What is EDC? Everyday carry (EDC) or every day carry refers to items that are carried on a consistent basis to assist in dealing with normal everyday needs, including possible emergency situations. (Wikipedia)
Les Stroud from the TV series Survivorman uses a “Zones of Assessment” system, in survival situations, that provides the necessary information he needs to move forward. Your clothes and what you have in your pockets is considered to be Zone 1. This is where the importance of a well-thought-out EDC comes into play and how it could possibly save your life.
Just like a snowflake, your EDC will be unique and should fit your personal needs. What you should carry will depend on your age, sex, environment, profession and routine daily activities. Your EDC doesn’t need to be big backpack full of tactical gear or even a wilderness survival kit, unless you’re in the wilderness every day. When it comes down to it, you probably have a list of items that you already carry every day. It might include your keys, phone, watch, wallet and a belt. Here are some items to consider:
Not a lot of people discuss clothing as being a part of your EDC. Well, unless you’re a nudist, you probably wear clothes every day. The type of clothes you wear plays a big part in what you can carry and how it’s carried. As an example, I carry an Altoids tin (details below) as part of my EDC and it fits perfectly in the side pocket of the Levi’s carpenter jeans that I wear. I also keep my knife (Benchmade Mini-Griptilian) in one of the pockets above that.
Another option would be to wear cargo pants. They have large side pockets that would easily allow you to carry more items comfortably and without drawing attention to yourself.
I also wear hiking boots every day, even though I don’t hike every day. I’ve replaced the stock laces with paracord which allowed me to customize the length and have good cordage if I ever need it. You could also buy survival boot laces that have a ferro rod on each end to start fires with.
Depending on your state’s knife laws, carrying a knife at all times should be a necessity. Not only can you use a knife for everyday activities like opening boxes and cutting rope, but it could be your most valuable tool in a survival situation. A knife can be used for an endless amount of tasks from cutting a seatbelt to cutting down saplings for a shelter or even fighting off an attacker.
As I mentioned before, I carry the Benchmade Mini-Griptilian every day and I love it. For me, the size is perfect and the one-handed opening/closing works flawlessly.
The multi-tool is another great option for your EDC. They are relatively small and provide a set of tools for almost any basic task. Most multi-tools include pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, bottle openers and of course a knife. You don’t need to break the bank to get a good one, just find one that has the tools you want with a good rating.
Browse the highest rated multi-tools here.
It’s safe to say that almost everyone carries a smartphone with them every day. Nowadays, phones go way beyond just making phone calls. They can store more data than my first computer and could be used to carry digital survival manuals or even important documents. Although, if you choose to store important documents on your phone, please keep security in mind.
Smartphones can also eliminate the need to carry a camera, map, compass, notepad and flashlight. You could even start a fire with the phone’s battery if you really had to. Just remember to keep that battery charged or it becomes worthless. You may want to consider something like the Dark Energy Poseidon Portable Charger to have some extra power when you need it.
The wallet itself is probably not going to be a life-saving tool, but what’s inside might be. Wallets provide an organized way to carry things like important phone numbers, pictures of family members or small important documents. It’s a good idea to carry a small list of important phone numbers in case that phone battery goes dead and you didn’t invest in a portable charger. Having a recent picture of every family member is also a good idea just in case you get separated and need to locate someone.
Now, you can even get a FREE credit card knife that will fit in your wallet!
Fire is one of the basic essentials for our survival. Fire provides warmth, light, a way to cook food, and a sense of security. By far the easiest method to start a fire is by using a butane lighter. I carry a Bic Mini in my Altoids tin, but you may also want to carry something like a small ferro rod because a wet lighter could ruin your day. I also carry some petroleum jelly in a sealed straw tube which can help with making a fire in poor conditions. Having a way to start fire could easily be the difference between life and death.
For a quick light, a smartphone flash might be sufficient, but you may want to consider carrying an additional flashlight. Also, having your phone light on for long periods of time will drain your battery much faster. I carry the Streamlight Nano in my Altoids tin because it’s tiny and provides a sufficient amount of light for its size.
- Streamlight Stylus Pro Black LED Pen Flashlight with Nylon Holster
- J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight
- BRIGHTEX FL11 600 Lumens Super Bright Small Tactical Flashlight
- LE Adjustable Focus Mini CREE LED Flashlight
- Pelican Flashlights Progear LED Keychain Flashlight
Whether you’re building an emergency shelter or you need to tie up a bad guy, cordage will be very useful. If you always wear shoes with shoestrings, you might decide that’s enough for you. You could also replace your shoestrings with paracord, like I did. Doing so would allow you to remove the seven inner strands and then use only the outer shell for your shoes during an emergency. There are also a lot of options out there for pre-made paracord accessories like bracelets and belts. Another option is Kevlar cord which is extremely strong and lightweight.
Last but not least is a handgun. I don’t personally carry one on a daily basis and I don’t have my CCW license, but I’ve considered getting it. I think it’s a great idea, but it’s your choice.
Other EDC gear ideas include:
- Mylar blanket
- Keychain tools
- Water purification tablets
- Small whistle
- Mini first aid kit
- Sewing kit
- Phone pouch
- Motorola DROID MAXX
- SlideBelts belt buckle
- Altoids kit (see below)
- Casio Men’s AWGM100B-1ACR “G-Shock” Solar Watch
- Benchmade Mini-Griptilian
- Keys with small tritium light
- 2 Band-Aids
- 1 Moist Towelette
- 1 Can Opener
- 1 Flashlight
- 1 Lighter
- 1 Pencil
- 1 $5 Bill
- 1 Rubber Band
- 2 Razor Blades (taped inside lid)
- 5 Zip Ties
- 6 Safety Pins
- Gorilla Tape
- 2 Tylenol (in straw tube)
- Cotton/Vaseline (in straw tube)
- 2 Aquamira Tabs
- Aquaphor (in straw tube)
- Important Docs (USB drive)
In this article I’ve listed a few essential items that should be included in your EDC kit. I’ve also listed additional items that you may want to consider. The key to having an effective EDC is that it should fit your personal needs and be carried on a consistent basis. You should also review your EDC kit periodically to see if it still fits your needs.
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