It’s no accident that the motto of one of the most influential youth development organizations of the last century-plus, The World Organization of the Scout Movement,  consists of two simple words that say so much: Be Prepared.

What does that mean to most people? What does one prepare for?

It’s not always about a zombie apocalypse or devastating plague. In its simplest form, preparedness is about being aware of what could go wrong and having the means to deal with it. You could go to the extreme end of the spectrum and start talking about off-grid living, sustainable farming, alternative power sources and on and on and on. But for most people these scenarios have a doomsday connotation that bear no link to daily reality.

So how do you prepare for glitches in a normal day?

No one can foresee every possible event, but there are basic tools that can be used to deal with multiple situations, and these are things you should keep with you all the time. This is what we call Every Day Carry, or EDC.

My basic EDC is simple:

My Watch: A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner. I can’t figure out people who don’t wear a watch, even with the advent of cell phones that have become more than our constant companions, rather electronic extensions of our brains. Also it never needs winding, and if I end up 1000 feet under water at least the watch will survive.

My Pen: It’s a CRKT Tao Tactical Pen which writes beautifully and since it’s made of 6061 aluminum, will pretty much last forever. It’s also nice to have when navigating dark parking lots late at night.

My Lighter: A Zippo silver body with snake-skin inlay, given to me for my birthday years ago, because being able to make fire is always a handy thing.

My Flashlight: This was another gift, the Fenix PD35 Tactical Edition, 1000 lumens of brilliance in a pocket-sized package. What will you have when the lights go out? (Also note: if something is described as “tactical” it’s probably a good gift for me, if anyone is wondering.)

My Knife: This is a simple SOG Aegis with assisted opening technology, which means it can be opened one handed faster than it takes to think about it. It’s a low profile carry that clips to my right hip pocket and never gets in the way.

My Multi Tool: Again from SOG, the Powerlock has 19 tools built in and contains a solution for almost any situation.

And that’s pretty much it. Of course, as a photographer I have extensive kits of equipment that I carry on a selective basis, but for day-to-day use, these six items go with me everywhere, and cover pretty much any eventuality.

Although I was never in the Scouts, it’s safe to say I am prepared.