"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program." - Spencer Kimball, 1976

EDC, which stands for Every Day Carry, represents an aspect of survivalism and survival mentality that has become increasingly popular in the last decade. Generally, EDC refers to the items a person carries on a daily basis everywhere they go. For most people in the developed world, this is a cell phone, wallet or pocketbook, and perhaps a purse with makeup or glasses. In the context of survivalism, however, it represents the baseline of items needed to generally be prepared for the majority of situations one might encounter on any given day. Not only are sections of survival and preparedness forums now dedicated to EDC, but entire websites and blogs focus on the subject. Like survival products in general, EDC related items and interest have spurred commercial growth catering to adherents. Companies like Maxpedition market bags, packs, multitools, and other common EDC items specifically to the EDC community.  A lot of discussion within the EDC community relates to the utility/weight trade-off when considering items to carry. While related, EDC is not to be confused with the BOB (Bug out Bag) concept.

While every EDC is unique to the individual, based on their expected activities and environment, some items occur so frequently as to be almost ubiquitous.  Common EDC items include:

  • Multitool - The quintessential EDC item, multitools represent the idea in a nutshell.  Small, compact, and loaded with functionality intended to address a plethora of situations, the multitool is a cornerstone to most EDC.
  • Flashlight - This is not the large 10 pound Mag light fathers give their daughters when they go to college. Generally small, LED, and durable, flashlights in EDC often double as self-defense batons used to exert pressure on nerve points. This is because many people work in areas where carrying a knife is not allowed.
  • Pocketknife - Often consisted one of the top three most important survival tools, pocket knives for EDC tend towards the tactical variety. While the multitool usually has at least one blade, pocketknives are still carried for their simplicity and utility.
  • Cell phone - Because they now serve so many purposes in addition to making calls, cell phones are very common in EDC.
  • Firestarter - Another fundamental tool, firestarters can come in the form of standard cigarette lighters, but are commonly found as emergency aircraft bars (these are magnesium bars with a piece of steel mounted on the top. Shedding small flakes of magnesium into a pile with the pocketknife, one can strike the steel with a knife into the pile and create a fire in almost any condition).

Some EDC adherents carry backpacks, shoulder packs, or laptop bags in order that they may keep more material with them. Additional common items found when space allows include:

  • Paracord - Usually about 50 feet of this strong, versatile rope is bound in some way to the bag or pack. Occasionally, shorter lengths will be woven into key ring or lanyard straps. Rarely, more defense minded individuals will take a steel ball bearing about the size of a golf ball and weave paracord around it and down into a loop. In many states this is considered a lethal weapon, however, and not commonly encountered.
  • First aid kit - Smaller and less comprehensive than Everyman's First Response Kit, this will involve standard bandaging and cleaning materials as well as a solar survival blanket.
  • Water Bottle - 32 ounce Nalgene bottles commonly occupy this spot, to the point that many of the bags created by Maxpedition have a dedicated 32 ounce water bottle holder.
  • Food - High-energy protein bars, trail mix, or other calorie intensive items.
  • And for one subgroup of EDC adherents, the final, permit required item:
  • Handgun - Like other aspects of survivalism, there is some overlap between the with the pro-gun community.

At a deeper level than the material items one carries, EDC represents a certain philosophical attitude to life in which the individual takes a proactive approach to meeting its challenges head-on. It might take a real survival nut to build a bomb shelter in the backyard and fill it with several years food, but anyone can work EDC into their daily routine.  Evaluating contingencies that can be encountered throughout the day requires an engagement with the commonplace that, at the very least, will help avoid inconveniences in the future. Many groups already subscribe to similar mindsets, including the Boy Scouts, US Military, and The Mormon Church, from whose leadership the opening quote is taken.

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