Everyday Carry (EDC) is a popular topic, both on the survival blogs and broader sites. I often wonder what my grandfather would say if I tried to explain people posting pictures of their wallet, pocket knife, and key chain. He'd probably think we were all a little crazy, and he'd be right...
Here at Survivalist HQ Everyday Carry Gear translates to our Stage 1 Readiness kit, which is on us at all times.
These items are subdivided into a few categories:
- Things you'll use often
- Critical tools that you wouldn't want to be without when SHTF
- Immediate personal protection
Your EDC gear can be distributed on your belt, in your pockets, and as part of things you already carry such as your keychain or watch. Wearing cargo pants or tactical pants can make this easier if you have a lot of gear. A small EDC Organizer can also work nicely.
How Everyday Carry Gear Fits Into Your Survival Strategy
As mentioned, EDC is referred to around here as Stage 1 readiness. (Stage 2 is your Get Home Bag and Stage 3 is your Bug Out Bag.) What you'll see here is that your gear can be redundant, but it doesn't have to be. For example, if you always carry your favorite folding pocket knife, you don't need another pocket knife in your Get Home Bag. Ditto with your concealed carry weapon. However if you don't concealed carry every single day it's strongly recommended that you have a pistol or revolver in your Get Home Bag. If you have the resources and wish to include duplicate items in all of your kits, by all means do so! In survival situations having backup gear to mitigate losses or provide charity to less prepared souls is a great idea.
What To Carry & How To Use It
First, prioritize things you'll use often. The nice part is that this is the bulk of your list.
It goes without saying that you'll have your phone with you. If you're not already doing it, get in the habit of using Google maps and your phone's GPS to get around. Learn how to switch the settings from the "drive" option to the "walk" option. Carry an excellent pocket knife a seat belt cutter. Around here we prefer SOG Specialty Knives. Everyone should have a pen with them. Make yours a tactical pen. A tactical pen is merely a rugged pen, usually made out of aircraft aluminum, which makes a good glass breaking, blunt pressure, or stabbing instrument. They're also normally allowed on airplanes and in sensitive government buildings, so you're not totally empty handed in an active shooter or fire scenario. You probably wear a watch everyday, so replace your timepiece with a sturdy, solar powered watch such as this G-Shock. There are several lower profile options for those of us who work in an office environment. Be sure to always have a decent pair of sunglasses with you. These Oakleys are our top pick.
Seat belt cutters have become essential since the IED era of Iraq and Afghanistan, and are now part of every soldier's on-person kit. They've brought home these hard-learned lessons and we are all grateful for the opportunity to benefit from them.
Next, choose the critical things you wouldn't want to be without when SHTF.
Pack at least $100 in cash, and put it somewhere in your wallet where you won't accidentally find it and spend it. Get in the habit of wearing a paracord bracelet, or buy a paracord key chain, so that you'll always have a little bit of rope. These bracelets include fire starters and whistles. A bandana has an unlimited number of uses. The most likely things you'll need it for are filtering water, use as a dust mask, or as an improvised bandage/tourniquet. Even if you're not a smoker you should carry a small lighter. You wouldn't want to be without it if you need to start a signal fire or keep warm. Also, carry a quality LED Flashlight. For emergencies, you'll use this mostly in buildings or your home during a power outage. Once you start carrying it we guarantee you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Lastly, let's talk personal protection.
We strongly suggest that you have a concealed carry weapon with you at all times. First, for the obvious reason that no one ever knows when an active shooter, store robbery, or road rage incident will make your day infinitely more exciting. Second (and probably more important), in a post-SHTF world you need to be comfortable with your guns. They need to feel like a part of you. You should feel incomplete without them. You should train with them often, clean them carefully, and exercise all of the best safety practices such as locking them in a small safe when you arrive home (if you have children or frequent visitors). Of course you'll also have your state's concealed carry license and be aware of reciprocity laws with other states.
If you're just getting started with Concealed Carry, see this page for an extensive step-by-step rundown. This page is tailored specifically to women.
Everyday Carry Gear Checklist
Survivalist HQ's Top Recommendations are highlighted as links below. These represent great quality at decent prices, and are items that we own and use daily.
- Cell Phone (practice with the GPS "walk" feature)
- Pocket knife with glass breaker and seat belt cutter
- Tactical Pen
- Solar powered watch
- Quality Sunglasses
- At least $100 cash
- Paracord bracelet or keychain
- LED Flashlight
- Concealed carry weapon
- EDC Organizer
Get Your Everyday Carry Gear Together Today
Just like any important project, try to get this one knocked out today. Print the list, gather what you have, buy what you need, and start using it. All of the gear in the world is useless sitting on your night stand. When your town is hit by a natural disaster or you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you'll be happy you took action.
Good luck preppers!