You’ve heard of EDC. It stands for everyday carry and refers to the items you should keep on you all the time so you can be better prepared to meet the challenges of the day – whatever they are.
But what should you carry on you every day? Well, here’s a start.
1. A knife
Every single EDC light starts with a knife, and some people cut their lists at this. It’s the be-all, end-all of EDC and the most versatile tool you can (and should) carry every day.
A multi-purpose model like a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is a good option, but there are countless others. Opt for something on the smaller, more discrete end, with a folding blade, that’s still tough enough for everyday use.
With a knife, you can prepare food, open package, tighten loose screws, and much more – that’s why they top every list.
2. A light
A flashlight is number two. Once you carry one every day you’ll be wondering how you got by without one.
Looking for something in a dark cabinet? Need to see under the hood? In the midst of a power outage? A light will save you in each of these scenarios and countless others.
Again, opt for something small, light, and easy to carry. Also, waterproofing is a must for an electric device like this.
3. A lighter
Need to light a candle? Light a cigar? Fuse some rope? See in the dark for a moment? The list of reasons to carry a lighter goes on and on.
Fire is man’s oldest and most vital tool. Carrying a lighter is tantamount to carrying the power of fire.
Serviceable options for EDC lighters include Zippos, Clippers, BICs, and Scriptos, but there are others, many of which are both refillable and reflintable.
4. Some cordage
Carrying a little cordage in your pocket can never hurt. Paracord is good for this.
Whether you need to repair a drawstring on your hoodie or have experienced a sudden, catastrophic failure of your bootlaces, cordage will get you back to port.
And it has a thousand other uses, too.
5. A multi-tool
A Victorinox Swiss Army Knife crosses off the need for both a knife and multi-tool, but if what you carry is a regular folding pocket knife, consider carrying a multi-tool like a Leatherman, too.
Multi-tools have pliers, wire cutters, knife and saw blades, bit drivers, and sometimes more specialized tools, like wire strippers, fish scalers, and ballpoint pens. They take your level of preparedness up a notch from just carrying a knife.
6. A pen and paper/pad
If your pocket knife or multi-tool has a pen (as some Swiss Army Knives do), you can cross this one off – but otherwise, carry a good, steel pen that’s waterproof and impact resistant.
There is a saying: “if it’s worth remembering, it’s worth writing.” Having a pen will help ensure you never lose track of those countless things that pop into your head throughout the day. Of course, this lends the justification for a notepad as well.
Is a pencil alright? Sure, in the absence of a pen – but only because you can sharpen it with your EDC knife!
7. A hat
A hat can be used to keep the sun off your face, keep your head warm and dry, or as an improvised basket to carry loose items.
High-quality sunglasses protect your eyes from bright glare as well as from UV light (assuming they are UV-protective). They can also protect your eyes from errant sprays and splashes whenever you’re working on something, in lieu of safety goggles.
And, if you don’t want to wear them all the time, just invert them and put them on top of the bill of your hat.
9. A bandana
Keeping a bandana in your pocket is another great preparedness measure. A bandana can be used as a napkin or kerchief, as a trail marker, hair tie, as an improvised ice pack, and so much more.
There are actually tons of uses for them – you just have to get creative.