Building Functional EDC Systems Module 1: Introduction

What is EDC?

EDC is short for Every Day Carry, and simply stated it’s the tool and equipment you carry and use on a daily basis. While this seems like a simple concept, for many people, there is a disconnect from the true value of EDC and filling your pockets with a bunch of stuff that looks cool but lacks function or functional items that an individual is not proficient at using. This program is designed to help people build functional EDC systems that will help them in their daily tasks, and serve them well in emergency, wilderness, or survival situations. While this course will be heavily focused on gear set, its true foundation lies in a preparedness mindset and the gear a person should carry will be heavily influenced by their skill set.

The Layers of EDC

We look at EDC as a layered system, each layer serves a very important purpose and they are designed to support and complement each other. Let us take a look at the layers then we will explore each one in detail:

  1. On Body
  2. In Bag
  3. In Vehicle

On Body EDC

Your On Body EDC is your first line of gear and your most important gear set. Think about it, Your bag can be removed, left somewhere, dropped down a ravine, or floating down a river. The gear in your vehicle can be miles away if you are out for a hike, or you may need to abandon your vehicle in an emergency situation. The tools you have on you may be the only ones you have access to, which means choosing these items should be done very carefully and should be enough to handle most of your daily tasks and at the very least serve well enough in an emergency situation to get you to your bag, vehicle, or home.

In Bag EDC

An EDC bag in your day-to-day life or the bag that you bring with you when heading out into the wilderness is a vital resource. While many people don’t carry an EDC bag it should be something that more people become comfortable with. For the women in the room, this is a concept that is easier to adapt to, as a purse or pocketbook is essentially an EDC bag. This bag will allow you to effectively carry more advanced gear that will make your life easier, especially in an emergency.

In Vehicle EDC

In Vehicle EDC is likely to be your least used line of gear and is mainly designed for emergency purposes. The advantage of this line of gear is that you can move with larger and heavier gear that is unrealistic to carry on your person or in your bag. In an emergency situation, your vehicle will often be the first destination from wherever you are to your intended destination. As mentioned above, while this is a vital line of gear it is also something that you can become easily separated from and that should always be taken into account when building your on body and in bag systems. 

Choosing EDC Gear

When we think about what gear we should be carrying on a daily basis there are a few factors we should keep in mind. We will briefly look at them here, and dive deeper into these topics in later modules.

-What situations you expect to face in your daily life

-What tasks you will be performing in your daily life

-The skills you have 

-The comfort level and familiarity you have with your tools and equipment.

These all play an important factor in what you carry. As a general rule, unless you are purposely carrying something to train with, you should not be carrying ANY gear you don’t know how to use. If you are relying on this gear in an emergency or survival situation, you should not be figuring out how to use it at the time of the emergency.

The Question of Weight

If you spend any time on forums or on social media you will see the argument between the ultralight crowd and the functional crowd. Ultralight people will argue that you should move with as little weight as possible, while people who prefer function will say you should train to carry more weight so you always have what you need. In reality there is merit to both these arguments, and this is a pretty personal decision. 

I will say in my experience the more skill you have, the less gear you need. If you are confident in your ability to harvest resources from the environment then you may not need to carry those resources with you. For example, if you are a skilled forager and are familiar with local plant life you can harvest trail snacks as opposed to carrying them. It is also important to be very realistic about your skill set here, as many plants will make you sick if eaten and some can even kill you. It serves no purpose or benefit to overinflate your skills, especially when it comes to wild edible plants and fungi. 

The environment itself plays an important role here as well, let’s look at the example of water. Where I live I have an abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams; while this is not fresh clean drinking water I can easily filter this water and drink it. So carrying a water filter is more advantageous than carrying extra water, keeping in mind each liter of room temperature water weighs 2.2 pounds. This will not be an effective method in a region where bodies of water are less plentiful.


Redundancy in your EDC gear is an interesting area because for some item’s redundancy is important and sometimes redundancy is just extra weight. What determines what is important and what is extra weight? Part of this is heavily influenced by your skill set, part of it will be your environment, and part of it will be your expected tasks. While it is hard to determine what is right for each individual person, let us explore some areas where redundancy is important.


The ability to make fire is very important in any wilderness setting and even in some urban emergency situations. Fire can provide us with warmth, cook food, act as a signal to search and rescue personnel, and be a significant morale boost. I personally carry at least 3 ways to make fire at all times. As we dive into the modules we will discuss some of these tools in more detail.

-Cutting Tools

Knives are the most commonly used cutting tools in and out of the wilderness and serve as a primary tool for most people. We recommend always carrying a primary and backup knife, Unless prohibited by law you should never find yourself without a knife.

-Drinkable Water

Depending on what your planned activities are, having multiple water purification or filtration methods is important, while access to clean water in an urban environment may be easier, out in the wilderness we require tools or chemicals to ensure we have access to clean drinking water. We recommend carrying a filter and chemical agent anytime you are heading into the great outdoors.

EDC for Self Defense 

While this course is not meant to teach any self-defense techniques, this is an important part of many people’s EDC system. The important aspect that we would like to impress upon anyone taking this course is that if you choose to carry any self-defense item, it should be something that you have training in using and regularly train with. This is an area where your skill set can mean the difference between life and death, and no one benefits from an over-exaggerated view of your skill set. It is also important to be aware of your local laws and regulations regarding defensive carry items, as they are highly regulated in many jurisdictions.

Get Ready to Learn

As we dive deeper into the modules expect to see a lot more video content as I demonstrate and explain how my personal EDC systems work and how you can adapt your own systems from my examples!

I highly recommend grabbing a notebook and a pen and taking some notes as you go along. Reading and watching videos is a great way to be introduced to new information, but writing and taking notes have proven time and again to help our brains memorize information.

Completing these modules won’t make you an expert or even proficient in the skills and topics we will discuss, but they serve to give you some direction. Practice and experience will be your best learning tools. We encourage each of our students to take what they learn here and practice, but we also implore you to do so safely. If you are a beginner, practice these skills at home or in your backyard. If you don’t have the space at home try it in the local woodland. 

Always be respectful of others and respect local laws as many state and municipal parks have rules and regulations relating to fire, harvesting materials, and other actions that will somehow alter the ecosystem. Do not destroy or damage public property or do needless damage to our local ecosystems. Always clean up after yourself and if you take something into the woods, make sure you take it out!