Estela’s Thoughts on EDC

Posted by Kevin Estela on Nov 3rd 2022

Everyday carry changes from one person to the next. Depending on our daily duties and responsibilities as well as our experiences and training, what we carry varies wildly. There are some folks who ground their EDC in fantasy. They carry what they believe will be useful in a hyperinflated sense of their reality. Others, on the other end of the EDC spectrum, lack the knowledge to carry enough and these folks are those who venture outside with nothing more than what they need to operate their vehicle, provide identification, and purchase what they need along the way. I’m often tapped to provide my thoughts on EDC based on my experience as a survival instructor, woodsman, and traveler. I tend to ground my decisions on what to carry in what is logical. Some of the items I carry are very specific to my career and they may not fit into your loadout. I’m ok with that as you should focus on your needs and base your EDC on what works best for you.

I carry 3 knives on me daily. To some, that may seem excessive but remember what I do and what my background is. I carry a Swiss Army Ranger, a Chris Reeve Sebenza, and a Fieldcraft/Montana Knife Company EDC. The Swiss is used for multiple purposes in the bushcraft courses I teach. The folder is used for heavier duty cutting and the fixed blade is meant for times when I need a true fixed blade for utility/defense. Cutting tools expand our capability to create and they are used for addressing multiple problems. You don’t need to carry the knives I carry but you should definitely have something on you with an edge to meet your needs.

Fire Starting:
A BIC Lighter with bicycle inner-tube around it and an EXOTAC fireROD can be found on my person without fail. This provides me with 2 methods of fire starting (one flame and one spark) and 2 types of tinder (bike inner-tube and Tinder Quick in the fireROD handle). These are my primary and alternate methods of making fire. I’m very proficient with friction fire techniques but I don’t want to find what I need off the land to make a fire I needed 10 minutes ago. Everyone should have a lighter on them at the bare minimum. A good BIC provides 1000 one second fires. For the minimal investment in a BIC, you get an incredible return.


We cannot see in the dark. We haven’t evolved to the capability. You will find yourself in the darkness at night as well as indoors. A good flashlight is hard to beat. I carry a Streamlight Microstream USB with a Sayoc Tactical Group shock cord mod around the handle. This little light is bright enough to positively ID targets out to 25 yards at night and further in the right conditions. When I travel to the woods, I swap the light out for a Surefire Stiletto that has blinding illumination. That light, like the little Microstream USB are easy to recharge and keep topped off with fresh battery power. You simply cannot have enough light when you need it. A good flashlight extends your ability to function in the dark. In my backpack (a subject for another blog), I have a Petzl Tactikka headlamp. When I can’t access my backpack, I can put the clip of my flashlight on the brim of my hat.

Medical Needs:
I’m in my vehicle almost daily. It is a 4Runner made from glass and steel that can become very sharp and pointy in an accident. I also carry a pistol daily and am on the range frequently. For these reasons, I carry a SOF-T Wide each day. Tourniquets save lives and they are relatively inexpensive. Stage them on your person and in/around your kit. The bandana in my back pocket is what I consider a flexible utility tool. It is actually an OD green triangular bandage and it gets a lot of use as a pot holder to prevent burns, as a face covering on dusty trails, and even a knee wrap when my aches and pains show up hiking on trails. The bandana can also be used as a pressure bandage, as a hobo bundle, and more. They are less than .99 cents, get one!

Personal Protection:

I’m a Sayoc instructor and part of that tribe. Many of our guys carry Glock 17s and many have made the transition over to red dot sights. I want to carry what my friends carry and having familiarity with one platform, spare parts, and spare mags that are all in sync is important. Depending on the season, You’ll find me with either a G17 or G19 in a Black Point Tactical holster. I’m a full-size man and therefore I’ll carry a full-size pistol. When I head to the woods, I move from IWB to OWB and make sure I have a weapon mounted light on it. There is always a spare magazine in my back pocket to feed it. I place a lot of emphasis on 25 yard plus marksmanship and it is something those from the company who have shot with me know is true. My pistol forces me to dress accordingly as does the weather. We often forget there are always three “men” in a fight. You, your opponent, and the weather. I never leave home without the clothing that could protect me from the elements for the night.

Misc. Utility:

There are some items we carry that have miscellaneous utility. I carry approximately 6’ of cordage in my left front pocket along with a chapstick. Of course, my keys are always on me with an ACME Tornado whistle. My cell phone captures plenty of photos, keeps track of notes, and actually makes calls. A good wrist watch (ARES Diver 1) and a few rubber bands (most of the time) can be found on my wrists. My wallet is also always carried and in it is spare cash, cards, ICE card and various state-issued concealed carry permits. Something we forget to do is download good apps for our needs. I prefer Gaia GPS for navigation for instance. My previously mentioned backpack is home to a more substantial kit including bandages, a water bottle, wool watch cap, and so on.

Pocket Check: 

What I’ve mentioned in this blog is what I actually carry. Some online experts and keyboard commandos will say “no way” or “you’ll sink if you fell into a river with that” or another line they took a few hours to come up with, typed out in the comments section, and then retreated to the relative safety of their mother’s basement. Here’s my challenge, prove me wrong. Find me at an event, at a speaking engagement, or other Fieldcraft project and test me if I’m BS’ing you. I promise you, I’ll win that challenge every time. You should have others in your group test you to see if you are carrying what you need to and hold you accountable. Compare what you carry with what your friends carry. Keep your EDC a work in progress and evolve it as you improve in your skills, as better gear becomes available, and as you learn from your experiences. Keep it real and make it part of your