Life can throw some crazy stuff at you, even when you’re not camping in the wilderness or driving across the country. A day at the office could result in a power outage, your tire could blow out on a stretch of road with no cell signal, or you might just need to fix a dance recital costume post haste to become the hero of the hour. For those of us that think this way, there’s no such thing as ‘too prepared’.
There is, however, such thing as being too laden down with your own emergency kit. Let’s face it, you probably aren’t going to need three days worth of ration bars in an every-day scenario, but there are plenty of very useful little items that can be easily slipped into a pocket or purse that come in handy at the most unpredictable moments. Here’s a quick list of things that can be tidily packed into a pocket kit for every-day emergencies.
You never know when you might need to peer into a dark space, whether it’s a power outage or troubleshooting the inside of your desktop computer. A small but powerful pen-light can clip onto your shirt pocket, sip into a pants pocket or camouflage among your emergency writing materials in your purse if you carry one.
Sharp Pocket Knife
Pocket knives are exceedingly useful. They cut box tape, orange peels, and loose threads. They can pry things apart with the thin tip and can even be used as a small hammer when closed. Just make sure you get a good quality pocket knife with a sufficiently sharp edge.
No need to carry an entire toolkit with you when you have the perfect partner to your pocket knife. A leatherman is even better than a swiss army knife because it folds out into a pair of sturdy needle-nose pliers as well as all the bottle openers and mini-saws.
You never know when you’re going to need to write on something. Whether it writing a number on your hand, making a sign, or to label malfunctioning equipment for the next tech who comes along, sharpies are incredibly useful. Just one black sharpie can make the difference in scenarios you might never see coming.
Small Roll of Duct Tape
We all know how useful duct tape is, but a full roll is usually way too big for anything but large cargo pant side pockets. However, you can buy or create small two-finger-width rolls with just enough for a quick emergency repair of a travel bag or even to patch ripped pants until you can get home and change.
Pencil and Two Sheets of Paper
Like the sharpie only differently versatile, it’s always useful to have the ability to take notes with pencil and paper. Two pieces of paper folded into a rectangle and clipped together with a mechanical pencil are very helpful when you need them.
Whatever else you pack, never leave home without a small-limit credit card in your pockets. Unlock a door with it, pry up something sticky, or use it to book an emergency hotel room.
When hunger strikes, don’t rely on there being a nearby vending machine. Keeping even one granola bar on your person can help you if you get stranded or stuck somewhere or make you the hero of the day should you find yourself in the presence of a fussy child or suffering diabetic.
Chopsticks are one of the most versatile emergency supplies you can carry and the nice reusable enameled kind last for years. You can eat with them, use them to hold equipment together, tie up long hair with them after a hair-tie snaps, or use them to lift a keyring from a guard’s belt if you find yourself in an old western jailhouse scenario.
Carrying hand sanitizer isn’t prissy, it’s practical. A single little bottle of isopropyl or alcohol gel can allow you to turn almost anything into an eating utensil or medical equipment or to kill any dangerous contaminates you’ve been in contact with when soap and a sink are not available.
Another super universal item is the common cotton handkerchief. You can carry one of these instead of specialized bandages either whole or cut into strips. It can be used as a makeshift face mask or to keep hair and sweat out of your face or made into a flag signal if you get lost or fall.
Carrying around a water bottle is not always practical, but neither is drinking local water wherever you find it. Whether you are traveling, camping, or simply don’t trust all taps, a life straw is easy to fit in a pocket and makes all water a safe drinking source.
Needle and Thread
Finally, never underestimate the use of a tiny sewing kit. Even a single needle taped to a small spool of sturdy black thread can save you from a number of situations. Fallen buttons, ripped pants, split travel bags, and huge bloody cuts can all be quickly sewn together for at least a temporary fix.