Why Everyone Should Carry a Pencil Sharpener
Everyone is looking to be as equipped as possible, heck - that's the basic premise of everyday carry. On the other hand, things can go to far. No one wants to look like a cast member from a survival show or a guest on a revival of Doomsday Preppers. Ok, some of you do want the tactical and prepared for anything look. But you have to admit, whipping out certain items in an office or corporate environment just looks silly and draws some curious looks.
It's also a sure way to get labeled as the weird guy who just might act irrationally one day. We are not saying it's fair to judge people that way, but it's a sad reality we have to face as prepared citizens. In an effort to go more greyman, we took a hard look at our gear and decided to strip down all the extra items that we've never used. Not only did we want to reduce weight and free up space in our bag, but we hoped that we would also blend in more.
One of the first things we stripped from our EDC bag was our fire starting kit. We know, we just heard everyone groan and say "but it's a survival essential!" Just hear us out. We know how important fire starting ability is in a survival situation but truth be told - we had yet to face a true survival situation in years of preparing for the unexpected. Sure, there have been a few close calls that required gear we were carrying - but never a need to start an emergency fire.
That doesn't mean we wanted to go unprepared. We were still going to carry a Bic lighter, but things like quick fire tabs, flints, magnesium, strikers - all the things that scream prepper were going into another bag. It was time to retire them from everyday carry. We turned our focus to small, practical, and discrete. Here is what we settled on as our new EDC fire starting kit. It still keeps us prepared, but takes up much less space and focuses on a greyman aesthetic of carrying small items that serve a purpose without taking up too much space in your EDC bag
Our new EDC fire starting kit basically consists of toilet paper and a pencil sharpener. We heard some of you laugh. That's ok you're not invited to our survival campfire. For those who didn't laugh read on. Everyone needs toilet paper. Every now and then the office stall is all out. Or you stop in a roadside rest stop and it's no where to be found. We don't really need to explain why toilet paper, or some form of it like wet wipes, should be in your bag or purse.
Now you could carry a full sized roll (silly) or a small camping style mini roll (better idea) or a substitute like these compressed and disposable toilet paper tabs we came across on Amazon. Individually packaged and sold in packs of 50 you can rest assured you're prepared for plenty of pooping. Or coffee spills. These little toilet paper tabs are the size of a coin but swell up to make a nicely sized wiping accessory that takes up virtually no space. If you also carry hand sanitizer which is alcohol based, then having an adequate supply of fire starting materials is guaranteed.
The second and final piece of our EDC fire starting kit is a pencil sharpener. A highly overlooked piece of survival gear, a small sharpener is a true multi function tool capable of shaving down pencils or sticks into combustible tinder. If you want to go a step further, a contractor style pencil sharpener like this one will allow you to handle a wider variety and diameter of sticks. A bonus is that these contractor style pencil sharpeners are bright yellow, making them easy to find in the dark.
Besides shaving down sticks for fire starting, a pencil sharpener can also help you to make arrows for small game hunting, or shave down a graphite pencil to make a useful lubricant. We think our little EDC fire kit is just perfect for day to day use, capable of handling 99% of the jobs most of us will encounter. Of course, you can still keep a larger dedicated fire kit in your go bag or trunk.
What do you think? Have we convinced you to re-evaluate your everyday carry? Comment below.