Every Day Carry: Planning for Emergencies

What Do I Carry When I Carry Concea...
What Do I Carry When I Carry Concealed?

What do you carry with you every day? If you are a woman with a purse, that could be everything from a fingernail file to a paperback book. A man with enough belt attachments can come pretty close to purse contents with his row of gadgets.

Here are some things you could carry on your person each day for general utility as well as self defense and emergency preparedness:

  • Keys
  • Money
  • Identification
  • Pen
  • Flashlight
  • Gun
  • Extra Ammunition
  • Folding Knife
  • Stun Gun
  • Mace
  • Glass breaker
  • Personal Alarm

My husband carries his wallet, cell phone, his gun, keys, change, a pen, a flashlight, an extra magazine, and a folding knife.

For me, it’s a wallet with cash and cards, a cell phone, my car key, a folding knife, and my trusty sidearm.

Here are some additional things you could carry in your car in what is sometimes termed a “bug out bag” in case you have to evacuate for weather, fire, rioting mobs, or a zombie attack:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Even More Ammunition
  • Blankets
  • Extra Clothing
  • Basic Toiletries
  • Toilet Paper
  • Medicines
  • Paper
  • Tools
  • Compresser
  • Battery Jumper
  • Books
  • Phone Charger
  • Battery Inverter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Lighter
  • Sunglasses
  • Gas Can

Items to Keep on Your Person

I remember when the world was simpler and I could leave home every day with just my keys and my wallet. In fact, I had my keys attached to my wallet. The whole setup required one regular sized pocket.

Then life became more connected as cell phones went from a brick sized bag in the car to a small lump in pocket number two. Over the years that tiny flip phone was exchanged for a bigger smart phone, and a bigger one, and a bigger one.

Now I have an iPhone Xs (short for “excessive?”) so big that I have to buy my pants with the phone in mind. It’s not even the largest one available.

Then I took it to a whole new level with a folding knife. Knives come in handy for all sorts of tasks, from opening packages to self defense.

Finally I added a gun to my every day carry. It goes with me everywhere I can legally carry and stays in the car when it can’t go in with me.

Let’s look at the options to see what you can fit on your person and why:


I used to have a substantial set of keys dangling from a chain attached to my wallet. Now I have one giant car key. Every other door I am likely to open has a keypad where I can type in a code.

This suits me better from a security standpoint because I am not fumbling with a key when I am in a hurry. It is also easier when dealing with bringing in the groceries.


The trend toward a cashless society worries me because electronic money can be tracked and controlled. Good old cash carries no record with it.

I keep folding bills in my wallet and I always buy a wallet with a zippered pocket for change. That keeps me from filling my pockets with coins.


I do use debit cards for easier access to larger amounts of money. Debt free radio host Dave Ramsey carries large amounts of money on his person, but I am content to let the bank keep track of my funds for now.

I don’t carry a credit card because I don’t want easy access to debt. Once the credit cards have you, they want to keep you.

I do carry all the forms of identification that are necessary to get along in society. First and foremost is my driver’s license. I always carry my concealed weapons permit because carrying without it is illegal in my state.

I carry my professional license, various insurance cards, my CPR card, my warehouse membership card, my voter ID, and cards for various memberships.


I haven’t figured out how to carry a pen in my pocket without it unscrewing itself when I sit down. It falls out of shirt pockets and the clip breaks when I attach it to the button placket on my shirt.

Since i don’t feel like wearing a pen dangling from my neck, I just keep several pens in my car.

A sturdy pen can be used in self defense in an emergency. Aim for the eyes if you are attacked.


My husband keeps a flashlight on a holster on his belt. It blends in with all the other holsters on his belt. I just keep one in my car because I don’t want things mounted all along my waistline. It makes me look too bumpy.

Visit Olight to see a variety of high quality flashlights as well as lights that can be mounted onto your gun.


My husband carries his gun on or in the waistband depending on his outfit for the day. I carry in a kangaroo style pocket for deep concealment if I am able to carry all day.

On work days I use an in-the-waistband holster that is easy to remove and leave in my car. See my articles on concealed carry for men and women for further exploration of how to carry concealed.

Extra Ammunition

My holster has an extra pocket for ammunition. Since I carry a revolver, I load five rounds into a speedloader and put that in the pocket. My husband carries an extra magazine in a holster clipped to his belt.

Folding Knife

My father always carried a pocket knife when I was a child, and it came in handy for opening packages, removing splinters, and anything else that required a sharp edge. I carry a larger one now and I use it fairly often.

A knife also offers a self defense option. A “neck knife” comes attached to a cord for suspending it under your shirt like a necklace.

Be aware of the rules in your state before you add a knife to your every day carry because some states prohibit larger knives or switchblades that open with a touch of a button rather than a folding action.

Check Cabela’s to find knives for every day carry.

Stun Gun

A small stun gun with an attached flash light can be an effective deterrent because it makes a scary electrical noise that lets you know it’s gonna hurt. Be aware of the rules in your state before you carry a stun gun.

Cabela’s has a stun gun that looks like a walking stick.


Mace and pepper spray can temporarily blind an assailant, allowing you to get away. Know the laws in your state before you carry chemical agents for self defense. Don’t use something not specifically labeled for self defense, like wasp spray. Actual poisons will not be regarded favorably in court.

Glass Breaker

You can buy a key ring with a pointy edge that is useful for breaking glass. This comes in handy if your car plunges into the river and you have to cut the windshield to get out. You can also use it for self defense. There are also special tools designed to cut seatbelts that you may find on a key ring.

Cabela’s sells a bracelet made by Leatherman that is a multi-tool complete with glass breaker, allen wrench, and other handy gadgets.

Personal Alarm

If you are attacked and someone is within earshot, a horribly loud noise will get you the attention that brings help and causes the assailant to flee. I went to a gun show where they were demonstrating these and they made me want to flee.

Additional Items to Keep in Your Car

Unless you are willing to carry a giant backpack everywhere you go, there are limits to what you can carry on your body. If you own a car, you have a mobile transport system for even more emergency gear.

I keep a duffle bag packed in my trunk. About once a year I replace perishable items. The elastic in a pair of underwear, for instance, does not do well in the extreme hot and cold of a trunk.

The idea behind a bug out bag is to keep enough supplies on hand to get you out of a crisis in a hurry. Hurricane evacuations, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters occur frequently enough to justify preparedness.

Man made disasters might also inspire you to leave home in a hurry. The recent rioting in large cities around the country has forced homeowners to make a choice; stay and defend your property or leave with your family until the looters go elsewhere.

Even bigger disasters like war and government takeovers occur throughout the world and could happen where you live. In a serious disruption, you might not have the ability to stop at a store to replenish supplies. You might have to live out of your trunk for a while.

First Aid Kit

Everyone should have a first aid kit that covers common traumas: bee stings, lacerations, car accidents, and broken bones are likely to occur in the normal course of events. If you carry a gun, consider a more comprehensive first aid kit with a tourniquet.

Cabela’s sells first aid kits designed for people who are on the go outdoors.

Even More Ammunition

It’s okay to store some ammunition in your car. It’s better to have an extra box on hand just in case you need to stop an attack. It wouldn’t hurt to carry a speed loader too.


It gets awfully cold on the side of the road at night. Take a blanket with you in case your car breaks down or you have an accident that puts someone into shock.

Extra Clothing

When my car broke down and I had to spend the night in a hotel, I was glad for a change of clothing. When I was pumping gas and it spilled on me, I wanted to change as quickly as possible. When I was caught in a heavy rainstorm, I was really glad I had an extra outfit.

Keep a spare outfit for each of your children, too. Kids have accidents and spills on a regular basis.

Basic Toiletries

If you can’t get home, you will be really eager to find a toothbrush and a hair brush. If you are gone for several days, you might find yourself wanting a shave and a bottle of deodorant. Don’t forget feminine supplies if your are going to need them.

Toilet Paper

When you are stuck on the side of the road for hours, you will be very glad you have toilet paper, paper towels, and a bottle of hand sanitizer. You will also find these helpful if the only bathroom available on a road trip does not meet your standards. A zippered plastic bag might also come in handy.


If you have prescriptions that you must take on a schedule, carry an extra dose in your pocket. Ask your pharmacist whether the medicines you take can be stored in a car because some will not tolerate the extreme temperature fluctuations of a parked car on hot or cold days.

You might want to keep some basic medicines in your first aid kit, such as pain relievers and antihistamines for accidents and allergic reactions.


You might need to write a note on the windshield if you have to leave your car, or write down a license plate number, or record the details of an accident.


Even if you don’t know how to fix something, a person who does might stop and help you. Your car needs a jack, a wrench, a hammer, pliers, and a screwdriver at minimum. It would be even better to include a socket set, electrical tape, duct tape, and a pair of scissors.

Tire Inflator

If you have a flat tire and can’t get the tire off because the bolts are too tight, you can use a tire inflator that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter to pump up the tire and get to a gas station.

It’s better, of course, to change the tire or call for roadside assistance on your cell phone, but you may not have cell phone service on the side of the road.

Cabela’s sells this one that plugs into your car, or you can get one that runs on batteries.

Battery Jumper

You can use jumper cables to restart a weak battery if you encounter another driver willing to help you. You can buy a battery jumping device for about a hundred dollars that will carry enough charge to start your weak battery once or twice.

Here’s one from Cabela’s.


Life can get awfully dull if you are stuck somewhere and don’t want to run down the battery on your phone.

Phone Charger

Your car should have a charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter to charge the phone while you drive. There are also solar models available, and you can buy chargers that store a charge, like the battery jumper described above.

Battery Inverter

When we drove to Oklahoma on vacation, our daughter was doing virtual school on the computer. We kept the computer charged by plugging in an adapter that ran on the car’s electricity and allowed her to plug in her computer on an electric plug like the ones you find in a house.


You have to have water every day, so keep a few bottles in your car for an emergency.


You can live without food for a few days, but you will be happier if you have some dried meat or other nonperishable food available.


You might need to light a fire for cooking or warmth if you wander into the wilderness and get lost. Take a lighter or some matches.


The sun’s rays can be blinding in heat or snow. We found these Bolle sunglasses at Optics Planet. We like them because they fit my husband’s larger head circumference.

Gas Can

If you leave in a hurry you could run out of gas. Keep at least a quarter of a tank in your car as a habit, and gas up if you think something is about to happen.

While you are thinking about being ready for anything, consider whether you are ready to defend yourself. Contact Double Eagle Gunworks LLC for classes on how to use a gun safely.

Sign up for our newsletter and check our calendar to learn about our Concealed Weapons Permit classes.

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Double Eagle Gunworks LLC is a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer and can help you with the sale or transfer of a firearm. Visit shop.doubleeaglegunworks.org to buy directly from us.

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Carla Pittman

Carla is a Speech Pathologist working in Home Health by day and a blogger by night. She married Chris in 2008 and is working to help him unite his love of guns with his passion for teaching others to carry safely. Her other impetus for blogging is to make Americans aware of their Constitutional rights, which are at risk in the current political environment.

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