This article covers a list of every day carry items as preferred by real EMTs who like to be as prepared as possible at all times in case they have to carry out their skills and training when they’re off the job or off the trail.

Most EMTs can tell you a story of when they’ve been the first responder to an emergency while they were off-duty. It seems inevitable, especially if you live somewhere that occupies either end of the population density spectrum: in our inner-city urban areas and in sparsely populated farming country or woodland, first aid services have to come from far away or work through a never-ending list of emergencies before they can get to you. It’s up for debate whether having these skills means that you’re obliged to respond every time, and you’re certainly not obliged to carry an ambulance worth of medical equipment to help you assess every trauma or patch up every punter.

But let’s assume that you chose your profession because you want to help people survive everything that life can throw at them. Let’s assume that you’ve found our website because you take an active interest in optimizing your skills development and EDC gear to be a better, smarter survivalist. Let’s assume you always prefer to be prepared.

What’s in our bag:

  • BIC lighter
  • 1x Trauma Pad
  • 2x Sterile eye pad
  • 3x Sterile Gauze pad
  • 3x Adhesive bandage, extra large
  • 4x Adhesive bandage, for knuckles
  • 8x Adhesive bandage, for fingertips
  • 10x Alcohol prep pads
  • 10x Antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • 25x Adhesive bandage, standard size
  • Field Notes waterproof and tearproof notebook, for writing your incident log or conveying crucial information that you need to send somewhere with your patient and/or make sure it stays with them. Note that a fine-liner sharpie is the best writing tool to use on this paper. Regular Field Notes journals don’t use this high-tech paper and as such are compatible with most pens.
  • Lightweight, waterproof softshell jacket. This must be flexible enough to allow you to patch up your patient quickly and accurately, no matter the weather. You should choose a high visibility softshell jacket or pair your everyday lightweight waterproof jacket with a high-vis vest.
  • Medical tape: 2”
  • Sharpies (permanent markers) – fine line for writing paragraphs of notes, plus a really big one for writing up signs and public information if necessary
  • Sterile gauze (in the utility pouch)
  • Survival mirror (a small mirror for signaling / distress calls)
  • Survival whistle
  • Triangular scarf that can be used as a triangular bandage

Is there anything you think we’ve left out? What do you EDC on your way to/from work? As a trained professional, what do you carry when you’re going out for the weekend or on an extended holiday? Do you carry a different set of gear when you’re headed into an urban destination vs. the wilderness? Let us know! We’d love to add your recommendations.