or in a SHTF scenario. They’re also helpful for starting fires and signaling rescuers if you get lost in the woods.
Menstrual Cup (For Women)
Menstrual cups are easy to use, good for your health, and perfect for long term survival. In rural areas making a trip to the store can be a long haul but if you have a menstrual cup you’ll never have to run out for hygiene products. Plus if SHTF you won’t run be stuck in an uncomfortable position after your supplies run out since menstrual cups are reusable.
There are many brands to choose from and most come in two sizes. There’s a smaller size for women pre-childbirth and a larger size for those who have had children. Check out the Luna Cup as an example.
If you know you’ll be traveling in a rural or wilderness area and are bringing a backpack you may consider these additional items.
- Poncho Liner – can be worn or slept in.
- Extra Food
- Water Purification Tablets – you can buy tablets or keep a tiny bottle of bleach. Treat 1 liter of water with 2 drops of plain bleach (double if cloudy), shake, and wait 30 minutes.
- Warm Hat or Balaclava
- Folding Saw
- Dry Tinder – you can buy tinder, or collect natural materials.
- Emergency Contact Info – this should be on paper not a cell phone.
- Paper and Pencil
- Candle – can be helpful for fire starting.
- Super glue – can be used in first aid and gear repair.
The most important thing to remember about EDC is that it’s yours. Even if you live right next-door to someone and have the same job you may both have a different everyday carry items and that’s okay!
The items you choose will depend on how much you’re willing to carry, your skillset, your gender, and of course your personal preference. No matter what you choose, carry it and practice with it!