Everyday Carry Essentials – Must Have EDC Items

glock 43

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday carry (EDC) refers to the items you carry on an everyday basis that are essential to your daily life.

EDC is usually limited to what can be physically carried on a person or in a small bag or organizer, but it can also be more broadly applied to preparedness items in general, extending to what can be stored in a vehicle or larger backpack.

In this article, I’m going to list my top used EDC Essentials and give a brief explanation as to why I chose each one. Keep in mind, the gear you choose and for what purposes you choose it, is very personal. I can’t tell you what you need. However, I do believe most of these items are pretty universal.

Everyday Carry Essentials


costanza wallet

A wallet seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised. I’m not going to say what type of wallet is best for “you”, but I will say you need to keep it as thin as possible.

If you are pulling a “Costanza“, it may be time to cut the fat. If you need to downsize the thickness of your wallet, we can help you do it in 6-easy steps.

I’m currently testing out the FlowFold Traveler Trifold and have been really impressed after 4 months. It’s super thin, durable, and lightweight. I normally carry leather, but this has been a nice change.



Despite living in a digital world, cash is still king. Back in 2016, we wrote a 3-part series on the very topic, which is as relevant today as it was back then. In a nutshell, the series covered why, how much, and how to carry cash. You can read all three by following the links below:

Cell Phone

You probably can’t believe this is on here, but it is. A cell phone is so common nowadays, it seems like it is an extension of our body. They are used for everything.

The modern cell phone has replaced maps, GPS, pens, paper, business cards, newspapers, TV, scanners, cameras, clocks, watches, video cameras, and much, much more. Of course, it’s essential, most people couldn’t live without it.


resco rc-tac

Yep…a watch. How antiquated is that? I know cell phones have mostly replaced everything in our lives, but a quality watch can still hold its own. They’re not as old fashioned as you think.

There are a number of reasons I like wearing a good watch. First of all, I like to stay off of my phone as much as possible (even though it may not seem like it sometimes). If I need to look at my phone to check the time, it’s just one more opportunity to get distracted with text messages, news, social media, etc.

Outside of that, I don’t have to worry about my battery dying, which happens sometimes with my phone. My “current” favorite watch is my Resco RC-TAC, which gets used and abused. I love the automatic movement and the diamond sapphire crystal has performed flawlessly.

Pen & Notebook

fisher space pen raw brass bullet pen

This is a pairing that has carried over from my law enforcement days. I find a pen or pencil, and a pocket notebook very useful in day to day life. Even with the rise of smartphones, tablets, and other modern technology, the ability to write something down can still be one of the most critical things you do. They can be used for:

  • Goal tracking
  • To-do lists
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Spur of the moment ideas
  • Journaling
  • Doodling

Still not convinced, here are 5 reasons to add these items to your EDC.

My favorite combo for quite some time has been the Fisher Space Pen Raw Brass and Field Notes pocket notebook. Field Notes is a classic and the Bullet Pen has been my go-to for a long time. It’s super compact, writes well, and the brass offers a cool look when it starts to get a little patina.


maratac aaa copper flashlight

A flashlight has many different uses from digging for lost keys to navigating in the dark, to checking out what your dog is barking at, and even self-defense. The options for its use are many and so are the options you can choose from.

You need to be deliberate on what you pick because not all lights can serve all purposes. Whether you are looking for a utility light, a “tactical” flashlight, or if you want one for self-defense, what you choose matters. One thing is for sure, a quality flashlight is one of those pieces of gear you won’t regret having at all times.

Believe it or not, I usually carry two flashlights. I like to carry a super small AAA for utility purposes more often than not. My favorite in that category has been the MARATAC Copper AAA because of the lightweight, small size; and let’s be honest…the copper.

I also like to carry a light for self-defense applications (more like 85% of the time) when I can. For this application, I’ve recently been carrying the Surefire EDCL-2. I like the simple operations and high output of this model.

Pocket Knife or Multitool

spyderco manix2 lightweight

A pocket knife is a tool that probably isn’t as “useful” as a multitool with a good blade (in the big scheme of things). However, it is still very handy and is much easier to carry. Either way, you need to have a quality blade on you.

My long-time favorite is the Spyderco Manix2 Lightweight. Awesome blade, great steel, and super lightweight.

There are always opportunities for use like cutting food (it’s not that gross), cutting fabric, string, and rope, opening packages, or self-defense, just to name a few.

Do you prefer a multitool…it can be even more useful in a lot of cases. Depending on what you carry, most multitools can perform a large number of tasks. Keep in mind, it’s more of a jack of all trades, master of none, type of tool.

I own quite a few different multitools and have been a Leatherman user for more than 25 years. With that in mind, I find myself carrying and using the Leatherman Wingman the most. The tools it is equipped with fit what I most often use and it’s much lighter than my second favorite, the Leatherman Wave. However, the Wave is still on my list of favorite multitools.


glock 43

I get it, not everyone will agree with me on this and not everyone will be legally allowed to carry a firearm. However, for me, it is an absolute essential. Don’t forget a quality holster and belt…they all work together.

I don’t walk around in fear and I don’t walk around looking for trouble. I’m also not ignorant to the fact bad things happen and bad people are out there. If an unfortunate scenario presents itself in the future, I want to make sure I’m as prepared as possible to preserve life.

Hand-in-hand with a firearm should be proper training. If you are going to carry, spend the money on quality training with a quality instructor. This should be something you seek out every year in order to improve or at least maintain proficiency.

My current combo is the Glock 43 in an Alex and Ryan Designs Master Blaster. I like the G43 for most warm-weather applications due to its compact size and concealability (broken record here), but I do carry a larger Glock from time to time.


softt wide tourniquet in phlster flatpack

At a minimum, you should be carrying some sort of life-saving medical gear…especially if you are carrying a firearm. When I am going bare-bones, I at least try to carry a tourniquet. A lot of folks ask why they should carry a tourniquet because they can’t envision themselves being in a deadly force scenario.

But, accidents happen all the time. Car wrecks, industrial incidents, freak incidents, and more occur on a daily basis. Odds are you will never use your med gear for a shooting or something similar. However, the odds increase when you factor in day-to-day incidents that may require its use.

If you want to know how to carry a TQ in a very unobtrusive way, check out this article. As with a firearm, seek out quality training with a quality instructor.

My choice in the TQ category is a SOFTT Wide from TacMed Solutions carried in PHLster FlatPack. The SOFTT is approved and recommended by the CoTCCC and I’ve been training with them for a long time. The FlatPack makes it super easy to conceal along the beltline in an unobtrusive way.

Bonus: Pepper Spray

sabre red pepper spray

This is one category where I’m not as consistent in terms of regular carry. It’s usually a daily decision and to be honest, it comes down to how lazy I am in terms of wanting to carry it. With that being said, my personal choice in this category is Sabre Red Pepper Spray.

I like Sabre Red’s 1/2 oz. Key Case Pepper Spray mainly for the compact size and the concealability it affords. However, the small size has its limits. It only has a 10-foot range and has less volume which equals less spray. Sabre Red claims 25 bursts with this model, but I have not tested that number.


There you have it, my top picks for must-have EDC items. This is not all I carry, and you guessed it, things change up regularly. However, there are a few things that I have to have proficiency with. They stay in the rotation, I train with them regularly, and my goal is to maintain (and improve) proficiency.

With the peripheral items like pen, paper, wallet, etc., I like to mix it up from time to time depending on what’s going on.

When it comes to your choices, see what you will use the most and fill that void. When it comes to the preservation of life, get serious, get training, and get equipped. It’s up to you.

Stay frosty!


With over 17 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

Recent Posts