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Prep 101: 15 Everyday Carry Essentials

Survival and preparedness videos and articles frequently refer to “EDC.” I didn’t know what EDC was, so I did some research and here’s my first attempt at a collection of the essentials for everyday carry.

Everyday carry (EDC) items are the things you carry with you every day – in your pocket or purse, and they should assist you with both utility and preparedness, meaning each item needs to have at least one useful purpose. (I think multi-purpose items are even better). Plus, carrying these items in your purse/pocketbook/handbag every day means you don’t have to search for them if you need to leave your house in a hurry or in case of emergency.

For me personally, EDC is a balancing act between what I think is required (flashlight, for example), and what is reasonable for me (something small and unobtrusive). I don’t like a lot of extra stuff, and I am pretty minimal with my lifestyle (except, of course, for all the survival and recovery gear I carry around in my Jeep – but all that has a very important purpose and it’s been frequently used).

Here are 15 EDC essentials to consider.

1 – Wallet: for cash and a few cards. A minimal wallet is easy to carry and limits you to the essentials.

2 – Phone: with a Smartphone you can do pretty much anything – this eliminates the need for a computer (mostly), navigational device, etc.

3 – Keys: use a carabiner-type key ring that can be clipped to whatever so you never lose your keys!

4 – Personal protective device: could be handgun, pepper spray, taser, etc. A gun may be more useful than other protective devices because it can be used to procure food in survival situations as well. If you choose to carry a handgun make sure you comply with all legal requirements for doing so: registration, conceal/carry course/permit, applicable state/local laws, etc. Small-size handguns or revolvers are easier to carry (a .380 Ruger LCP is shown in the photo).

5 – Pocketknife: indispensable for everyday use and in survival circumstances. Cut items or food, start a fire, protect yourself, etc. Make sure you keep it sharp!

6 – Flashlight: LEDs are bright; a small-sized light is easier to carry. And, if it has a clip you can wear it on a cap in place of a head lamp.

7 – Pen: a heavy-duty version can be used as a jabbing weapon in addition to writing tool.

8 – Portable phone charger: keep it charged and you’ll have extra battery life for your phone when needed. An even better option would be a solar phone charger.

9 – Ferro rod: the most portable fire-starting device ever, no need for a striker – use your pocketknife to spark this handy tool into flame.

10 – Wristwatch: a rugged battery-powered watch for recreational use, or a self-winding watch for dressier occasions.

11 – Feminine products are required carry for ladies – cuz you just never know... Tampons can also be used to plug bullet holes or a bloody nose, and non-applicator kinds are easily packable and less wasteful. Plus, if you don’t need it, a friend might...

12 – Basic medical supplies such as band-aids and ibuprofen get frequent use and take up almost no space.

13 – Other fire-starting gear: a small lighter, or a spark wheel, and small waterproof storage containers for strike-anywhere matches or tinder. Intended for survival situations.

14 – Extra carabiners: clip anything anywhere.

15 – Water: lastly, I take water everywhere. I store it in my Jeep, take it with on a hike, take some along downtown, or at least know where I can buy a bottle if needed. I like collapsible water containers for packability.

Obviously the EDC items you carry will be largely up to personal preference, but hopefully this has provided some ideas. Figure out what works for you – the point is to rid yourself of the unnecessary (gum wrappers, old receipts, half-eaten candy bars, etc.) and carry the useful essentials.

Is 15 items too many? Maybe, but that’s why most of them are small and packable. What do you carry everyday? Thanks for reading!

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