How to build an EDC kit

How to build an EDC kit

Everyday carry refers to the items you carry on an everyday basis, like a pen, wallet, keys, or anything else that's essential to your daily life. If you carry anything in your pockets, you are already practicing EDC. We're frequently asked, "How do I build an EDC kit [on top of what I already carry]"? In the first part of our series, we give you the basics of where to start and some ideas of gear to get your creative juices flowing.

How to build an EDC kit

Be sure to check out our entire series on EDC Basic Kits:

  1. Part 1: How to build a Tier 1, Primary EDC Kit (current article)
  2. Part 2: How to build a Tier 2, Secondary EDC Kit
  3. Part 2: How to build a Tier 3, Extended EDC Kit (coming soon)

We hear it pretty often in a number of different ways, but one of the questions we get emailed or messaged to us regularly is, “How do I build an EDC kit?” As simple as that question may seem, the answer can oftentimes be very subjective. (A good place to start reading is our article, The three tiers of everyday carry.)

When it comes to everyday carry, people can be very loyal to particular brands and types of products. It’s great to be able to personalize your carry, but if you are just starting out, even that may feel overwhelming. To take the edge off, we wanted to offer some generic guidelines that will help narrow down the multitude of choices you have.

Let’s start off by building the most basic of EDC kits. For a basic EDC kit we recommend carrying a knife, flashlight, pen and paper at the minimum. This is of course in addition to what you normally carry, such as wallet, keys, phone, etc. 

By simply adding a knife, flashlight, pen/pencil and paper to your everyday carry, you can handle most of life’s day-to-day tasks with ease.


Why a knife?

If you’ve never carried one, you’re missing out. Knives are tools, and as such can be used to assist in you in a number of jobs/tasks. They can be used for:

  • Self-defense (what are the odds? never know)
  • Opening boxes/packages
  • Cutting various types of materials and cordage
  • Eating and food prep
  • Very basic medical (think removing splinter or cutting bandages/moleskin, etc.)
  • Whittling (you never know when you need to kill some time or sharpen a stick)
  • Helping out a friend (we all know that guy who is never prepared)

A knife may not be the best at every single task, but it is multipurpose and can handle most with ease.


What about a flashlight? 

Why should you carry one of those as part of your EDC? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Self-defense (Read our article, How to use a flashlight for self-defense)
  • It’s guaranteed to get dark every day
  • Because lights on cell phones suck (really, they do)
  • Power goes out in your home or office
  • Dropped your keys between the car seats
  • Dog is barking at something while walking at night
  • Aids in situational awareness
  • Emergency signaling

By carrying a flashlight in your pocket, you're giving yourself the ability to create light in darkness. Once you have this option readily available to you, you'll miss it if you forget it.


How about a pen/pencil and paper? 

Why would anyone need carry these items?

  • To-do lists
  • Goals
  • Ideas
  • Phone numbers
  • Doodling
  • Journaling

(If you're looking for more information about why a pen and paper is essential to your EDC, check out our article here, Five reasons you need to add a pen and paper to your everyday carry EDC.)

The ability to write something down is a basic function and will become an essential part of your everyday.


Still having a hard time deciding what gear to pick up? Here are a few combinations to get your creative juices flowing.


Budget Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $59)Budget Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $59)

The Budget Carry includes:


Minimalist Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $90)

Minimalist Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $90)

The Minimalist Carry includes:


Classic Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $157)

Classic Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $157)

The Classic Carry includes:


American-Made Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $280)

American-Made Carry EDC Kit Example (Under $280)

The American-Made Carry includes:


Bonus: Tourniquet

Bonus: Tourniquet

We feel strongly that medical is one of the most overlooked components of everyday carry. You never know when you will run into a situation that calls for extremity hemorrhage control. Car accidents, job site accidents, natural disasters and more are a frequent occurrence in the US. Be sure you're prepared. Check out how to carry a tourniquet as part of your EDC.

Add a PHLster Flatpack Tourniquet Carrier to your EDC. It makes plainclothes carry of a tourniquet super easy. Pair the Flatpack with a SOF Tactical Tourniquet Wide for a great combination of convenience and preparedness.

Shop the PHLster Flatpack Tourniquet Carrier


Once you have the basic EDC kit and you see how it has improved your life, you may be ready to take it to the next level. This is where we get into tier 2, or secondary kits. These kits are built on the foundation established by your basic kit or primary EDC. So, in addition to your knife, flashlight, pen and paper, we are going to add a few things and maybe incorporate an organizer. 

For part 2 of our series, we'll give you some more ideas on how to start building a Secondary EDC kit.

What other pieces of gear would you recommend to someone?