Every Day Carry: How Much is Too Much? - ITS Tactical

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Every Day Carry: How Much is Too Much?

By Rob Henderson


Follow a forum or Facebook group long enough and you’ll eventually see a thread dealing with Every Day Carry. In the past few years, these types of posts have become extremely popular as everyone is eager to see what’s in people’s pockets. Posted loadouts range from simple to “pack mule” status and inevitably begs the question, “how do you carry all of that?”

In some posts, you’ll see several knives, multiple spare magazines and even spare handguns. While those posters are quick to point out the phrase, “two is one and one is none,” is that train of thought really necessary for everything? Can you truly say that each item in your EDC is absolutely necessary?

What are your requirements?


To figure out what’s overkill, first look at the requirements of the items you carry on a daily basis. Are you headed out into the wilderness, away from civilization and cell phone reception? Or are you like many us, commuting to work in your personal vehicle where you’ll be +- 50 ft. from it during the whole day? As Bryan mentioned in his leveling up article, it may not be necessary to carry “everything but the kitchen sink” in your pockets and waistband if you have additional supplies somewhat close at hand.

You need to decide what you’re preparing for and what tools you’ll need to accomplish what may come your way. Think realistically about those potential situations as well. Don’t plan your EDC around a multi-day survival scenario, while simultaneously slipping on your flip flops on the way out the door.

Those of us that carry handguns do so because we believe that we may face a situation requiring the use of deadly force. However, many of us carrying guns don’t carry equipment necessary for treating a gunshot wound or other medical emergency. Now ask yourself, which situation are you more likely to encounter?

The Latest and Greatest


Something I’ve seen sweeping the industry right now is the all in one EDC tool. Usually small enough to fit into a pocket, these tools are designed to offer multiple uses in place of a full size tool. While this is great in theory, many of these tools seem to be oriented more toward the “cool factor” than actual application. For most of us, it would be just as fast to pull out a small tool roll and retrieve a full size tool from our bag or vehicle than attempt to “make it work” with a smaller pocket device.

While this may seem like a jab at these smaller tools, it’s really just an observation that an item like that is taking up space in your EDC and could be dedicated to a more useful item. You only have so many pockets and so much space for your EDC, that is unless you want to wear your 5.11 Tuxedo and stand out like a Ripstop Nylon, loop covered, tactical beacon.

Lightweight backpackers have known for years that ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain. Every item you add into your EDC adds weight, no matter how small. Items you carry should be ones that get used frequently, otherwise they’re just taking up space and adding unnecessary weight. While it’s cool to have the latest and greatest gadgets, if they don’t realistically contribute to the capability of your EDC, are they really worth it?

Two is One and One is None


It’s always good to have a backup option. Whether you’re planning an event or using a tool, having a replacement ready to go saves time and headaches. However, let’s look at how this factors into your EDC? Let’s look at knives, specifically. With proper maintenance and sharpening, a good knife will last longer than the user. So is it really necessary to carry another knife with you? Wouldn’t it be a better option to keep a backup knife in a place like your bag or your vehicle?

For those that carry handguns, spare magazines are extremely useful when it comes time to deploy that handgun. However, where do you draw the line at how many to have with you? There’s an old joke in which a man from Texas attends a wedding while wearing his pistol in a belt holster. A lady next to him asks, “Sir, are you expecting trouble?” “No Ma’am,” he replies, “If I was expecting trouble, I’d have brought my rifle.”

If someone came to you right now and told you that you’d be in a gunfight tomorrow, what weapon would you take and how many spare magazines would you have? Most likely, it would be the biggest gun you’ve got and all the magazines you have, including the ones purchased that very night.

Unfortunately, we don’t get a 24 hour warning on those kind of situations, so you have to draw your own line for what’s acceptable for you. Another great point made by Bryan in his leveling up article was using the immediately available firearm to fight to a bag or vehicle containing more ammunition or larger firearms.

Train Like You Fight, Fight Like You Train

Carrying a handgun or a medical kit won’t mean anything without the knowledge and understanding of how to use them. Rather than sinking several hundred dollars into that new gun, knife or other EDC toy, consider heading to a training class in your area. Knowledge is an important part of your EDC that doesn’t take up weight or pocket space.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to EDC, so ensure that you’re also getting the necessary practice with the items you have, including drawing from a holster or deploying a medical kit. If your tourniquet is still in the plastic, you’ve got work to do.

No one is perfect and no one’s EDC is either. It all comes down to how you use the items you carry and how effective they really are. With all that being said, below is a photo of my actual EDC, a bit stripped down from the photo above.


What’s in your EDC? We’d love to hear what considerations you take into account with your EDC, in the comments below.

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  • Hyon-Kun Kwon

    Just s grenade, cause no matter the situation nobody is crazy enough to challenge someone with a primed grenade

    • pointman_12

      glock 21 w/2 spare mags…knife…multi tool…para cord…small trauma kit w/tourniquet…flashlight w/spare batteries…in the possee bag by 3vgear…

  • Survival21st

    ITStactical 3 watches 2 to many perhaps? :-X

  • Ed Salsberg

    An aluminum wallet and a tactical pen.
    One to keep the spies out. The other to sign someone’s death warrant.

    • decko

      yeah, right on big Ed, i personally carry an anti balistic missile. sure it’s heavy but no one fucks with you

  • clutch14

    ITStactical you had me right up until the stapler. I can’t see any need for that when you have a grenade.

  • 6point8_SPC

    ITStactical 2 is 1, and 1 is none, so I carry all the internets with me.

  • Harrison Campbell

    Watch, a solid folding knife, phone, flashlight, water bottle, and wallet are all you need.

  • DouglasLee1

    EDC in order of importance to me.

    Knowledge and Training





    Anything past that is really just minutia of the day.

    I have a CCP, but for the day to day areas I go, I have never felt the need to Carry.

  • Iain Williamson

    No 550 cord in your EDC? Amateur.

  • Bferreira321

    ITStactical grenade, hella funny.

  • clutch14

    Pretty sure this is enough.
    (That’s an ITStactical Concealment Wallet, btw.) http://twitter.com/clutch14/status/709443489998635008/photo/1

    • Clumsy panda

      clutch14 ITStactical is that a tension wrench I see printing?

  • Gene Hinders

    I tend to go overboard I guess…but the briefcase/messenger-bag come in handy 🙂

  • Jason Scott

    And a pistol.

  • Cordero Rojas

    I still run across videos in which some guys treat their EDC bag as more of a mobile junk drawer. “I have a little matchbox, just in case I find something cool”.

  • Lou Hendriex

    It’s never to much when you need it…..

  • Sam Stalons

    That’s a pretty comical lineup you have there. Not the grenade or Chapstick, but three pocket knives and three watches, why?

  • Brando Commando

    Case folder, pen, comb and mustache comb, watch, wallet, cell phone, leatherman supertool. I rotate the G36 and G19, depending on what I’m wearing. Also carry a spare mag for either.

  • Corey Lorden

    I’ve been thinking about this issue some lately. I belong to an EDC Group and a flaslight group and members post pictures of what they decribe as “everyday carry items” (myself included) and it seems like a lot of people have gone from what’s completely functional, to what is cool and looks good when they take pictures of their items to post it. Nothing wrong with it, but when I see a 500 dollar custom flashlight with cool handcrafted beads and custom lanyards, it occured to me that a shift is taking place…I get it, and it is nice to carry nice things but when a “tactical bag” looks more and more like a purse…:D

  • Twix Wrapper

    “Every Day Life” You must live in “The Projects” anywhere else ..I always carry 1 knife,folding-1 lighter and 1 standard issue Naval watch. My wallet and what I’m wearing. I’m good to go.


    Wallet (cash), Keys, Phone, Glasses, Watch, Knife, Multitool, Pistol.  I work as a defense contractor and spend time overseas, and almost nothing changes from home to deployment.  I think that most people carry too much stuff.

    • Canadian LoneWolf

      IF you want to carry a cock ring, big black dildo and lube, that’s your call, I’m not one to judge. Don’t ask, Do t tell! But as I live deep in the Canadian wilderness and have had some nasty encounters with predatory animals posessing worse attitudes then you, most likely bigger and more intelligent aswell, I make sure I am prepared. It’s a hour and a half walk to my nearest neighbour’s. I live by myself and for myself, I don’t hide behind the military. That’s like the popcorn vendor at the circus believing he’s the main attraction !

    • PaulLevins

      Canadian LoneWolf  I like the contents of your bug out bag.  I added a strobe light Storm whistle and signal mirror and an old L Shaped flash light.  Good info that you posted.  Good luck live long God Bless you!

  • cdennisg

    I love the EDC groups but I’m in the camp of thinking a lot of that stuff is ridiculous. And honestly, if you’re fretting over what kind of beads your carrying or if your pocket top toy is handcrafted brass, you have an issue.
    I see “EDC syndrome” in a lot of my scouts. If they don’t have just the right gadget for just the right situation then they can’t deal with it. I overheard a conversation while on a trek in New Mexico. Two scouts were discussing why their particular water bottle was superior to the other. A third, however, had no water bottle. His solution was to go to the camp store, buy a one liter bottle of water, and hit the trail with it. Twelve days later, he came off the trail, took his last sip from said water bottle and threw it away. A lot of EDC’ers should be so adaptable.

    • prjkt

      How very sustainable of him.
      Solid point though.

  • Johndees

    Keeping it simple. Leatherman wave with a Pocket clip. 17 tools on one. A little big but way worth it! Or I will replace the Leatherman with a Benchmade Griptilian. Very thin wallet. MicroStream Flashlight. Keys. Keychain has a pen on it and a Gerber GDC zip blade. Very tiny. Also a Nitecore tube light, rechargable. Large and heavy keychains can wear your ignition out. Also, if you ride a motorcycle, forget about it.
    The only optional carry for me is a Ruger LCP. If I need the protection. Not carried that much.

  • Brooke Johnson

    Expensive Douchebag Carryalls

  • Mike

    My EDC has changed in the last year since I retired from the job world. Today it consists of:
    – Timex weekender on a leather band, 
    – a Maglite Solitaire flashlight, 
    – a small wallet with RFID protection, 
    – some cash, a credit card and ID

    – a swiss army alox soldier (pioneer), 
    – a burner cell phone, oh and house/car keys. 
    Not as sexy as some and not as much as I had at work but it works for me.

  • Dirk Wehpunkt

    I think that’s enough . Not the fancy stuff , just missing a light


    An item i dont see why people wouldnt carry more ( i personally have one at all times) is a SWAT-T. obviously has multiple uses, to the point where i have seen two tied together to tow a fucking car, its the size of a loaded wallet, also pretty simple to use even for non-medical trained individuals. I am very interested to hear why people dont carry one…. especially if an individual carries a sidearm. 
    If one finds it important to carry a firearm for self protection, why wouldnt one carry something to control massive hemorrhage in the case of having to use said firearm and taking a round? Doesnt take long to be a dead man from an extremity wound. 
    another option, for those interested is the integrated tourniquet belt… it can be applied with one arm with some practice, although if you need to maintain cover from a prone position it becomes a bit of a challenge. 
    obviously from a medical perspective there are positives and negatives to every piece of gear or every gear piece that has alternative choices. the one i will point out is with the SWAT-T which really can’t be applied with one arm even with the lack of stress, much less in the time an arterial bleed would drain you.
    apologies for the long wind post.

  • DoubleFeedMedia

    ITStactical you guys definitely forgot the ballistics missile. I mean come on, it would totally fit strapped to ones leg. #noskinnyjeans

  • rhaldin

    Short list: a multitool, a folding knife, a lighter and a paracord bracelet.

  • JRcloud9

    Great thread, even better site.
    For nearly 3 years now I have lived 5 miles into the bush, on a Canadian mountain, completely off grid. I am surrounded by wildlife, everything thing from moose, bear, coyote, cougar, bobcat, and wolf, as such my EDC is slightly more extensive, but not much. Everywhere I go I bring my back pack (my EDC) and with some seasonal changes due to our snow it always contains the following:
    – an advanced trauma kit, complete with surgical kit
    – a small food pack (2 of each… protein bars, fruit bars, breakfast bars, tea bags and 2 cups dry dog food)
    – fresh water in camel pack and extra iodine tabs for purification
    – wet stone, magnesium fire stone, compass, lighter
    – extra socks, gloves and hat
    – none lethal bear pistol (bangers & cracklers)
    – a good pocket knife and a good fixed blade knife ( in many cases a good machette or my .223, it’s pretty sticky carrying a long gun at the wrong time of year – stupid gun laws!)
    – mini Mag and extra batteries
    – identification and cash
    – 50′ of 550 paracord
    – dog leash
    And last of all I don’t leave home without my dog, he’s a well trained 100lb pitbull x Shephard , and he’s all business.
    Dog number 2 guards the home front, he’s a 100lb king shepherd

  • Spencer

    My current EDC:
    Small mace canister
    Leatherman Juice S2
    Pen (Zebra F-701)
    Streamlight Stilus Pro 2AAA
    iPhone 6 Plus
    Walther PPK/S in custom AIWB Kydex holster
    Small rite in the rain notebook
    Small and thin card wallet
    Benchmade Griptillian
    I have a Shield 9mm w/o safety on the way and will most likely switch to that as my primary EDC pistol. I’m also considering switching the light to an Olight S2 Baton. I’ll most likely upgrade to a more rigid belt soon as well. My EDC system fluctuates very little. I tend to wear the same pair of pants for at least a few days in a row, so I generally keep everything in its place. This saves time in the morning.

  • Omar

    Spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch. Oh and a pocket knife of course!

  • MarcPassaglia

    I like the simplistic approach. IMO your EDC should be what you frequently use and what will get you to more substantial resource. Personally I prefer a medium frame Leatherman like the Sidekick or Skeletool.  A Small flashlight is also helpful for both work and defense. I have a Streamlight Stylus Pro which comes in handy.

  • JP

    I carry some stuff that I won’t bore you,or try to one-up anyone with the details… but I will tell you about one particular piece that I’ve just discovered that I use more than anything.  It’s the new(ish) Leatherman Style PS.  It’s freakin’ tiny, but strong as hell.  It has pliers, scissors, and bottle opener (most used feature), and for some reason a nail file?  Plus a pair of tweezers.  The tweezers seem worthless, and the nail file, wtf? but they sell it as TSA friendly so whatev’s… but honestly it’s smaller than a Bic lighter and I use it for something nearly every day.  I thought I’d break the pliers the first time I used them, but nope – very impressive.  It fits neatly into that strange little marsupial pocket inside your normal pocket in most pants comfortably next to a Zippo.  My $0.02

  • sirgalaed

    I am currently working outside the US, and the local Federation government is VERY strict about civilian carrying “weapons”. Firearms are strictly illegal except for Police and Customs agent (and yes they set up roadblocks with Customs agents fully loaded and check cars). Camo is also illegal for civilians. SO consequently, I have adjusted to improvised weapons and the real  life experience of ” I am the weapon”. I still carry my tactical flashlight, but I have been warned that clip folders, multi-tools and any knife on your belt is subject to confiscation, so I refrain. It has been very liberating! I look for weapons of opportunity, and train my empty hand skills a lot. The whole experience has opened my thought process about EDC.

  • I carry two lights, two knives, two guns, two reloads, one set of keys, one compact ballpoint pen, one smart phone, one watch, one wallet. It all fits my clothing and pockets when I wear 511’s or similar trousers. In the warmer months the primary pistol is a G26, in the cooler months, it’s a 1911A1 customized by Ted Yost when he was at Gunsite. The backup pistol is a Taurus CIA in .38Spl. for both warm and cool temps.
    I carry cash in the wallet and on a money clip(that has a razor blade holder). I sometimes wish I was carrying a small notebook.

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