Look around you right now, wherever you are, and do a quick inventory of the items on hand. Now, imagine, right at this moment, a sudden crisis happened – whether it be an earthquake, a robbery, or even a terrorist attack. Are the essential items you’d need to survive easily accessible?
If you’re like most people, the answer is most likely no. Disaster doesn’t work on a schedule. Preparedness can only help if you are prepared every day at all times. This is why, in addition to other survival gear, such as a bug-out-bag, having an efficient and lean Every Day Carry (EDC) kit is an essential part of survival prepping.
What is an EDC Kit?
As the name suggests, an EDC kit is a collection of items that can be carried on your person at all times. Unlike a bug-out-bag or get-home-bag, the EDC kit should be small and lightweight enough to carry around every day. It should include only essential items that will be needed to overcome obstacles you are likely to encounter in your day-to-day life. The gear you choose to include in your kit should be tailored to suit your lifestyle and reflect the threats and challenges likely to occur in your geographic area and making a better every day carry kit is a process, not an end goal.
Why Carry An EDC Kit?
The reasons for carrying an EDC kit are myriad and can range from non-emergencies such as power outages to life-or-death situations such as a mugging or natural disaster.
Generally, well-prepared survivalists and preppers carry EDC kits for the following reasons:
- To have survival gear close at hand at all times
- To make life easier
- To solve common problems faced in everyday life
- As protection against threats
- To provide peace of mind
Whatever your reasons for carrying a kit, the most important thing to remember is that it’s only useful if you have it on you at all times. When designing your kit, carry it around a bit and test out its weight and feel. Make sure it’s something you will feel comfortable carrying around with you at all times.
The best EDC kits are the ones that allow you to carry the most essential items at all times. What these items are depends entirely on you and your particular situation. It’s important to continually evaluate what types of problems you may need your kit to solve and update items accordingly. The process of developing the “perfect” EDC kit is constantly evolving, so once you’ve put together your initial kit, continually work towards making it more efficient and practical.
How Can I Make a Better Every Day Carry Kit?
While it may be the smallest and have the fewest items of all your survival kits, your EDC kit can often be the most difficult to put together. Precisely because it is small, you really need to pare down what you carry to only the most essential items.
The items you carry, those deemed most essential, should be based entirely on your own needs and particular situation. To determine what items are essential for you and to ensure your EDC kit is as streamlined and functional as possible, consider the following strategies outlined in this article. When you are finished, go back periodically and review these strategies, keeping in mind the goal of continually refining and improving your kit.
Go through this same process with any family members, including children, who also have an EDC kit.
1. Analyze The Threats & Challenges You Are Most Likely to Face
Analyzing threats and challenges most pertinent to you involves fully assessing your environment and the types of obstacles that may arise in your everyday life. For instance, possible threats for someone living in a rural area will vary greatly from someone in a large city. Climates and the possibility of natural disasters also differ greatly by region.
Take the time to thoroughly assess your environment and what obstacles you are likely to come across. A realistic assessment of problems you are most likely to face will be key in deciding what is essential and what can be left out.
2. Take Stock of Items You Already Carry
Most people have three basic items that they already carry at all times, keys, wallet and phone. Beyond these, are there any other items you have on hand at all times? Perhaps a multi-tool or emergency flashlight? Of these items, consider how many are carried out of habit but never used. Examples include keys to old apartments or loyalty cards you no longer use. Can any of the items you currently carry be removed to make room for new items? Before removing any questionable items permanently, try going without them for a week and see how you fare in making a better every day carry kit.
You want to be able to successfully face any threats or challenges you may encounter with as few items as possible. Any unnecessary items should be removed to make remove for essential items. As your needs change over time, it may be prudent to re-include certain things you initially left out. This is why continual evaluation of your kit is so important. A better every day carry kit is something you develop again and again.
3. Consider What Can be Added to Better Address Threats and Challenges
While the contents of your EDC kit are entirely up to you, there are three popular items many people include in their kits as they are light, compact, and can be useful in a number of situations:
- A reliable, high-quality knife
- A bright, compact flashlight (with good battery life)
- A tactical pen – for both writing and self-defense
To be best prepared, don’t add random items simply because someone else included them in their kit or because you saw it on a list somewhere. Make sure there is a reason and use for every item you carry.
If you’re stuck for ideas, the following are common items that can be added to your kit. Before adding any of these, make sure you evaluate their usefulness against your individual circumstances:
- Rain gear
- Mini first aid kit
- Paracord (multiple uses)
- Duct tape
- Survival whistle
- Water bottle
- Fire starter
Carrying Your EDC Kit
No matter how well thought out or planned your EDC kit is, it immediately becomes useless if you don’t have it on you at all times. Keeping this in mind, make sure your kit is small enough to be carried with you everywhere you go. This could mean carrying your kit in your pocket or purse, or perhaps using a small shoulder bag or backpack. If you choose to carry your gear in a larger bag or backpack, make sure it is organized in a way that makes your items easy to find. Your kit becomes useless if you encounter a threat you have prepared yourself for but are unable to reach your gear in time to make a difference.
Schedule Periodic Reviews of Your EDC Kit
Constantly reviewing and improving your EDC kit is the only way to ensure you will be fully prepared should you need it. When reviewing your kit, go through the three strategies detailed in this article. This will help you to determine whether or not the threats and challenges you may face have changed and what items remain useful and relevant. As your life and circumstances change, the items considered essential may change and you will want to add or remove items as necessary.
When you carry, or do, something everyday, it becomes habit and eventually something you do with little thought. Set a notification on your phone to remind you to review your EDC kit every two months or so. This will ensure it doesn’t slip your mind and your kit will continue to be as streamlined and efficient as possible.
If you follow the strategies set out in this article to plan and continually improve your EDC kit, you will be well on your way to ensuring you’re prepared for whatever life decides to throw at you.
Most importantly, remember to tailor your kit and keep it as lean as possible. An EDC kit only has value if it is carried EVERY DAY, so ensure it’s something you can manage.
About The Author
Chris Ruiz is a lifelong outdoorsman and has been interested in survival tactics and practices for many years. He currently helps people prepare for unforeseen disasters at The Bug Out Bag Guide.