8 items you should keep handy in case of emergency
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Did you know there's a community of people out there that post and share pictures of the things they hold in their pockets? It's called "Everyday Carry," and it's surprisingly cool.
With just a few wisely designed items—pocket knives, multitools, things like that—practitioners of "EDC" are proudly prepared for whatever the day throws at them, from normality to minor emergencies. It's not "doomsday prep," just "prep."
The editors at Reviewed.com have far less interesting pockets, but after spending some time following the EDC universe and looking into our own "Best Right Now" products, we can certainly recommend the best and most popular tools to keep on your person. Whether you're "into" EDC or just can't rule out the unexpected, consider these low-profile additions to your daily loadout.
1. The Spyderco Delica4 knife
The Spyderco Delica4 is the perfect blend of easy-to-use and versatile and was the best pocket knife that we tested. The knife stands out from its competitors in two major ways: it has a thumb hole and a wharncliffe blade.
The thumb hole is a great feature because it gives you better control over what you're doing with the blade. After spending weeks opening and closing knives for eight hours a day, we can also say that it's easier on your hands. And while you might think that a big hole in the back of the blade would weaken it, the Delica is made of VG-10 steel. This alloy is known for its durability, resistance to rust, and its ability to hold an edge. Ever wonder how Japanese sushi chefs cut sashimi so cleanly? VG-10 steel.
Durable material doesn't mean much if you don't have the design to utilize it well, but luckily the Delica's wharncliffe blade is quite capable. The triangular-shaped knife might be shorter than others we tested, but it allows for greater control because your entire index finger can fit over the top of the blade. The knife was able to handle more delicate tasks like peeling an apple or stenciling with impressive precision.
2. Olight S2 Baton flashlight
We picked the Olight S2 Baton as the overall best flashlight. Tipping the scales at just three ounces, the S2 impressed us with all its features. It has a magnetized bottom so it's perfect for amateur mechanics and builders, sticking onto hoods and holding loose nails.
The S2 also proved itself outside the home. Its aluminum body survived being submerged in 28°F water, having a 20-pound weight dropped on it, and falling from a four-foot drop.
Functioning purely as a flashlight, the Baton punches above its price point. The Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens ensures that there are no dark spots on any subject you shine the light on. That more complete illumination allowed us to light up a 10-foot well-lit circle on a wall at a 21-foot distance.
All this in a 4-inch-long package means you can keep the Olight S2 Baton stashed away in a drawer for emergencies or clipped in your pocket at all times.
3. Etekcity Portable LED Lantern - 2 Pack
For times when you need a little more ambient light, a camping lantern is a great option. The Etekcity is the most popular one on Amazon right now, with a 4.5 star rating and over 3,100 user reviews. These are compact, bright, run off of AA batteries, and come with a 10-year warranty. That's perfect given that you're likely to stash these in a car or in a closet until you need them.
Compared to gas lanterns the obvious benefit is these can just run off of AA batteries. You'll need three per lantern, but they're included so you don't need to pick up any extras for now. These won't provide as much light as the flashlight pick above, but they'll do it in an ambient manner, which is more useful if you're just lighting up a room or table in case of a power outage.
4. Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
So there are these things called tactical pens.
"What in the world..." we hear you asking "...is a tactical pen?"
Ideally, a tactical pen is always used just like a pen--you just use it to write things down. But in those extremely exceptional moments we hope you never encounter, like a submerged car or an aggressive animal or human, a tactical pen is a hardened steel object that can be used to smash a window or defend yourself. Weird, but potentially very useful.
If you're curious, the most popular one we found was the Gerber Impromptu, which costs less than $40, made in the USA, is designed to write in any condition, and has a tip designed to smash glass if you ever needed it to. Just don't get us started on tactical notebooks.
5. Travelambo RFID Front Pocket Wallet
"Everyday carry" people are obsessed with what goes in their pockets, so of course they have recommendations on the best wallets. While there aren't any wallets that will break a windshield in an emergency (we don't think?), there are ways to prevent issues with a wallet. Namely, preventing a thing called "contactless identity theft."
The concept there is that a nefarious character could use a reader to grab your identifying information from the RFID tags in your credit cards. This wallet features RFID blocking to prevent that. It's also slim, made of genuine leather, and is highly recommended with a 4.5 star rating from over 3,000 user reviews on Amazon. Not bad for less than $15.
6. The Leatherman Wave multitool
The Leatherman Wave checks all the right boxes to be our favorite multitool, from convenience to quality. All the tools on the Wave exceeded our expectations when we tried them out, including the diamond-coated file and the two high-carbon blades.
The Wave has a smart design, with thick and rounded sides that prevent the multitool from cutting into your palms, even when you're squeezing the pliers as hard as you can. We also liked the fact that all the tools lock firmly into place, but can be released by pressing down on a textured button.
When we used the multitool to install a dishwasher, take apart a watch, and perform other household tasks, we found a lot of additional conveniences. For example, you can tell the serrated and straight blades apart without unfurling them because they have different spines–bumpy for serrated and smooth for straight. We also think the fact that you can operate the scissors with just your thumb is pretty clever.
7. Anker PowerCore USB Backup
Your smartphone really is a great tool for emergency situations. It's a GPS, a decent flashlight, and (of course) a communication device. But batteries can run out. Then what?
There are hundreds of external battery packs on the market, but what separates the good from the bad is power versus portability. We know dozens of people who own battery backups from Anker and this is one of the best combinations of size, power, and price out there right now. It has enough juice to power a smartphone for days on end and weighs less than a pound. Don't leave home without one.
8. Adventure Medical Ultralight Kit
Imagine our embarrassment if we wrote an emergency preparedness article without a first aid kit.
These things are a dime a dozen, but one oft-recommended kit is the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight and Watertight Medical Kit .9. It is, yes, ultra light at just 12 ounces, and the treatments are stored inside a two-stage watertight pouch with a water resistant zipper.
Despite the size, this is still a relatively comprehensive first aid kit, and a great one to throw inside a backpack or in the trunk of your car.
Get Reviewed email alerts.
Sign up for our newsletter to get real advice from real experts.