Could the items you’re carrying be used to save your life in an emergency? This is the whole line of thinking when it comes to every day carry gear, also referred to as EDC gear. Common EDC items are a concealed carry handgun, a light source, fire starters like matches or lighters, cordage, a knife, your phone and a few other carefully selected items that keep you from getting caught empty handed in life-or-death situation. And for most of the year, this roster of self-reliance gear stays the same. But with the coldest season fast approaching, doesn’t it make sense to winterize your gear selection? Just think how valuable the following items would be in a cold weather emergency.
This one-person shelter item is a proven lifesaver. Hypothermia is often the biggest threat to your survival in the winter. A compact and cheap space blanket can block the wind and precipitation, and help contain a great deal of your body heat. I always carry space blankets in my vehicle in winter. I carry one for each seat so that I have one for each potential passenger. But you could also stuff one in your coat pocket, just to have it when you’re walking around.
Back-up Fire Starter
Perhaps your EDC gear already has redundancy in the fire-building department. That’s great. Skip to the next item. If you’re only carrying one fire starter, however, take this to heart. Fire can be your lifeline, just as it was for our ancestors. Few things offer the comfort and protection that fire offers, and you need better be ready to make it quickly in a predicament. If you’re carrying a spark rod now, don’t throw it away, but understand that it’s only one step up from rubbing sticks. Sparks won’t light everything. I recommend two butane lighters, or a lighter and a box of water-proof matches. Then keep your spark rod as a third-string backup, if you really want to. Lighters and matches spit out fire—not sparks. And fire is better at creating more fire than sparks would ever be.
Many people forget just how harsh the winter environment can be on your hands. Until, that is, they have to work in the cold. A warm, sturdy pair of gloves is a great thing to carry, not only for warmth, but also for protection. Try doing any kind of work when every object you touch is sub-freezing and your tasks will go from painful to impossible in a hurry. Keep a pair of gloves tucked in your coat or jacket pocket, and you’ll be ready to fight the frost.
What’s your EDC list? And is it winter-ready? Please let us know in the comments.