I come from the school of thought where I’d rather have something and not need it than need it and not have it. That is not to say that I am 100% ready or prepared for every crazy scenario that can happen. Don’t you think it would be extremely beneficial to have a few items that could help you out in a majority of possible every day situations? I do, and that’s why I am part of a large group of people that carry a variety of helpful tools which we like to call EDC: Every Day Carry.
When trying to decide what to take with you every day, you need to be realistic in what you hope to accomplish with these items. Before you put anything in your pocket, you need to sit down and brainstorm what items you actually need. The tools and gadgets that a farmer carries are going to be very different than what someone living and working in a metropolis needs. As long as you have something that fits the following types of tools, you should be in a much better position to handle anything that life throws at you.
A pistol is probably one of the most important tools that you can carry with you in your day to day activities. What pistol you carry is one of the most controversial topics you can bring up. Whether or not you have your CCW license, let’s set this issue aside and talk about some of the other useful tools that you might want to have on you.
This may be a no-brainer for some of you, but carrying a knife with you every day can prove to be remarkably beneficial. There is always something that needs to be opened, cut, whittled, sharpened or poked. Along with a wide assortment of every day uses, having a knife with you in the outdoors is a big game changer. You may be saying to yourself, “I don’t plan on going out into the woods or back country.” Well, no one ever “plans” on getting themselves in any number of tricky situations, but somehow they seem to happen whether or not you want them to. I’m not saying you have to carry the knife from Rambo, but any knife is better than no knife at all.
Selecting a knife is probably one of the most difficult decisions of your every day carry system. I would suggest that your first plan of attack be to seek out the laws regarding knives in your area. Based on what those laws say, you can narrow down the type of knife based on your individual needs. Do you want a knife purely for defensive purposes? Do you want a blade for utility tasks? Fixed blade or folder? The list goes on, but my best advice is once you pick something, carry it with you everyday in every pair of pants you own. If you’re new at EDC, figuring out what knife works for you is part of the allure. What I can tell you from years of experience is that two of the biggest factors for what works are size and weight.
The next every day carry necessity is a multi-tool. Multi-tools come in all different shapes and sizes as well as specialty designs for a variety of uses. Luckily enough, many manufacturers tell you what the philosophy of use is for that tool. You can always think outside the box and use the tool for something other than what it was intended for. When shopping for multi-tools, you have to consider that the larger the size of the tool, the more capability you are going to get out of it. For example, the pliers on my Gerber Dime are not nearly as strong as the ones on my Leatherman Wave, but then again the Leatherman is about four times heavier and more than three times as large. Like I said earlier, everyone’s EDC is different, and for me – I don’t have the need to carry a full size multi-tool every day.
I can tell you from first hand experience that although I love my knife, I find myself using my multi-tool much more often. A multi-tool can best be described as a folding tool box for your pocket and that is basically why you want it. The ability to tighten screws, file objects, pry, strip wire, and most importantly – open a beer, which is unbelievably helpful. When looking for a multi-tool, try to stick with an option that includes pliers, screwdriver, knife, and some scissors, because these will be the tools you will find yourself using most often. From there, you can decide what additional features you need in an multi-tool. I stress the size and weight issue only for what you are going to be carrying on your body. You can always decide to carry a larger multi-tool or knife in your car or in a backpack.
One of the last items that you should not leave home without is a flashlight. You’d be surprised how frequently you will need a light. There are a million and one reasons to carry a flashlight, from inspecting a rattling noise under your car to signaling for help. There are a ton of options for lights but once again I like to stick to something that gives me the most runtime and highest lumens while still being compact. The advancements in flashlight technology have allowed manufacturers to squeeze huge amounts of light from compact sizes. For instance, my carry light is slightly smaller than a shotgun shell, yet it pumps out a whopping 210 lumens and is great for any number of uses. As always, you need to decide what you expect to be using the light for before you spend your hard earned cash.
Time is money, and although your cell phone can give you the time, a watch has many other benefits. Now, a watch isn’t in your pocket, but it is still considered an EDC essential. You can’t go wrong with wearing some of the newest ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) watches that have hit the market. An altimeter gives you the ability to tell what elevation you are at which is extremely useful when using a topographic map but is also life or death when diving. The barometer function allows you to see changes in air pressure, which directly relates to the future weather. The digital compass is also helpful in determining your bearings. By simply wearing an ABC watch, you could hypothetically be dropped in the middle of the woods and be able to effectively navigate to safety and shelter yourself from storms. I don’t know about you, but that kind of capability is worth the small amount of effort it takes to put on a watch every morning.
In this age where people do less and less things themselves such as repair their car, fix a door knob, and so on. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to do these things on your own by simply carrying a few items in your pocket? EDC or every day carry is much more than just a way to fix things. Just like the clothes you wear, the items you EDC give people an insight as to who you are. I can talk about EDC’ing all day and I’ve given you plenty of advice, so now its time for you to take action. I promise that once you make that first gear purchase for your every day carry, you’ll be hooked.
Still can’t make up you mind on what you should throw in your pocket? Feel free to leave your questions and comments below. As always guys, shoot em straight and be safe!
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12 Responses to The 4 Pocket Essentials for Every Day Carry
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Did you ever consider carrying a larger multi tool with a more substantial blade to reduce the items your carrying? Meaning one multi tool instead of a large knife and small multi tool? If so, what made you settle on the two over one?
Hi Steve, I mentioned in the post that the tools I carry are suited for my specific daily activities. If I was working in the trades or working with my hands all day I would most certainly have my full size Leatherman Wave sitting in a belt holster. Since I work in an office setting, A full size, half pound hunk of metal would be extremely uncomfortable. With that being said, I still keep the Leatherman in my center console of my car.
Smart man! I agree 100% with “I would rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it” comment at the beginning of your article. My children have laughed at me for years about my need to carry in my purse or in the car items I think would be important to have in case of an emergency. For most of my adult life I have carried in my purse a lighter and a small kit that included a pocket knife, 4 sizes of flat edge screwdriver tips, a file and a bottle opener. I also carried a small flashlight and several more in my car. Over the years I’ve included a Surefire 6P Defender, a stung gun that has a disable wristband/pin feature recommended for women and a 2nd razor sharp knife that folds into a key shaped holder so it can go everywhere with me. I’ve used all these items except (thankfully) the SureFire Defender. I also now have my CCW. I’m not a paranoid nut job, just a single mom with 4 children that were my responsibility to keep safe. As my children have become adults and parents too it has been interesting to see how their attitude about being prepared has changed and now they no longer tease or call me Mac Gyver!
Jody, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Trust me, you’re not a nut job. You’re just someone who likes to have the right “tools” for every day life.
Why doesn’t Optics Planet (OP) or someone offer/sell an “everyday carry” package that you have suggested? It would be a great convenience for the many that are not prepared as well as inject more revenue for OP.
I’m a retired Marine and a little older so my EDC is of course tailored to my location and life style. It’s hot where I live and jackets, even a light one, are out of the question ten months out of the year. Long pants or shorts, my EDC consists of the following at a minimum:
1. Left front pocket – Cash, enough for emergencies in a secure money clip with built in compass
2. Left rear pocket – Wallet with handcuff key, credit card device with knife, pick, etc., credit cards, medical info, medications list, CCW permit, business contact card for my firearms specialized lawyer, insurance info, etc.
3. Right rear pocket – Large bandana folded into a square plus glasses cleaning cloth in protectice sleeve and unbreakable comb made to use as a weapon or pocket pistol in pocket holster.
4. Left front pocket – iphone with compass, locator, map and other essential apps or pocket pistol in pocket holster or assisted opening rescue knife.
5. Right front cargo pocket (if not jeans/slacks) – iPhone or bandana with lens cloth/comb or assisted opening rescue knife.
6. Left front cargo pocket (if not jeans) /slacks – spare magazine for primary pistol. Backup pistol if wearing shorts.
7. Left shirt pocket – small weatherproof notebook with info and room to take notes plus weatherproof pen/knife/defensive tool.
8. Neck knife regardless of what else I carry.
9. Left ankle – back up pistol with spare mag unless wearing shorts.
10. Right wrist – Road ID bracelet with emergency info and PIN for first responders to use for more info.
11. Left wrist – watch with compass, etc.
12. Hat – if wearing, 550 paracord and sharp cutting cord inside head band takes up no room and small metal signal mirror in front inside band.
13. Shoes – If laced shoes – small knife, handcuff key, dog tag and ID tag under or interwoven into round laces.
Brass, great reply. Thanks for the list.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the Leatherman Tread, but it’s basically a wrist band that is made up of interchangeable components that have a wide variety of tools – small blades, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.
I asked them about making pieces that would allow them to replace my watch band since I’m ALWAYS wearing my watch so I would always have some tools on me. They’re open to the idea and are looking into the possibility of matching some of the more popular watches.
Being Prepared is a good thing to be!
Only Brass pointed out the bandana for EDC; small, unobtrusive, and unlimited uses.
I never go anywhere without one.
Hello fellow hobbyist and such; I seem to find my way with a good compass…it can also serve as an electrical field locator. Your small flashlight should carry with you a back up battery to make it through the night. nice stinger….
My list of EDC items is almost as long as the one in Brass’s post, and even longer when I’m on duty, but for the sake of simplicity and keeping with the theme of the article, here are my top four:
1. Pistol. Always, always, always. Not just when I’m going to a “dangerous” neighborhood or any similar excuse, because theses days sadly there is no such thing as a “safe” place. Shopping mall, church, movie theater, family-style restaurant… we’ve all seen what can happen. (We’ll assume for the sake of this list that the two spare magazines on my belt are included in this first item.)
2. Pocket knife. I’ve carried a Spyderco folder of one model or another clipped in my front right pocket since the company first started selling knives in the early 1980’s (currently Tenacious G-10 with combo edge). Regardless of whatever other tools I may have with or near me, a good sharp blade is the single most useful tool time and time again. Keep it sharp, keep it clean, and keep it on you.
3. Flashlight. I live in a big city, and I’m indoors at least 90% of any given day. Next time you are in an office building or all the way at the back of a Costco or WalMart, imagine an emergency with people freaking out and running in all directions, and all the lights go out. Just a small single battery AA or AAA flashlight in your pocket along with change and house keys, and you’ll forget it’s there until you need it. And when you do need it, nothing else can really replace it.
4. Smart phone. Sorry, but I have to disagree about the wrist watch. Regardless of how many bells and whistles a watch may have, my cell phone is connected to the Internet, which is the depository of the sum of (almost) all human knowledge. In addition, I have a 64GB micro SD card onto which I have downloaded a ridiculous amount of information, eBooks, maps, and useful apps. Do you want to know what that constellation is or where to find the North Star on a cloudy night? Did you forget how to tie a useful knot or how to splint a broken leg? Was that snake poisonous? Is that berry edible? You want to measure your split times at the shooting range? Do you hear sirens in the distance and want to listen to a police scanner to find out what’s going on? Would you like to see if there is heavy traffic between you and your destination? There’s an app for that.
Even if cell service goes down or I’m in such a remote location I can’t connect with a cell tower or GPS satellite, my Android phone has a built in temperature sensor, accelerometer, gravity sensor, gyroscope, rotational vector sensor, barometer, photometer, magnetometer, camera, and backup flashlight. I have dozens of hours of music, a photo album, a couple of full-length movies, a mobile library, and a scientific calculator combined with computing power greater than NASA had when it landed a module on the moon. A fully charged backup battery will give me another 18 hours of service, costs about eight dollars, and is the size of two sticks of gum and fits in a breath mint tin with room to spare.
And you can’t dial 9-1-1 on your fancy wrist watch. Plus I can use my phone to play Solitaire.