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EDC - What is it?

Posted by Jim Cobb on

What is Everyday Carry?

  1. Also known as EDC, it consists of the items you carry with you everywhere.
  2. Common examples for most people include a cell phone, wallet, keys, and cash.
  3. Survival oriented EDC would include a lighter and a knife, possibly a compass.
  4. Small EDC kits are easy to assemble and carry in a pocket, purse, briefcase, or shoulder pack.


Also known as EDC, it consists of the items you carry with you everywhere.

Everyday carry is a popular topic in the survival/prepper world, as well as in the firearms and knife worlds. Most refer to it by the acronym EDC. The focus of EDC is to determine a list or group of items that you carry with you everywhere you go.

Common examples of everyday carry for most people include a cell phone, wallet, keys, and cash.

Most adults leave the house in the morning with the same, or very similar, EDC items. These include keys to their home and vehicle, a wallet with credit cards and ID, perhaps a bit of cash, and the omnipresent cell phone. We grab these items any time we leave the house and feel out of sorts if we forget any of them.

Survival oriented EDC would include a lighter and a knife, possibly a compass as well.

When we consider items to add to our standard EDC in order to steer the conversation toward a survival or prepping slant, we want to keep the focus on small yet useful everyday carry gear. A disposable butane lighter is an excellent addition, even if you’re not a smoker. Being able to get a fire going under a variety of weather conditions is important and a lighter is instant flame. A good quality knife should also be included. The decision to carry a folding knife or fixed blade will be determined by where you’re heading, for the most part. If you work in an office, odds are carrying even a conservative four-inch sheath knife on your belt will be frowned upon. Some people like to add a compass to their survival EDC. That’s not a bad idea, provided you know how to use the darn thing. Personally, I never leave home without a flashlight, too. Cordage, such as paracord, is also important, which is why paracord bracelets are a popular EDC item.

Small EDC kits are easy to assemble and carry in a pocket, purse, briefcase, or shoulder pack.

Many people have gone so far as to assemble a small EDC kit. This is a great idea as it allows you to keep all of your survival oriented EDC items in one compact container rather than scattered here and there. Plus, it is a simple thing to take the EDC kit and move it from briefcase to purse, shoulder bag, or even pocket depending on where you’re headed that day. An EDC survival kit also allows you to add a few more everyday carry tools that might be too cumbersome to keep in your pocket or on your belt, such as a multi-tool, flashlight, or even a small fire kit.

What gadgets or tools should be in my EDC?

Deciding what to include in your everyday carry or EDC is, by necessity, going to be a personal choice. It depends upon your location, your skill level, your experience and background, as well as what you really need the kit to do for you. For example, someone who trims trees out in the boonies for a living might have an EDC kit that looks different from the one carried by the guy who sits at a desk all day long.

The assumption is, of course, that you’ll already be carrying your cell phone, wallet, and keys. The basics for EDC tools include a knife, lighter, flashlight, cordage, and perhaps a compass. If you’re going so far as to assemble an actual EDC kit, I would suggest the inclusion of some first aid supplies would be a necessity. A portable power pack for your cell phone might also be a wise investment. From there, we add items based on our plans for the day. In general, we can look at two basic EDC kits, one for an urban environment and one for excursions into the field.

Urban EDC

One of the most overlooked items for an urban EDC kit is a simple dust mask. Many disasters and emergencies in a city environment will cause dust and debris in the air. A pair of safety goggles might also be wise. Even a pair of swimming goggles would work. I like to keep a pair of protective gloves in my urban EDC kit, too.

As of late, many people are adding escape and evasion tools , such as tiny handcuff keys, to their urban EDC gear. This isn’t the worst idea in the world but bear in mind a handcuff key is worthless to you if you can’t access and use it while handcuffed. Also, in some areas carrying a handcuff key could present some legal headaches if it is found by law enforcement.

Being able to find water in an urban area can be tricky. It isn’t like there are ponds and streams everywhere in most cities. A great tool for the urban EDC kit is a sillcock key. Many city buildings have an outdoor water spigot but they lack the familiar handle that we have on our spigots at home. A sillcock key, found at any big box home improvement store, allows you to turn on the water on those urban spigots.

As the saying goes, “Money talks, BS walks.” Having a few twenty dollar bills rolled up and stashed in your EDC kit or  money belt might be enough to keep you warm and fed should you lose your wallet. Ideally, have enough cash to afford a night at a cheap motel and a meal or two. I like to include a small notebook and a pencil or marker in my urban EDC kit, too. Being able to jot a quick note to help you remember a location or something could prove important.

Wilderness EDC

The outdoors EDC kit is intended to keep you safe and help you get found in the event your wilderness excursion goes awry. The focus isn’t on living off the land forever but just to keep you alive until rescue. As such, it should include an emergency blanket to help you keep warm and a whistle so you can signal for help. Three sharp blasts with the whistle is a universal signal you need assistance.

Earlier, I suggested a first aid kit would be a good idea in any EDC kit. The inclusion of some medical gear, such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, anti-nausea medication, and tweezers for splinters, is very important if you’re headed to an area where finding a walk in clinic will be rather difficult.

Fire is very important in wilderness survival so be sure to have multiple means of ignition, such as a lighter, ferrocerium rod, and strike anywhere matches, as well some ready to light tinder for starting a fire .

Water disinfection is also critical in outdoor survival situations. If you’re putting together a small but comprehensive wilderness EDC kit, be sure to include a water filter of some type.

What is the difference between EDC and a survival kit?

There is a lot of overlap between typical EDC gear and a full-blown survival kit. The line in the sand, so to speak, is usually what we call pocket carry and wearable gear . The stuff we carry in our pockets, such as wallet, keys, and cell phone, is typically considered our EDC gear. For some folks, this might also extend to items we routinely wear on our belts or body, such as a multi-tool or flashlight and cordage. Beyond that, though, if it is too big to easily carry in a pocket and instead is kept in a purse, pack, or shoulder bag, we usually call it a survival kit.

With all of that said, I know a lot of people who EDC a survival kit, so there’s that.

Final thoughts on everyday carry items

EDC is a personal thing. Beyond some of the basics, there’s no right or wrong way to approach the topic. Think about what you need to have with you on a daily basis, then add in some “what if” items and you should be good to go.

Let us know what is in your everyday carry and which Wazoo product is your favorite wearable EDC kit. Tell us on social media!

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