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There are 4 tips to consider for decisions about EDC options. My wife and I, recently, were discussing the topic of Everyday Carry (EDC). That conversation became the motivation to write this article. Prepping and survivalist interest is growing. Consequently, there are many people new to the jargon and concepts they are seeing on the internet. Therefore, it is helpful to keep in mind these four tips when considering what to carry for your EDC loadout.

Tip # 1: Assess Your Daily Environment

The first tip about EDC options is to assess your daily environment. The environment in which you will function everyday is the foundation for considering your EDC options. The world that we live in is not homogenous. My particular daily situation does not have the same nuances as someone else’s environment. Some people live and work in the suburbs, like Poway, California. Other people live in rural areas away from daily access to the high energy of a big city. Still, others live and commute within a highly urbanized metroplex, like Los Angles, New York, St. Louis, or Dallas-Fort Worth.

A particularly challenging daily environment to assess is one in which a person commutes long distances between work and home. I remember hearing about a professional athlete in California, who travels almost two hours, one-way, every day between his home and place of work during the season of his chosen sport. Thus, a person like that will have a unique set of EDC considerations. Therefore, it is essential to assess your daily environment.

As you assess your environment, you will want to ask and answer some crucial questions about your situation:

  • What is the level of crime in my area?
  • What is the most common kind of crime in my area?
  • How often will I be away from home?
  • How much and how far will I commute every day?
  • What is the type of transportation that I will use every day; car, bus, subway, train, taxi, carpool, airline?
  • What is the nature of the traffic in my area (easy, hard, frequent traffic jams, etc.)?

If you can answer some of these basic questions, then you may find yourself drifting into a discussion about getting home. Thus, you should be very thorough in assessing your daily environment.

Tip # 2: Assess Your Level of Readiness

The next important EDC tip in your item considerations is to assess your level of readiness. How physically fit are you? Do you have handicaps that require special equipment? Have you included an EDC, prepping, or survival line-item in your yearly budget? How proficient are you in self-defense, handling firearms, or using non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray? The point here is not to imply that you should shore up your weaknesses. Instead, these are influences in determining what items you should be considering for your everyday carry loadout.

For example, if you have never handled a firearm, you have no business carrying one until you get properly trained and licensed to carry it. If you have never had martial arts training with knives and weapons, then you have no business carrying a karambit knife because an internet personality demonstrated using one. Furthermore, how often on a daily basis will you be employing the things you desire to carry? Therefore, assessing your level of readiness should determine what you include in your EDC loadout.

Tip # 3: Assess The Practicality Of Your EDC Item Considerations

A third EDC tip concerns practicality. Now that you have assessed your environment and your readiness, you can now begin to think about what items to consider for your EDC loadout, in essence what are your needs? An important principle to remember is what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, some people carry an EDC backpack. There are many videos on the internet discussing what to pack in an EDC backpack. Remember the keyword in Everyday Carry is everyday. How practical is an EDC backpack to your situation? It might be overkill, especially if you are at your suburban house most of the day.

Furthermore, the practicality of your items will be influenced by your level of familiarity with them. Multitools are a favorite everyday carry item that you find as a recommendation on the internet. Yet, how often will you use something like that everyday? I remember in the military the only people carrying multitools every day were our vehicle mechanics. Why? They are fixers in their hearts. Thus, they discover that they need to carry a multitool. They need to be ready to repair, fix, attach, or detach something, even when they are not under a vehicle. Their experience dictates that they carry a multitool. Therefore, assess the practicality of your items along with your needs or requirements.

Do not put something in your EDC loadout that you will never use or will hardly use on any given day. Everyday carry items are intended for regular or frequent use. By definition, they are not for an emergency survival SHTF scenario. For example, I saw someone on YouTube recommending an ankle-mounted first aid kit as an EDC item. First aid kits or trauma treatment items, such as tourniquets, are, technically, emergency items. It is crucial for those off-duty medical professionals and first responders to carry emergency medical kits as everyday carry items. However, for the general public, emergency medical items should be part of your individual emergency survival kits. Furthermore, your personal emergency survival kit should be part of your EDC loadout.

Tip # 4: Learn The Art Of Modifying Your EDC Items

The fourth EDC tip is learning the art of modifying your EDC items. Many people are carrying a multitude of items on any given day. As you are assessing your daily environment and item needs, remember to be flexible. As you carry your items, you become used to them to the point of not noticing that they are on you. Then, you find yourself having to travel via airline, bus, or train. Suddenly, you are facing a TSA officer screening you, and you forgot to place your multitool or folder in the checked baggage. Now you lost that $180 Benchmade Griptillian folder or $100 Leatherman Center-Drive multitool even after putting them in the bin to go through the x-ray machine. Limit your “oops” moments by learning to modify your EDC loadout for each situation.

A good practice to employ in the art of modification is layering up or down according to the need. In the military, you are trained to modify your clothing as the climate dictates. Layering your clothing is an essential technique for the winter months and in cold weather conditions. This same technique can apply to EDC considerations. You may find yourself not carrying some items on the weekend. They are simply not needed. Similarly, you may find yourself adding items if you go out of town for the weekend with your family.

Concluding Comments

Everyone carries some kind of an EDC item, such as a wristwatch or wallet. However, as we consider carrying items beyond the obvious, it is essential to be thoughtful, diligent, and practical about what you include in your EDC loadout. There are at least three conventional approaches to EDC philosophy: EDC as items of regular or frequent use, EDC as items for personal defense, or EDC as items for emergency survival. Some advocates blend elements of all of these and call it Everyday Carry. The environment in which you operate and your level of readiness will determine what you carry daily. Remember that there is always room for improvement. So, choose your EDC items wisely and continue to improve your knowledge and experience. As a result, you will modify and enhance the things you carry with you every day

For many survival has become more than a hobby, it is a way of life.  The survival industry is a vast and ever growing community built around developing self-reliance skills and reconnecting with nature.  It is in this exciting pursuit many skills get overlooked and in some cases are underrated.  The thought of rubbing two sticks together is exhilarating… “I am man, I have made fire!”
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It carries this sense of accomplishment that I have not found in any other skill.  Then there is building this mansion in the woods from only what nature provided.  In comparison to our modern day homes it is nothing but some simple sticks put together to build a shelter, but that child like part of us sees an amazing fort capable of withstanding the weight of the world.  Each of these are vital skills as well as many others, but what about the ones that are just as essential, but not as popular.  Are we setting people up for failure, or maybe even… injury or death?  These are the Most Underrated Survival Skills that I think everyone should be implementing.

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#1 SAFETY – I am not talking about creating safe places in the woods where everyone wears a bubble suit, although I could see that happening in today’s society.  I am referring to teaching people good body mechanics as they move through the woods, safe food handling practices,  proper knife/axe/hatchet/saw techniques, developing solid communication chains (filling out an ISOPREP Report, and leaving with someone you trust), and understanding one’s own capabilities.


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#2 SECURITY
– Many times we associate the term security with tactical or firearms training, and in many ways those are vital to security, but what about the soft skills such as shelter location, perimeter alarms, predator deterrents (bear bags, bear spray, etc), how to respond to predators, and then the most dangerous animal in the woods… man.  Knives can be carried where guns cannot.  I highly recommend you develop some knife fighting skills.


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#3 SELF-AID
– I just spent 8 days training in some intensive wilderness medical skills, and realized that my knowledge of proper wilderness self-aid was sorely lacking.  I am grateful for this eye opening experience, and plan to make it a priority in my training.  I think every individual should at least know how to control/stop bleeding and create a sling, splint, and sprain wrap.  Want a real challenge? Try putting a splint and sling on your own without any assistance.

Vital Items every medic pack should contain:


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#4 SIGNALING/SELF-RESCUE
(NAVIGATION)  – With some basic navigation training there would be far fewer people getting lost in the woods.  Even something as simple as terrain association could make a huge difference.  I have been an avid woodsman for over 10 years, and I have been known to get turned around from time to time myself. I have found that just taking a few seconds every 100 yards to identify key features in your surroundings help immensely.  Carrying a good compass and understanding how it works is important as well.


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#5 SANITATION
(HYGIENE) – Last but not least sanitation and hygiene are rarely if ever talked about in the survival community, and the lack of sanitation is probably the number one reason for stomach bugs and infection.  Keeping your camp clean and tidy will promote good health and morale.  Designate areas for waste elimination (restrooms) at least 75-100 yards outside of camp.  Properly wash your hands when possible.  Even some coarse sand in the creek rubbed on your hands will help.  Bring toilet paper and bury/burn, or make sure you understand which plants or rocks work great for wiping.

I hope you enjoyed this post, my intentions were not to educate you in each of these areas; however to bring them to your attention so you might research and seek out proper education in these areas.  Please show your support Sigma 3 by sharing this blog post, and shopping with the provided links in this post.


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Justin “Sage” Williams

Director of Operations/
Lead Instructor
Sigma 3 Survival School

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