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Everyday Carry (EDC)
Essential survival tools to carry with you always

Every Day Carry, or EDC, is a small cluster of survival items carried in a pocket,
belt, holster, wallet or purse, which are always on your person. This article will
help you assemble your EDC.

"What's in your wallet?" was the closing line of a popular credit
card commercial. Certainly a credit card is helpful as an everyday
carry (when you have a personal emergency), but a credit card is
not valid in a world without rule of law.

Everyday Carry (EDC) for the average person is not the same as it
is for the average prepper! Many people carry a set of keys, some
money and a cell phone, but if you did a pocket dump* of the
average prepper, we're fairly certain you'd find a knife and/or
firearm, a firestarter, and a flashlight, at a minimum.  It's a good
start, but with a little planning, you can do better!

    *By pocket dump, we mean the sum total of distributed
    survival assets on your person, whether in your boot, on your
    wrist, on your belt, in your holster, or in your pocket or
    purse. Your everyday carry may include a foldable water
    pouch, a fire starter, a flashlight, and a folding knife. You'll
    have other items you'll want to carry, and a pocket organizer
    can help. Left, the Maxpedition Everyday Carry Pocket
    organizer keeps things compact and ready for use.

So make room in your cargo pants, get a pocket organizer, and
adjust your belt, because we've compiled a thoughtful list of
essentials for preppers to carry everyday...

Prepper's List of Everyday Carry (EDC)
While there is a lot of survival gear you could carry, if you had to
pair it down to three things, then these items will virtually
guarantee your survival:
  1. a quality fixed blade knife
  2. metal water container (appropriate also for cooking/boiling
    water) and
  3. and a fire starter

Unfortunately, item #2 is the item most skip, which is why we are
beginning our list of Everyday Carry with the topic of water!

#1: Water pouch and purification system, or filtration straw.
Water is life, yet when it comes to everyday carry, many preppers
neglect to cover this most important aspect of survival! Now you
know, and now you need to  carry your water filtration system
daily. Water filtration doesn't need to be bulky!
Depending on your budget and personal preference, you have a
few options:

  • Water pouch and germicidal tablets. Another option for
    your "everyday carry" for water filtration is a water pouch
    with water treatment tablets. A good water treatment tablet
    that's easy to carry and use is Potable Aqua, pictured top
    left. The whole jar of Potable Aqua germicidal tablets will
    treat up to 25 quarts of water in about 35 minutes. It's easy
    to include in a purse or backpack. You can also take a few
    tablets out and slip them into a You can tuck a few tablets
    in a quart sized zip-locked freezer bag, then roll it up and
    wrap it in aluminum foil to compress the size and add to
    your EDC survival. The zip lock bag is useful for water
    collection, and while not convenient, you can drink from it
    after you use the germicidal tablets.  Of course a water
    pouch is a much more convenient option. The blue Vapor
    water pouch, pictured right, has a water stop and clips to the
    carabiner. Roll it into the carabiner. You can also easily roll it
    into a pocket or pocket organizer, like the one pictured
    immediate right.

  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration Pouch. With the Sawyer
    Squeeze Water filtration system, pictured immediate left,
    you can easily get clean drinking water from any lake, river,
    or questionable source, including a foreign faucet. To use,
    you unscrew the cap from the bladder, fill the bag with
    water, screw back the cap wiping any dirty water from the
    bag, then open the push pull valve on the cap to filter. The
    action of squeezing the bag or sucking on the push-pull valve
    provides potable water. Roll it up into a pocket.
    Unfortunately, it does not have an attachment for carrying on
    a carabiner or clip, which is why we recommend rolling it up
    into a pocket organizer.

  • Vapor water pouch. Reusable and safe, Vapor includes a
    carabiner! This water pouch is ultra-durable, BPA-free with
    FDA-approved polyethylene inner-liner (odor, taste and stain

  • Platypus collapsible water bottle. Pictured right, Platapus is
    an easy-pour bottle to pack your water into the backcountry.
    Start saving space as you drink it! 100% BPA-free, Platypus
    includes natural silver-ion based anti-microbial lining. Attach
    Platypus to molle, a caragine or keychain through the loop!

  • Aquamira water straw. The slim profile Aquamira water
    filtration system, pictured left, will help you filter 30 gallons
    of water. It weighs just an ounce and not only improves
    water taste, but removes greater than 99.9% of
    Cryptospordium and Giardia. Unfortunately, it does not have
    a clip to carry on a carabiner, but it fits nicely into a purse or
    the Maxpedition pocket organizer. (The straw measures 6
    inches). Best of all, Aquamira is made in the U.S.A!

  • Metal water container. A metal container is recommended
    for bugging out into the wilderness because with it you can
    collect and boil water, but it is bulky and impractical for
    everyday carry in urban environments, unless you're a woman
    with a large purse! Nonetheless,it's an option for everyday
    carry not to be overlooked.

There are many options of water filtration for every day carry, and
you seriously need to pick one of them for your survival.  Consider
the pocket organizer, immediate right as an option to hold all
your gear.

#2: Fire Starter (BIC, magnesium fire starter).
It goes without saying that
a prepper always carries a firestarter;
however, did you know that a preferred firestarter for survivalists,
like Mykel Hawke is a BIC lighter?

One survivor of the Bosnian Civil War was also a big fan of
"flicking his BIC." He said, "A generator is good, but 1000 BIC
lighters are better. A generator will attract attention if there's any
trouble, but 1000 lighters are compact, cheap and can always be
traded." It's well worth stocking up on them.  Fire is warmth, fire
is light, fire can help you!

  • BIC Lighter. A BIC lighter is an easy choice for everyday
    carry because it virtually guarantees you can start a fire.
    (Make sure yours has fresh fuel.)

  • Magnesium and flint fire starter. With a magnesium body
    and a striker, you can start a fire even if it's wet.  It has the
    downside of being rather bulky and heavy. Nonetheless, it's
    a great option to carry in your car, bugout bag, and for some
    as part of their everyday carry.

  • Stormproof matches. If you're tight on space, waterproof
    (stormproof) matches are a lightweight option for everyday

# 3: Knife - cutting tool (fixed-blade knife, or lock and fold
No matter what knife you choose for your everyday carry, a knife
should be part of your essentials (as long as you're not headed to
the airport, school or court).

  • Fixed blade knife: A fixed blade knife is 'must have" for your
    bugout bag, though it may not practical for everyone when it
    comes to everyday carry. Certainly a fixed blade knife can
    help with building shelter, skinning food, starting fires,
    digging pits, cutting branches or dealing with any rough jobs
    in survival. If you're wearing cargo pants or EMT pants,
    pictured left, then you can find room for a fixed blade knife.

  • Lock and fold knife. The next best thing to having a quality
    fixed blade knife is a quality folding knife which locks. A
    knife with a lock mechanism

#4: Weapons and Self-defense.
The weapons you carry depend on your skills and experience;
training and permits; and personal preference and prepping
philosophy. Below is a list of considerations for everyday carry:

It's your second amendment right to carry the firearm of your
legal choice, but not into airports, schools, police stations or
courts. It's an equalizer if you have not the physical stamina to
protect yourself, provided you have the training to use it properly,
have the required permits, and are ready to deliver lethal force in
a life threatening situation. Here are some tips for picking the
right handgun:
  1. Go polymer and lighten your load. Pick the smallest,
    lightest firearm you can carry, with the largest caliber. Your
    EDC pistol is not what you may use to defend your home,
    land and preps. It's about being armed and ready to defend
    yourself as is your legal right.
  2. Make your valid permit easily accessible. Know your
    constitutional rights, and local laws. Be lawful until WROL.
  3. Carry a spare magazine or speed loader. The most
    expensive handgun is useless without the right ammunition.
    Get a quality round for the purpose of self-defense!
  4. Be confident with your mindset, training and equipment.
    Skills are perishable, so you must regularly maintain your
    skills and knowledge. Get 20 hours of quality, reality-based,
    scientific Concealed Carry instruction and training, with the
    The Armed American's Complete Concealed Carry Guide to
    Effective Self-Defense, pictured right. Covering all three
    pillars of Effective Self-Defense: the Mindset, Training, and
    Equipment necessary for effective self-protection.

Need more confidence?
Learn the Fundamentals of Everyday Carry with Matt Jacques:

Holsters come in many formats for concealed and open carry --
from shoulder holsters, bicep holsters, belt holsters and ankle
holsters. Other methods of carrying might be inside the
waistband, or a concealed and carry purse.

Alternatives to firearms.
If you are not comfortable carrying a lethal weapon, alternatively
you might be tempted to carry a BB gun, which could be a
deterrent in self defense and lawful*.
However, this alternative is rather risky. Many argue gun for true
security must be real; otherwise two things could happen: either
you successful deter the threat or this person shoots you.

On the other hand, a BB gun could help you get comfortable with
a real firearm, which is an excellent reason to own one! There are
Smith & Wesson replicas available in airgun format, pictured at
the top left-hand of the page. This particular Smith & Wesson
airgun is a replica of one of the newest S&W designs (S&W
Military and Police firearm). It has a drop-free 19-shot BB

Alternatively, your weapon choice may include
  1. Tasers/stun guns
  2. MACE/pepper spray
  3. Self-defense key chains
  4. batons (in the form of a tactical flashlight or tactical pen)

#5: Palm-sized LED Flashlight.
Choosing the right EDC flashlight for prepping is a personal
choice, based on budget and design. There are few quick
highlights of design to look for in an EDC flashlight.  Use this
basic list to choose the best EDC flashlight for you:

  1. Palm-sized LED. Some flashlights are too big for the
    average pocket.
  2. Clip: Your flashlight should have a clip to help secure it in
  3. 220 Lumens. A flashlight with 220 lumens will provide
    around an hour and half continuous running time.
  4. Focused light beams.  A flashlight should harness light into
    useful beam patterns
  5. Takes AA batteries. Should the stuff hit the fan, and you
    run out of batteries, you'll want to replace them. Since AA
    batteries are the most widely used battery, it just makes

Three LED flashlights to consider in various price ranges:

  • Coast (inexpensive): For the price, you can't beat the Coast
    Hp1 Focusing 220 Lumen LED flashlight, pictured immediate
    right, which meets the above specifications. You can count
    on this little gem to be bright and ready for years to come.
    Others agree! It's one of the best selling flashlights with
    more than 1,777 4.5-star reviews!

  • Vizeri (Mid range): If you have a little more money to
    spend, try the Vizeri Focusing Tactical Flashlight. Made of
    military-grade aluminum, this quality torch includes a lantern
    accessory and holster. Best of all, it has multiple battery
    options. Instead of buying a 1000-2000 lumen lights that
    heat their handles to over 150 degrees and burns through
    batteries like crazy, you can use the focusing feature of this
    light to create a powerful, tight beam to get light that is as
    bright but with three times the battery life.  Best of all, it
    has an optional weapon mount, it can rail mount on an AR-
    15, rifle, or shotgun.

  • SuperNova Tactical: If you're willing to part with up to
    $179, then consider the SuperNova Tactical LED Flashlight,
    pictured immediate left. It's been on sale for as little as
    $69.95. The self-defense features of this powerhouse include
    disorienting strobe mode enjoyed by law enforcement and
    stainless steel ridged strike bezel -- the mark of a true
    tactical torch.

#6: Communications (most importantly cell phone apps and
Communications are paramount in part of any survival strategy.
Knowledge is everything!While they say knowledge weighs
nothing, a cell phone does carry some weight and without it you
may have no knowledge of weather conditions, alternate travel
routes, or the whereabouts of your group.

  • Cell phone (and a means to recharge). Even ordinary
    citizens have a cell phone as part of everyday carry, but what
    makes preppers a different breed of human is that we think
    beyond the ordinary for survival. For your EDC you should
    carry with you always, the three Cs -- cash, a compass and
    communications. Your cell phone can provide all three! Here's
    more about how to use a cell phone for survival.

  • Satellite phone. Instead of carrying a cell phone, you may
    opt to carry a satellite phone (for example  if you are in an
    extremely remote region, need to call someone outside of
    the United States or need the latest gadgets). It's not a
    choice for everyone.

  • Prepaid calling card. Most everyone has a cell phone, but if
    you can't afford one at minimum you should carry a prepaid
    calling card. (Gone are the days when a superhero could pop
    out of a phone booth.) The great thing about carrying your
    cell phone is that it opens up a world of useful applications.

  • Pen/pencil and paper. Lower on the list of communications
    is a pencil and paper. If anything, the paper can serve as
    extra tinder, and the pencil can be shaved for tinder as well.
    The nice thing about a graphite pencil, is you can use it to
    unstick a sticky zipper by lubricating the teeth of your
    zippers. As for a tactical pen, certainly it can do some
    damage to thwart an attacker. If you're going to carry a
    tactical pen, make sure it has another feature. The Uzi
    Tactical Pen, pictured right features a glassbreaker and built-
    in handcuff key! Smith & Wesson has a tactical pen with a

#7: Cordage.
Cordage is another prepper essential that can take many forms,
but for which is a personal choice:
  • Dental floss as an amazing array of survival uses you can
  • Fishing line. Strong
  • Paracord (preferably 550 cord). A Paracord bracelet or belt is
    an excellent way to carry your cordage, but you can also
  • A Shemagh (or tactical scarf) is becoming popular with
    preppers. Among the many benefits is that it can be
    unraveled for use.

#8: First Aid.
While it would be nice to have the elite fully stocked medics first
aid kit, like the one pictured left, it is not practical for everyday
carry. Basic first aid however, should be part of your everyday
carry, including:

  1. Bandaids and an antiseptic pouch.
  2. Medications. Aspirin, Benadryl, or Ibuprofen tablets.
  3. Hand sanitizer or alcohol wipe pads.
  4. Lip Balm. Add lip balm to your everday carry list. If you
    haven’t already considered the many survival uses of lip
    balm, then now's the time to get wise. From helping to
    soothe chapped lips and helping you deal with a paper cut,
    to lighting a fire, lip balm can make your survival situation
    less stressful.

#9: Food.
Some preppers argue that food is too bulky or impractical for
everyday carry. A prepper who says this hasn't thought through
the benefits of everyday carry for food! Who says food has to be
big or bulky? At minimum, your everyday carry should include
chewing gum, hard candy or a sugar packet for a quick burst of
  • Beef Jerky. Classic protein.
  • Chewing gum. Learn the many benefits of packing chewing
    gum for survival.
  • Hard candy. Provide a quick burst of energy.
  • Energy beans.
  • Millenium energy bars. Can take heat and cold and are non-
    thirst provoking. Each bar is 400-Calorie bars with high
    energy value.
  • Survival tabs. Survival tabs are small clusters of protein
    packed also with 15 essential vitamins and minerals.

Surely women will find it easier to have food as part of everyday
carry because a purse makes it easier. Even if you're not into the
man-bag thing, we have some ideas that should be included in a
mini survival tin.

#10: Clothing.
Clothing is an important aspect of everyday carry from what's on
your head, down to your feet, but the kind of clothing you'll wear
is somewhat at the whim of your daily plans. If you're headed to
a wedding, combat boots may not be appropriate. Double socks?
Not if its 100 degrees outside! Headed to work? Then your
employer may have some preconceived notions of what is

If clothing is something in your control for the day, then give
careful thought from a prepper's perspective for what you wear:

  1. Footware: At the base of everyday carry is your footware!
    Select a sturdy boot or shoe  and wear socks that wick away
    moisture. Instead of flip flops, wear a comfortable Teva
    instead of flip flops. A woman in high heels can have a
    contingency plan to cut off the heels to get out of city laden
    with broken glass after an earthquake.
  2. Head gear: Tuck a Bandanna or wrap a tactical scarf and
    make it part of your wardrobe and everyday carry, or grab a
    seasonal hat to protect your noggin and neck. You'll find
    many uses beyond protection from the sun.
  3. Pants. Full length cargo pants or EMT pants are a wise choice
    for preppers because they have many pockets to hold your
    gear. Even in desert-like conditions, wearing long pants is
    important to help shield your skin from the sun. And don't
    even think about "going commando" without any underwear.
    Even that layer is a useful bit of clothing.
  4. Shirt: A cover shirt is an important part of concealed carry. A
    button down long-sleeved sports shirt layered with a T-shirt
    is a good everyday style for preppers (even if you don't carry
    firearms). Don't wear anything that looks paramilitary, or
    blazes with NRA emblems or covers your body head to toe
    camouflage. You want to blend in as much as possible with
    the other civilians.

More Ways to Enhance your Everyday Carry
Here is a list of extras to enhance your everyday carry:

  • Duct tape. Travel duct tape is available, but you can wrap
    your BIC lighter with duct tape, or secure items in your
    pocket organizer with duct tape.

  • Pencil sharpener. With a pencil sharpener you'll just about
    always have tinder handy. Use a pencil sharpener to shave
    twigs into tinder for fire starting! Want something a little
    more sophisticated for your everday carry? The Gerber Bear
    Grylls Tinderbox, pictured left, will help you quickly turn a
    few twigs into tinder.

  • Gerber shard tool. With seven functions including Pry Bar
    Small Flathead Driver Wire Stripper Puller Large Flathead
    Driver Bottle Opener Lanyard Hole Cross Driver, the Gerber
    Shard tool is a great everday carry, and airline compliant, as

  • GI-P-38 Can Opener. Genuine military issue, you can easily
    attach teh GI-P38 can opener to a key ring or chain. Best of
    all, a five-pack of GI P-38 Can Openers costs around $3 and
    includes the shipping. Why not add a few to your bugout
    bags, too? The can opener is pocket-sized (approximately
    1.5 inches, 38mm, in length) and consists of a short metal
    blade that serves as a handle (which doubles as a flat-blade
    screwdriver), with a small, hinged metal tooth that folds out
    to pierce the can lid. The P-38 is cheaper to manufacture
    than a standard can opener, and is smaller and lighter to
    carry. The device can be easily attached to a keyring or dog
    tag chain using the small punched hole. While there are
    methods you can employ to open a can without a can
    opener, having this little device will relieve much stress from
    an already stressful situation. It's a little peace of mind
    carried by U.S. Military personnel. Make it part of your
    everyday carry.

  • Hairclip tool. The Mini hairclip tool, pictured immediate left
    includes screw drivers, wrench, trolley coin, and ruler all
    combined in this tiny hair accessory! It's perfect everday
    carry for the prepper woman.

  • Mini compass. A compass may be on your phone, but it
    won't do you much good if the app isn't working for you

  • Space blankets. Mylar blanket or alternatively a heavy duty
    garbage bag (could serve as rain gear, shelter) and would fit
    into a pocket organizer.

  • SOG knife looks like a house key! The amazing SOG key
    chain tool, pictured immediate left, conceals a compact blade
    in the size of a standard house key so you are always
    prepared. It has a straight edge, folding 1.5-inch stainless
    steel blade has a drop point shape with a satin finish. The
    lockback provides additional safety while the knife's in the
    open position  Final Thoughts... While there is a whole Web
    site devoted to everyday carry, our happy list is specifically
    with preppers in mind. We hope you agree, but please let us
    know what we've missed.

  • Watch. The watch is making a comeback with Apple. If
    you're into old school preparedness, you may want to include
    a watch in your everyday carry. Here's how you can use a
    watch to navigate.

  • Whistle. Under an SHTF scenario, having a whistle isn't
    going to do you much good. Certainly a whistle is a "must
    have" everyday carry for a day hike. Kids may want to carry
    one in their backpacks to help attract help "stranger danger."

How will you enhance your Everyday Carry (EDC)?
Now you know that a receptacle for water (and a water
purification method) is among the
most overlooked of preps for
EDC. Will you make it a priority today to get started on this life-
saving essential?

The Smith & Wesson Border Guard is first responder knife that
has more than most could want or need for an everyday carry

Happy endings...
Finally, think about your everyday carry in a whole new light, take
a deeper look into
flashlights for preppers!

Related articles...

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