Updated: Feb 27, 2020
When going to a protest/action, there’s often a huge question of what to bring. This depends on what the protest is. If it's arrestable and you’re getting arrested, don’t bring anything but money and an ID. If it’s a mainstream protest, like the Climate March, you should be good with some snacks, a water bottle, and a portable charger.
If you’re like me and stress out about not having everything that you may need, then this is for you. I attend both mainstream protests and smaller actions, where safety is a concern. I took some time this semester to create an ‘action kit’, which is basically a small backpack that I carry to protests so I am prepared for most things that may occur. It sits under my bed, weighs very little, and is ready to go at a moment's notice. While I add things depending on weather/nature of protest/length of protest, what I keep in there 24/7 is a good baseline. Let me walk you through what I have:
*This is not an exhaustive list, please listen to protest leaders when they instruct you on what to bring.*
Portable charger. This is actually not in the bag right now, as I use it frequently, but it's ready to go.
Bottled water. This is something I would add day of because it's easily accessible and I’d be able to gauge how much I needed by the size of our group. I know this isn’t environmentally great, but it is good to keep a few bottles on hand in case you need to rinse out a wound, someone's eyes, or you see a comrade looking dehydrated.
Bandanas. These are useful for hiding identity, and protecting from tear gas or pepper spray.
Menstrual products. I personally carry these in basically every bag that I own, just in case. You never know when you or a fellow comrade may need some.
Sunglasses. Similar to the bandanas, these are good for protecting your identity and also shielding your eyes from the sun, tear gas, or pepper spray.
Sharpies. These are a must have. When attending any protest it’s always smart to write an emergency phone number on your body (where it can’t be seen by police or counter protestors) just in case.
Snacks. I keep a few granola bars because they’re portable, and don’t expire for a long time.
First-aid kit. I’m first-aid certified, but even if you aren’t I recommend carrying one. You never know when it can come in handy.
Change of clothes. In case you get dirty, tear gassed, pepper sprayed, or even just feel sweaty after a protest, a change of clothes is important to keep on hand.
As always, trust your gut, listen to your body, and stay strong.
(this is what the kit looks like on me)
(here's what I generally keep in it)