Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vehicular Everyday Carry

Bug out bags that are permanently stowed in vehicles are a fine thing. I personally do not stow a large kit in my vehicle on a day to day basis. I do most of my travelling in the confines of a very limited area, and live within a mile and a half of my work. I feel that for me, a bug out bag that rides in the vehicle is unnecessary, although I do tend to load up the vehicle for the occasional longer trip.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good idea for you, but each circumstance is unique. I also feel that I practice vehicular every day carry, which I feel is a good middle ground in my circumstance. Again, I cannot emphasis too strongly that my risks are not yours, and everyone needs to develop plans and techniques suitable for their situation.

So, just what is in my vehicular EDC? There is of course the usual spare tire, tire tool and jack, all of which are regularly checked and maintained. I do not keep spare gas, oil or other fluids in the vehicle unless I am travelling outside of my usual very limited area. There is always a collapsible shovel for getting unstuck, and an extension cord for plugging in during the Canadian winters. That is about the extent of usual directly vehicle related items.

Additionally, I have a First Aid kit on board, one that is considerably more extensive than the cheap kits usually sold for cars, but still compact enough that it stores out of the way. It contains a variety of OTC meds as well as a day’s worth of our prescription medications.

Another item always in my vehicle is bug repellent. It seems to be the one item I always forget when I want it, so I make a point of having it in the car at all times. Saves me a lot of itching and scratching.

Of course, summer and bugs eventually give way to winter here in Canada, so there are other items always on board, the most important of which is a warm wool blanket. One simple layer might mean the difference between life in death if you’re stuck in your vehicle. Emergency food is also carried. Generally, I have roughly 2000 calories in the form of long storage type energy bars, and which are replaced annually. In winter I add a few small containers of peanut butter for the concentrated extra calories.

I also carry a shake type LED flashlight. I favour this over a battery type for the reason that there are no batteries to check, and performance seems to be unaffected by cold, unlike batteries. Changing a tire in the dark is likely the most frustrating experience I’ve ever had, and I plan on never having to do so again.

A roll of toilet paper is carried for ’emergencies’, as well as a few rags for general cleanup. There is generally a selection of rugged cloth grocery bags in the car which might be handy if I need to abandon the vehicle but take as much stuff as possible with me.

I don’t carry a lot of tools in my vehicle, but one that is always in the glove box is a pair of pliers, as it seems to be the single most necessary tool I need in almost any variety of circumstances. I recently added a multi-tool as well, giving me a second gripping tool and a variety of other small tools. I’m of the opinion that carrying a big selection of tools is largely useless with modern vehicles, unless you have the diagnostic devices and spares to fix it as well, and that is a whole other level of preparedness.

There is a generally a pad of paper and a few pens or pencils as well, and usually a dispenser of small plastic garbage bags that might serve any number of purposes, from water carriers to footwear, and who knows what else.

Finally, I keep some supplies for my dog in there, consisting of a plastic container of dog food with plastic bowls that fit over each end, as well as a webbing leash. Most of the time, there is a two liter bottle of water in the car for the dog, but of course it is drinkable by me as well.

All of this stuff is stored neatly and out of the way, and is practically unnoticeable unless you are looking for it. I feel this is just normal stuff that every Canadian should carry or is likely to carry in their vehicle. Sadly, not many Canadians do carry as much as do I, even though I feel what I’ve got in my car is very little in the bigger scheme of things, and far from a full fledged bug out bag.
So what’s the content of your vehicular EDC?

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