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15 Important Things To Bring To A Protest

Warning: Resistance may require preparation.

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Protesting is a crucial way to make your voice heard and enact social change, but it can also mean long days in all kinds of weather, as well as potential friction with law enforcement and/or counter-protestors.

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So, here are some items to bring along to help keep you (and others) safe and prepared.

1. A form of ID to prevent you from getting stuck.

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You very well may not be summonsed or arrested; however, if you are, having identification on you will likely save you time and hassle. Without documentation, cops can detain you until you're positively identified.

2. A light layering jacket for unexpected temperature changes.

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A soft hoodie will help keep you comfortable in the event of changing weather, or if you're detained somewhere cold. This one from American Apparel (usually $48) is unisex, comes in a bunch of colors, and is 40% off while they clear their stock.

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3. All the weather-appropriate accessories you usually skip.

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Even if you normally manage well enough without gloves and warm socks in winter, or a brimmed hat in the summer, chances are you're probably not outdoors for as sustained a period of time as you would be during a public protest or march. Play it safe and make sure you've got the extras to shield you from whatever the season may bring.

5. A permanent marker for important phone numbers.

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Arrests do happen, so you'll want to have the contact information of friends, family, and legal resources available — even if your belongings are confiscated. Write important numbers on your arm in permanent marker before heading out, and if you're able, carry markers for anyone else who might need to do so during the demonstration.

6. Glasses to keep your eyes as safe as possible.

Jenny Spadafora / Via Flickr: jspad

Whether you wear regular eyeglasses or sunglasses doesn't matter; what's important is that you're not wearing contacts, and that you have a barrier in front of your eyes — both will help you minimize damage should you come into contact with pepper spray.

7. A bottle of water to keep you refreshed.

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In addition to keeping you hydrated, you might want water to help cool your skin or wash out your eyes (some folks recommend whole milk for combating pepper spray; some don't). Whatever the case, it's always good to have some H2O handy in a reusable bottle.

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8. A portable phone charger.

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Filming your fellow protestors without their consent is generally not cool; however, if you must film or make a phone call in the case of an emergency, you'll want to be charged up. This portable battery works for a range of phones.

9. Oil-free sunscreen to protect your skin.

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If you're going to be outside in the daytime, you don't want to risk sunburnt skin — and you definitely don't want to get pepper-sprayed while wearing something oil-based, as it will be far more difficult to get the spray off your skin. Stay smart with oil-free sunscreen.

10. Something scarf-esque, for a few different reasons.

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Wear a clean bandana to help obscure your features from surveillance (aside from mounted security cameras, how many people's protest selfies have you unwittingly wound up in this month?); carry another soaked in lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to combat tear gas if it gets deployed.

11. First aid supplies.

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You certainly don't have to carry an entire kit, though this one is small enough that you could. Whatever the case, a mix of band-aids and gauze pads, wipes and antibiotic ointment, and NSAIDS should help with everything from sneaker-induced blisters to scuffle-induced scrapes.

12. Menstrual products.

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Support (your fellow?) menstruators! Pads are especially helpful for situations like arrests, in which you may not be able to change a tampon regularly enough, and tampons are as great for bloody noses as they are for their original intent.

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13. Medication.

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As with the reasoning behind pads, know that you may end up away from home longer than anticipated. For this reason, carry whatever pills, injections, inhalers, or anything else you need to stay in good health.

15. And a fanny pack to help you carry it all.

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Maybe you don't want to wear something as big as a backpack, and you definitely don't want anything you have to carry in-hand or keep readjusting on your shoulder. Enter: the fanny pack, preferably with multiple pockets to keep you organized.

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