Thursday, March 7, 2013

Winter EDC

Hello everyone! I'm back from a long hiatus, but this post will be a good one.

With the changing season, your Everyday Carry (EDC) gear should change, as well. An EDC setup needs to change with the changing environment, to prepare you for the jobs and difficulties that you may face that day.

One would do well to think about how winter differs than summer. Well, obviously, there's a weather phenomena called snow which seems to coincidentally appear when the weather gets cold. Snow increase the chance of car accidents or even getting your car stuck.

Winter also brings with it longer nights, which should also slightly alter your EDC setup.

Here are some of the pieces of gear that I would emphasize during the winter months:

Hat, Gloves & Warm Outerwear
This skier may look like a marshmallow,
 but I bet that he's pretty warm right now.

While very obvious to some of us, having warm clothes on is something that you need to have if you want to be prepared for cold weather. You'd be surprised at the amount of people who don't realize this. Look at any city crowd in the winter and you're guaranteed to find a large number of people without a hat or gloves, shivering while walking to work.

"But it's only a short walk from my car to my office."
You don't know what you'll be expecting. The way that I think of it, you should be prepared to stay outside comfortably for a length of time in any weather situation that you may find yourself in. That means, if it's raining, you have a rain jacket and appropriate shoes. If it's cold out, you wear warm clothes, and at least have a hat and gloves handy. You never know what may happen to you throughout the day, but at least you won't have to fight the cold.

The Quark Turbo, now called the Turbo QB2L,
is still my favorite EDC Flashlight even after 2 years of use.
A good flashlight can be an invaluable part of your EDC. During the long days of summer, you may be able to get away with just a keychain light such as the Preon P0, but during the winter months, I would suggest picking up something brighter. A modern LED flashlight such as the Quark Turbo (still my personal favorite), would give you enough light for almost any dark situation that you may come across, while still being very portable.

A good knife is a staple part of an EDC setup. In fact, I think that carrying a knife distinguishes people who leave the house with a preparedness mentality versus those who just grab a few things on the way out the door, often not having the tools necessary for even the smallest of unexpected tasks.

With the winter months and the addition of clothes layers, namely winter gloves, your knife selection may also need to change. In the winter, you may want to consider carrying a knife that you can use with gloves on. That may mean carrying a fixed blade or a larger folding knife. It's just something to consider.

Cell Phone
Nowadays, nearly everyone carries a cell phone, but just in case you don't, having one to call for help is very important. Winter carries a higher risk of accidents, since the weather is less hospitable, meaning that you can't stay out in it indefinitely. Communication is essential to surviving an emergency. A cell phone will almost always allow you to call for help should you need it.

Automobile Accessories
With snow, comes poor driving conditions. There are some basic items that you should have in the trunk of your car just in case something unexpected were to happen.

Wool Blanket
A wool blanket should be in your trunk no matter what the season. It takes up very little room and can be very useful if for some reason you need to stay warm or keep someone else warm. It can also be used to lay down on or as a carrier for other items by wrapping them up in the blanket. It can even be used as an improvised shelter, just to name a few jobs. If for some reason you were stuck out in the cold, you won't regret having one.

First Aid Kit
Even a fairly basic First-Aid Kit, such as the First Aid 2.0,
can be very beneficial in an emergency.
Pretty common sense. If winter is a time when car accidents are more likely to happen, it is a very good idea to have a comprehensive first aid kit to treat your own injuries or the injuries of others. While I've never had to use one in a car accident, having a first aid kit has come in handy numerous times and I try to have one with me wherever I go.

Jumper Cables
Cold weather can be very tough on car batteries. If your car battery is weak, it's very likely that it will die during the cold winter months. This actually happened to me earlier this winter. Thankfully, I was trying to leave my driveway when it happened, so I wasn't stranded anywhere. A good set of jumper cables will be invaluable if and/or when your car battery ever dies.

Road Flares
Road flares are a great signaling device should you ever become stranded on the side of the road. It's actually a very common sight during the winter months. A good set of road flares will signal to other drivers that you need help, especially during times when visibility is poor due to snowfall or fog.

Small Snowshovel
Like I said earlier, cold weather brings with it snow. Snow can be very difficult to drive through, especially if your car does not have 4-wheel drive. A good but compact snow shovel kept in your trunk will help get you un-stuck should you ever try to drive through snow that's just a bit too deep for your car to traverse.

Those are just a few items that I recommend carrying with you or having in your trunk during the winter months. There are many more items that would be helpful as well, but these are some of the more basic.

Let me know what you think, along with any ideas that you may have for other items in the comments below.

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