EDC survival gear items

EDC Survival Gear Everyday Carry Item Ideas

Lets come up with a list of EDC survival gear items /ideas (every day carry), as well as ordinary items of convenience for day to day.

EDC or everyday carry is an individual thing. The things /items that you might have in your pocket or somehow somewhere on your person. Those items may depend on what you’re doing, the type of work that you typically do, where you’re going, the environment you’ll be in, and all sorts of other factors.

EDC Survival Gear Items

Here are some thoughts and ideas. Add your own opinion in the comments below.

Folding Pocket Knife

I would almost guarantee that this is the number one thought that comes to mind for EDC survival gear. A knife. Most likely a pocket folder. There’s one in my pocket right now.

There sure are a LOT of choices when it comes to a pocket knife. When we’re talking ‘survival’, maybe the knife is just a bit more than a small folder. It depends, right? For a hike in the wilderness, I would likely carry a substantial full-tang attached at the belt. However for normal EDC, it’s a small/medium folder.

A Cell Phone

Most people do carry a cell phone. But it is an important technological piece of survival gear for every day carry. Why? I’m sure you can come up with some reasons… not the least of which is calling someone for help! There are a zillion ‘apps’ that you can install on your phone, some of them are VERY helpful. Maps /Navigation, GPS, Flashlight, Weather /Radar, Text, Email, Clock, etc..

Firestarter /FireSteel

Some sort of fire starter, such as an ordinary BIC lighter. Maybe a Zippo. You might consider a FireSteel (Firesteel.com).

I don’t ordinarily carry this during my typical day around here on the homestead. But I would EDC a fire starter if out on a hike (for example), or out camping, fishing, etc.. I do have access to multiple ways to start a fire, given my various kits (in my vehicle, small day-pack kit, etc.).

[ Read: Fire Starter Kit List ]

Pocket Flashlight

The benefits of a flashlight are obvious. I keep a very small flashlight on my keychain. It’s also perfect for your pocket. I love this mini flashlight for any situation where I might need to shed some light. Perhaps surprisingly, the mini Olight (I have this one) can be had for ~ $10.

Olight Mini AAA Flashlight
(view on amzn)

Here’s another one that I have. It’s a pen light. It can clip on your pants pocket or shirt pocket, etc. It’s slightly brighter than the mini Olight, however it accepts an additional (AAA) battery for longer runtime (8 hours). It also comes with a holster. I have the white LED version, and the Green version (preserve night vision).

Streamlight Stylus Pro Penlight


A multi-tool is just that – a tool with multiple uses. They come in a very variety of configurations depending on what you like. That’s what is nice about it… pick the features /model that works best for you.

Leatherman Product Lineup

Small Writing Instrument (Bullet Space Pen)

Maybe it’s not exactly EDC survival gear, but I love this little pen! I’m sort of old-school when it comes to taking notes and remembering stuff. This little pen coupled with a small little pocket notebook. Write it down, so I don’t forget!

Field Notes: Original Kraft 3-Pack – Graph Paper

[ Read:

Fisher Space Pen For Everyday Carry Writing Convenience

How To Remember Things The Easy Way

Pocket Compass

Assuming the ability to use a compass and understand a sense of direction, perhaps some map reading skills… a compass could become an asset for survival, depending on the situation. Ordinarily I would not need this for my normal day-to-day. However I do recall one dark night tracking a bear deep into the woods behind our property after the hunter took the shot just before sunset. We eventually got all sorts of turned around, and a compass would have helped since I knew we needed to head West to get back, based on my knowledge of the property and where we had headed… Ultimately, we got back while using the moon for direction that night.

I do keep a good quality compass in my kits. However while we’re talking about EDC every day carry survival gear, I’ve seen paracord bracelets with a small compass on them (you can get them separately too). Some watches (dual and triple sensor) have compass functionality built in. Your ‘smart’ phone can do it too with the right compass app. But here’s a neat little pocket compass that I found…

Handmade Brass Push Open Compass On Chain with Leather Case

Now I’m sure that some of you are saying, where’s the firearm in the EDC list? Well, I didn’t want to get into that subject, since it’s really it’s own separate topic.

Okay, your turn, let’s hear from you. What might you add to your own EDC survival gear list? Or, EDC for ordinary day-to-day activities…


  1. DW teases me about my 10-pound pants. I carry multiple knives for different purposes. I quit smoking 15 years ago but still carry a Bic lighter. I have a P-38, chap stick, multi pliers, ink pins, and cell phone. I also have some band-aids in my wallet. I keep a hand crank flashlight in the truck along with tools, jack, chains, oil, water, jacket and extra shoes. I have been seeing more shootings on the local news, so I recently added an extra magazine.

  2. i definitely carry my swiss army knife with several useful items on it plus the led streamlight that attaches to my key chain. my swiss army knife has magnifying glass on it which could come in handy if need start fire. also carry my case pocket knife 3 blade.

  3. also, on the compass thing, i have had several silva compass over the years but for some reason many of them have gotten bubble in them. i do have a bushnell backtrac, it just basically gets u back to where u need to go in a straight line.

  4. Pom pepper spray, Ruger LCP Max, Swiss Army Knife, at least $200 in cash, Single AA cell flashinght, Degoogled (GrapheneOS) Android privacy phone, second set of keys, and a small lock pick set.

  5. I always, always have a small bandana in my pocket, for the various scrapes I collect during the day.
    Along with a pocket knife, of course.

  6. What kind of pants are those? I have been looking for cargo pants for work, so really searching the different types, want to find just a certain style and design

    1. Kula,
      For Cargo work pants I got stuck on the Deluth Trading Co Firehose pants. Usually its my jacket that is 10 lbs with EDC packed in. But you can augment a lot, in the cargo pants; tools, phones, guns, ammo, my stanley coffee cup :-) They’re heavy duty if you get the real firehose pants. They have a Flex version that are just as functional, stretchy and real comfortable. I get both kinds. Firehose for real work and the stretchy flex for light work or comfort. The flex models are not near as sturdy, but they are still better than Levi’s 501’s.

  7. I’m doing a full rework of my get-home-bag, first time if five years. yeah – I know. Kirkland AA’s turned to dust, water bottles leaked as much as 50%. Surprisingly a lithium power bank was still at 94% state of charge, I’ll replace it with one 3 times the capacity with a built in solar panel. Aerosolized blister spray leaked out. AA’s in a mini maglite swelled a bit and were a pain to remove but no corrosion, presumably because it was sealed from air. Vacuum sealed gym clothes take up very little space, I’ll do that again. Clif bars turned to concrete and the Datrex slab lost it’s seal. I’ve got a small pharmacy in there and many adhesive bandages, all will have to be tossed maybe half the meds will be replaced. Camping hatchets and folding saws have not been outlawed in California – yet. Side pocket, quick draw.

    Adds – Switching to stainless steel vacuum flasks for water. New high current lithium power banks that double as a heater – we do have a few chilly months here. Also adding a lightweight but good quality rain suit and a flapped/folding sun hat. I’m also going to add a pair of those Walker NC range muffs with the 2-way radio. If travelling with another person we can split up to different vantage points and scout paths twice as fast; if I’m alone it might make an opportunistic predator wonder where the other guys are.

    California cannot afford water trucks for the I-10 rebuild, I go through cement clouds like St. Helens daily so a pair of half-face goggles and some N-95’s are going in the new bag too. In a SHTF I’m expecting many fires.

    As far as EDC, your phone has a built-in compass that does not need a cell signal to work. You can also download offline maps that will work with GPS in a grid down condition. Lastly, you can use your phone’s WiFi setup screen to see where all of the area routers are broadcasting from, that will tell you where the power is still on.

  8. – EDC for me? Well, I typically have a Swiss Army knife in my pocket. Actually, I have about four or five around, but usually have the one with an in-line Phillips screwdriver blade and a magnifying glass. I have used the magnifying glass to start a fire, just to see if I could. That job usually goes to my Bic lighter, which is another of my EDC items. Mine is hunter orange, so I can find it quickly if I drop it. When it gets low, I buy another orange one, about once or twice a year.

    I carry two sets of keys. The vehicle key, with nothing attached to it, and the house keys, which have a P-38 can opener that used to reside on my dog tag chain, and a Doo-hick-key which serves as a small wrench and light duty screwdriver/box opener when I cannot carry other means. When I am at work within a prison setting, some items I would normally have are not allowed, meaning my SWAK, Lighter, and a debit card stay in the console out of sight, along with my 4” S&W folding knife, which is a frequent occupant of my right-hand trouser pocket.

    The last item I normally carry is my wallet, with various licenses, a credit card or two, about $20-30 dollars normally, a Fresnel lens, a Ready-man card with hooks and snare locks, (it’s the one they show in their ads) and about twenty small (#8, I think) fishhooks I have in a fold of masking tape. I have carried that for several years now, ever since I participated in a survival event that took us from our desk jobs out into the field for a week-long ‘event’ with only what we had in our pockets. I remember seeing multiple small fish in water that was really too deep for trying to fish by hand like I was doing, but would have been pretty easy with some small hooks and some scavenged line.

    I also have my little “Chinese box cutter” a Hand brand folder about 2mm thick with a 2” , ½” wide sheepsfoot blade that rides behind my drivers license. It’s basically a razor blade with a folding sheet metal cover.
    – Papa S.

    1. – I also have a diver’s model watch, a solitaire Maglite, and a cell phone that also stays in the car while I am at work.
      – Papa

      1. – Well, not terribly organized tonight I guess. I also carry 2-3 writing pens, and an N-95 mask or two when I am going to work, and a writing pen is something that was drilled into me as being as essential as a pair of pants.
        – Papa

  9. Kula: I am with Prepared in that I wear Duluth Trading post firehose pants in cold weather. In warmer weather, I like the flex firehose pants. When in very hot weather like 95 degrees and hotter, I like the Wrangler Angler denim pants/jeans because the fabric is light in weight and durable for multiple washing machine cycles. I wear my pants at work because the pockets are well designed and velcro sealed as opposed to scrubs which have 0 pocket closures. Since I work in a secure environment, I exchange my lockblade knife for keys and ID card. The knife goes in the back pocket of my daypack for work. I love the design of the Duluth firehose pants though they were too heavy and got hot wearing them during the 6 months of hot weather in Central California. Up here, most people’s outer layer is either Duluth trousers or Carhartt during the Winter months. Your climate is a lot warmer than my current climate. In hot weather, I got in the habit of wearing a travel vest when out and about paying bills in person and eating out in town. I used to go fishing by getting into the water up to my groin so keeping my wallet, keys and knife in a fishing vest (along with jigs and bait/lures) made a lot more sense.

    1. Cali and Kula –
      A plumber and I were talking recently about work clothes and he showed me a place I’ve never heard of called “LA Police Gear” dot com. They have lightweight, flexible, durable tactical-type clothes for police work, but it turns out they are excellent for tradesmen as well. Both careers send you crawling and climbing while trying to comfortably carry various tools with you. I’ve ordered from them and the quality is good. They have other cool stuff too like high-powered LED lights that are way better than the Amazon crap but a bit more affordable than Nitecore. I’m wearing a thin, no-crinkle puffer jacket with elastic sleeves from LAPG right now. It’s perfect in chilly weather, it doesn’t scuff and crunch when I move, it was $20 on sale. Check them out if you haven’t already.

  10. When I was dating/single, I was better served by carrying paper matchbooks or a Bic lighter over a magnesium sparking tool. I also used the Swiss Army knife to lift caps off bottles of beer or the corkscrew to remove corks from wine bottles. These were good habits to get into as a young man. I always carried matches or a lighter even though I do not smoke.

  11. Reply to Tmac: Thanks for the heads up on that company. Decades ago, (pre Gulf War) soldiers and cops used to order from a company called Brigade Quartermasters. Back in the day as well as these days, I try to blend in with my wardrobe and for me, that means dressing up like a tourist or tradesman. Funny how a lot of off-duty cops have a “uniform” when off duty and are relatively easy to spot. (ie.: 5.11 trousers and polo shirt with a small black fanny pack for their weapon and badge. Between those clothing items and the regulation haircut, pretty easy to spot at a Mall or warehouse grocery outlet)

    1. calirefugee: i remember brigrade quartermaster. i still have the dark blue commando sweater, 100 percent wool, good sweater has served me well over the years. i guess they went out of business.

  12. would y’all believe i also carry a kitchen sink in my pocket? hahhahha

  13. Still would like to know what brand of cargo pants that are in the picture, as I like the fact that they have a couple of pouch pockets at about the knee level. I have looked at a lot of cargo pants over the years and these have more pouch pockets at or near the front than most (4). Also they look like a lighter weight rip stop material. Could Ken tell us where he got the picture from? Looked yesterday and still couldn’t find any quite like these.

    1. Agree, and if they are same pants as in todays article the pockets are what im looking for, slash pockets are hard to hook a tape or knife on but those mostly horizontal pockets are nice

  14. I spend most all Spring/Summer/Early Fall in cargo shorts, Tee-shirt, and flip-flops depending on what my activity is likely to be on any particular day. So, I don’t load myself down with things I’m 99.9999% sure I’ll not be needing, like fish hooks. I carry just my idea of ‘the basics’. SAK, a quality folder clipped to my pocket, bic, wallet (one of the new flat ones that go into a front pants pocket), cell phone (has compass and light if needed), Ray-ban ‘Wayfarers’, and last (but not least) my concealed carry piece and x-tra mag. Light. Concealable. I’ll add a few more things depending on where I’m off too, how I’m dressed, or weather conditions. I’ve always refrained from leaving the house feeling like I’m carrying a hardware store.

  15. – Thought of another piece of EDC that most working men and women in my part of the world wear. In addition to long pants (unless looking for boyfriends) both genders will wear a sturdy belt. Just used mine to remove a stray horse (not mine) from the highway and my son told me he used his to change the oil filter on his truck, since he didn’t have that specialized tool. (Mine was in the garage here.)

    Shorts might be okay for a beach or lazing around the house, but everything out there around here sticks, stings, stabs, bites or will downright cut you, so long pants are a given. The belt though, 99.99% of the time is just hanging around my waist maybe holding my pants up, not any other intended use.

    – Papa S.

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