Every Day Carry: Careful and Reasonable Planning is the Key to Success - ITS Tactical

Shop the ITS Store!


Every Day Carry: Careful and Reasonable Planning is the Key to Success

By Clair Schwan

1 of 5 in the series EDC Planning

The term “every day carry” or EDC is something that we’ve all heard about, seen and talked about. It’s a collection of tools, resources and supplies, kept readily available in the form of a kit, to help us better cope with emergencies and unforeseen circumstances that we might find ourselves swept up in.

The idea is a good one, with as many variations of EDC kits as there are individuals carrying them. Among all the discussion about what one might carry every day, there’s limited discussion regarding the reasoning behind each of the items in a kit, and even less discussion about a structured decision making process that should go into creating it.

Criteria for Success

My purpose here is to suggest a deliberate approach to making reasonable decisions about what our collection of resources for daily carry might consist of, and then implement this decision-making process in subsequent articles, using true life examples, to demonstrate how it can help us make such decisions. At first blush, it seems like it might be a simple matter of tossing a bunch of useful things in a bag, box or pouch and call it good.

There is no question that having some emergency gear and other resources is better than nothing at all, but if we’re really concerned about being capable of addressing a range of likely scenarios, then we’re well advised to think through the possibilities using a structured and rational approach.

Each of us will probably never agree on what is ideal in any every day carry kit, but perhaps we can start by finding agreement with respect to criteria for success.

Let me suggest that our EDC kits should contain tools, resources and supplies that will be:

  • Useful as well as effective.
  • Limited in terms of size, weight, volume and cost.
  • Easy to carry and convenient to access.
  • Influenced by seasons, location, activities and circumstances.
  • Sufficiently robust to resist breakage, deterioration, and spoilage.
  • Focused on helping provide, obtain and maintain adequate water, food, shelter, safety, clothing, comfort, and morale — the essentials for a quality life.

With a good set of criteria for measuring success, let me outline a structured approach to creating every day carry kits so that our end result is tailored to satisfy our own needs. The four steps of the process, in the order they should be conducted, are:

  1. Assess security threats to determine which scenarios are reasonably likely to occur and thereby present us with an adverse situation that needs to be dealt with at home, on the street, at our place of employment, and while traveling.
  2. Formulate prudent responses to the scenarios based on the fundamental objectives of safety, security, and survival.
  3. Identify tools, supplies, and resources, not generally available, that would be desirable to have readily available to meet the objectives associated with successful response to the scenarios. Filter the potential resource list using the criteria for success to narrow the field of potential items for a kit.
  4. Determine which resources are best maintained on your person, at home, at your place of employment, and in your vehicle, so you’re more capable of dealing with a situation that threatens your well being. Package the resources for convenience and ease of use. Create an approach to updating and rotating EDC content based on the influence of seasons and shelf life considerations.

As one might expect, if you alter the criteria for success, broaden the definition of what is reasonable, or stray away from what might be considered prudent, the profile of every day carry kit(s) will change accordingly.

This shows three clear benefits of using the criteria and structured process: 1) the end result changes according to changes in the “formula,” so it’s adaptable to meet individual needs; 2) it’s easy to identify an appropriate modification to kits as circumstances change; and, 3) the process can be reverse engineered to validate the content of EDC kits that we have already assembled.

In subsequent posts in this series, I’ll use the steps of the process and the criteria for success to create EDC kits that match with my work and home life, my personal lifestyle, and my time away from work and home. This should provide multiple true life examples of how the proposed structured thought process can help us create every day carry kits with meaningful benefit for the individuals who choose to carry them.

Although this might appear to be a tedious analytical process, it doesn’t have to be. Think of it like deciding on an insurance policy; you think it through clearly once, and alter the policy only when changes in circumstances compel you to do so.

Editors Note: Be sure to check out our ITS Tactical EDC Flickr Group to share and check out what all our readers are carrying every day.

About the author: Clair Schwan is a managing editor at the http://www.Self-Reliance-Works.com where being prepared, counting on yourself, and living a self directed life are core values of the team of contributing authors. He also hosts www.Frugal-Living-Freedom.com where he advocates wise use of financial resources, do-it-yourself projects, growing your own food, and raising small animals for meat and eggs. He advocates being sufficiently prepared to thrive in any given situation, not merely survive

Are you getting more than 14¢ of value per day from ITS?

Thanks to the generosity of our supporting members, we’ve eliminated annoying ads and obtrusive content. We want your experience here at ITS to be beneficial and enjoyable.

At ITS, our goal is to provide different methods, ideas and knowledge that could one day save your life. If you’re interested in supporting our mission and joining our growing community of supporters, click below to learn more.


  • Jackel

    I a really looking forward to more in this series. I’m sure that many of the ITS members are like me, hardcore gear junkies. I have a tool for almost any possible situation that one might encounter. But, all too often my tools stay at home when I hit the road. I have been considering setting up a messenger bag as an EDC kit, but I am not sure that is the way to go. I hope you will address the pros and cons of having your EDC gear on your person as opposed to in a kit bag of some sort.

    • Jackel, yes, my intention is to provide examples of how I would segregate what I carry on my person, in my vehicle, and perhaps what I might leave at “the office.” I don’t think it’s necessary to have everything right at your fingertips. I think it’s more important that you have it, and you can get your hands on it rather quickly. The whole idea of what’s carried on one’s person was the impetus for this series of articles; I thought that the wide range of things, like fish hooks and fishing line and a candle, on your person weren’t all that useful. I just can’t see the average person on the commuter train having a need for these things, unless of course the natural reaction to a failure of transportation is to hop off the train and go fishing by candlelight :-).

      Thanks for your input. I’ll keep it in mind as I create the rest of this series.

  • Good article. I tend to switch my Glock26 magazine around depending on where I’m going. Normally I carry the small mag as its light and I can barley tell its in my pocket.
    When I take my kids to school, church or go anywhere I know there will be a pharmacy I take a large magazine.

  • Nice setup you got there Bryan. That P225/P6 or my P239 is also what I’d EDC were it legal here in Hawaii. Also there are some other great ideas in that pic too.

    Good article too. I can’t wait to see the follow-ups.

  • Daniel Garcia

    This is going to be a good series.
    EDC’s are so different from person to person. Most of the time I walk around looking like Batman, because I have to carry items for my wife, my son and me.
    My wife is disabled, my son is a high functioning autistic but still needs help.

  • rkuntz

    The layered approach is a key to making it all work. Pockets. Briefcase. Vehicle. BOB. Evacuation list (hurricane zone here). And so on, individualized for skillset, needs, environment (i.e. my EDC means my law office during the week in a very gun friendly state; a couple of weeks on summer mission trips it means someplace in the Third World), and readiness to address some reasonable degrees of contingency (Flat tire or civil unrest? I’m ready. Alien invasion? Probably not).

    We have a saying here that hurricane preparedness is not an activity or an event — it’s a lifestyle. Integrating what tools/weapons/etc you carry/have access to seems much the same to me.

    Two keys, I think: ONE: Select REAL usability (can YOU employ this item effectively? Do YOU need it? Maybe there’s training issue. Maybe you just WANT the thing.). TWO: Select REAL quality. You are only going to carry so much stuff on your person — or even in your F250. You cant pull a trailer or call the QM. Your loadout is FINITE. So each item needs to be the best of its type you can afford.

    Anyway, a couple of thoughts from the resident low-speed, high-drag lawyer,

    • @rkuntz, you’ve hit another couple nails on the head for me – layering and effectiveness. Sometimes EDC interests focus too much on what is on your person. I think the vehicle and office make great and handy places to stash our emergency gear – it doesn’t have to be carried on our person all of the time. And, another point that stirred me to write this series is my doubt that much of the stuff that people carry will be effective. One example is a tiny pen knife in an EDC. Certainly it is useful, but it can’t be very effective. If we’re really going to need a knife, then let’s have a real knife that will do the job.

      Thanks for your comments. You’ll see me blend in both of these ideas that we share when I get to presenting some of the details in subsequent articles.

  • 5Solas

    I’ll echo the other sentiments here and say that I’ll be watching this series closely as well as explore the previously-linked sites that he hosts as well.

    The problem I’m developing now is that there’s about 71 hours worth of things to read/watch a day…

  • Other than my PPS 9m w/ hot loads and a pocket knife I really don’t carry anything else

  • dan knoll

    I carry a Kimber Custom classic with 2 extra clips, a 4″ folding knife and a flashlight all on my belt. I look forward to reading the future articles

  • chris paterson

    I’m looking forward to more posts like these . Sometimes I feel like I’m carrying to much, so I’m always looking to streamline by setup.

  • mattp28

    I recently found an old pic of my EDC from when I used to live in NJ. I had to laugh when I compared it to what I carry now in FL.

    (There’s a lot more now)

  • Alex

    Looking a the Flickr album it seems the most dangerous thing that can happen to some of ya’ll in a day is someone coming by wanting to buy your knives, but won’t for lack of professional pictures. So many atrsy (albeit VERY GOOD) pictures of knives, lots of knives. Or perhaps someones computer might go down for lack of an operating system located on 3 different data storage devices on your person. I take it alot of our fellow readers live in Canada/Europe/Illinois/Kalifornia?

  • Steve Cook

    In a natural disaster alot of times your id docs may not be readely available. How would you id youself w/o the proper cridentials. So a few years ago I made it a point to memerize my drivers licence #,
    my passport #. checking account #. It took a few weeks to commit it to memory but I think well worth the effort if ya need to id your self in the event you dont have the credentials with you. Most thinking people would feel that if you can rattle off your drivers licence & passport number off the top of your head…your info is probley lagit. What do you guys/gals think???

  • Pingback: EDC Part I – Gear Up « MojoRisingZA()

Do you have what you need to prevail?

Shop the ITS Store for exclusive merchandise, equipment and hard to find tactical gear.

Do you have what you need to prevail? Tap the button below to see what you’re missing.