What’s an EDC Kit and Why Should You Have One?
EDC Kit stands for “everyday carry kit”. It’s basically a group of tools that you carry with you throughout your day. Think of it like a smaller version of a bug out bag. While bug out bags are better for long-term survival, they aren’t convenient for day-to-day living. You want something more compact that will still come in handy in case of an emergency. That’s where an everyday carry bag comes into play. An example of an item you might carry in an EDC kit is a flashlight. They’re small, portable, and offer tons of survival benefits. An example of an item you WOULDN’T carry in an EDC kit is an AK-47. Sure, it offers excellent protection, but it’s just not practical for everyday living. So when building your everyday carry bag, make portability and convenience your main focus.
EDC Kit vs. Bug Out Bag – What’s the Difference?
There are a few differences between an EDC kit and a bug out bag. First, a bug out bag is something designed for “getting out of Dodge” after a disaster. For this reason, they often contain quite a bit of stuff in them. The downside is that it won’t be on you at all times, so it’s easy to get caught off guard. An everyday carry bag, on the other hand, is with you at all times. I know that wherever I go, I always have an EDC kit with me- at the beach, at work, etc. This is why things like tents and hunting rifles aren’t in your EDC kit. For me personally, I carry a small, core group of items that go with me everywhere. Before moving forward, I wanted to distinguish between the two, because a lot of people tend to confuse them.
What Should an Everyday Carry Kit Contain?
The stuff in your EDC kit is basically just a group of tools that can help you in various circumstances. They are designed to help you tackle specific problems- protect yourself from an attacker, fix a broken down vehicle, start an emergency fire, etc. Again, an EDC kit isn’t designed for long-term survival/sustainability (that’s a bug out bag). When putting together an everyday carry bag, you need to predict what kinds of situations you might find yourself in- then find the tools that will help you solve that problem. My everyday carry tools change depending on my pattern of life, current world news, etc. It fluctuates based on a variety of factors, so it’s never stagnant.
Focus on Convenient and Useful Items
Similar to writing a high school paper, you want to remove as much “fluff” as possible when building your EDC kit. By that, I mean only carry the things that will be most convenient and useful in the near future. A good example is a tactical flashlight. I carry one of these everywhere I go- literally.
Why is a flashlight a good tool to have on you at all times? Well, it’s light, discreet, can illuminate the darkness, and even double as a defensive weapon. Compare that to a hunting rifle, which although it does more damage, CANNOT be taken into a public venue. That’s why you’ll never see me with a hunting rifle in my EDC kit.
Things to Carry Based on Category
Things you’ll want to carry in your everyday carry kit can be based off the following categories:
- Defending Yourself (Tactical Flashlight, Handgun, etc.)
- Starting a Fire (Matches, Lighter, etc.)
- Repairing Stuff (Screwdriver, Multi-Tool, etc.)
- Reference Guides (“How To” Books, Survival Guides, etc.)
- Filtering Water (LifeStraw, Water Purification Tablets, etc.)
- Getting Into Your Home Without Keys (Lock Pick Set)
As you can see, none of these items take up a lot of space. They’re small, discreet, but at the same time, offer a lot of practical value. For example, what if you’re locked out of your home without keys? Well, if you had a lock pick set in your EDC kit (illegal in some states), then you’d be able to get back in without a problem. Or what if your vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere during the winter? That’s where having matches or lighters can come in handy. Don’t think it can happen to you? Think again. A handful of people die each year by becoming stranded in their own vehicle. In one episode of Survivorman, Les Stroud shows just how easy it is to get stranded in a vehicle without help, food, water, or basic necessities:
What Do I Carry?
Now that we’ve talked about the basics of an everyday carry bag, let’s talk about some of the things that I carry in mine:
I wear an Aposon Outdoor Military Watch at all times (except when showering). The first and most obvious reason for this is to know the time. If there’s a massive power outage for whatever reason, and I’m not able to charge my digital devices, I won’t really have a way of knowing what time it is. There’s also a second reason to have a wristwatch in your everyday carry kit- it can help you find the North. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Here’s a handy video that will show you exactly how to do it. The reason for this particular model is that it’s cheap, water-resistant, and comes with a backlight.
Another item that I have one me pretty much 24/7 is the OxyLED Tactical Flashlight. Having a good tactical flashlight in your everyday carry bag is recommended for a few reasons. First, it helps illuminate the darkness. That’s an obvious use but still a good one nonetheless. What if you’re at an amusement park and the power grid goes down? Or at a restaurant or resort? A good flashlight will be your companion in this situation. Another reason is that tactical flashlights can be used for self-defense. This particular model comes with a beveled edge that can increase the amount of damage you do with strikes
The Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter is something I keep in my everyday carry kit for starting fires. It’s cheap, reliable, and backed by a great brand. The reason I like fire starters is that they won’t “run out of juice” like a lighter can (although it’s possible to start a fire with a dead lighter). Things like matches can run out too. With a good fire starter, you can start hundreds of fires without a problem. Also, as a general rule of thumb, always have multiple ways to start a fire. Not only should you have a fire starter in your everyday carry kit, but you should also have matches and lighters as a backup.
No, this isn’t for evading the police (if you’re being arrested for something illegal you did then you deserve it). A universal handcuff key is for those instances when you’ve been handcuffed by someone who’s trying to do you harm. It might sound like something from a Jason Bourne movie, but it happens all the time. They’re cheap enough to make them worth the investment. It’s also possible that you’ll be illegally detained (some of you reading this might live in country with a corrupt police force). I’m not saying this is going to happen to you, but having handcuff keys in your everyday carry bag is a good way to prevent this.
There are hundreds of handguns to choose from. Some are expensive, while some are REALLY expensive. In general, expect to pay a minimum of $500 for a descent handgun. For self-defense, there’s arguably no better weapon you can have in your everyday carry bag. Handguns are small, discreet, and can do lethal damage in just one shot. Don’t just go out and by a handgun. Make sure you understand the local and state laws for where you’re living, and also make sure you get a concealed weapons permit (and practice your shooting!). Our article, Top 10 Handguns to Own & Why, will give you an introduction as to what some reliable models out there are.
Some other good items to have in your everyday carry kit include:
- Multi-Tool: Great for everyday repairs and fixes.
- Pocket Knife: Can be used for a wide variety of things, including self-defense.
- Can Opener: Pretty self-explanatory.
- Credit Card Survival Knife: It fits in my wallet and was cheap, so why not? Click here to get it for free (just pay shipping).
- Survival Books: Just to have as a reference in case you find yourself in a survival situation (urban or wilderness).
- Lock Pick Set: Make sure they’re legal in your state. Good for when you’ve locked yourself out of your home.
- LifeStraw: They’re small, cheap (about $20), and can filter up to 1,000 liters of water. Click here to read the full review.
Some of these things I actively carry on me (tactical flashlight, credit card survival knife, and wristwatch), while the others I have with me very close by, but not directly one me. For example, things like the LifeStraw, lock pick set, survival books, can opener, pocket knife, multi-tool, and fire starter are something I keep in an everyday carry bag very close by. So if I’m at the movies, most of my EDC items will be in my car, while a select few will be physically on me. Depending on current events and potential dangers, I might also have my bug out bag in my vehicle as well.
Everyday Carry Kit – Bottom Line
I recommend that everyone have an EDC kit built. They are very useful for everyday problems, fixing things, and even self-defense. Remember, an EDC kit is NOT the same as a bug out bag. But out bags contain a lot more stuff, and are designed to keep you alive for days to weeks after a disaster. An everyday carry kit is designed for the here and now, helping you tackle everyday problems or self-defense situations that may arise. While they are great for short-term survival, I wouldn’t rely on them for long-term survival. I’ll turn it over to the readers- do you carry an EDC kit? If so, what’s in it? Thanks for reading.