Assuming many who come here are going to be as we all were at one time, Beginning Preppers, I'm going to begin with some acronyms so we're all on the same page. After all, if the terminology isn't specified, no one will know what the conversation is about.
Confession time for me: I've just recently become a 'prepper' in the global sense. I've been a survivalist since childhood (some are still telling me to grow up) and until getting on line and discovering there are others 'out there' with similar thoughts, I've had to learn a lot of terminology I didn't know existed. Much is taken from the military, which I do know a little about, but much is distinct to preppers.
Probably the best place to get a grasp of nearly every term a prepper will use is JWRawls' Survival Blog Dictionary- which is where I learned it. So, for your edification, here's the link: SurvivalBlog Dictionary.
Now... Since 'nothing extraordinary' has happened (yet) in the world other than a rapid fall of the stock market, turn-over of the Presidency, some fluctuations in the economy and the price of gas and commodities, some 'other world' warfare and a few governments going bankrupt, there's not much going on in our lives other than the normal day-to-day getting on with life type of stuff. And that's our starting point.
Our DCB, or Daily Carry Bag.
Being a freelance journalist, my 'office' is either the house or car, so I'm seldom far from lots of gear. Reading through the websites, you'll find each person has a differing view of what's important to carry, yet there's a commonality as well.
A Daily Carry Bag is those items you'll have with you all the time. Some keep them in hip/fanny packs or purses. Where you carry it is immaterial so long as you have it with you all the time. In it will be those items you perceive necessary to reach Point A (home) from Point B (where you are at that moment).
My camera pack carries about 40 pounds of camera and related gear and a small pocket has my 'emergency' supplies: a few bandaids, Purel sanitizer, some alcohol hand wipes, a book of matches, cell phone charger and some .38s in a ziploc bag. If I know I'll be 'in the field' for any hours, I have some candy bars in the pack and I really like jerky, and a bottle or two of sport drinks. (Another confession: I seldom drink water.)
It's on my person most my BOB is carried: .38 snubbie (replaced the larger frame 9mm), a speed loader, leatherman and folding knife, cell phone, wallet with IDs and permits/licenses, more bandaids, $100 in small bills- ones, fives and two tens. Which brings up two topics I'm always amazed about.
Carrying weapons of any sort.
At the least, a person should carry a folding knife for self defense. Life is just too uncertain, dangerous in today's society. Too many rapes, muggings, murders even in brite of day. Having some skill in any kind of martial art is a good idea as well, though the practicality/effectiveness of many are being taken into question by many who are often in 'combat' positions/operations. I know carrying a knife to some is senseless: why try to look like the mall-ninjas or the punks running around? My question to them is, "Why not be armed at least as minimally as your opponent?"
Minnesota has a carry law. Requires class time and police permission to become a card-carrying member of the club and the restrictions can be a deterrent for some. My feeling on this is everyone who is able should be carrying. There is no reason to be phobic about firearms. If you don't want them going off, keep your hands off them. Simple solution. Training children to leave them alone is easy, as well. Teach them. I'll cover guns in another post, but for now, just know that my opinion is to carry. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) or, in MN vernacular, "whatever floats your boat". (Any ladies reading this and concerned about guns should read the blog: Cornered Cat written by a lady. Men will even enjoy it, so read away.)
It's in my 'office' where the majority of my gear is located away from home.
Tools that should always be in your car: jumper cables, bag of sand, spare tire and jack (read the instructions), a raincoat or poncho (I like these), walking shoes or over boots and pair of sox, a blanket, coffee can with some camping/survival candles (for light and heat), candy bars/jerky/granola bars/tin cup (for begging on street corners if nothing else)/hot chocolate mix (or coffee- whatever floats your drinking boat- a word of caution here: never use alcoholic products for hydration, especially in cold weather). If you're out and about in Minnesota, you're probably already dressed for the weather, to a degree at least. So throw in some long jons and sweater in your trunk pack as well if you aren't already wearing them. Carrying a snowsuit wouldn't be a bad idea. Some people get too carried away with 'emergency preparations' and put in lots of things that will be used only for dire emergencies. Not to knock that idea- BTDT (Been ThereDoneThat)- but let's KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) and be happy. No real need for snowshoes in winter or inflatable raft for summer. One item I carry (hidden) is a .22 Ruger 10/22 rifle and box of ammo with two 30 round clips, loaded. However, in larger metro areas this may be a bad idea.
In summing up all these words, then, we can understand our Daily Carry Bag to contain at least some minor medical supplies, a few munchies and hydrant, a knife of sorts- make it quality- a bit of sanitizer, some weather related items like a raincoat or poncho, our identification and some cash. (My kind of humor: If the grid goes down, the first thing I'm going to do is run my credit card to the max- never have to worry about paying it.)
The items will be personal, of course. Ladies will perhaps want to add some sanitary napkins/tampons, but forget the perfume and make-up, IMO: don't look like a rich target- guys, as well.
All of this is the idea during times on non-stress, as we go about our daily lives before any feathers hit the fan. This pack is our insurance policy just as we insure our cars, homes, boats, lives, whatever. But it's the best life insurance we can have these days.
Hopefully I've answered a few questions and given a few links for further study. As another note of interest: I live in the far hinterland way north of the Divide, of Minnesota. People living in the metro areas of MPLS/StPaul or other larger areas, Duluth, Rochester, etc, will have somewhat different requirements which we'll get into my thinking of next.
Publius: welcome, you- or anyone- can email me at MinnesotaPrepper@aol.com any time and we can get our noodles together. I'd love to have your ideas for posts or have you write some. Especially living in the metro area as you do. I haven't been there in decades so am very unaware of life in that neck of the woods now. Thank you for stoping by- hopefully we can entertain and get many others (read that 'all") MN Preppers on line.