What's In Your Wallet?

by Erich

If you’ve read the How to Put Together the Ultimate Survival Kit article than you know how I stress the importance of always carrying a survival kit with you (a first-tier kit). This is your fall-back kit — what your left with if all you have is what’s on you right this moment. Could you survive?

Going along with that, I wanted to briefly lay out what I happen to have with me at this moment in time:


Besides my keys, what you’ll find on my keychain is the following:

  • Firesteel fire starter
  • Lockpick set
  • Pinch light
  • Mini compass

The obvious worry when having all your items on the keychain is losing that keychain. That’s why, if possible, it’s important that you carry the most important items on yourself — either wearing it or having it integrated with your clothing somehow.


On my wrist, I carry a little over 10 feet of 550 paracord: very strong and very useful cordage that can be used in a multitude of survival situations.

‘SmartCarry’ Holster

My favorite concealed-carry holster is the SmartCarry. It’s a simple concept, being essentially a pocket that wraps around your waist, is concealed under your pants and is held together with velcro.

While they make different versions, mine has one larger pocket that holds up to a full-size pistol and a smaller one for an extra clip. Instead of the clip, I like to fill it with important survival gear. Here’s what my SmartCarry holds:

  • Pistol – This is typically a Walther PPK (as pictured below) but sometimes I’ll carry my full-size Glock 22 (.40 Cal) depending on what I’m wearing. I think everyone should carry some form of personal protection device (knife, mace or gun).
  • Firesteel firestarter – This isn’t a typo. While I do carry one on my keychain, I also have an extra on my self. I’ve mentioned the importance of redundancy. Since fire is such an important survival tool, having multiple ways of creating it is always a plus.
  • Lighter – Again redundancy. The firesteel is more of a long-term fire source, but a lighter is great if you require a quick flame.
  • Leatherman Wave Multi-tool – Multi-tools are great for survival and all-around daily use. Plus it serves as a backup knife for me (again redundancy).

Waist (belt)

Right now, the only thing I keep clipped to my belt is my folding knife – a Doug Ritter RSK M1. For me, the knife is my most important survival tool. With it I can make many of the other tools I would need to survive directly from nature.

I’m still slowly working on finishing my paracord belt (a new design). Once that is done, I’ll have over 100 feet of usable 550 paracord.

The Complete Package

Looking at the picture here you can see there are quite a number of articles that can be carried on yourself without effecting your mobility or appearance. All of these items combined comes to just a hair over 5 pounds and most of them are concealed (people only see the bracelet).

What’s in your wallet?

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Comment by santi
2010-09-28 02:30:48

really great website! you’ve done a great job just one doubt though, where did you get that small picklock set, those are hard to find in hardware stores were I live in

2010-09-28 18:08:33


There are number of lock pick vendors online who sell them (http://www.lockpicks.com being one of them).

Comment by Carrie
2011-03-21 19:49:22

Thanks so much for the AWESOME info on the bag and contents. I have the house stocked up on food, water and the silver and ammo and firearms but the things I dread and fear most is having to bug out and leaving it all behind. There would be so much to take. I mean, I have done a pretty great job covering my bases for my husband and 13 year old son for the house. I have been wanting to do bug out bags but because I get so worried about having a lot , I can’t figure out what size bags to get. We live in a somewhat military town in CA and we can hit a lot of the surplus which is great and we have for some MRE’s and ammo boxes, etc . My big dilemma is, chances are if we have to bug out, we are probably not coming back so that means I have to cover all my bases but that would mean leaving bulk food behind. So, we would need a tent and food and all that. It’s such a hard thing to imagine because you have no idea what you could be in for or facing. I love your site and survivor Moms being I am a 40 year old Mom of one. One challenge is that my husband and I suffer from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia which can be difficult. Despite having this , we both have busy lives and work jobs but the thought of hiking and trekking leaves me exhausted, although I would do it. I am a fighter!
Thanks again!
God Bless 🙂

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-03-24 00:06:06

Thanks for your comments Carrie. Keep up the good work and don’t get overwhelmed. Just take it a day at a time.

Comment by Trevor
2011-10-19 21:22:22

Hi, my name is Trevor Winchester and i live in Washington state. I am 17 years old and really want to get a pack set up. some type of in-home setup and a bug out bad too! My parents are non too excited about it because they think im wasting my time. Being 17 in this economy, it is quite hard to find a job and earn decent money. I really want to get some stuff set up and have some stuff from my grandfather, before he died, including stuff from his time in the National Ski Partol, Forestry, and his life in general. I have stuff like emergency blankets, pots and pans, a hiking pack, some cheap knives, stuff like that! If you had any way of helping me out that would be absolutely amazing! Thanks and keep this going!

2011-10-20 02:58:45


It’s great to see that your thinking about preparedness. Hopefully it will rub off on your parents.

For some more info in putting together a bug-out bag check out these articles: http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-put-together-the-ultimate-survival-kit.htm

Comment by Robin
2012-06-03 09:54:45

Just though I’d point out that it’s a bad idea to use a keychain compass while it’s still attached to the keys. Any magnetic/magnetizable material close to a compass, such as the iron in the keys, will cause deviation of the course you are determining – sometimes a very great deviation.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-06-05 22:40:01


Yes, you are exactly right. I have noticed that in the readings and do detach it when I use it.

Thanks for the great comments!

– Erich

Comment by Tulip
2012-08-22 19:29:22

Love your site and all the skills and more that I’m learning. I’ve noticed your site is mostly geared toward the guys…which is just fine. However, any thoughts for the skirt/dress wearing lady who wants to be just as prepared? Most of my clothes don’t have a waistband to clip on all those handy items and might get in the way of carrying small children or chores.

Thanks for all the time and effort you put in to teaching the rest of us!

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