Everyday Carry USB Contents
We spend a great deal of time talking about metal tools and pokey things here at EDC101. The truth is, for as much as we use these things, a great deal of our work is done on computers. With that in mind, we always recommend having an everyday carry USB drive. But let’s take that one step further. Let’s look at your USB drive like a digital EDC bag. While carrying around an empty bag could be useful for hauling things, it’s a whole lot more useful if you put some tools in it. We are going to cover the contents of a well rounded everyday carry USB.
What tools do you need?
We are going to try and put together the most useful flash drive we can. This means different things to different people. If you are someone who really doesn’t use computers for anything other than email, you may not need all of the items we suggest here. We’ll do our best to cover all of the bases and make sure that no matter what your day looks like, we have tools in there for your needs.
The first thing you will need is a flash drive. We recommend something like THIS for your every day carry flash drive. Something that has enough space to get work done and is durable enough to take a beating. Once you have your USB, then it is time to load it up with tools.
No matter who you are, there are a couple of things you should have on your flash drive from the get go:
– A text file in case you lose it.
It’s always a good idea to have a way to get your flash drive back in case you lose it. A common way to do this is to create a text file with the name “Hey you found my lost flash drive!” or something along those lines. In the text file you can put a phone number or email address that the person can reach you at so that you can get it back. Also, It may be a good idea to include something like “If you’d be so kind as to return this flash drive I’ll buy you a drink.” Just don’t lose it at an AA meeting.
– Encrypted folder containing copies of important documents
You never know when you may need this, especially if you are traveling a lot. Social security number, birth certificate, phone numbers, license, all kinds of insurance, car insurance, car info (plate #, vin # etc.). Imagine your house burning down with all of your paperwork in it.
This should be a backup of all that info. We will get into encryption here in a minute. It’s not as big and super hackerish as it seems. HERE are some super simple instructions on how to use 7 Zip (Which we will be installing on our USB in a few steps) to encrypt the files. Easy peasy.
Keep in mind, YOU SHOULD NEVER STORE ANY OF THIS INFO ON A COMPUTER OR FLASH DRIVE UNENCRYPTED. Doing so means that anyone can read it and/or use it for nefarious purposes.
I know you love your cell phone and google maps. I do to. But how does the old prepper slogan go? Two is one and one is none? Redundancy is a good thing. Especially when it comes to being lost. There are plenty of places that have piss poor internet or none at all. There are also instances where your cell phone will die, run out of data or just plain get lost. It seems like the only time I need to use google maps is when I have run out of data or my phone is acting up. This has come in handy numerous times. Maps of areas you frequently travel take up no space. You can go to Google maps and just print sections of maps to a PDF.
– Survival PDF’s
This is one that can be tailored to your exact location and needs. It’s always good to have at least some basic medical how-to and WSHTF type reading material to get you good and paranoid. On a serious note, guides are a good thing to have. There may be a time when you need the info and it is better to have it than to not. Go HERE and browse through the giant library of free PDF survival guides that range from raising animals to surviving a volcano eruption. You may not have time to use it when there is an actual emergency but it is a good thing to have to be able to reference when you have down time. The thing about information is it is better to have it before you actually need it! There is a ton of information there and I guarantee you will find something useful. Go learn something.
PortableApps is a launcher that is put on a USB so that can launch portable versions of apps directly off of the flash drive. Essentially you will need to install the file on your computer and plug in your USB drive. Then just follow the prompts in the program to pick and choose from a gigantic list of portable applications to add to your flash drive. Once installed, these apps can run on your flash drive on any windows computer.
Check out the list of over 300 real portable apps available for use with PortableApps. You wont need all of them and we don’t recommend installing all of them as this will fill up your USB rather quickly. HERE are step by step instructions on installing and setting up PortableApps on your flash drive. The launcher is basically a start menu for your USB drive. You can also use it to navigate through the USB contents. HERE is a video of the launcher in action. This is a must have for your everyday carry USB.
Here is a list of must haves that we recommend you install:
Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition – the award-winning web browser that’s safe and secure.
Mozilla Thunderbird, Portable Edition – the handy email client
SeaMonkey, Portable Edition – complete internet suite (browser, email, chat, newsgroups)
Private Browsing by PortableApps.com – enhanced private browsing
Skype Portable (Freeware) – instant messaging, video chat and phone calls
qBittorrent Portable – lightweight bittorrent client
VLC Media Player Portable – An easy to use media player that plays many formats
AbiWord Portable – a lightweight word processor compatible with Microsoft Word files
ClamWin Portable – Antivirus on the go
Eraser Portable – securely delete files and data
KeePass Password Safe Portable – Secure, easy-to-use password manager.
Spybot – Search & Destroy Portable (Freeware) – Spyware detection and removal
7-Zip Portable – File archiver and compressor
Sumatra PDF Portable – PDF, Comic Book, and E-book Reader
This section may not be necessary for everyone but if you are the one your parents call because they “Broke the internet again”, some of these tools might make your life a little easier. Here are some things to keep on your USB to make PC repair and cleanup a little easier.
– Tron Script
Tron is a
glorified batch file free and open-source script that automates the process of disinfecting and cleaning up Windows systems. It can take care of most issues. It is built with heavy reliance on community input and updated regularly. Tron supports all versions of Windows from XP to 10 (server variants included). This is a singular script that you run on your computer if it is acting funny. This one is continually being updated and refined and is one of the best one-stop solutions for PC issues. Check out the subreddit HERE for the latest update as well as instructions on how to use it. It is super simple and my go-to fix when trying to correct issues.
– More portable apps for PC Repair
These apps are also available for use with PortableApps. If you aren’t going to be fixing computers any time soon you may not need these. If you are going to be doing any fixing at, these can be a life saver.
ClamWin Portable – Antivirus on the go
HijackThis Portable – Browser hijack scanner
Kaspersky TDSSKiller Portable (Freeware) – Rootkit remover
McAfee Stinger Portable (Freeware) – Common antivirus and ‘fake alert’ remover
Daphne Portable – process explorer, killer and debugger
Smart Defrag Portable (Freeware) – disk defragmentation and optimization
Windows Error Lookup Tool Portable (Freeware) – find windows error code details
ZSoft Uninstaller Portable (Freeware) – uninstaller and cleaner
TOR is one of those polarizing pieces of software. It is a tool to be able to browse the internet using one of the more secure (when combined with a knowledge of what you are doing and a careful attention to detail) means of browsing the internet anonymously. Now this may be good and bad depending on what you are using the internet for. I’m going to assume that all of my readers are good, decent people that use the internet for good. This is a tool to help you help snoopy eyes mind their own business. From the TOR website:
The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.
Tor Browser lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained (portable).
Now keep in mind that no matter what tools you use, if you don’t have a good working knowledge of networking and how the NSA operates you probably aren’t fooling anyone. Not doing crazy illegal things is one of the best ways to not get yourself in trouble. Don’t be a jerk. But if you ever need to lay low with your browsing, check out the TOR Browser HERE. We also suggest reading everything on that site to educate yourself how to browse safely.
There is a lot we didn’t cover here. We didn’t cover creating bootable USB drives to be able to use other operating systems from your USB. You can read up all about that HERE. They can walk you through how to install tons of different Bootable Linux Distro’s onto your everyday carry USB and partition it correctly. This can get a little technical so we left it out of this article.
We also didn’t include Hiren’s Boot CD or any of it’s alternatives because they haven’t been updated in a while and we honestly haven’t had to use them since we started using Tron Script.
Having an everyday carry USB is a lot like carrying a multitool. You may not realize you need it when you don’t carry it, but once you start carrying one, you begin to realize how useful it can be. Hopefully this can get you started with what to put on your everyday carry USB.
Do you carry something on your everyday carry USB that we forgot? Let us know in the comments below!