What Are EDC Essentials – The Must Have List For Everyday Carry

Are you trying to build out your EDC kit and wondering what are the EDC essentials you need? A pocketknife, flashlight, pen and a multitool make up the most common EDC essentials, but there are many other options and combination you cab carry to round out your EDC gear. 

Today we are building out your basic EDC kit. We’re going to help you think through what should be in your pockets or on your person each day when you venture out of the house. We’re going to try to answer the basic question of what should be in your EDC (but it isn’t always so basic of an answer).

Long before EDC became a thing, folks of all walks of life have always been carrying around their daily EDC essentials. I’ve always carried a small folding knife along with a small flashlight. In fact, I would bet most people carry some sort of multitool or small swiss army knife and think nothing of it, it’s just what they do. They probably didn’t even know there was a specific name for it.

Below you will find real world actual examples of EDC gear, not just some random pick from someone who doesn’t even own a knife! Most of the pictures below are from my personal collection of EDC gear.

Why Is EDC So Popular?

Over the last several years, the phrase EDC, short for Everyday Carry, has risen in popularity. Carrying a pocket knife, flashlight, pen and a multitool has become not just a cool thing, but is sometimes even seen as a necessity as more and more people become serious about their personal safety.

A well thought out EDC can get you through a tough situation and can even save your life. When you start to talk abou EDC essentials and a basic EDC setup, you can quickly get caught up in the prepper or survivalist philosophies.

You can also get very technical when talking about any EDC essential checklist as so much of what you carry depends on your environment, daily tasks, local laws and of course, what you want to be prepared for.

A basic EDC setup can quickly morph into a get-home bag or bugout bag and, in my opinion, your basic EDC essentials should be part of your larger survival system.

For example, I keep a small EDC pouch in my car filled with my EDC essentials. It also is a part of a larger set of gear I have packed in the garage which includes more gear and additional supplies. When we go on a road trip or travel far, I grab both bags and together they cover a wide range of potential situations in an easy-to-go setup.

It Takes Time To Find The EDC Essentials That Work For You

What Does EDC Stand For?

EDC is short for Everyday Carry and is focused on carrying the essentials on you at all times so you are prepared for various situations.

Before we get too deep into all of the EDC gear you should have, I want to break it down into a simple explanation for those of you who are new to EDC or are trying to figure out what are the basic EDC necessities you should carry everyday. Just like the name suggests, Everyday Carry is the stuff you bring with you to get through the day and make life a little easier.

What Makes Up A Good EDC Kit?

So let’s begin to get to know EDC. We know that everyone has their own set of tasks to do on any given day, and that your tasks may even vary from day to day. Some people carry the same set of gear everyday, and some folks switch it up based on what they need to do that day. All that being said, here are some of the basic items that should be in your EDC kit, obviously the choices in each different category can be endless. In the simplest form, an EDC kit is built around the normal and not so normal situations you are in on a regular day.

Pocketknife

I think a good pocket knife is the center of all great EDC. A knife, by far, is one of the most useful tools known to man. You can cut, you can slice, you can pry, you can do a ton of stuff with a knife and it can also aid you in self defense. If you are going to carry your basic EDC in your pockets, a folding knife makes the most sense but with the rise in “EDC’ing” a fixed blade is also becoming more popular.

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Multitool

The second item that should always be in your EDC kit is a solid, small- to medium-sized multitool. This could be a swiss army knife, a Leatherman or another folding tool with several implements on it like a Gerber MP600.

In my personal EDC kit, my small multitool (that you never find me without) is a Victorinox Alox Cadet. Having a file, screwdrivers, scissors, bottle opener, etc. goes a long way to getting tasks done. 

Even a small multitool is considered invaluable for your EDC essential list. Many times you may find your self in a situation where a larger EDC knife may draw too much attention and a small pocket knife is perfect. Think about opening a package or such in an office environment or among folks who don’t appreciate a good pocketknife.

Flashlight

No EDC kit is complete without this basic tool. Today, you are overwhelmed with flashlight options from standard batteries to rechargeable models and some with enough lumens to signal the space station.

Flashlights have come a long way from the basic mini-mag light I got for Christmas when I was 8. Funny, I still EDC that very light sometimes…hey, sometimes you can’t beat stuff that always works!

I like to carry a flashlight that has a quick-tap pressure switch. This is a button on the end of the flashlight or on the side that allows you to partially depress it to activate the light without having to actually turn it on all the way.

This is a great feature to have if you need a quick burst of light or if you like to save your battery by having more control.

Pen or Pencil

A real gentleman always has a pen handy. A prepper always has a permanent market handy. Which one are you? (You can be both, don’t worry.)

There are so many awesome pens out there and, beyond just writing, many double as tactical weapons that you can strike or stab with; several even have a glass-breaker tip. I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but lately I’ve sure been glad to have my own pen!

Once you get used to carrying a marker, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without one. My first choice for the longest time was a stainless steel Sharpie; those have unfortunately been discontinued.

Zebra makes the best permanent marker out there, in my opinion. Next up are the ones from Milwaukee that you can grab at the door at Home Depot.

Pliers

I think having a set of pliers handy can’t be beat and if you’re not accustomed to carrying a set, you will wonder how you got along without them. From using them to bust loose nuts and bolts, to assisting in pulling or holding items, they are worth having on hand.

You can hold items while you solder, pick up burning hot pots when camping (or even in an Urban Survival situation), use them to crimp and secure chains, etc.

Since we are talking about EDC, I’m not speaking of carrying a 15” pair of Channellocks, I’m talking about a mid-sized pair in the 5” to 8” length. The great thing is you can grab a cheap set from Lowes or Home Depot to see if it makes sense to have a pair of pliers in your EDC.

Sometimes when I say I carry pliers all the time people think it’s crazy. How many of you have a Leatherman? The main selling point of a Leatherman IS the pliers. However, I would rather have the actual tool if possible than a compromise that a larger multitool offers.

In a pinch, a Leatherman or Gerber is awesome and can do a lot, but it’s not an actual set of pliers. So, in this case, my number one choice is Knipex, basically the BMW of pliers. Made in Germany, they are absolutely beautiful, are finely crafted and, of course, work amazing.

Top to Bottom:

Channellock 412

Knipex 5″

Knipex 4″

Watch

If you know me, then it goes without saying that you should have a watch in your EDC kit. We may all carry a phone and you may think you don’t need a watch anymore, but it’s just the opposite. A watch typically doesn’t run out of a charge, you can use it with no hands and it’s certainly more reliable than an Iphone or Android device. On top of all that, a watch looks good on the wrist. Depending on which route you go, there are many watches with built in compasses, navigation tools, barometers, thermometers and, of course, basic stopwatch functions.

Prybar

Something I only added over the last few years is a mini pry bar. These guys are outrageously handy in so many situations: from scoring boxes to scrapping always gunk and junk from who knows what. I use my knives hard and I’m not afraid to dull the blade, but the sacrificial edge of a pry bar just makes sense sometimes. Many double as a bottle opener and easily hook onto a keyring. Trust me, nothing stinks more than prying a nail or screw with a $100 knife just to break the tip off….

For me, I don’t always include my wallet and keys in my definition of Basic EDC, but I think I may be in the minority. A key ring or key organizer is a great addition to your Basic EDC and can add another level of functionality. It definitely adds a level of organization!

Wallet

I don’t like carrying anything bulky, especially a wallet. In my kit, I rotate between three wallets, depending on my plans. My first go-to wallet is always something that has RFID protection. Regardless of which style you go with, a wallet is a great place to stash stuff besides money. I like to keep a credit card multitool hidden away. They come in handy if you need to use them to pry and scrape, and a lot of them have flat tips engraved in the edges to be used as screwdrivers or pry bars. I think the handiest feature is the ruler they all seem to have.

Keys

Your actual keys aren’t necessarily an EDC tool, but how you carry and secure them can be. With the invention of the Keybar and other key organizers over the years, the mundane little item can be a trusty companion. I really like my Titanium key organizer from Keybar; not only does it keep my keys, but you can add tools to it also. I have a larger, flat-bladed screwdriver and bottle opener on mine.

Besides key organizers, a key ring can be an extremely convenient spot to attach little things in your EDC setup. Bottle openers, mini lights, small pry bar, bit holder…the list goes on and on. I keep a Victorinox mini-champ on my set of van keys along with a Nite Ize bottle opener and an extra carabiner.

A Full Kit Of EDC Essentials

I have found it takes a few go-rounds to get your EDC kit just right. What I carry on me changes depending on what I have going on. On days when I meet clients and have khaki pants on, my EDC choices will be different from days when I am doing things around the house. However, I have found that regardless of my activity, my personal basic EDC essentials are a knife, a multi-tool and a flashlight.

Below are some of my personal Essential EDC examples. You will notice some repeated gear, such as EDC pliers, clips and of course an EDC keyholder. Different environments will necessitate a different type of EDC kit. Lately I have been focused on building out a reliable urban EDC kit. I’ve been thinking about being trapped or stranded in a city environment and the types of things I wood need. A water key to access commercial faucets, a heavier prybar for tougher tasks as well as a first aid kit. Josh over at The Gray Bearded Green Beret has a great video up that talks about picking the right combination of EDC essentials for an urban setting. Check out his video here: https://youtu.be/4vNEIJLk56I 

EDC Essentials Examples