Concealed Carry

EDC Gear: What Do You Carry?

Tactical Handgun and Gear including Watch, Bullets, Knife, Holst

Aside from the obvious phone, keys, and wallet, we all have our own everyday carry (EDC). These are items you take with you virtually every day. Even a watch — or the modern smart watch — can be considered part of your EDC. Although we may have a system that works, there are some items you may be missing that could come in handy and make your life easier. Let’s take a look at some of the gear you should consider carrying. 


If you’re legally allowed, you’ll most likely want to carry a firearm. If you’re a frequent visitor of The Shooter’s Log, you likely already have that covered, but it’s worth mentioning just the same. We don’t get to decide when bad things happen to us and having a gun at home does not cover you 100% of the time. 

SIG P365 Two Tone
The SIG P365 is an excellent carry handgun.

Concealed carry is on the rise in the U.S. and more people now than ever are deciding to take the safety of themself and their family into their own hands. A good handgun and holster are essential, but so is the training you should receive to use them safely and effectively. 

A small pistol is easy to carry and provides good insurance in case of a threat. A larger handgun will be easier to shoot, but harder to conceal. There’s a lot to dive into on this, more than I can get into here, but I have already done so in a past article.

Spare Load

Whether it’s an extra magazine or speedloader, you’ll want to consider carrying a spare load for your gun. This is not just in case you run out of ammo in a daring action-movie firefight, it is also useful for clearing malfunctions in semi-auto pistols. Additionally, it will provide a backup in case one magazine gets accidentally dropped or breaks. These can be carried in a mag carrier on the hip or in the pocket. Just be sure to test and train with whichever method you choose. 

Blackhawk! double-stack spare mag carrier
The Blackhawk! Double-Stack spare mag carrier is great for IWB carry.


Like many, I’ve been carrying a pocket knife since I was a kid. I started with a small Swiss Army style knife and have gone to large fixed blades on occassion. My primary reason for carrying a knife is utility. From opening packages to slicing an apple, carrying a knife can come in handy in your day to day life. Depending on the knife, it may have the added benefit of emergency self-defense. I would limit this to larger folding knives with locking blades and medium to large fixed blades, as anything smaller isn’t very effective in this role. 


Admittedly, this is something I should carry more often. While you may not need it every day, when you do, a flashlight can really save the day. Dropping your car keys at night, looking through that tangle of cords under your desk, taking the dog out at night, these are just a few times where you may want a small flashlight. Further, if you plan on carrying a firearm, a flashlight or weapon light will help with target identification, should you need to make a shot in the dark.

Spyderco Resilience
The Spyderco Resilience is a useful and affordable folding knife.


A quality multi-tool is indispensable for those who tinker with things or work a lot with their hands. Most tools will include a knife blade, various driver heads, pliers, wire cutters, a file, and sometimes a saw. Many will include more accessories. Tossing a multi-tool into your EDC is a great way to cover your bases for a wide range of issues. 

If you’re limited on space, you may consider a pry tool instead. Pry tools don’t provide the same number of functions, but they are typically less bulky and can be used in a number of situations depending on their additional functions. Some will even fit on a keychain. 

Streamlight MicroStream
The Streamlight MicroStream is small enough to carry anywhere.


Here’s where things get really creative. Adding in some extra personal items will help you tailor your EDC to your lifestyle. I’m talking about things such as a lighter, pen, hank, or fidget device. This is all based on what works for you. Hygiene supplies are also typical. Chapstick, wet wipes, lotion, sanitizer, toothpicks, mints, etc., may already be a part of your EDC. For instance, I wear glasses and typically carry a lens cloth to keep them clean. 

You would also be wise to consider carrying some sort of first aid kit and/or tourniquet. If you’re prepared for a gunfight, you should be ready to deliver first aid to yourself and those around you. Having a gun isn’t enough, you should have the necessary life-saving supplies and training required to use them effectively. I know this is a lot to ask, but even keeping a first aid kit in your car or bag is better than nothing at all. If you can’t use it, there may be someone who can. 

NAR M-FAK First Aid Kit
The NAR M-FAK First Aid Kit is a handy setup with the essentials.

Final Thoughts

My everyday carry gear is a constantly evolving rotation as I test and find things that work and those that don’t. That’s part of the fun, right? If you’re reading this, you likely agree. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t carry everything. Don’t overload yourself with stuff you don’t ever need or even use. You’ll burn yourself out and quit carrying everything. Keep your EDC focused on the essentials. 

Alright, let’s hear it. What is your EDC gear? Do you carry the same things every day? Let us know in the comment section.

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (19)

  1. I live in state where I can legally carry. I’m in my 70’s and not former military, so no combat training. I have had training at the old Front Sight and my gun club. I do have good friends who are former military and have learned much from them. I carry a Sig P228 with a 13 round mag and two 18 round mags back up. (One of my friends laughed and said if I needed more than that, I should have called in an airstrike.) I’d rather have it and not use it than need it and not have it. I have an SOG Tomcat knife with a custom serrated edge, along with a Leatherman. I have a Skysted Wf-501B single mode 1200 lumen flashlight. I carry it all in a belt pack that has a holster pocket in the back with a quick release buckle. It has two large pockets in front concealing the rear one. While many do not like off body carry, this fits well for car travel as the seat belt slips underneath it. My Sig is readily available for drawing as apposed to IWB or OWB holsters pinned down by a seat belt. It is also good for general sitting in restaurants and offices. BTW, I also have CCW Safe insurance which I recommend.

  2. EDC is 9mm pistol, iwb holster, 1 mag and holder, keys, wallet, Case pocket knife right pocket, karambit left pocket, 1 bandana each hip pocket, watch and glasses

  3. Everyone offered some good advice on what they would carry. What I suggest also carrying in car/truck or Back Pack is small Tarp & cord in case a person needs to build a temporary Shelter,

  4. I never go outside my frt door without being armed. I’ve heard or read about too many “drive by” mailbox or driveway random shootings, and I’ve been attacked by a pitt bull at my own mailbox once, as well as other incidents a pistol has saved my life. I routinely carry my Kimber SOLO 9mm w/CTC Laser Grips in a small OWB leather holster, one of my large combat Auto knives, keys, wallet, a very compact (4.5×2.5×1.5″) zipper kit w/flashlight, spare AAA battery, small single blade very sharp knife, roll of sticky med gauze, bandages, quick clot, alcohol wipes, coins, bandaids, Tums, gum, small hank, small adj wrench, travel pen, roll type tape measure. I sometimes pack a 2nd, larger pistol, w/nite sites if going to a movie…just in case..a .45 auto I’m very good with. As an old USAF Firefighter/Paramedic vet, I am usually always minimally prepared for anything. On fishing or camping outings, I usually carry a larger firearm, compatible holster, and a larger EDC bag with more supplies. I don’t ever want to be caught Un, or under-prepared.

  5. EDC is Wallet with ID, that also has a fresnel lens, P38 can opener, some Goody’s Powders, and my lawyer’s and bailbondman’s info (minimal cash, usually no more than $20, no credit cards), Chapstick, pen, gum, lighter, Kobalt folding utility razor knife clipped in right front pocket (old all stainless model), can of smokeless tobacco, Gerber Paraframe in belt pouch, next to it a Kobalt mult-tool (old all stainless steel model), left hip on belt is a braided 550 paracord bracelet with a Streamlight USB Pro next to it. Pair of thin Turtleskin gloves. Small clean rag to serve as “hankerchief” or other purpose as needed. Cellphone in small belt mounted MOLLE holster. And of course one of a few different firearms. Be it an S&W Shield Plus or SD40VE or an RIA M206 .38spl all for concealed or open carry. Ride a motorcycle year ’round for main transport so a tool kit with just about anything needed to handle most road side repairs. My 4wd isn’t driven much but is always fully charged and fueled with Sta-bil 360 stabilized fuel. Has tool kit, few extra fluids, rechargeable 1M candlepower spotlight, 24hrs of emergency supplies for two people, an IFAK, small fire extinquisher, entrenching tool, folding type with flint/steel, matches, hooks/line/bobber in handle, small hex head hole “wrenches) and serrated cutting edge on one side with sharp cutting edge on ther side, small ammo can with various rounds/shells/spare mags (12ga, 9mm, .38spl, .40, 5.56mm), small 12V compressor, compass and topographic map of several local areas of the mountains. Doesn’t take up much room in rear of Blazer. Plus 5gal Jerry can and spare tire mounted externally. If I have time to make it home to the Blazer hopefully I’ll have 2 minutes to grab my field/bug out bag that contains a Bible, my old Scout manual, spare change of clothes, emergency tent and blanket, soap, toothbrush, crank radio, handheld 2 way radio, extra 3 days of rations, foldable pocket stove/solid fuel tablets, small aluminum mess kit, water filter straw, glow sticks, 550 paracord, roll of TP, a MOLLE IFAK, and gas mask… field pack weighs in at about 25lbs … and then either my AR or combat shotgun. Not much but should be enough to get to a safer location if needed.
    Field pack and small ammo can can be carried (humped) along with sidearm and either AR or combat shotgun to wooded location and allow for foot travel to safer location if something happens to Blazer.

  6. I carry a small pocket knife, money clip an Burts bees chapstick an either a Sig 365 in my work coat or a s&w 640 .357 in an alessi cross draw holster

  7. After almost 40 years on the job as a LEO, my usual carry is Swiss army knife, automatic blade knife, handkerchief, wallet with small SOG blade hidden inside, keys and cellphone ( which serves as my flashlight). If I carry a weapon typically I go with my baby Flock in an ankle holster or small belt pouch. Where I live is very, very safe and at my age I don’t bar hop or run around at 2 am! If traveling back to DC or NYC I typically put my Sig 220 on my hip as well. Truck always has additional survival gear and tools

  8. For decades i carry a tiny swiss army knife and Fenix single AAA size flashlight in my watch pocket. I find I use both every day. Of course a wallet with ID, etc. For some reason I carry a comb, although I don’t have much hair anymore. And after 50 years as an engineer I always have a pen and pencil! For the last few years I normally carry a handgun, if only a micro in pocket or ankle holster, but now more often a 9mm or Officer 45 in a Sneaky Pete. My aging body form doesn’t fit IWB, and I don’t like to dress “special” for carry.

  9. My EDC consists of 357 magnum 3″ barrel 6 shot revolver in holster on hip, 6 rounds on belt, 6 rounds on stripper clip in pocket. Wallet with cash. Folding defense pocket knife. Small 3 blade pocket knife. Handkerchief. Zippo lighter. Cell phone.
    In Jeep:
    3 day bug out backpack with ammunition, food, water, clothing, first aid kit, tourniquet, firestarter, hygiene items, toilet paper, flashlight, charging devices, multitool, small hatchet, kabar, and gun cleaning kit.
    EDC constantly evolves. The one thing that I ALWAYS carry is a firearm and extra ammunition.

  10. For my EDC gear, I carry my wallet, a Gerber money clip that has a small blade detachable that fits into one side, three different Swiss Army knives (each with different tools) on keychains (I always carry more than one set of keys for my truck, and a third key on its own key ring to use as a throwaway should someone tells me to hand over my keys. That one will go into the bushes or under a nearby car. It is doubtful the perp will stick around to look for it.) In addition, I carry several folding knives just for utility, opening boxes, etc. There is one more knife, an Emerson CQC7 made by Benchmade that I have had for close to 30 years now. This is a true SHTF self-defense weapon that I hope I never need. I still practice certain moves that I was taught many years ago to maintain muscle memory.

    Then there are a couple of challenge coins (one is an Army Vet coin and the other is from years ago) should I run into another vet. I know a couple of guys who bought the coffee when they were not able to present their coin. ☺

    I also carry a tactical pen in my right front jeans pocket immediately beside my Schrade folding knife. For me, a tactical pen is not a multi-tool, other than a pen that writes when called upon to do so, but the cap is flat so as not to injure my hand should I need to poke some miscreant with the other end which is rather pointed. It is mostly a weapon that fits nicely into my palm and would be an effective deterrent when inserted rapidly into someone’s eye socket. That is but one of the tricks I learned in the Army more than 50 years ago.

    I seldom carry a firearm when I go out, unless I am going to the woods, then I always carry one of my 1911’s. I have a choice between Government models or Officer’s models. I prefer the 3 inch barrel over the 3½ inch for ease in clearing the holster. When I carry out in the woods, I only carry one 7 or 8 round magazine on my person. There are several others in my truck. I have never needed to use it for self-defense since coming home from the Army.

    I know a number of people who carry multiple magazines all the time, I don’t get that. When I was overseas, we all carried as much ammo as we felt was needed or we could carry without being weighed down too much to deploy our weapons should there be a surprise party waiting for us out in the boonies, (our rucks and gear weighed no small amount, and as a medic carrying two M3 Aid Bags, et al., , that was even more weight. After all, no one wants to be the only person to run out of ammo in those kinds of parties.)

    But here in the US, there are seldom cases where civilians need to deploy a weapon and more than six rounds are fired. None of these people have EVER needed to deploy their weapon. In the almost 50 years since I got out, I have never been in a firefight with anyone. I have had times where I was ready to deploy my weapon, but was able to remove myself from that situation. From my perspective, when there is potential for conflict when out in public, avoidance is more often times the better choice, even with Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground law. That also saves my hearing which is severely damaged from loud noises 50 plus years ago. In my home, it is another matter. The words that come to mind here are “Retreat?? Like Hell!”

  11. Good reminders!! I carry a pocket knife, chapstick (addicted since childhood) and a tactical pen in my side leg pocket. I got stuck in a hotel room for 4 months and subjected myself to Stewart Creek on the weather channel… so, in the truck I have everything for starting fires, storing and carrying water, flares, first aid, compass, etc. (Meyer’s laundry soap bottles are perfect). I’ve lived through over 30 hurricanes in SWFL since 2004 when Weather Mod took off. You just never know.

  12. I live in a big county in SoCal. Unless you are LE or personally know the sheriff, you can forget about getting a CCW. I think the most important part of every day carry is a cellphone. I always have a small knife in my pocket, some backup cash and access to a vehicle that has a few other items, like a cellphone charger, a couple of flashlights, a first aid kit and e bag.
    Just because I don’t have a bunch o’ stuff in my pockets, does not mean I don’t have a plan.

  13. I’ve been carrying a small folding pocket knife for over 60 years now. Of all of the many useful items you discuss in your article, I have found that the pocket knife is the most indispensable to me. Great article!

  14. I would not go without a flashlight on my hip. A number of times I have been places when the power/lights have gone out and it was pitch black, you could not see your hand if it was a half inch in front of your face. My ever day carry light is made by FENIX, Runs on one AA battery which usually last 3 to 4 months depending on use. God knows how many times I’ve dropped this light and it keeps on working. I’m not in an any way associated with FENIX, I also use STREAMLIGHT flashlights and they are every bit as good as FENIX.

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