I think some of us are fascinated with kit. Designing kits, putting kits together, taking them apart, a kit for this, a kit for that. I fell into that trap. I had all sorts of kits along with lots of redundancy in those kits. Now for a tale of woe.
I have been making some major changes to how I look at preparedness and how I keep my essentials. I was taking apart a kit that I sometimes use for public service events. Going through the kit, I found the following, battery corroded in the flashlight to the point where I had to throw the flashlight away, the OTC meds I kept were out of date, and my cell phone charger had the wrong type of connector. Not bad stuff under normal circumstances, but in abnormal circumstances…
That got me thinking. When I was in the Army, I was issued one M-16, one set of web gear, one pack, one sleeping bag, etc. Because the stuff was used, cleaned, and inspected on a regular basis; it always worked. When I only had the one item of each to worry about, I took better care of it. The flashlight I used on guard duty, was the same flashlight I took to the field. This was the old angle head flashlights with BA-30 (D-cell) batteries. I know, I’m old. Because of its constant use, I constantly knew its condition. I’ll bet I had that flashlight over fifteen years only changing the batteries and the bulbs. Last I saw of it, my kids were carting it off camping somewhere.
Also, by using items in your kit on a regular basis, you learn about its strengths and weaknesses. You learn how it fits in your overall preparedness plan. If something doesn’t work, get rid of it now and get something that will. Finding out that a piece of kit doesn’t work as advertised in the middle of a disaster is not good program policy. I have purchased a piece of kit because someone recommended it and then found out it wasn’t for me. The best is not always the most expensive. Keep what you need and need what you keep.
So, what do I do now? In a sense you can say that I have streamlined my kit. I have one set of items that I carry for my everyday carry (EDC), I have one set of items in my get home bag (GHB), and I have one set of items in my Bug out Bag (BoB). I do not have items in a rotation; for most of my kit items, I only have 1 of each. I will admit to being a little fickle about knives. I probably have more than I should however, my knives are in either of one of two states; either they are in use or they are in storage – no rotation. I’ve gotten better over the years and I am down to a few of each type.
I also cascade my kits. My EDC is a part of my GHB, which is a part of my BoB. EDC items are carried in my pockets. My GHB is a small daypack and I leave room in my BoB to include items from my GHB. This ensures that I handle my stuff more, I see it more. An example is OTC meds. I keep a vial of Aleve in my GHB. I draw from it quite often due to normal aches and pains (remember, I’m old). Every time I open the vial I peek inside. When the vial gets low, I refill, ensuring a fresh supply of Aleve. Kind of an automatic rotation. I try to keep most items with consumables (flashlights, meds, etc.) in my EDC and GHB. Because I am in those kits more, I am more likely to spot a deficiency. My BoB has mostly non-consumable items that can sit for long periods without harm.
Preparing is a relatively personal experience. Everyone has their way of doing things. I like to keep things as simple as possible.
Stay safe, Stay Secure.