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Every Day Carry Breakdown

Every Day Carry Breakdown

Posted by Amber Landry on Nov 23rd 2021

What is an EDC?

If you’re new to preparedness you may have heard the term EDC and wondered about its meaning. EDC (everyday carry) plain and simply refers to the items that you carry on your person on a daily basis. This could be referring to the items in your pocket or the items that you keep in a bag or purse that you always have with you. EDC refers both to the grouping of items, as well as the individual choice of tool, this is why you may hear people refer to a certain flashlight as their “EDC flashlight”, meaning the flashlight that they choose to carry daily. People who choose to carry a self-defense firearm will also refer to that specific gun that they carry as their EDC gun, so while the tactical component of everyday carry does exist, it is just that- a component.

EDC looks different for everyone, and ideally, it should be very intimately connected to your specific life and your specific needs. You may be wondering about what the distinct difference is between what you’ve spent your adult life carrying around and what you could consider your EDC. The answer is intention. Your EDC kit consists of intentional choices that expand your capacity to protect and/or provide for both yourself, your family, and others. It benefits your life by allowing you to mitigate both simple and more complex inconveniences by attempting to eliminate the helpless aspect of being unprepared as well as the expectation that someone else will be able to assist. That simple mindset shift is truly key to integrating you into the consistent and evolving state of being prepared.

What should be in my EDC?

Like I mentioned before, an EDC kit will differ from person to person because it should be reflecting the unique needs that you possess (think: diabetic supplies, contacts, supplies for newborns, etc.). There are, however, some basic essentials that I have found to be the standard baseline for a really thorough carry. While some of these items may have never even crossed your mind as being something that you should have access to, we’ve entered into a unique season in the last year, and the everyday carry of 2021 is something that gives us more control over the irregularities and uncertainties of our days.

Light Source

There are so many instances when light can benefit you and your circumstance. Whether it’s illuminating a dark space to diminish threats and vulnerabilities, helping you identify objects or other people, aiding in the assessment of a wound, assisting as you tackle mobility issues, or in a worst-case self-defense scenario, working alongside your firearm to help you take careful aim in a darkened area. Light sources can be in the form of a flashlight, whether that’s a compact flashlight, a pocket flashlight, a penlight, or even a headlamp. Some people may wonder if a light mounted onto their firearm would check the box for this, but you truly need to have a light that operates separately from your firearm if you choose to carry one. Tactical flashlights are available from a variety of suppliers and simply serve their purpose by being smaller, lighter, more durable, and emitting more lumens than their non-tactical counterparts. Whatever your choice of flashlight, I do recommend going with an LED flashlight simply because of its efficient use of energy, something incredibly important for an item meant to lend help in difficult circumstances.

Multi-Tool

The most common multi-tool that individuals in the EDC community tend to keep as part of their everyday carry is a Swiss Army knife. The reason for this is that it’s such a tried and true legend in the realm of preparedness, serving so many purposes in such a compact size. There are many options when it comes to size and style for multi-tools, so choosing the one that best meets your needs is important. Swiss Army knives are also extremely versatile because they are legal to carry in every state. You will run into exceptions when it comes to models with larger blade lengths, so it’s important to check your state’s specific laws before investing in your choice of tool. You also cannot take a Swiss Army knife into government buildings, airports, and certain stadiums or arenas. You can normally expect a good Swiss Army knife or multitool to include most of the following: blade(s), nail filer, pliers, scissors, screwdriver, corkscrew, bottle opener, saw, can opener, and often some other useful tools like magnifying glasses, tweezers, and things of this nature. Some versions of multitools are small enough to be attached to your keychain or your keys for ease of access and practicality.

Keys

Another way that you could combine items for ease and efficiency is to find a key organizer that includes components of a multitool so that you’re cutting down on bulk, and streamlining some of your most-used everyday carry gear. You could also attach a carabiner to this setup to secure your keys to a purse, bag, backpack, or whatever you use as your gear for the day. Carabiners can act as attachment options for the majority of the time, yet function as a useful tool in contingencies and emergencies when necessary.

It’s important to keep your keys secure and organized in one space so that you’re not compromising your situational awareness by sorting through a mess of keys. Choosing a prominent key ring holder that’s easy to spot and grab can make all of the difference in your gear. 

Pocket Knife

Choosing an EDC knife separate from your multi-tool that meets your state’s laws and your personal needs is often a preference for those that have experience with utilizing an everyday carry. The extra blade gives you a larger surface area depending on your choice of a knife- to assist you with more rigorous cutting needs. The most important aspect of your EDC knife, like mentioned previously, is that you’re legally able to carry it in your state. You will notice laws differentiating between a fixed blade knife or folding knife, along with a variety of other knife setups including switchblade, ballistic, pocket knife etc. It’s important to pay attention to these different variations when choosing your knife so that you are legally protecting yourself. You will most commonly find the EDC community using folding blades with a pocket clip so that they can easily attach it to their belt, pants, shirt pocket, purse pocket, etc.

A good pocket knife for you to carry is one that you’ll use. Pocket knives are used daily for simple tasks like cutting bags, string, straps, and all of the knotted stuff. They are also critical in emergent situations where you may need to cut someone’s hair, clothing, shoestrings, etc, or cut a seatbelt or restraint binding someone into an unsafe space. You can also utilize knives for bushcraft practices ranging from shelter construction to cooking and fire starting.

Communication Tools

Communication is a vital component of your EDC gear. In our current technology culture, a cell phone is the most common of communication tools-more specifically an iPhone, Android, or another smartphone capable of assisting in navigating, note-taking, and data retrieval. I also like to include another more primitive form of communication and data collection in the form of a notebook and pen in my own EDC bag. 

You could also choose to carry versions of both of these EDC items that can operate at a higher level of performance, like choosing a tactical pen made with a stainless steel glass-breaking tip to help you escape dangerous vehicle entrapments versus a standard ink pen. You can also opt to carry a small all-weather notebook, like the Rite in The Rain book found in our minimalist survival kit which functions great as an expanded everyday carry kit.

I also consider a whistle a vital part of communication, and you can find a whistle in our minimalist survival kit as well. Attach to zipper pulls on jackets or the outside of any purse, bag, backpack, etc. It’s louder than a scream and the sound isn’t replicated by anything in nature so it will stand out and capture attention. 

Wallet

A wallet is a valuable part of an everyday carry kit given that it’s a concise way of retaining currency, identification, credit/debit cards, and copies of our pertinent information (health insurance cards, medical ID, copies of birth certificate and/or social security cards, etc.). Given that we now live in such a digitally volatile time, choosing a wallet that has RFID blocking technology (protection built in that can help provide an extra level of security for your cards that run the risk of being electronically pickpocketed by an RFID scanner) is a smart way to turn a simple wallet into an EDC item of intention.

Self-Defense Tool(s)

Whether you choose to carry lethal self-defense (like a firearm) and/or non-lethal options like pepper spray, or a self-defense keychain, etc. you need to ensure that you’ve chosen one that fits your body composition, personal needs, and lifestyle. Your firearm will need to be safely retained onto your body or in a bag using a holster that offers a secure trigger guard.

You can carry a firearm in your purse or bag, but if you do choose to carry your firearm in a bag consider investing in a lock so that you can secure it in the off chance that you have to leave your bag in a location that is physically separate from you to ensure safety for others who may be around the unattended bag (think: children). Note as well that it will require more time to draw your gun from a purse or bag in a critical moment. You will want to find a way to retain your holster into your bag so that when you do draw your gun, the holster stays secure.

Fire Start

Fire is one of the most basic and primitive aspects of survival and it always will be. Fire serves many incredible purposes, and in our modern age, carrying the simple tools we need to start a fire is incredibly easy. This may be as simple as carrying a BIC lighter in your pocket or bag. Our resident survival expert and published author, Kevin Estella recommends wrapping a bike inner tube around your lighter to serve as an effective fire starter. It’s also wise to protect your lighter in a waterproof case like our Firesleeve to create a waterproof barrier around the lighter. It also contains a strap that allows the gas button to be held down for hands-free use. 

You could also choose a fire starting tool in the form of a Ferro rod, like our Exotac option to attach to your keychain. 

First Aid

As a nurse, the medical preparedness aspect of my everyday carry gear is always critically important to me. I want to make sure that I am prepared to offer basic and lifesaving care to those around me or myself and being wise about the basic items that I carry every day in my purse is such an easy way to go about it. Your personal medical needs: like diabetic supplies, EPI pen, or spare contacts should always be part of your everyday carry kit. Along with a simple first aid kit that includes bandages, antibiotic ointment, super glue, and alcohol prep pads I like to include more critically necessary items like:

-Basic Hemorrhage Response Kit: compact and intended to help stop a bleeding wound using quick clot hemostatic dressing and gauze. 

-Tourniquet: 100% effective at occluding blood flow in upper and lower extremities. This is a medical item that no one should be without. 

I also recommend our tourniquet holder for easier retention in a bag, on a belt, on any tactical panel, or even on the visor panel of your vehicle.

-Chest Seal: These lifesaving med tools contain 3-channel pressure relief vents

are super thin, super small, and are critical for survival with any penetrating chest wound affecting the lungs.

-Survival Wrap: I choose to keep this Mylar blanket in my basic medkit, simply because of its compact nature and how useful it is in a variety of circumstances. From preventing hypothermia where blood loss is profound, to insulating someone exposed to the elements, to acting as a collection device or a temporary shelter.

If this seems like impossible options for carrying exclusively on your person consider adding a smaller bag setup to your everyday carry in order to include expanded gear. A survival pack could be something that you choose to keep near you on most days with the capability to attach it to your body when moving from place to place. The med items I listed above would all fit well within something of this size along with other small items that you wish you include. 

Parent and Woman Specific Everyday Carry Items

Parents or caregivers and women will have unique needs that we need to be sure are reflected in the items that we choose to carry. While the basics of everything listed above are a great overview and coverage for most everyone in our care there are occasional situations that will require more specific items that we need to have on hand.

-Feminine hygiene items of our preference

NOTE: cotton tampons and pads can also be used as useful med tools to assist with nosebleeds and other wounds where absorption and pressure are needed.

-Water bottle and small simple snacks. You may need clean water to make a baby bottle, hydrate a sick or overheated child, or clean a skin abrasion. Kids are much more susceptible to dehydration from illness as well as the elements and it may be more difficult to source or secure clean water in emergency situations with kids in tow, so ensuring you keep a small supply on your person is critical. Snacks to offset low blood sugar and emotional breakdowns in young children are vital as well.

Does My Everyday Carry Gear Need To Be In A Bag?

Not necessarily. Many people prefer to be minimalists with their everyday carry gear and wear only the items that they can fit on their body. Many of our own Fieldcraft guys and gals only carry the very basic items secured in their pockets and on their waistbands.

What Are The Basic EDC Items?

-Wallet

-Knife

-Multitool

-Firestarter

-Self Defense Tool

-Keys

-Pen/notebook

-Light

The Everyday Carry Bag

While most folks think of bags as being a woman-only option, that isn’t the case. As you can imagine, the more capacity your everyday carry is capable of, the more you can carry-you can see this reflected in what I carry for my medical in my everyday carry kit. Your everyday carry bag can be your purse, a man purse, a fanny pack, a backpack, and laptop case/briefcase, and even a diaper bag should you be in that season of life.

How Does A Bugout Or INCH Bag Differ From Everyday Carry?

A Bugout Bag (BOB) is a bag that you keep at the ready in your home to grab when economical, societal, or natural disasters force you to move to a safer location. This bag is intended to help you survive for a temporal time frame-think a few days to a week. You will want expanded capacity for food, water, hygiene, and basic needs included in this. An example of this would be that rather than small snacks, like in your everyday carry, you’d need full meals for your family size like our Ready Wise 72 hour kits and water to prepare it as well as water for drinking.

An INCH bag (I’m Never Coming Home) is a bag(s) that you most likely won’t be able to carry on your person and is a supply set up that you mobilize for long-term survival away from your home. It is a much more comprehensive bag than both your everyday carry bag as well as your bug out bag-both of which we will go into more detail about at a later date.

While many items in all of these bags do have some overlap, they are three separate mentalities serving three separate purposes and should be organized that way both in mindset as well as in your approach and maintenance of said bags.