Awesome, you are now better prepared than the overwhelming majority of the populace. But what survival tools should you have in your every day carry kit?
Here we will look at what a survival minded person could have on their every day carry list that would help prepare them to deal with dynamic situations that may arise in everyday life.
What is an Every Day Carry List?
An every day carry list is a set of items that you have with you under most scenarios (at all times if possible) that helps you be prepared at a moment’s notice to deal both daily situations as well as be ready to survive in emergency situations. These items may be designed to aid your survival on their own, or they may be there to help you get to a safe location or back home. It can be made up of a wide variety of items and should be tailored to your lifestyle, locality, and probable threats.
Ideally, the items on an every day carry list will be small both in number and size and will be possible to carry on your person without an extra bag or container to lug around. There are some people however that do choose to carry the items on their every day carry list in a specific EDC bag and others who prefer to consolidate this kit into fewer, more flexible items such as those covered in our 10 Best Multi-Purpose Survival Tools post.
What should be on YOUR Every Day Carry List?
1. Things You Carry With You Already
This is important to review for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they probably reveal some of your basic day-to-day needs which give us insight into what your greater every day carry (EDC) needs may be. Secondly, if you are already carrying an item with you, you would not need to replicate its uses or functions elsewhere. Or perhaps you can modify one of these items to make it a better EDC tool without adding another piece into your EDC kit. Keeping an every day carry list simple and light is key.
- Wallet – I need my ID and cash daily. I can’t leave home without this.
- Keys – Can’t leave home without these unless I want to climb through the window to get back in! I am going to add a “Grenade” Survival Kit Key Fob to my keyring, which comes with more paracord and a fire starting kit.
- Phone – I always have my phone on me to contact loved ones or the authorities in the event of an emergency. To improve this, I am going to load PDFs onto it with critical documents and a map of my local area in case I need to access these while the phone network is unavailable. I am also going to slip a razor blade and a laminated hard copy of that same map in the space between the case and the back of the phone as backups. If you do this, don’t forget to remove the blade before going through a security checkpoint at an airport!
- Watch – A friend once told me “Never trust someone who doesn’t have a watch.” It is an item that many of us carry every day. Some ways we can supercharge this into an EDC survival tool is to add a compass or use a paracord woven watch band. If you do not want to add a compass, you can learn to use your watch as a navigation tool.
2. Things That Would Help With Frequently Encountered Problems
Do you have problems that you face repeatedly? Is there a potential problem that has a high probability of occurring in your normal day or commute? Is there something that you frequently use that has the potential to break? Having an EDC item that could assist in these situations would make your life easier generally and be of great help when the high potential risks become a reality.
- Folding Knife – I have to frequently cut cardboard and plastic at work, but this would also be good if I was in a more office based role where I would be dealing with staples or opening letters. You cannot go wrong with the Kershaw Blur Folding Knife with a Partial Serrated Blade that I have been carrying with me for years and it still is razor sharp and can be easily opened with one hand. A small yet powerful addition to an every day carry list. Check out our in-depth article on How To Pick The Best EDC Knife.
- Flashlight – I am in a dark parking lot daily that this will help out with that. It will also be useful in case of a blackout or a fire. A good LED flashlight (check out our article here on picking the best EDC flashlight) is also powerful enough to signal for help and small enough to fit in a pocket and can also double as a self-defense tool. We love the Fenix PD35.
- Multitool – A multitool is the jack-of-all-trades of the tools that you can carry with you every day. You can get a full-fledged multitool such as the Leatherman Skeletool or opt for a lower profile tool that has less functionality by carrying a credit card multitool that fits in your wallet.
3. Things That Would Help With Rare and High Consequence Problems
This is a category of items that needs to be risk assessed versus threats in your area. They are meant to cover potential problems that are low probability to occur but if they did, would have a severe consequence. We will go over performing a risk assessment below, but a brief example would be if you ride in a vehicle to work every day. For this activity, there is a very low probability of needing to escape the train, bus, or car but if there was a crash and you needed to exit quickly, there would be severe consequences of not being able to do so. In this case having a glass breaking Tactical Pen or a seatbelt cutter would make a huge difference towards improving your chances of survival. Tools of this nature are what make up this category.
- Tactical Pen – A Tactical Pen is a high-grade metal pen that can double as a self-defense tool and glass breaking aid. I constantly need a pen at work so carrying this with me will not be adding an unnecessary item that I will rarely use. This is more of an upgrade to meet a daily need with the capability to address the rare but high consequence situation of defending yourself in the event of a personal attack. The Gerber Impromptu is an excellent choice for this although we cover several great options in our Tactical Pen buying guide.
- Pry tool – This will help me open doors and containers in the event of a car accident or a problem in my workplace or home. There are many options out there for this, the best one I found is the Boker Minibar Blade which excels in function, having both a pry tip and lever tool, but is a bit rough on the wallet. A cheaper option would be the Key Chain Pry Tool by Schrade.
- Paracord – Paracord is awesome as it is light, strong, and will not rot. It has nearly as many uses as duct tape. I would not be looking to carry around enough to make a rope ladder or anything as complicated as that but having some at my disposal if I need to splint a broken bone or tie an emergency shelter down would be handy. There are a lot of options for paracord bracelets and other wearable items, such as The Friendly Swede Paracord Bracelet as it comes with a metal clasp that doubles as an emergency fire starter.
Our Favorite Every Day Carry Gear
- Folding Knife: Kershaw Blur Folding Knife with a Partial Serrated Blade
- Flashlight: Fenix PD35 Flashlight
- Multitool: Leatherman Skeletool
- Tactical Pen: Gerber Impromptu
- Pry Tool: Boker Minibar Blade
- Paracord Wearable: The Friendly Swede Paracord Bracelet
For some more ideas, be sure to check our 10 Best Multi Purpose Survival Tools post for some other versatile EDC items.
How To Assess Risk
Rating the relative risks of threats in your locality is a good way to judge whether an item is worth including in you every day carry list or even your bug out bag contents.
The basic process for this is to judge each threat on two criteria:
- Probability – What are the chances of the threat occurring? Is it something that is highly probable (like slipping and falling on ice), which you see once a week or several times per month? Is it low probability (like an earthquake), which you would expect to see maybe once per year or every several years? Is it somewhere in between such as a car accident? Rate the probability of threats occurring realistically from your own experience and what has occurred historically in your locality.
- Potential Impact – What would the impact be if the threat actually happened? Would it be mild and easy to overcome? Would it send people to the hospital? Does it have the potential to be deadly?
We have created this Threat Assessment Matrix to help you visualize this concept:
This chart is a great tool for determining whether or not to add an item to your every day carry list. Keep it in mind and refer to it when building yours.
As you can see, there are some easy steps you can take to assess your every day carry needs and determine what is appropriate to be put on your every day carry list. Stick to the principles of addressing realistic, probable threats and keeping your items multi purpose and small to be most effective.
Remember when planning your every day carry list, chance favors the well prepared.
If you still haven’t packed your bug out bag, make sure to review our Bug Out Bag List to help you get started ASAP. Your EDC kit and your BOB are key to being prepared for anything and everything!
Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?
If you are looking for even more information on how to build your ultimate EDC kit you can check out my book, The Every Day Carry Guide. It is a comprehensive manual that will teach you:
- How to be prepared at all times – no matter where you are
- How to build your first EDC kit from scratch
- How to refine an existing kit to make it more effective
- How to pick the best gear to realistically make you more prepared
- How to assess threats and risks in your every day life
If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page! Do you have some every day carry items that you would like to share? Do you have any questions about making an every day carry list? Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!