When Traveling, Don’t Just Think About Self-Defense

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I just came back from a trip to visit my mother, who lives in Colorado. Whenever we go there, we take a day to go up into the mountains, even though she can’t go with us. But I miss the mountains and my wife had never seen mountains before the first time I took her to Colorado.

Having grown up in Colorado, I learned that it’s not wise going up into the mountains unprepared. Two days after we were there, the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park received their first snowfall of the year. While it was a light snowfall, it could very well have been worse. Anyone who was there, unprepared, would have had a hard time of it. Had it happened to us, I probably would have been fine, even if the rental car we were driving couldn’t handle the snow well.

This is why I always travel prepared for emergencies, both the self-defense kind and other kinds as well. Doing so means that I have to take more luggage with me; but all it takes is one emergency to make that pay off for my entire life. Since I’ve already experienced more than one emergency, I figure I’ll still be paying off that debt to chance for years.

What this means, in practical terms, is that I travel with my sidearm (and extra magazines), my EDC (everyday carry) bag and extra clothes. The EDC is somewhat of a super-survival kit, in that it is not built to be tiny, but rather to have what I feel I would really need in a survival situation. My wife and I can survive for a couple of days on what’s in it, as long as I can find water.

To me, a survival kit has to be able to take care of the basic survival needs, using only what’s in the kit and what’s available from nature. More specifically, it has to provide what we would need to keep warm, make some rudimentary shelter, start fires, purify water and have a little food for energy. My EDC bag is about 8” square by 10” high and can be carried across the body from a strap. Since it is intended for both my wife and I, some things are doubled up, such as rain ponchos and emergency blankets.

This really isn’t a problem when I’m traveling by car, as there’s always plenty of room for not only my EDC bag, but other things as well. When it becomes challenging is when I’m traveling by air. The simple answer to that is that I have to use a larger suitcase, in order to ensure that I have enough room for a pistol case and my EDC bag.

Some people might ask why I don’t just leave my EDC bag at home, as I probably won’t need it. Statistically speaking, they’re probably right; but my experience has been that the one time I leave it home, is the one time I’ll really need it. I might not be in a full-blown survival situation, where I’m going to die without it, but there’s a strong chance that I’ll use it for other things. Being away from home actually increases the chance that something will go wrong and I’ll need at least some of what’s in that EDC bag.

The same can be said for my sidearm. Pickpockets and other criminals can spot tourists from a mile away. Those are the people they’re looking for. They’d much rather steal from people who will be leaving and going back home, than those who live locally. There’s much less chance of someone who lives on the other side of the country pressing charges, when that means having to pay to travel back to the place the crime was committed to be present for the trial.

What this means is that there really is no vacation from self-defense, even when we’re on vacation. We need to be just as prepared to defend ourselves and our families when we’re away from home, as we are when we’re home. Between that and our need to be ready for emergencies, it’s easy to see where luggage can become a problem.

One easy solution is to have one extra suitcase, just for your gun case, EDC bag and any extra emergency gear you might be taking along. That helps eliminate the weight problem that can come from having to add all that extra gear to one suitcase. The other possibility is to spread the extra weight across several suitcases, which will help to keep under the weight limit.

Regardless of how you do it, be sure to buy your luggage with the idea of carrying that extra gear along when you travel. All too often I’ve seen people leave their survival gear or their sidearm home, just because they didn’t have room in their suitcase. If you ask me, that’s a pretty poor reason to put yourself at risk.

It doesn’t make much sense to keep your powder dry and your survival gear at hand when you’re at home, if you’re not going to do it all the time. Emergencies of any sort, but especially those which put your family’s lives at risk, don’t wait for a convenient time. That’s part of why they put your family at risk.

Dr. Rich

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