How to Build an EDC Kit

EDC gear with knife, bullet pencil, aaa flashlight, and pocket notebook.

Be sure to check out our entire series on EDC Basic Kits:

  1. Part 1: How to build a Tier 1, Primary EDC Kit (current article)
  2. Part 2: How to build a Tier 2, Secondary EDC Kit
  3. Part 3: How to build a Tier 3, Extended EDC Kit

We hear it pretty often in a number of different ways, but one of the questions we get emailed or messaged to us regularly is, “How do I build an EDC kit?” As simple as that question may seem, the answer can oftentimes be very subjective. (A good place to start reading is our article, The three tiers of everyday carry.)

A variety of everyday carry basics, including: notebooks, knives, pens, pencils, and flashlights.

When it comes to everyday carry, people can be very loyal to particular brands and types of products. It’s great to be able to personalize your carry, but if you are just starting out, even that may feel overwhelming.

To take the edge off, we wanted to offer some general guidelines that will help narrow down the multitude of choices you have.

Let’s start off by building the most basic of EDC kits. For a basic EDC kit, we recommend carrying a knife, flashlight, pen, and paper at the minimum. This is of course in addition to what you normally carry, such as a wallet, keys, phone, etc. 

I know this doesn’t seem like a “kit” in the normal sense, but it is the foundation on which you will build the rest of your system. Keep in mind, that a kit is just a set of tools, supplies, etc., for a specific purpose.

In this case, the purpose is to handle the little things that pop up daily. As you expand your kit into your Secondary and Extended EDC, you will start to broaden the number of tasks you will be able to successfully tackle.

By simply adding a knife, flashlight, pen/pencil, and paper to your everyday carry, you can handle most of life’s day-to-day tasks with ease.

Why a knife?

If you’ve never carried one, you’re missing out. Knives are tools, and as such can be used to assist you in many jobs/tasks. They can be used for:

  • Self-defense (what are the odds?…small, but you never know)
  • Opening boxes/packages
  • Cutting various types of materials and cordage
  • Eating and food prep
  • Very basic medical (think removing a splinter or cutting bandages/moleskin, etc.)
  • Whittling (you never know when you need to kill some time or sharpen a stick)
  • Helping out a friend (we all know that guy who is never prepared)

A knife may not be the best at every single task, but it is multipurpose and can handle a variety of things with ease.

What about a flashlight? 

Why should you carry one of those as part of your EDC? Here are just a few reasons:

By carrying a flashlight in your pocket, you’re giving yourself the ability to create light in the darkness. Once you have this option readily available to you, you’ll miss it if you forget it.

How about a pen/pencil and paper? 

Why would anyone need to carry these items?

  • To-do lists
  • Goals
  • Ideas
  • Phone numbers
  • Doodling
  • Journaling

(If you’re looking for more information about why a pen and paper are essential to your EDC, check out our article here, Five reasons you need to add a pen and paper to your everyday carry EDC.)

The ability to write something down is a basic function and will become an essential part of your everyday.

Still having a hard time deciding what gear to pick up? Here are a few combinations to get your creative juices flowing.

Budget Carry EDC Kit Example

budget edc kit with opinel no7, fenix e12 led, rite in the rain all metal clicker pen and rite in the rain pocket top spiral.

The Budget Carry includes:

Minimalist Carry EDC Kit Example

edc kit with Raw brass Fisher Space pen bullet, rite in the rain mini stapled notebook, kershaw chive, and fenix uc02

The Minimalist Carry includes:

Classic Carry EDC Kit Example

The Classic Carry includes:

American-Made Carry EDC Kit Example

edc kit with american made products including a zero tolerance 0770, karaskustoms edk, maratac aaa2, and word notebooks adventure log.

The American-Made Carry includes:

Bonus: Tourniquet

EDC gear including a pocket knife, pen flashlight, resco watch, notebook wallet, phlster flatpack, tourniquet.

We feel strongly that medical is one of the most overlooked components of everyday carry. You never know when you will run into a situation that calls for extremity hemorrhage control. Car accidents, job site accidents, natural disasters, and more are frequent occurrences in the US. Be sure you’re prepared. Check out how to carry a tourniquet as part of your EDC.

Add a PHLster Flatpack Tourniquet Carrier to your EDC. It makes plain clothes carry of a tourniquet super easy. Pair the Flatpack with a SOF Tactical Tourniquet Wide for a great combination of convenience and preparedness.

Cody Martin

With over 18 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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