I am a retired Navy SEAL. This shapes the way that I think, react and interact with the world around me. This also means that I don’t look at the world in the same way that “normal” people do. I have seen my fair share of dick-dragging gunfights in combat zones of all types: pre-invasion, invasion, rebuilding, stabilization, shaping, and governance, etc. I know firsthand how quickly things can go south in an emergency or combat zone. I’m always aware of what can happen next and I am always a few steps ahead of what is currently happening. That situational awareness has kept me alive and in a civilian world can be a curse. Some pussies call it PTSD. I call it being good at my job.
My Everyday Carry (EDC) items are my iPhone, wallet, keys and knife. Obviously, I can’t carry my knife if I will be screened by a metal detector, but I will always have my iPhone, wallet, and keys. (I can’t tell you how many times I had to bury my knife outside an airport or government building.) Each one is customized or has selected features that suit my immediate daily operational needs in one way or another. Every operator personalizes their belongings; the same way you might install a motion activated light switch in your garage so that you don’t leave the garage light on all night after you grab your last beer.
You may be surprised that I am so “light” on EDC items. I am, but a tactical retreat is smart and necessary in a civilian urban environment, and my EDC items are the first layer of a “Retreat and Rearm” system that can be deployed quickly and is easy to use. I will describe my EDC and the way in which it ties into the additional layers of support and inventory I have in place.
- My wallet is a Hammer Anvil Men’s RFID Blocking Multi-Card Compact Center Flip Bifold Wallet. Wallets, as well as passports, should be protected with an RFID blocking wallet or pouch because certain types of credit cards can be electronically “pickpocketed” without being swiped. I do not carry any special cards that turn into a handcuff key or anything else other than my driver’s license, cash, credit cards and a medical ID list that I typed up myself and laminated, which lists all the meds I am on, blood type, allergies, and religious preference. I take way too many meds but the military took their pound of flesh and they compensate me accordingly.
- My phone is an iPhone 6 with a Mophie case. The Mophie case is a protective battery case that enables pass-through charge & sync via a mini USB port while connected to a computer or car charger. Your iPhone 6 recharges first, and then the case recharges itself. I have dropped my phone many times and I have never cracked it. I am currently a consultant and conduct surveillance on a regular basis. My phone is both my navigator and comms. I always have to have enough battery to last a day of constant use. I have also customized the Mophie case so that it works with a Nite Ize Steelie Vent Ball Mount in my truck or a rental car. The mount is a metal ball inserted into a vehicle air vent that connects via a magnet that is stuck to the back of your phone or phone case. The Mophie Case modified to interface with the Vent Ball Mount works perfectly as part of a vehicle-based navigation and comms system, although in theory, the magnet could erase your credit cards or electronic hotel room key. I have left the magnet next to and direct contact with my wallet and it never erased my cards, but that could be because of the RFID blocker. I do know that cell phones placed in direct contact with electronic hotel room keys can wipe the key, which could be a tactical disaster. Heck, the darn keys don’t work half the time anyway. I always check mine when I leave my hotel room, in case I need to get a new key from the front desk. And while I have that Mophie case conveniently mounted in my vehicle, I always keep it charging. I have a multi-outlet car charger with USB cables so that I don’t have to choose between keeping my phone topped off and using other devices such as an IPad.
- My keys are on a BigFoot Locker KeyRack Keychain. This is basically a carabiner locking clip body with separated mini carabiners for key’s. This way I can quickly and easily remove my house key, while I leave my truck, the bad ass Tacoma, running. The Tacoma is the first fallback position in my Retreat and Rearm system, while my house is the second. The Tacoma is a mobile resupply cache that theoretically allows me to handle a Red Dawn scenario. Let’s touch on that a little bit. I keep a “Get Home Bag” in my truck with the typical things that you would expect a Navy SEAL to have: a gun, ammo, food, tarp, first aid kit, tourniquet, warmies, binos... Yes, I am well-trained, and yes, I can take those items and be ready to deal with an unexpected crisis. But I also have some additional items that reflect my daily reality and give me a few options: two fishing poles and tackle, a spare puffy jacket and pants, a camp chair. Hey, my kid plays soccer and I watch a lot of games!
- My current EDC knife is a Pro-tech TR3 Tactical Response Knife. I recently wrote a review on this knife and I believe it is a superior knife in every way. A knife is a tool not a weapon. It can be used as a weapon but, so can an ash tray, chair, book etc. A knife should have multiple capabilities, not just a cutting edge. Again, I may have to leave my knife in my vehicle or hidden somewhere outside a secure facility, but if I am using it, I may be using it in a variety of ways.
So that is my everyday carry. As you can see, it is streamlined and carefully selected to reflect my reality. The reality that has been shaped by my training and previous combat experience, and the reality that I now handle surveillance and also watch soccer games when it’s cold. I am ready to handle a major incident and stay a step ahead of everyone around me. I can handle anything from a dead cell phone to a dead car battery. I can maintain comms and access transportation and then re-supply. As you can see my everyday carry covers the essentials and is part of an integrated system that allows me to escalate my response as necessary and survive crisis events. If you have a kid in diapers, you probably have diapers and baby wipes in a bag that goes with you everywhere. Then a more extensive supply of clean clothes or a Pack-n-Play for an unplanned overnight stored in your vehicle. If you’re diabetic, you probably carry a blood sugar testing kit, insulin and needles. If my EDC seems strange to you, it is because I have selected and refined my EDC to reflect MY reality, and my reality is definitely not diapers and formula.
Guest Author: Jack Thompson spent 20 years a Navy SEAL Operator. Combat tours include Bosnia, Africa, Afghanistan (x3) and Iraq (x2). He firmly believes “Its not what your doing, it’s who you’re doing it with.”