Best Everyday Carry Mistakes You Need To Avoid

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: February 14, 2022

Best Everyday Carry Truths and MistakesWhile you’re waiting to cross a busy intersection and an unprepared stranger asks: “Hey Bro…what’s all that stuff in your pockets?

You answer: “Unlimited possibilities.

The stranger responds: “Dude…You’re a weirdo…

You reply with a smirk: “I know.”

Those of us who understand what the acronym E.D.C. means are kindred spirits.  We’re fully aware that the sucker masses will never fully understand us (at least not until it’s too late).

We’ve spent (and will continue to spend) countless hours assembling the Best Everyday Carry setup all in the name of:

  1. Being prepared
  2. Adapting
  3. and Overcoming

I personally cannot fathom going anywhere without my EDC.  Call me paranoid…fine; call me weird…OK; but call me ready.

I’m not even talking about doomsday prepping here (even though, that’s a decent reason for many).

I’m talking about having some basic, highly portable survival tools that can be used in any survival situation to give us a big advantage.

Whether you are out hunting, hiking, or driving to Grandma’s farmhouse for a Christmas Eve dinner, without some EDC gear, you are totally unprepared.

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Just 2 Words To Win This Argument

2 simple words sum up and express my passionate feelings about this topic.

These 2 simple words dissolve all unprepared folk’s silly rebuttals.

Do you have any guesses what these 2 words are?

These 2 words are not sexy.

They won’t win any academic awards.

Heck, when put together many consider them crude and in bad taste, but…they are powerful and profound.

Shit Happens Sign Post

This statement of inevitable fact is why I don’t leave the house without my trusty EDC…ever.

Shit Happens and turns even the best-laid plans to waste.

  • No one plans to get lost on a hike.
  • No one wants to get stuck in a blizzard on a remote hunting excursion.
  • No one prefers to get in a rollover car accident on a rural highway. (Stupid deer came out of nowhere!)
  • No one expects to get mugged by a roaming band of kids in the downtown of any major city in the world.

We all know Shit Happens to everyone every day but we don’t know when Shit will Happen to us…that is why we EDC.

Every day carry (EDC) refers to a small collection of tools, equipment, and supplies that are carried on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous.

That’s the technical definition of EDC, however to me it’s more than just this.

EDC is a discipline, a philosophy and a way of life.  A life of absolute preparedness.

Most Everyone Has Some Sort Of Basic EDC

I’d venture to guess that 90% of the American population carries their driver’s license, car keys, and cell phone nearly every day.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is a very exciting or prepared EDC, but never-the-less there are “tools” that can be used for basic survival situations.

  • An ID can help to communicate who you are to an emergency responder in a situation where you were unconscious.
  • The cell phone is an excellent communication device (if it is in working order).
  • Keys can give you the power of speedy travel via the vehicle they belong to, as well as a nice stabbing weapon in a self-defense situation.

With just a few added tools to this basic EDC setup, you can be prepared for more than just a few limited scenarios.  You can become prepared for any sort of natural disaster.

Remember the Moore Oklahoma tornadoes that seemed to come out of nowhere one typical afternoon or how about when Michigan was without power for weeks in the 2013 – 2014 winter.

These are events that happened quickly and without prior notice to millions of everyday people.

Literally, a disaster can occur during your “quick” trip to the grocery store, which can separate you from your main source of survival supplies. We leave the main location of survival supplies (typically our homes) all the time.

We commute to work, we go to restaurants, we run errands, we go to family gatherings, we leave on vacations, we go do our children’s events, etc., etc.

Each and every time we leave our homes we are exposed to a potential survival situation.

That is why is imperative that we have our EDC’s to rely upon to give us some basic tools to survive until we can make it back home.

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“So What Is The Best EDC Setup?” a.k.a. The Impossible Question

As with most topics that are worthy of ongoing conversations, there is no “absolute best” everyday carry setup.

There are only degrees of good and bad, and the degrees depend a lot on your personal tastes and circumstances. Such as:

  • Where do you live? What’s the regional climate? What season is it?
  • What skills do you currently have? What type of population area will you be in?
  • Clothes do you tend to wear?
  • What are the local laws?

However, with that said, there are a few universal truths and best practices when it comes to assembling your own personal perfect EDC.  So let’s jump right in…shall we?

6 Universal Truths For Your Best Everyday Carry Setup

1. The more portable (small and light) the better

This one doesn’t require much explanation, but it’s an excellent truth to keep in mind before you begin purchasing items to add to your EDC.

Heavy or bulky items tend to be annoying to carry.  So these items end up on the sideline after a while.

2. Multi-tools are best

Or the Swiss Army knife truth. Having tools that can be used for several survival functions help to consolidate space.

A couple of examples of these tools include:  Swiss Army Knives / Paracord / Watch and Compass Combos

3. Pockets are just the tip of the iceberg

Pockets are the first place to carry items, but you should also consider waistbands, leg bands, fanny packs (who cares if these are not “fashionable”), and cargo pockets.

A good pair of cargo shorts or pants can carry a ton of good EDC gear.

4. If it’s not convenient to carry you probably won’t

Similar to Truth 1, if it’s a pain to carry, then it’s going to migrate from your EDC to your extended EDC (which can be OK).

If it’s a huge PIA then it may just migrate out of your extended EDC to your garage.

  Not even the most amazing survival tool will help you when left behind in your garage.

5. Knives and Guns can’t go everywhere (airplanes and such…bummer)

Personally, I drive whenever I can for most of my travels due to these silly restrictions and personal information security concerns I have.

So I rarely take my knives or guns out of my EDC but when I do fly, I reluctantly leave my knife and gun behind.

However, I typically add my self-defense survival pen to my EDC because I want to have some basic form of protection no matter what.

6. Your Best Everyday Carry is NOT your Bug Out Bag

Some new survival preppers get these 2 items confused. Your EDC is a few basic tools and items that you can carry with you at all times to give you an edge when Shit Happens.

Your Bug Out Bag is for getting the hell out of dodge with many more essential survival items.

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6 Best Practices For The Best Everyday Carry Setup

1. Put together an absolute everyday carry setup for…every day obviously

Then have a most day carry setup and an extended “special” circumstances carry setup.

Then you can always grab your everyday carry gear no matter what. However, you can also take your extended carry gear whenever it’s feasible.

2. Collect smaller items (such as rubber bands and safety pins) into a portable container

My favorite small tin container is an Altoids container.

They are a perfect size (small), perfect shape, lightweight, and they are well secured when closed.

3. Wear clothes with lots of extra pockets

Cargo shorts, cargo pants, jackets with internal pockets, etc.

Small Extended Day Carry Backpack4. Small tactical backpacks are excellent for your extended EDC bag

The extended carry is typically a small backpack, so take it with you whenever you are going somewhere where backpacks are ok.

Even if you are going somewhere where backpacks are not allowed, you could still leave them in your vehicle.

Then all you’d need to do is get back to your vehicle to have your extended tools in a survival scenario.

5. Pretend your smartphone is useless

If your survival plan depends upon your cell phone or smartphone signal, GPS, or apps without any backups, then you’re stupid.

Sorry, I was trying to think of a nicer adjective to use here but “stupid” seems right to me.

Smartphones need power to function, in a Shit Happened survival scenario it’s going to be rare to have any power available.  I don’t care what apps you have, they will be of no use to a dead smartphone.

A dead “smart”phone might as well be called a “stupid”phone.

6. Prioritize your build based upon 3 distinct criteria

  1. Criticality
  2. Frequency of Use
  3. Size / Weight of Object

When you are trying to build your EDC or modify your EDC there are 3 distinct characteristics of each potential tool.

  1. Its usefulness to a survival scenario or its Criticality.
  2. How often you will most likely use the tool or its Frequency of Use.
  3. Its overall Size and Weight.

If you then take each of these categories and give them a couple of subcategories and represent these with some numbers you can create a nice priority chart.

For example, you can use the following numbering system:

  • Highly Critical = 1
  • Low Criticality = 2
  • High Use = 1
  • Low Use = 2
  • Light / Small = 1
  • Heavy / Bulky =2

A simple numbering system like this can help to narrow down your EDC tool items to include or exclude.

Just choose a subcategory for each potential EDC tool and multiply these 3 numbers together to get a priority number.

Tools that are critical, used often, and are small, will have lower numbers than tools that are just nice to have, rarely used, and heavy.

In general, the better everyday carry tools should have lower numbers and the less friendly EDC tools would get higher numbers.

This can be an excellent exercise when building your EDC to make sure you’re doing it right.

Let’s do an example: Let’s take a large Survival Knife such as this one.

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Large and Heavy Survival Knife

Critically, I’d have to give a survival knife such as this one a 1.

I’d give it 2 on the Frequency of Use but for the Size and Weight, I’d call this knife a 2 (it’s got some heft to it).

So 1 * 2 * 2 = 4

Let’s do another example: Let’s take a small multi-functional survival tool.

mulit-functional survival knife opened up

Critically I’d again assign it the number 1.

I’d up the frequency here since this tool has so many more uses to it 1 and I’d call this small and light as well so another 1.

So 1 * 1 * 1 = 1

The smaller multi-functional army knife is probably the better EDC tool.

Mostly become of its functionality and compact size.

Note:  This does not mean the heavier survival knife is of no use.  It’s the main knife I keep in my pickup truck and always add it to my extended carry setup.  However, it’s just too bulky and heavy for my E.D.C.

Obviously, this type of analysis is not an exact science and everyone will choose different numbers for their subcategories but it’s just a simple way for you to think a bit deeper into your personal everyday carry build.

A Few More Great Questions to Ask

Is this tool useful to the region in which I live?

Having a compass on your survival knife is silly if you’re very rarely in rural areas.

If you live, work and play in an urban environment, then save the weight for something else.

How many functions does this tool have?

Carrying a knife, scissors, and saw all as separate tools is highly impractical, however, if you are able to find a tool that bundles these items into one multi-tool then that may be a much better option to consider.

Is the tool usable?

Make certain your new tool has a generous return policy.

You’ll want to thoroughly test out any and all gear before fully committing it to your everyday carry.

What happens if you don’t test your new wonderful survival tool and then it breaks the first time you really do need it?  Not cool.


As with most things in life you get what you pay for.

Do some basic research and don’t just get sucked into the marketing spiel.

I’d rather you build your EDC out over time and get good quality gear than have a totally complete EDC with a bunch of suspect tools.

Is there anything lighter or more compact?

Bigger is not better when it comes to your EDC.

If there is a comparable tool that is a few ounces lighter then choose the lighter option, you’re back can thank me later.

Will this tool give me a greater chance to survive?

Some tools can do some pretty incredible stuff.

While it’s very cool that a tool can help you eat with proper manners (fork and spoon), is it really going to keep you alive in a desperate situation?

If yes, then great that’s a worthwhile EDC tool if not, then pass.

The Most Common Everyday Carry Build Mistakes

1. Carrying Too Much and Too Heavy

Noticing the theme here?  You’re probably sick of hearing this but it’s so fundamental to your EDC build.

A good EDC build must be light and compact or you won’t carry it around.

2. Buying Crappy, Cheap Gear

Again, I’d rather you buy quality gear and take a few more months to complete the build.

Better than having sub-par equipment that doesn’t work or breaks when putting it to the ultimate test.

3. Relying Soley On Battery Operated Devices

This includes cell phones, GPS’s, flashlights.

You can have these items, just don’t rely solely on them.  Have other means of doing the same thing. Maybe an emergency whistle, compass, and a small hand crank flashlight.

With that said, here’s my main tactical flashlight I use for my main everyday carry.

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4. Allowing Your Gear To Deteriorate

Some items may be set-and-forget but not your gun or your multi-tools.

Your gun must be cleaned and maintained regularly and your multi-tool should be cleaned and oiled as well.

5. Not Fully Testing or Know How To Use Your Gear

Not knowing how to use your survival gear should be a sin.

I realize those are harsh words and might strike a chord with some, but nothing seems more immature and silly than to buy a nice piece of gear, carry it around (pretending like you’re the smartest person alive) only to fail miserably when the time comes to actually use it.

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No Amount of Gear Can Replace Skills

It’s not about how much “stuff” you have, it’s all about the skills you’ve acquired.

Those of us who are serious about our EDC builds, tend to also be serious about survival skills in general.  This is what separates us from the unprepared sucker masses.

We carry this stuff around to give us an even bigger edge to survive if and when it’s needed but to be honest….those of us who know our shit, already have a massive advantage.

Even if we carried nothing extra (but why would we?) we would still know what to do when the time came.

  • We could use car parts if our vehicle was nearby to do any number of survival tactics
  • We could turn a bunch of debris into a shelter without any rope
  • We could start a fire without matches or a lighter

The list goes on and on……

But again…even though we could do these things without our EDC’s, why would we.

EDC every day my friends, it’s OUR way of life.
Remember: Prepare, adapt and overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack

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