The notion of an everyday carry (EDC) is rather simple. It's the items you take with you, whenever you're leaving the house.
For most people this is probably just their wallet, keys and a phone, but once you start knowing a thing or two about survival, you can't help but to add a few extra pieces of gear.
I know I can't.
Think of your EDC like a core version of your bug out bag. If you're left stranded, be it a car crash in the middle of nowhere, or you happen to get into trouble and your bug out bag is sitting waiting at home or in your car, these are the items you've got to survive.
You want more than a set of keys.
But you can't carry everything.
The rules for your EDC
I've got a few rules when it comes to my EDC, and I recommend you follow these.
- It needs to be compact and effective to carry at all times
- It needs to be a piece of gear I will use several times a day, OR…
- It needs to serve a key survival purpose, like my concealed carry handgun
If you don't stick to the rules you're just going to be carrying around too much gear, and no one has that many pockets. The trick to making your EDC work, is to keep things simple, and find gear that has multiple uses.
What I carry in my EDC
There's only so many pockets and places to tuck your gear away, in everyday life you need to find a balance between being prepared to escape a crisis (i.e. what your bug out bag is for), and not having anything at all. I used to carry a lot more items with me, but this summer I scaled it back.
Right now, here's what you'll find in my EDC:
- Braided paracord keychain which not only has my house keys, but a small torch, a USB encrypted and loaded with all my important documents, and a small flint and steel.
- Wallet with 4 of my 5 credit cards (one stays home in my bug out bag), along with some cash, my ID, a picture of my family, and a small credit card multi-tool device.
- Smartphone, complete with a battery-pack case that gives me 3x the battery life of a normal iPhone, so I can go longer between charges just in case.
- Braided paracord belt. It's black and non-descript enough to not attract a lot of attention, but it gives me the option to have about 200 feet of cordage on hand at all times.
- I've replaced the laces in my boots with a survival set that has a flint and striker in the lace, as a backup for starting a fire.
- A folding survival knife with a clip to keep it in place in my pocket, that's sturdy enough to baton down branches if I need to split wood or build a shelter, but not overly large.
- My concealed carry firearm.
Which brings me to my latest addition to my EDC, my survival watch. It was a gift from the wife on my last birthday, and quickly became the last items I always carry with me.
Why I now wear a survival watch
There's two reasons.
First, I normally wear a watch, as it's much easier to glance down at my wrist to tell the time than it is to pull out my phone and fumble around with the buttons. Maybe it's my generation, but I like having a watch on my wrist.
The other, and most important, is it gives me a means to carry additional survival gear, in a secure and non-descript way. It's like a mini bug out kit, you've always got on your wrist.
Here's a few things I've used mine for over the last few months:
Starting a fire
The tinder combined with the alcohol pad makes a great fire starter, especially if you're stuck in wet weather. I keep a flint and steel with me as part of my EDC, but that doesn't always mean I can get a fire roaring in the rain. With these two extra bits of survival gear, it's easy.
Catching a feed
If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know I'm a big fishing fan. Find me some water, and I'll try to pull fish out of it. Inside my survival watch is a small length of line, some hooks and other fishing gear, so I've always got a way to throw a quick line in, no matter what situation I'm in.
Cordage in an emergency
The handle of my survival watch is a paracord bracelet, that gives you about 10 feet of paracord once it's unwound. I've cannibalized this cord on two separate occasions. The first, was to get a little cordage to hack together a reed fish trap on a whim while camping, the other, was to string up a guide line and get a quick roof over our heads during a downpour on a hike.
Repairing my jacket
One trip a few months back I was scouting a path down to the creek, and the entire bank I was on gave way. I was lucky enough to not break, twist or sprain anything in the fall, but I did put a nasty tear in my favorite jacket. Using the two brooch pins from my EDC kit in my watch, I was able to keep the tear from getting any bigger before I returned home and was able to get my wife to sew it up properly.
Plus, there's some pretty nifty general-purpose items like a compass (hello to anyone lost in the woods), a temperature gauge, and a whistle to attract attention in an emergency. All conveniently tucked or connected into the band on your watch. Be wearing a survival watch I'm able to simplify my EDC, while being able to carry additional survival gear that won't weight down my pockets. It's a must have piece of equipment.