Being new to survival I keep running across the terms tactical and EDC in most of my research.
Though I hope to someday be able to upgrade my gear to higher quality military grade equipment I’m finding the sweet spot for me is to buy items that I can carry with me most of the time that will give me the best return on my investment. I’m guessing until I get familiar with everything else out there most of the expensive stuff would just sit in my garage and collect dust anyway.
That’s why I like the idea of everyday carry items that equip you for survival situations without being burdensome or getting in the way too much.
Everyday carry (EDC) is considered to be any item that you carry with you on a daily basis. It’s meaning has been adopted by the survivalists and preppers as a go-to term for everyday items that can be adapted into emergency tools in survival situations or have multiple uses.
As I’ve become more familiar with every day carry it seems there is a consensus on the top 10 items you should be keeping on or near you at any given time. I’ve ranked them in the order in which I find them important as a beginner and welcome comments on what you’d do differently below.
Please include attribution to IntroToSurvival.com with this graphic.
Best Everyday Carry Gear
1. EDC Multitool
I can’t tell you how many times growing up I stood in awe of my uncle when he’d whip out his multitool during random situations. If a box needed to get opened, a rope needed to get cut or a bottle needed to get popped he was always there with the solution before anyone else could react.
I love the multitool for its versatility and low profile. You can easily wear it on your hip, your pocket, your belt, or even in your back pocket.
The sweet spot seems to be somewhere in between a flat, wallet-shaped metal card with notches in it to a bulky all-in-one mammoth multi-tool.
2. EDC Backpack
For everything you don’t want to keep clipped to you it’s smart to have a backpack that you keep in your car.
Some would term this a bug-out bag, but for an everyday carry situation I’d deem it more of an at-the-ready bag.
This backpack needs to be light enough to throw on for a quick sprint, but versatile enough to carry a large load if you need to pack quickly.
Keeping a first-aid kit, headlamp, granola bars, jerky, spare clothes, rope and a backup knife check all the boxes for me in terms of what I’d want to have at the ready.
In general I find that daypacking backpacks for hikers are the best option for everyday carry since they have tons of little pockets and straps to maximize their usefulness. In addition, some come with water storage bladders.
3. EDC Lighter/Torch
If you’ve ever watched Cast Away or any survival show for that matter then you know the importance of fire.
Zippo has made a business out of selling high quality lighters that last longer than their fuel supply.
I recommend always having one of these on hand, not only for survival situations requiring heat, but to help the smokers outside the building.
4. EDC Watch
A good EDC watch needs to be multi-faceted. My favorite are the kind that double as a calculator and a compass. If you can throw paracord into that mix as the band then you’ve got a pretty cool all-purpose watch sitting on your wrist.
Ditch the fashion accessories that have 3 time-zones and invest in a watch that has functions beyond telling time.
As far as smart watches go, they’re not a terrible everyday carry watch, but if you’re in a survival situation without a power source they’re going to be rendered useless in less than a couple days. I wouldn’t recommend them.
5. EDC Flashlight
Without light during the dark hours your potential for doing anything productive is pretty limited.
Having a flashlight on hand, especially a tactical one, is a great option when you need to be mobile at night or simply need to shine some light into a dark crevice while working on cars for instance.
The tactical flashlights also come with notched hoods that can be used against attackers. The spikes are great for putting pressure into muscles during hold situations or sharp jabs to disable an assault.
6. EDC Pen
Being able to communicate through written word can come in handy when silence is paramount. Passing notes is the next best thing behind knowing sign language or tactical maneuvers during active shooter situations.
In addition, I like having a tactical pen on me because it’s sturdiness and reliability beats always searching for a pen and gives me another tool to defend myself in case of attack either by an animal or a person.
Most tactical pens also come with a glass-breaker for underwater self-rescue as well as the ability to write upside down or on wet surfaces without failing.
7. EDC Knife
I have a standalone knife all the way down this list, because I think it’s availability in a good multi-tool is sufficient in most situations.
That said having a fixed blade or folding knife for everyday carry has additional benefits that I like.
Obviously for defense it’s a much more effective weapon. If you have it on you then pulling it out and using it is a much faster process then enabling the knife functionality of a multi-tool.
In addition, you’ll find that the grip is better and the knife is sharper and more versatile.
You can use folding knives to shave bark off trees, cut branches, whittle wood, skin animals, cut rope along with 100’s more practical uses. Definitely a good idea to have one close by.
8. EDC Rope/Paracord
Paracord rope is universally known for it’s versatility and as such it’s good to have within reach.
There are a million videos on YouTube that talk about the different ways you can use it, but more or less I like it for tying things down in everyday carry situations.
You can fashion paracord into belts or bracelets if you want to always have it at the ready, but as I said earlier it’s great to just keep in your backpack for when a need presents itself.
9. EDC Notebook
Memory fails us a lot of the time so being prepared with a pen (see above) and something to write on is great for everyday situations. Whether you need to remind yourself to pick up something at the grocery store or jot down the license plate of that guy that just rear ended you a handy little notebook is where it’s at.
Yes, I realize you can do all this with your smartphone too, but also think how many times you look for something to write on and have to scribble on the back of an envelope or utility bill.
10. EDC Gun
Although I consider a gun a vitally important weapon to own in any shtf scenario I’m just not a huge proponent of needing one on you at all times.
Of course there are those handful of videos online that show when a conceal and carry holder was in the right place at the right time to foil a burglary or defend against a bad guy. I think it’s fair to say that there are plenty more videos and news reports where those guns were mishandled and something dangerous or tragic happened.
Nonetheless I’m not one to judge if you’re a card carrying member of the NRA and your local ordinances give you that right.