EDC: In My Purse

Some time ago, I did a post about the things I carry every day in my pockets or on my body. In it, I promised to talk about the stuff that I always keep close by but not necesarily on my body. For this purpose, I’m using the phrase “in my purse” somewhat loosely. Depending on the situation – where I am, who’s with me, what’s around me, these items might not literally be in my purse. But they’re almost always close at hand.

Ready to take a look? Here’s what I’ve got:

Another knife. This one is a Gerber Remix that I picked up a while back, and which was actually the one I carried in my pocket for a while. Then I sat down someplace, caught the belt clip on something, and broke it. The nice folks at Gerber helpfully sent me a replacement clip at no charge, but I’d rather not break it again so it rides in my purse.
Speaking of knives, you may notice a certain aesthetic similarity to some of the knife pictures I’ve posted. (My three EDC knives now are this one, my Spyderco Endura, and a Gerber Fast Draw.) Strictly speaking, any knife which is (a) well-made, and (b) sharp will probably do just fine for most purposes. But I find that if I buy “pretty” knives I’m more diligent about not leaving home without them.
A lighter. Not this one, necessarily, but I always carry a throwaway disposable lighter or two. Let’s face it, in a survival situation, one of the most important things you can give yourself is the ability to start a fire, for warmth, signaling, to help spot predators coming, and so forth. 
Lighters come in handy for other reasons, too: To sterilize blades or needles if you have to do a quick medical procedure (like removing a splinter), to melt the end of pieces of paracord…you get the idea. These are cheap, handy insurance against a whole bunch of different problems.
Some more paracord. Not a whole spool, necessarily, but I typically have about 20 feet or so in a coil in my bag, just because it comes in handy.
Paracord in a coil is also easier and faster to deploy than unraveling bracelets. I’m just saying.
A first aid kit. I started with the one shown here, because it’s small and compact and works well for a lot of “average” medical emergencies. But I’m planning to add to it just as soon as I can with some additional trauma supplies, like a QuikClot sponge and some extra trauma dressings.
I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: You are much more likely to find yourself facing a medical emergency than you are an active killer armed with a deadly weapon. Both are possible, of course, and I don’t advocate not being prepared for the violent predators. But get the first aid gear you need and the training to go with it. Even if you do wind up in a situation like the recent movie theater shooting in Colorado, consider this: Stopping the violent criminal threat is a bit of a pyrrhic victory if you or a loved one bleeds to death waiting for EMTs to arrive.
A stainless steel water bottle. Mine is very similar to this, but in a different color (and anyone who’s been paying attention to this and my other EDC post can probably guess which one.) Granted, it only holds 750 mL of water, and in a survival situation that’s not enough to hold you for very long. But it’s better than nothing, and it also provides a handy container for collecting water from natural sources if need be. I also generally have about 5 gallons of drinking water in my car with me, so unless I’m separated from my vehicle, I usually have a way to refill this.
Plus, in a pinch the bottle makes a decent impact weapon, especially when it’s full. If you’re serious about being responsible for your own safety, tools that can do double duty are a Good Thing.
A USB Thumb Drive. Not this exact one, but they’re all more or less the same. On it, I carry a TrueCrypt virtual disk that houses scanned copies of important documents: Driver’s license, passport, car insurance/registration/title papers. A scanned copy of the grant deed to my house. A copy of important estate planning documents. A text file containing important contact information that I might need in an emergency. If my house ever gets demolished faster than I can grab the file box containing the physical documents, I might have to go to the hassle of getting replacements, but at least I’ll have the information. And, since it’s in a TrueCrypt virtual disk, it’s safe from prying eyes, but easily accessible if I need it.
If you use this technique, make sure to put Mac, Windows and Linux versions of the TrueCrypt software on the UNENCRYPTED portion of the thumb drive. You never know whose computer you’ll need to use to access your data, and you won’t necessarily be able to count on the Internet to download it. Make your personal data repository as self-contained as you possibly can.
So, that’s what I carry at the present. I’m always open to adjusting my EDC practices, though, so I’d love to hear how your list stacks up against mine. Is there anything you consider essential that I’ve left off? Let me know in the comments!

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