How to build a Tier 3, Extended EDC Kit

We’ve spent a bit of time discussing our Primary EDC and Secondary EDC kits in the first two parts of this series.

Now we are going to tackled our Tier 3, Extended EDC. In our article detailing the 3 Tiers of Everyday Carry, we spent quite a bit of time defining each tier we are discussing.

As a refresher, we described our Extended EDC as any bag storing additional gear outside of your primary and secondary kits. Whether you call it an operational bag, 72-hour bag, get home bag, 3-day bag, etc., is irrelevant. As a matter of fact, this gear could even be stored in your car, at work, or even at home. Your Extended EDC encompasses any additional gear, regardless of where it’s stored.

Do I need an extended EDC?

This can be a tricky one and is very subjective in nature. When I think of an extended EDC, I think of supplemental gear, often offering sustainment that is meant to build upon what I’m already carrying.

This gear is often meant to be used in some sore of extenuating circumstances. Think of situations like natural disasters, man-made disasters, social or civil unrest, etc. These are rare (low probability) events than can often have grave consequences.

What does that mean? It means, this “stuff” may never get used….and, that’s a good thing. On the flip side, it may also mean you will invest in gear or equipment that takes up space and may require maintenance while it sits and collects dust.

Where should you store your Extended EDC?

In my opinion, this gear can be stored at home, in a car, in an office, at an off-site location, etc. It can be stored anywhere you have access.

I know, the ‘everyday carry’ component of this may seem confusing. This may not necessarily be gear we are physically carrying every day, but it directly supplements those items. It is meant to be accessible when needed, and would at that point become part of your EDC based on the situation or events unfolding around you.

If some sort of event kicks off and normal transportation is unavailable, a “get home bag” staged at your office may be critical.

Maybe a Vehicle EDC Bag makes more sense if you work out of your car or if you are on the road all the time. Or, maybe this vehicle kit is built merely to offer sustainment during extreme winter conditions.

Be mindful, those two pieces of kit would look totally different…different tasks, different purposes.

When you start looking at building out your gear be sure to look at what you may have to do, what your environment looks like, and what difficulties you may have to overcome.

What should you carry in your Extended EDC?

When you start looking at gear, you should break it down using a few different considerations. There is no way to ‘what if’ every single scenario you may be exposed to. It’s impossible and it will drive you mad. Not to mention, preparedness is not something that should consume you and strip away the enjoyment of life.

The idea here is to be thorough and deliberate about why and what you are choosing.

What is the purpose?

So, what is the purpose of your extended EDC? Here are some considerations to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Is the kit designed to get you home in an extreme event?
  • Is it designed to offer sustainment once you arrive at a certain location?
  • Is the intent to get you from your home to another location?
  • Is it for evacuation or another form of rapid departure?
  • Is it meant to provide support if you have mechanical issues with your vehicle?
  • Is it meant to help you evacuate a particular type of structure or building?

This is just a sample of the many different events or scenarios that may be possible. Your gear will be specific to you and your particular situation. No one can tell you specifically what you may need relative to your particular involvement in an event.

What is your environment?

Your environment will heavily influence what gear you should carry and how you will use it. Many folks live in pretty extreme environments on both ends of the spectrum.

Someone living in Southern Arizona will have totally different considerations than someone living in Interior Alaska. While there may be some common overlap, the specifics will vary greatly.

Some considerations include:

  • Water or hydration
  • Extra clothing
  • Shelter from the elements
  • Gear to sustain extended foot travel
  • Gear to shelter in place
  • Signaling equipment
  • Communication equipment
  • Self-defense tools
  • etc.

The list could go on and on. Again, the point is to look at your particular environment, the purpose of your kit, and any obstacles you may face.

What are the potential obstacles?

When it comes to obstacles, what should we be looking at? Your environment and potential obstacles can almost go hand in hand. In my opinion, our environment includes more ‘natural’ considerations.

When it comes to obstacles falling outside or nature, I’m focusing on potential manmade threats or areas of concern. Things to consider are:

  • Civil unrest
  • Breakdown of public transportation
  • Non-existent cellular service
  • Chemical or nuclear threats
  • etc.

What items should I pack?

When it comes time to put the rubber to the road and start acquiring gear, you need to consider all the issues highlighted above. This will help you start narrowing down the process. However, if you are like me, it’s nice to have a “go-by” of sorts to help out with the creative process.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what your Tier 3 Extended EDC might look like as it relates to a vehicle. The categories and contents listed below are merely examples and are not reflective of my exact kit.

Again, this is just an example and each and every person will need something different. I will be putting out a detailing look at my Vehicle EDC (VEDC) Kit in an upcoming article.

Gear list

  • Tool Kit
  • Gloves
  • Battery jumper
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Handheld flashlight
  • Headlamp
  • Backpack
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Change of clothes
  • Paracord
  • Paper towels
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tarp or contractor size trash bags

As you can see with the list above, it covers a number of categories like tools, emergency items, clothing, personal care, maintenance items, etc. The idea of the kit would be to supplement gear you are already carrying and to allow peace mind.

Remember, a kit like this is not just for emergencies and doom and gloom type scenarios, a lot of the items you may choose to carry or have available, like cleaning items, may simply improve quality of life.

It may also include items that if unexpectedly forgotten could ruin a trip. Having a backup available could save the day.

A change of clothes, a headlamp, paper towels, a tarp to lay on…these are all items That I have needed recently and have used more often than I ever expected. Now, as it relates to emergency items, the hope is you will never have to use them.

But, just think about how many times you have been in an accident, have seen an accident, or have driven up on a accident.

I bet there have been a few. There is no worse feeling than seeing someone in need during a horrible event and not being able to help because of a lack of tools or gear.

I’m not saying you should be prepared or have the gear for every imaginable scenario. But, having basic “stuff” available can handle most situations you will run across.


As a reminder, as you start working through the process of determining the purpose, environment, and obstacles your kit will address, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.

Start small…rank the issues you want to be able to address and start acquiring the gear, tools, and most importantly, training. Gear can be expensive and there is not need to buy everything at one.

Matter of fact, If you were to do an inventory, I bet you would have a lot of things you could repurpose from home.

As you start putting your kits together, let me know how it goes.


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.

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