In addition to my gun, reload, tactical pen, tactical light and folding knife, I have a few items I keep with me virtually all the time: a multitool, a second tactical flashlight, a second tactical pen, firestarter, a rain poncho, a space blanket, a notebook and a keychain light. All reside in a small, zippered pouch made from 1000-D Cordura; this travels in my messenger bag or backpack.

Gerber Multi-Tool 600ST

This particular multi-tool offers a host of tools, including a sight adjuster for an AR-15. But I’m more interested in the pliers, built-in wirecutter and scraping tool — all of which enjoy regular use and lock in place. Many other multi-tools are smaller and lighter, yes. Few are as durable. $110.

First Tactical Medium Duty Light

Pocketable, bright and strong: These are my minimum qualifications for a tactical flashlight. I’m not too concerned with the location of the on-off switch, but I do want to be able to half press it for a temporary on. The one you see here is actually a backup to a slightly smaller light I keep in a front shirt pocket. $37.49.

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

A tactical pen is the go-anywhere self-defense tool — discreet yet effective in a last-ditch scenario. Similar to the flashlight, this too is a backup to another tactical pen I carry on my person. The Gerber adds a glass-breaking tip and a Rite In The Rain ink cartridge. $72.

CRKT Spark’N Sharp Firestarter

My gear truly is more about urban survival than rural survival, but you never know when the ability to create a spark will come in handy. I keep a few cottonballs tucked in the pouch to use as tinder. This tool also includes an integrated knife sharpener built into the chassis, which is useful if you wear down a blade using it to create sparks. $29.99.

Emergency Rain Poncho

Inexpensive and available virtually anywhere, an emergency rain poncho can do more than keep you dry in a downpour. Get it in bright orange so that you can be better seen. Get it in olive drab in order to stay hidden. Use it to provide shade from the sun or to gather rainwater to drink.

Emergency Space Blanket

The ability to retain body heat may prove crucial in a survival situation. Similar to emergency rain ponchos, space blankets also are available virtually anywhere and are inexpensive. Other uses: signaling device, light reflector, shade, clothing lining, rope/cordage and many more.

Field Notes

Besides the obvious ability to take notes on my situation, travels, gear needs and more, I can use the paper to mark a trail or help start a fire.

Keychain Light

Not seen but tucked into the pouch and residing on virtually every set of keys in my home, a keychain light has proven its worth more times than I can remember. Yes, another light. These are inexpensive, light weight, operate with a simple thumb and finger squeeze and provide a decent about of light for seeing the path in front of you or signaling someone.

Vanquest Maximizer

Just as important as all the gear is the ability to keep it all together. The Vanquest Maximizer series of pouches offers an ultra-durable, well-organized, zippered case for storing and transporting this kind of gear. Mine’s a few years old — but still going strong! — compared to the latest Vanquest pouches, but the size and capability is just right. A place for everything and everything in its place, the Maximizer easily drops into my backpack or attaches to a host of other gear. $16 to $34, depending on model.