Best Tactical Pen

The Best Tactical Pen For Your Kit

Best Tactical Pen

A tactical pen can be a good option for a self-defense tool in an emergency. They make great every day carry companions due to their small size, light weight, concealability, and dual purpose functionality.

In this article, we will show you how to choose the best tactical pen for your EDC kit or Bug Out Bag by taking a look at some of the best options on the market.

We’ve conducted extensive research and built the table below to allow you to compare some of the best tactical pens on the market.

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

5.59"1.02 ozIntegrated glassbreaker$$Machined steel
Schrade Survival Tactical Pen

5.9"1.7 ozIntegrated survival whistle, glass breaker, and magnesium fire starter$$Anodized aluminum
Uzi Defender Tactical Pen

6"2.4 ozHeavy Duty, incudes integrated glassbreaker$Aircraft Aluminum
CRKT Williams Tactical Pen

6"1.2 ozTapered body to aid grip retention$$Machined anodized aluminum
Smith and Wesson M&P Tactical Pen

5.7"1.4 ozRidged body for excellent finger holds$T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Vktech Tactical Pen

5.7"3.7 ozScoops on back for catching attacker's DNA, makes and excellent glass breaker$Aircraft Aluminum
Schrade Tactical Pen

5.7"1.6 ozHighly Inconspicuous
Screw on/off cap
$CNC machined 6061 aircraft aluminum
Smith and Wesson 3rd Gen Tactical Pen

5.7"1.4 ozIncludes stylus tip on one end for touchscreens$T6061 Aircraft Aluminum

What Is A Tactical Pen?

A tactical pen is a writing tool that is also designed to be used as a defensive weapon.

Tactical pens are typically made of metal or a very sturdy plastic. Aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium are frequently employed to make strong, lightweight, tactical pens.

One or both ends of the tactical pen is typically tapered to a point to allow for it to be used as a thrusting self-defense tool. Whereas a normal pen would bend or break if used in a defensive scenario, a tactical pen is designed exactly for this use.

Why Carry A Tactical Pen?

People carry tactical pens for many reasons.

Some may just want a high-quality pen that looks good and matches other gear they may have, like a folding knife or other tactical equipment.

The main reason people carry tactical pens is to have a reliable self-defense tool that can be hidden in plain sight.

While a knife or firearm will draw most anyone’s attention if spotted while being carried, a tactical pen is more of a “gray man” option. Most tactical pens will pass a security or TSA inspection, therefore, can be carried almost anywhere.

UPDATE: A reader has sent this article to show that some of the more aggressive style pens do get confiscated at airport checkpoints. Consider this when choosing your pen if you plan on traveling with it.

With some basic training, tactical pen carriers are more readily able to protect themselves wherever they go.

Another advantage of tactical pens is that often they are designed to be non-lethal and come with a blunt end that is intended to apply painful force to pressure points, sensitive areas, and other vulnerable locations on an attacker’s body. This can be an appealing non-lethal self-defense option for those not wanting to cause mortal damage to an attacker.

Others may just be looking to lighten their kit by combining their self-defense tool with their writing instrument into one small multipurpose item. A tactical pen is perfect for this.

Tactical pens are a robust, low key, self-defense option.

Best Overall Tactical Pen: Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

Best Tactical Pen
Click on the image now to see reviews for this Tactical Pen on Amazon

The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen doesn’t attempt to do absolutely everything its competitors try for but instead chooses to execute the essential functions of a tactical pen with authority.

It comes out of the box with a Rite In The Rain ink cartridge, so you will be able to confidently take notes, mark maps, and more in any conditions.

It also has a low profile glass breaker integrated into the tip to assist in emergency evacuations from vehicles of buildings.

Additionally, it is one of the few “click” pens you see in the tactical pen format, which I consider to be an advantage – no cap to unscrew every time and one less thing to lose.

Overall the machined steel body is extremely strong and will hold up to the roughest applications. Its various ridges and indentations ensure a positive grip should it be required to discourage aggressive behavior.

These features have all been added thoughtfully and executed flawlessly.

There is no excess on this tactical pen, and it strives to meet your daily needs at every turn.

Coming in around the $40 price point, the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen exceeds expectations and makes for a reliable companion for years to come.

Best Mid-Range Tactical Pen: Schrade Survival Tactical Pen

Best Tactical Pen
Click on the image above to see the Schrade Survival Tactical Pen on Amazon

The Schrade Survival Tactical Pen gets our pick for the best mid-range tactical pen for several reasons. For one it has a ton of useful survival gear packed into its compact package including:

  • Survival Whistle
  • Glass Breaker
  • Magnesium Firestarter

These items alone justify the $25 price tag.

As a tactical pen if both writes well and is strong enough to be a functional self-defense item.

The narrow taper at the writing end serves well as a force multiplier if you ever needed to deter an attacker with it.

This tactical pen has a rather inconspicuous profile to it, unlike some other pens that have an obvious weaponized appearance.

Its ordinary appearance will help it avoid scrutiny from security checkpoints, ensuring that you will be able to defend yourself pretty much anywhere.

The Schrade Survival Tactical Pen is a solid mid-range tactical pen that will not disappoint.

Best Budget Tactical Pen: Vktech Tactical Pen

In the sub-$5 price range, there is no better choice than the Vktech Tactical Pen.

While you can’t expect it to be of the same quality as our previous picks, it still has excellent workmanship for the price.

Picking it up you can feel its solid construction.

The knurling along its body meshes perfectly with the palm of your hand for a comfortable non-slip grip.

The Vktech Tactical Pen offers reliability and durability at an unbeatable price making for a great entry-level option.

How Do I Choose The Best Tactical Pen For My Kit?

Pen Quality

When looking for the best tactical pen a good place to start is to choose one that writes well. This is the basic function of a tactical pen and is what you will use it for 99% of the time. The best tactical pens out there accept ink refills from quality producers like Parker and Hauser, Fischer Space Pen, and Rite in the Rain.

Self-Defense Features

Once you have a good writing tool, it is time to look at the defensive features to find the best tactical pen for your personal protection.

First, decide how you would want to use your tactical pen as a defensive tool.

A smaller woman, for example, may struggle to inflict damage with one of the blunt ended tactical pens and a tactical pen with a pointier end may be more suitable.

A larger person would probably be more able to strike with enough force to ward off an attacker with either of these options so they would have a wider variety of suitable tactical pens to choose from


In addition to being comfortable in your hand for writing, having a good grip is key to using the pen as a defensive tool.

In a self-defense scenario, you will likely be swinging it with velocity you will want to make sure the tactical pen stays put in your hand upon impact.

The best tactical pen you can choose will have ridges or grooves for your fingers to sit in and knurling to aid grip retention.


Best EDC Knife
Click to read our article on picking the BEST EDC Knife

Attachment Clip

The best tactical pens on the market will have a robust pocket clip for attaching the pen to a pocket, bag, or belt.

Many pens also have additional attachment options for keyrings, carabiners, and paracord.

Make sure the tactical pen you choose has an attachment option that matches the way you intend to carry it.

Extra Features

A common point of differentiation to look for when finding the right tactical pen is to keep an eye out for unique features.

Many tactical pen makers work to make their products stand out by incorporating additional features such as:

  • Hidden Handcuff Key
  • Magnesium Firestarter
  • Window/Glass Breaker
  • DNA Catching Scoops (for identifying an attacker to law enforcement)

Keep an eye out for special features such as these when choosing your tactical pen.

How to Use a Tactical Pen

There are many schools of thought of the best way to use a tactical pen for self-defense.

If you are going to carry one, it is essential to train in how to use it effectively.

Once you have learned proper technique, it is as important to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

Typical tactical pen targets include:

Pressure Points

  • Armpit
  • Neck
  • Inner arm
  • Inner thigh

Sensitive Areas

  • Throat
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Groin
  • Ribs
  • Solar Plexus
  • Nose

BONUS: Instructional Video

Here is a helpful instructional video to get you started.


There are a lot of great options out there for carrying a reliable, multipurpose tactical pen.

Finding the BEST tactical pen for your needs can be a challenge, but hopefully, the suggestions we have made will help you decide.

Once again, here are our picks:

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


Your Thoughts?

Do you have a tactical pen that you want to share? Is there a quality you NEED to have when finding the best tactical pen for your environment? Please let us know in the Comments Section below.

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EDC List

The Best EDC Flashlights – Our Picks and How to Choose

Best EDC Flashlight

After essential basics such as a wallet, keys, phone, and knife, finding the best EDC flashlight is an important element of developing your every day carry kit.

Having a good flashlight can improve survivability in many situations in addition to it being highly useful in day-to-day circumstances.

With the right EDC flashlight, you’ll never get caught in the dark!

There are a lot of EDC flashlights on the market, and it can be confusing to find the best flashlight for your EDC kit. We will help your search by showing our Top 10 and give our picks for the best overall, entry level, and mid-level EDC flashlights.

We will also discuss what qualities to look for when choosing your EDC flashlight for your needs including features, lumens, beam types, switch variations, and more.

Note: If you are new to the concept of EDC (Every Day Carry), you may want to check out my article here, which explains the basics and will help you design your first EDC kit.

Best Overall EDC Flashlight: Fenix PD35


With a scorching 1000 lumen output, the Fenix PD35 is practically a lightsaber. That level of illumination is effective for tactical usage and any basic task that you could throw at it. This lumen output is even more impressive given the flashlight’s sub-$100 price tag. The Fenix PD35 has 6 output options for outstanding versatility and weighs in at only 3oz.

If having a reliable, extremely bright light is essential to your EDC kit, this is the one for you.

Best Mid-Range EDC Flashlight: Olight S10


The Olight S10 is a compact powerhouse. Its tiny size (2.7 x 1.9 inches) and minuscule weight (2.4 oz) make it ideal for a lightweight EDC kit. The Olight S10 packs 320 lumens into this tiny package and can cycle through its 5 pre-programmed modes of high, medium, low, moonlight, and strobe.

All that versatility stuffed in a tiny package makes this flashlight an easy choice at approximately $50.

Best Entry-Level EDC Flashlight: Fenix E12


The Fenix E12 is a gem in the entry-level EDC flashlight field. It is reasonably priced in the sub-$30 range and produces 130 lumens in a compact package that makes it perfect for a keychain light. Add the versatility of running on a single AA battery, and you have a real winner for a basic every day flashlight.

Flashlight Features: How to Choose the Best EDC Flashlight

Whatever EDC flashlights you consider you should be aware of these basic qualities when determining which one is best for you.


Most flashlights will describe how many lumens the light produces in their packaging or product descriptions.

Understanding lumens gives you an excellent way to perform an apples-to-apples comparison of the most basic function of an EDC light which is providing illumination.

A lumen is the unit of measure of the total amount of visible light produced by a source. Basically, how bright the flashlight is. The more lumens it can produce the brighter the beam will be.

Basic flashlights are usually 10 lumens, and high-end search and rescue lights can be over 18,000 lumens.

Typically, EDC flashlights will be in the 50-1000 lumen range but consider how you are likely to use your light to help determine how many lumens you really need.

Best EDC Flashlight

Bulb Type

Since the invention of the flashlight, incandescent bulbs have been shedding light into the dark corners of our lives. However, in recent years, LED (Light Emitting Diode) flashlights have begun to take over this role. LED lights are particularly favored for every day carry kits because they offer greater efficiency, better battery consumption, greater brightness, and far better impact resistance than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs.

Choosing an LED based bulb for your EDC flashlight is a no-brainer at this point.

Best EDC Flashlight

Battery Type

Most commercially available flashlights use either AA or CR123 batteries. While AA is the tried and true old guard, the CR123 is a more recently available challenger.

  • AA Batteries for your EDC Flashlight – AA batteries have been around for many years and are a reliable source of power for many gadgets. AA batteries are based on alkaline cell technology that is tried and true. AAs are typically cheaper and more widely available than newer batteries as well as being a smaller diameter and longer in size.
  • CR123 Batteries for Your EDC Flashlight – CR123 batteries are based on lithium cell technology and can provide greater energy storage and output allowing for a brighter, longer lasting flashlight in most cases. CR123 batteries are however more expensive and less readily available than AAs, and although they are shorter in length, they have a wider diameter. Because of this, flashlights using CR123 batteries are typically more compact but fatter than ones using AAs. CR123 batteries are also typically lighter (.6oz for CR123 compared to .9oz for AA) which can result in a lighter flashlight overall. Lithium cell batteries also provide higher performance in cold temperatures.

So, which battery is best? It depends on what you are looking for.

If you want a light that uses a battery that is more readily available in a survival scenario, AA is probably best for you. If performance and weight reduction are paramount to you, CR123 is the way to go.

Generally speaking, for an EDC kit, where the availability of batteries isn’t really an issue, CR123 is a nice option.

Flashlight Size

As with most EDC gear, keeping things compact is essential.

No one wants to carry anything heavy or bulky with them as part of their every day carry kit.

The best EDC flashlights can typically provide a high amount of illumination while staying under 4″ long. The trade-off for having a tiny EDC light is that you will have less space inside to fit a battery so you may sacrifice some power if you choose an ultra-compact flashlight. This is an important trade-off to consider, and you will have to strike a balance when finding the best EDC flashlight for you.

Waterproof Rating

You never know what conditions you will need to use your EDC flashlight in. However, if you may need illumination in the rain or during a flood, having a light that is not waterproof is about as useful as not having one at all.

Most quality lights will be rated as waterproof or at least water-resistant. Flashlights are typically rated using an IPX code which identifies water resistance testing and capabilities (see the chart below).

The bottom line is if you are looking for a flashlight for EDC purposes and it is not listed as being waterproof, move on to an option that is.

Best EDC Flashlight

Body Construction Material

A metal body flashlight will be tougher and be able to take more abuse than a plastic one. Having a durable flashlight is important it will likely receive some knocks, drops, and bumps as you carry it every day.

Selecting a metal flashlight will result in a longer lasting tool that is functional when you need it.


As with any item on your EDC list you want something that provides the greatest utility at the lowest weight. No one wants to be carrying around an anchor in their pocket, purse or EDC bag. When selecting the best EDC flashlight for your kit, you can keep weight down by choosing a small light or one made of lightweight materials such as aluminum or titanium. Selecting a flashlight with a CR123 type battery is another way to save weight. Look for a flashlight that weighs less than 5 oz to keep your pockets light.

Beam Features

  • Adjustable beam – Having an adjustable beam significantly increases the versatility of your EDC flashlight. Being able to choose to illuminate a wide area when conducting a search and then changing to a narrow beam for signaling or tactical scenarios will make sure your EDC light meets any need you may have.
  • Flashing/Signaling Capabilities – Some flashlights come with multiple modes available beyond the ability to shine a plain beam. While this may not be a feature you think you would need, flashing and signaling capabilities can come in handy. Both are invaluable when trying to signal for help or to communicate at a distance in the dark.

Attachment Options

Just about any quality EDC flashlight will have some attachment options. Attachment options usually include a pocket clip, lanyard loop, carabiner clip, or keyring. Make sure whatever option the EDC light you choose is compatible for how you intend to carry it.

Even the best EDC flashlight will bring frustration if you can’t carry it that way you want.

Switch Type

Like the attachment option, make sure the switch your EDC flashlight uses is compatible with the way you intend to carry it. Most importantly make sure that the switch, twist collar, or button, is reliable and will not turn on while in your pocket or bag. Nothing is worse than opening up your bag and seeing the weak yellow glow of a flashlight with a dying battery right when you need to use it.

Parting Advice: How To Pick The Best EDC Flashlight For Your Needs

As you can see, there are a lot of options out there when trying to find the best EDC flashlight.

Remember the basics of finding a reliable light that is comfortable to carry around with you on an everyday basis.

Don’t skimp on quality and look for features that match your specific needs.

Feel free to refer to our favorite EDC flashlights as options for your kit:

Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?

Another cornerstone of any EDC kit is a knife. Read our guide to choosing the best knife for 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 everyday life


Your thoughts?

Do you have a favorite EDC flashlight that you recommend? Are there any particular features that you look for when finding the best EDC light for your needs? Please let us know in the Comments Section below!

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Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review

We recently took a look at the Emerson Mini CQC-15 as a part of our guide on How To Choose The Best EDC Knife. We were so impressed by it that we ended up recommending it as the Best Overall EDC Knife.

Here we will take a closer look at its  features and qualities with our in-depth Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review.

Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review

First Impressions

Right out of the box we could tell that the Emerson Mini CQC-15 is a high quality knife.  It feels solid in the hand and the 154CM stainless steel blade comes from the knifemaker very sharp.  The overall build quality is outstanding.

One thing that catches the eye right away is the patented “Emerson Wave” feature.  This is a cleverly designed lever on the back of the blade that catches your pants pocket as you draw the knife out to automatically open the blade.  If you have seen a video of this working (below) you may think this is a spring-assisted open knife.  In fact, it is not.  It is a normal, manual open folder but the Emerson Wave feature makes the blade pop open in a flash as the knife is drawn out of the pocket.  It is a very cool, useful feature that separates the Emerson Mini CQC-15 from its competitors in the tactical folder field.


The blade on the Emerson Mini CQC-15 is made of premium quality 154CM stainless steel that provides a great balance of edge retention and ease of sharpening.  The model we tested had a partial serration with a tanto tip and a recurve to the belly of the blade.  The back of the blade is a consistent thickness from base to tip and has robust jimping on the back of the Emerson Wave feature that provides for a confident grip.  In a brilliant nod to every day use the blade is beveled on only one side to make field sharpening a breeze.  You could grind the Emerson Mini CQC-15 against a flat rock and have it back to usable sharpness in no time without worrying about keeping the perfect angle to your grind.

Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review


The model of Emerson Mini CQC-15 we tested had a nicely textured G10 handle with titanium liners to save weight.  The grip is well designed with a curved choil exactly where your fingers would grip the handle.  We were able to maintain a confident grip both barehanded and with a pair of work gloves on.  The jimping on the back of the Mini CQC-15 and Emerson Wave feature add to this sense of security providing highly effective control under even adverse conditions.

Open Mechanism

As mentioned above the instantaneous opening out of the pocket really pushes the Emerson Mini CQC-15 ahead of its competitors.  After using it for the first time we were left asking why EVERY knife doesn’t have this feature.  The Emerson Mini CQC-15 also sports a left and right hand thumb stud perpendicular to the blade for ambidextrous opening.  Using the thumb stud with a quick flick of the wrist engaged the blade with a satisfying click.

Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review
The Emerson Mini CQC-15 is a great addition to any kit

Clip Attachment

The Emerson Mini CQC-15 has a firm pocket clip for securing the blade to a pants pocket, belt, or webbing.  It is worth noting that the knife must be oriented in a specific way in order for the Emerson Wave feature to be able to engage the pants pocket.  Because of this the pocket clip is not able to be switched to carry on the left hand side or in blade point-down orientation.  Modification is available from the manufacturer for you lefties out there to enable the Emerson Wave to be engaged in a left-pocket deployment.  The Emerson Mini CQC-15 also features a large lanyard hole at the base of the grip for securing it to your gear or person.  This is highly useful if you are planning on using this knife at heights or as a secondary blade attached to a pack with some paracord.


The Emerson Mini CQC-15 utilizes a titanium linerlock that automatically engages upon opening the knife.  This provides a very tight lock with no wiggle to the blade when deployed.  There has been some talk among users of the Emerson Mini CQC-15 that the titanium linerlock against the steel blade can actually be too tight making it harder than other knives to close.  This is a bonus of you want a reliable locking mechanism that is not going to close on your hand but can be a challenge if you want to be able to quickly close the blade.  It can be remedied by breaking in the knife through use over time and accelerated by rubbing graphite on the face of the linerlock that mates with the blade.

Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review

Emerson Mini CQC-15: The Verdict

The Emerson Mini CQC-15 is an awesome tactical folder that is well built and feels great in the hand.  The blade is made of high quality steel that will hold its edge well.  The Emerson Wave opening feature is both innovative and practical and provides for a reliable, instantaneous opening for when rapid deployment matters.  The only downsides we could find were the easily overcome tightness of the lock and cost.  However if quality and practicality are paramount to you, look no further than the Emerson Mini CQC-15.  It is a great addition to any EDC list, bug out bag, or camping kit.

Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review

Your Thoughts On Our Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review?

Have you ever used an Emerson Mini CQC-15?  Is there anything that you think we should mention in our Emerson Mini CQC-15 Review?  Please let us know what you think in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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Best EDC Bag

How To Choose The Best EDC Bag

Best EDC Bag

Choosing the best EDC bag to contain your every day carry items is an important part optimizing your day-to-day preparedness.

There are many brands, styles, features, and sizes of bags out there, and in this article, we will help you identify what to look for as well as what to avoid when selecting the right bag for your EDC kit.

Step 1: Choose Your EDC Items

Before choosing an EDC bag, we need to go over exactly what gear we plan to carry.

Whether you are new to the idea of Every Day Carry or someone who has been carrying a kit around for years, take this as an opportunity to reassess your EDC needs.

We cover this process in depth in our How To Make An EDC List article but we will recap here for your convenience.

Let’s perform our EDC list review by asking ourselves following questions.

1. What items do you NEED to carry with you to accomplish your basic daily routine?

These are the basic items that you can’t leave your house without. These items usually include a wallet, keys, and cell phone. You may require more than this based on where you live or what you do professionally.

Keep this list as minimal as possible, it will be the core of your EDC kit, and we will add on from here.

2. What are the threats, risks, and common problems that you are likely to face on a day-to-day basis?

We covered how to perform a risk assessment in the article we mentioned above (here), but the basics of this are to take a look at your environment and identify what potentially negative events are most likely to occur.

Part of knowing this is to understand what has happened historically in your area as well as paying attention to evolving risks around you.

Once you have a list of medium to high probability risks, add to this the commonly occurring problems in your daily life.

  • Do you need to frequently open boxes or packages? Would carrying a knife help you with that?
  • Is it common for you to be in dark areas or to be out late at night?

Maybe it would be a good idea to start carrying an EDC flashlight (Check out our article here on the best EDC flashlights).

What we are looking to address here are items that address common problems and high probability risks.

Think critically about these two elements and be shrewd about what you plan on packing.

3. What could you carry that would be universally useful in many situations?

This follows the philosophy of carrying multipurpose survival items.

What items could you carry that have many uses?

Items like duct tape, paracord, and a multitool fit perfectly into this category. Is there anything that you can add to your every day carry bag that fits this profile?

4. What items do you want to carry to assist with a low probability/high impact situation you may have to face?

These items are ones that are nice to have but not things that you hope to have to use except in less common circumstances.

They may include emergency tools such as a seatbelt cutter/window breaker for escaping vehicles, a spare handcuff key, or a pry tool for forcing doors open.

Do you have to walk through a rough neighborhood on your way home from work every? Maybe carrying pepper spray would be prudent?

Consider low-probability events with a high, negative impact that you could greatly improve your survivability by having a simple tool.

Best Bug Out Bag

Carefully consider the questions above when crafting your EDC list.

Keep in mind that you are not striving to solve every problem or cover every possibility with your EDC kit, for that you will want a full Bug Out Bag.

Keep your EDC kit as simple and effective as possible.

If your intention is to carry these items with you EVERY DAY, you do not want a bloated list of gear that you carry around and never use.

Step 2: How Big Should Your EDC Bag Be?

After determining your ideal every day carry list, figuring out the best EDC bag size to contain it is relatively straightforward.

I suggest finding the smallest bag that can fit all your items, once discounting any items that you may decide to carry in your pockets.

Start by measuring the largest item. Its size will be the minimum dimensions of your EDC bag. Also, consider if you will be adding any items to your EDC kit on an occasional basis such as rain gear, water bottles, food, documents, or anything else you will be carrying as the need arises.

You will want extra space or the option of modular additions through a MOLLE system or other method to fit these occasional items. EDC bags come in many styles and sizes, from a small organizer pouch that can fit into a cargo pocket up to 30-liter backpacks. Anything larger than this is moving into Get Home or Bug Out Bag territory.

If you require a bag larger than 30L, you either have some BIG EDC items to carry or may want to re-examine your EDC list.

Step 3: Choosing the Best EDC Bag Type for You

There are many types of bags used for Every Day Carry purposes.

Here is a list of the most common EDC bag types:

EDC Organizer Pouch

An EDC Organizer Pouch is the smallest style of EDC bag. This is for people who have too many items to simply carry in their pants pockets but not enough to require a pack.

It’s hard to go wrong with the OneTigris Compact MOLLE EDC pouch.

EDC organizer pouches typically:

  • Are 1 liter or less in volume
  • Have many interior pockets, hooks, and webbing for organizing EDC gear
  • Have MOLLE attachment points for integration into larger kits
  • Fit in a cargo pocket or are worn on a belt

Common EDC items that are stored in an EDC organizer pouch include:

We recommend: The OneTigris Compact MOLLE EDC Pouch

EDC Lumbar Pack

EDC Lumbar Packs are larger than organizer pouches but smaller than a sling bag or backpack. This is useful if you plan on carrying larger items or a greater quantity of smaller items.

Because this style of bag does not strap around the shoulders and arms it may be the best EDC bag option for someone who needs a full range of motion.

Best EDC Bag
The Maxpedition Proteus Versipack is compact and has a well thought out layout. Click the image above for more info.

EDC Lumbar Packs typically:

  • Are 5-10 liters in volume
  • Are worn around the waist but also have a carry handle if you need to carry them by hand
  • Have MOLLE webbing both to attach them to larger bags or to attach smaller pouches to the lumbar pack
  • Have multiple compartments which will each contain various webbings, pouches, and hooks for organizing your EDC gear

Items typically carried in an EDC Lumbar Pack include anything that is mentioned above in EDC Organizer Pouch list plus:

We recommend: The Maxpedition Proteus Versipack

EDC Sling Bag

An EDC Sling Bag is typically used to carry heavier items than a lumbar pack due to its over-the-shoulder design. They are made to be comfortably carried further with a heavier load and can be the best EDC bag choice for someone who has many items to haul on a day to day basis.

Best EDC Bag
This Tactical Hip Bag is excellent for medium sized EDC Kits. Click on the image for more info.

EDC Sling Bags typically:

  • Are 10-20 liters in volume
  • Have MOLLE integration
  • Allow left or right side carry
  • Are easier to secure tightly to the body than a lumbar pack
  • Have many pockets and compartments that allow for easy organization of every day carry gear

In addition to the items listed to be carried in an organizer pouch and lumbar pack, items that can be carried in an EDC Sling Bag include:

  • Extra ammunition
  • Small Laptop
  • Mid-sized Medkit
  • Prepackaged Meals
  • Paracord
  • Fire Starting Kit
  • Pry Tool

We recommend: The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Hipster Sling Bag

EDC Backpack

An EDC backpack is perfect for someone who likes to pack lots of “just in case” gear. It is the obvious choice for anyone who has large sized every day carry items or a long EDC list based on their EDC needs.

The RUSH12 is a popular backpack that has plenty of compartments, a hydration pocket, and MOLLE integration.

EDC backpacks typically:

  • Are 20-30 liters in volume
  • Have MOLLE integration
  • Include hydration bladder systems
  • Have fewer pockets but more modular customization possibilities for external pouches

In addition to the items listed for the 3 bags already covered, every day carry items carried in EDC Backpacks include:

  • Folding Saw or Hatchet
  • Hydration Bladder
  • Change of Clothes
  • Full Sized Laptop
  • Full Medkit
  • Mini survival kit

We recommend: The RUSH12 Backpack by 5.11

Step 4: Features You Need and Features to Avoid in an EDC Bag

We suggest carrying the smallest bag that suits your every day carry needs.

Fortunately, many of the best EDC bags come with customization options to add or remove space as you need it via modular MOLLE pouches so your EDC bag can evolve with your requirements.

Regardless of what bag style you choose here is a list of features to seek out and avoid when finding the best EDC bag for your needs.

Essential Features

High-quality craftsmanship

If you are planning on carrying the best EDC bag EVERY DAY you do not want something cheap that is going to fall apart on you. Invest in a quality bag from a brand that has a good reputation and it will pay dividends.

MOLLE integration

MOLLE integration is a valuable feature to have in any tactical or preparedness bag as its widespread use allows for limitless customization options. Having it as a part of your EDC kit, regardless of the bag size and style that you choose will allow flexible adaptation as your EDC needs evolve.

Hydration system

This applies to sling bags and backpacks. Having a hydration system built into the bag will save space and reduce the need to carry a separate water bottle. Hydration is essential if you have to cover large distances with your EDC bag.

Adjustable fit

Every body is different. Buying a bag that is meant to fit all people is a recipe for frustration and discomfort. Your EDC bag needs to fit your body shape securely and not restrict your movement.

This means having multiple adjustment straps and clips at the following points at a minimum:

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Sternum

Being able to adjust the fit of the bag at these 3 points will ensure that you have a securely fitting bag that you can wear all day, every day if need be.

Ability to run with the bag

This goes hand in hand with having a well-fitted bag. You never know when you need to run with your bag, you may need to catch a bus or evade detection from unfriendly people.

Either way, having a bag that both stays in place and does not jumble your EDC items around is an important feature to look for when choosing the right EDC bag for your situation.

Organization pouches within the bag

A good indication that you have a high-quality EDC bag instead of a more general consumer style bag is that it has well laid out, accessible, and practical organization features built into the bag.

This helps you find your EDC items when you need them and allows you to organize them in the manner that is most logical to your EDC needs.

Most quality EDC bags come with a variety of webbing, pouches, velcro, zippers, sleeves, and compartments that allow for efficient storage of your items.

Tough, corrosion resistant zippers

The zipper is a weak point in any bag. Being that you will use them thousands of times over the life of the bag it is important that your EDC bag has quality zippers that will not get stuck or break on you.

Additionally, it is better to have zippers and pulls that are made from a strong plastic, aluminum, or other rust-free material.

If you are carrying this bag every day it will at many times be exposed to the elements. Over time this will cause corrosion and failure in cheap zippers. Zippers are where cheap manufacturers will look to cut corners.

The best EDC bag makers on the market know that a quality zipper can mean the difference between a reliable bag and a piece of junk.

Features to avoid

As important as the above mentioned Essential Features are to include it is also necessary to be aware of features to avoid when finding the best EDC bag for you.

One large compartment

If you are going to carry your carefully selected EDC gear in a bag that has one large compartment you might as well just tote around a burlap sack. It will be cheaper and accomplish the same thing – jumbling your gear so you can’t find what you need in an emergency and making for an uncomfortable carry.

Choose a bag with multiple compartments and organizational options within the bag to optimize the accessibility of your EDC items and better manage the load.

Elastic straps

This is a way that cheap bag makers cut costs. Instead of making strong, padded, adjustable straps they will use elastic ones that make the bag a one-size-fits-none. Additionally, the elasticity of these will wear out over time making the bag hang lower than desired.

If a bag uses elastic straps to attach it to your body avoid it at all costs. Look for robust shoulder and hip straps with adjustable buckles for comfortable, long lasting fit.

Huge bags

Once again, even the best EDC bag is not intended to cover every possible circumstance. This is what your bug out bag is for. Carefully assess your every day carry needs and try these tips to minimize what gear you will be carrying:

  • Review your EDC list of items and see what you actually use on a day to day basis and what you can cut out.
  • Utilize multipurpose items to save space and weight
  • Try to find lightweight options for the items that you do carry that are constructed in materials such as titanium, micarta, carbon fiber, and plastics
  • If an item comes in multiple sizes choose the smaller version – small medkit versus full sized or folding knife versus fixed blade

Finding The Best EDC Bag For You

As you can see, the journey of finding the best EDC bag to meet your every day carry needs is a highly personal choice.

You will have to balance the threats you are likely to face with what you are able and willing to carry with you every step of the way. Once you have come to a decision of what your EDC kit will be it is best to find a high-quality bag that is comfortable and small enough to not encumber you if you need to move quickly.

Having a smaller, lighter kit with useful, practical items is more desirable than having a huge bag full of items you are unlikely to ever use.

Plan you kit thoughtfully and choose the best EDC bag you can to meet YOUR needs.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

If you want to read more on putting together your EDC kit, check out our related articles on:

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 everyday life


Where to Go From Here: Pack Your Bug Out Bag

Once you’ve developed your EDC kit, if you haven’t done so yet, you should consider preparing a bug out bag.

We are the most comprehensive source for bugging out and take pride in our helpful Bug Out Bag List to help you pack!

Your Thoughts?

What do you think the best EDC bag is? Are there any features that you think are essential for EDC bags?

Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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Best EDC Knife

The Best EDC Knife – How To Pick The Best Knife for Your EDC Kit

Best EDC Knife

Most people agree that an EDC kit isn’t complete without a knife. There are tons of knives out there which can make the experience of finding the right one for you an overwhelming experience but this guide aims to help you find perfect knife for your EDC kit.

A knife is one of those tools that serves many purposes. It can be used to open things, slice food or cordage, for self-defense, to carve wood, to skin game and filet fish, and to accomplish a multitude of other tasks.

Having a good EDC knife will make many every day tasks easier and will give you an advantage in nearly any survival situation.

Best EDC Knife
The Original EDC Knife

Our Picks for Best EDC Knife

Best Overall EDC Knife: Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife


The Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife is our favorite choice for an all-purpose EDC knife. This Made in USA knife is built to last and is super sharp right out of the box.

It is extremely well-made and designed with military service, police force, and firefighters in mind. The handle is durable and lightweight, with a great texture to allow for a firm grip. SpeedSafe assisted opening system for smooth, one-handed opening

It’s partially serrated blade gives you added flexibility making it a versatile item in your EDC arsenal.

This is a fantastic knife that will serve its owner for many years to come.

Best Compact EDC Knife: Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife


The Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife is a little gem that is perfect for people that want their EDC items to be as small and low profile as possible.

It can easily clip onto a belt or even be used as a money clip. This knife is a great choice when concealability and having an unobtrusive EDC arsenal are your priorities.

Boker Knives come with a lifetime warranty.


Best Plus-Sized EDC Knife: Spyderco Endura 4


Even though the Spyderco Endura 4 is at the larger end of the spectrum for EDC knives, it is still quite compact and surprisingly lightweight.

As you’ll see from the customer reviews, this knife has a very loyal EDC user base.

This knife is an excellent choice for EDC if size isn’t your main driving factor.

How To Choose The Best EDC Knife for You

As with looking at a knife for any task there are a few basic qualities you should look at when making your choice.

Fixed vs Folding

This is likely the first decision to make when choosing your EDC knife. Most people opt for a folding knife as they tend to be smaller and can easily fit in a pocket or clip onto a belt.

Any fixed blade knife will need a sheath to cover the blade and would need to be worn on a belt or on a cord as a “neck knife.”

As with many elements of finding a good EDC knife it comes down to preference and what environment you typically find yourself in. If you are in an urban environment a folding EDC knife will be a better option as it will be unobtrusive and lighter to carry. Being discreet is often important in urban areas making a small folding knife a common choice for city dwellers.

If you tend to live in a rural location a fixed blade knife is easier to justify as you may find yourself skinning game and cutting rope more often. Additionally, outside of big cities wearing a fixed blade knife has less of a cultural taboo. Regardless of this many rural EDCers tend to choose a folding knife for their EDC kit due to size and weight advantages of this option.

Size and Weight

A good EDC knife will be able to fit in a pocket and will integrate strong, lightweight materials such as G10 or Micarta. It is important to recognize the “Every Day” aspect of an EDC knife when considering size and weight. No one wants to be carrying around an anchor in their pocket all the time. Choose an EDC pocket knife that is under 5 ounces (~150 grams) and less than 5 inches (~13 cm) in length for an easy, comfortable carry.

Edge Type

There are many types of blade styles available for folding EDC knives designed to fit a multitude of needs. The most 3 commonly available are:

  • Full Ground Edge – This is a blade that has a straight or curved edge. Full ground edge blades are generally better for pushing cuts (shaving, skinning an apple or animal), scraping, precision work, poking, skewering, and stabbing.
  • Full Serration – Serrated blades are generally better at slicing cuts through tough materials such as plastic, wood, rope, leather, or drywall. Serrated knives are generally poor at stabbing in a self-defense context as the serrations tend to get stuck on clothing or bones.
  • Partial Serration – This is a blade that is serrated on the part nearest the handle and a straight ground edge nearest the tip. This type of blade seeks to deliver the advantages of both of the types of blades mentioned above in a single piece for the user making them a popular choice for EDC.
Best EDC Folding Knife
Full Ground Edge Vs Partial Serration

Opening Mechanism

Knife makers have innovated in many ways to create opening mechanisms to suit any need.  There is a lot of variety out there from assisted open knives to thumb studs and cutouts, to flipping nubs and many, many more. Regardless of what type of opening mechanism you choose for your EDC knife it should have the following qualities:

  • Reliable – You want your knife to open on the first try when you need it.  If you have to cut through a rope to save a life, or fight off a dangerous animal, you can’t call a “time out” to open up your knife.  Make sure you can open it instantly EVERY TIME.
  • One-handed – You never know what circumstance you may need to open your knife in or if you will be holding on to something essential in the other.  Make sure you EDC knife opening mechanism can be operated one handed.
  • Left or Right Hand Opening – Make sure your knife opening mechanism can be utilized with either hand.  Some cheap knives come with a thumb stud only on one side.  Great if you have the option to open your EDC knife with you right hand.  Not so great if you are holding on to something essential with that hand or if it is injured.  Hedge your bets and go with an ambidextrous opening mechanism.
  • Assisted vs Manual Opening – Deciding whether your best EDC knife should have an assisted or manual open will come down to personal choice. It is a nice feature but is illegal in many jurisdictions. To meet the needs of knife owners, knife makers have responded with ever-improving manual opening methods that are lightning fast.

Locking Mechanism

No matter what you choose as the best EDC folding knife for your situation, they all have one thing in common: a rock-solid locking mechanism.  Having an excellent lock on your folding knife will make it nearly on par with a fixed blade knife for reliability.  Some of the better folding knives out there even have a secondary locking mechanism, making it virtually impossible for the blade to close on your hand while in use.  The 3 most common locking mechanisms for EDC folding knives are:

  • Liner Lock
  • Lock Back
  • Lever Lock

Regardless of which of these options you choose to go with make sure it is reliable for your knife.  Many cheap manufacturers will skimp on this feature, endangering their users and making an unreliable tool. A quality knife will have a quality locking mechanism, look for and EDC blade with a secondary option for extra safety.

Grip Style and Material

The grip for your EDC folding knife can be broken into two categories, style and materials. The style is how the knife is designed which will ideally allow it to fit well in your hand and allow for a secure grip in adverse conditions (wet, cold, etc). The materials are what the grip is made of. There are a variety of materials that are commonly used to make the grip of a folding knife, choosing one that suits your purposes is an important step in deciding what the best EDC knife is for you.

EDC Knife Grip Style

A well designed knife will fit easily in your hand.  It should have a concavity for your hand to hold on to, a good sized choil to hold your fingers in place and well thought out jimping on the backside to provide grip for your thumb when in use.

Best EDC Knife

EDC Knife Grip Material

There are a vide variety of materials used to make knife grips, here are some of the most common:

  • G10 – An epoxy and fiberglass resin that is extremely strong and relatively lightweight
  • Micarta – A combination of cloth (generally linen or canvas) and resin.  Also very strong and lightweight
  • Titanium – Extremely strong and lightweight material, nearly impervious to rust.
  • Carbon Fiber – Very light weight material but also very brittle.  Generally more showy and expensive than the other options.
  • Zytel – A lightweight and nearly indestructible plastic.

Best EDC Knife


Knives are one of the many items where you get what you pay for. While there are many good EDC knives out there that can be picked up for less than $50, the BEST EDC knives will generally cost more than this. For something you are going to be carrying with you EVERY DAY, it is worth paying a bit more to choose a high quality EDC knife that will last the test of time.

Additionally, a quality pocket knife is less likely to bind at the hinge or pivot point or have a lock mechanism failure, letting you down when you need it most.

A good knife will take care of its owner, require less maintenance, and if taken care of becomes a hand-me-down for future generations, hopefully with a few good stories to go along with it.

Look at your EDC knife as an investment.

Choosing the Best EDC Knife For YOU

As you can see choosing the best EDC knife to meet your needs is a highly personal choice.

The reward is that once you have looked at the points that we discussed, size, weight, opening mechanism, lock type, grip material and style, and cost you will be able to make a rational decision on the absolute BEST EDC Knife to add to your kit.

The EDC knives that we listed above are the ones that generally work well in EDC kits. Here they are again:

Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?

For more EDC related guides, please check out the following articles: How To Make Your EDC List, How To Choose The Best EDC Bag, and Picking The Best EDC Flashlight.

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


Your Thoughts?

Do you have an EDC knife that you love? Do you look at any additional qualities when finding the best EDC knife to meet your EDC needs? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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