Question of the Day: What are Your EDC Must-Haves?

Everybody has their version of EDC gear. That’s ‘everyday carry’ to you Moms Demand Action types trolling the site. Of course, the question of what should be in an EDC kit gets as many varying and passionate responses as asking who makes the best pizza. Take, for instance, Kevin Michalowski’s take, above. His list of must-haves includes a light and pepper spray. But wait, no blade? I get that empty, lost feeling if I cross the threshold without my Dragonfly 2 clipped securely to my pocket. So leave aside your gun, holster and ammo as givens. When it comes to additional gear, what won’t you leave home without?


  1. avatar Tom J says:

    Light, Blade, and Cash Money

    1. avatar DrewN says:

      That’s it for me as well, except swap out money clip for cash as I have multiple work credit cards. I also have an enormous cartoon set of work keys, but I’m not going to count them. I don’t carry these days and i leave my giant ass brick of a cellphone in my desk 24/7/365 so pretty light load really.

    2. You always need a back up to the primary.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        Yes, you do.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    When it comes to additional gear, what won’t you leave home without?

    My American Express card. ‘Cause Karl Malden said so.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Comedian Yakov Smirnoff once said:

      “In America, you have American Express – ‘Don’t leave home without it’… In Russia, we have Russia Express – ‘Don’t leave home’…”

  3. avatar Noishkel says:

    Pretty decent advice IMHO. Whenever I go out I’m usually wearing a 5.11 vest with all kinds of little handy pieces of gear in it. Weighs a bit, but not enough to bother me. Just moved so I can’t exactly carry here yet but when I can I’ll be keeping all this in mind.

  4. avatar Bob in MD says:

    EDC is

    Mag lite (full size)
    8″ fixed blade buck knife
    Model 29 in leather shoulder rig
    4 speed clips
    Full med kit with tourniquet
    Plate carrier 90 percent of the time

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      No SAW?

      1. avatar Noishkel says:

        Couldn’t get a permit, I’d imagine. ^,,^ ‘Split Second’. Awesome movie, if you like old cheesy 80s/90s action flicks.

    2. avatar James Miller says:

      Pfft, what no defibrillator? Good lord man, if that Mag-Lite is like the big D-cell one I have, where the hell do you put it?!

      1. avatar T.G. says:

        Is that a Mag-Lite in your pocket or are you just REEEAAALLLLYYYY happy to see me?

      2. avatar Bob in MD says:

        Yes, it’s a d cell. I IWB carry the mag lite and the buck knife. Lite at 3 o’clock position and knife at 9 o’clock. I had custom kydex holsters made and it is an awesome setup, I highly recommend it.

        1. avatar James Miller says:

          Wow that’s not a light…um…light. 🙂 Kudos to the belt that holds that rig up.

        2. avatar utdmatt says:

          time to modernize man, you can pick up a four sevens quark based on cr123 batteries or a mmu-x3 on a 26500 batt that will be smaller and brighter by an order of magnitude.

          780 lumens max and it weighs about 4 ounces WITH batteries.

    3. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

      Is that you Gecko45?

  5. avatar RDSmith says:

    Being able to exploit the carrying potential of cargo pants, I’ve expanded into wallet, keys, cellphone, multitool, lighter, flashlight, and gun. I need a smaller flashlight for EDC than the one I currently have, and I should also start packing a small first aid kit.

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Blade and money.

  7. avatar Rokurota says:

    Why are wallets, keys and watches always included with EDC lists? I assume those to be givens.

    Absolute minimum for me is P3AT, Gerber Dime, TI Illumina light

    Most days it’s an LC9s, spare 9 rd mag, CRKT Drifter, collapsible pen, OC spray and cheap Bic lighter, plus the Dime and a light. Phone, wallet, keys and watch are assumed.

    1. avatar Will says:

      Thanks for pointing out that flashlight. I’ve been casually looking for a decent AAA battery flashlight for some time. My limited googling all required 2xAAA, and that’s not what I wanted.

      My recent experiments take those button batteries, which are stupid expensive, have failed and come apart in the washing machine (small is as small does), or too easily click on by themselves in my pocket (thus necessitating point 1).

      I am between flashlights right now.

      The Titanium one looks cool, but I think I can survive nicely on the Aluminum one. They’re a bit pricey, but considering my adventures with “cheaper” solutions, not so much if it lasts. Maybe for Christmas. If I ever find myself on a compromised under water drilling rig, I’ll pony up for the titanium once since my wedding ring is gold.

      As far as EDC, I have my phone, wallet, car keys, house keys, office fob (on work days), Fisher Bullet pocket pen, and a nifty little Kershaw Speedsafe knife with a 2″ blade.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        I generally prefer a tailcap switch, but the TI Illuminati is so small and compact (and bright!), I end up carrying it more than my larger light. I have the aluminum version and it works great.

      2. avatar utdmatt says:

        Good options from foursevens too.

        I use the preon p2 which is 2x AAA but they have
        this which is 1x AAA
        Also check out the atom which is 1x cr123. It has a magnetic tail cap for mounting in a useful place and has damn good battery life for the brightness.

  8. avatar danthemann5 says:

    Wallet, keys, wedding ring, watch, phone, and a COLT brand 1911 (this week). I actively work to carry around a little as possible. Too much junk in my pants pockets gets uncomfortable, and I refuse to wear a Batman-style utility belt festooned with pockets and pouches. A light and a multi-tool are in my car or backpack if I need them.

    1. avatar Blake says:

      Nothing wrong with the Batman utility belt, as long as you have those groovy tights and a mask to complete the ensemble.

    2. avatar v v ind says:

      I’ve felt like I could use more junk in my pants……wait, wrong subject again.

  9. avatar Brandon says:

    A pocket version of the U.S. constitution

  10. avatar Don Quixote says:

    What I always carry for sure is my cellphone, wallet, and a modern pocket knife clipped to my pocket. I’m going to start carrying a flashlight too, though. Oh yeah, a pen comes in handy too

  11. avatar Nigil says:

    I’d rather be without my wallet and phone than my pocketknife. I carry my knife around inside my apartment while wearing pajamas.

    1. avatar outwardhound says:

      hear, hear.

      a knife is indispensable.

    2. avatar Esemwy says:

      My maternal grandfather told me many a time, “Never be without a pocket knife.” I think I was six or seven when he gave me my first one. It’s a rule I live by.

  12. avatar Wielsucker (@Wielsucker) says:

    Since I’m packing (or not packing I should say) for an airline trip to the hell hole called Chicago, thanks for kicking me right square in the nuts with this article. Guess it’ll be a mini light, mini mulitool & a pocket knife.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      All three are illegal in Chicago.

      (J/K, although maybe not about the knife and multitool)

      1. avatar Wielsucker (@Wielsucker) says:

        I just assume everything I do in Chicago is illegal. 🙂

  13. avatar Dan A says:

    Besides phone, keys etc? A pocket knife (Benchmade 940), flashlight (Surefire E1B), and lighter (zippo).

  14. avatar jwm says:

    My swiss army knife and an abiding trust in and love for my fellow humans.

    1. avatar Acepeacemaker says:

      It works for MacGyver.

      1. avatar jgood says:

        I don’t think Macgyver carried much of anything. Just resourceful with what he found, to get out of a jamb. (thank God for writers and Propmasters)

        As I recall He didn’t like guns……………….. was Macgyvers parents named Michael and Sharon??

  15. avatar Don Quixote says:

    Even when just wearing boxers, I still have a pocket knife clipped to them. True story.

  16. avatar GuyFromV says:

    I just bought a Taurus PT638 and a pocket holster my pawn place had for good price so…that, soon.

  17. avatar HAVE GUN says:

    It is only coincidence I carry a pocket knife, which could be used as a weapon, just more effective than my keys on a ring.

  18. avatar Farmer Tyler says:

    1/ Glock 26 or LCP
    2/ Leatherman Wave with pocket clip
    If I’m at work I carry it in a belt pouch with 40 different bits (more compact than you think using the factory 20 peice trays and carrying in the pouch) with a bit extender.

    I have carried it literary every day for 4 years now. I have used it at least 360 days of a 365day period. Opening a box, tightening a tiny screw on sunglasses, cutting wire tangled up in a lawnmower, plies as a backing wrench, improvised hammer, opening beer, pulling stuck casings out of a rifle, picking up hot skillets, getting sandspurs out of boot laces, etc etc etc

    literally everything you can think of if its there you will use it.
    I walk around the house with it and just about shower with it and sleep with it.

  19. avatar DrewR55 says:

    Looper reinforced belt, Streamlight 2AA, Kershaw assisted opener (some Academy only model), Leatherman Wave on my belt, emergency cash and card, Bic lighter, and the givens (wallet, phone, watch).

    Note: I never realized how darn useful the flashlight would be until I started carrying one.

  20. avatar Randy in Indiana says:

    Blade, fire, signal, light, tool:
    At a minimum a stand-alone knife I can depend on, a way to light a fire, signal whistle, light, multi-tool

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I always have the tiniest Swiss Army knife that is available and I usually have a flashlight if I go into a public building.

  22. avatar James Miller says:

    For me it’s usually my Glock 19 with StealthGear Onyx IWB holster and some cheap Snap-On folding knife (it gets the job done) unless I’m at work then it’s just the knife (thank you gun-free military bases).

  23. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Knife, light, Leatherman Jucie S2 (I named it specifically because there is no other pocket multi-tool as far as I’m concerned), and gun, but sometimes two.

    I really do carry all this stuff everyday- shorts, jeans, suit, doesn’t matter. But, the brands and types change based on my needs and what tickles my fancy at that time.

  24. avatar 0351 says:

    I never leave home without my knife hands.

  25. avatar Jake says:

    it’s LCP, SOG flash 1, victorinox cadet and streamlight stylus pro on small days

    glock 19, griptillian tanto, leatherman wave and surefire e2d defender ultra on big days.

  26. avatar ThomasR says:

    ,EDC- (while not at work). OC Kimber 1911, 2 10 rnd. mags, Leatherman Multi tool and Streamlight Stinger F.L., Flip open pocket knife.

  27. avatar Gregolas says:

    Gun, spare magazine, pepper spray, and 3″ folding knife.

  28. avatar Roll says:

    Cell, Wallet, Pistol(where i can) and spare mag for me

  29. Really? This is the best video? He’s gonna shoot his hands of one day! And people seeing this joker handle guns are going to think it’s okay to point a gun at something if you ‘THINK’ its unloaded. Rule#1 Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy! Take an NRA Basic class sometime, you need it!

  30. avatar RLC2 says:

    Wallet, cell, keys, spyderco delica/leatherman skeletool

    RF, I really like that Spyderco Wave but its just a little too big, as when it catches on car seat, in back pocket it bends the clip…then it floats around and the sooper-fast open feature is lost, even if I did practice enough to make it faster than a thumb flip.

    Carrying in front pocket if it gets caught half way out and then opens that is REALLY a bad deal…

  31. avatar Sian says:

    Surefire L1 Lumamax
    Blackjack model1 spring assist knife, tanto tip (not a fighting knife)
    Sabre Red keychain OC spray (not on keychain)
    Leatherman Squirt (on keychain)
    ASP Talon Lightweight 21″ baton

    And of course the G19g4 w/big dot sights in a Stealthgear Onyx, 17+16.

  32. avatar Sian says:

    Surefire L1 Lumamax
    Blackjack model1 spring assist knife, tanto tip (not a fighting knife)
    Sabre Red keychain OC spray (not on keychain)
    Leatherman Squirt (on keychain)
    ASP Talon Lightweight 21″ baton
    And of course the G19g4 w/big dot sights in a Stealthgear Onyx, 17+16.

    In the car is a first aid kit, a gunshot trauma kit, a Cold Steel Bushman, a Timberline aviator hatchet, marine fire extinguisher, cord, zip ties, and water.

  33. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Cell phone, Gerber muti-tool, Bike multi-tool (when riding), Spyderco Harpy, box-cutter blade clip knife (other pocket), Surefire 6P LED, a few hundred not in my wallet, my sparkling personality…(gag)… And whatever I may or may not be concealing.

    And quite a bit of cat fur stuck to my clothes in various places…(What can I say? She loves me)

  34. Flashlight, spare mag, Emerson Wave knife, Kershaw pocket knife, 1911. It’s the other stuff that gets in the way: sunglasses and keys.

  35. avatar Retired LEO says:

    What my carry is this week a sig 229, 2 spare mags, pocket knife, 2 tiny flashlights 1 on keys the other a 140lumen uses a AA battery. My back-up revolver & a pair of flex cuffs. Plus an old fashioned bottle opener fora glass bottle coke, and a small 1st aid kit the size of my wallet & a bandana (good for sling, tourniquet or wiping sweat). All will fit into standard dress pants.

    1. avatar j good says:

      “a pair of flex cuffs.”

      Are those ZIP TIES or somethin’ different???

      “Plus an old fashioned bottle opener fora glass bottle”

      Pliers or multi-tool will work, but gotta be careful.
      Bottle opener must better/ easier.

      1. avatar Taylor TX says:

        I dont know if they have a patent or what from the zip tie people, but its pretty much a double sized giant, tougher zip tie.

        1. avatar jgood says:

          Those are functionally to the point. Might need to wrangle up a few —JIC!

  36. avatar Gunr says:

    Toilet paper pads. toilet paper rolls, extra shorts and more toilet paper, plus pills. Oh, and a gun!
    It’s the shits to be old and a rectal cancer survivor, but could be worse!

  37. avatar ADC USN/Ret says:


    Minimum changes if going away from house. Away from house I carry a 10-22 breakdown Including my get me home bag with all sorts of goodies. The bag stays with me pretty much all the time.

    At home and away, I wear a space blanket, 3 9 foot lengths of para cord, 3 ” sheath knife, solar flashlight, fire starter, lg leatherman, 3″ long with a wide blade folding knife. all in/on my shoulder holster rig. Of course one knife and the leatherman are on my belt.

    Yes I home carry as well as CCW my 9mm Shield with 1 mag in gun and two 8 rd spares.

    It’s as prepared as I can be for an OFWG.

    1. avatar Jgood says:

      Ruger should make the 1022 Charger pistol as a breakdown.
      Then could swap to the longer breakdown rifle barrel with the pistol grip receiver ( I think that would still be legal as long as one never put a buttstock on it, especially with the shorter pistol barrel mounted)
      just pondering flexibility…………….

  38. avatar Dale Smith says:

    Emerson Commander, Streamlight PT, lighter, keys, wallet, phone, G19 w mag, spare G17+2 mag.

  39. avatar cknarf says:

    Orange pen

    I lose my phone and knife too much for them to count.

  40. avatar Nagurski says:

    Some random Boker Magnum knife
    wallet with cash, IDs, condom, book of matches and the inside of a ballpoint pen (cut down to fit)
    Streamlight Stylus Pro flashlight
    Galaxy S1 with case
    keys attached to a bottle opener/carabiner with keys and a PNY 16GB Micro Hook Attache thumb drive

    I go to school right now so I usually don’t carry, but when I’m off campus, I either carry a CZ75 PCR with 14+1 rounds of 146 grain HST or a XDs 9 with 7+1. I use a N82 Tactical IWB for both.

    If anyone has any good ideas on how to easily add an extra mag and multitool, I’m open to suggestions. I was thinking maybe a double mag pouch carried in the small of back. I usually wear jeans and an untucked button down shirt.

    1. avatar utdmatt says:

      check out the 5.11 stryke pants. They have 2 mag pouches in each cargo pocket and are the pants I’m going to live and die in 🙂

      Heck, I had my mom try on the women’s version and she said it was the most comfortable pair of pants she had ever put on.

  41. avatar v v ind says:

    No one here carries chapstick? Geez, you’re all a bunch of dry lipped gun enthusiasts? Let me guess, you just lick your smackers when they feel dry?

    1. avatar DrewR55 says:

      Nah, I chew in mine.

  42. avatar wvcycling says:

    Leatherman micra and/or buck knife.
    Cash money.
    Chap stick.

    I have a flashlight in my backpack (grad school), two in my car, and I’ve rarely ever used them in a manner where they were vital or even necessary – just conveniant.

    Of course my concealed piece, too~
    If you carry a flaslight – more power to ‘ya. I do carry a tiny 200 calorie snack bar everywhere, being diabetic.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Would the cycling energy gells work as a glucose booster? Might hold up better than the energy bar getting crushed-melted…

  43. avatar big lars says:

    Doesn’t Mr. Ayoob say its a bad idea to carry pepper spray along with a ballistic solution? Tougher to defend use of the firearm when the prosecutor will say you could have “obviously” used the pepper to stop the attack.

    1. avatar Amok! says:

      No, he doesnt.

  44. avatar g says:

    Sounds like TTAG should do a reader EDC contest / photo series with descriptions of WHY.

    For me, my weekday EDC is different than my weekend EDC because bang-bangs are a no-no at my work.

  45. avatar YO_V says:

    I carry an Emerson Patriot, Surefire lx2, chapstick, a pack of gum, and a pen and notepad.

  46. avatar lefty jason says:

    i carry this all of the time except when im dressed up for church. pants switch to hager microfiber and belt switches to 5.11 black dress belt
    5.11 taclite pro pants or 11″ shorts
    5.11 opreator belt 1.75
    Casio gshock watch
    CTR ring- left middle
    ring I made- right ring
    keys- left front pocket
    kershaw brawler (tip down)- right cheek
    wallet- right cheek
    Galaxy s3 in otterbox armor case in walkie talkie holster- right hip
    Terralux tt5 in belt holster- right hip

    When carrying concealed add
    s&w m&p9c in comp tac minotaur iwb- left handed
    spare mag- right slit pocket

  47. avatar Anonymoose says:

    Passports from 10 different countries.

  48. avatar defensor fortisimo says:

    Knife- either a cold steel rajah 3 or 5 11 C.U.B karambit depending on whether I’m working out or not
    Light-Inforce 6vt with a 550 cord fob attached
    phone- cheap little pay as you go affair, as soon as I move back stateside, I plan on investing in a decent model
    keys- attached to a valley martial arts key chain. Really simple force multiplier, you just wrap your palm around the handle, slide the shaft between your fingers like it was a push blade and it gives you a little extra push to your punch
    CRKT tao pen
    firearm- I’m currently working out of a country that doesn’t allow guns. As soon as I get back into polite society, I intend to rectify that.

  49. avatar Jonesy says:

    Off Base
    Extra Mag
    Fasthawk (sog tomahawk im ready for isis)
    paper clip for my debit cards
    Chiefs coin

  50. avatar PeterK says:

    I always carry a knife and a pen. Need to get another knife though. This one sucks. :p

  51. avatar Sheepdog6 says:

    SW Model 442 in a Black Dog Concealment Kydex Holster
    Keys with a Larue Dillo Tool
    Kershaw Emerson Design Knife
    Surefire E2D (older non-LED version)
    81st Training Wing Commanders Challenge Coin presented to me by General Roosevelt Mercer
    1880 Silver Dollar originally given to my great-grandfather so he could take the bus from Indianapolis to Evansville Indiana to join the Navy…when the bus driver found out the reason for the trip he returned the silver dollar to him and paid for the trip himself…the silver dollar was passed on to my grandfather upon his enlistment into the Army during WWII, my father upon his enlistment in the Army during Vietnam, and then to me upon my enlistment in the Air Force in 2000.

  52. avatar Esemwy says:

    On body (besides firearm):
    – Folding knife, Phone, Thumb-drive
    In vehicle:
    – Sub-2000, Bugout Bag, Trauma Bag

  53. avatar SteveX says:

    Don’t forget the Lifestraw…

    $19.99 for up to 1000 liters of clean water.

    Weighs in at 2 oz.

  54. avatar Neon says:

    A preon 2 and a ZT350

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