In this video, I’ve collected my everyday carry or
EDC items and I’ll share what makes them essential
and my preferred choices. These are the
practical items that I wind up using daily,
or could be critical if I’m faced
with an unexpected emergency.
This collection is the result of adding
and dropping items across many years,
experiencing daily use of many brands and models.
I’ve had a lot of excellent advice from you
– reading through thousands of comments on
my bug-out and get-home bag videos.
For me, equipment is best if it’s “just
enough” to do the job, at the lowest-practical
space and weight. I appreciate quality things,
but avoid items so expensive that I’m hesitant
to actually use, or lose them. My EDC consists
of great finds of good-quality items,
priced low enough to be easily replaced.
Although I’m a certified instructor in personal
protection items, and I carry those as well,
I’ll leave them for other channels
that cover them better.
So, here are my choices:
A mentor of mine always said,
“A man never leaves home without a knife
and a flashlight.” This advice started me
on my EDC path, and I’ve been better off for it.
Usually, the knife is a Kershaw Scrambler. This
is a very durable mid-sized folding knife with
a good heft, good steel, at a very reasonable
price. I buy several at a time, and just open
a replacement if I lose the one I’m carrying.
They’ve also been frequent gifts for friends.
The Scrambler is an R. J. Martin design,
from a top designer of some of the world’s best
knives. The deep finger grove and the flipper
provide good protection from the blade, even
in heavy use or if hands are wet or slippery.
Stainless steel construction and a beefy pivot
make it a very strong folding knife. It will
stand up to more than most, and considerably
more than lighter polymer-framed knives.
One feature I really love is the Kershaw Speed
Safe action. This spring-assisted action opens
to a full lock quickly and reliably,
and I’ve not found anything better.
If you live somewhere a spring-assisted
opener is not a good option,
I like the R. J. Martin-designed Kershaw Fly
Through. It incorporates a large-diameter pivot
with a bearing, opening just as quickly
and reliably as the Speed Safe knives,
but without a spring assist. Like my other
choices, it has a deep finger grove and
the flipper acts as a quillon for safety.
All the Kershaw knives have a square spine
and can have a second purpose
as a striker on a fire steel.
When I’m looking for a lighter and smaller
alternative, I carry a Ken-Onion-designed
Kershaw Scallion. It’s also a beautiful design,
and also features Kershaw’s Speed Safe action,
plus a thumb stud, and adds a lock
button to prevent accidental opening.
For the most discreet carry, I switch to a
Kershaw Chive. This is a scaled-down Scallion,
which I carry it in my pocket rather than
clipped to the top edge of a pocket.
For dress occasions, I have 24K gold-plated
versions of both the Scallion and the Chive.
These are a little over-the-top, but if I
have a gold-colored watch and belt buckle,
I may as well have the knife that belongs.
At least my wife knows I’m trying.
So far, this might seem like it’s strictly
Kershaw-brand driven, but these have been chosen
from the dozens of knives from dozens of brands
that I’ve carried. The Kershaw models have both the
Speed Safe action and the best balance of design,
functionality, and price, so they’re my choices.
For an EDC flashlight, my choice is a
Streamlight MicroStream. This is a well-executed,
minimally-sized single-function 45-lumen
flashlight with a tail cap switch for on and off
or momentary. It’s made of anodized aircraft
aluminum, is about as long as the width of
your palm and just slightly larger than the
diameter of the AAA battery that powers it.
It has a nice pocket clip that will also
mount the light on the bill of a baseball
cap, so it can be used hands-free.
Again, at its low price point, I buy several
at a time and can open a replacement whenever one
goes missing. Over the years I’ve given dozens away
to people I know, and almost all my friends have a
well-worn MicroStream in their pocket right now.
If you don’t already carry a flashlight, you’ll
be shocked to find how much you use it.
On a bright, sunny day finding something in
the shade under the car, or under a car seat,
is a whole lot easier. Plugging a cord into
the back of a computer under your desk,
or finding something in the back of a drawer is
simpler as well. Lighting a menu in a dimly-lit
restaurant, or signaling for someone’s attention
across a noisy room are also common uses.
Here are two of the more exotic uses
most people have never heard of:
First, if you drop a small item on the
floor, and don’t really know where it went,
you can lay the flashlight on the floor and turn
it slowly until the edge of the item lights up
from the beam, making it a lot easier to spot.
Second, fine print is considerably easier to read
with light applied to it. Because of a basic
optical principle, the flashlight actually
provides the same benefit as reading glasses.
Try it – you’ll be surprised how well this works.
For dress or discreet carry, I switch
to a Fenix E01. It has high, medium
and low output levels and is only a little
larger than a AAA battery. The really small
Microstream looks like a monster next to it.
Next, I always have a compact combination tool
on my keys. The Swiss+Tech keychain
multi-tool has pliers, wire-cutter;
and full-sized flat and Phillips screwdrivers.
There’s a slightly larger 19-tool version of the
Swiss+Tech as well. It adds three sizes of both
flat and Phillips screwdrivers, wire strippers and
crimper, bottle opener and more. Impressive for a
tool only a quarter-inch wider that the original.
If going someplace where other tools might
be needed but not available, like the woods,
the desert or the lake, I’ll also carry a
more-traditional multi-tool. I have a wide variety
of these, but my favorite is the Leatherman
Sidekick. Besides the usual excellent needle-nosed
and regular pliers, this one has: wire cutters;
both smooth and serrated blades; a saw;
two flat and one Phillips screwdrivers; a file;
a can opener; and a tiny ruler. My wife’s version
is the Leatherman Wingman, which trades out
the saw for a pretty good set of scissors.
Because you should always have two ways to
make fire, I carry an Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL
and a peanut lighter. The Exotac is
good-quality ferro cerium rod with striker
in a very compact pocket-friendly
package. The peanut lighter is a
very compact fuel-driven lighter with a tiny
Zippo-like action. It seals with an O-ring,
and the seal is so good the one in my pocket
lights beautifully three years after filling it.
If you take medications, I recommend you
have a day’s supply with you in case you can’t
make it home. A keychain pillbox can keep most
medications clean and dry for an extended period.
It’s a good idea to periodically take what’s in the
pillbox, and replace them with fresh medications
so you aren’t taking expired meds in an emergency.
Another component of my EDC is an automatic watch,
usually a Seiko. Automatic watches are
mechanical and powered by your movement,
not batteries, so they’ll run indefinitely. They
start around $100, but you’ll get to several
hundred for reasonably accurate one, and into the
thousands for a calibrated watch like this Omega,
which is accurate within a few seconds per month.
(If the watch you choose loses 40 seconds a day,
you’ll be ½ hour late for everything six
weeks from now, so accuracy matters.)
A better option is this Seiko Solar Quartz
model. It’s waterproof, runs indefinitely
on occasional sun exposure, is extremely
accurate, and runs just over $100. It’s my
choice when I go to the outdoors, or either teach
or participate in defensive training courses.
A very important, and regularly-used item is
my boo-boo kit. It’s a minimalist first-aid
kit I made up from components I’ve scavenged
out of various kits around the house.
The tiny heavy-duty zipper bag contains: several
fabric band-aids; a sting relief pad; aspirin;
non-aspirin; ibuprofen, an anti-histamine;
antacid; and electrolyte tablets. This kit
gets used several times a year when I or
someone around me gets a cut or minor injury,
and I have aspirin immediately ready
for a potential heart attack or stroke.
I almost always wear a web belt. The 5:11
TDU Training Belt can adjust to any size,
unlike standard belts that have
holes. This sturdy belt is useful for
inside-the-waistband carry or to attach tools,
knives or personal protection whenever needed.
Finally, my phone is equipped with numerous
apps and books that I may find essential when
I’m not at home. Everything from first-aid and
survival manuals, to radio frequency lists,
plus scanner and navigation apps
are on my phone. Look for a video
on the channel for my take on the best of these.
My EDC has been indispensable. Whether it’s opening
a package or closing a cut, I have what’s needed
for situations I encountered away from home. At
home, the EDC items are used repeatedly throughout
the day. I don’t have to run for a flashlight
or the first-aid kit – they’re right with me.
And my friend was right, the knife and flashlight
are used several times a day – every day. I’ll
bet this turns out to be true for you, too.
If you want to find the exact items I carry,
I’ve put the list online. You’ll find links to the
Amazon pages where they’re described in detail. Go
to www.desertprep.info and look for the EDC List.
So, what do you think?
What did you like most, and what have I missed?
I always learn a great deal from
what you have to say in the comments,
and I’m grateful to anyone that takes the time
to share their take. I’m sure others do as well,
getting a lot from the considered, and
sometime contrary, opinions you post.
Don’t forget to like and subscribe,
so you don’t miss the next video.
Stay healthy and happy, and be prepared.
In this video, I’ve collected my everyday carry or