Top 10 EDC Every-Day-Carry Survival Gear For Less Than $10

Whether you regularly carry survival & preparedness items (gear) on your person, in a carry-bag, or a combination of both, not everyone has the budget for top-of-the-line expensive stuff!

With that in mind, lets come up with a list of EDC items that cost less than $10 each.

EDC or every day carry will depend on what you’re doing, where you’re going, the environment you’ll be in, and all sorts of other factors. So it’s difficult to recommend a one-size-fits-all.

With that said, it’s always a good idea to try and conform to at least a basic set of objectives or categories for a survival kit which in my opinion include (but are not limited to) fire, food, water, shelter, security, tools.

Here are ten ideas. Are they the Top 10? For some, maybe.

We all have our own preferences though:


Folding Knife
While the pocket knife that I carry cost more than $10, you can certainly find them for $10 or less (there are LOTS of them)! For example, here’s a Gerber folder:

Gerber Ripstop Knife, Fine Edge

The benefits of a flashlight are obvious. On my keychain I keep a very small flashlight for any situation where I might need to shed some light. Perhaps surprisingly, the mini Olight (I use this one) can be had for less than $10.

Olight EDC Mini AAA Flashlight

Cordage is always a recommended item for survival. What kind and how much is up to you. You pretty much can’t beat “paracord” as a best choice for general purpose survival-cord due to it’s strength (550 pounds) and very lightweight. There are lots of clever braided paracord products (bracelets, lanyards, and others) designed to be worn (I have a wrist bracelet among other things). Or you can buy a 100′ length:

OUTDOOR Mil-Spec Commercial Grade 550lb Type III Nylon Paracord

Another “must have” for a kit or EDC gear is a method of making fire. An ordinary lighter is cheap and effective under most circumstances. What I have done is purchased a large quantity of lighters (50) which ends up less than $1 each and will keep me covered in the fire category for awhile (among other methods).

Bic Mini Lighters 50ct

A multitool is just that – a tool with multiple uses. They come in a variety of configurations depending on what you like. While a very nice multitool might cost you $50 or more, you can actually find fairly decent multitools for less than $10.

Gerber Vise Pocket Tool

Food Bars
Although a few food energy bars might not hold its form-factor in one’s pocket after awhile, if you do carry a shoulder bag, briefcase, or tech bag every day – you might throw in a handful of these delicious and calorie-satisfying CLIF bars:

CLIF BAR – Energy Bar

Again, while it may be a bit challenging to carry a water bottle on your person, it’s not a problem for an EDC bag. You might consider a re-usable re-fillable water bottle:

NALGENE BPA-Free Water Bottle

Tactical Pen
Since most of us regularly use a writing instrument, a tactical pen will multipurpose into a weapon and a glass breaker for any relevant emergency situation:

Tactical Pen

Mini First Aid Kit
There sure are a lot of options for one’s First Aid Kit. Having a mini kit for your EDC is a great idea. I like the following for it’s small size and metal tin (which can be re-purposed for other things). It will fit easily in your EDC bag:

Coleman Mini First Aid Kit

Pepper Spray
A weapon for self-defense is a crucial tool, and since we’re keeping it under $10 there’s no way to recommend a gun. So lets go with pepper spray. I like the following because of its “jogger” carry handle, its strength, and it is highly reviewed:

SABRE RED Pepper Gel Spray – Police Strength

I’ve got to tell you – there sure are lots of configurations and rationales for what we may decide to carry. By limiting a list to just ten is very difficult. By not subjecting the choice of contents to a hypothetical scenario is very difficult. There will always be additional items you wish you had. Fortunately we can tailor our own EDC to our own requirements! Hopefully this has simply got you thinking about it.

Note: I wanted to include a water filter, but couldn’t find one less than $10. The LifeStraw comes close, but not quite…so I suggested a water bottle instead – which is practical for ordinary times and while we are at work each day.

Related article:
Subtle Inconspicuous Get-Home-Bag For Urban Every Day Carry

Okay, your turn, let’s hear from you. How would you adjust this EDC while keeping each item under 10 bucks if you could?


  1. For a permanent light that never runs out of batteries, consider one of the UV Paqlite products.


    Glow in the dark crystals that are about ‘night light’ strength for a few hours, then fades until recharged with light source. Casts enough light to find or warn of a potential hazard. Nearly weightless, takes up the space of a couple sheets of paper if you like that option, its worth it to me. We have several of the products, the UV necklace can be spun around to form a large hoop to be seen for quite a distance. Very easy to attach other vital objects to it – the Gerber EAB knife works great there, as is a fire rod or BIC lighter for a fire / light / knife EDC kit.

  2. 15 yard roll duct tape (squash it down), $3.37.

    Single AAA battery CREE 1000 Lumen tactical flashlight, under three bucks each.

  3. Forgot; zip ties of multiple length and thickness, pack of 100 under $10.

    Also, Velcro hook and loop ties, pack of 50, around 8 bucks.

  4. In one pocket as part of my edc I always have a field notes Graph notebook. Very small, easy to carry and Even working in a high tech field I find it indispensable. I keep emergency contact info and numbers in it, I occasionally sketch out an Idea. Anyway, I consider it an indispensable tool.

    Field Notes Kraft Graph 3-Pack

    3-Packs are 9.95

    1. I use full size engineering (grid) paper all the time. This little notebook is the mini-version and now I’ll have to get some!

      1. I keep a full size 1/4″ scale grid notebook in my backpack :) I love the Field note version though, over all it gets a lot more use.

  5. Matches in a waterproof container instead of lighters. I had lighters stashed everywhere and when I needed them they had all evaporated.

  6. Come on! EDC means every day carry, you are not going to carry water around with you every day as you go about your business/play/work. A folding knife, small flashlight on your key chain and maybe a tactical pen are about all you are going to “carry”. Some of us “carry” a gun even when working around the house especially outside.

    1. Why not? I keep water in my car, at work (when I was working), at home, by my bed, in my closet, of course I carry it. Usually a water bottle.

    2. @ Mac

      “…you are not going to carry water around with you every day as you go about your business/play/work.”

      I do. Everyday, everywhere, upstairs, downstairs, in town, on the road, in the pasture, on the tractor or mowing the lawn… I carry at least one bottle of water everywhere I go. just saying

    3. @Mac, I know what you’re saying regarding the water… However during the years when I worked in an office environment, there were lots of people who would always have / carry a hard plastic refillable water bottle around – going to meetings, work areas, wherever… That’s why I put it out there as a suggestion – although its not for everyone (as is the case with any list). It’s simply food-for-thought.

      Regarding the gun, I too carry a gun every day. That said, the list is about items less than 10 bucks.

    4. I myself drink several bottles of water a day. I keep a Klean Kanteen that I refill with me at my desk. I imagine if you were having to walk and carry it all day that could be a bit of a burden, but it works for me.

    5. Nalgene makes a 10oz plastic flask that fits in a back pocket, I carry one with water in it.

      A thin Spyderco Caly with a high pocket clip. Also a bandana. And spendin money, for when the debit card won’t work!

  7. A disarming smile backed up by unrelenting attitude. Okay, so the confidence is re-enforced with that tactical pen and more but that will be more than 10 bucks.

  8. Regarding water, people all have different needs. I never had to drag around a water bottle when working in a hot climate – just hydrated every couple of hours. My DW needs to carry 2 bottles and finishes about six a day. She says I must be part camel.

      1. NRP

        I have a nice clean creek to bath in with no development upstream except for the moose, elk and deer. Even on those off days, the chipmunks do not seem to mind.

        Be care full about disparaging camels – you know the consequences when they get their noses under the wall of the tent.

        1. Hey I lived in Cordova AK. I remember that stream. You didn’t get water from the stream when the bears woke up either! Nasty, but other than that… When were you there. We were there from 97-2000.

          1. My husband ran the telephone co. and I was a tour guide for Becky. You might have known her since she was constantly flying back and forth out of Mudhole Smith Airport. Or were you flying off the lake? Good to know some things don’t change.

        2. You need to learn how to make cheap sugar shine, taste like crap and burns like gasoline. Now when I go to making my famous double run pot still potato vodka it is a thing of wonder. But you know 6 or 7 750s of outstanding vodka for $40.00 is really not expensive. Folks around here can’t figure out how a Northwest boy can make better shine and whiskey then them. There more shiners and Thunder growers in Alaska than the whole lower 48. Only way to survive the winter wonderland and darkness my old friend. Hay that would make a good song!

  9. I think some are confused about the difference between EDC and what you keep in your car. To me EDC is what is in my pocket. Knife, small, flashlight, lighter…

    1. Poorman, I think that there is such a wide variety of daily routines. When I was a student, and for several years afterwards, I carried a small bookbag style pack everywhere every day. When I had an office job, I always had my shoulder bag for laptop, snacks, etc. During those two periods of my life, my EDC was way different than it is now that I primarily work from home. What I carry on my person changes depending upon whether I am at home or running errands in town. If I am running errands, it changes whether I am on my bike or in my car. If I have to go to the city, which I do about once every week or two for work, what I carry on my person is different than what I carry in my little town.

      1. Skibum I do understand that some people carry bags. I always have a get home bag in my car which has all the things listed plus.

  10. @Poorman

    Whats actually in my pocket? chapstick, misc change, keys, wallet, poop sack for the dog and sunglasses…..

  11. Thanks for the link for a bulk supply of Bic lighters
    Do Bic lighters ever go “bad”?
    Would they last for several years?
    Thought I would ask before investing :)

  12. Ken,

    Thank you for the list you posted and especially the links.
    I just ordered pepper spray key chain model for me and DDs and another one for DH.

    That’s why I appreciate this site so much the sharing of great ideas :)

  13. EDC;

    45-ACP Hydra-Shok JHP 230 Grains rounds, at about $1.00 each so works well in the “close to” $10 bracket. Of course the “carrying case” is a bit pricy

    I carry a very small screw together Stainless Steel Vial on my keychain, it contains a few Aspirin and a few Nitro Tabs. Ever see someone die from a Heart-Attack or a Stroke? You’ll never forget the look on their face I promises you.

    Replace your Shoe Laces with Paracore, it’s cheap and is handy.

    Cash, in the wallet, a few $1s and a couple of $5s.

    I also carry quite a few items already mentioned.


    1. NRP

      Are nitro tabs available over the counter? Giving medication does bring on some risk. A lot of bottom feeding lawyers out there. Okay, damn the risk and help if you can – check Good Samaritan laws in your area.

      1. @ hermit us

        If someone is dying, YUCK the lawyers, I’m going to help if I can. No different than kicking in a door to drag someone from a burning house, sooooo go ahead and sue me for the Door.

        Judged by 12 or buried by 6 comes to mind.


        1. NRP

          LEO’s will often tell you that it is the victim that attacks them in a domestic situation – so the person you drag along will probably sue you for whiplash and mental anguish – ya I know not everyone is like that but cynical me you know.

          Whenever public transportation accidents happen, the police have as much difficulty in keeping people from jumping onto the carrier and claiming injury as they do in removing the passengers.

  14. A couple of recipe cards is always handy for writing out messages or a contact number. It can either be you sending a message or someone may want to pass on information to you.

    Stay frosty.

  15. 2 folding knives one small and one larger one
    At least one and usually two lights
    at least one lighter
    wallet size fresnel lens
    P38 can opener

    1. My large folder technically doesn’t fit todays parameters since it is an SOG that runs about $100.

      1. I imagine that it won’t be too long before that pack of smokes doesn’t fit within today’s parameters either.

  16. Hi Folks. A small pack of N95 dusk masks are under $10. I keep a 3-pack at work and in my car. A small Am/FM radio may be a bit much for on-person everyday carry, and may break the $10 limit for this thread, but does fit nicely in an office/car kit (webbernets may be out in an emergency).

  17. +1 on remembering to carry some fiat paper bills for when I can’t use the debt card. And a bandana. Also Nalgene makes a 10oz plastic flask for water that fits in a back pocket.

  18. My EDC, if I’m home, is nothing. My EDC if I am away from my vehicle and running an errand or going to an event is actually my purse and my keys.

    My key ring is a caribiner that has 6 separate rings on it and I can remove any of those rings at will. One ring has pepper spray and one ring is my Coghlan’s mag fire starter. Another ring holds a very small flashlight 9streamlight). Then I have 3 separate rings that each hold a vehicle key or two and the fob, plus the house key. The caribiner allows me to attach my keys to a purse strap, a belt loop, or to remove a few rings if I want.

    My basic EDC is my purse. I make my own purses (quilted, with side pockets inside) and they are made to fit my needs. I keep a Kimber Pepper Blaster in one pocket (not under $10 but VERY strong spray, covers distance). Also in my purse are some basic first aid items (I carry for myself and a grandchild), matches, small knife, small mirror, couple of granola bars, lip balm, kleenex, small bill$, and some hard candies and cough drops.

    If I’m in my vehicle or have driven somewhere, I always carry a 16-oz metal drinking vessel w/ lid; I rely on the GHB items, too, if I’m away. Generally, if I am anywhere off-property, I have my EDC/purse and the GHB contents.

    Love the duct tape idea and am going to wind some around cardboard and add it into the EDC. I have some in my GHB but duct tape is so versatile, so 2 is 1 and 1 is none.

  19. Ken, my inexpensive water filter is a metal pot with maybe a paper disposable coffee filter to filter out gross contaminants.

    Now I have enough money to buy a nice water filter, the backup in my book has always been a metal pot to boil water for 1 minute at full boil.

    1. @ CaliRefugee

      That’s the same recipe my Father used when making coffee. Just toss everything (Water, Coffee, a dash of Salt) and boil it for a min or so. And NEVER clean it, by the time a Hunting trip was over 1/2 the pot was Coffee Grounds….


      1. Look up Kelly Kettle, have the medium stainless steel and it makes coffee ,tea or just boiled water that won’t kill you. A few sticks and a match and in three to five minutes tea is served. Those Irish are a crafty lot don’t you know.

  20. I have a new unique EDC tool, the painters tool. This fits, handle down, in my pencil pocket in my carpenter jeans. Turns out to be very useful, always open, no belt sheath and very versatile. The end of the handle can be used as a tack hammer, you can pry with it, scrape, cut.

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