Having What You Need, When You Need it

Having What You Need, When You Need it - Highland Tactical
JD’s Apollo Ruck by Highland Tactical

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the King’s mission was urgent”

1 Samuel 21:8

Have you ever needed something and not had it? Gotten to a meeting and realized you left your notes or your laptop at home?

The same thing can happen to us in an emergency. I know many people who are into preparedness and readiness, but never take an emergency bag with them, because they aren’t planning on having an emergency.

Here’s an actual conversation I had recently:

Her: “Why do you have a tourniquet in your backpack?”

Me: “In case I get shot. What are you going to do if you get shot?”

Her: “I don’t plan on getting shot.”

Me: “No one PLANS on getting shot.”

As funny as this is, this mindset prevails in daily life. People prepare and organize gear, but then leave home without any extra gear, because there is no emergency at the time.

Today, I want to go over what I carry everyday, in a backpack in the rear of my SUV. This is my EDC bag, and, for my fellow veterans, it would also double as my patrol/assault pack. I carry it when I go hunting, and it’s actually part of my fitness routine, as I ruck carrying it.

The bag itself is from Highland Tactical (https://hltactical.com/). I use the Apollo backpack. Their gear is great and reasonably priced. I also use their Ranger Duffel as my outdoor-gear bag, a Squad 1.0 Duffel as an overnight bag, and their Mobility Waist Pack as a first aid kit (because it attaches to the other bags easily).

In a molle-attached pouch, I have a first aid kit. Inside this kit, I carry some band-aids, gauze, antibiotic, a pressure dressing, some gloves, and a CPR mask. Additionally, because I’m allergic to bee stings, I carry a small packet of Benadryl. Behind the first aid kit, I have a pair of EMT Shears secured.

Below that pouch, there is another small pouch, and in that, I have a pistol cleaning kit, insect repellent, and a camouflage face paint compact (you never know).

On the opposite side of the pack, there is a large pouch. Inside that pouch, I carry a few basic tools, wrapped inside a green camping towel strip, to reduce noise. The tools are a small hand shovel, a folding saw, and a pair of small multi-tools.

There is a pouch at the bottom of the main pack and I keep gear I might need quick access to in there. It contains:

  • Shemagh: Can be used as a face cover, a scarf, or a bandage
  • Gloves
  • Rifle Cleaning Kit
  • Wet Start Strikable Tinder: Great product made by Uco (www.ucogear.com)
  • StormProof Matches: More Uco gear
  • Ferrocerium Rod & Striker: Yet another great Uco item
  • Beverage Powder/MRE Sandwich: Emergency food that has a long shelf life
  • Sanitizing Hand Wipes
  • Camouflage Face Mask
  • Knife Sharpening Stone
  • Cooling Towel: In Realtree Camouflage

The side zip pouch on the back of the bag is also used for items that may be needed quickly:

  • One cut-down MRE: Removed from the original package & taped together to save space
  • P-38/P-51 Can Openers: Two sizes to open any can
  • USF Tactical Spork: Any eating utensil is better than none, and this has a bottle opener, can opener, a screwdriver, and 3 small wrenches.
  • 2 pouches of USCG approved emergency drinking water
  • Package of Flushable Wipes: Incredibly useful and biodegradable
  • Lensatic Engineering Compass

The smaller compartment contains:

  • Rite in the Rain Notebook and Pen
  • Several pens
  • Index cards in a Zip-Lock baggie
  • MRE cheese & crackers
  • Small penlight
  • 10-inch notebook tablet

Inside the main compartment, there is plenty of space for day or mission specific gear, but the permanent items in the main compartment are:

  • Esbitt Solid-Fuel Stove: Several fuel tablets are stored inside the stove
  • USMC Issue Poncho-Liner: A great emergency blanket
  • Propper H2O Waterproof Pants: Rain Gear
  • Propper H20 Waterproof Parka Outer Shell: Rain gear
  • Spare Under Garments: Extra T-Shirt, underwear, and socks stored in a Zip-Lock, these can prevent hypothermia in an emergency
  • USMC Issue Poncho: Makes an excellent emergency shelter if needed
  • 75’ of Paracord: Paracord is handy in all kinds of situations
  • Spare trauma kit
  • 2 MRE Protein Shakes: Perfect emergency food source

Attached to the outside I have three carabiners, a solar phone charging bank, and a whistle/thermometer. There is also a fixed blade knife that is attached to the large side pouch.

Attached to the shoulder strap on the left side (my weak side) I have a Jobsmart high-intensity angle head flashlight from Tractor Supply. It also has a magnetic base.

The weight of the pack is very manageable at 25 pounds or so, and it contains the bare essentials to survive in most situations for at least 72 hours.

Imagine being at work on the other side of a metro area when the power goes out, and cars don’t start (EMP Scenario). This backpack could very well be the difference between making it home alive or not.

The most important note though, is that you must carry it in the vehicle EVERY DAY. It’s easiest just to leave it in the car, but I bring it inside every night because you don’t really know when you’ll need it.

Check the contents regularly, especially any emergency food (expiration dates). I sometimes change out the items seasonally, like adding a sweater or the parka’s liner, although I usually wear the liner as a jacket year-round.

Don’t be like David in the verse above and rush out to accomplish an urgent mission, yet not have the gear you need to handle the situation.



We want to thank JD for taking the time to write this blog post and sharing it with us.  We are grateful for his personal insight into how he prepares his Highland Tactical gear and we hope this gives others inspiration and insight as to how they can prepare a go-bag or range bag using our backpacks, rolling duffels, and other tactical gear.  Please visit his page and see this post at https://tactical-wisdom.com/2020/04/14/having-what-you-need-when-you-need-it/