Beginners Guide To Everyday Carry (EDC)

EDC featured image

Ever notice there are items you carry with you every day? Phone, keys, wallet, etc?

Well, there’s a term for that. Everyday carry or EDC for short.

While everyday carry is a popular term, I get the feeling a lot of people truly don’t understand it’s meaning.

EDC is a kit that is designed to be carried with you every day.

If you are going to build an EDC kit you want to build one that ensures program compliance.

Much like choosing a concealed carry weapon (CCW). You will want to put extra thought into your EDC kit.

Below I cover exactly what EDC is, EDC methodology, and how to build a basic EDC kit to get you started.

What is EDC?

Everyday Carry (EDC) at its core is what you carry with you on a daily basis.

Most people carry what I could call the core items to any EDC kit.

Those items are why you do a pocket check before leaving the house.

Your phone, keys, and wallet all make up the core of your EDC. As a prepper, there are additional items you should carry and I’ll go over each item below.

Why EDC?

So you might be asking why should anyone have an everyday carry kit?

As preppers we already have bug out bags, go bags, get home bags.

Why do we need another kit to carry around?

The simple answer is EDC acts as an additional layer of preparedness. These items are what you have on you every day, they will compliment what is in your bug out bag, get home bag, etc. Having various layers is like having a backup for your backup.

A lot of people subscribe to the 2 is 1, 1 is none approach. While I think that may be overkill in some situations, it is not a bad idea. As we are all aware, life happens, things get lost, stolen or broken.

Another solid reason for an EDC kit is that you will not always have your bug out bag or get home bag on you at all times.

You technically could, but who wants to carry around a 50-pound bag at Wal-mart?

Having a small everyday carry kit will allow you to have the essentials you need for your everyday life.

EDC Methodology

Pyramid depicting a layered approach to  everyday carry (EDC)

Layered Approach To Everyday Carry (EDC)

What you choose to carry will highly depend on you.

There is no one size fits all kit for this.

Your everyday carry does not have to just focus on survival or bushcraft, it can be tailored to fit your needs.

If you work in an office, you will carry different items as opposed to someone who maybe works construction.

My basic everyday carry is only a few simple items. Those items include a small knife, flashlight, wallet, zippo lighter, the Bitvault, and my Ruger LCP chambered in 380 ACP.

Core Items

As discussed previously, there is a set of core items that almost everyone in the world carries, and those are your phone, keys, and wallet.


Pretty much everyone these days has a smartphone of some kind. These devices have eliminated the need to carry maps, pens, and even a watch. However, they have a major flaw, and that is they die. Smartphones need constant recharging. They work for most everyday tasks, but I wouldn’t put complete faith in them for extended emergencies.


The next item is your keys, or more specifically your key ring. Your key ring can hold a bunch of useful items if you think outside the box. There are also a ton of items marketed towards the prepper lifestyle as well.


A wallet is a wallet. It holds all of your personal information. ID, credit cards, etc. If you are worried about RFID skimming, get a wallet that has RFID blocking. Other than that, pick a wallet that fits your needs.

Additional items

Example of everyday carry items such as lighter, multitool and pocket knife

Beyond the core items is where preppers tend to differ from most ordinary people.

Here is where we become the go-to guy so to speak.

These items are items that you choose to carry on you depending on your various needs.


The first tool you should carry on you is a knife.

The type of knife doesn’t matter too much. Because this knife usually goes in your pocket.

Most people (including myself) opt for a folding knife. I personally carry my folder on my hip as it came with a belt sheath.

Be sure to pick a knife that is quality built. It doesn’t have to be a $300 Spyderco. You can pick up a decent knife for about $50.

A knife has a multitude of uses. It allows you to cut cordage, plastic, break down boxes, or even cut your food if need be. A knife is a valuable tool whether you’re in a civilized society or in a survival situation.

Honest confession moment. My knife is mostly put to use opening and breaking down boxes. But I have used it once or twice to cut my food as well.


I honestly don’t know how I’d get through my day without a multi-tool. I use mine almost every day for a myriad of tasks.

The pliers and screwdrivers are the most beneficial by far. While a multi-tool cannot fully replace a good toolbox, it does help with most basic tasks.

Most multi-tools include pliers, screwdrivers, a small knife, and a pair of scissors at the minimum. I typically use my multi-tool for various tasks my job often requires.


Flashlights often seem like an odd choice to people when considering EDC items, but consider this: you would bring an umbrella for a 50% chance of rain, why not bring a flashlight for a 100% chance of darkness?

If you are going for a minimal approach you could use your cellphone’s flashlight option, but that depends on your phone being charged.

Also holding a phone flashlight can be a bit of pain when working in tight spaces. Plumbers, electricians, people who work at night all benefit from having a flashlight on their person every day.

Aside from my multitool, a flashlight is the piece of gear I use most often.

Even though I work in an office, my profession is in IT. This often requires me to crawl under desks, get up in drop ceilings, and other poorly lit areas. A decent flashlight is invaluable in my line of work.

Self Defense Item (i.e gun, taser, pepper spray)

The world has gone crazy and people in it have gone with it.

Every day in the news you hear about burglaries, muggings, rape, and murder.

The fact is while not everyone is out to hurt you, there still are people that are.

Criminals tend to prey on the weak and unsuspecting. Having some kind of self-defense weapon helps to equalize the playing field.

Hands down the best self defense option is a firearm. Most handguns are easily carried and concealed.

Of course, most states require that if you are going to carry concealed that you have a permit to do so. Even for the states that have passed Constitutional Carry laws, it is best to double-check your laws, to be on the safe side.

If you are not permitted to carry a gun, there several non lethal options you can carry.

The two most common are tasers and pepper spray.

If you choose to carry pepper spray you should pick up bear mace. It is more powerful and allows you to spray longer distances, thus putting more distance between you and your would-be assailant. Your everyday carry knife also doubles as a self-defense weapon as well.


A pen may seem like a basic item to carry, but how many times have you needed to write something down and had to look for 10 minutes to try to find a pen.

I find it best to just carry one on you at all times. In an emergency a pen will also double as potential self defense weapon as well.

In the prepping community, tactical pens are quite popular. Surprisingly they’re not as gimmicky as one would expect them to be.

Basic First aid kit (pain meds, Band-Aids, etc)

Usually carrying a full-on medical kit, is a little much unless you are in the medical field. Chances are you are more likely to need a band-aid than a full on trauma kit.

Because Every day carry should be lightweight and easily carried with you everywhere, I chose to make a simple “boo boo” kit.

This small kit will cover most everyday emergencies such as cuts, scrapes, allergies, headaches, etc. You will notice I keep a few different pills in my first aid kit. I use various containers to keep them separate.

FAK Contents:

  • (2) Pair of nitrile gloves
  • (2) 2” x 2” Gauze pad
  • Triangle bandage
  • Moleskin (blisters)
  • Band-Aids in various sizes
  • (2) Alcohol Prep Pad
  • Tube of antibiotic cream
  • Naproxen Sodium tablets (pain, arthritis)
  • Ibuprofen tablets (Inflammation, pain, and fever reliever)
  • Aspirin tablet (Headache, heart attack)
  • Antihistamine tablets (allergic reactions)
  • Anti-Diarrheal tablets

A lighter is simply one of the best fire-starting tools you can have on you. BIC lighters just work. Simple as that. They’re affordable and reliable.

If you worry about losing one. Just pick up a multi-pack of them and carry a couple.

I usually have 2 sources of fire with me on any given day.

One of the best things about a lighter is they are super lightweight and can be carried without suspicion since a good part of the world’s population smokes anyway.

Optional items for EDC

Beyond layer 2, there are additional items you may choose to carry. These items should be even more tailored to you and your environment.


A cheap disposable poncho is great. It’s lightweight and cheap.

If you find yourself without an umbrella, having a poncho will be a lifesaver.

Beyond protecting you from rain a poncho may be used to create a makeshift shelter, collect rainwater, or used to make a solar still. Ponchos have a ton of uses.

Garbage bag

Trash bags are handy for more than just throwing your trash away.

You can use them for a multitude of purposes.


  • Makeshift shelter
  • ground pad
  • water collection
  • solar still
  • carrying various items
  • as a poncho
  • can be cut into strips to make cordage
  • and many more.

On top of being versatile they are lightweight, A great addition to any kit.


When most of us think of cordage, most of us think of paracord.

Paracord is yet another item with multiple uses.

One of the best ways to carry paracord on you every day is to make something like a bracelet, lanyard, or keychain.

You can carry several feet on you this way without taking up much room.

I personally wear a paracord bracelet every day with roughly 10’ of paracord and carry a keychain lanyard that holds an additional 15’ of paracord.

Water filter

Water filtration tends to fall more into the realm of survival. However, it’s not a bad idea to carry some form of water treatment or filtration with you.

Items such as water purification tablets, the sawyer mini, or the life straw are all acceptable options when it comes to water treatment.

I personally don’t carry any water treatment gear with me but if it gives you peace of mind I say go for it.

Wrapping Up

Everyday carry is a kit that you should carry with you every single day as the name suggests.

EDC can be broken down into a few simple layers.

The first layer being your core items such as your phone, keys, and wallet.

Beyond that, the second layer of items exists. These items and tools should assist you in getting through your day-to-day as well as helping in small emergencies.

Some items to consider carrying in this layer are a knife, a multi-tool, flashlight, some sort of self-defense weapon, pen, small first aid kit, and lighter.

Depending on how large you want to make your EDC kit, you may also choose additional items such as paracord, poncho, or any other item you believe will be useful to you on a daily basis.

Remember your EDC should be light enough and small enough that you will carry it with you every day. If the kit is too large you may not feel like carrying it. Which defeats the whole purpose of having the kit

As always thanks for reading and keep on prepping!


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