If you’re just a bit into one of the things we deal with at Perunika it’s very likely you stumbled over the term “EDC”. You might know by now that “EDC” means “every day carry” but what is it all about? Read on to find out why you shouldn’t always take it literally.

The basics of EDC refer to things you really have with you every day. Even if you didn’t have any contact with the concept I bet there are things you carry always. How about keys, smartphone and wallet? Maybe a (smart-) watch? Is there more, like rings, a bracelet or a lucky charm? Well, then you got the idea.

It’s not so much about gear you have to have on you because of the job you have. So it’s focus is on things you actively choose to carry. In most cases EDC refers to things that are not so obvious. So things you might carry on a plate carrier when you’re on duty don’t really count. But a concealed firearm you just choose to carry does. While I take the liberty to tell you about “every day carry” and it’s specifics please keep in mind that this is my personal take on it – derived from being part of the self-proclaimed community and giving my own thought. So there’s no official definition and I’d be the last to tell you what can or not be part of your interest.

The different approaches to EDC

Over the last years at least two kinds of EDC emerged. Let’s dive into the details.

Always be prepared with your every day carry kit

This approach is tightly connected with prepper culture. It’s about carrying with you whatever you might need. What you actually need depends a lot on your life circumstances. There are obvious things like keys and your wallet. But EDC is about going the extra mile.

Here’s a few items that are very common:

Feel free to add whatever you could need in your daily life. Either go for things you are likely to use often or things that will hurt badly if you need them and don’t have them on you.

If you actually carry your kit to be prepared you will strive to find the items that fit you most perfectly. Not only that but you will want to get really accustomed to what you have on you. So improving your kit for a while but staying with the same items as long as possible is usually what you want.

We’ll dedicate a separate post on how to develop your personal “prepared EDC” kit.

EDC as a lifestyle

But there’s more to EDC than just carrying useful stuff around. Over the years there emerged it’s own lifestyle where you not only invest in the pure basics. But you get items you actually care about.

Before you ask, this usually results in getting stuff in different versions. Because, with all the great knives, lights etc. that are available, why settle for one of each.

Many people who love the EDC lifestyle will develop some themes to go for sooner or later. One very common theme is finding a material that is special to you. If that material also has some interesting features – all the better. I’m talking about getting all your items made of titanium or brass or copper. Or have them engraved with sugar skulls, the tree of life or another symbol that’s special to you. Of course, you don’t have to fixate on one, it’s an option and personal choice.

I for example mix and match different materials that I like. I do have a real fancy for copper items but I rarely build my setup just of copper.

It’s very common that you rotate through your gear. Maybe you even take a while in the morning to choose todays load out. This doesn’t conflict with the term “every day carry”. I mean, you’re carrying a flashlight daily – nobody said it has to be the same every day.

But it doesn’t stop at fancy versions of tools if you look into this way of EDC.

Every day carry combines perfectly with all kinds of faith and even superstition. If you’re religious you might find beautiful items that connect into it. If you’re more of a lucky charm person, you’re a winner because you will find tons of items that work as those and still please every gear head due to their nature. Like titanium dice or brass coins.

Other things cover use cases that are very optional but still might spark some joy. I’m talking about hank(erchief)s out of fancy cloth. Or titanium chopsticks. The list is more or less endless.

Finding balance

If you read so far, you will have realized that these two approaches are mutually exclusive. Like if you rotate through many knives you will never have the one that’s become part of you.

Personally I found my solution and I pay the price of carrying loads of gear. I have my fixed kit of EDC items. I know them very well, I’m really used to their usage and I chose them in a way that they will work in most situations I might get in. For example, there’s a multitool and a knife which are both by far not my favorites. But both are legal in most places on earth. I stowed these items in two small pouches which are tiny enough to fit into the cargo pockets of my pants.

And in addition to these two pouches I carry what I fancy at the moment. Like knives I really love and flashlights I want to test the guts out of.

This combination gives me the confidence to have a kit that will not let me down if I should really need it. And I can dwell in my hobby playing around with these wonderful tools I collected.

How to start your EDC journey

If all you read so far tempted you to get deeper into every day carry than read on. Now it’s about applying it to you. This is a very personal journey but I can give you some insight into how it worked out for myself.

Assessing what you have

First of all assess what you already have. You might not have given it much thought but these items came naturally to you. They are tested and trusted and you probably shouldn’t replace them as a first step. Just keep in mind that some of them might have become your companions just because they were simply there. On the one hand this shows that you don’t always need top notch gear to have what you need. On the other hand it’s quite likely that there’s room for improvement when you get back to it later.

Setting your first goals

Think about what you want to have with you in case you need it. I’ll go deeper into my current setup in a another post but for now here’s what I started out with: My EDC pouch and my individual first aid kit. I have these two pouches on me whenever I leave the house. Even when I just take our dog for a 15 minute walk. Wouldn’t be the first time that I needed the first aid kit on this walk.

The contents went through a lot of evolution. But I changed them only when I found something to really improve their worth for me. Now they didn’t change for quite a while. I know I can trust these kits and I know how to work with them. But there’s nothing in them I’m really fond of – safe for a motivational item I want to carry all times. The tools work and they do their job. They are relatively small and won’t get me into legal trouble anywhere soon. But nothing more.

Now for the fun in EDC

So you know, I pack these two pouches whenever I leave the house. And that is enough when I just have a quick errand to run. But most of the time I want to have a bit more than just the bare necessities. I mean, I could use my phone to check what time it is. But still I prefer to wear a watch. Same is true for other items.

I usually have at least one extra knife with me. I own … a few and I don’t want them to sit just in storage. So I change quite often what I’m using. Sometimes I deliberately choose one that will not match what I might need out of a blade. Be it because it’s not as tough as I want it or that it has an uncommon shape that will make it useless for some use cases. Why am I doing this? Because, maybe, that knife has a history I like. Or it just matches my mood on that day. This works because I know that I have the other knife in my pouch I can rely on if I would really need it.

What’s true for knives also works for flashlights. Depending on my mood or what I do I sometimes choose a powerful searchlight. Or a tiny EDC light made of copper.

And then there are things that might come in handy but I will never really need them. Like a hank which I mostly use for sweat on hot days. Or a pocket prybar I mostly use to open bottles. Or a Vegvisir coin I carry with me when I travel. (Yes, I know, it’s not Viking but I still love the idea)

And then there are really quirky things I just enjoy. Like a beard comb made of titanium or carbon fibre. Also even when I’m all for saving the environment I just hate these new paper straws. So I carry a titanium straw just in case I might need one.

My personal balance

As you know by now, I go both ways of EDC. My two pouches I have always on me. And I mean always. And then things I just like to spice things up.

This setup brings the benefit of having redundancy. Maybe it’s my other job in IT talking, but I just love redundancy for things I consider important. Even when often the “fancy” part of my EDC is by far tougher than what I have in the pouches it sometimes is not. Sometimes it’s, as I said, some stuff I feel like carrying even when I know it’s not ideal. Or it’s brand new and I don’t know if it’s reliable, yet. And, of course, the best knife and the brightest flashlight won’t be of any use if you loose them.

Your personal approach

Now it’s up to you to find your personal approach. Maybe you go a similar way. Maybe you just find your categories and fill them with different items daily. Or just something completely different. Honestly, I’d like to know and you can use the comment section if you want to share.

There’s only one thing I’m very sure about: No matter what your approach is. As soon as you start to dive into this great topic you will start to thing, research and plan to make your kit better. And believe me, the hunt sometimes is just as enjoyable as the catch – I mean carry.

The “carry” in every day carry

There’s a fair chance that you have specific places for everything you carry on a daily basis. Often everything gets distributed over pockets in pants. If you’re not wearing heavy cargo pants on a daily basis you will need to have a way carry more stuff.

So far I discovered these approaches:

  • Spread all items over the pockets you have in your clothes and bags (if you use one). This allows for quick access but you will have a hard time switching from one piece of clothing/bag to another.
  • Put everything in pouches that hold everything you need. You will need a little more time to get to your gear but everything is protected and you can just toss the pouches in whatever clothes or bag you’re using today.
  • Get a bag that holds everything you want to carry. Like a waist bag or a shoulder bag. This will give you quick access, protection and the ability to switch take this bag with you no matter what you wear that day.
  • Use a bag that is significantly bigger than what you need for your EDC gear. Like a backpack or a gear slinger. Has similar specifics like the option above but you can also use the bag to carry things you won’t need all the time. Ranging from jackets to groceries.

Of course, you can mix and match the approaches just like you need them. I know people who say that everything that is important enough to be carried daily should be as close to your body as possible – meaning in your clothes. You can lose your backpack but usually you won’t just loose your pants. Same is true for items that need extra care. Like when you are carrying a concealed firearm, make sure you can’t just loose it by forgetting your backpack on the bus. Or have it stolen by a simple pickpocket. Either carry it on your clothes or use a bag that’s made for concealed carry with options to tether it to yourself.