Every one’s EDC is different. Some times it’s quite different. People have different priorities, goals, and needs. Not every one includes a gun as part of their EDC either. With that said, like a lot of people, my EDC changes periodically and/or also evolves as I get more time on gear.
I decided that its time to take a look at my EDC. I’m going to go over it as objectively as I possibly can. Where appropriate I’ll even delve into a mini review on certain items. This might give you insight on certain things and ideas for your own EDC. On top of that, I plan on revisiting the state of my EDC at the end of the year to see where it has changed and evolved.
The heart of my EDC
This may come as a surprise to some people, but the heart of my EDC actually isn’t a piece of gear. It has nothing to do with a gun, a knife, some sort of tool, or anything like that. Not even a belt! You might be asking yourself, “what is more important than the tools you carry?” There is in fact one thing I deem more important. Your pants.
Before people get up in arms, let me explain myself. If you are not comfortable carrying your gear, then you wont carry it or you will omit pieces of gear that are inconvenient. How do I know this? I was that guy. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I avoided EDC for a bit because I couldn’t find a way to carry in a way that worked for me. So if your pants is the base from which you carrying everything, then they had better work for you.
Who’s Carlos Ray?
I have been wearing Tactical Distributors Carlos Ray pants for quite awhile now. While I do have other pants (even some of TD’s Braddock pants), the Carlos Ray’s are what I’ve primarily wore. I wont beat around the bush, I like them a lot, but they have some short comings. Their short comings aren’t due to a lack of features or anything of that sort. They are feature packed. In fact, you can stuff more things comfortably into theses pants than you would believe.
They have plenty of pockets, room for AR mags if you need that, they seem to be sized a little big (great for fitting your gun comfortably), they are slightly stretchy, and they look really good. The pockets are in logical places and allow me to separate out my gear in a way that makes sense and where everything is easily accessible. The stretchiness of them has been a nice when moving, climbing, and doing man things. At work, before I left the field and moved into the office, I’d kill a pair of Carhartts in 6 months flat due to the lack of elasticity and climbing. These pants handle your range of motion rather well.
Now for the down side. They are not as durable as I would have hoped. I could never wear these pants in the field at work. They are not as abrasion resistant as I would have liked. Lets face it though, these aren’t Carhartts. I managed to shred a back pocket on one pair because I snagged a bolt while I was in my dad’s shop. Not a hard snag either. They just aren’t very snag/tear resistant. That is the biggest down side though. If you’re wearing them in an environment where there’s a lot of sharp edges, sheetmetal, ect, then they might not be the right choice.
With that said, just last week I did blow the crotch out of two pairs. Its to be expected eventually. They lasted longer than my Carhartts usually do in that regard though. At work I’d blow out a pair of Carhartts in 6 months. The Carlos Rays lasted about a year, but that was a year in the office. I do try and stay active though. Currently I am debating on whether to replace them or to try something else.
Let there be light!
Hands down the most useful part of my EDC is a flashlight. I cannot count how many times I have needed a flashlight. As soon as I started carrying one, it got used on a weekly basis at the very least. You’d be amazing how many times you have to search for something in your car in the dark, navigate a dark alley, climb into a dark attic, climb under a house, or just search through some dark hole while looking for something you lost. Its nuts how much use my flashlights get.
My current flashlight is a Streamlight Microstream USB. Its doesn’t have the most output, but you don’t need a portable sun. At 250 lumens it gives you enough light to see and work in most situations. Hell, some Surefire’s weapon mounted lights fall in the 250-350 lumen range (their IR variants specifically). If people can run and gun with that few lumens, then its probably fine for every day life stuff. Not to mention, I’m not trying to throw a beam 100 yards to identify something. I’m typically working at short distances where its performance is more than adequate.
I switched to the Microstream USB for a very particular reason. Previously I ran a Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA. The Microstream USB is a much smaller light and is much less noticeable in my pocket. Sure it has 100 lumens less output, but it hasn’t bothered me yet. The other upside to the Microstream USB is the ability to charge it via USB. I found myself getting lazy as far as changing CR123’s went. Not to mention when everything you own uses CR123’s, it gets really expensive.
These lights have other features, but to be honest I don’t use them. I never even delved into their Ten Tap technology. Some times life is simple… on and off…
But how sharp is it?
Hands down the second most useful tool in my EDC is a knife. I’ve carried numerous knives. Most notably one of my favorite EDC knives was the CRKT Ignitor. Sadly that knife walked off with my ex-wife, along with a lot of my other nice knives. Since then I really haven’t been able to bring myself to throw a lot of money at knives. I have, however, found a few knives on the cheaper end that have served me well.
In the past I carried a lot of CRKT knives. They were my goto. While I still like them and have some, I’ve started to use some Kershaw knives. Currently my EDC knife is the CQC-4k. What drew me to this knife was its blade shape, handle shape, lack of cerrations, and the overall size of the knife itself. Nothing sucks more than having a big knife that makes it hard to dig stuff out of your pocket. The CQC-4k is slim enough for you to get your hand past it and dig out the contents of your pocket without being horribly obtrusive.
The knife itself is a manual opening knife. It does have one neat feature though. From my understanding, it is a collaboration with Emerson and it uses Emersons wave mechanism. This allows you to open your knife as it comes out of your pocket, if you so desire. It does require some practice though. If you need to deploy your blade fast, this is the ticket. As far as the blade itself, it has held an edge within reason. Every knife eventually needs to be sharpened and this one seems to hold up good enough for my use and far better than most cheap knives have.
The key chain of death!
I’ve written a review on my Bone Breaker key chain before. It is made by Bone Tactical and it was pivotal in making EDC work for me. In fact its what got me carrying a lot more stuff. I have serious OCD when it comes to being able to quickly get things out of my pockets. If I cant just reach in and grab my keys or what ever it is I’m looking for, then I get seriously irritated.
The Bone Breaker key chain fixed that for me. It allows me to hang my keys off my pocket. The loop at the top allows me to hook my finger and pull my keys out of my pocket without having to do any digging. This is awesome and in an emergency situation where you have to be fast, this speeds you up even more.
Its usefulness doesn’t stop there though. Note the name, Bone Breaker key chain. I don’t know if it will break bone, but it definitely doubles as a weapon. One that I certainly don’t want to have impact my skull. It might give you the edge if you have to fight for your life. Also, if you need to open a beer, its got you covered too. It has been a part of my EDC for a long time now and it is one of the few things that probably wont get cycled out.
The multi-tool is probably my least used EDC item, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful. In fact, when I need it, then I really need it. It is an area where I have invested exactly zero dollars though. The story of my multitool is a short one. In fact, I don’t even know what model it is… All I know is that it came from Cabelas.
I got my multitool for Christmas YEARS ago, back when I was in college. It never got carried, nor did I use it. I saw the value of a multitool, but the reality of it was that it got tossed on the dresser and lost in the clutter. Fast forward to a couple years ago and that multitool miraculously just appeared out of no where… and theres no better multitool than a free one right?
Well, its certainly not perfect. The scissors have limited uses and aren’t great, but the knives and saw are sharp and can get the job done. I find that the most useful things are the screw driver and the pliers. Between the screw drivers and the pliers, it has gotten me by multiple times. This is one area of my EDC that I plan on improving. The trick is finding something small, but still useful and I am certainly open to suggestions.
Where the money goes…
A wallet is not really an essential part of my EDC, but it is part of it. What I mean is that while perhaps not all wallets are created equal, a wallet that works is all that is really required. My sole requirement is that it holds money.
I’ve had many wallets. Lots of leather wallets. A few really fancy wallets. All of them wore out. On top of that, all of them had the same problem. They got stuffed full of crap and grew to a size where they barely fit in my back pocket. This made them horribly uncomfortable to sit on, especially for long periods of time. Try going a day without sitting on your massive leather wallet. Not only will it feel totally wrong that your wallet isn’t in your back pocket, but you’ll notice that you’re more comfortable. My hip actually bothered me until I swapped my wallet out.
I ended up swapping to a Scudo. What is a Scudo? It an aluminum wallet. The wallet itself opens on one end and is hinged. The top swings open and often times impresses bystanders when you bust your wallet out and flip it open as if it were some sort of knife. I’m sure if you’re worried about RFID stuff, this wallet has you covered as well. Not to mention it is tough as nails and wont wear out like a leather wallet. As mentioned it has a thin profile and is so comfortable that you’ll barely even notice that it is in your back pocket.
The only downside I’ve found to it is that it doesn’t do well with a lot of loose cash, but if all you have are credit cards, then you’re golden. Mine happens to be a Cloud Defensive special edition Scudo. I’m a big fan of Cloud Defensive and a huge believer in their products (of which I own many)… and they didn’t have to pay me to say that. So when I saw they had partnered with Scudo to do a wallet, I didn’t even hesitate to buy one.
Not just any belt will do…
Your belt will make or break your EDC when it comes to your gun. So it is definitely important to choose a belt that will support your gear. I run two different belts. “Why?” you might ask. Because I cant always carry a gun. Both because I go into places where I cant legally carry and because by policy I cant carry at work.
When I’m not carrying I wear a Ferro Concepts Every Day Carry Belt. Wait a second?!?! I wear an every day carry belt when I’m not carrying. Its rigid and yet it is still comfortable. The EDC belt is a 1.5″ belt that is mostly rigid. It has a 1″ cobra buckle that fits through the loops in your pants, making it much more convenient than most belts with cobra buckles. Where this belt falls short and is relegated to non carry situations is that I carry appendix and the part of my belt that my holster’s claw hits is far from rigid. This makes the claw much less effective. Not to mention the holster rides on the only portion of the belt that isn’t rigid.
The front portion of the belt nearest the buckle is smaller and not rigid. Thus making it far less desirable for appendix carry, at least for me. If I were carrying in a different position then it would more than likely be fine. With all that said, it is extremely comfortable, so I still see value in the belt.
My carry belt is an SOE 1.5″ Rigid Duty Belt without the Velcro liner. It doesn’t just thread through your pant loops, so its a process to put on, but it is rigid as hell and carries my gun well. In fact, its more belt than I need for my gun, which is perfect. While its not as comfortable as the Ferro EDC belt in the long term, it does a better job at carrying my gun in the appendix position. Thus, this is the belt I use when I carry.
A gun is probably your least important EDC item. I know a lot of importance and emphasis is placed on your gun, but how often have you used your gun? I mean outside of the range. You probably haven’t. With that said, it’s not something that should be overlooked either. It is still important.
My EDC gun currently is something most people wouldn’t expect if they had seen my collection of guns. It is a simple slightly(*cough cough heavily*) modified XD-S. You might expect me to have something much more fancy or something with a much better track record, but the fact of the matter is that it is my smallest gun that I am comfortable carrying. It was just sort of the best choice out of all my handguns. My commander sized 1911 isn’t something that I wanted to carry in the summer. The Canik TP9-SF Elite is awesome, but its a pretty fat gun. My PF940C is great as well, but I need to toss all the 9mm Glock Pmags in favor of factory Glock mags and I’d like something smaller.
For me its all about comfort. If I’m not comfortable, then I probably wont carry it. I know this and knowing such things about yourself allows you to set yourself up for success. That is the reason I carry my XD-S over the other options I have. To further compound on that point, I carry it in a Tier 1 Concealment Axis Slim holster. The holster itself is two parts and held together in the middle with a stretchy bungee cord. This lets the holster move and flex with you. It also has a claw, which aids in concealment. Over all its a great holster, but it was missing one thing. A wedge. I ended up adding a neoprene wedge which also aided in both comfort and concealment.
EDC short comings…
You may have noticed somethings missing or areas where you think I could have done better. I agree! I’m missing things and I have areas that I could definitely improve. I’m not perfect and what I have works, but it could be much better. So where can I improve?
First of all, you’ll notice the lack of medical equipment. Yeah, that’s bad and I know it. With that said, I work in a field where people can get hurt quickly and hurt bad. We almost had a guy die due blood loss from an insane cut to his arm. Luckily he lived, but that drives home the point of carrying medical equipment. An LTC Pocket Trauma kit something that I am seriously considering. I think that’s probably the minimum I should carry. The addition of a good tourniquet would probably be a great idea. With that said, I have some medical training due to the field I work in, but I feel also though I should also get more. You should get trained in first and know how to use your medical equipment. Training saves lives.
A good watch is another piece of equipment that is very useful. I had one, but it wasn’t comfortable and it just wasn’t jiving with me. I need to find one that I like and that is comfortable. In my personal opinion you should rely on your cell phone the least amount possible. Hence a watch and a flashlight are great items to carry and two jobs you wont need to rely on your cell phone for. After all, a cell phone might be the least reliable thing you’re carrying. I certainly need to find a good watch.
My pants situation needs to be remedied. After all, I blew out two pairs so I’ll probably either be replacing them or exploring other options. I do love those Carlos Ray pants because they are incredibly comfortable, but there are many options out there. One area where I do want to improve is my belt. I want to find one belt that does it all for me. I also want to get away from a cobra buckle for my EDC belt. Why? Because cobra buckles are thick and the more I can thin out my buckle and my gun, the less pregnant I appear when carrying…. and trust me, its awkward when some one asks a dude how far along he is….
One thing I took away from Ivan when interviewing him for the Personal Gear Evolution series was that carrying a fire starting device is probably a great idea. Why? Because who doesn’t like fire… but mostly because you might find yourself in a survival situation where your ability to make fire can mean life or death. This might not resonate with city dwellers, but for those of us who at least periodically find ourselves in the back country, we know how useful fire can be.
My blaster is another area that I want to improve on. I honestly don’t think I can settle on one carry gun, but I would like to have a core group of guns. I’ve got a PF940SC build going, which I will carry even though its a tad thick. I’ve also been wanting to pick up a Kimber Micro 9 TLE. I gravitate toward smaller guns for some reason. They tend to be more comfortable for me. That might also be a sign that I still have more weight to lose though…
Last, but not least, I need to upgrade my multitool situation. I’m not exactly sure what I want to do here, but high quality is the goal. I need something I can depend on, that has the right tools to get me by, and that is also compact enough to not piss me off when its in my pocket.
So now you know what I typically carry. Yes, I do occasionally change it up, but that is what I default to. There is some stuff that I personally think I do right and a lot of stuff I think I need to improve on. hopefully by putting my gear and EDC insights out there, you can pick out things with your EDC and maybe improve your EDC game. After all, this is all about realizing where we can do better and making the changes.