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Emergency Items You Need for Your Bags

Updated on September 12, 2012
Do you have a list of items you always keep in your bag?
Do you have a list of items you always keep in your bag? | Source

Why do you need to pack a bag wisely? Well, you never know what you’re going to need. In this article, I’m going to keep referring to why I keep some of these items on my list. Sometimes I only make sure to carry them for certain occasions, and sometimes I like to keep these items on me at all time. Not only will I tell you why I like to keep them around, but I will also tell you why it’s a good idea to consider keeping them in your bags. Of course, not all of these items are going to be things that each and every person finds important, but some of these ideas may be things you haven’t thought of before, or things that help spur your own ideas about what emergency items you may need in your personal bags.

Pepper Spray Key Chains
Pepper Spray Key Chains | Source

Must Haves

Pepper Spray

Why I carry it:

I originally bought this item for my first job interview in a large city. This was my first interview after I got my license and since I was alone in a not so great part of town, I bought one of these on my way there. I either keep it in my purse or on my keychain ring for my own protection. At college, I often have to walk out behind the theatre late at night on my own after rehearsals. While I don’t think anything is likely to happen to me during this short walk to my car, I would rather be prepared.

Why you should carry it:

Pepper spray is always a good item for a girl’s bag. Let’s face the facts, we all have that chance of being the victim of some sort of crime, and why not be a little more prepared? Check around to see who sells this nifty item around you. I know that mine cost about $15, but it is a good investment.

Pocket Knife

Why I carry it:

I started carrying a pocket knife after a family incident left me worried that someone might show up unexpected at my school or apartment. You should never have to feel threatened, especially when no one is actually there. However, it still happens. So while that threat is less probable at this point in time, I still carry the pocket knife for my protection, just like I carry the pepper spray. My pocket knife in particular in a $1 knife from Wal-Mart. It may be hard to believe, but it is a really good knife. I found mine in the camping section. My husband also carries one, and we keep one in a hidden compartment in our car. Another great thing about a pocket knife is that if you were driving and got into a car accident, you can cut your seatbelt. I had a terrible accident a few years back and I my car was on its passenger side and my seatbelt wouldn’t unlocked. I eventually got free of it, but if I had a pocket knife, I would have been able to cut myself out quicker and be a lot less frantic.

Why you should carry it:

Just like pepper spray, this item is always a must have for protection purposes. On top of that, it can come in handy in other ways. Before carrying a pocket knife though, be sure to check with state and local laws about what kinds of weapons you can carry on your person. All states have different weapon codes, and a pocket knife can be considered a weapon. Also, check with rules at your work place or at your school to be sure that you won’t get into trouble for having it (especially if you are a high school student, this is typically a big no no).


Why I carry it:

I try to keep at least little change and/or cash on me as often as possible. I never know if I’ll need to stop somewhere and get something, like medicine or water or food, or if I’ll be on a trip and unexpectedly come up to a toll.

Why you should carry it:

Having this on your person can be very helpful in a tight situation. However, remember that you do not want to carry too much cash at once, and never reveal how much money you have on you to anyone that you don’t know or even those who you do know.

Emergency Whistle

Why I carry it:

I bought my emergency whistle at the same time that I bought my pocket knife. If something were to happen to you, it could be a good way to get a person’s attention or to make others realize – who may or may not be able to see you are in trouble – that you need help. This is also a good item in the event that you were in a car accident. Take for example my car accident that I spoke of above. Thankfully, someone came up a few minutes after I had crashed and was able to call 911 and then my family. If she hadn’t been on that road though, how long could it have taken for someone to come help me? I remember that I couldn’t find my phone after the accident because my purse had been split open and the items had been flung everywhere. What if I wasn’t near anyone’s home or any sort of place where someone would have a phone or be able to get me help. In that situation, a whistle can come in handy for telling people, “something’s wrong, I need help, please find me.”

Why you should carry it:

As I have detailed above, an emergency whistle is a wonderful idea because it can help you to get the help you may need in a bad situation. Whether that situation is a car accident, getting lost in the woods, or anything else, the whistle is a great idea. I also found my emergency whistle in the Wal-Mart camping section for only a couple of dollars.

Flashlight (small or large)

Why I carry it:

This one is far more simple than the others I’ve talked about so far. I try to carry a flashlight in my bag, at least if I’m going to be out at night, so that if my car were to break down, I would have a light handy for looking at what the problem may be, or being able to see my way more easily if I had to walk somewhere to call for someone to pick me up. This is also a good tool because I am often in my campus’s theatre. During shows, parts of the theatre can’t have any light on, because they would be seen by the audience. A flashlight comes in handy in all kinds of situations.

Why you should carry it:

You should carry this because it is yet another useful tool that comes in handy for bad situations, and just inconvenient ones.

Basic Medications

Why I carry it:

I usually carry the follow kinds of medications with me: Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Advil, Bayer Aspirin, and some sort of cold sore cream. Some of these may make since, but you may be wondering why I would carry cold sore cream with me as often as possible. Well, I’ve learned over the years that cold sores seem to start showing their signs anywhere but at home. If I can put medicine on it when I first notice it, it doesn’t hurt so bad. So why the others? I carry Benadryl because I sometimes have random allergic reactions to something, usually on my legs. I keep Ibuprofen with me for pain in my knee from a previous injury, and I carry the Advil because that’s the pain medication that my husband prefers. I also carry Bayer Aspirin with me because my husband has heart problems and it could be a possible life saver if anything really bad were to happen.

Why you should carry it:

You never when you may have that splitting headache or someone you know may fall and hurt their ankle a little bit. You also never know when someone will have a heart attack or an allergic reaction. Basic medications are an important must have especially if you or someone you know has health problems, or you are constantly with children or the elderly.

Colgate Wisps Waterless Anywhere Toothbrushes
Colgate Wisps Waterless Anywhere Toothbrushes | Source

Cosmetic/Fashion Items


Why I carry it:

I carry these simply for the purpose of freshening my breath. And maybe because I really love to eat mints. It’s a bit odd, I know. But hey, it’s the truth!

Why you should carry it:

We’ve all encountered those people who you can smell every time they open their mouths. Have you ever had a day where you felt like them? I sure have. So having mints is a good way to either lessen the intensity of someone else’s breath, or to freshen up your own. But seriously, don’t be rude to anyone, just kindly offer a mint or a stick of gum.

Colgate Wisps

Why I carry it:

Unlike the mints, I do not carry this item to freshen my breath. This is what I call an audition must have. I am always auditioning for something in the acting or modeling fields, and if I were to show up with food in my teeth or hideously plaque covered choppers, they would never even give me a consideration. You have to be courteous and be prepared. These kinds of people aren’t here to see only you; they are auditioning dozens, and sometimes hundreds or thousands of people for the thing that you want. If you don’t appear committed to being well-mannered and prepared, they’ll throw your resume out as soon as you walk out of the door.

Why you should carry it:

If you audition for anything ever, having a pack of these is always a good idea. There have been many times when I’ve had to rush from my five minute dinner to audition after getting out of a class or a rehearsal. You should always brush your teeth before an audition for anything. Also, sometimes you just get that gross fuzzy feeling on your teeth from certain foods or beverages, and you just can’t wait to get home and brush it all off. Well, if you have these wonderful little things, you don’t have to wait!

Fashion Tape

Why I carry it:

This is another one of my audition must haves. I carry this with me in case a seam or something else on my clothing were to break/fall apart. Fashion tape can be a quick fix when you don’t have the supplies or the time to mend a seam or reattach a decorative piece.

Why you should carry it:

This isn’t the typical item that all people would consider a must have. However, I believe it is really important and that if you are constantly auditioning, or interviewing for something that you should keep it on just in case. You never want an auditor to think you don’t care, and wearing clothing that is literally tearing at the seams can give them that impression. Also, if you’re a professional, you should always keep this on you. The worst thing is when you wear a suit to work and suddenly a seam snaps and you look rather unprofessional. You can look for this item in the sleep and underwear section of a department store.

Bra Straps

Why I carry it:

This is a possible audition must have, but usually you’re not going to change (like for an acting audition) or you’re smart enough (in things dealing with the modeling business) to know that you always wear nude colored undies to a modeling audition.

Why you should carry it:

Have you ever put on a shirt and then remembered that you can’t wear the bra you have on with it out in public? Have you ever realized that while you were out in public already? It’s an embarrassing situation. Sometimes you need nude straps or clear straps, in order to hide their existence (like under a white shirt or while wearing a tube top). Sometimes you need white or black to actually go with what you have on. If you’re wearing a bra with changeable straps, which is a wonderful idea, then you may want to consider having other possible options with you. Also, they don’t up much room or weigh about anything, so you can carry them without really noticing that they’re there. I got my extra bra straps at Wal-Mart for, I believe, under $10.

Bobby Pins & Hair Ties

Why I carry it:

Simple. To put up my hair. My hair is really long, so if I forget to have some these with me, it gets really hot on my neck and back. However, my hair has finally become long enough to put into a bun without hair ties. Yes! But, to be honest, it doesn’t look that great in public.

Why you should carry it:

Simple, to put up that hair or get those bangs out your face!

Womens' Ear Plugs with Travel Case (fits 2)
Womens' Ear Plugs with Travel Case (fits 2) | Source

Good Extras

Compact Umbrella

Why I carry it:

In case it rains.

Why you should carry it:

In case it rains. There really is no better explanation.

Ear Plugs

Why I carry it:

I carried these a lot last spring because I was taking a stagecraft class. This meant a lot of time spent in the shop and around loud saws and other tools. These helped to keep the noise out enough to be tolerable and not give me a horrible headache.

Why you should carry it:

Not only are these a good idea around tools or noisy places, but they are wonderful for tests. We’ve all noticed that person shaking their leg all noisily in the room during a test, or maybe even tapping their pen or pencil on a desk. It’s distracting, and if you aren’t distracted by it then you have some real skills and should teach the rest of us how to tune it out. As a pre-law student, I’ve seen this mentioned in many different LSAT prep books and memoirs of law school students discussing the horrible sounds that kept them from concentrating during their LSAT, school finals, and even the Bar exam. You can get a whole pack of these at a store like Wal-Mart or Target for a good price. I bought a pack of pink ones that were made smaller specifically for women. Don’t get ear plugs that are too big. After a few minutes, ear plugs that are even just slight too large will hurt your ears.

Reading or Game Book

Why I carry it:

To be honest, I get bored really easily. I need to be constantly doing or working on something. If I have free time between classes I like to either do extra work, if that option isn’t available, then I like to read a book of my own choosing or play Sudoku or word finds.

Why you should carry it:

These are the best way to keep yourself busy or to pass the time between classes, during a lunch break, or even while you’re waiting at a place to be seated or helped. You can find these really cheap at department and grocery stores as well as places like convenience stores and gas stations.

Hand Sanitizer

Why I carry it:

This is probably pretty obvious. I carry handy dandy hand sanitizer with me so that I can clean my hands. My hands dry out really easily if I wash them too much, so if I get something gross or sticky (or worse, gross and sticky) on my hands, I use a moisturizing hand sanitizer instead of rushing off to the bathroom. This way my hands are cleaned and my skin isn’t too dry.

Why you should carry it:

You don’t know where other people have been, or whose touched that desk or that chair that you were just at. Sometimes you just need to feel a little more clean. A really good place to get hand sanitizer is Bath & Body Works. They sell small hand sanitizers in all kinds of scents (including seasonal and holiday limited edition scents) with moisturizing beads and they sell silicon key change cozies for them so that you can attach them to a link on your purse or even to your car keys. You can also get things similar to this (usually unscented) in grocery and department stores.

Pepper Spray and Pocket Knives?

Do you believe it is a good idea to carry things like pepper spray and/or pocket knives for your own safety?

See results


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    • alyssabarron profile imageAUTHOR

      Alyssa Barron 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      That's great! Remember, safety should be your first concern, even if you don't think you'll be a situation in which you feel you'll have to protect yourself. It's better to be safe than sorry as they say!

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thumbs up. An interesting read - some of the items I already carry around but will now consider some of the others such as pepper spray.

    • The Invincible profile image

      Hitesh Bubbar 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I reckon it's a brilliant idea. I have no doubts in voting this up and useful.


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