The urban '10 essentials'

Posted by: TeacherRO

The urban '10 essentials' - 01/16/19 09:03 PM

The wilderness 10 essentials are well known; but what are your 10 for city and suburban living?
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/16/19 09:26 PM

1. Cash,
2. Identification (drivers license, et al)
3. Appropriate attire (which wonít attract undue attention),
4. Comfortable footwear,
5. N95 mask,
6. Small FAK,
7. Water as needed depending on climate,
8. A full tank of gas,
9. Local map (paper/hardcopy, not your cell phone),
10. More cash.

I really suppose it comes down to what problems you expect to encounter in daily urban life. A lot (okay, all) of the above plus tools and all the gear in my truck go with me every time I go for a drive. Gas tank gets to about a half tank and then itís made full again. Footwear for me is running shoes with socks that depend on weather (sometimes wool, other times CoolMax).
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/16/19 09:58 PM

The classic Ten Essentials were:
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Extra clothing
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • First-aid supplies
  • Firestarter
  • Matches
  • Knife
  • Extra food



My urban Ten Essentials are:
  • Smartphone and means to charge same
  • Cash and credit cards
  • ID
  • Appropriate outerwear and footwear for long walks
  • Pistol and reload (where legal to carry)
  • Flashlight
  • First aid supplies (OTC meds, boo-boos and trauma)
  • Knife
  • Small multi tool
  • Pen


I tend to carry around $200-300 in cash, sometimes more and never less. Cash is the great problem solver.

Most of the urban areas I frequent I know well enough to not want to carry a paper map. If cellphone networks go down and I donít have a vehicle, I hope to be able to get a taxi. When all else fails I should be able to get a hotel room.
Posted by: Byrd_Huntr

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 12:57 AM

Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
The classic Ten Essentials were:
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Extra clothing
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • First-aid supplies
  • Firestarter
  • Matches
  • Knife
  • Extra food



My urban Ten Essentials are:
  • Smartphone and means to charge same
  • Cash and credit cards
  • ID
  • Appropriate outerwear and footwear for long walks
  • Pistol and reload (where legal to carry)
  • Flashlight
  • First aid supplies (OTC meds, boo-boos and trauma)
  • Knife
  • Small multi tool
  • Pen


I tend to carry around $200-300 in cash, sometimes more and never less. Cash is the great problem solver.

Most of the urban areas I frequent I know well enough to not want to carry a paper map. If cellphone networks go down and I donít have a vehicle, I hope to be able to get a taxi. When all else fails I should be able to get a hotel room.


I was on the road for 26 years in mostly rural Northern MN, MI, and WI. I pretty much agree with your list, even in rural areas. In that time, I got stuck in deep snow at night out of cell phone range and had to walk 7 miles on a deserted road to a backwoods truck stop to summon a tow truck. It was -1F and snowing. I was dressed in business clothing, but also had my deer hunting clothes and boots which I put on for the long walk.

Another time I was traveling and had only a $50 bill. It was late evening and I was very hungry. No open diner or fast food along the way would accept the bill. I got home about 1:00AM quite hungry with a crumpled 50 in my pocket. .

I have seen cash machines out of service, gas pumps in remote area where they required cash. I got stuck in flash blizzards in Northern MI and had to shelter in my car until the log trucks came by to break a trail on the road.

I was checking into a hotel late in the evening (snowing of course) and found out my corporate card had been deactivated by mistake. Took several hours and a call to the company VP to get me into a room.

I got stuck on a dead end forest road when a 200 car train stopped on the track, blocking my exit to the highway. There was no way back or around, and I was there all morning waiting for the train to move (no cell service). I was lucky because sometimes those trains sit there for several days. I had water and food with me.

You never know what is going to happen.
Posted by: gonewiththewind

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 01:07 PM

Think in terms of priorities rather than items. In urban areas you are more likely to be able to find shelter, but may need money to obtain it. Signal is very important and likely to be able to solve many problems, if the cell phone system is working. My urban carry looks a little different from my wilderness carry, but accomplishes mostly the same things. Your physical needs remain the same, what is available, and how you obtain them, may be different.
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 05:59 PM

Is a smartphone an urban essential? Is it a necessary item or merely a convenience? Iíd be interested in hearing opinions.

Iíve started carrying a ruggedized flip-phone (Kyocera DuraXV) so I can make necessary phone calls, but being continually connected (internet, cellular/wifi) seems to be more of a crutch than a requirement.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 06:06 PM

In a lot of situations, you may not be sure where you will end up - so, it's cash plus camping gear
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 07:03 PM

I can do a whole heck of a lot to improve my situation with a smartphone. Some examples: navigation, gathering information, making/changing airline reservations, buying train tickets without a physical credit card, renting hotel rooms (reservation, check in, and in many cases ďdigital keyĒ capability) without a physical credit card or indeed without interacting with a human, find and unlock the doors on my car, in some places pay for parking, and Iím sure Iím missing a lot.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 07:05 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
In a lot of situations, you may not be sure where you will end up - so, it's cash plus camping gear


The camping gear is hard to carry in some situations. I try to carry the things that have the best utility to size/weight ratio, while leaving major shelter items in my car or at home.
Posted by: gonewiththewind

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 08:19 PM

As Chaos said, communications can do a lot for you in any situation or environment.
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 10:30 PM

Communications have many levels. A not-so-smart flip-phone is an evolution of the telephone; a smartphone is an evolution of the PC.

Iím a child of the Ď50ís & Ď60ís. While I view cellphones as a great option for communications which could be considered a necessity (now that pay-phones have become near extinct), smartphones seem to be more of a convenience. It seems that capabilities are driving what many perceive to be their requirements; I donít want to become dependent on a convenience.

Just my $.02, YMMV
Posted by: pforeman

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/17/19 10:51 PM

Communications is a key part of being prepared and a necessary element in most situations. From the ability to yell at a fellow hiker to "watch out" to being able to contact family in a disaster.

We've come to rely on our tech tools - the cell phone being the primary one. They have evolved into computers with information, data, several types of communication ability and valuable tools (such as the gps or compass apps). I've got off-line maps on my phone and as long as the power lasts they are great as I can zoom in to a front porch level from state wide.

However, (ah yes, the famous 'but') I still have paper maps and tools like several compasses, experience and training that doesn't rely on tech to augment and replace the tech when/if needed. I too am a child of the 50's & 60's when you always carried an emergency nickle or dime to 'call home' if something happened. So, the smart phone is in my ten essentials as it is a 'Swiss knife' of tools and works as a force multiplier for me. I also don't rely on it as it can (and will) fail. Now the hard part... the other nine items!
Posted by: Chisel

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/18/19 11:18 AM

2 weeks ago, my daughter had some health issues and needed some urgent tests. She was referred to some hospital for those tests but we had to wait for weeks. Some connections and few phone calls later, we found another hospital where tests would be done and reports given to us same day.

That hospital was 100 miles away. Although it was my home town but it has maybe tripled in size in the last few decades and I am not familiar with roads and areas except maybe 30% of the city where we visit relatives time to time.

Our other daughter came with us. For one, she is a doctor. plus she is not as technologically challenged as I am. With her GPS, she guided me to the hospital. And thru more connections we got the tests and reports. And drove back same day.

So, the 2 factors that helped us in this emergency were:
# person to person connections
# GPS technology

Although I have a trunk bag in my car for the last 10 years, I rarely needed the fixed knife or poncho. Pocket knife seems to be needed everyday though.

City life dictates that communication is essential. I have a mini-directory (printed on paper) in my car ..etc. It includes electricians, plumbers, former work colleagues ..etc. and it has been very helpful.

My 2Ę
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/18/19 05:17 PM

Okay, I really like GPS; I own a few Garmin hiking models and have a Garmin Nuvi in my truck, theyíre great. However, Iíve been disappointed by cellphone GPS apps. Too spoiled by GPS receivers that donít need a cellular connection to function. Also, as I mentioned a while back in another thread, if a cellphoneís primary mission is comms, why use up that limited battery doing what a dedicated GPS receiver can do better. But, thatís just me.

On the topic of old guys and telephones ó Today's teenager trying to make a phone call on a rotary phone
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/18/19 05:35 PM

under cell phone I might add charger & battery, case and earphones ( which are required to make the FM radio work)

In nearly all situations I have;
- jacket
- water
- snacks
- tools
- id, cash, credit/ debit cards
- tink First aid kit
-bag of some description
- flashlight
- phone, etc
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/18/19 05:54 PM

There are some good GPS apps that do not require a data connection to operate once maps have been downloaded. I use MotionX GPS HD but that doesnít mean itís the right one for you and your needs. No affiliation.
Posted by: clearwater

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/18/19 08:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Russ
Okay, I really like GPS; I own a few Garmin hiking models and have a Garmin Nuvi in my truck, theyíre great. However, Iíve been disappointed by cellphone GPS apps. Too spoiled by GPS receivers that donít need a cellular connection to function. Also, as I mentioned a while back in another thread, if a cellphoneís primary mission is comms, why use up that limited battery doing what a dedicated GPS receiver can do better. But, thatís just me.

On the topic of old guys and telephones ó Today's teenager trying to make a phone call on a rotary phone


I use https://help.gaiagps.com/hc/en-us.

Download maps and use when out of cell range. Smart phones have GPS receivers anyway. Turn phone to Airplane mode to save batteries. Can last a week of backpacking that way.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/21/19 07:55 PM

Goop apps might include:
- gps/mapping
- weather
- news/local radio
- Facebook ( as an alternate way to inform/ contact friends)
- Google translate
- Rideshare services (Uber, lyft, etc)
- Library
- amazon or other grocery delivery services.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/24/19 05:48 PM

I am thinking that we might make a distinction between what is necessary in a normally functioning urban situation, with all the usual services intact, and what you would need when things are going south - a widespread power outage, bad storms, etc.

In an extensive power outage about a year ago, driving on our city streets was a bit too much o an adventure - no lighting on or near the streets and traffic signals were either dark, blinking, or functioning. Driving, even on familiar streets, was a real adventure under those conditions.

Imagine what a significant earthquake would do to urban areas (there are lots of historical examples). You would need a lot of items more commonly associated with the outdoors, as well as the ability to shut down gas lines and electricity, etc.
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 01/27/19 06:14 PM

Chisel ó as Iíve noted many times over the years, I like GPS technology a lot, just not in my cellphone. I have a Garmin Nuvi in my truck which I use routinely and a ďfewĒ Garmin handhelds for hiking. Note: it appears the Garmin Nuvi family has been replaced with the Garmin Drive & DriveSmart families. If you donít currently have a GPS, I highly recommend one of the Garmin receivers. Theyíre very useful in keeping you from getting lost and finding unfamiliar places.

If Iím out hiking/walking, I prefer to use a dedicated GPS receiver rather than use a cellphone for navigation. In an emergency, the cellphone may be needed for communication and Iíd prefer to keep its battery-life for airtime. Garmin receivers do the navigation thing quite well and my flip-phone does its thing quite well, no reason to compromise either one.

OT: I took my old Garmin Foretrex 301 (GPS) wearable out the other day and halfway through the walk the (lithium) batteries died ó not good. The battery indicator showed good when I started and yet an hour later the batteries were dead. So I restarted it and it lasted for one more waypoint and died again. That was the last waypoint I needed so it stayed off for the rest of the walk.

When I got home I started looking at replacements because the battery life was much less than I expected. Turns out the Foretrex 601 has a larger, higher resolution display plus a basemap and sensors lacking in the 301, and supposedly gets over 2x the battery life from the same two AAA batteries. Why is that? Turns out the 301 has a B&W LCD display and the 601 has a larger, 4 level gray scale (LED?) display. Who would have guessed that an LCD display would be such an energy drain. Anyway, a Foretrex 601 is inbound. So yeah, I like GPS for staying found, whether driving or walking.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/08/19 07:20 PM

a pen
Posted by: hikermor

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/16/19 10:12 PM

A cell phone is certainly at home in an urban environment and a cell is certainly improved by the apps that are loaded.

So, what are the most important apps to load on one's phone? I ask because I sometimes doubt that I am as smart as the phone I carry....
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/17/19 12:53 AM

While true that smartphones and their relevant apps can be useful in an urban environment, we humans are becoming far too reliant on the convenience of tech.

It seems that when electronic calculators became everyday items available for just a few $$, I started losing the skill of doing simple arithmatic in my head. Likewise, the convenience of having a computer in your pocket that can also make a phone call, send & receive text messages and email is very attractive and compelling; but suddenly itís not a nice thing to have, itís a requirement. IMO, itís a trap. People have taken a convenience and made it an essential element of their life. Itís time to step back.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/17/19 02:38 PM

chaosmagnetís First Draft List of Apps to Equip Your Smartphone to Survive:
  • Web browser ó particularly important for gathering information
  • A good weather app ó not essential when one has a working web browser but works a lot better for me
  • Navigation app ó I use one (Waze) for when Iím driving (and when Iím double-checking the route chosen by a cab driver or ride share driver) and another one (MotionX GPS) with offline maps if a data connection is unavailable
  • Communications apps ó low bandwidth data may be available when voice is not, being able to communicate with your friends and family via multiple means can be very useful
  • First aid reference apps
  • Survival/CERT reference apps
  • Reading/games/other distractions apps ó to stave off boredom when battery life isnít an issue
  • Travel apps ó Sometimes in an urban environment rapidly finding and booking a hotel room, getting a ride share pickup, and so on, can make things a lot easier


Itís been said and is worth repeating: The smartphone shouldnít be a crutch that you use to excuse yourself from being willing to act to preserve your safety (mindset), aware of your surroundings, knowing what to do, practicing your skills so that you know how to do it, and having the right gear available to support those things. But it can be a useful tool, particularly in urban and suburban environments, that makes things a lot easer.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/18/19 11:58 PM

Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
chaosmagnetís First Draft List of Apps to Equip Your Smartphone to Survive:
  • Web browser ó particularly important for gathering information
  • A good weather app ó not essential when one has a working web browser but works a lot better for me
  • Navigation app ó I use one (Waze) for when Iím driving (and when Iím double-checking the route chosen by a cab driver or ride share driver) and another one (MotionX GPS) with offline maps if a data connection is unavailable
  • Communications apps ó low bandwidth data may be available when voice is not, being able to communicate with your friends and family via multiple means can be very useful
  • First aid reference apps
  • Survival/CERT reference apps
  • Reading/games/other distractions apps ó to stave off boredom when battery life isnít an issue
  • Travel apps ó Sometimes in an urban environment rapidly finding and booking a hotel room, getting a ride share pickup, and so on, can make things a lot easier



I'd add
- ride apps (Uber, Lyft) and an account
- messaging apps (text, Skype, etc)
- Phone numbers in a separate (text) file
- govt info app or accounts (my highway departments twitter, for instance.)
- Link to the "L" schedule or other transportation info ( bus, rail, etc)


And I'm often surprised at how few people carry a charger or small battery.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/19/19 12:59 AM

Originally Posted By: TeacherRO

I'd add
- ride apps (Uber, Lyft) and an account
- messaging apps (text, Skype, etc)
- Phone numbers in a separate (text) file
- govt info app or accounts (my highway departments twitter, for instance.)
- Link to the "L" schedule or other transportation info ( bus, rail, etc)


And I'm often surprised at how few people carry a charger or small battery.


In my mind, ride apps were included in travel apps, as messaging apps were included in communication apps. In the cities I use mass transit in, they have apps for their schedules and maps.

A very good idea to include links/accounts/handles for important sources of information! Also totally agreed on carrying a small battery pack and a 120V to USB charger. I donít rent cars as often as I used to but I also carry a 12V to USB charger.

Iím not clear what the utility is of having phone numbers in a separate file on the same device, please explain.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/19/19 03:21 PM

Signing up for your local jurisdiction's emergency notification app can be very worthwhile. This service has been useful or us a couple o times...
Posted by: Russ

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/19/19 05:49 PM

Should this be in Urban Preparedness, Natural Disasters & Large Scale Emergencies or (?) Fiction? Rare L.A. mega-storm could overwhelm dam and flood dozens of cities, experts say... Whoa, ďbiblical proportionsĒ... This is the reason a full tank of gas should be considered one of the Urban 10 Essentials.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 02/19/19 11:55 PM

+1 to the full tank of gas. Rainfall in SoCal, to say the least, can be wildly variable.
Posted by: teacher

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 05/17/19 05:08 PM

cash and change
Posted by: Mark_R

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 05/17/19 06:52 PM

Cash & Credit card
ID & Insurance cards
Smart phone w/power bank
Pen
Pencil
FAK w/extra prescription medication
Duct tape
Flashlight w/ extra batteries
Bandana tied with paracord
Pocket knife
Posted by: teacher

Re: The urban '10 essentials' - 06/07/19 07:38 PM

Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
[quote=TeacherRO]
Iím not clear what the utility is of having phone numbers in a separate file on the same device, please explain.


Good point; better to have these on paper.