Everyday Carry Gear
Everyday Carry Gear is the central theme within the EDC community, what to carry, or not to carry is the question. There are as many different setups as there are EDC junkies and the kind of survival gear you choose is as much a personal choice as it is a logical one. So what then are you to do when you’re just starting out? What everyday carry gear is the right choice for you?
I’ll tell you what I do in the hope that you might pick up a thing or two. Likewise, use the comment section to tell me what you do and think I could maybe do better. I do like feedback and have used it more than ones to improve on my gear setup, so don’t hesitate.
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What is EDC?
Everyday carry or EDC refers to the collection of items you carry with you everyday in preparation of an incident or disaster. In the article ‘Building an urban survival kit yourself‘ I go into three levels, or tiers, of protection that I think you need to build up for optimal preparedness and what you need to consider when putting the packs that go with each tier together. In this article I’ll dive a little deeper into what makes a good EDC and show you what it is that I choose to EDC. Keep in mind that my focus is on urban survival, so it’s not the best guide for survival in the woods (although you might get a long ways with my setup).
There are two tiers that make your EDC, namely the first ‘On Person Gear’ and the second ‘Near Person Gear’. Naming the tiers that way gave me a better frame of reference as to what item would go where.
Tier 1 – On Person Gear
I have a rule of thumb for tier 1 and is that “it’s only good when you know in advance that you’ll survive an incident for the short term, and that you’ll get home in case you get stranded in the city somewhere”. Just go through all the scenario’s you think are applicable to your situation and see if you have them covered. Whenever you’re not sure, you need to revisit your setup.
The categories of gear you’ll need to have covered will most likely be one of these:
- Card case holding: Debet card, AAA card, public transport card, drivers license and my ID
- Fisher Space Bullet Space Pen
- Sanrenmu B4-762 office safe urban edc folding knife
- Key ring holding: Timberline key tool, flashlight, car key, house key, cabinet key
- Unlocked Motorola Moto G
That doesn’t look like much, but in everyday life that’s enough to get around. Your mobile phone is a versatile tool all in itself. It has the obvious communication part covered, but also navigation with Google Maps, all the information you’d ever want with the internet and it’s also a great note taking tool, especially when you utilize the camera and it can also double as a small flashlight. I want my phone to be unlocked for the simple reason that it allows you to switch sim cards. Not being able to switch means the chance of getting stuck when your provider is knocked out.
The Timberline key tool is there because it has a seat belt cutter on it, something I always want close to me when driving. The different cards make sure you live through most small incidents. Even when my car is stolen I can get home because of the public transport card. The Fisher Space Pen is there because there are always moments you wish you had a pen, but don’t. This one just sits in your pocket without you noticing it, it’s size makes it fit perfectly at the bottom of a pocket. The Sanrenmu folding knife is perfect with respect to the urban everyday carry knife philosophy I set forth in this article.
Cordage is on my feet. Shoelaces are more than twice as long as than they have to be. Whenever you need cordage to, say, tie your knife to a stick you can use your shoelaces. Just take them out, cut one in half, use the two halves to tie up your shoes and use the other complete lace for whatever you need cordage for. This trick is the sole reason why all my shoes have shoelaces.
As you can see it doesn’t take much on person gear to be prepared in a urban, downtown city environment. The one thing I’ve clearly not covered in Tier 1 is self defense. I choose to defer that to my near person gear as it will not be accepted by my employer when I walk around with a can of mace on my hip. Let alone a knife or gun.
As you can see Tier 1 is the absolute minimum to carry. It will help you through the day and in case of incidents, but doesn’t provide you with the tools you need to survive for a day or two during a disaster. For that you could use a little more gear. Onto Tier 2.
Tier 2 – Near Person Gear
The idea here is that the Tier 2 everyday carry gear helps you holding out a bit longer and cover greater distances than with just your EDC. Depending on the size of the bag and the number of items you’ll decide to go with you should get 24 to 48 hours survival time out of it. Depending on what you think you’ll need as second tier items you need a bigger or smaller bag.
The easiest way to go is to work with dedicated modular sub compartments. This brings focus in the organisation of your items, it makes for a neater backpack (versus all your gear stuffed into one or two main compartments through which you have to dig to find what you need) and it thus makes for quicker access to your gear. Trust me, you’ll love this kind of compartmentalization. Examples of sub compartments are a fire kit, tech-pack, med-kit, food pack, tool kit, hygiene kit and a general survival kit.
There will be many days that you won’t need all your sub compartments, which is fine. You leave the ones you don’t need at home and just take with you what you’ll need for the day.
My EVERYDAY CARRY GEAR
I sport a wicked, yet very simple fire kit. It won’t blow you away in terms of coolness, it does however give me the option to start up to twelve different fires, with ease. And that is exactly what I’m looking for in a fire kit. The reassurance that when I need a fire, I can get one going quick and easy.
The trick is in the firelighters. I’ve been looking at several different types and ended up liking these the most. Mainly because they don’t smoke while burning and the burn time per cube. The ones I’ve got here will burn 8.5 minutes, 6 of which are with a solid flame that in no wind condition burns about 6 inches high in the beginning and shrinks back to about 2 inches at the 6 minute mark. At that point it’s still very hot and easily capable of getting wood to burn. The last 2.5 minutes it dies down and won’t really help you getting a fire started, it does however still fuel your beginning fire with heat.
– 12 x firelighters
– 3 x plain lighters
– 1 x Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter
– 1 x good and inexpensive sharp pocket knife to make feather sticks
– 1 x compressed bag for collecting dry wood in I find along the way2.0 A Male to Micro B – 6 Feet
Chances are you’re not a medical professional. No worries though, that doesn’t mean you can’t carry a med kit. On the contrary. I’m not a medical professional either and it’s definitly part of my everyday carry gear, I’m making lots of use of mine. I’ve simply packed my med kit with just those items that I’m likely to need. My suggestion is that you do as well. Figure out what situations you’re likely to run into and prep for those.
I myself have noticed that I usually only use bandages, betadine and the occasional alcohol prep pad (saturated with isopropyl alcohol) for my now five year old son and for myself I use mainly pain relievers. So that’s the focus of my med kit. In addition I’m carrying some more items that might come in use one day and I know how to use, and that’s it. The idea of having a surgical suture needle with you might sound like you’re really prepared. But if you’ve never set any stitches before, why would you? Keep it within your comfort zone is my idea here.
Pack 1 x Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Quarter Cube, blue
2 x compress
2 x alcohol prep pad (also great fire starter)
1 x tweezers
1 x medical scissor
1 x Triangular Sling/bandage
1 x pair of gloves (to protect you
1 x bandage roll
1 x stretch gauze bandage
1 x otrivin nasal spray
1 x small bottle of betadine
1 x bunch of different bandages
1 x ibuprofen 600 mg pain reliever (prescription)
30 x antibiotic pills (prescription for just in case)
4 x strips of 500 mg paracetamol
General Survival kit
So I like to use the Eagle Creek quarter cube a lot to make different sub compartments like the ones I show here. They’re nice and spacious, the dimentions make it a perfect stackable option for your pack and it maximizes the utilization of the available space. All in all a great option the go with. It isn’t perfect though, it lacks the option to organize the inside. For that you’re much better of with something like the pouches Maxpedition offers. They’ve got a great collection of sizes and shapes so at least one of them will suit your taste.
The point of having a general survival kit, for me, is to have items I need on a regular basis quickly accessible in place. It doesn’t matter that they’re not all of the same category, what matters here is the ease of access.
1 x Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer
1 x two different sizes of focet keys. In an urban environment it helps you to get to water (that isn’t yours).
1 x 6 feet of duct tape
4 x small tie wraps
1 x Sol slim rescue howler whistle
1 x Victorinox pioneer pocket knife, I have a youtube review on it here.
1 x Leatherman Micra
1 x Bic lighter
1 x ear plugs
1 x 550 paracord
1 x Stanley Pocket Screwdriver
1 x Streamlight Stylus Pro flashlight
1 x small bag with bandages
1 x key to locker at work, where I keep extra gear stored on location.
2 x usb keys with Ubuntu operating system and with window password hacker
2 x wrapped toothpicks
2 x AAA batteries
1 x Bear Grylls priorities of survival pocket guide
1 x sewing kit in mini tin (at CountyComm)
1 x 400 mg Ibuprofen
1 x 500 mg Paracetamol
Urban Everyday Carry Tech Pack
It took me a while to figure out what to include in my tech pack and what not. I started of with just a few things, it then bloomed into something worthy of it’s own naming convention and through trial and error I’ve brought it back to what I’m showing you here now. The tricky part, as I experienced picking items, is to include things you actually need every day. In case of a SHTF or WROL event I expect tech to take the back seat over basic skills so I stopped trying to carry for that.
Pack 1 x Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Quarter Cube, blue
1 x laptop power supply to go with the laptop I carry every weekday
1 x e.identifier2 for generating codes to do online banking
1 x Gerber LED flashlight
2 x AA battery for flashlight (it runs on just 1(!) AA battery, so 2 is more than enough
1 x iGo KeyJuice USB to Micro and Mini USB
1 x 8 GB SD card
1 x Sandisk MicroSD & MicroSDHC to SD adapter. Very handy to take files from a phone to a PC or laptop
1 x 2 port, 2 AMP USB charger
2 x USB charger cable
1 x generic backup phone earplugs with mic
1 x 8 GB USB with Tails OS (go to Tails website to read about the one OS that enables total privacy online – even from the NSA)
Not every item has a place in a sub compartment. Mainly for reasons of size and ease of accessibility, but also because there really ins’t a pack for it like, say, food or tech. This means I’ll miss the added benefit of quickly building my EDC in the morning that sub compartments give me, due to the small number of items it concerns it won’t really slow me down or increase complexity though.
The miscellaneous items I’m showing below aren’t always part of my EDC. It depends on what I’ll be doing that day. These are however the ones I use on a regular basis.
1 x LifeStraw personal water filter
1 x small spray can of dove men care deodorant
1 x Bear Grylls paracord fixed blade knife
1 x 15x – 55x zoom 21mm compact monocular
1 x Sanrenmu 762 article Office Safe Urban EDC Folding Knife
1 x Sanrenmu 913P article Urban EDC Survival Folding Knife
1 x small pry bar
1 x Klean Kanteen 18 oz stainless steel water bottle
The two packs I didn’t show are equally important as part of your everyday carry gear setup as the ones I did show. The reason I’m not showing them is that looking at a picture of a bunch of Snicker bars jammed into a Eagle Creek cube probably isn’t that exciting, nor will looking at a toothbrush or toothpaste rock your boat much. ‘Cause let’s face it, that’s really all it is when it comes to a food or hygiene pack. But I will talk about them a little here.
I expect a food pack to keep me afloat for two days, maybe three. Now you can go that long without food, so the food bars I carry are simply the most calorie holding energy bombs I can get my hands on. For me that’s good enough. I’m not going to spend money on expensive SHTF proof, must have, you-won’t-be-taken-serious-by-your-prepper-friends-without-these type food bars. Just not worth it.
My hygiene pack does hold quit a few things. Enough to get me through a two week vacation, easily. It includes, next to indeed toothpaste and a toothbrush: hand sanitizer, paper handkerchiefs, small container of shower gel and shampoo (just in case to hotel forgot to supply some), toothpicks, sterile cotton tipped applicators, 100 ML Dettol Med spray for desinfecting surfaces and wounds, a small soap bar, a small spray can of dove men care deodorant, and one Gillette Mach3 razor (best in the world if you ask me). That’s it. Not a lot in terms of items, but more than enough for personal hygiene. I don’t carry my hygiene pack everyday, that’s a bit much. I just take the deodorant desperately just in case, and that’s it. I do however take it with me on those two or three day trips I make for work. Then it is brilliant to have such a small and versatile hygiene pack on you.
Now you know it all. This is the Everyday Carry Gear I have on or next to me me every day and all day. Now the keen observer is maybe wondering where my fishing kit is, or where I tucked away my assortment of guns. Bad news. You didn’t see them because I don’t own them. When I comes to guns that is not a choice, it’s unlawful to own guns where I live. So that’s it on that.
On the items I carry as a whole you’ll notice that I am decidedly urban survival focused. Even the terrain in between the city I live and the city I work is pretty much classifiable as urban. Yeah, patches of green can be found, and the government does call that nature. But it is obviously not. It has all been cultivated, more like a camping area then anything that resembles creation at it’s own will. So betting on surviving there is crazy talk. Only if nobody else went there to sit out a SHTF or WROL event I might have a chance of not starving to death. Thus, not an option.
None of my packs are definitive in any way. I change out, add and remove items as I find necessary. Please keep that in mind when looking at my setup. In no way am I proclaiming that this is it.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading this far. I’d love to hear what your ideas are and what you have as everyday carry gear, and especially why, so please leave your comments below and share your thoughts. I can’t wait!
Till next time, Kain.