12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All Times

James Walton
By James Walton May 22, 2020 08:51

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All Times

We do our best to prepare for the foreseeable future. Sometimes we even consider a future that is shrouded by the unknown. In doing so, preppers and survivalists have adopted the EDC or everyday carry modality that assures we have on hand all the things needed to address a crisis.

We have compiled a list of 12 survival items to carry with you at all times.

Virus Protection

Virus protection considerations are an EDC item that countries like Japan have long employed. During any seasonal disease, the Japanese people wear masks. This is culturally accepted there. It could become more normal here in the States.

Face Protection

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesAfter this pandemic we are going to see more of this in our own culture. Now, you should have a mask both to protect you from outside infection, and as well as to gain access to certain places.

It is likely that you will need a mask to access stores, office buildings, jobs, and state government buildings for months to come.

The 3-ply mask gives you great protection and allows you to slip in an activated charcoal filter. The other important benefit of wearing a mask is that it keeps your hands from your face and out of your mouth.

Hands Protection

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesWhile hand sanitizer might seem like something that has only been used during the virus, it is practical to carry. 80% alcohol hand sanitizer has been proven to protect against the virus.

It has been tough to come by, but we are seeing availability return. Small bottles are perfect to slip into a bag or pocket.

If not managed properly, rubber gloves can be worse than not wearing gloves. They do not protect you, unless you change them often and take them off properly. Still, most preppers have long had rubber gloves near or on their person.

Rubber gloves are most often part of a reasonable first aid kit. You might also carry an IFAK or Trauma Kit that will contain these gloves, too!

If you use them properly, rubber gloves can become a vital layer of protection between you and any germs that threaten to infect you.

Related: Deadly Coronavirus Sparks Pandemic Fears: First US Case Reported

Eye Protection

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesTouching your eyes, itching them, or even getting debris in them can be a serious problem. Eye protection is vital if you are dealing with a virus or disease.

Eye protection is also very helpful if you are dealing with things like a building collapse, high winds or other instances where dust and debris can enter the eye.

Even a simple pair of reading glasses in a hard case can be carried in your pocket or a small bag. If you anticipate being in an area where there are many infected people, lots of germs or the potential for debris and dust, goggles might be worth packing, as well.

Related: Eat This Herb Every Morning for an Eagle Eye Vision at 80

Self Defense

There are many less than lethal methods of self-defense. However, a firearm is about the best single item you can carry to defend yourself and your loved ones.

After watching the London Bridge attack in the UK in 2017, where a van of knife wielding maniacs rammed people before emerging from the car and stabbing others, I realized it was time to carry a firearm. We would not be cornered and hacked to death.


12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesIf you do opt for a firearm and carry one that you practice with, than you should also carry a reload for that firearm. This is a magazine that is fully loaded for when you fire all the rounds in your primary magazine.

A reload for a handgun can be stored in a small bag, or even in the pocket of most pants.

Tactical pants are well made and designed for carrying reloads. Some can even carry 30 magazine reloads in the back and side pockets! Not my first choice, but a cool feature. Your reload is insurance so if you miss shots, are attacked by multiple targets or you are dealing with some other unforeseeable circumstance, you have more ammo on hand.

EDC Knife

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesI carry an EDC knife as a self-defense weapon, but I also use it as a tool.

Too many who are devoted to the concept of EDC, using your knife for utility purposes might as well be blasphemy. The argument is that the blade should be untouched and razor sharp, should you need to plunge it into someone.

Though I understand the concept, I still use my knife to cut things and open boxes. At the very least, you should carry a bladed tool as it can be very effective for a number of reasons, self defense being the rarest but most important.


Access is one of the most overlooked aspects of prepping and survival. Access is particularly important when it comes to urban and suburban survival, but you could argue that the concept is important in all aspects of prepping.

At its essence, it is the question of getting in and keeping people out.

Multi Tool

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesThe most notable tool for gaining access, as well as making simple repairs, is the multi-tool. The Center Drive by Gerber is a very interesting design with highly functional and durable tools. It is a tool that has really blown me recently.

Your multi tool will add a second blade to your EDC and give you the option to not use your EDC knife for utility purposes.

Pliers and bit drivers are also important for gaining and restricting access.

Related: 13 Weird Survival Tools Every Prepper Should Stockpile

Multifunctional Utility Keys

12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesThe 11 in 1 utility key is one of the best tools on the market for access.

This is a collection of keys like the sillcock, that can open train and subway cars, open elevators, electronic control cabinets, electric meters and even aid in gas or water supply shut off.

These keys do much more, but those are some of the highlights. This key could be just what you need to have access to clean water in an urban environment, or to shut off gas in a leak. I carry one in my sling.


Another simple item to carry is a lock. A combination lock is perfectly fine and gives you the ability to turn a simple door or gate into a restricted area. I carry my combination lock mostly for my gym locker, but if needed I have a lock.


Simply put, you gotta have light. As a warehouse inspector, having a flashlight was just part of daily business. However, I quickly realized that with light you can see an entirely different world, even in daytime.


12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesWhen it comes to an EDC flashlight there are two criteria that you should consider: size and recharge.

Forget about dealing with batteries in your EDC light. About 6 years ago I decided I was going to recharge flashlights only.

USB compatible are the most convenient. They are still powered by batteries, but they are longer term rechargeable batteries. Trust me on this one!

I like a smaller flashlight. I am not looking to thump anyone in the head with my light.

First Aid

We simply cannot talk about survival items to carry all the time without mentioning first aid. First aid comes in handy even when you are not dealing with a survival situation. Sometimes people get hurt or don’t feel well and it’s good to be prepared for that.

Car Kit

The best thing to invest in is a quality first aid kit for your car. This can be an IFAK, a larger first aid kit or a trauma kit. I have created my own kit by piecing together:

  • 12 Survival Items to Carry With You at All TimesBand-Aids
  • Pressure Bandages
  • Sheers
  • Gloves
  • OTC meds
  • Swat T
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Rolled Gauze
  • And some other odds and ends.

EDC Tourniquets

On your person, you might also want to carry a tourniquet. These are specially important implements that can be used to stop serious bleeding. Tourniquets will literally shut off the “valve” that is supplying the blood.

Tourniquets save lives and carrying one, and knowing how to use it, is an important piece of the EDC.

The items that you carry everyday should be tailored to your skills, needs and preparedness goals. Prepping is a very personal undertaking. Don’t take my list and make it religion. Rather, use it as inspiration for the development of your own.

I will warn you. Once you get used to carrying survival items, it’s hard to go back to the old phone, keys, and wallet program of daily carry.

You may also like:

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James Walton
By James Walton May 22, 2020 08:51
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  1. ed May 22, 11:57

    Wow…..if I’m going to carry all that at all times, I’m going to need a set of heavy duty suspenders as well.

    Reply to this comment
    • Sam May 22, 14:05

      Thats why man invented something known as a …backpack.

      Reply to this comment
      • Tomk May 23, 02:44

        My backpack weighs about 25 lbs. I’ve got to bring it in from the truck some day and sort it out. It started as a survival kit, because I’m of the rare breed that can get out of the truck, walk behind a tree to pee and get lost. It became a bug out bag, and now I need a hand truck to haul it around.

        Reply to this comment
  2. IowaSue May 22, 13:57

    What brand is your multifunction utility key and a link?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Sam May 22, 14:11

    Good list of items. Ill suggest a few of my own. Id add a surplus canteen with stainless steel canteen cup. You can add a stove and a widescreen both of which are available cheap. Fire starter kit, water purification tablets. 5050 cord roll and 100 MPH tape. A few zip lock bags of gallon and court size. A collapsable water basin is nice for your larger kit. I also would ditch the crappy multi tool, they are bad at every use. A swiss Army knife is still better.
    Id recommend keep handy in your car or if you are a lady, and were non practical fashionable shoes to work or out socially, a good pair of sturdy boots.
    A poncho is a must as well. They are light, take little room up and can save you from hypothermia and even be made into a shelter.

    Reply to this comment
    • Don Johnson May 22, 17:42

      Great suggestions but I would add or substitute these ! / A Sawyer Water Filter or Life Straw instead of purification tablets. / Coffee filters as a pre-filter then collect water into your zip lock food bags as a container for water to drink from or a rigid container./ Agree with 550 cord and Duck Tape 100%./ Foldable hand held saw also known as a pruning saw. / Several means of starting fires (Butane Lighter, waterproof matches, Fire Starter like flint and steel striker) / Survival blanket (Heavy Duty type) and pocket size ! / Energy bars / Take care, Don

      Reply to this comment
    • watrpro May 23, 04:36

      I take it that you haven’t used the Swiss Army multitool. Also know a Victorinox. Awesome and I have carried the same one over 20 years using it for contractor and farm work daily. Try it and the Swiss Army knife will go in the BOB.

      Reply to this comment
      • Iff May 24, 21:43

        I really like your add on list… but. Gerber is not a crappy tool. I have went through 2 leathermens to 1 of my gerbera. And it’s still going after 5 years and I work it hard. But your list man is awsome… thanks.

        Reply to this comment
        • Lonnie G May 28, 13:28

          I have a Super Tool that I have carried, daily, for the past 30 years. You can use a tool, and you can abuse a tool. My Leatherman was made in the US. The last time I looked at Gerber, they are no longer made in the US!

          Reply to this comment
  4. techman May 22, 15:36

    Where would you suggest obtaining the Multifunctional Utility Keys? What brand do you carry?


    Reply to this comment
  5. Jim May 22, 16:20

    You list things that are vital but I am 75 and it would be hard to use a knife for self defense, instead I have a walking stick ( Bubba Stik) and you fill the knob with lead. It is better than a knife and I carry a knife in a sheath.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ol’ Geezer May 22, 18:10

      I have enjoyed this website. The articles are generally very down-to-earth and a lot of common sense. So, my contribution would be the formula for your DIY hand sanitizer that rivals plain soap and water. Soap and water kills all viruses because viruses all have a fatty, protective sheath that enables them to survive. Soap removes this protective cover and the virus dies within the 20 to 30 seconds that is recommended for hand washing. — Picture the famous Dawn dish washing detergent that literally dissolves grease from pots and pans. Same principle. — Alcohol based hand sanitizers take 10 minutes or so to be very effective. They are notorious for drying out your hide – cracks around the fingers. Stay with me, I’m getting there.
      A mix (2:1 ratio) of Aloe Vera and White Vinegar kills viruses and bacteria (acidic vinegar) in the same way (apple cider vinegar will work just fine, but white vinegar is way cheaper – preppers are in to cheaper as long as they get the same bang for their buck – right?). This formula is easy to carry in a small spray bottle in all of your vehicles and one on each sink counter at home. This formula, if used every time you think about it will heal dry, cracked hands very quickly. I spray my hands as soon as I get back in my truck/car when I get back in from each place of business that I have been to. It doesn’t take very long to let your hands dry from this, and guess what – it won’t leave much of a trail across your electronic screens the way hand lotion does, even if they say “greaseless” on the container. Last thing – (do NOT spray in eyes) spray cuts, bruises, very effective aftershave, cold sores, stinky crotch/feet, toenail fungus, bug bites, sunburn and anything external that might need healing help or a topical antibiotic (it’s okay to go get a doctor,s opinion if the issue doesn’t go away in a day or so, and especially if it gets progressively worse and the sooner the better because your health could be in serious jeopardy).
      Very last thing (okay, I lied about the “last thing “ above).
      The COVID-19 virus generally gets into our body by way of nose and mouth, where it gets a big start in our throat. I spray my mouth/throat if I feel even the slightest hint of sore throat and this has been very effective for me.
      As a disclaimer, use all of the above information at your own risk.

      Reply to this comment
      • City Chick May 23, 02:50

        This recipe for a vinegar based sanitizer might be a better bet than alcohol. On the news tonight, several reports of alcohol based hand sanitizer bottles left in hot parked cars igniting!

        Reply to this comment
        • lefty coast chuck May 26, 21:11

          I just saw the headlines of the news article but I wondered whether it was faux news again. I have never done any tests using water in a bottle to start a fire. When I was a kid long long ago and far far away, we all experimented with magnifying glasses, starting fires, especially the kid next door who would not be trusted with any kind of fire starting mechanism as he had a problem with pyromania.

          More recently, I experimented with magnifying glasses again. My memory must be fading because I thought using a magnifying glass was pretty slow in starting a fire. Remember, I am several minutes lower in latitude than Pennsylvania where I sort of grew up.

          I just recently read a tale of starting a fire using a baggie full of urine as a magnifying device. Haven’t tried that yet and seriously wonder about its efficacy. I guess if that’s all I have it’s better than a bow drill.

          Have also tried a modification of the bow drill using a dowel in an electric drill. For some reason, didn’t even scorch the wood. Finally gave up on that methodology for starting a fire.

          I will try the water in a plastic bottle routine and report what I find. I am definitely going to save testing the urine in a baggie routine until I am absolutely positively desperate.

          Reply to this comment
    • Curley Bull October 19, 20:48

      I’m with you Jim! I’m no longer a spring chicken myself. I used to pack a 70# backpack, now it’s more like 20#. I also use a “Bubba Stik”, but am still reasonably good with an edged weapon (should something happen to my “walking stick”)

      Reply to this comment
  6. Rebecca May 22, 17:53

    I’d also like to know more about the utility key

    Reply to this comment
  7. Lea May 22, 18:59

    I’d say water, weapon, house key, tennis shoes and 2 days worth of your meds. Period. If you are like most of us you work at least 10 miles from home, you don’t work out regularly and aren’t in great physical shape. If you have to walk home, how would you carry a big backpack with a lot of stuff in it? Answer: you wouldn’t.
    So…. water, weapon, house key, walking shoes, meds. Just get home.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ron May 31, 17:50

      I like your list, I would add a poncho or emergency blanket if you’re walking home and have yo spend night you’ll need protection from environment

      Reply to this comment
  8. red May 22, 23:18

    Much thanks James. Well done!
    Face masks are mandatory! If you need to shelter in a place where there are bones, or animal droppings, fungal diseases will be present. Even in open dry areas like Arizona, things like Valley Fever happen. Here, every dust storm carries it. Predators carry it and other problems in the gut to help digest bone and shells. It can seem like a cold, or you can wind up like Carver after opening Tut’s tomb. In moister areas, there’s black shell fungus and worse. Abandoned homes, cellars, caves and mines will be trouble. A bandanna works, but it has to be sterilized after use by boiling or a strong soap. niio

    Reply to this comment
  9. Backwards Bob May 23, 18:50

    Where does one obtain Multifunctional Utility Keys? Can’t seem to find the one shown on the net anywhere!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Miss Kitty May 24, 02:04

    Great article, and a good selection of items if you work/travel far from home. Also, check your local conceal carry laws… some places even having a knife with a blade longer than 3.5-4″ will get you arrested.
    I would also add disposable rubber gloves and some rubbish bags (non scented).

    Reply to this comment
  11. left coast chuck May 24, 02:22

    The biggest omissions from this list are water purification and fire starting. Assuming one is escaping from an urban location, shelter of one kind or another, even cardboard boxes will be available. If one suspects that one is going to be hiking some distance, a change of socks will make that journey much more doable.

    While rechargeable batteries are really wonderful devices and I love ’em for around the house usage, in an end of the world situation, I would suggest that being able to recharge your flashlight just ain’t gonna happen. OTOH, scrounging a common battery size has a better chance of happening. Flame thrower flashlights that use rare batteries are fine for using to sear the eyeballs of a home invader, but in an EOTW situation, you don’t want to advertise your location to every bad hombre for miles around with your 1500 lumen eyeball burner. A small flashlight that takes a single AA battery is a much better choice. Covering the lens with a red covering is an even better choice. You will retain your night vision using it and won’t advertise your location to anyone and everyone who might be interested in what else you have. You know how some ads read, “beam extends 300 yards, light visible to 2 miles”? You don’t want a light that is visible to two miles or even 100 yards. Or a light that leaves you grouping in the dark for minutes after you extinguish it.

    As for those cutesy belt hangers, key chain, beer bottle opener gadgets, no matter how tactical they look, in my opinion, if you have a Gerber or Leatherman multi-tool you are much better off than having some dangling jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none toy no matter how cool it may look dangling from your belt. Consider how practical it might be. Consider how useful something else might be in its place, like a change of socks.

    Almost every “survival” kit has fishhooks and fishing line. Unless you are an experienced fisher in the areas where you will be traversing, I would suggest you lose it for something more useful. You want to be moving, not spending your time drowning bait. A couple of lifeboat S.O.S. bars will be a lot more useful. Or if you want to go even lighter, some bullion cubes or dried coffee in the little plastic straws with lots of sugar and dry milk packets. Hey. the homeless do that, buy a small cup of coffee and load it up with sugar and creamer and it serves as a meal. It’s not going to replace the steak I had for dinner tonight, but it will keep you going when the world has ended.

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  12. IvyMike May 25, 00:10

    Guys love gadgets, I can spend an hour or two any day wandering around Cabellas looking at all the cool stuff. But I agree with LCC, water purification and fire starting got to be a priority and there are great affordable lightweight choices for both. I would want number 3 item to be an 11×14 ripstop plastic tarp, I’ve sheltered from big old Texas thunderstorms, hot sunshine, and sleet and snow under a tarp, can’t be beat, cheap, light, takes no space.
    I’m not bugging out and when I work in the city my old truck is my office and I carry so much stuff in it I could head out over the horizon anytime and be fine, but if I was caught in the city and had to walk the 50 miles home I’d limit my carry to a gallon of water, a Lifestraw Go Bottle, some Excedrin Migraine (lying on the cold hard ground in the middle of the night and everything hurts? take 4), and a concealed handgun with reload. In winter add a tarp and a change of clothes. My old knees will still cover 25 miles a day here in the flat lands but not if I’m toting a bunch a crap I don’t need.
    And don’t forget, a week w/o food with plenty of clean water is good for you, try it sometime.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Lonnie G May 28, 13:19

    Unless you are wearing a Level III or IV respirator, and the equivalent suits, you are NOT protected from 99.9% of viruses! The little “dust mask” in your article filters down to about .035 microns. Viruses range from 0.005 micron up to 0.3 microns. Therefore, that blue 3 fold mask, with activated charcoal, is totally USELESS! Research is the best preventative to keep from catching the “BS-19” virus!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Lonnie G May 28, 13:40

    The best EDC is the absolute minimum to get by on. Too much causes confusion when you have to decide what to leave behind. My EDC- sidearm with 2 extra mags; Leatherman; a really old Old Timer (for cleaning under finger nails and picking teeth); another heavy duty folding knife (Kershaw 1556BW) frame lock, assisted opening; my trusty old Zippo (fill at night so if overfilled it can evaporate off) which has never let me down for the past 50+ years, and last but not least…a pocket full of silver quarters and dimes…2 pre 65 dimes have the same buying power today that they had in 1964! Anything else I might need I can get by buying, bartering, or taking off my vanquished foe…

    Reply to this comment
  15. SmokinJoe May 28, 21:54

    Thanks, nice list!..

    Reply to this comment
  16. KickStart May 29, 20:16

    The multifunction tool shown is available elsewhere, and is a poor copy of the original. Mostly made of soft metal and fairly useless in actual use. The real tool Is made by Knipex and is professional quality, though 4x pricier. Below Is a link to it on Amazon.
    Knipex Tools LP – 1101 Twin Key Universal Control Cabinet Key, Chrome https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DEMWGVC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tau_KOw0EbVXJVJRM

    Don’t waste your money on cheap copies of any tool. At best they’re a one-time use item. When you have zero other options in a disaster, you want your chosen tools to work.

    Reply to this comment
  17. 2AxeMax October 19, 14:30

    Got my first “multitool” when I was 10 back in 1956. It was a boy scout knife. Found many uses for it and had it for almost 18 years until one day in the bush near Pleiku it musta grew legs and went for a walkabout. Didn’t think much about it, was sad it was gone so the military exchange had a few swiss army knives and got one of those. It had a few basic tools but came with a tooth pick and tweezers and a corkscrew and bottle opener. I was ready to go.

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