We survivalists tend to think of EDC (everyday carry) as our own invention. But it is not. The reality is that everyone has an EDC — just look at any woman carrying a purse. That purse, filled with miscellaneous things, is her EDC.
Of course, only survivalists (male and female) have taken the step to make that EDC useful to help us out in a life-threatening situation.
Still, I find that most preppers don’t bother with much of an EDC. They work under the assumption that whatever happens, they’ll be at home, where they have access to all their survival gear and supplies. While that would be an ideal way to start out any survival scenario, rarely do things work out that well.
Being prepared must mean being prepared for anything at any time. Therefore, a good EDC is an essential part of being prepared. While it is possible to survive many situations without having the right equipment on hand, having the equipment makes a world of difference.
I break my EDC down into two general parts. First are the things that I carry on my person at all times. This includes things like my pistol, two spare magazines, a pocket knife, a multi-tool, my cell phone and a lighter. In some circumstances, I might add other items, such as bandages for emergency first-aid or even a small survival kit.
Then there’s my EDC bag. That’s kept in my car. Actually, there’s one in each of our cars. Since I don’t go anywhere without my car, I can count on always having that with me. This is essentially a combination survival kit (a thorough survival kit) and get-home bag. It has enough in it for me to survive several days (other than water), either in an urban or wilderness situation.
Between the two, I have found that I have enough with me to not only take care of those times when I’m caught in a survival situation, but also to take care of many of life’s inconveniences. To me, my EDC is not just a decoration, it’s something I use constantly. That means I’m also constantly maintaining and refilling it with consumables.
Along the way, I’ve found a number of items that were not originally included in my EDC, so I’ve added them. Perhaps these are things that you should have added to yours, but never saw the need.
Today’s society is gradually becoming more and more cash-free. We generally use credit or debit cards for almost everything – even small purchases. That means that when the lights go out, so does our purchasing power. If there’s a blackout and you have to buy gasoline to get home, you’re stuck.
Carrying $100 in cash may seem like a waste of a good $100, but in such a situation it could mean being able to buy food, water and gasoline. But don’t carry it as one single bill. Rather, carry a number of smaller bills. If all you have is a $100 bill and you need five gallons of gas, you might just end up paying $100 for it.
2. Spare magazine
The number of people carrying concealed has been growing in recent years. Overall, that’s a good thing for society, increasing safety and reducing crime. But few people carry a spare magazine with their pistol. I suppose if your carry gun has a 15-round magazine, that’s OK. But most concealable pistols only have a 5- to 7-round magazine. That may not be enough.
While carrying a couple of spare magazines may be a hassle, it could be a lifesaver. I carry two extended capacity magazines, plus the normal capacity in my pistol. That gives me a total of 20 rounds. While not enough to fight a battle, I hope it will be enough for anything I face.
3. Lighter & accelerant
About the only other people who carry a cigarette lighter with them are those who smoke. I have one in my EDC kit in my car, but I also have a small one on my key ring. That way, I always have the means to start a fire. I also carry a small aluminum container, filled with magnesium powder. This burns readily and can be used in conjunction with the lighter to get a fire going, even when I’m having trouble finding dry tinder.
4. Rain poncho or umbrella
No, I’m not English and I don’t carry an umbrella around with me all day. But I have both an umbrella and a rain poncho in my EDC kit in the car. Even though I live in an arid climate, rain still happens at times. And because I live in an arid climate, when it does happen, it’s often a surprise.
While the human body is drip-dry, our clothing may not be. Besides, wet clothing will make you lose body heat considerably faster. If your clothes get wet toward sundown, when the temperature is dropping, this could set you up for hypothermia. Better to stay dry, rather than risk that.
We all know that water is one of our top survival needs, but few of us carry water with us. I always have a gallon or more of purified water in my car, as well as a water bottle. Getting back to the arid environment I live in, it’s also hot here. Not having water with me can be dangerous, especially if I get stuck someplace where water is not readily available.
Granted, I’m not a big fan of drinking hot water on a hot day, but I’d rather do that than not have water to drink. Allowing one’s self to become dehydrated reduces the body’s energy and strength — two things that are essential to survival.
6. OTC medicines
Aches, pains and hay fever are realities of life. Carrying a few pain relievers and Benadryl in your EDC can make a huge difference on those days when your body just isn’t feeling up to par.
7. First-aid kit or supplies
Injuries are another reality of life. Whether it’s a paper cut in the office or skinned knuckles from changing a tire, I rarely get through a week without some minor cut or scrape.
While I’m used to ignoring minor scratches and scrapes, that can’t be done with larger injuries. Not only does the blood get all over everything, but the larger the injury, the greater the chance of infection. Properly treating an injury is an important part of maintaining your health.
Besides, you never know when you’ll encounter someone else that needs some first-aid. I was driving home from church one time and encountered a man who had just been struck by a car while crossing the road. I didn’t have a first-aid kit with me, so was limited in what I could do to help him. That was the last time I went anywhere without a first-aid kit.
8. Solar phone charger
Cell phone manufacturers love to brag about their products’ battery life. But I’m not sure how they calculate it. I rarely manage to get through a day without having to top off my battery, and I know I don’t use my cell phone as much as others do.
To mitigate this problem, I keep a solar phone charger on the dashboard of my car. That way, it’s constantly being charged, so that it is always full to charge my phone. While I could charge my phone off the car’s accessory connector, that requires leaving the phone in the car. With my solar charger, I can take the charge with me, then return it to its home, when I go back to the car.
9. Collapsible stainless steel cup
How many times have you had something to drink, but nothing to drink it out of? Trying to drink out of a five-gallon jug is difficult. Carrying a cup with you is an easy way to solve this problem, and using a collapsible stainless steel cup helps ensure that your cup takes up the least amount of space possible. Besides, it’s hard to break those cups.
Like the cup, carrying a spork with you gives you something to use when you find something to eat. You can buy stainless steel, titanium or plastic. The best ones have a spoon at one end and a fork at the other. Between this and your pocket knife, you’ll always be ready to eat.
11. P-38 can opener
Speaking of eating, a military P-38 can opener — the type they used with C-Rations — is a great EDC item. I’ve carried one on my key chain ever since basic training, more than 30 years ago. While not as easy to use as a kitchen can opener, they are reliable. With one, you’ll never find yourself in a situation where you can’t open a can and eat the contents.
12. Spare batteries
We all carry and use a host of things that are battery powered. Today, we use more types of batteries than ever, including button cells that can be hard to find. Yet we act as if those batteries will last forever.
Carrying a few spare batteries along in your EDC bag will make it possible to continue using your portable electronics, long after the battery wears out. This is especially important for your flashlight, which I assume is already part of your EDC. The tactical flashlights we use today are great, but they go through batteries like crazy.
13. Copies of items in your wallet/purse
Ever lose your wallet or purse? Make copies of your driver’s license, concealed carry permit or passport. It doesn’t take much time, and it can save you a lot of trouble.
14. Emergency contact list
When I was a kid, we all learned phone numbers. Today, many people need to look up their own number, let alone those of family and friends. That means if they lose their phone, they can’t call anyone, even if they can find a phone to use. A simple laminated card, with important phone numbers on it, doesn’t take up much room in your wallet and can get you out of many a sticky situation, especially if you lose your phone.
What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below: