EDC, a.k.a. everyday carry, is a term you’re likely hearing more and more often. The concept, however, has has existed for millennia. In fact, it’s been around since the man was advanced enough to create and usetools.
Simply put, EDC gear means the tools you in order to ‘function’ best in your everyday life. The exact list of items is unique for everyone, depending on his/her occupation, location, and any number of factors. But there is a sort of universal core to any EDC kit that most 21st-Century enthusiasts would consider the essentials of everyday life.
This guide will help you make an everyday carry kit that includes all the items you truly need – to function at your best and be sure you aren’t left helpless in any situation.
Being prepared for anything could literally save your life someday. It could also just save you a lot of trouble and even some money.
No one can predict and prevent accidents with 100% confidence, but carrying the right EDC gear can make sure you get through disasters – large and small – intact. Everyone faces some level of threat in their life, but the stakes are higher for some than for others. You’ll need to take these potential threats into account when designing your own ultimate EDC kit.
An EDC kit can also help you be more organized. This is a matter of developing the habit of checking essential things – a habit you can apply to other areas of life. Simply running over the list of the items you have to take with you every day – before leaving home – will help you step into the right mindset for work.
A good EDC kit means that you always have all the items you need to be productive and efficient in any everyday situation – increasing your overall daily efficiency. For example, you always know the time, can always take notes, and can fix a stuck zipper within seconds.
We live in a world where every moment counts. Being able to minimize wasted time and energy can be a huge advantage.
You should create your everyday carry kit with your own habits and needs in mind, but don’t forget that it might come in handy helping someone else some day. Whether you meet someone looking for keys on a dark parking lot (enter your EDC flashlight) or witness an accident (EDC phone for contacting emergency services), you can put those EDC items to great use.
Some professions even require employees to carry specific items for rendering necessary services at any moment. Your everyday carry gear is the same – it just works outside the office as well as in it.
Bonus points: carrying all those useful things around can help you build a reputation as the ‘go-to guy’ for any situation.
Whether you live in the country or the city, you’re exposed to some big risks every time you step outdoors.
A well-planned everyday carry kit can relieve some of this invisible tension. Just the knowledge that you have the right gear for any situation can can be enough to put your mind at ease. This isn’t a guarantee that nothing bad ever happens, but if you do ever get into a scrape, you’ll have a tool to get you out.
This kind of gear is often called ‘survival’ or ‘get home’ gear for this very reason.
Ready to put together your first EDC kit?
First, assess the threats you face in your everyday life.
By “threats, we mean not only the horrors of street crime, but also any potential situations that might require you to pull out some kind of tool.
In essence, everyday carry gear must help you deal with two types of ‘threats’:
Your gear must take into account your need for both convenience and self-preservation. If you live in a dangerous locale where a weapon becomes necessary, you should absolutely include one on your list.
(A weapon is not considered an EDC item for most people)
Assessing threats properly also means assessing the following factors:
You must take into account environmental factors in your location, too. Consider the weather.
For example, how likely are you to get caught in a rainstorm? A good EDC kit should include any necessary items for dealing with the local weather – especially if it’s prone to the extremes.
If you live in an area with a high risk of tornadoes or other natural disasters, for example, you should have a survival kit stocked with provisions and blankets – a bug-out bag, of sorts – alongside EDC your basic gear.
What do you do every day? Compile a list of tasks you perform regularly.
Do they require some special tools? For example, you might often need to open packages.
What are the potential problems that can occur? If you go for a walk during lunch, you might need a water bottle. Have beers with the guys often? How about carrying a bottle opener?
Even if you don’t call it “everyday carry” gear, you most likely already some specific items that you take with you every time you leave home. Sort through your pockets (don’t forget the jacket!) and take a good look at what these items are.
Chances are that 80% of your perfect EDC kit is already there. You probably already carry a phone, wallet, and a set of keys.
Think about which situations this gear helps you manage, and assess how many of these items are still lying in front of your eyes. Do you have all the tools you need? Do you have too many?
Once you decide which items you truly require for everyday carry, you’ll need to assess the quality of those you already have. If they are worn down or not efficient enough (such as a barely functioning flashlight or a bent bottle opener), you should replace them in order to keep your kit ready and up to date.
When buying your EDC essentials, always focus on quality over cost. Your tool list isn’t going to be long, and a bit of financial planning should be all that’s necessary to afford top-of-the-line items. These tools are going to get a lot of use and need to resist regular wear and tear.
Remember that buying a top-quality product once saves you money in the long-run due. EDC is essential survival gear and fashion matters little when it comes to these kinds of tools. You shouldn’t have to replace them very often – likely only every few years.
No matter who you are, where you live, and what you do, there are some items you should always carry on you – the barest essentials for “functioning” in the 21st Century. These should make up the basics of your EDC kit.
One of the best things about the smartphone is that it can double up as a notebook, planner or music player – essentially eliminating those pieces from your EDC kit and streamlining everything you have to carry.
To make maximum use of your phone, apply EDC kit planning principles when downloading apps. Also be aware of what kinds of gadgets can be synchronized with a smartphone when planning your watch or other EDC elements.
A good wallet lets you keep your money and cards in one place – which means no wasting time searching through pockets for loose change. Just remember that you always need to keep an eye out for pickpockets.
Get a wallet of a size/style suitable for carrying in a secure pocket. Try to avoid your back pocket. Pay attention to what kind of cards you carry, and be sure your wallet can fit them all. This would also be a great time to sort through your collection of cards and determine which you really need to carry.
If you want to buy a leather wallet, spruce upand go for a top-quality item. Cheap leather doesn’t age well. Neutral colors like black, brown, gray, and navy go with virtually anything.
A wallet is a highly useful item because it allows you to keep your money and cards in one place. This means no wasting your time on searching through pockets for loose change. However, this also means that you need to always keep an eye out for pickpockets.
Get a wallet of a size/style suitable for carrying in a secure pocket. You also need to consider your cards when shopping for this item as it must have enough room to fit all of them. This would also be a good time to sort through your collection of cards and determine which of them you really need to have on you at all times.
If you want to buy a leather wallet, be sure to spruce up on a top-quality item as cheap leather doesn’t age well. It’s usually best to go for neutral colors, black, brown, gray, and navy.
Everything seems to be digital these days, but you may still face a situation when you must take a quick note when talking on the phone or something similar. Having a pen on hand would ensure that you are always ready to jot down a quick message or sign a paper at work.
A pen is an everyday carry tool for most professions, and it can come equally useful during a night in a bar. In case your status doesn’t require you to use a luxurious branded piece that screams “high-class,” you should focus on practicality. Opt for a pen that would write in any condition and on any material.
A phone might be able to double up as a flashlight in a pinch, but it doesn’t have a bezel, light focus, and an emergency light feature that the majority of contemporary flashlights have. Today this is a full-fledged survival tool that can be as much a weapon as an aide for looking a keyhole in the dark.
It’s your personal security that you should consider first when shopping for an EDC flashlight. Light output and battery efficiency are also important factors. Today you can buy a lightweight LED torch that can blind an attacker easily, or a heavy-duty piece with a metal bezel that police officers use while on duty.
LED flashlights are more energy efficient and hit-resistant so they are usually the best option. You also need to consider the batteries as you’ll have to replace them regularly, even if you aren’t using the tool every night. Rechargeable flashlights are always an option if you plan to use your light often.
When people say EDC, this is usually what they think of. A pocketknife isn’t means to serve as a weapon, though it certainly capable of doing so. It’s there to serve as a replacement for scissors and to save your butt in a scrape.
You can use a knife for a million random reasons, too – from opening a package or unscrewing a bolt to cleaning gum from the soles of your shoes.
Knives are highly practical tool that are likely to see a lot of use and abuse over time, so buy a solid, durable one – and keep it sharp. Make sure it’s easy to open and access in pinch, too; pay attention to flippers and opening mechanisms. Don’t forget to take it’s weight into account, as you’re gonna have it in your pocket all the time.
And finally, check your local laws regarding knives, ensuring that you purchase a blade of a legal size.
Multitools embody the EDC principle like no other, packing all the most needed tools in one neat package. A good knife is useful, but can’t truly reach the same levels of epic utility that a multitool can. If you truly want to be ready for anything, you need one in your EDC kit.
Just by their very nature, multitools vary greatly. They can incorporate different types of items, from scissors and screwdrivers to full-fledged manicure kits. Choose the one that meets your specific needs, and look for a top-quality item. Durability is the most important factor; many cheap models almost crumble at the first sign of heavy use.
Don’t forget that a multitool needs regular cleaning, just like any knife. Some of its many tools may also require specialized sharpening and care.
A watch is often seen as a status symbol first and foremost, but it’s also a vitally important tool for tracking time. Don’t be a sucker and rely on your phone to tell the time. Just wear a (much more dependable) watch.
Any watch should be durable and reliable. Most quality watches are impact-proof, scratchproof and water-resistant.
Travel a lot? You might benefit from having a watch that allows for an easy change of settings, so you can easily switch numbers when entering a new time zone.
You don’t have to be a smoker to carry a lighter. Remember that it was the mastery of fire that pushed the evolution of society forward from the caves, so having a bit of this force trapped in your pocket is always a great idea.
A lighter is a basic survival tool for any traveler and as it’s lightweight and small, there really isn’t any excuse not to include it in your EDC gear kit. Buy a practical piece that wouldn’t fail you in an emergency situation and make sure it’s properly fueled at all times.
Just like a good pen, a notebook is a mainstay – one that will never go away despite our move to a more digital world. It does not only allow you to have something to jot a quick note on, but it provides you with paper. In case of an emergency, it can be used as timber for a fire.
You also have to admit that written notes can be more effective than an SMS in some situations. Choose a small notebook that can fit inside your pocket and ensure it’s stylish so that it looks good when you actually use it.
Every person is unique and every day may turn into an unexpected adventure, but EDC is something solid that would keep you grounded no matter the turn your life takes. This type of gear is designed to help you regardless of the circumstances, so plan your kit carefully.
Take into account your personal needs as well as tastes and select the most practical, efficient, durable, and stylish items for your everyday carry. As these are the things that would be with you at all times, it’s best to buy them in ‘neutral’ colors and designs so that they can go well with any outfit.
Your basic EDC kit is a reflection of both your personality and lifestyle. Think carefully when deciding on which items to choose as it must be able to help you in case of an emergency. For this reason, you also should buy top-quality items. This way, you can be sure that they won’t fail you at the most inopportune moment.
Finally, don’t forget that EDC kits aren’t set in stone, you can (and should) make adjustments to yours based on your personal needs. Don’t just follow the lists you find online and think of what kinds of items you really need to have on you at all times. Bear your location and job in mind when making the decision.
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