At times there seems to be a lot of mystique around E.D.C. gear – Every Day Carry equipment. There are some that seem to promote the idea that there is some type of mysterious mix of equipment that only the “learned few” firmly grasp. The reality is much simpler . . . much more focused . . . and targeted for your specific needs/wants. I’ll review my gear in a bit but I’d like to spend a bit on the “why” of EDC gear.
Basically, they are your base-line survival kit – other than that kit you carry between your ears anyway. Your EDC gear is meant to keep you in communications with the world – be they family or emergency responders. It should be able to provide you directions or – at the very least – indicate your direction of travel. You should be able to light up dark places and make minor repairs. It should provide you a primary weapon for personal defense and a secondary weapon should your primary fail and maybe a third, just in case. It must provide the means to easily carry this equipment while fully concealing it from those around you. And, finally, it should be comfortable enough that you will wear or carry it EVERY DAY. Hence . . . Every Day Carry . . . Let’s take a look at my EDC gear – most of which I’ve carried in one form or another for 40+ years.
Leatherman Juice CS4: I carry two knives – one as part of my pocket tool kit and the second as a backup defensive weapon. I’ve carried this specific Leatherman Juice CS4 for over 10 years. It is built tough and I have used
every component in it from the saw to the awl to the scissors to the knife blade. It’s my primary tool I carry to customer’s businesses for computer repair. If I need more than what’s on this tool – the computer goes back to the office.
You’ll note I carry it in an old Gerber tool pouch with two other vital pieces of EDC gear – ways to start a fire. I always teach my scouts or anyone I teach wilderness survival to – you MUST carry 3 ways to start a fire on your person every day – period. Here you see a small, disposable lighter and a scraper/striker combination for starting tinder with a spark. Also, tucked away in my wallet is a small frenzel lens to focus sunlight as a third option to start a fire should the need arise.
I see this knife/kit as a foundational element to any daily gear and survival kit.
Kershaw Skyline: As a backup defensive weapon I carry the Kershaw Skyline folding knife. It rides in my right-side pants pocket and is the latest iteration of a carry knife that has ridden in that location for more years than I
care to remember. I find the Skyline slim and light. The G10 panels provide a firm grip and the blade is sturdy and easily holds an edge between routine maintenance stops. It’s a great carry option.
I firmly believe watches should perform multiple functions. My watch of choice is the Casio Pathfinder 2000T. Obviously it tells time . . . using a solar powered system . . . and radio sync to the national time standard. Let’s just say it keeps good time! Since I spend time in the wilderness it has three
additional functions that are a must, an altimeter that at least provides an indication of traveling up and down and is typically within 600ft., a barometer – worth its weight because it can inform you of changing weather patterns. It typically gives me about a 2-hour heads-up on arriving storm systems. And a compass that I simply hold to my chest, press a button and my heading is immediately shown for about 15 seconds. It has timers and alarms – none of which I seem to use. The watch’s primary purposes – time, barometric readings and direction make the Pathfinder an essential part of my EDC gear.
I’ve been carrying the Surefire LED 6P Defender for a couple years now. It’s rugged, reliable and easily acts as a second backup weapon by using the
serrated bezel as a striking face. I find I change out the batteries (C123s) about every 6 months whether it needs it or not. Honestly, I can’t see leaving the house without this in my pocket!
I am a geek through and through. I typically fit the “early adopter” category. My current smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Given that I build my first computer in 1978 I find I am still amazed to hold this piece of gear in my
hand. From an EDC POV this “phablet” provides a communication system, navigation system, electronic compass, the ability to photograph or video record a scene/event and store a host of documents from survival guides to weapons manuals. If you have not taken the leap to a truly powerful smartphone I would encourage you to . . . it’s time.
Your belt needs to be sturdy enough to not only hold up your pants/slacks/skirt . . . but also a couple pounds of gun and ammunition. DON’T GO CHEAP!! For me, 90% of the time I wear the gear belt from 5.11
Tactical. I purchased the double sided one but find I seldom have the black-side out. This is a spectacular piece of gear that truly knows its purpose in the world and does it well.
My typical carry weapon is a Glock 17 carried in a Blackhawk leather IWB holster at the 4 o’clock. This combination works great for me and is a change from the LC9 a carried about 2 years ago. It’s been a good move providing a full sized handgun and 15 rounds available to put down a threat (I never load a magazine to full capacity – old habit). For cover garments I typically wear an un-tucked polo shirt or Henley. Or, I wear a cover jacket or sport coat.
A word of caution – if you are reading this and are new to carrying your weapon on a daily basis . . . please, spend a significant amount of time using dry fire to practice your draw – extension – engagement of a threat. I’ve promoted the crap out of LaserLyte rounds or SIRT pistols for that purpose – use them. But your draw needs to be automatic, instinctive, swift . . . and the only thing that will get you there is hundreds/thousands of draws. There is no shortcut.
I always carry a spare magazine – again loaded with 15 rounds. I do this for a couple of reasons. Honestly I do not expect an engagement to take over a couple of rounds to determine the result. If it requires the full 15 rounds in my
carry weapon – I’m in deep, deep crap and I do my best to stay out of those locations. However, you may well be in a situation where you face multiple attackers – that changes the game and a second magazine may come in handy.
More likely is a magazine failure. Yes I check my magazines, yes – I maintain them, Yes – I use them. But that’s no guarantee that the one in my carry weapon won’t go to crap at the exact time I need it . . . it’s nice to have a spare.
“Yes . . . but you don’t carry every day . . . right?”
Murphy is a brutal teacher caring little whether you see you wife/husband/child again. Yes . . . I carry every day. After my morning S-S-S, I put on my T-Shirt and pants. Before I buckle my belt I pick up my holstered weapon from its place next to the bed and place it at the 4 o’clock – then buckle my belt. After shoes and shirt I slip my flashlight, Leatherman and Kershaw into their proper place. On goes my watch, smartphone in the rear-right pocket and spare magazine in my rear left pocket or the new pouch I’ll currently test driving. At that instant, I’m as ready as I’m going to be to defend myself, my family or my friends. Everything remains in their “home” until I get ready for bed where I reverse the process finally placing my holstered weapon and flashlight on a small chest next to my side of the bed . . . ready for the next day.
Every day is every day . . . and that is exactly why choice of weapon and gear is so important. While a Desert Eagle .50 Cal may be a cool lookin’ weapon . . . you’re not going to strap that gun on each and every day. Find a gun that fits, get a good holster and belt and simply wear your defensive weapon . . . EVERY FRICKIN’ DAY!
Like I said at the beginning – there is nothing mysterious about EDC gear. And yours may well turn out to be different than mine. The bottom line is to prepare, to get your head in the game, to acknowledge that “shit happens” and today may well be your day. . .
EDC gear – it stands between you and the bad guy. Carry it! Every Day!