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I am frequently asked about effective ways to ensure personal safety while traveling. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the top 6 slightly unconventional items that can significantly contribute to your security. Some of these products are overlooked, and many of them serve dual purposes, allowing you to travel lighter and more efficiently. As any traveler knows, this is the goal!
During my time as a SWAT officer, many of us carried this piece of equipment on our kit. Its versatility allowed us to secure doors both open and closed. In my current role in the private sector, I continue to carry it during my travels and have been consistently impressed by its compact size, affordability, and lightweight design, without compromising its effectiveness.
Teachers and travelers, in particular, will find the Wedge-it to be an invaluable tool for barricading doors. Whether you’re on a business trip or enjoying a vacation with family and friends, be it at an Airbnb or hotel, this tool should find a place in your luggage. You can rest assured knowing that all the doors are securely closed while you sleep peacefully or you can use it to prop doors open as you maneuver luggage or when the kids are running in and out to play.
How it works:
While marketed as a versatile door stop, the Wedge-It offers more than just propping open doors at a 90-degree angle in three different positions (as indicated above). However, I have used it for years as a reliable door barricade. The trick? Secure the door closed, place the Wedge-it underneath the door, then tap it into place with your heel or a tool to efficiently barricade the door. It can be used on all surfaces without causing significant damage to the door. Best of all, this budget-friendly and portable device crafted from durable Polycarbonate plastic, easily fits into your pocket or purse, weighing less than 3 ounces. Its Thermal Plastic Rubber additions ensure it stays put on any surface, making it an ideal travel companion. Notably, it also complies with TSA guidelines preventing any hassle at security checks. Having personally traveled with the Wedge-it numerous times, I can vouch for its convenience and reliability. Even better, it’s ‘Made in the USA’,
Understanding the authenticity of pepper spray can be challenging, especially when navigating through misleading advertisements that boast about having the best and most potent pepper spray. Pepper spray typically comprises chemicals derived from natural sources like the resin of chili peppers producing OC (Oleorisin Capsicum), or from man-made compounds like CS tear gas. The effectiveness of pepper spray is often represented by the percentage of OC in the product, but this can be deceptive due to the inconsistencies in capsaicinoid concentration. Some manufacturers may claim 3% OC content, yet the potency of the peppers used may not match this percentage. This disparity can compromise the product’s actual effectiveness. Pepper potency is also measured using the Scoville Heat Units (SHU), typically used in assessing the
heat of foods, but isn’t applicable to OC for self-defense purposes. I also don’t recommend using OC on your wings at dinner!
The most accurate assessment of pepper spray potency is through HPLC
(High-Performance Liquid Chromatography). HPLC measures the pepper’s potency and water solubility of the spray. With HPLC, you are guaranteed the effects you expect will be delivered when used.
What it does:
OC causes intense burning and watering of the eyes, skin, and nose, temporary blindness, severe sinus discharge, and involuntarily forces your eyes shut. The effects can last 45-60 minutes. I always recommend Sabre Pepper Spray. Not only do they use the highest legal limit of OC, equivalent to police officer use, but they verify their product’s potency through independent laboratory testing, ensuring effectiveness.
Pepper spray is legal in every state though there are different restrictions. Know the laws in your state or those that you are traveling within. Sabre lists the laws here.
GoGuarded Handheld or Ring
These awesome tools are made of heavy-duty glass-reinforced nylon. They are easily carried and light making them great for travel or athletic activities. The GoGuarded gives an individual a sharp blade without the need to carry a knife. They are advantageously placed on hands or fingers where there is no need to retrieve the tool because it is already placed where it is ready to use.
Something to consider when utilizing the ring. There is a possibility it could cause injury due to the positioning of the finger. However, if the situation has developed to the stage of a hands-on attack, personally, that is the least of my worries. I would rather have a tool and have a chance at defending myself, with the possibility of a broken finger than have nothing and possibly lose my life. Another great aspect of the handheld is the ability to carry a small pepper spray in the device as well - giving you multiple options of tools to deploy in self-defense. You can use the code Kirsten10 for 10% off your order!
The TASER Device by Axon closely resembles the police TASER device but is specifically developed for civilian use. They both deliver an electrical current through the body that induces a complete muscle lock-up and intense psychological response of extreme pain, with a 15-foot range and assisted targeting.
The primary difference between the civilian and law enforcement devices lies in the duration of the cycle. While a single trigger press for law enforcement typically entails a 5-second cycle, the civilian version extends this period to THIRTY SECONDS! Having experienced a 5-second cycle as a police cadet, I can attest those 5 seconds were the longest of my life. I cannot imagine the intensity and pure horror of a 30-second cycle, which provides a significantly extended period of time to seek help and flee from the assailant.
How it works:
Upon pressing the trigger, the TASER device discharges prongs from the cartridge, with a spread of approximately 1 inch per foot. An ideal spread on the assailant is from the chest/back to the quad/hamstring, which allows for a more effective impact. Another great feature TASER Device by Axon provides is the Safe Escape Replacement meaning they completely replace your device at no cost, should you ever fire it in self-defense.
While the carabiner is commonly associated with rock climbing it also serves as a broader purpose in my self-defense toolkit.
In a dire situation, it can double as a striking tool. Simply slip your hand through the middle, gripping the hinge side to reinforce your grip and shield your knuckles during an altercation. It’s important to note that it’s not designed for this function, but having something is better than nothing.
A carabiner is a great way to secure your belongings to yourself, a cart, or other fixture. Fasten it to your purse or backpack and anchor it securely, so any attempt by a thief to snatch and run results in a jolting surprise, courtesy of the carabiner’s resistance.
There is nothing like a bright light in the eyes of an assailant to disable and disorient. Even in daylight, a flashlight can be a valuable asset for self-defense, with its effectiveness amplified in darker environments. The temporary blindness it induces allows for a crucial window to escape a threat.
In situations where a physical confrontation is unavoidable, the flashlight can be wielded as a striking tool, if needed. Sometimes the mere presence of a flashlight can deter a potential attacker, signaling your preparedness and suggesting other possible means of self-defense.
Streamlight offers compact, lightweight flashlight options designed for pocket carry, each with its unique advantages. The two models I recommend are the Wedge XT and Microstream USB Pocket Light. Both of the models deliver a powerful brightness and can effectively get the job done.
Bonus: Paracord Lanyard + Masterlock = Makeshift Defense Tool
If you’re a frequent flier who prefers not to check bags containing pepper spray or a TASER device, or if you’re traveling internationally where these items are prohibited, here is an option for you. Locks for securing your luggage and lanyards for holding your keys are common, everyday items. While flying, keep them separated. Once you reach your destination, fasten the lock to the lanyard to create an improvised self-defense tool. Though this is not ideal, again, having something is better than nothing.
Prioritize your personal safety and avoid a threat when at all possible. Safe travels!