Everyday Carry for the Homesteader

Plan for the best and prepare for the worst with these tips and tools for daily safety and emergency survival on the homestead.

| November/December 2019

Photo by Wendy Goddard

As homesteaders, we have a never-ending list of chores. There’s food to harvest, wood to cut, and buildings to repair, and that’s just the beginning. Faced with this endless list, we sometimes forget about the dangers we face every day. How many times do we get up in the morning and head out to tackle the next task without thinking of our own safety?

Inherent dangers come with a homesteading lifestyle, such as a careless mistake with a chainsaw, a tumble from a barn roof, or an encounter with a bear. Every year, thousands of people find themselves unprepared to handle an emergency situation and in need of rescue. The ability to build a shelter, make a fire, or render first aid can make all the difference. When I was growing up, some 50 years ago, my father told me that if all you carry is a knife and a way to make fire, then you’ll survive until help arrives. My list of items and the knowledge to use them has grown over the years, but his words have stuck with me.

It’s impossible to anticipate every possible situation or carry every item you’ll ever need in an emergency. What is possible, though, is to have some basic tools with you at all times that can save your life, or the lives of others, should the need arise. Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to the items a person routinely carries with them, both for utility and to prepare for unexpected and dangerous situations. The items I regularly carry vary somewhat depending upon the job and the season, but there are a few things I keep with me at all times. Here’s my list of year-round, essential items to take with you whenever you walk out your door.


Pack. Because you can’t carry everything on your person, you’ll want a reliable pack to hold the majority of your homestead EDC items. There are good packs and bad packs. A good pack is one that meets your specific needs, and not ne­cessarily the one that’s the most expensive. I like the packs made by Blackhawk and 5.11 Tactical because they have the ability to attach gear to the outside of them, leaving the inside compartments free to hold other items. Always carry your pack with you, and keep it within easy reach at all times.

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