For those of you who have done any reading on prepping and survival tactics, an EDC is probably a term you know very well. For those of you new to the subject, you’d be surprised to know you already have an EDC, in the most technical sense.
An EDC, or Every Day Carry, is just that: Items you carry on your person every day. For the non-prepper types, this would include items such as your keys, wallet, and cell phone. This in the event of an emergency, or even a minor situation, will leave you woefully under-prepared. Compounding this issue is the subject of making sure your family is prepared as well.
When the subject of prepping is brought up, many people’ initial reaction is that of a crazed man spouting on about end of the world events as they carry crates of supplies down to the fortified bunker. In reality, the uses are often more mundane.
Tightening a loose screw on a table.
Keeping a clean shirt for when you spill ketchup on the one you’re wearing.
Having some bandages handy for when you cut your finger.
How in depth your EDC is up to you, but it doesn’t take much to have a fairly comprehensive setup that will keep you prepared for whatever life throws at you.
Building an EDC Setup
When putting together an EDC kit, remember the old saying “Two is one and one is none.”
Having items that achieve similar goals is highly advised. Pay close attention to every item you put into your pack and consider how many uses it could have. For this purpose, I typically advise using very basic items. The more specialized the item, the less likely it is you can use it for multiple purposes.
- Knife – A good, sharp knife is essential in any EDC kit. The uses of a knife in capable hands is innumerable. You can increase the purpose of the uses of a knife by buying one that is made to assist in vehicular emergencies (typically comes with a seat belt cutter and a punch to help break out windows.
- Multi-Tool – In a pinch, a Swiss Army Knife is an acceptable substitute, but it’s hard to beat a quality multi-tool.
- Food and Water – A bottle of water and a couple of snack bars is always a good item to pack. You never know when you might be stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.
- Cordage – 50 foot of paracord. This stuff is pretty cheap, strong, and multi-functional. You can’t go wrong bringing some of this along.
- Fire – A Bic lighter and a pack of waterproof, strike anywhere matches are a good place to start.
Space permitting, you can simply buy a basic first aid kit at the store. These usually contain a various assortment of bandages, gauze, an ice pack, tweezers, antibiotics, and a few other items. If space is limited, you can use a small tin and cut down on the number of items from the first aid kit.
- Flashlight – Can be used for signaling for help at night as well as for use in the dark.
- Glow Sticks – Same uses as a flashlight, but for 360 degree light. Use some paracord to tie the glow sticks and hang them up for use as a lantern.
- Compact Mirror – Not just for girls doing their makeup anymore. Compact mirrors are not only good for examining parts of your body that you can’t see (something in your eye, for example), but can reflect light from the sun to signal people far away.
- Whistle – Sometimes visual signaling isn’t effective. An auditory signaling device is also important in your EDC kit. Don’t rely on simply yelling. Save your voice and buy a whistle.
- Spare change of clothes including underwear and socks. Make sure the clothes are weather appropriate. A t-shirt and shorts won’t do much for you in the winter.
- Something to keep the rain off you. This can be an umbrella, poncho, or even a trash bag! Simply cut out holes for your arms and head and you have a makeshift poncho.
Wife and Kids
Your wife should have a similar set up, but your kids EDC will probably be a little different depending on their age.
If they are still pretty young, keep their EDC bags full of items like diapers, wipes, clean clothes, small toys, comfort items like their favorite stuffed animal, and snacks. Make sure their backpacks are still light enough for them to easily carry or else you will wind up carrying it for them.
How to Carry
For this topic, we’re going to split your EDC into two levels, your bag and your person. Items such as your knife/multi-tool, your Bic lighter, keys, wallet, phone will be on your person at all times, stored in your pockets and ready for immediate access if needed.
How you carry your other items is up to you, but the most common solution is a good backpack. It’s best to find one with multiple pockets so you’re not simply stuffing everything into the backpack and are forced to dig everything out to get to something at the bottom.
Do yourself a favor and keep everything organized as well. On my bag, I have a space for hygiene items, a pocket where I keep my water and food, and the side pockets are where I keep my knives, multi-tools, and fire-making implements.
Some of you may scoff at lugging around all that every day. I would too except I use it for other purposes. I keep a couple of notebooks and pens in there to make notes on throughout the day and if I need to work from home, I can pack up my laptop as well.
There’s no reason not to have at least a basic EDC kit with you, even if it’s just what you can fit in your pockets. Even sporting nothing more than a multi-tool is better than nothing at all.
So which of you have an EDC kit you take along with you to work? What items do you carry? Leave them in the comments below.