Everyday Carry or EDC is something that every person should know about. Not everyone is prepared for what could happen. Reading this guide and using it to your advantage will put you in a position where you can be more prepared than your next door neighbor, coworkers, or even some members of your family.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about EDC carry in 2022. We’ll go over the essential items you’ll need and why they’re important. When it comes to staying ahead of the curve against dangerous situations and emergencies, you have to have the right tools in place.
If you are considering preparing yourself for the unknown, you’re in the right place. This may be the only EDC guide you’ll need even if you are a complete newb to it all. Let’s get started by giving you a basic explanation of EDC itself.
- What is EDC?
- The Origins of EDC
- Why is EDC so important?
- Finding The Right EDC Items: Three Major Considerations To Go Over Before Purchasing Them
- Overall quality
- Finding The Right EDC Items: What are they and why are they important?
- EDC Basics
- – Cell phone
- What to consider when choosing a cell phone:
- – Wallet
- – Keychain
- EDC Gear Recommended, But Not Required
- – Knife
- What to consider when finding an EDC knife:
- – Flashlight
- What to consider when purchasing an EDC flashlight:
- – Multi-Tool
- – Watch
- – Pen
- – Notebook
- – Portable charger
- – EDC Gear Bag
- What to consider when purchasing an EDC Gear Bag:
- What to consider when purchasing a pistol:
- How To Carry Your EDC Tools
- If you are a minimalist
- If you want to be well-prepared
- EDC FAQ
- What is an EDC handgun?
- Should people carry knives?
- What’s the difference between a cell phone flashlight and a regular one?
- Final Thoughts
EDC is short for Everyday Carry. In basic English, it’s the gear you keep on you regardless of where you’re going. You could be home, at work, or visiting family hundreds or thousands of miles away.
You’ll have the items you need on hand in case something happens. You don’t even leave home without them (and we’re not talking about an American Express card). These EDC items serve a clear, intended purpose.
We will get to the items themselves later on in this guide and why they are important. But for now, we’re just laying the basic framework. You need to carry these items on you every day of the week.
We’re not telling you to horde them. Some of these items you need one each to get you through the day. Some will be used on the regular while others will be used on a ‘as needed’ basis.
There is no specific time period as to when EDC became a thing. But you can go back thousands of years in regards to carrying items that were keys to survival and protection. While it’s hard to discuss which items were considered EDC prior to modern history, we could go as far back as the 20th century.
The term EDC could be dated back to the early 2000s. This became something that was discussed on Internet forums. Some may say this was pure insanity from the rest of society.
However, with all the potential dangers and emergencies that happen regularly, people may be taking EDC a bit more seriously now. It becomes a matter of where two kinds of people who exist: those who are prepared for the worst and those who are not and may not make it.
Even in today’s digital world, the concept of EDC is still the same. You carry the essential gear that you need to ensure that you are prepared for whatever the day (and the unexpected brings).
EDC is what makes the difference between being prepared and unprepared. You may be doing your daily tasks and something can happen. Some EDC items will be used daily since it’s part of the daily routine you do.
Preparation is key when it comes to the daily tasks and the unexpected things. When you’re prepared, you’re confident. People may notice this as you go about your business.
EDC teaches you the age old skill of self-reliance. Can you rely on yourself to get a task done? Can you rely on yourself to solve a problem even if it means life or death?
The point is that there are opportunities where you need to rely on yourself. There are times when you need to save yourself in times of danger. Certain EDC gear will come in handy in such situations.
On top of that, you’ll want to purchase EDC tools that are not expensive nor cheap. They are of good quality and will save you time whenever you need to use them. Since you’re carrying them on hand, you won’t have to spend time hunting them down.
What is the item you’re using? When and where is it necessary? Where are you at the present moment?
And last but not least, do you know how to use it? Since they are basic, simple items, we’re hoping you have a definite clear answer for these questions.
With preparation being key with EDC gear, there’s also the style factor. Sure, you could have a good looking knife or wallet. At the end of the day, you’ll want to focus more on the function.
You don’t need the best looking gear to conquer any everyday situation. But if aesthetics are something you care about, have at it. Don’t discount the functionality and use.
At this point, we’re going to go over the following EDC items you need. As we talk about each item, we’ll talk about why they are important. We’ll also talk about what you need to consider as you purchase each one.
Before we begin, there are three things we need to focus on since they apply to every item. These are the major considerations for all EDC items that you’ll want to remember:
When it comes to purchasing EDC items, you may care about the price tag. If you are on a budget, don’t let that discourage you. You want to find something that is within your price range.
Tying it into our previous consideration, the better the quality of an EDC item, the more expensive it will be. Granted, you never want to sacrifice quality for the sake of saving money. This can hurt you big time (even in the situations when it counts).
To that end, you want to invest in the best quality that you can afford. Think of yourself as a one man army. You want something that will last you a long time, not something that will malfunction or break in a short period of time.
In the EDC world, you want an item that should work 99 percent of the time. Some survival items such as pistols have to work (even in a life or death situation). Otherwise, you may have to resort to other options.
Granted, simple EDC items still need to be reliable and function properly. As you look through certain items, you’ll want to read through reviews and see if you can spot anything that discusses how reliable the item is.
When it comes to EDC items, the one thing YOU CAN’T accept anything less of is reliability. How can you use an item that won’t get the job done in a situation where it counts?
Now that we have knocked out the top three major considerations for EDC items, we’ll be taking a look at each one you’ll need to have on hand. Some of these are basic tools that you should carry at all times.
Others may be recommended, but not required. Without further ado, let’s get right to it:
– Cell phone
To begin, we’ll be taking a look at cell phones. In today’s digital age, almost everyone is carrying them. The functionalities and versatility makes it one of the best items on the planet.
It’s true that people can’t live without their phones. However, they look at it in the wrong context. The right context is knowing what tools are useful.
A smartphone has several EDC functionalities in one. This includes your flashlight, camera, watch, pen and paper, and wallet. People can take advantage of these functionalities using the right kind of apps.
If you are someone who tends to be a minimalist, you can use your smartphone strategically. This can also free up plenty of space to carry some of the other EDC items you may need. Instead of carrying a ton of stuff, you can use it to carry a pistol or even a knife.
When you purchase a cell phone, don’t forget a carrying case. You may drop it and it can shatter the screen or the framework of it. Get something tough like an Otter brand case and you’ll be in business.
What to consider when choosing a cell phone:
- Size: Smartphones come in different sizes. This may be a personal preference of yours. The larger the phone, the more visible your screen will be when you read texts, surf the web, and more.
- Prepaid or monthly plan: Cell phone service doesn’t come cheap. But you do have options based on prepaid or monthly plans. If you are in a time crunch, your best bet would be getting prepaid service plans like Straight Talk, Tracfone, etc. You get unlimited calls and texts, plenty of data, and more (even if you don’t spend a lot of money).
These are the two most important considerations to worry about. Don’t worry if it’s an Android or an Apple. Forget about the aesthetics.
The size can dictate how much space it can take up for other EDC items. Having the right plan will also provide you with the service itself. It obviously cannot function without it.
Sure, you can use Apple Pay to keep your cards in one place. But a tried and true wallet for carrying cash can still be a staple in your EDC items. You’ll want to be prepared for the things that can go wrong.
One situation, you may not use your debit or credit card that is linked to your smartphone (or the card itself). Because the terminals may be down due to technical issues. Or you may be cautious about skimmers (if any are present).
Cash is still king, even in an EDC situation. Find a wallet that is slim and won’t take up too much space. If you can, get one that has RFID-blocking functions. As you may notice, this item will not have a list of considerations to go over.
There’s no point in including one since we strongly suggest that you get a slim wallet and an RFID blocking feature that will protect your assets.
Car keys, house keys, safe keys, and so on. We need a key for anything we need to access. Keeping it in a keychain will be a time saver.
That’s why it’s an EDC basic item that you don’t want to leave out. Organization and knowing where your keys are can give you confidence. It’s important that you don’t lose them.
They should be in your pocket or in an available carrying space at all times. A keyring or a key organizer will get the job done. Plus, you want something that won’t be messy and cause a lot of noise.
Once again, we will leave out a considerations list since there isn’t a lot to consider other than the design. Do you want a keychain with a ring or an organizer? It comes down to how well organized you want your key collection to be.
A pocket knife can be a good everyday carry tool. However, the challenge is that because of laws and cultural differences, the issue with excluding it lies. Knives should not be seen in a negative light like they are in crime shows.
Knives are not weapons all the time. They can be used for tasks that require cutting or slicing something. On top of that, you have a Swiss Army knife that has your standard blades along with other tools.
Cutting cords, breaking down a box, or even cutting into meat are three good things a knife can do. If you need to, see if you are allowed to carry a folding knife legally in your jurisdiction.
What to consider when finding an EDC knife:
- Type of knife: You can choose a folding knife or a straight knife that you can carry with a sheath. If you need to save space, a folding knife will be the perfect option.
- Blade length: How long do you want the blade to be? Longer blades will create larger and longer cuts. But they can also be stronger than smaller blades.
- Extra tools: If you want extra tools including a knife, a Swiss Army knife may be your best option. This will be a good choice if you are an EDC minimalist and want to take advantage. Carrying many tools in one place without taking up space can be a blessing.
Yes, you may have one on your smartphone. However, it may lack the functions of a true flashlight. For this reason, a standalone will be the best option when you need to navigate in low-light or no-light conditions.
The power can go out or you may be looking for items in hard-to-reach places. On top of that, you may have a flashlight that can also double as something that can disorient your attackers (see strobe feature).
What to consider when purchasing an EDC flashlight:
- Lumens: The higher the lumens, the brighter it will be. You want to see everything in front of you in low-light or dark conditions. The minimum number should be about 120 lumens, but go no higher than 1000.
- Size: If you are looking for an EDC flashlight, smaller is better. You may be tempted to carry a large MagLite. But it’s clunky, heavy, and can slow you down when you need to move fast. If it fits in your pocket, it will be a good option.
- Type of flashlight: You have LED and incandescent flashlights. You want a type that is reliable and can last a long time. LEDs will win out in terms of lifespan since regular bulbs will burn out and need to be replaced over a period of time.
- Batteries or no batteries: Back in the day, you needed batteries for a flashlight. However, such flashlights will differ in terms of how much energy it can consume. Plus, your choice in batteries may last a short amount of time compared to others. It would make sense to get one with a lengthy battery life. Otherwise, rechargeable flashlights may be your best friend here since the need for battery replacement is few and far between.
The multi-tool is no doubt one of the must-haves for any EDC user. You get so many tools in one package. Portability and versatility make such a tool one of the must-have choices. Not all multi-tools are created equal.
Some will have fewer tools than others. But you can be sure that an everyday carry multitool will have such functions as a knife, scissors (or cutters), bottle opener, screwdrivers, pliers, and more. As for the considerations, there are two things to look for:
- Number of tools included
The more tools you have, the better. What will you need to use on a regular basis or just for a possible emergency? Take a moment and decide what tools you consider EDC essentials.
A watch will come in handy whenever you need to check the time. A smartphone can be useful, but it may be off putting if you pull it out randomly when talking to someone. So a good standalone watch can get the job done.
Plus, your cell phone battery may be low or it can die at any point. You’ll want a watch that isn’t expensive or good looking. It can be good enough to put on your wrist and check the time whenever you need to.
Analog or digital, it shouldn’t matter. You don’t have to be very fancy here.
We rely on digital things more often than not. But not everything is digital (at least not yet). A pen will still be reliable and do a better job at writing things down compared to our fingers on a phone.
Need to sign paperwork, take notes, or something else in between? An everyday carry pen will come in handy. What you can also be aware of are tactical pens that also include additional tools that are useful in emergency situations.
As for the pens themselves, you can get a set of BIC pens and you’ll be in business. There are different brands and types that you can carry. A tactical pen can be good as well if you want the additional tools that come along with it.
As you can see, there really isn’t a lot to consider as they can differ by the color of ink and design.
You need a notebook to write something down, of course. So what’s the point of carrying a pen without the one thing that goes perfect with it? You can carry a small sized notebook as an EDC tool (not the larger ones you’ve used in school).
– Portable charger
You may need a charger for your flashlight, phone, and other tech devices. One of the major features it has is a USB plug-in. If your devices require a USB cable, you can plug it into a compatible charger.
One thing to consider when choosing your everyday carry gear, is do you need one charger for each device? Or can you get one that can charge multiple devices at a time? It will depend on the number of tools you have that require this. Either way, an everyday carry charger is a great item to consider.
– EDC Gear Bag
Pockets may be fine. Tactical belts may be acceptable. But nothing can make an EDC fanatic happy quite like a gear bag. You can get one with plenty of storage space that will keep things organized.
A standard backpack may serve as the perfect EDC bag. However, you may have to choose one that will work for you while serving its purpose for a lengthy period of time.
What to consider when purchasing an EDC Gear Bag:
- Material: A good everyday carry bag should be made from durable materials. You want something that will be difficult to tear or wear. You don’t want holes forming due to the friction and abrasive environment. If you have to rough it, you want something that can handle the sharp and pointy sticks and branches when you have to trudge through the woods.
- Compartments: The more compartments your EDC bags have, the better. You’d be hard-pressed to carry everything when you have a couple of compartments or pockets. You need small pockets for small tools. You want a couple of large compartments to store other items like a laptop, clothes, and more. As long as everything is neatly packed and organized, you should be in good shape.
- Straps: Do you want to hand carry a bag or sling on your back? For better versatility and hands-free functioning, the latter option should be the one you choose. You want adjustable straps that will fit your back while giving you excellent comfort.
Depending on the jurisdiction you’re in, you may have laws that pertain to carrying and using firearms. Before considering a purchase, you’ll want to check your local, state, and federal laws (if you’re in the United States). Firearms may be outright banned or restricted in nations outside of the United States.
If you reside in the United States, you can be able to carry a pistol. It can be open carry or concealed carry. Regardless if your state has restrictions or not, it can be a useful EDC tool whenever you need to use it in a life or death situation.
Dangers can occur at home or if you’re out and about. Be sure to use it wisely and have proper training if you are unsure of what to do.
What to consider when purchasing a pistol:
- Caliber: Which caliber pistol would you prefer? The typical options for concealed carry are 9mm and .380 among others. If you are looking for something that is compact and easily concealable, most of those pistols will be a .380
- Reliability: If there is one thing you don’t want to compromise on, it’s reliability. As we’ve said in the beginning, you want a tool that will not fail at a time when it has to count. Some of the most reliable pistol brands are Glock and Sig Sauer among others.
- IWB or OWB holster: You will need a holster for your EDC pistol. IWB or inside the waistband will be your best option for best concealability. OWB will be outside the waistband where you can cover it with a shirt. Be sure to pick the right EDC gun belts to fit any holsters that you decide on!
How you carry your EDC tools will depend on your personal preferences. Let’s take a look at the following situations:
There’s nothing wrong with being a minimalist. You can carry the basics in your pocket alone. You may not need to bring along any extras.
You can stick to the basics and at least have enough room for some of the recommended items like a pistol, flashlight, or knife. You want to carry just the basics but not too much to where you are just lugging needless things around.
If you’d like to up the storage space, you can always rely on a tactical belt or a small bag or fanny pack. Either way, the concept is similar to one another.
There’s also no harm in being well-prepared as well. If you want to carry a good number of EDC tools, a good bag will do just fine. This will be necessary if you are going on a road trip far away from home.
You may keep it in your vehicle and access it in case you need to use it at home, work, or any place else. It might not make sense to carry around an EDC bag all the time. So learn from the minimalists and carry the must-have EDC tools (while leaving the bag in your vehicle or at home).
No guide would be complete without an FAQ section. Let’s take a look now at the most common questions that pertain to EDC:
An EDC handgun will be useful if it is legal to do so in your jurisdiction. The smaller the gun, the better it will be to carry. Granted, it may be a challenge to shoot depending on the pistol you’re using.
Knives can be good for self-defense purposes. But that shouldn’t be the only reason. You can carry one for the purpose of cutting or slicing. You can use it to break down cardboard boxes, cut meat, clean any game that you have killed hunting, and more.
Knives will serve a multitude of functions as an EDC tool.
One of the major differences between a cell phone flashlight and a regular one is the amount of lumens. A cell phone flashlight may produce no more than 50 lumens. Compare that to a regular EDC flashlight which may require double the lumens (100 +) at minimum. Because of this, it would make sense to include a standalone flashlight in your EDC toolkit.
Not only that, a standalone flashlight will also give you plenty of coverage area to see what’s in front of you. Plus, as bright as it can be, you’ll be able to see more in front of you when you are in low-light or no-light conditions every time.
This EDC guide should be able to help you get started on what you need for your toolkit. You may need to carry a few things to start. The good news is that you can customize your EDC collection whenever you want to.
Find the best tools you can find that fit your personal needs, preferences, and budget. We hope this guide has inspired you to be prepared for not only the routine tasks but also the situations that may arise out of nowhere. If you are prepared, you’ll be ready for just about anything life may throw at you.