A Beginner’s Guide To Building Your First Tactical EDC Kit
As the saying goes, ‘It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.’ Everyday Carry (EDC) Kits were created by people who live by this statement. You’re here because you’ve made the choice to be as prepared as possible. We’re here to help.
What is an EDC Kit? In short, it’s the practical AND tactical items you need every day. Your environment will dictate the approach you take in building out your EDC Kit. Bear in mind, there are a few different perspectives on how and what to prepare for. Some people choose to keep a bag in the trunk of their car that they label a ‘Get Home Bag’, designed with the sole intent of getting home in the event of an emergency. That bag is separate from what some would call a ‘Bug Out Bag’ which would be designed for long-term mobility and sustainability in the event of a catastrophic event. This article is focusing specifically on your EDC Kit. What items do you need to complete the tasks you do every day, and what items can you keep with you in case of minor emergencies or unforeseen projects? Answering those questions will help you fine-tune your EDC Kit to your specific needs. With this in mind, consider what your needs are, and assemble your tactical everyday carry essentials accordingly.
TACTICAL EDC GEAR THAT IS PRACTICAL
Mission dictates gear. Whether you’re hitting the gym, catching a movie with friends or just headed out for a bite to eat, your experience can be aided by carrying a combination (or all) of the gear listed below. Consider your daily routine as well as what you commonly do outside of it. Meaning, are you single and highly social which makes you more likely to accept last-minute invites to hangout downtown, or are you married with kids which means you’re more likely to go straight home after work each day? Draw an honest portrait of yourself and your habits before making even the first purchase for your tactical EDC kit.
Once you’ve identified your own patterns, here are some things to consider when deciding what to add to your EDC kit:
1.) Daily Commute – both route and distance. What would impede you getting to/from work or home, and what might you keep with you to assist?
2.) Daily Environment – are you working from an office environment or outside and on the go? Will a bag be considered ‘out of place’ by the people around you? Will it draw unnecessary attention?
3.) Daily Interactions – do you work alone most of the time, or should your Everyday Carry Kit have enough aspirin to share with the people around you? Do you transport kids around all day? These factors can determine the quantity and types of items you pack.
Remember: Environment, environment, environment. The gear someone in Alaska might carry is going to look different than the gear someone in California or Texas might carry. Think about items you use several times a day that would be convenient for you to carry and are appropriate for your mission.
Here are few common tactical everyday carry essentials you should consider including in your EDC kit.
IDENTIFICATION AND PERSONAL TACTICAL EDC GEAR
Your identification and personal gear are the most basic things you can carry. You probably already carry these items with you everyday. Personal items can include things such as your keys, your phone, your wallet, chapstick, etc. If you’re wanting to protect your phone from everyday hazards, upgrade your kit with our selection of phone cases.
Another important piece of gear to consider carrying everyday is a watch. Though many people have substituted their watches with smartphones or even smartwatches, it’s important to consider the benefits of having a long-lasting, battery efficient device (i.e., a watch). Certain watches have additional functions beyond just time-telling, such as a compass, a timer, a built-in utility blade, and more. Choose a watch that is waterproof and meets the needs of your mission.
A flashlight is a mainstay as a tactical everyday carry essential. Not only is it useful for most everyday tasks, it’s also useful for self defense. When looking for a flashlight for your tactical EDC kit, it’s important to remember size, brightness, and battery life. If you decide to add a flashlight to your kit, we recommend the Streamlight PT 1AA LED Flashlight. This small light has C4 LED outputs resulting in one of the brightest tactical personal carry lights for its size. It also has a pocket clip for easy carry and can run on low light for 22 hours (high light for 1.75, and strobe for 4).
NOTEBOOK AND PEN
For many of you, a notebook and pen are two items that might already be on your everyday carry essentials list. Whether you are a designer or architect constantly sketching out drawings, a writer listing out ideas, or just someone who likes to take notes and make to-do lists, a notebook can be extremely useful. Depending on the weather patterns in your area, you also might consider purchasing a waterproof notepad to keep all of your notes safe from damage.
Even more so than a notebook, many people already have a pen included in their personal gear. If you already carry a pen (or are wanting to add one to your kit) we recommend upgrading to a tactical pen like the CRKT Williams Tactical pen. A tactical pen can double as a writing utensil and a defense tool, making it useful in both everyday tasks and in self defense situations.
One extremely useful item to include in your tactical everyday carry essentials is a multi-tool. As the name suggest, a multi-tool has a variety of purposes that are helpful in multiple situations. A multi-tool such as the Charge AL 6061-T6 provide tools that include scissors, bit drivers, and a knife all housed in one compartment. Multi-tools are usually small and easy to carry around too, making them super convenient for everyday carry.
Having a small tool that allows you to start a fire in case of an emergency is the definition of a tactical everyday carry essential. When choosing between a lighter or a fire striker, consider the advantages of one over the other. A lighter is the fastest way to start a fire, but keeping track of fuel levels and ensuring the lighter is dry at all times may not be ideal for some. Another option is a fire striker, which can be used in all types of weather conditions but it typically slower at starting a fire and requires kindling. As always, consider your mission and choose accordingly.
EMERGENCY TACTICAL EDC GEAR
After you have chosen which pieces of practical gear to include in your tactical EDC kit, it’s now time to consider items that would be good for emergency or self defense situations. As we mentioned before, mission dictates gear, but sometimes your mission can change in an instant in those moments, it’s good to be prepared.
If you choose to carry a weapon, whether for the defense of yourself, your family, or others, it’s important to know your states laws regarding carrying a concealed weapon and to train for proficiency. With this in mind, let’s review the following gear.
A knife is a piece of gear that has many applications and can serve multiple purposes. Depending on your mission, a knife can be extremely useful for daily tasks, such as opening boxes, opening letters, or cutting off loose pieces of fabric. It can also used as a tool for defending you or your family. With so many options for lightweight, discreet knives, this is an easy one to add into your tactical EDC kit. For utility applications, choose a knife like the Gerber Mini Paraframe Folding Knife, which serves as the perfect tool for daily tasks. For defensive applications, depending on your states laws on concealing or open carrying a fixed blade, choose a knife like the Benchmade SOCP Dagger. Just remember, it’s not about being tacti-cool, it’s about carrying the right gear for your mission.
When carrying a firearm, it’s important to know what the laws are for concealing or open carrying in your state, so brush up on your knowledge to avoid getting into trouble. If you’re considering adding a firearm to your tactical everyday carry essentials, it’s paramount that you train with that firearm! Choosing which firearm to carry is a matter of preference, so long as you’re choosing from a pool of reliable handguns. It’s important to choose a firearm that feels comfortable to you. Following are some of the most popular everyday carry firearms:
Once you have included your firearm in your tactical EDC kit, it’s time to think about ammo. Do you want or feel the need to carry around an extra magazine? One thing to consider is your other tactical EDC gear. Determine whether you have the space to carry an extra magazine. This is also an item that may change from time to time. Changing circumstances, even something as simple as what you are wearing, can affect whether you choose to include an extra magazine in your EDC kit for that day. However many mags and whatever caliber you decide to carry, be sure to check out our store for the best prices on ammunition.
FIRST AID KIT
If you are going to be carrying a knife or carrying a concealed weapon’assuming you have your license’we highly recommend including a first aid kit in your EDC kit. If you are carrying a firearms, carrying a tourniquet should be mandatory. Learn its proper use and carry more than one. Other items to consider for your first aid kit include gauze, medical tape, bandages, wound cleaning agents, and latex gloves. Companies like North American Rescue put together mission-specific kits that you can purchase with full peace of mind that you are covered from many angles. Including a first aid kit in your tactical everyday carry essentials will help you be more prepared for accidents, injuries, and emergencies.
Sanitary wipes can be easily overlooked, but they are by far one of the most commonly used items in any sort of EDC Kit. From cuts and scrapes to spilled coffee and sticky fingers, do not underestimate the value a small sleeve of wipes can add to your EDC kit.
SUMMARY: BUILDING YOUR OWN TACTICAL EDC KIT
Now that you’ve chosen which pieces of gear to carry everyday, it’s time to choose how you will carry. If you can fit whatever you’ve chosen in your pockets, great. If you need a bag, great. More important than how you carry, is that what you carry is something comfortable, lightweight, and durable, and that you carry everyday. Not some days or most days; every single day. If you find that after you’ve assembled your tactical EDC kit it’s too much of a hassle to carry everyday, then start over’you’ve defeated the purpose of an everyday carry kit.
Know your mission. Prepare for your mission. Train for proficiency. Shop Palmetto State Armory Accessories and find reliable, quality tactical EDC gear to complete your kit!