Everyday Carry Essentials (9 Must-Have EDC Items)
Does everyday carry (EDC) gear give you a superpower?
Probably not. But it can make you feel like you have one!
While EDC is a relatively new term, the idea is as old as time. Whether it’s our prehistoric ancestors, pioneer forefathers, or folks today, people carry the stuff they need to make their daily tasks easier.
The idea behind everyday carry is to make thoughtful choices about what you carry to maximize the benefits. When you do that successfully, then you really will feel like you have a superpower!
So, let’s start exploring the benefits of everyday carry, how to choose the best items, and check out some must-have EDC essentials!
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What Is Everyday Carry?
As the name suggests, everyday carry (often abbreviated as EDC) refers to the essential items you bring with you each day. Regardless of whether you carry them in a pocket, purse, or backpack, it’s the stuff you can’t leave home without.
What Are The Benefits Of Everyday Carry?
Everyday carry makes your life easier in so many ways; too many to list here. However, they generally fall into one of the following categories:
- It performs one or more functions that help you accomplish your daily tasks.
- When what you need is easily accessible, you can quickly complete your jobs with less effort or difficulty.
- Since you don’t have to depend on others, you can stay in control of the situation, making decisions and solving problems on your own.
- When unexpected situations or emergencies happen, you have the resources available to handle them.
At its core, everyday carry is about equipping yourself to perform your best while preparing yourself to deal with the worst. And when done well, your EDC empowers you daily.
How To Choose Your Everyday Carry?
To get the most out of your EDC, it must fit your needs. What you choose to carry is a decision that varies from person to person based on lifestyle, environment, profession, and interests.
You don’t want bulging pockets full of stuff without a purpose. Instead, you want to be selective and choose gear that fits your lifestyle.
That’s why when choosing your EDC supplies, I suggest thinking about the following:
- Performance: What does it do, and how well does it do it?
- First and foremost, you want stuff that helps you complete the tasks you tackle regularly.
- Versatility: How many different ways can you use it?
- You have limited space, so choose things that you can use in multiple ways.
- Durability: How well does it withstand wear and tear?
- You want good-quality products that consistently perform under the best and worst conditions.
- Carryability: Can you easily carry it every day?
- If it’s not compact and convenient, you won’t bring it.
- Value: How important is it to you?
- You want items that are the most impactful on your daily routine.
- Synergy: How well does your gear complement each other?
- Thinking about your EDC as a system of multiple complementary items creates a more significant combined effect.
- Style: How well does your everyday carry represent you?
- Choose accessories that express your personality, history, and taste.
Consider these characteristics when you purchase your everyday carry, and you will always feel prepared.
What Do You Already Carry?
You probably already have some form of everyday carry, even if you didn’t realize it. Most people these days don’t leave home without their mobile phone, wallet, and keys.
This core of items is the perfect place to start building your EDC. So let’s begin by looking for ways to improve the usefulness of what you already have.
1. Mobile Phone
Most people today have a smartphone. That’s why phone accessories provide a fantastic opportunity to improve your EDC.
These phone accessories offer a little something extra:
- Constructed with high-quality materials for extreme drop protection
- Features a convenient compartment for up to four cards and some cash
- Compatible with iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Flip cover case conveniently allows access to all buttons, camera, speaker, and connectors
- The wallet features four card slots and a pocket to carry credit cards, ID, and cash
- Made of quality leather, it minimizes bulk and fully protects your iPhone 13
- Flip cover case conveniently allows access to all buttons, camera, speaker, and connectors
- The wallet features four card slots and a pocket to carry credit cards, ID, and cash
- Made of quality leather, it minimizes bulk and fully protects your Galaxy Note 20
- Replace your wallet or add a credit card multi-tool to your phone
- High-quality adhesive secures the wallet sleeve to the back of your smartphone case
- Compatible with most smartphone cases
Whether you leave your house with an ID, a stack of credit cards, or a wad of cash, almost everyone keeps it organized with a wallet or money clip.
However, there are some great ways you can make your wallet an even more valuable part of your EDC kit. These options can help anyone from a minimalist to a super organizer get the most from their wallet.
- The Harper magnetic money clip wallet's minimalist design is stylish and sleek, with room for all of your essentials
- Features four vertical card slots, two horizontal card slots, one ID window, one full-length opening for cash, and a magnetic money clip that holds up to ten bills.
- Crafted from quality genuine cowhide leather with RFID protection
- Made from premium leather, this bifold wallet features an impressive storage capacity with one see-through ID slot, eleven credit card slots, two pocket money dividers, and two slip-in-pockets
- Keep your data, personal information, and identity safe and secure with RFID blocking technology
- Measures 3.5-in x 4.5-in
- Durable military-grade materials that create wallets that'll last a lifetime
- The slim design holds up to 12 credit cards, protecting them from RFID chip readers
- Use the elastic strap to secure your cash to the outside of your wallet
The keychain may be the most common piece of EDC gear. But, believe it or not, even this can be upgraded to add more value.
Many innovative keychain designs exist. And there are scores of portable, compact, and lightweight options you can add to them. Here are just a few:
- Seven useful functions include small flat driver, medium flat driver, cross driver, pry bar, wire stripper, lanyard hole, and bottle opener
- Made from stainless steel with a titanium coating, it's lightweight and the perfect size to carry on a keychain
- Key-shaped multi-tool combines over 16 unique functions into a device that attaches to your keychain for easy portability
- Features include a serrated edge, bike spoke key, multi-head driver, wrench, scoring tip, can opener, wire stripper, file, ruler, protractor, bottle opener, and lanyard hole
- Measures 2.76-in x 1.15-in x 0.20-in and weighs only 0.77-oz
- Key organization system that saves you time, money, and space in your pockets
- Accommodates 12 standard-sized house keys (with included screws) or up to 28 keys (with extension screws)
- American made from aircraft-grade aluminum and high quality rust-free stainless steel
Expand Your Everyday Carry Gear
The following items are some of the most popular and valuable everyday carry gear. It’s true that your daily routine may not regularly demand all the items listed here.
Then again, things happen!
You never know when you might find yourself needing a pair of pliers to tighten a bolt, a knife to cut an errant thread, a flashlight on a dark street, or a can opener to celebrate with a beer.
Keep these items nearby, and pretty soon, you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.
A pocket knife has been an everyday carry essential since before the term existed. That’s because you can use a good quality knife for anything from opening packages to self-defense.
Knifemaking has evolved a lot over the years. To find the right EDC knife, you should consider size, weight, shape, blade edge, steel quality, handle construction, and ease of use.
And don’t forget to check your local laws for what you can legally carry in your location. Here are a few of my favorite options:
- Heat-treated 8Cr13MoV 3.4-in. stainless steel blade with a bead-blasted finish for a strong, easy to maintain blade with premium wear and corrosion resistance
- Handle features 1/4-in. hex drive, two flathead bits, two crosshead bits, liner lock, pocket clip, and a thumb stud for manual opening
- Designed by custom knife makers Grant & Gavin Hawk and precision engineered by Kershaw
- Its 3.39-in leaf-shaped partially serrated blade is full-flat ground from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel
- Features a fully accessible trademark round hole for ambidextrous one-handed operation
- The G-10 handle’s full, skeletonized stainless steel liners are the heart of its sturdy LinerLock mechanism and provide a non-slip grip
- Folding tactical knife with liner lock features a 3.99-in 8Cr14MoV stainless steel blade with a titanium nitride finish
- Veff serrations provide superior cutting power of rope and straps
- The G10 handle offers exceptional grip in all conditions
Arguably, no item on this list has advanced more than the flashlight in the last twenty years. LED bulbs have made flashlights smaller and more powerful, becoming a staple of everyday carry.
These days, most mobile phones have a flashlight mode. But I still think a separate flashlight is a better option. They are more maneuverable, durable, and they won’t drain your phone’s battery during an emergency.
When evaluating EDC flashlights, you’ll want to think about their size, weight, power source, body construction, and light output. Start by checking out some of my favorite ones below.
- Constructed from Type II Military Spec anodized aluminum making it durable, abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, and impact resistant to 1-meter
- Compact single-AAA battery-powered LED flashlight delivers a bright 45-lumen beam up to 41-meters
- Measures 3.6-in and weighs only 1.10-oz
- Upgraded LED tactical flashlight features six light output modes with 1700-lumen max output and 390-yards max throw
- Made of durable waterproof aircraft-grade aluminum with a premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Includes two USB rechargeable ARB-L18-2600 batteries
- With the highly recommended SST20 LED and TIR lens, the Archer Mini delivers an incredible 405-lumens with a beam distance of up to 285-feet (87-meters)
- Features a low, high, and strobe light mode and a dual directional pocket clip allowing hands-free use
- Includes a built-in rechargeable battery with an integrated Type-C USB charging port
- It measures only 3.26-inches and weighs only 34-grams taking up barely any pocket space
If there is one item that epitomizes EDC, it’s the multi-tool. It’s an entire toolbox that conveniently fits in your pocket. And, it doesn’t matter the tasks; there is a multi-tool designed to handle them.
The first step to selecting the perfect multi-tool is comparing their selection of tools and features. After that, you’ll want to consider size, weight, portability, ease of operation, and quality of construction.
Check out some of these great compact and lightweight multi-tools:
- Swiss-made stainless steel pocket knife is compact, agile, and ready to face any adventure head-on
- Packs 18 functions into a slim profile that easily slips into your pocket
- Measures 2.3-in. long, 0.6-in. wide, and weighs only 1.6-oz.
- The compact 7-in-1 multi-tool weighs just 5-oz.
- Includes a locking knife, pliers, large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters, carabiner/bottle opener, and a removable pocket clip
- The one-handed opening provides quick access to the tools you use most
- Compact, lightweight, and durable multi-tool opens with the flick of the wrist
- Includes needle nose pliers, wire cutters & crimper, serrated knife blade, Fiskars scissors, cross point screwdriver, can & bottle opener, small, medium, and large flat blade screwdrivers
- Overall length measures 5.63-in. when open and 4.37-in. when closed
Even in the digital age, sometimes you need to go analog and use a pen. Carrying your own saves you from awkwardly searching or borrowing one, not to mention avoiding germs.
You’ll want to choose one that is well constructed and durable, so you don’t end up with embarrassing ink stains on your clothes. And look for one with a pressurized ink cartridge, so it works in extreme temperatures, underwater, and at any angle.
Here are some of my favorite pen choices:
- Military series matte black, with all brass and steel construction, is highly versatile
- Pressurized ink cartridges perform reliably in extreme temperatures (-30-°F to +250-°F), underwater, in zero gravity, and at any angle
- Precision assembled & hand-tested with a lifetime guarantee against defects
- Lightweight and strong premium titanium pen resists corrosion and extreme temperatures
- The bolt action mechanism provides a secure lock without parts that wear out
- Ink cartridge designed to securely hold ink and prevent it from spilling
You might even consider a tactical pen. Built with military-grade aluminum, tactical pens are designed for self-defense and include helpful features such as a window breaker.
Carrying one of these tactical pens will help you feel more prepared right away.
- Combines the most-needed EDC tools in one sturdy, well-designed tactical pen
- Includes a multi-mode LED flashlight, glass breaker, multi-tool, and smooth writing ballpoint pen
- Built with precision from aircraft-grade aluminum for extreme strength, ease of use, and durability
- Rugged, machined steel body and stainless steel pocket clip
- Rite in the Rain ink cartridge works in all conditions, inside and outdoors
- Integrated tempered steel glass-breaker tip gets you out of trouble
You never know when you might get a great idea, need some scratch paper, or want to leave a note. If you’re carrying a pen, you’ll also want to have some paper nearby.
A small notebook is an excellent addition to your EDC kit and can easily fit in your pocket, bag, or car. There are even water-proof paper options available so you can write in any weather.
An excellent place to start is with one of these suggestions:
- The all-weather paper will repel water, sweat, grease, and mud
- 100-pages / 50-sheets per pocket notepad
- Needs a standard pencil or an all-weather pen
- This notebook is perfectly sized to fit in the pocket of your shirt, pants, or purse
- Acid-free pages maintain a bright white color and preserve your writing
- Rugged and durable cover handles rough treatment without tearing or curling
- Field-proven for decades by men and women of U.S. Armed Forces
- Flexible and durable military-spec sewn binding plus vinyl-coated cover means months of daily use without breaking down
A watch has been an everyday carry item for centuries. Throughout history, there are examples where a critical battle or famous event has been decided by precise timing.
These days, many people opt for the clock on their phone. But it can be awkward and sometimes rude to pull your phone out continuously. And, constantly turning on the display will use the battery much faster.
It’s much more convenient to glance at a watch on your wrist. Plus, you get to choose an accessory that fits your style with the features you want.
Here are some of the most popular options for those who like a traditional analog or digital watch:
- Black Indiglo light-up dial with full Arabic numerals, luminous hands, and a date window at 3 o'clock
- Gray 40-mm brass case with mineral glass crystal on an adjustable green 20-mm nylon strap that fits up to 8-in wrist circumference
- Water-resistant to 50-meters
- Atomic solar-powered digital watch on a black resin band with red accents and textured pushers
- A tough and rugged timepiece that is shock-resistant, mud-resistant, temperature resistant, and water-resistant to 200-meters
- Features include a compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, sunrise and sunset data, calendar, stopwatch, timer, and alarm
If you prefer a smartwatch, then you should check out these highly-rated suggestions:
- Packed with intelligent features like a storm alarm, altimeter, barometer, compass, sunrise and sunset prediction, and a depth meter
- Tracks your daily activity and sleep to help you keep life in balance
- Suunto combines Scandinavian design with ultra-durable materials and brings over 80 years of high-quality heritage craftsmanship, relentless accuracy, and pioneering innovation
- The rugged GPS smartwatch is constructed to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance and uses solar charging to extend battery life
- Built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter plus multiple global navigation satellite systems tracks in more challenging environments than GPS alone
- Help understand your health and wellness better by tracking your activities, heart rate, stress, pulse ox, and sleep estimates
But, if you are looking for a top-of-the-line luxury brand that still offers everyday carry benefits, then you’ll want to look at this one from Breitling.
- Premium Swiss-made military-style watch impresses with a brushed titanium case and bidirectional rotating bezel on a black Diver Pro III rubber strap
- Beautiful black dial with luminescent Arabic numeral hour markers & 12/24 hour LCD digital display
- Features an end-of-life indicator, alarm, chronograph, timer, date, second timezone, and a dual-frequency distress beacon
- It measures 51 mm in diameter and is water-resistant to 50-meters
These honorable mentions may not be the first things you think of, but they are all great ways to expand your everyday carry gear.
- Be ready to survive with five survival gear essentials in one bracelet
- Includes a fire starter, compass, whistle, Ferro rod striker, and 12-feet of military-grade paracord
- Adjustable size to fit both small and big wrists
- The world’s first wearable multi-tool features 29 tools and customizable links
- Tools include box wrenches, hex drives, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, oxygen tank wrench, and more.
- Adjustable to 1/4-in. to accommodate any wrist size
- Save the day with this 5-in-1 keychain multi-tool that clips to your keychain or fits in any pocket, pack, or bag and is TSA-friendly
- Includes an integrated bottle opener, box cutter, three wrench sizes, metric & standard ruler, and a flathead screwdriver
- Durable stainless steel construction measures 2.6-in. long, 0.7-in. wide, 0.1-in. tall, and weighs 0.4-oz.
- Versatile everyday carry, keychain tool made from durable 3Cr13 stainless steel
- Twelve basic components include a pry bar, bottle opener, small flathead driver, large flathead driver, small Phillips driver, line cutter, blade sharpener, three wrenches 1/4-in. hex bit driver, and keychain hole
- Renown Swiss-made stainless steel compact flat multi-tool that fits in your wallet
- Includes an emergency blade, scissors, magnifying glass, screwdriver 3-mm, screwdriver 5-mm, Phillips screwdriver 00/0, Phillips screwdriver 1/2, tweezers, pressurized ballpoint pen pin, LED, ruler (cm), ruler (inches)
- Measures 0.2-in. x 3.2-in. and weighs 0.9-oz.
- Handle daily tasks with 40-tools, including a box opener, bottle opener, open and closed wrenches, screwdrivers, prybar, cord cutter, measuring & drafting tools, can opener, and more
- TSA Friendly credit card sized tool is 1.5-mm thick and weighs only 1-oz
- Made from heat-treated 420 stainless steel
- Genuine Zippo lighter with the distinctive Zippo "click"
- All metal construction is windproof and works virtually anywhere
- Made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee
- High-speed 256GB USB 3.1 performance of up to 150MB/s read speeds
- Retractable design with a reversible USB Type-C connector and a traditional USB connector
- One-of-a-kind belt made for adventure enthusiasts
- Made of durable nylon, it features an integrated folding knife, bottle opener, LED flashlight, and fire starter rod
- It fits up to a 48-in. waist and can be cut to fit your exact pant size
- Kill the clutter and keep it together with the Maxpedition pocket organizers
- Full clamshell opening main compartment with dual zippers
- Features slip pockets, key leash with clip, elastic organizers, and tie-down loop
Together we’ve explored the benefits of everyday carry gear and key factors for choosing the best items to carry. Now it’s time to optimize your EDC!
Did I miss any of your favorite everyday carry items? Feel free to post any thoughts or suggestions in the comments. For more helpful tips, check out some of my other articles in the links below.