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“You know you are a prepper if it takes five minutes to load your pockets each time you leave the house.”

The subject of gear seems to be of great interest to the prepper community so I will address my gear-related items from time-to-time. I have come to think that gear cannot solve all problems, just give you more options. Before I describe the contents of my pockets, let me emphasize that they are my pockets not yours. Each item is specific to my risk assessment and daily activities. I guarantee that your situation is different such that you will need to tailor your pockets to your life.

1) Wallet with identification, $200 cash, credit card, debit card, medical debit card, medical/car insurance information, and emergency contact cards, grocery store and pet store cards.

2) Key chain with Tactical LED flashlight, small LED flashlight, whistle, plastic self-defense tool, mace, and keys.

3) Gerber 3.5” Knife

4) Wave Multi-tool

5) Cell Phone with integrated GPS and traffic monitoring

6) Altoid Tin and lighter with:………..

7) Note cards, Blue Pen, Black pen

8) Sunglasses that are also safety glasses

Identification: A current drivers licence is required by law. My backup is the passport I carry in my tactical bag.

Cash: Cash talks even when the power goes out or the credit card machines go down. I have been in situations where both have happened. Plus, if you want to maintain operational security, cash is less traceable than credit cards.

Credit card: I use them because we get 5% cash back. I always have the money in my bank account to cover any transaction along with fraud alerts and automatic bank drafts.

Debit card: If I need to get extra cash, I can.

Medical debit card: I pay for prescriptions and doctors visits via this card. This saves money because this is pre-tax dollars.

Medical and car insurance information: Proof of car insurance is required and having your medical insurance information is helpful in emergency situations.

Emergency contact card: If my cell phone is lost or stolen, I have contact information of close family members and doctors on me at all times. If I am incapacitated, this information is right on top of my wallet.

Grocery store card: Every week, I save money on grocery store specials and gas discounts via the loyalty card system. I buy in bulk when things are on sale and less when they are not. Of course, they can track my purchases, but who cares if they know about my pinto bean purchasing pattern?

Pet store card: Same as above. I regularly by pet food and can get discounts by presenting them with a piece of plastic. If I don’t carry it with me, I will forget it and not get the discount.

Single LED light: This is always on my chain. Originally, this was intended to find the key slot on my car or house in the dark, but has expanded to other situations where light is needed.

Six LED tactical light: If I don’t have room in my pockets, this is left behind. I made this addition recently due to a potentially bad experience. I was visiting a warehouse that had motion activated lights. My host entered the side room and the lights did not come on immediately. It was pitch black and the door started to close behind me. My mind raced to “what if the door closes, locks and the lights don’t come on?” I did not allow the door to close behind me (of course), but I reasoned that my single LED light would be inadequate should the worst happened and I needed to pull out my knife or multitool to exit a bad situation. That event was totally unanticipated and I am sure the worse case scenario of being trapped in a dark room would not have happened. Regardless, my job is to anticipate and survive. Besides, since I have started to carry it, there have been many times when I needed it and used it.

Whistle: This is another survival tool to attract attention. It is too big to fit in my Altoid tin, so it is on my key chain.

Self-Defence Tool: If it comes to hand-to-hand combat, it is yet another tool.

Gerber knife: Self-explanatory. I have used it endlessly.

Wave-Multitool: I upgraded from a Skelatool to get more items. I mostly use the pliers, but never know what situation will require a mini-saw or other tool.

Cell Phone with GPS and traffic: I have a BlackBerry which is the ultimate survival tool. In addition to instant phone, text or email communication, the GPS is invaluable for navigation. Of course, the cell network may be down and GPS disabled so backups are needed. However, for daily use, this is the best tool available.

Altoid Tin in a Ziplock bag: This has many items that I will describe later.

Note cards and pens: At my age, I must write down things or they are forgotten. I may have a brainstorm and cannot immediately act upon a very good business or prepping idea. I have note cards for this purpose. Plus, if I needed to write someone a survival note (where I was, where I am going, what is my condition, how I can be reached) I have the necessary tool.  Lastly, the pens can be another defensive weapon.

You may be thinking three (or more) things right now:

1) That is a hell of a lot of stuff to carry around in your pockets.
2) There is so much unaccounted for.
3) What, no concealed gun?

First, yes, that is a lot of stuff. I wear jeans most days to work and it all fits in my pockets. The wallet, 6 LED flashlight, and mace are in my left pocket. The key-ring stuff is connected to a D-ring which is attached to a belt loop. That way, I am not fishing in my pocket for mace when I need to use it (never have). The knife, multitool, Altoid tin and lighter are in my right pocket. The note pad and pens are in my shirt pocket. If I don’t have a shirt pocket, then the note pad is in a back pocket and the pens stuck in my front right pocket.  People including my wife may note that I carry a lot of stuff in my pockets, but who cares what they think? I have what I need to survive many situations and they don’t.

Second, there is a lot of survival tools unaccounted for. I agree, that is why I have a tactical bag and get home bag in my car with other essential items so that I can last 72 hours unaided. My tactical bag goes with me most everywhere, but I leave it in the car during work hours. I realize this is a gap in my preps, but have not come up with a sufficient solution without putting a cache in my desk. It may come to that, but I have another idea I am pondering.

Lastly, I do not have a concealed-carry licence yet. Even if I did, I cannot carry on my company’s property or even have a gun in the company parking lot. Thus, it would not do me much good to have a CDL. However, you will note that I am armed in multiple ways: mace, knife, multitool, self-defence tool, flashlight, pens, whistle, and just plain awareness and brains. I will have a CDL in the near future, but won’t have the legal authority to carry five days a week to/from work. Otherwise, I am sufficiently armed at all times to face most threats. If I could carry a firearm 24/7 I would, but I cannot so I do the best I can with the situation.

One final note: I sometimes don’t have sufficient pocket space to carry everything I want. I may have to leave my 6 LED flashlight behind as well as my multitool and Altoid can and iPod.  I put them in my back pack, in my car or just leave them at home. However, at a minimum I have my wallet, phone, knife, mace, 1 LED light, whistle, one pen and keys on me at all times.  The other items are close and available.

Now that you see what I carry in my pockets, what do you carry in yours?

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We’re a group of suburban preppers in the Northeast and live in the NYC suburbs that write The Suburban Survival Blog to talk about preparedness and self-reliance out there to help others prepare for what could be an uncertain future due to economic, weather, and other reasons.