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Everyday Carry Items for Preppers

The goal of Everyday Carry Items – or EDC Survival - is to transform useless items into practical tools with features that give you wide-ranging versatility.

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In the guide to prepping for beginners we discuss the importance of carefully choosing your everyday carry survival gear.

This is different to what you’d find in a Get Home Bag.

It is more about transforming the items you usually carry every day, into items which are multi-purpose, functional and potentially life-saving.

What are “Everyday Carry” survival items?

Think about the things you carry in your pockets or bag every day. Phone, keys, wallet, stick of gum, random receipts, old button…  this may sound familiar.

Disorganized pockets filled with non-useful items!

The principle of Everyday Carry survival items – or EDC Survival - is to transform these useless items into very practical tools with features that give you wide-ranging functionality.

Everyday carry items that can be used as survival gear

You can be prepared for any situation life might throw at you on an average day.

Throw out those old, useless things which take up space and serve no purpose, and start packing your pockets with small, specialized items instead.

The EDC lifestyle takes diligence to begin with, as you should get into the habit of traveling with these items everywhere.

Our entire list can fit into most jacket pockets or front pocket of a backpack – so there’s no excuse not to get prepared!

Here are our recommendations for EDC Survival Tools.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Survival EDC Checklist


Most of us don’t leave home without our smartphone these days. They are incredibly useful tools which can often serve as a flashlight, wallet, compass and GPS device in one!

Remember not to rely too heavily on your smartphone.

Start trying to navigate and go about your daily business without it, just so that it is not too much of a shock if an EMP strikes or you find yourself without your phone.


Again, this is a very common item to carry even among non-preppers.

Make sure that your wallet contains useful pieces like your proof of identity, license, photocopies of important documents, physical cash, small bits of precious metals (read our guide on how to Prepare for Economic Collapse to learn why), your medical information if necessary, and Next of Kin details.

This EDS wallet is a great option. It is super slim and lightweight,  durable and water resistant with a good number of pockets for your cash and documents.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pocket Knife

A great folding pocket knife will work better for you in an emergency situation than the small blades typically included in multi-tools.

You should keep certain details in mind when shopping for the best everyday carry pocket knife:

  • What kind of hinge mechanism does it have?
  • The length of the blade.
  • Materials used in its construction.
  • Legality in your region.
  • Additional features included in the design of the knife.

This survival pocket knife has a highly rated deadbolt locking mechanism, making it very safe and reliable. It has a thicker blade, making it resistant for actions such as prying or splitting wood.

Also, a portion of the blade is serrated, providing an additional level of utility.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

EDC Multi-tool

Multi-tools are essential everyday carry items. It is like having a toolbox on your key-chain or in your pocket.

We highly recommend that you look for a multi-tool that has, as a minimum, the following tools: wire strippers, file, wood saw, pliers.

This EDC multitool can easily fit in your pocket without weighing you down. It doesn’t even weigh 9 oz.  It has all the essential tools we recommend, plus many more, with 17 tools total.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key chain

The thing about preppers is that we love to find survival gear that combines functions into one complete package. 

If you are already going to be carrying your keys around, why not make your key chain an everyday carry item for emergency preparedness

There are a lot of great tools out there that double as key chains. Honestly, it is hard to narrow our recommendation down to just one, but here it is:

This lightweight EDC multi-tool boasts the features too small to be included in the Leatherman Wave+.

You get tweezers, mini and medium-sized screwdrivers, and even a nail file. Having both of these on hand provides you with a complete toolbox right in your pocket.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tactical Pen

Tactical pens are like the multi-tool of pens. They are multipurpose and enhance your emergency preparedness.

This pen is great for writing (and has a refillable ink cartridge) and has key features that make it stand out from the other tactical pen options available on the market.

This EDC tactical pen features a rechargeable LED flashlight, a glass breaker, and is waterproof. In a pinch, it can also serve as a weapon for your self-defense.

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A small notebook is the natural accompaniment to a pen, and is an underrated EDC item.

Use it to keep on-top of your to-do list, keep track of your spending, and many more things. Heck, even use it as a fire-starter if you’re desperate!

We recommend choosing any small notebook with a soft flexi-cover. The inside is up to you: lined, blank or day-planner style.

These pocket notebooks are made from high-quality paper, have a choice of flexible covers and come in either dot or line ruled, as you prefer.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Keeping track of time is always important, and you may not always be able to rely on your smartphone. So many of us are indoctrinated by the digital age that we forget how to do things “by hand”!

Even better if you can purchase a watch with a compass embedded. This is a really neat feature and may come in incredibly handy one day.

Decent watches like this aren’t cheap, but it is a worthy investment for sure. Casio are a trusted name, and they make excellent-quality goods.

This solar-powered digital watch charges when it is exposed to sunlight, includes a digital compass and is waterproof down to 30m!

Note that the battery lasts about 6 months at normal use, so perhaps invest in some spares.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


You would carry an umbrella if there was a small chance of rain, so why not carry a flashlight when there is always a certain chance of darkness at night?

Don’t limit yourself to stumbling around foolishly, or rely on your smartphone for light.

Although all modern smartphones now have a flashlight embedded, this really rinses your battery and is not a sensible use of your gear.

Pocket flashlights can be either re-chargeable or batter-powered, and often are no longer than your middle finger. Better still, get one that can be attached onto your key chain!

This tactical EDC flashlight is budget-friendly and designed with EDC in mind. It is rechargeable and offers 1200 Lumens, IPX6 waterproof rating, and comes with a handy backpack clip and is only 5 inches long.

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A lighter is another item which can come in extremely handy. They are not just for smokers!

They can be used to start a fire, melt the ends of paracord together, or even to cauterize a wound in an emergency (although we’d recommend you really learn how and when to do this before you try it.)

Choose a refillable lighter, as opposed to a cheap plastic one. They aren’t that expensive and are much more reliable, with less chance of smashing in your bag or pocket.

Just make sure you have the fuel refills at home and top-up when necessary.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Aside from their obvious use – to protect your eyes from the sun – sunglasses are a really useful prepper’s tool. In our article How to be a Gray Man, we showcase the importance of blending in when SHTF.

Sunglasses are so common that no one will notice as you wear them around town, but they shield your eyes and are much more likely to prevent face-recognition.

Don’t be tempted to buy total blackout matrix-style sunglasses, as these do make you look like Secret Service or someone more suspicious. Opt for polarized, UV-rated lenses which won’t make you stand out in a crowd.

Gatorz is a trustred brand for sunglasses among survivalists. The lenses offer 100% UV protection, anti-fog and anti-scratch coating, and are made from lightweight but tough polycarbonate material.

The frames are aluminum and adjustable, and they do not get in the way of a helmet or hat. Perfect around town or for a quick getaway and scramble through the bushes!

These are some of the more expensive ones on the market, so they may not be right for you at this stage. Find something durable that works for you, there are plenty of options for $50 and under.

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Personal Medication

This will differ greatly from person-to-person, but it is hugely important to carry around your personal medication everywhere you go.

From anything to allergies and headaches, to more serious ailments like epilepsy or heart disease – you don’t want to find yourself away from home without your meds.

Some people opt for a “medical wallet” or small medical bag which  contains the packets, bottles and a card containing the relevant information for emergency services.

Find out what works best for your medical situation, and add this to your EDC survival kit list.

For more info on how to put together a personalized first aid kit, check out our guide: Survival First Aid Kit Checklist.

Everyday Carry Items FAQs

What is EDC Survival?

EDC or Everyday Carry embodies the core principals of prepping.

It teaches you to equip yourself with items that are versatile, long-lasting and serve many uses. It cuts away the unnecessary things from our lives, and teaches us to be self-reliant and totally prepared.

It is a great first step for anyone wanting to become a prepper or survivalist from the inside-out!

Should I use a backpack or jacket pockets for my EDC Survival Kit?

This is largely down to personal preference, as gear will differ from person to person.

Some people are put off by the idea of using another backpack in addition to their Get Home Bag, whereas others don’t like the feeling of too many things in their pockets.

The best thing is to try to keep your EDC items in one place, so that you always know where they are and don’t have to sort through different locations before you find what you need.

Final Thoughts on Everyday Carry Items

These are just the building blocks to get you familiar with the principles of EDC Survival. There are other items you may want to add to your EDC backpack, depending on your lifestyle.

There are a huge number of cool gadgets which help to streamline your possessions – just try not to waste money on things that seem neat but you have no use for!

These everyday items may not seem like they can save a life or like they would be a survivalists obvious choice – but EDC is more about sinking into the prepping mindset on a daily basis.

Carrying such multi-purpose items – and only these items – gets you into the routine of being prepared every single day.

You don’t want to find yourself in a SHTF scenario, and have to start filtering through your pockets, past the old gum and shoelaces, to find something that may or may not be in there.

It gets you out of the habit of asking “Where’s my wallet?”, “Does anyone have a pen?” or “Excuse me, do you have the time?” and teaches us to rely only on ourselves.

Self-reliance is the essence of prepping!

This wraps up our guide on the best survival gear for your everyday carry items list.

Make sure you check out our other gear recommendations by navigating with the side menu. 

Otherwise, you can jump straight to our next survival gear guide: Home Survival Kit.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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