What is EDC? Everyday Carry: The Essential Guide

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What is EDC? The Essential Guide to Everyday Carry

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard the term “EDC” at one point or another and wondered, what is EDC? Well, in this case, it is not referring to Export Development Canada, nor are we talking about the Electric Daisy Carnival rave in Las Vegas. So, no, this is not that kind of article.

Instead, I will discuss in this article what EDC is, who it is for, and how you can get started down the rabbit hole for yourself. (Disclaimer. I bear no responsibility for the untold amounts of money one can spend on Everyday Carry gear. Good luck, my friends)

What Does EDC Stand For?

EDC is the abbreviation given to the term “Every-Day Carry.” And everyday carry is just as it sounds, and it’s the items you grab as you run out the door. The things that would ruin your entire day if you left one of them on the counter.

Most people would include things like a cell phone, wallet, and keys. Therefore, you can consider those items essential everyday carry, and you would pick in a hurry as you leave the house. Granted, that is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get where I’m going with this.

However, when you dig into everyday carry philosophy a little bit deeper, you soon realize that it is all about having the right tool for the job. Each piece of your everyday carry has a purpose. Something that would make your life better in the given circumstance. Like a flashlight in the dark, a knife for cutting food, or a pen for taking notes.

What Should Be My Everyday Carry?

You probably already have some form of EDC and may not even know it. As I mentioned above, this can be as simple as a wallet, keys, and your cell phone. You don’t need to overcomplicate things. And, the simpler, the better. However, there is a whole everyday carry philosophy, and it makes sense to develop your own.

Using myself as an example, I don’t go anywhere without my sunglasses, a pocket knife or two, a minimalist wallet, cell phone, watch, and in general, my keys which have a rechargeable keyring flashlight attached. So this is my essential EDC. These are the things that have a practical application in my day-to-day activities.

While this may work for me, it may not suit your needs, and perhaps you may even be prohibited from carrying certain items. So what should you have in your EDC kit?
Well, answering a few simple questions will help determine the type of gear you should consider carrying.

Let’s start with the basics. What do you do for a living, and what do you spend most of the day doing? If you are a bike courier, this may change what you feel is essential, say, compared to a teacher. While some items may be the same or similar, factors such as size and weight may come into play.

Is it permitted or legal to carry? It seems like a no-brainer but needs to be said. I mention this because I live in Canada; unlike in the United States, where you are permitted to carry pistols in some states, we cannot. Or perhaps there are specific workplace policies that prohibit you from having a knife on you but may allow you to carry a multi-tool with a blade.

Do you find yourself out past dark or in poor light conditions? Would you benefit from having a lightweight flashlight or perhaps a tiny keychain light?

What items would make a task more manageable or add a level of protection if you think about your day-to-day activities?

Some EDC Essentials

Again, thinking about your daily tasks will largely determine the gear you decide to carry. With that said, there are certainly some items that most EDCers have. The following is a list of equipment that makes sense for most people and situations. Of course, not everything will apply to everyone, but this will give you some ideas as to the direction you may want to go with your EDC

EDC knife
Stang Bladeworks – Boardwalk

Knife

While most people would say they feel naked without their cell phone, admittedly, I think the same way about my Everyday carry knife. Since I have a decent knife collection, I have the luxury of choosing the blade based on what I’ll likely be doing that day. Also, I know I’m not alone in this. Most of my knives have a pretty high fidget factor. For me, my knives are a great way to express myself as well as share one of my passions with others.

So, in addition to being a handy tool, a knife can also provide a sense of identity and a fantastic way to represent that EDC lifestyle. Now the question is, which knife will you carry, and will it be a fixed blade, folder, or both?

Cell Phone

Since I’ve only mentioned the cell phone like a hundred times already, I’ll do it just one more time. I promise. Yes, the cell phone. It’s an essential part of my kit, as I’m sure it is with most people. This tiny piece of technology has become so ingrained with our every day that it would be impossible for most people to say that it is not that important. We rely on it for communication, navigation, and entertainment, often tied to our line of work.

Wallet

Not long ago, it would not be uncommon for me to carry a massive bi-folding wallet stuffed with cards, receipts, and useless papers—picture George Costanza in that famous Seinfeld episode. You know the one. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also unnecessary, at least for me these days. So these days, I carry only the essentials, and I manage to do that with a slim pocket wallet made by Buffalo Bones. Check out the Official Buffalo Bones Facebook page Here.
But there are so many options out there for wallets. Everything from minimalist RFID blocking technology to super stylish, high-end leather works.

Sunglasses

I consider sunglasses/eyewear part of my EDC because I wear them daily. No pun intended, or was it? Sunny, cloudy, snowing, it does not matter. I’m usually wearing them. My eyes are pretty sensitive, and I’ve finally found a pair of lightweight, HD polarized lenses that are not too dark and do not distort screens or dapped light conditions.

Watch

Whether you’re into classic chronographs, digital watches, or smartwatches, watches are a big part of EDC gear. Pick your budget and choose a style; there are endless watch options. My Apple watch does the trick for me. Not too crazy expensive and provides more than enough features.

Flashlight

A flashlight is a super helpful EDC item, but only if you are regularly in a situation where you can use one. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be nighttime. On the contrary, flashlights are an excellent piece kit for low-light environments, perhaps work-related. But also for defense, even in broad daylight. You might be surprised how 2500 lumens in the face will deter and disorientate a would-be attacker. I do have a substantial collection of flashlights. However, I typically do not carry one daily, except my keychain light.

Multi-tool / SAK

One of the most versatile pieces of gear, IMO, has got to be the Multi-tool. While Leatherman is probably the first brand that comes to mind, there are other Multi-tools on the market. They come in a wide range of sizes and configurations, and colors. And if a Multi-tool seems a bit overkill to you, perhaps a trusty Swiss Army Knife is more your style. Of course, a good SAK is one of those things everyone should have anyway.

Leatherman Serge and Swiss Army Knife
Leatherman Surge & Swiss Army Knife

Prys / Pliers

The pry bar and pliers are items that make sense to some but not others. I’ll admit, I have a Vero Fulcrum and think it’s an awesome pry bar. But also, if I’m being honest, I’ve only used it for the Wiha hex driver and bits. With that said, using a pry bar to pry rather than your knife is much better. As for the pliers, I see many people post pictures of their EDC with a set of KNIPEX pliers.

I do not doubt that KNIPEX makes a phenomenal pair of mini pliers, and if you have use for them, that’s great. Personally, I carry my Leatherman, which has a plier feature, and it is suitable for most of the things I need it to do.

Pen 

The old saying goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” But what good is that if you don’t have a reliable pen on hand? A pen can be simple or ridiculously fancy, but it’s all about function for me. So before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a Saga Pen, perhaps it would serve you better to look into something like a Tactile Turn. 

Notepad 

You may also want to bring a notepad if you carry a pen. The notepad is one of those items that has found a place among EDC enthusiasts and the EDC community. It’s a matter of personal preference if you carry one or not. A pad of paper can come in handy in many situations; even in a worst-case scenario, you can use the pages as a fire starter. Notepads are a great addition to your EDC gear, from the classic Field Notes Brand to waterproof Rite In The Rain, and there are plenty of options and styles to choose from. 

Tactile Turn titanium pen and Field Notes Brand note pad
Tactile Turn – Titanium Bolt Pen & Note Pad by Field Notes Brand

My final thoughts on Everyday Carry

When it comes right down to it, anything can be considered EDC. And the practical application of EDC is stuff you use daily. However, EDC has morphed into something more significant than just a philosophy. It has become somewhat of a phenomenon, bordering on obsession for some. Just look at some of the more popular EDC Instagram accounts or check out everyday carry Reddit. You’ll see what I mean.

For some, it’s not enough to have a helpful tool that they carry. They need colors and materials to match for the perfect photo op. I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to show off your cool gear; everyone does it, myself included. But, I do fall firmly in the “Use Your S#!t” category regarding EDC.

I’m certainly not going to judge someone based on whether on not they are into EDC for practical reasons or not. And who am I to say something is more beneficial to one person than the other? With that said, when it comes to my personal EDC, I tend to gravitate toward items I don’t feel bad about using. I’ll even carry two knives sometimes. Hahaha. One that I can beat on and lend out when asked, and one I like to show off as part of my knife collection.

How to get started on your EDC journey

EDC is a fun and rewarding hobby/lifestyle that almost anyone can enjoy. Getting started is as easy as organizing your daily items and considering those your essential EDC. Then, you can build out your everyday carry kits to include specific things you need in different circumstances.

Of course, it’s up to you how much money you want to send, but focusing on quality over quantity is always good advice. As I mentioned in the intro, EDC is a bit of a rabbit hole, and each item seems to have its rabbit hole to explore.

The main takeaway is to have fun, don’t overdo it, and simple is better. If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it. And if you think I’m missing something, reach out. Next to collecting and carrying EDC items, talking about EDC is another big part of being in the EDC community.

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Josh Malcolm

EDC Enthusiast
&
Gear Whore

I’m a dedicated firearms enthusiast as well as an advocate for firearm rights. I have a great appreciation for quality gear, be it firearms, every day carry, or hunting and outdoor equipment. 

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