The Gear Tier System – Tier 2 – Core Gear (2/4)

Sometimes we exit our house with nothing but our clothes, and don’t even bother to take our backpack, like on a quick grocery run, or a short trip to the mall. But there is minimal core gear that we must have on our person at all times, since we have no idea what will happen, even on our most routine sorties.


In this post we’ll explore our Tier 2 Core Gear, and which tools we absolutely cannot leave our home without.

DISCLAIMER: The following gear was chosen after months of rigorous testing in the field. I do not have any affiliation with any of the companies that make this equipment, namely: Cold Steel, Gerber, Olight or Apple.

Click the image below to watch the Gear Tier System – Tier 2 – Core Gear video (Part 2/4)









Folding Knife – Tanto or Spear Point Blade







If there is only one item that we can grab if our lives depended on it, it would be our trusted folding knife. This tool is by far the best for any survival and self-defense situations – it can be used to cut any restraints, break windows, and disable or neutralize any threat, and it can easily render any grab or hold utterly useless within seconds. Your folding knife needs to be very flat and light, but extremely sturdy and formidable. It needs to retain its edge in any circumstance and for that I recommend my trusty Cold-Steel V3 Recon 1 – Tanto Blade.


Tactical Pen with a Glass-Breaking Tip







Sometimes we need to go into secured locations, to which we cannot enter with our folding knife. In these cases, the tactical pen is a sturdy alternative that doubles as a very elegant high-quality ballpoint pen, and has a glass-breaking tip in case you need it. It also has a great grip, so you can use it as a self-defense tool. I recommend the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen, which looks very simple, but is super useful. It is made of extremely sturdy stainless steel and can basically write in any conditions including rain or even upside-down.


Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight with a Self-Defense Strobing Mode







The tactical flashlight is an amazing tool that can help you retain your operational advantage in low light conditions, either in dark indoor areas, or outside at night. The flashlight must be rechargeable, sturdy, waterproof, and have a strobing self-defense mode of about 1000 lumens that can blind an attacker for those few critical seconds. I love my Olight S30R III Baton flashlight, that outperforms most of the other rechargeable flashlights in its size. It has up to 1050 lumens, is very small and lightweight, and has a deep clip that keeps it in place, either in your pocket, on your backpack or even on your hat’s visor as a head-lamp.


Paracord Bracelet with a Firesteel Buckle







The paracord is an amazing tool, that can be used for anything from a fishing line, to a rescue rope. You can make it into traps or snares, or use it to tie most items. During an emergency, you can use it as a tourniquet, secure bandages or broken limbs, or saw through most restraints if needed. I recommend a Paracord Bracelet with at least 6.5 feet (2m) of cord, with a firesteel attachment on its buckle. I use my bracelet as a key chain, since I don’t like it clinging on my wrist.

Survival Hack: replace your shoelaces with paracord, giving you an additional 6 feet of extra cord for each shoe!


Steel Handcuffs Key







A generic steel handcuffs key is a great addition to have hidden between your other keys. This small key can get you out of very uncomfortable situations, if you’re ever restrained with handcuffs. Any steel handcuff key will do the trick.


Smartphone with Useful Offline Apps







In our modern day and age, we must have a tool to help us navigate these trying times, and the smartphone is a great tool for that. But be aware that this can easily become a double-edged sword, suckering you into losing your situational awareness. You can use the guidelines described in the books Prepared and Advanced Preparation, regarding how and when to use your phone. With that said, there are several major benefits of having a smartphone, except of course it being a main communication device to call for backup or help, and alert the authorities if needed. You can also use it to take a snap photo of something you need to remember later on, either of a person, a document or a location.

In addition to all of that you can download an array of useful offline apps that will help you in a variety of situations. Downloading offline maps will help you navigate successfully, when you don’t have an internet connection. Same goes for downloading certain languages in translation apps to be used offline, which will come in very handy if you need to communicate with someone speaking a different language. I use the Apple iPhone, since I find it’s simple interface and ease of use very appealing. A useful hack is to simply lower the screen brightness to expand its battery lifetime.


Wallet with RF Blocker and Other Necessities







Our wallet can be used in many survival situations as an excellent distraction device in case you’re being attacked, since most assailants are after your valuables. Keep in mind that situational awareness will eliminate 99% of the chances to be attacked, but we must always be prepared for the worst. Some people also use their wallet to store tools like a small set of lockpicks, or a card multi-tool, but I don’t find it very useful since I have my folding knife.  

Advanced Tip: Carry a fake wallet with some cash in an outer pocket, but carry all of your credit cards and other valuables in a different location, preferably a hidden or internal pocket.


To Sum Up:
The Tier 2 Core Gear is our first line of essential gear that must be on our person at all times. These items must be light, sturdy and waterproof (except the phone which is water resistant), and blend in naturally with our clothes, so not to arouse any suspicion. These items must be properly taken care of and ready for any emergency, as we’ll probably use them prior to any other equipment (exempting our tactical gear in extreme defensive situations).



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What’s Next

In the next post we’ll talk about our Tier 3 EDC Gear or Day Gear – the gear we carry in our 12, 18 or 24 hour backpack, depending on the length of time we plan to stay outside our home. This gear is our main tools in case of an emergency, and is also our Get-Back-Home gear in case of a catastrophe.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you.

So, until then – Stay Safe!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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