CONSTRUCT A SUPPORT KIT THAT WILL KEEP YOU SHARP AND READY
Combat effectiveness has been described as being able to “shoot, move, communicate, and support/resupply.”
This formula has been around for centuries in different formats and it can be found in the history of the minutemen of the American Revolution, the greatest generation of World War II, and in use by modern combatants of the global war on terror.
One does not need to be of military lineage to understand the importance of the first three of these tactics used against threats common in the modern world, but the last one, support/resupply, is often overlooked.
At some point, the supplies you carry will need maintenance or they will need to be replenished. You won’t always have the option to return home, which makes field maintenance a necessity. The more capable you are at self-supporting, the longer you can travel away from home and in the field. We’ve broken down some of the basic gear you should consider packing to keep you and your essential gear supported and resupplied.
BATTERIES AND CHARGING CABLES
If you’re like most of the population, you don’t leave home without your wallet, keys, and cellular phone. The minute you unplug your phone from the charger, the battery power is tapped as your phone attempts to pick up cell phone towers, run apps, and keep you happy navigating social media.
Carrying an appropriate USB cable to charge your phone, as well as a wall charger, will keep you in the loop. A simple battery pack like the Dark Energy Poseidon helps provide energy when outlets aren’t available. Because some tools we carry, like rechargeable flashlights, use different sized connections, make sure your resupply kit has a spare just in case.
Every day, we carry tools that rely on battery power and those that don’t use rechargeable cells take standard replaceable batteries. It isn’t a bad idea to pack a few lithium AA’s, CR123s, and CR2032s for your other tools.
For well over 20 years, I’ve EDC’ed a Swiss Army Knife and a larger folding knife as the minimum kit for my cutting needs. No sharpened edge lasts forever and a small assortment of edge-maintenance items will keep your cutting tools safer and sharper longer.
Working from honing to more aggressive stones, a simple piece of leather with polishing compound or a small ceramic rod will help you touch up your blade if you already have a decent edge. If you’ve dinged your edge, you will want a more substantial abrasive stone. In years past, people carried natural Arkansas stones as hones, but with the advancement of knife steels, diamonds are now a better choice for easier use.
An all-in-one solution is a Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener ($34.95) that has a hone, sharpener, and strop all in one single package. A less expensive and widely available option is to use an assortment of wet-dry sandpapers in different grits and a leather backer.
Another option is a small set of diamond stones and a homemade leather strop. Whatever you decide to carry, realize that if you use your knife, it will need edge maintenance and that may be long before you make it home.
FIREARMS MAINTENANCE KIT
Our firearms help us provide security, put food on our table, and give us a form of recreation. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and lubrication, helps improve a firearm’s longevity and increases reliability. While you likely have a tackle box at home containing large bottles of solvent and lubricants, along with plenty of cleaning rags, patches, and brushes, it doesn’t make sense to carry all of these in your travels.
Instead of taking up a lot of space with single-purpose bottles, a small bottle of C.L.P (Clean, Lubricate, Protect) is a multi-purpose solution. A small silicone-impregnated rag or a piece of an old cotton shirt sprayed with a general-purpose oil and stored in a Ziploc bag will help you wipe down your pistol or rifle after a sweaty day or exposure to the elements. Try carrying a plastic pistol cleaning rod and a single brush and/or a single Otis cleaning rod to run through your bore.
Keep in mind, though: overcleaning is real and too much cleaning can actually be detrimental to your firearm. That said, it doesn’t hurt to follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. If your firearm requires optic adjustment, you can use thin coins to turn small screws, and if you have an optic with a proprietary knob, carry a spare small tool if you need to re-zero at the range.
Our minds are only capable of storing so much information in the short term. We can’t store every fact and figure we encounter without losing something along the way. A simple pad and pen will help you record lists, specific details, coordinates, instructions, and more that your mind can’t store on its own. A pad and pen can also be used to leave notes for others if you don’t have cellular service. In this way, such a combo helps with communication and serves as a tangible aid to support others looking to navigate or follow instructions.
Another valuable tool that can help you carry more is a simple flash drive. Depending on your mission, you may use it to hold copies of important texts, blueprints, or sensitive documents if you can secure it or use an encrypted version. A sensitive-docs flash drive is a good far-from-home tool you can grab if you ever need to abandon your location in a hurry but retain information to start over.
Our EDC kit often revolves around the tools we carry on our body. We don’t always recognize that our body is a tool, also. Our body provides movement, strength to lift and open objects, and senses to trust in observation and orientation. We must do what we can to maintain its utility and its condition.
A Dopp kit is a small toiletries bag that holds the grooming products we need to maintain socially acceptable hygiene. Of course, this level of acceptance will vary based on the environment, and one who operates in the field will need less refinement than a person in an urban environment surrounded by other people.
“If we plan for the worst-case scenario, we can utilize the supplies we carry to extend our timeframe away from our home base…”
Some basic items found in a Dopp kit include nail clippers, a comb, a small bar or bottle of soap, and a small washcloth. The soap you use for your body can also be used to clean your clothes if you travel lightly and use the “wear one, wash one” practice. Other items include toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, as well as deodorant and vitamins.
While no one wants to talk about it, biological functions including digestion happen and you should have some wipes to clean up after yourself if you utilize the woods as a restroom. Single-use wipe packets tend to pack down smaller than packets with multiple wipes.
An incredibly common statement from those who spend extended time in the field is, “I can’t wait until I can clean up.” The Dopp kit helps provide a sense of cleanliness and humanity until you can return to a proper washroom.
Perhaps the most underrated commodity in the field is sleep. We get used to the feeling of our bed at home and that feeling is often not replicated while we’re far away from it. Airline seats recline but not enough for true comfort. It’s easy to roll off of air mattresses while camping. The chances of getting six to eight hours of sleep in a clip are slim.
With each interrupted sleep cycle, the effects of fatigue start to add up and drastically impact your cognition, endurance, and morale. Travel long enough and you’ll understand how important it is to get rest when it is available. You can support your sleep habit by packing some minimalist gear to help you get to sleep and stay asleep in relatively safe places.
Depending on your preference, melatonin or CBD-based sleep aids are excellent for helping you rest when you’re restless. A blindfold made from your EDC bandana will help keep light out of your eyes and a set of disposable foam ear plugs will help keep noises from disturbing you. The clothes on your back can be repurposed as a pillow and a throw blanket in a pinch.
If possible, dry your feet and socks off before you sleep to keep them from feeling cold. As previously stated, seek out good rest and quality sleep when you can be relatively sure of your safety. It isn’t advisable to sleep where heightened security is more important than closing your eyes for a few.
CASH AND CREDIT
Perhaps one of the greatest tools we can EDC for support and resupply is good-old-fashioned cold hard cash. Our society revolves around the pursuit of money and we can source just about anything we need with it. We can hire others to team up with us to accomplish a task, we can acquire the correct tools we need, and we can purchase food and drink to fuel our bodies.
Carrying extra cash makes sense and there are many who tuck a spare $20, $50, or $100 bill behind their phone case for emergency use. A single bill is easy to conceal but it isn’t as practical as having multiple smaller denominations for smaller purchases. Cash works when credit card readers aren’t present and tipping is more easily done with greenbacks than it is with plastic.
If you pair currency with frugality, you can travel further and longer from home than someone who doesn’t know how to stretch the dollar. If you have the means, it doesn’t hurt to keep a debit card on reserve with a set amount you don’t touch unless absolutely necessary. This will assist you in case your primary credit card is compromised.
The EDC items we gravitate toward have a life expectancy. We need to keep in mind what we carry and how long it will last before we must maintain or resupply it. If we plan for the worst-case scenario, we can utilize the supplies we carry to extend our timeframe away from our home base and the additional supplies there.
We don’t need to be in a warzone to understand “combat effectiveness” can be applied to dealing with all of life’s conflicts. What’s more, the support/resupply kit we carry can help us continue on when others’ supplies fail us.
Dark Energy Battery Packs
Victorinox Swiss Army Knives
Work Sharp Sharpeners
Pro-Shot 1-Step CLP
Otis Gun Cleaning
Rite in the Rain
A version of this article first appeared in the September 2022 issue of American Outdoor Guide Boundless.