There are copious amounts of articles and videos published about creating the ultimate EDC (everyday carry) bag and gear.
While many of them offer great tips and advice, most forget one very important aspect about surviving the immediate aftermath of a SHTF disaster…where you lives matters – a lot.
The EDC bag to get an urban dweller home will not likely require many of the essential gear items a rural prepper will need to have tucked away in his or her bag.
The survival skills a prepper possesses also play a significant role in what goes in the EDC kit.
Rural preppers typically boast far more survival skills than the average urban or suburban prepper, but that fact should not create a false sense of confidence about the ability to make it home with no or minimal gear during a doomsday disaster.
Rural preppers live in beautiful, safe areas surrounded by basically like-minded people who also grew up with guns, and are willing to point them at the marauding hordes without a second of hesitation to protect their home and community.
But, like many rural folks, the prepper may be forced to engage in a rather lengthy commute through the suburbs and into a city for work each day.
In situations like this one, the EDC bag most accommodate the needs the prepper may face in more than one type of environment…getting a bag so large it will attract unwanted attention AND making it too heavy to carry.
A rural prepper who works 30 to 60 miles away from home, which is not uncommon, will have a far longer walk to potential safety than an urban or suburban prepper who laments on a regular basis about a cross-town or 15 minute commute to and from work.
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Rural Environmental and Terrain Aspects
- Hiking through steep, muddy, and rocky terrain, or through waterways, might be necessary to get home and to avoid treacherous roads.
- The EDC kit and the items contained inside may need to be rotated to address seasonal issues. Rural residents must always remain mindful of flooding during the rainy seasons of spring and fall, focus on water needs more during the drought-prone summer months, and be prepared to traverse rugged terrain in several feet of snow and avoid getting frostbite and hypothermia during the winter.
- Rural preppers will have to be prepared to deal with not only potential human attackers, but predators who walk on four legs as well. The very real possibility of stepping in an animal trap or getting shot by a hunter does exist. Never make the mistake of assuming that just because you know a SHTF disaster has started, that the news filtered down to everyone. A hunter in the woods stalking prey has not likely been on Facebook to see the news alerts.
- Walking home is going to take a whole lot longer than driving home. Practice walking the same distance at a local track or around you property while carrying your EDC bag to get a better idea of how long the trek will really take and stuff you bag with the food and sheltering items necessary to get you through an overnight in the woods that could very well be necessary.
EDC Bag Tiers
Everyday carry items should always be accessible, but do not all have to be necessarily stored in a bag- and probably shouldn’t.
- Carry EDC items on your person.
- Store EDC item in your desk, locker, cabinet, purse, or drawers at work.
- Carry EDC items in your car – both inside the main vehicle and in your trunk or lock box in the truck bed.
- Carry and EDC bag that is both as discreet as possible and truly portable.
When the doomsday disaster strikes, you might not be able to get to your car, or even out of your place of work for multiple hours.
The sooner you can get on the road home or to your survival retreat the better, but plan for possibly extensive lag time before a best case SHTF exit scenario can occur.
Putting all of your survival gear inside the rural EDC bag will leave you defenseless, cold, hungry, and thirsty if the bag is taken from your or lost while fighting, climbing, or swimming away from danger.
Personal Carry Gear
Carrying survival items on your body not only always keeps them ready for immediate use or at least within arm’s reach, employing this EDC set up will help ensure you are not left with nothing if your bag or car are stolen or unreachable.
- Sew hidden pouches into your coat, hat, gloves, purse, inside a bra or pants cuff, or work uniform to hide a small knife, matches, lighter, pen flashlight, gold or silver coins, etc. If you carry briefcase to work, purchase one with a false bottom to hide small and lightweight EDC gear.
- Get TWO boot knives to constantly wear inside any type of footwear you regularly wear to work, or while doing errands away from home. Boot knife clips can work their way loose – I lost one of my favorite knives this way. Cut a slit in your boot liner, or sew in a second liner, to hide the boot knife inside – secure the opening with a small snap or Velcro fastener.
- Grad that survival staple, duct tape, and use it to affix gold or silver coins to the inside of your belt.
- Purchase “survival jewelry” and accessory gear. Paracord bracelets designed with both men and women in mind, are inexpensive and should be worn daily – and an extra one placed in a purse, briefcase, and rural EDC bag. Paracord hair ties are also a great addition to the on body EDC carry for preppers with long hair.
- Credit card-shaped survival tools should also be placed in the wallet you carry in your back pocket, if you are a male prepper – and nearby in your purse for lady survivalists.
- Carry cash; ATM machines will either be in operational or bled dry during a doomsday disaster.
- Dress with SHTF mind. You can barter your gold or silver jewelry or precious gems in your tie tacks, rings, necklaces, and earrings for a just about anything you might need while trying to get home – perhaps even for your very lie!
- Keep a small canister or pepper spray attached to your belt loop and carry your gun at all time legally allowed.
- Also an emergency whistle with a key chain style attachment so it too can be added to your belt loops, is also a good idea.
Purse and Workspace Gear
Carefully tuck away the bare minimum EDC gear you will need to survive if trapped at work or delayed when trying to reach your EDC bag or vehicle.
Survival Gear to Store Nearby During the Work Day
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- Personal Water filter and Water – do not assume that faucets will continue to flow water at your work place. If a communal water fountain, dispenser, or vending machine does exist, expect panicked co-workers to empty them quickly and horde the contents.
- Protein – Food from the vending machine will disappear quickly as well. Depending upon the type of disaster, you could be trapped at work and away from your vehicle where your EDC bag and extra gear is located for at least a day, or more – before starting a dangerous and long walk back to your rural location. Keeping up your strength for the hike home should be a primary concern. Store protein bars, granola bars, beef jerky, peanuts, and similar snack foods with a long shelf life nearby while at work, inside your car, and in a pocket in your rural EDC bag.
- Ammo – Store at least two, but preferably more, fully loaded magazines in an accessible place in your work area. If you work somewhere that prohibits concealed carry, well, that’s a damn shame and a really bad idea – and storing ammo nearby will probably not help you survive. Also keep a bare minimum gun cleaning and repair kit stored with your extra ammo. If force to defend yourself for hours to day while stuck at your work place, the gun will need cleaned before the drive or walk home.
- Warmth – Store several Mylar emergency blankets, a inflatable pillow, wool blanket, as well as cold and rain outerwear at your work place. Getting sick or being too cold and miserable to get any rest while sheltering at your work area could greatly inhibit your chances of making it home alive. Once you can make your way to your vehicle to get your EDC bag and hopefully start the engine and drive home, you should not expose yourself the elements or dangers posed by humans – or the disaster itself, any longer than necessary.
- Footwear – You might wear cute heels or dress shoes to work, but that kind of attractive footwear is not the type you will want on when fleeing the office as quickly as possible to make a run for your car or to walk home. Store a solid and weatherproof pair of boots at your office and a pair of winter hiking boots with quality tread soles to change into the moment you learn the SHTF.
- Hazmat Gear – Store a hazmat jumpsuit and gas mask, along with iodine pills at your work place. A blister pack of the pills should also be stored on your person at all times.
- Light – Store both a quality flashlight and extra batteries, as well as a hands-free headlamp in your work area.
- Cell Phone Chargers – Purchase several portable and rechargeable cell phone chargers and a solar charging mat as a backup will help you keep in touch with loved ones and get breaking news about the disaster as long as communication are still in active operation.
- First Aid Kit– Turn a medium-sized tackle box into a portable aid station. Make sure to include plenty of antibacterial waterless lotion and quick clotting bandages, along with standard first aid supplies. If you take prescription medication, but a week’s worth in the work place first aid kit as well.
Rural EDC Bag and Car Gear
A duplicate of all the office gear should be stored in your rural EDC bag. You do not want to burden yourself with trying to pack all of the survival gear stored at your office to your car or bag as well.
- Hatchet– A survival hatchet with a hammer head on one side can serve as both a weapon and a tool to cut firewood, branches to make a temporary shelter, to kill snake, and to cut through thick and thorny brush you will surely encounter if hiking home through the wood.
- Work Gloves – Cold weather gloves are only a good start to protecting your hands while making your way home. On your trip back to a rural home, you will surely encounter barbed wire fences and dense brier bushes along your path.
- Maps – Purchase folding maps of the counties you will be driving or walking through – do not rely on your GPS car system or phone app to work or accurately reroute you away from main or blocked roads. Anyone who lives in a rural area already knows those tech gadget don’t always work well in their neck of the woods, and can drive them right into a creek or neglect to recognize a dirt road as a real road. Topography maps or online printouts from Google Earth will help you decipher the terrain you may have to hike and alert you to potential source of water.
- Weather Protection – Pack at least a few disposable ponchos in the rural EDC bag. These type of ponchos are not durable and will likely tear while hiking in the woods. They, along with Mylar emergency blanket, can double as the material needed to make a temporary shelter. Pack a bandanna, sunglasses, and a hat to shade you from the sun or help you retain your body heat, depending upon the season.
- First Aid Kit – Duplicate the first aid kit and store the supplies according to their use in zip lock baggies in a designated pouch in your EDC bag. Life-saving supplies like quick clotting bandage and tourniquets, should be stored on top so they are easily reachable. Pack snake bite first aid supplies and insect sting or bite supplies in a readily accessible section of the bag as well.
- Bottled water and MREs/food – enough of each to last for 72 hours. Store ample water and food, along with primitive camp cooking gear in your vehicle, as well. A lightweight camp cooking set should be stored in the rural EDC bag.
- Fire Starters and Tinder
- Emergency Radio – preferably one that is both battery and solar powered
- Walkie Talkie or Portable HAM Radio – to communicate with loved ones waiting at home or who will be connecting with you to hike away from danger and back to the house or survival retreat together.
- Activated Charcoal – for emergency water purification and a host of other home remedy uses.
- Glow Sticks
- Toilet paper – and for the ladies, feminine hygiene items
- Eye Care – pack an extra set of contacts and glasses
- Duct Tape and Zip Ties – each have hundreds of potential uses
- Paracord and/or Nylon Rope – pack at least 50 feet of rope
- Rifle – with a scope for hunting and protection. The scope can be used instead of binoculars to see into the distance. Attack a strap to the rifle and carry it on your back to you can reach the trigger in seconds.
- Folding Fishing Rod and Reel – to fish for food if your 72 hour pack of edible supplies is lost or taken, or you are delayed longer than planned due to illness, injury, or the nature of the SHTF disaster.
- Knives – a Bowie knife and similar knives that can be used for field dressing wild game and cleaning fish should also be placed in the EDC bag. Don’t forget to pack a knife sharpener as well.
- Tools – a multi-tool or Leatherman and small selection of hand tools that can be used to make minor repairs to the vehicle, weapons, etc. A more extensive set of tools, including a wench, battery charger, fix-a-flat, etc. should be stored in your vehicle at all times. A finger or folding saw should be added to the bag for cutting small branches to use as firewood or in shelter making.
- Shovel – a portable folding shovel with a serrated edge will be both a handy tool and a defensive weapon.
- Fresnel Lens or Mirror – for signaling purposes. The Fresnel lens could also be used during the water purification process.
- Sewing Kit – this will be handy if you need to give yourself stitches or to repair the bag itself or your outerwear.
- Inflatable Ring – if you could even possibly be forced to cross a river or creek to make it home or to the survival retreat safely – or flood water, the blow up ring could be used to float your bag across to make sure all the contents remain dry. Tie the rural EDC bag to the float and to yourself to make sure it is not swept away in the water.
- Reference Material – pack a pocket wilderness survival guide, a first aid guide, and a book or printout of foraging field guide as well as natural medicine guide with the pages relating to bark, weeds, berries, and plants that can be used as alternative first aid supplies, earmarked.
The Rural EDC Superstar: The Farm Jack
The farm jack, aka the high-lift jack, is one implement that no rural prepper should go without. These long, skeletonized jacks are often seen strapped to the bumpers and hoods of 4×4’s and lifted pickups.
When you have a vehicle riding on a tall suspension, or just one with big tires, standard bottle and floor jacks are hopelessly useless. You’ll never reach the frame to get the rig into the air with one of those!
The farm jack is different. For any passenger vehicle in the realm of feasibility (and a few that aren’t) these jacks can easily extend to the frame and then lift them for a tire change. If you drive a big truck, lifted SUV or similar vehicle, you really need one of these beauties!
But even if you don’t, there is much to recommend having a farm jack handy on your excursions. Though its main purpose is to lift vehicles, it can also be used for a variety of tasks around the homestead:
Lift heavy equipment or machinery: Only farm jacks have the strength, leverage and height needed to pick up tractors and other mobile or stationary farm machinery using nothing more than muscle power and mechanical advantage.
It might be a dodgy thing, but these are the most capable and most portable tool you can use for the job that requires absolutely no electricity or external power source.
As a come along: If you need to move other heavy objects, particularly logs or other unwieldy obstacles, you can use a farm jack as a manual come along with tow straps or chains.
By rigging up the farm jack to an immovable hard point and then attaching your straps or change to the object in question you can run the lever of the farm jack to exert massive force against a heavy obstruction that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to move on your own.
Just the ticket for clearing a tree that has fallen across your driveway or other trail without having to resort to the use of a chainsaw.
Raise and lower sheds or other structures: Such is the power of the farm jack that they can even raise or lower structures when required, so long as they have a sturdy enough purchase upon a firm point.
In fact, if done it carefully multiple farm jacks used in tandem can smoothly and evenly lift up even full-sized residential structures.
As you might imagine, this is a dangerous operation but it can be done in a pinch. For lesser work, like leveling a shed or out building, you probably won’t need anything more than a few helpers and a couple of farm jacks.
As a spreader: My personal favorite use for the farm jack is as a spreader, something akin to a manually operated jaws of life.
But reversing the lifting peg on the stand the jaws, if adequately wedged in a crevice or between two obstructions, will exert massive force in operation, more than capable of popping the door off of a car or helping you with some otherwise troublesome demolition work.
There are many other potential uses for this versatile tool, limited only by your imagination. So if you don’t already have one, make sure to add a farm jack to your list of must-have supplies.
But, make sure you know what you are doing; these things can hurt ya!
Farm Jacks Are Dangerous
Farm jacks are dangerous tools, but with a little bit of knowledge and common sense they can be used to do some amazing things.
If you aren’t comfortable using one, or if you have never used one before, it is best to find someone who can show you how before attempting anything dangerous.
Remember, these are powerful pieces of equipment and should be treated with the respect they deserve.
The chief shortcoming of the farm jack is that the lifting end and base end both rely on comparatively tiny points of contact that are just waiting to slip.
This can send a massive weight crashing down without warning or the jack itself skittering out with impressive velocity. The small footpad in particular is prone to mishap in soft ground or on loose surfaces.
Additionally, the handle of the beast has an infamous (and well deserved) reputation as a jaw-cracking, forehead-slashing, tooth-breaking menace.
If the ratcheting handle is not moved completely through its entire arc of travel it will not reset, meaning it remains acted upon by the load.
If one was, let’s say, to be in the return path of the handle in such a case, and then suddenly relaxed one’s grip, the handle will deliver a wallop.
This is particularly risky when lifting something that requires a little muscle, as the tendency is to bring one’s own body weight to bear over the handle for maximum advantage… and right in the path of harm in case of a mishap!
Also, and it should not need to be said, never, ever, ever go beneath a heavy load of any kind that is supported only by a farm jack.
If you cannot utilize adequate jack stands or something else that is adequate to the task of supporting the weight, never get under it!
But with some common sense, an eye for minimizing harm and a little practice you will be able to use your farm jack to do some pretty amazing things!
Start Putting Together Your EDC Kit Today
Rural life comes with its owns set of unique challenges owing to terrain, population density and lifestyle. Your EDC should adapt accordingly. By choosing the right EDC gear, you can make your rural life easier and safer.
Be sure to include a good knife, sturdy flashlight, a few good tools and a quality firearm in your rural EDC gear kit.
With these tools, you’ll be better equipped to deal with whatever disaster Mother Nature or the locals throw your way. Stay safe out there!
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.