Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Gear post: My first EDC

How did I get into the habit of carrying "gear"? Well, let me tell you.

I've always carried a pocket knife, since first grade. Always. That's kind of the foundation to build upon. And I did.

Once I got to high school, I was reading a lot of books on wilderness survival. Most were full of fanciful advice and drawings that looked cool but didn't work in the real world. But they got me to thinking about having some items on my person at all times, "just in case" (...of being magically transported, without warning, into a primeval world?).

I was also spending a lot of time in the woods during this part of my life. A LOT of time, in all weather, at all times of day, even when I was supposed to be elsewhere. This is how I learned which things from the books wouldn't work in the real world: experience.

I began to want a survival kit on my belt. At least I attended kinderprison in an era when I could get away with carrying such things, even if I wasn't "officially supposed to".

I took a metal Band-Aid box (remember those?), sanded off the paint, cut some belt slots into the back so I could carry it on my belt, and filled it with items I had seen recommended in books and that I could imagine needing.

I packed in some plastic sheeting (for a solar still or other things), some cordage, a folding knife (besides the pocket knife I had in a pocket all the time) fishing line, and fishhooks. I put in a lighter, a candle stub, some cotton (for tinder), and other little odds and ends I had seen recommended in one place or another. The stuff was useful, for sure.

A lot of the items actually did come in handy out in the woods, although I soon realized skills were better than stuff. And the metal box was always getting dented and needing to be re-shaped so it would close again.

I've learned so much since then. But sometimes I am nostalgic for the simpler times when I felt I was ready for anything with my Band-Aid box full of "survival gear".


Reminder: I could really use some help.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.


  1. "I took a metal Band-Aid box (remember those?), sanded off the paint, cut some belt slots into the back so I could carry it on my belt, and filled it with items I had seen recommended in books and that I could imagine needing."

    I did the same thing, at about the same age. Except for sanding off the paint. I spray-painted mine black.

    Fairly similar contents, except mine included one of those little blocks of metal to shave off and use for starting fires. It (as well as wire, line, and fish hooks) came out of the handle of a cheap "survival knife," one of those large and mean-looking but so-cheaply-made-as-to-be-useless Bowie knives with a hollow handle. The knife that went into the box, IIRC, was a little Old-Timer (they used to replace them free if they broke.

    1. I was always wanting one of those "survival knives", even though I had handled them and knew they were cheap crap. I don't know why they appealed to me. I never got one (actually, that's not quite true-- I was given a small version this past Xmas. LOL).

      I can't remember everything I put in my kit. Pretty sure I didn't have any wire or magnesium blocks, but I know I had more than I listed. The folding knife I put in my kit was a Stanley utility knife with interchangeable/replaceable blades. I still have it-- it's in my toolbox now.

  2. I just always had my pockets stuff full of shit. If a modern school keeper was to see the contents of my pockets from the late 70s and 80s, they'd call a swat team then have a team of shrinks examine what was left of me.

    1. I graduated in '81, so the late '70s and very early '80s was about the time I was carrying my Band-Aid box kit. But they knew I was weird anyway.

  3. I graduated in '85. Before school every day, I'd sit in the library and shoot the shit with friends. One year -- I think it was '84, right after '83 Christmas break -- one of my friends brought his Christmas present to show us. It was a 9mm pistol. Nobody batted an eye. Every truck in the student parking lot, and half the vehicles in the student parking lot were trucks, had at least one long gun in a window rack. More kids had pocket or belt knives than not, because there was always shit to do that a knife might come in handy for. No one thought twice about it. Except maybe someone thinking about attacking the place.