An EDC or ‘Everyday Carry’ kit refers to a personalized collection of the essential items for carrying with you at all times to ensure that you’re prepared for whatever may come your way when you’re out and about.
Whether it’s helping you react to a disaster or emergency, for personal self defense or just for the general utility value, the equipment in your EDC loadout are the handful (or pocketful) of items which help you get those essential and sometimes even life saving things done, wherever you are and whatever the scenario.
What is an EDC Kit?
Building an everyday carry kit is ultimately, highly tailored to the individual carrying it with really only one rule holding true over every case – the equipment must be carryable on an everyday basis. This means the gear in your EDC kit needs to be useful, compact, lightweight and resistant so that you can quite literally carry it with you everyday and be totally confident that should you need to call on any of the constituent pieces, they won’t let you down.
Think of your EDC kit as that small set of practical items that in an ideal situation, you’d never leave the house without.
Typically consisting of some form of wallet or compact carrying pouch, a tactical EDC knife, a couple of keychain tools (like a compact flashlight or multitool) and a tactical pen, your everyday carry set is your first line of defense for reacting and responding to a situation head-on whenever you’re away from home.
Many people will include a high performance tactical or military watch as a natural extension of their EDC loadout but in this guide, we’re mainly referring to the gear you wear on your belt, keep in your pockets or store in your personal bag or purse.
A bit like your own bespoke personal and mobile “break in case of emergency” kit, your everyday carry items are there to help you out when things go south, giving you the vital support you need to get to safety or deal with a situation.
Tactical EDC Gear
Pinning down what it means for an item to be considered ‘tactical’ can be a tough one, but there are definitely a specific set of criteria that make elements of your EDC kit tactical in nature and ready to deal with whatever situation you may end up facing.
Generally speaking, tactical refers to the ability to perform under a potentially extreme set of circumstances in possibly adverse environment, achieving an intended goal but with enough versatility to then perform other functions as well as in everyday life.
As with other preparedness gear such as tactical flashlights, building a tactical EDC kit means choosing a set of equipment that is able to offer continual high performance throughout a multitude of scenarios.
Building a Bespoke EDC Kit
An effective EDC kit is one that’s tailor made to fit your exact situation and circumstances perfectly.
After all, your everyday gear is likely to be with you for the long-haul, and like anything you carry with you daily, you want to make sure that practicality is the primary consideration when building the best EDC kit for your requirements.
Extending your EDC Inventory
Creating an everyday carry kit that’s compact enough to slip into your pocket whenever you’re out is an excellent way to ensure you remain prepared at a moment’s notice but as with other areas of preparedness, there are ways to further refine and extend the effectiveness of your gear with a bit of planning.
We’ve covered the importance of keeping a comprehensive bug out bag and while you may find yourself initially separated from your survival gear when an emergency situation presents itself (maybe you’re at the office or out picking up the groceries), having a carefully considered EDC on your person can make all the difference when it comes to getting back to your bag and implementing your reaction plan.
One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself in advance so you can have the maximum response impact during an unfolding situation is to build in layers of reaction planning for when a disaster strikes.
By “layers”, we’re really talking about the order of preference of go-to solutions when you need to act immediately.
Think of this kind of like when you (or someone you’re with) sustains an injury – first response is to apply emergency triage or first aid, then the ambulance and EMT’s are the next preferable solution, while reaching the Hospital and receiving full medical attention is the ultimate objective.
So it also goes in an imminent or unfolding disaster situation – your EDC becomes the first line of defense in your response and reaction plan.
While the ultimate goal in such a situation is to get to a place where you can implement your full reaction strategy (maybe evacuating to a bug out location), the immediate objective is to calmly and effectively deal with the developing situation.
Taking the example from earlier a bit further, your everyday carry gear is your equivalent of immediate first aid in an emergency situation. Similarly, while it may be possible to get to the hospital (or back to your home in this case) without an ambulance, things are certainly easier if you can call on one when needed.
Creating an EDS (Everyday Survival) Kit
Somewhere between your EDC collection and a fully loaded bug out bag, an EDS or “Everyday Survival” kit is designed to increase your options and extending the gear you have on hand by providing additional essentials and vital resources to help you get out of danger and to get you where you’re going.
We’re talking fundamental first aid supplies, fire starting basics, simple nutrition provision and core survival tools.
The role of the EDS is to get you from where you are now to where you need to be, as quickly and safely as possible.
Due to this there are some key considerations and criteria that an everyday survival kit needs to meet:
Must be small enough to carry in a jacket pocket, bag or purse (alongside any existing EDC gear).
Must be self contained in a tin, box, pouch or container that can be stored discretely in a desk drawer or similar space until needed.