Tagged: EDC multi tool
August 28, 2014 at 9:25 pm #23531
I was recently comissioned to write this piece by a research group I am part of, now that it’s been published I thought it would be nice to share it with you guys here I cover my thoughts and frustrations on modern approaches to EDC… Hope it makes you think…
Every Day Carry (EDC) Foundation Concepts
We all routinely carry certain items with us, either out of necessity and/or habit. Even the shortest journey out of home or work place triggers an instinctive check of pockets and bags: do I have my phone? keys? wallet? By logical extension, those of us who analyze and assess external influences on our lifestyle, normally have additional items in our routine carry checklist, and it is these objects that tend to be classified as EDC items. The concept is far from new and should not be intimidating, although some zealots of particular EDC items can come across a little strong in their discussions and guidance.
An identifiable generalized trend in Urban Preparedness, Wilderness Survival and even EDC, is the obsession with and reliance on ‘lists’. I get the distinct impression that for most people purchasing items from a recommended list of “things to carry”, is far easier and less time consuming and gives a quick ‘sense of peace’. With this in mind, why would I have a concern over the ‘list trend’? My issue is this: if we look to the founding concepts of EDC, we realize that arbitrarily following a list does not necessarily give us the protection and peace of mind we desire, in fact, in some circumstances, it may put us at more risk depending on what and how we carry.
The aim of this article is to run through what I regard as the foundation concepts and therefore key considerations on items we carry. There are three key category headers to consider:
1) Stowage – Where/How are we carrying
2) What items are we carrying
3) What should be the demands and expectation of our equipment
Let’s expand on these:
1) Stowage – Whatever we decide to carry must be carried in a manner that does not excessively confine or restrict our movement, ensures the items are held securely, but allows them to be accessed as needed (and this may be exceptionally time sensitive, especially in regard to any defensive items).
Most militaries will define individual equipment scales (also known as ‘loadouts’) right from basic training. The concept is simple; there are 4 scale/load levels:
Level 1 – Items carried on your person AT ALL times. In the military these would be items carried in your pockets, affixed to your belt or worn on your person e.g morphine syrettes worn on a neck chain. This translates directly to civilian standards. Our level 1 items would be keys, phone, wallet, personal defensive items etc.
Level 2 – These are items that are always within arm’s reach, but maybe removed from the body. In military terms, this would be your weapons system and ‘fighting order’, (Body Armour, Assault Vest or equivalent). Fighting orders revolve around the necessity to carry ammunition, water, emergency medical equipment and some key survival items.
This again can be easily translated for civilian application with the exception being the method for carrying items, since a military style webbing system may not be an appropriate choice in most cases. More likely, essential items are going to be stowed in a fanny pack, small shoulder bag (e.g laptop bag) or purse/manbag. Consideration also needs to be given to the type of clothes we are wearing and what stowage options are afforded to us by these.
Level 3 – These are items needed for extended operations (>12hrs), but maybe stowed during attack/assault phases of operations. Normally this larger pack (Ruck or Bergen) will contain additional supplies (ammunition, batteries), food, sleeping system, field equipment (shelter, wash kit, stove, additional clothing items etc).
For those who have given consideration to larger scale preparedness, level 3 is the equivalent of a ‘Bug Out’ bag. The intention here is to carry the essential items to sustain the individual for a period of up to 72hrs. This bag is normally stowed in a vehicle or at home/in the office, as opposed to being constantly carried.
There is a lot written about what constitutes the ‘ultimate’ Bug Out Bag, but often, in my mind, there is WAY too much equipment advised to be carried at this level, and this is where the dangers of ‘the list’ really begin to manifest themselves. That doesn’t mean there aren’t advocates of burdensome carry at level 1 and 2 also! We will look to avoid the ‘over burden’ problem in the next section.
Level 4 – These are typically ‘on base’ level items, which can be kept in a trunk, locker, in barracks or equivalent.
In EDC terms, level 4 will be items we potentially have stored at home for replacement or supplementation of regular EDC items if needed.
2) What Items are We Carrying:
Remember we are addressing at a conceptual level here, so what must be considered with regard to our item choices? I believe there are 4 essential considerations:
a) Individual – Who are you, what do you do, what’s your build, what’s your fitness level, are you carrying long term injuries or mobility problems, are you carrying for you individually or also on behalf of other family members? Answers to all these questions are going to significantly influence what you carry and how.
b) Competencies – What is your skill set, what is your level of training (especially in regard to any defensive items you are carrying), what is your experience in dealing with unexpected situations? The adage ‘the more you know the less you carry’ is often quite true. The greater your training, skill and experience level, the less likely you are going to carry equipment to ‘substitute’ your knowledge.
c) Concerns – This is one of the most critical, but also, in my mind, one of the most overlooked. What are you actually concerned in terms of personal safety? Or more pointedly, what are you preparing for? If we can’t specify our goal it is incredibly difficult to work back from that point to identify our equipment needs. Equally if we can clearly identify our goal(s) it is far easier to select our EDC items.
d) Environment – How is your physical environment (hot, cold, urban, rural), what potential threats or hazards are contained in your environment? Again clear assessment and identification of which hazards we want to avoid and/or mitigate is going to be influential on EDC selection.
3) The final part of our Foundation Concepts is to address what demands we have from our equipment. I have identified 5 key considerations in this regard. Before I begin I just want to clarify, it is very rare you will find an item that fulfills all 5 of these considerations. Think of it as ‘ticking the boxes’, an item that scores 4 out of 5 of these points will have a greater chance of making it on to my EDC than carrying an item that scores say 2 out of 5:
a) Fulfills an Essential Function – It is VERY easy to get loaded down with superfluous or overly specialized gear. In the first instance, EDC is about carrying small items that make a BIG difference. Investigate every piece of equipment and make sure you are carrying it because it’s essential.
b) Difficult to Replicate In Your Environment – This is coming from my ‘wilderness rules’. Being in a town or city means, in theory, everything is available to us if we are willing to purchase it, but that is not always a financially viable or stable approach. What I mean here is be careful not to load yourself down with items that can easily be scavenged if you needed to.
I expand on this more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhlulImaiqI&list=UUVEZ8nWRJ0M07WHCSa9UlRA
c) Multifunctional – Some items may clearly have more than one use (e.g. Multitool), however with some creative thinking, we may come up with multiple uses for even the most banal items we carry. This is a great mental exercise and also a good way of really pairing down your gear if you feel you are currently carrying too much.
d) Legal – Given the increasing level of ‘stop and search’ powers afforded to the police throughout western nations, as well as enhanced security screening in many public locations, the chances of being ‘caught’ and prosecuted for carrying illegal items, plus the fact it’s erm, y’know illegal, means we should not be so foolish as to carry anything that is not legally allowed. Ignorance of the law is no excuse here. Get informed. Also understand, there are many, many, legal alternatives to items that maybe banned. This takes us back to our ‘training and competence’ development.
e) Discreet – I am a firm believer in the ‘Grey Man’ theory. You may want to walk around primed for imminent apocalyptic action, just don’t look like you are. Blending with your environment is something you want to and should be able to do. EDC item selection and carry methods can greatly help or hinder this process.
With a clear understanding and grasp of these foundation concepts, it should be easier to carry EDC items more suited to us and our situation, rather than carrying generic items from a different individual´s list. This makes us not only more prepared, but more informed and therefore confident in the equipment we are carrying.
In subsequent articles I will be going through some of my personal carry items and going into more detail on how these foundation concepts relate. All of this said, the final note is to know and understand EDC needs to be fluid and dynamic, making it easy for us to change, amend, add or remove items as we see necessary in changing circumstances. This will also be covered in more detail soon.
Does this article give you thought on things you may change about your EDC? If so, comment below on the what, why and how of your changes!August 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm #23536
Okay, not to be critical but I found the above to be a bit hard to read.
From a technical standpoint well done, but for me, a little rearranging would have helped keep the article in focus.
I found myself drifting a few times and having to go back and reread the paragraph.
A ‘hook’ to catch the person’s attention and hold it is essential when discussing dry material or material that everyone has an opinion about and their own views. To keep them from skimming ahead.
As to changing my EDC, that’s hardly going to happen without some extreme circumstance, it’s been developed over the last 30 years and has kept me both alive and going through various situations. Augmenting the daily carry may happen, but not without some serious need or development.
There are certain items that one is not going to give up easily, even with knowledge of other means and methods. Ferro rods are one item that are replaceable but honestly are easier to carry than to make do without. I teach my Scouts primitive fire starting methods, and can do so fairly easily but when cold and wet it’s faster and easier to just use a lighter or Ferro rod.
Pocket knives, same thing. One can generally make a sharp edge with a piece of glass or stone chip but the labor involved is often more than it’s worth to just carry a knife with you.
There are times, where the more you know, the more you carry. But that is generally situational.
For example when I go to the city, I tuck a couple of extra magazines in my kit, and a lighter in my pocket instead of the Ferro rod.August 29, 2014 at 1:44 am #23542
Good article, had some of the same problems that Whirlibird did, I also found my self drifting and having to read again. But found some good information.August 29, 2014 at 1:55 am #23545
Whirli I think this piece is aimed more directly at someone trying to figure out how to wade through the ocean of bs and armchair opinions out there. Someone who wants to be prepared but is still working their way along the how of it not someone with 30 years experience. I agree with you there are things I carry every day that just will not change becuase they are tried and true in my environment. What this article does do for the experienced is at least make them think for a minute about what they do carry and are there any newer better versions out there. Take mobile communications for instance, they were non existant 30 years ago unless you were filthy rich. Then there were pagers. They are still useful in some circumstances but hardly the best way to communicate now. I do agree that the article does cause one to drift a bit. It think there are to many layers 1234 a b c d . It just seems like a lot to remember as you get towards the end. The information was good though to help someone weed out the “You GOTTA have this, this, and this”, that gets pushed by the vendor writing the article.August 29, 2014 at 7:14 am #23548
Any and all feedback is welcome. I posted this article principally for two reasons:
1) I’m aware from reading profiles there are a lot of people just ‘getting started’ and as Matt says need help wading through BS, so the ‘foundation’ aspect is for them.
2) I have not seen a piece like this written elsewhere, so for the ‘experienced’ people on here, I wanted to throw this out to confidence check that it ‘rings true’.
Certainly I am far more of an orator than a writer, but it’s something I’m working hard on, and again this forum is invaluable as far as having a sensible place to have ‘critique’ of ideas (instead of the mass trolling present elsewhere on the web)
I did think of ‘serialising’ the article and breaking it into smaller chunks, but overall I thought it’s then easy to ‘loose’ parts, so decided to keep it together as one (longer) articleAugust 29, 2014 at 8:52 am #23550
I’ll review further this weekend, Thanks Toby!
"ROGUE ELECTRICIAN" Hoping to be around to re-energize the New World.....
Cogito, ergo armatus sumAugust 29, 2014 at 10:59 am #23555
Toby C, I think there is a lot of information on the article and for a beginner you may lose them so maybe present it in smaller parts will not lose them in the middle of the article. Your writing is good with a ton on info. What I like to see is you get small parts and making it very clear and easy to remember for the persons just starting.
You have a lot to offer them and you are important to them because you have all of this information that they can learn.August 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm #23563
Good topic, and nicely written.
EDC topic is very popular and very important, and because that it is also very attractive to lot of nonsense, “end of days kits” or “survive everything with this kit” items for sale.August 29, 2014 at 6:48 pm #23592
Okay, another way I might look at EDC to literally empty your pockets and go through what you have with you and the reasons and uses for each item.
Then take each item and use it in one or more examples so the beginner can both read what you are explaining and ‘see’ it in use. Your video for example, grab a couple of those same plastic bottles and metal cans and show how many uses they have, such as ‘canteen’, a funnel, a pot using hot rocks to boil the water, etc.
Then move onto each ‘level’ of EDC, explaining each level, the contents and reasons for each.
For example, the use of a particular sized bag for that Level 2 gear, not a particular brand/bag as each person will find what works for them, but the size itself so it can hold a certain amount of gear but not too much.
And the reasons for the gear in that bag, why it’s in that bag rather than on the person, and why this gear is in this bag rather than in a larger bag (backpack/BOB).
For the beginner, you need to start simple, with as much explaining about each item and the reasons for each as can be put in the article. For example, why so many different methods of making fire with you/on you? Ferro rod, lighter, matches, flint and steel, etc. Why the multiple knives, why the different knives/blade shapes, etc.
And reasons for regional/geographical differences, those who live in the mountains have different needs than someone in Manhattan or London. That memory stick is of little use in the backwoods of Wyoming but may be a lifesaver in Chicago. Conversely, the belt knife in my bag would likely get me a nice stay in the local jail of most major cities (especially in London) but would be conspicuous in its absence around here when in the sticks.August 30, 2014 at 8:52 am #23694
Thanks for the commens so far, all excellent stuff and some really great observations, also thanks to Elijah for the PM
Hi Selco, yes, the ‘end of the world’ salesman were a big influence in compelling me to write this article!
Hi Whirlibird, yes, I agree. My plan is to write a series of subsequent article going through each ‘scale’ and using my EDC as an example of how the principles are applied. I’m part way through writing ‘scale 1′ now and plan to have it as both an article and a video (I’m aware different people prefer different media, so it seems sensible to deliver in multiple formats) This also gives a chance to go into much greater detail and explanation, as I said previously the main idea is to help out ‘new beginners’, I think this is potentially a really nice way to do itAugust 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm #23720
Toby, I like the concept because it fits my current thought pattern very closely.
But I see many gaps I can fill in. This puts into words, and very succinctly, how
I have been arranging my EDC and higher level preps. It will be very easy for me
to simply flesh out my arrangements, and in a logical pattern.
"ROGUE ELECTRICIAN" Hoping to be around to re-energize the New World.....
Cogito, ergo armatus sumSeptember 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm #23908
Many thanks Undergrond, I’m working on the next article right nowSeptember 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm #23910
My main area would be the get home bag and/or truck bag.
"ROGUE ELECTRICIAN" Hoping to be around to re-energize the New World.....
Cogito, ergo armatus sum
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