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Ten EDC tips will help you get started.

As the popularity of everyday carry (EDC) grows, more and more people become interested in learning what it’s all about. There’s no doubt that a thoughtfully chosen set of EDC essentials can help you be better prepared for the many curveballs life may throw at you.

Whether you’re planning to use an EDC organizer like the Roaring Fire Picofire Pocket Pouch, or simply want to keep a few essentials in your pockets, these 10 EDC tips will help you get started.

1. Start with the Big Three

If you’re just getting interested in everyday carry, the easiest way to begin is with three items you probably already carry in your pocket: your phone, wallet and keychain. You might not think of these items as EDC, but when you get right down to it, that’s essentially what they are: things you carry every day.

Once you have that idea in your head, it’s easy to expand your arsenal by adding a credit card-shaped multi-tool, along with a pocket knife and flashlight small enough to fit on your keychain. Your EDC can grow from there.

2. Ask Yourself Why

A lot of factors will shape the items you choose to carry with you every day. The first question you should ask yourself is, why are you interested in everyday carry? Everyone gets into EDC for their own reasons, and there are no wrong answers to that question.

For many, EDC is all about preparedness and self-reliance. It helps you develop the ability to be ready for any situation. For others, it’s more about the convenience of having tools handy, or the cost-effectiveness of carrying what you need so they don’t have to buy it in a pinch.

EDC is sometimes about style too. In a way, it’s a form of self-expression. When you choose to invest in everyday carry, you may find that the items in your pocket say something about you and reflect your personality.

3. Focus on Real World Usefulness

Occasionally, some folks lose sight of the whole purpose behind EDC. It’s not about packing as much gear as possible in your pockets. And it’s certainly not about carrying around a bunch of junk you don’t need.

The point is to always have the right tools on hand to deal with situations you may actually face. When choosing gear for your EDC, ask yourself how likely you are to use it in the real world.

With this idea in mind, remember that your EDC won’t be exactly like anyone else’s! While some people might consider knives, bottle openers, flashlights and pliers to be daily essentials, others might choose to carry a pen, notebook, power adapter, chapstick and ear buds. Your EDC should reflect what you truly need to carry. Not what looks cool when you post it on Instagram.

4. EDC is Not a Bug Out Bag

It’s easy to get confused about what goes in your bug out bag vs. everyday carry. The two concepts are related, but also quite different. Your everyday carry should be a concise selection of absolute essentials that you can carry at all times.

A bug out bag, on the other hand, is a pack in which you can stow a thorough stockpile of survival gear and emergency supplies that you can grab and go in case of an emergency. It’s not something that’s meant to be carried with you every day.

5. Multi-Task with Multi-Tools

A great way to reduce the total number of tools in your EDC is to carry several tools in one. That’s where multitools come in. Multi-tools can become the most valuable and versatile objects in your EDC system.

A classic Swiss Army Knife is essentially the great-grandfather of the modern multi-tool, and it’s still a favorite for EDC because it packs so much functionality into a small, lightweight package. Leatherman-style multi-tools are also great for anyone who likes to have pliers as part of their EDC, and these types of tools are available in countless sizes and configurations.

6. Think Beyond Your Pockets

A common problem that everyday carry enthusiasts run into is that their assortment of EDC gear becomes too much to comfortably carry in one's pockets. There are a lot of solutions for this problem.

Many EDC items, such as knives and multitools, can be worn on one’s belt. Another great option is to carry an additional bag of some kind, such as a sling pack, messenger bag or fanny pack. The Roaring Fire Blazer Fanny Pack and the Slingshot Tactical Sling Bag are great for EDC.

7. Avoid Big & Bulky

One of the core concepts in EDC is minimalism. Part of that means carrying only the items you really and truly need. It also means choosing smaller, pared-down versions of tools so that they’re easier and more comfortable to carry.

Ultimately, if you’re carrying something that’s uncomfortably big and heavy, you’re going to eventually stop carrying it. That’s simple common sense, and it’s counterproductive when it comes to EDC.

Instead of a large, heavy multi-tool with countless functions, choose a slimmed-down model with just a few tools that you’ll really use. Instead of a large knife or a full-size flashlight, choose items that won’t take up too much space in your pocket.

8. Know the Law

Knives are a common part of many peoples’ everyday carry. If you plan on carrying a knife, take steps to make sure you’re not running afoul of the law. Most states have specific laws regarding size, type of knife, and how it should be carried. Many cities and towns have laws of their own.

For example, in California, fixed blade knives must be carried openly; concealing one is considered a misdemeanor. Los Angeles County also prohibits carrying fixed blades longer than 3 inches.

Meanwhile, in New York State, there is no specific statewide blade length restriction. But in New York City, knives must be concealed when carried in public, and no blades measuring 4 inches or more are allowed.

9. Check and Clean Your Gear

Like any tools, the items in your EDC will go through wear and tear. It’s important to maintain them as you would with any tools, especially considering that they’re meant to be there to back you up in an emergency.

Routinely check your gear to make sure it’s functional. Clean and oil tools as needed, and take care to keep everything dry. Knives and tools made out of carbon steel will corrode if you don’t dry them after getting them wet. A water resistant EDC pouch like the Ember Pro EDC Utility Organizer is a great way to protect your EDC items from the elements.

10. Your EDC Can Always Change

Don’t get too wrapped up in the notion that you have to carry every item in your EDC every single day. Some people have multiple variations of their EDC that they can adapt and adjust depending on where they’re going and what they’re doing on any given day. Your weekday EDC might look different than your weekend EDC, for example.

And if you carry an item for a while and find that you don’t like it, don’t use it very often, or don’t feel comfortable carrying it… get rid of it! The longer you spend working on your everyday carry, the more you’ll realize that it’s always changing.

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