Self Defense

Anatomy of the Every Day Carry (EDC) Kit

Uncle Zo's pocket dump as requested.

What is makes up a good kit for every day carry (EDC)? That’s a good question.

I’ve shared my thoughts on my EDC firearm choices and how my choices have evolved over time. I’ve also shared my deer hunting gear lists and talked a bit about layering strategies for self defense. But at the end of the day, the focus of those post have been through the lenses of self defense, firearms, or a specific purpose (and there will be plenty more posts of that nature). In this post, I want to take a step back and look at an EDC kit from a readiness or preparedness stand point.

I don’t intend for this point to be prescriptive, but rather an information look at how I’ve outfitted my personal EDC kit. The choices in the kit are personal and specific to what I suspect will be the most likely emergencies or disasters I may face in every day life. Your situation will be different and will be informed by your own life experiences, expectations, and opinions.

Before I dive into the the anatomy, I should explain that I don’t consider myself to be a prepper. I don’t expect the end of the world as we know it ( also known as “TEOTWAWKI”) to be eminent, but I do believe in being prepared or ready for likely emergencies. What are likely emergencies? Well I think Jack Spirko over at The Survival Podcast put it in a way that resonated well with me. He said something to the effect of the likelihood of a disaster in inversely related to its magnitude and scale. So a small individual disaster like losing a job or dealing with a flat tire are the most likely events and things like the coming of a new ice age due to global climate change are the least likely. At the same token, it’s easier to prepare for small individual emergencies than global scale TEOTWAKI scenarios. Spirko also advocates for preparing in way that improves ones position in every day life even if nothing goes wrong while making sound financial decisions that avoid debt. I try to follow these principles when deciding what I carry on my person every day.

With that out of the way, let’s look at the make up of the kit. I’ve mentioned the five (5) C’s of survival in other posts. These five C’s list the five most important or likely needed tools for survival. They are a cutting device, combustion device, cordage, container, and cover. Several other survivalists add their own additional 5 or so C’s. Personally I like Bear Independent‘s version of additional 5+1 C’s, which are compass, candle, casualty care, calories, combat, and conditioning. I think those 11 C’s work as the basic anatomy of a good EDC kit.

Now let’s see what my EDC looks like.

My cutting tool is a Zero Tolerance 0350 Folding Pocket Knife. I use it daily for mundane and typical cutting tasks like opening packages and the like. It’s been in my back right pocket everyday for years and it goes everywhere with me.

My combustion device is a plain old Bic lighter. It sits in my pocket even though I don’t smoke (anymore). Most often it’s used to light birthday candles or start coals for a BBQ. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s there if needed.

I do carry some paracord with me everywhere in the form of a key chain I picked up on Amazon a couple of years back. I’ve never needed to use it, but it’s there. Another option is a paracord bracelet. Both of those items aren’t used for anything else and wouldn’t be missed if they were undone to use the cord for something. I’ve seen some paracord belts and watch bands, but I don’t particularly care for them as they serve a purpose other than just having spare cordage. Not to mention, I can’t imagine a paracord belt making a good belt to secure a holster on.

Pretty much everywhere I go, my Yeti Tumbler goes. This serves as my container. I doubt it could be used for boiling water and I don’t carry any water filtration or purification items on my person. I generally have some in my vehicle kit and at home or a pack when I’m out camping, fishing, or hunting. But I don’t think it’s something I’m likely to need at the office or at a friends house. If I do need one, I’ll work my way to my vehicle. Sometimes my Yeti Tumbler is replaced by bottled water.

On my person, the clothes I’m wearing serve as my cover as far as my EDC kit goes. Like the additional water container, filtration, and purification items, additional cover is generally in my vehicle, at home, or in a specific purpose pack.

My cell phone serves as my compass and communication device. It’s got a GPS, a map app, and a compass app. Traditional maps and compass are generally in my vehicle as well.

I carry a Streamlight ProTac 2L in my left back pocket with me always. It serves as the candle. It gets quite a bit of use. More than I expected it would when I first started carrying it. This was a part of my kit that I probably wouldn’t have added as cell phone can be used in it’s place, but my wife and kids got me one as a gift and now I can’t image being without it.

Also on my person is a very simple blow out kit (BOK) which serves as the casualty care component in my EDC. It’s composed of flat fold emergency trauma dressing and tourniquet by North American Rescue which I keep in my left front cargo pants (or shorts) pocket. If I’m not wearing cargo pants or shorts, then I’m likely carrying my laptop bag and the BOK is stuffed in there. I keep a more comprehensive first aid or trauma kit in my vehicle and at home.

To be honest I generally don’t carry extra calories with me unless I happen to be carrying my laptop bag. I do keep a couple of Cliff Bars in the laptop bag which have come in handy on days I’ve missed lunch at work for some reason or other.

My defensive EDC pistol and a spare magazine go wherever I go and that covers the combat bit.

The conditioning component deals with one’s own physical, mental, and spiritual conditioning. My physical conditioning needs work, but I’m working on it while maintaining and developing my own mental and spiritual conditioning.

There you have it. That’s my EDC kit. Keep in mind that my selections are based on things that I can keep on my person without drawing attention to myself in the typical environments I find myself in which are working in an urban environment and life in a suburban one. Is my kit good? That’s up for debate. I’m sure some people will say it’s good others will point out deficiencies, but at the end of the day, it’s good enough for me.


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