How do you EDC?
EDC, the acronym for Every-Day-Carry, has exploded from a term used among the tactical/survival community into a three hundred megaton social media bomb. People are posting photos of “pocket dump” and “edc” left and right on Instagram and Twitter. It wasn’t always like this, though, there was a time when a SWAT operator, a special ops soldier, or even an avid outdoorsman and hunter might refer to a kit comprised of trusty items as their ‘every day carry’ but, man, has EDC really grown into a social trend. If you do a simple Twitter search of EDC you’ll see photos of what folks are carrying. Wallets, watches, knives, gadgets, gizmos, and other things I probably don’t have the mental capacity to even dream up.
Why do people EDC? Well, it depends on a huge number of factors, but it boils down to what gear you need on a daily basis. I have a few close friends who have always been quality resources for great gear reviews. If I get a piece of kit that I really enjoy, or find to be more useful in a particular scenario than a former item, I will share this info–and they do the same. It’s sort of a small community version of gear reviewing, and since we trust each other’s expertise, it seems to bear more weight. When I read an article telling me SoAndSoKnifeCo just released the best new pocket knife and I need to get one, I tend to take it with a grain of salt. The latest and greatest in Tacticool trinkets that people buy just to have. Although, when I hear a serious review from a trusted friend, who I know has experience with that item (and it’s use), I am more likely to believe it.
Some common items for me to carry are fairly simple: wallet, mobile phone, pocket knife, flashlight, and keys. I subscribe to a mantra you’ll see on hiking web sites across the globe: “ounces equals pounds, pounds equals pain” and a few other adages like ‘less is more’ and ‘the right tool for the job’ come to mind. For items that simply sit in your pockets, it’s not necessarily a big deal; however, I don’t want to be that guy who you hear clinking down the hallway ten seconds before you see him. You know that guy. The one who carries that gigantic pocket knife that’s usually too large for any feasible use he’d have for a knife. The guy whose wallet is overstuffed that he needs to visit the chiropractor four times a week. That guy.
So you don’t want to be that guy (in some circles this guy is referred to as a douche) but you do want to have a few items on hand that may prove useful. The good news is, you’re normal. EDC isn’t as trendy as it sounds, and you won’t be judged for what you do (or don’t) carry. A lot of EDC-minded folks, for lack of a better name, are just gear freaks who are curious about what other folks are carrying. Poke around Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for proof. You can get some great ideas for items that may be handy to you on a daily basis. I can’t dictate to you which things you’ll find useful, but I’ll list off just a couple things that may be a good foot in the door.
- Pocket knife: folding style, start inexpensive. You can sink a ton of money into steel. Check out Gerbo EVO as an inexpensive first option.
- Multi-tool: there are dozens of viable options to fill this category, if you’re looking for a lightweight versatile piece check out the “Shard” by Gerber.
- Flashlight: this is a bit more fine tuned, as not everyone works in an environment where a light is useful. I’ve found I can live without it now. Streamlight Stylus Pro for a great starter.
- Key retention: Maxpedition makes what they call “tactical gear retractors”. They come and go, usually in the $10-20 range, and are a quality retention system for keys.
- Wallet: these are really subjective, but I’ve found that in general a front-pocket style wallet has a finite space so you don’t use it like an old suitcase and overload it.
- Bandanna: a cotton bandanna has hundreds of uses, and can even be somewhat stylish. Creek Stewart is a huge proponent of these, and includes them in the Apocabox frequently.
- Pen: carrying a quality pen seems like an obvious enough choice. If you already carry one, maybe look into some of the higher end tactical pens that can be used for defense.
- Cash: do you carry cash? Not everyone has gone the way of JP Morgan Chase and told you “that’s no good here”. Analog currency can be a life saver.
- Pistol: this is one of the most heavily debated topics in EDC. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what is the best size, make, model, and caliber to carry. Every week I have people asking me which pistol they should buy, which starts a whole discussion on what is the purpose? My advice is to make a firm decision on what you intend to use the pistol for (concealed carry, home defense, open-carry [where legal], or as a sidearm for hunting or other field operations) before you begin. Once you know the purpose, you can begin looking at weapons in that category and do your research.
It’s probably quite easy to tell that I’ve posted a list of items that amount to a pocket dump. Is my list biased? Sure. I have a few items I tend to lean on more than others, and some items I may deem not worth the hassle of carrying. The real core of EDC is to carry what makes sense for you. Keep a mental tally running for the next week or two and see how many times you say “I wish I had a ____ with me”. Then you’re going to be off and running on the way to building your own EDC, and maybe I’ll be looking at your pocket dump on Twitter soon!
So how do you EDC? Feel free to Tweet, comment, or email!