When it comes to everday carry (EDC) items these days, it seems as if the majority of people out there are shoving way too much stuff in their pockets and on their belt. I’ve seen I don’t know how many “EDC dump” threads online where guys are showing off what they carried that day. Some are carrying two to three knives, a multi-tool, a set of brass knuckles, flashlight, handgun, spare magazine, and a host of other unnecessary items. Obviously, what you carry may be different than what I carry, as we all have different needs and may work or operate in different environments.

Clint Emerson has recently released his new book titled “100 Deadly Skills,” which covers 100 different skills that could potentially save your life someday. One of the concepts he covers early in the book is the everyday carry kit. He breaks it down into different layers, starting with the pocket kit. Here, we will cover what I carry in my pocket kit and why. I will go into knives and lights in future articles related to everyday carry.

My minimalist EDC kit.
My minimalist EDC kit.

My pocket-carry system

The carabiner I have chosen is the Black Diamond Neutrino. This is a lightweight minimalist carabiner that is actually load-rated for climbing. I prefer having this over one of those cheap carabiner clips you can get at the checkout counter of a hardware store. Having a load-rated carabiner makes it more of a multi-purpose item. Not only can it carry your keys and other important items, but it can be used for a hasty rappel in emergency situations—whether that’s using rope in the field or a bed sheet to rappel from a hotel room window, hanging your pack from a static line while crossing a stream or for a SPIE rig extraction out of a hostile environment.

With an MSRP of only $6.95, you can easily outfit all your gear with one. One trick you can use to minimize the noise created by the items on your carabiner is to wrap the body of the carabiner with electrical tape or duct tape. Do not wrap the gate of the carabiner.

Other than my car keys, I carry a few additional items to increase my chances of survival if the need arises.

Mini Match Firestarter
Mini Match Firestarter

Mini Match Magnesium Firestarter—A miniature magnesium rod with a built-in flint rod and striker, the Mini-Match is a dependable all-weather fire starter. Measuring 2 3/8″ long and weighing less than half an ounce, this is a must for your pocket kit. Some may ask, “Why do you need to have a fire steel in your EDC?” Think of it as a backup to other items you may carry in your pack. For me, this makes sense to carry due to my geographic location and outdoor lifestyle.

At a price point of only $4.95 each, I bought two—one to practice with and one to carry on my carabiner. As with most gear, make sure you practice with this and become confident in using it before carrying it as a survival item. I use a small length of black duct tape to hold the striker to the magnesium rod; this also keeps the noise down so the striker isn’t constantly rattling against other items on your carabiner. During my years in the Marine Corps, we wrapped everything with riggers’ tape to keep noise to a minimum.

Resqme Keychain Car Escape Tool—Having the ability to break glass to escape a vehicle or enter a vehicle may be a lifesaver some day, whether that’s saving your life by getting out of a vehicle or the life of another by rescuing them from a vehicle. Just imagine this scenario: You notice a frantic parent in a parking lot who has just accidentally locked their keys in the car along with their child or the family pet, and it’s 90+ degrees out. I would rather pay for a replacement window and use this tool to gain entry into the vehicle to save a life instead of doing nothing to help. By the time police show up, it may be too late.

Also built into the escape tool is a seatbelt cutter. Usually safety belts and air bags reduce impact on passengers in crashes, but sometimes they cause entrapment. Used on the bottom area of the window, the Res-Q-Me will break enough tempered auto glass for you to be able to wrap your hand around the door and unlatch the door from the outside. Use it multiple times on a larger window to break enough glass to exit the vehicle. This is available on Amazon for around $10.

When you are deciding what items to keep on your keychain or carabiner, you have to look at your environment, look at possible scenarios, and above all, keep it simple. Simplicity under stress is the key to success. The most important thing to remember when assembling your EDC is to recognize that you should be choosing what’s best for yourself, not what’s popular on the Internet or what would impress others if you had in your setup.

Basically, the only question you should be concerned with is, “What could you see yourself needing in your day-to-day life?” I do not carry anything else on my carabiner—no extra knives or lights. These items I’ve mentioned in this article are what I’ve determined necessary to increase my ability to survive based upon where I live and possible scenarios I may find myself in.

We’d like to hear what you carry in your pocket kit and why.