Developing a Philosophy of EDC

If you’re like me, you have an “EDC” kit. EDC, or Everyday Carry, is a buzzword that has been cycling around certain sectors of the Internet for awhile now and typically refers to what you always throw in your pockets when you walk out the door. Even if we don’t realize it everyone has our own EDC, but some people are more deliberate about what makes the cut for their Everyday Carry kit.

For instance, most people carry a wallet. It could be a minimalist wallet that functions to hold a few bank cards, an identification card or two, and a little cash. It could be, like me, a larger “rodeo” wallet that lets me carry a checkbook, membership cards, and business cards in addition to my ID and debit card. It could be something in between.

A little background that will help you understand me: I like to be prepared. In an ideal world, I’d have a chainsaw in my truck for the unlikely eventuality of a tree falling in the road ahead of me. I already do carry a hatchet and a machete in my truck for times when I may need to do some brush clearing or take down a small tree. This predilection for being overprepared means I often do have the random tool that someone needs to get a job done. It also means my pockets (and often my vehicle) get very, very full. I can’t possibly carry every tool that I need for every possible eventuality though.

In fact, because of my employment, there are some tools I’m expressly forbidden to carry. As an educational professional, I cannot carry my handgun with me to work, and it is frowned upon to carry a multitool with a large blade there as well.

Since I can’t always carry every tool I need, I have developed a system that works for me. My system is a leveled Everyday Carry in which the level I carry is determined by what I expect to do on any given day. Each level builds upon the previous tier and gives me more flexibility to respond to circumstances I might face.

My first level is what I call my “Core EDC.” When I’m in the classroom, I have my phone, wallet, keys, Bluetooth earbuds, and a small but effective pocketknife. On most days I also have my sunglasses, whether they are my prescription ones or my regular ones. There isn’t much to my Core EDC, and that’s by design. Not only am I not allowed to carry certain things to work, but my mode of dress limits what I can carry. I have limited pocket space and adding too much to my pockets becomes cumbersome. During the winter I can somewhat alleviate that problem by donning a vest, but when it isn’t chilly outside it is hard to justify the extra layer of clothing. This level is also helpful if I know I’ll be in a place where I have to be cautious about carrying certain things, such as a hospital or government office.

My next level is what I call my “Enhanced EDC.” This is my regular EDC level for going about my daily life. When I am not working or otherwise going to be somewhere that frowns on firearms, I carry one of my two handguns. Both handguns are kept in holsters designed to go inside the waistband, and in both cases I can tuck my shirttail in if necessary. I will also typically add a spare magazine for whichever handgun I am carrying, and sometimes I will carry an extendible baton. My Enhanced EDC also includes a larger pocketknife that would be more useful for heavy duty cutting and/or a multitool. This level of EDC requires me to be a bit more careful about how I dress, since I’m adding several pounds of weight. A lightweight vest in the summer, or a heavier vest in the winter, gives me extra storage and helps to conceal my handgun. I also typically wear loose-fitting shirts and avoid wearing just a t-shirt if I’m doing this, because even with my smaller carry pistol it’s hard to conceal the bulge with a t-shirt.

My third level is what I would call my “Travel EDC.” In this case, I will be carrying a backpack or sling bag of some sort. This is the least “everyday” kit out of the three levels, but there is a consistency to what I carry. When my wife and I go on vacation, I will often carry one of my AR pistols and store it securely in the vehicle we are traveling in, and then it is securely stored wherever we are staying. That may seem a bit extreme, but remember I love to be overprepared. Even if I don’t need it for survival, a trip to a shooting range can be more fun if we’re on vacation when I bring a fun gun like that.

In my backpack or sling bag, I will usually carry extra ammunition for my concealed carry pistol, a water bottle, a multitool, a “survival” knife, some paracord, and a portable USB battery pack.

Some snacks, a deck of playing cards, a notebook, matches, and a first aid kit go with me in the backpack as well. Since both of my AR pistols will also fit in my largest backpack, they will often be included in this level, especially if we are in the mountains or another “wild” place where a larger, more effective firearm could be beneficial. The Travel EDC is intended to make me as close to self-sufficient as I can get. If I were to encounter a scenario where there are serious threats to my family or myself, whether natural or man-made, my Travel EDC would put me in a position where we can potentially out-survive those around us.

As always, there is one other component of my EDC: Knowledge. I have the knowledge to use whatever I carry, and I have the knowledge of how to innovate or improvise if I don’t have what I need to accomplish a given task. Without the knowledge necessary to utilize the tools I carry, they’re just dead weight.

If you haven’t developed a philosophy for your Everyday Carry, I strongly recommend that you do. My philosophy and the levels of carry that I use let me be prepared for what I might face during the time I am away from home. I’ve tailored them to my own needs and skills, and you should tailor your EDC philosophy to your needs and skills as well. Ask yourself these questions as you determine what you should include in your EDC kit and your EDC philosophy:

  • What is my EDC goal?
  • What is legal in my area/job?
  • What is the bare minimum I am comfortable carrying to handle the concerns I’ll face?
  • What is my level of skill with the tools I believe I need in my EDC?
  • If I don’t have enough skill to properly use a tool I believe I will need, how can I acquire the skill to use it?
  • Are there different situations in which I would need more or fewer tools in my EDC? If so, are these situations something I regularly encounter, to the point that I would need to plan for them?
  • Will I need to adjust my mode of dress to accommodate my different levels of EDC? If so, is it really feasible to carry everything I want to carry, or can I leave off a few items that I’m not likely to need?
  • Can some of my EDC kit remain in my vehicle rather than be carried on my person?

These questions will start you down the path to developing your own EDC philosophy. Once you have done that, you’ll be in a better place to field whatever comes your way!

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