EDC Basics for Dudes

Men are active creatures, and when activities take us away from home, we should be totally prepared for most situations. Whether it’s a visit to the grocery store for bread or a trip to the mountains for a week-long hunting trip, men need an everyday carry (EDC) setup with tools that will help through whatever Mother Nature or Murphy’s Law might throw their way. 

Your EDC setup will be unique to your lifestyle. While there are a few standard items that pretty much everyone will carry, other items can be added according to your individual needs. A man who travels to and from the office every day and does little more than cut his grass on the weekends won’t need to carry the same tools as one who works part-time at the bicycle shop and spends his weekends on backcountry trails.

When it comes to your EDC loadout, a little planning goes a long way, so we’re here to help you pick the best EDC tools for men.


A good multi-tool covers many of the survival needs we may face. Your multi-tool should have, at the very least, a blade, pliers, screwdrivers (Phillips and flathead), and a small saw blade. Whether it’s opening a box, cutting cord, or having to extract a bullet from a flesh wound (OK. That last example is a bit extreme), having a multi-tool on you is going to be super handy.

Lucky for you, we’ve already shared some of our top multi-tool picks. Head over there and take a look when you’re done reading the rest of this list.


The value of a good blade cannot be overstated. Your carry blade should be seen as a tool, not a weapon. I’ve personally carried a blade every day for years and never once used it defensively. I have, however, opened hundreds of packages, cut strings/cords, and used it for plenty of fishing and hunting purposes. 

If you’re in the market for a good blade, check out MSJ’s recommendations for the best blades to carry on your person every day.


This particular EDC item comes in so handy, it’s hard to express its value. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve used it to find stuff under furniture or in dark closets at work. A good flashlight can be used to read stuff in semi-light environments, distract a would-be attacker, or strike an assailant in self-defense.

There are a bunch of options for an EDC flashlight out there. Take a look at our list of the best tactical flashlights to see what fits your needs.

Individual First-Aid Kit (IFAK)

Bad things happen quickly and unexpectedly. It’s not always possible or practical to run to the car to grab a med kit when things go bad. Having an IFAK on your person can save valuable time, and maybe even someone’s life. 

Don’t think you need to wear an IFAK like a fanny pack, let me point out there are much more efficient ways to carry your kit. The best and least intrusive option is an ankle pack for carrying the most critical tools. At a minimum, your IFAK should have a tourniquet, gauze, and gloves. You can also add chest seals and scissors to your kit to make it a more complete rescue tool.


While this particular item might not appear to be an everyday necessity, you’d be surprised at all the different ways it can be used. From tying down loose items in the back of the truck to emergency fishing to restraining the perp who just threatened to kill everyone in the room (too extreme again?), paracord will make itself a valuable part of your EDC.

Now, the good news is you don’t need to carry a roll of 550 in your pocket. Having the paracord fashioned into a functional item you wear is a much better option. There are simple paracord bracelets available in addition to more elaborate gear with a compass and other onboard tools. 

If you wear an ID badge at work, a paracord lanyard might be an option for you.

Survival Card

This one is easy because it requires very little thought, takes up next to zero space on your body, and adds a lot of survival value to your EDC.

A survival card can cover a variety of situations. I personally prefer the outdoor survival card that carries multiple fishing hooks, saw blades, and weapon tips (spear, gig, and arrowheads). The tool is the size of a credit card and can slip easily into your wallet or money clip for ready access.


Pens can be a multi-purpose tool. Yeah, we use them to jot down a quick grocery list or sign for a package. The right pen, though, can be used as a glass breaker, self-defense tool, or flashlight.

Again, here at MSJ, we were ahead of the curve on this item. We put together a list of the best tactical pens that will cover both your defensive and survival needs, as well as serve as a solid writing tool.

Pepper Spray

Non-lethal self-protection options are always good to have on hand. One of the more effective tools for the job is pepper spray. These little canisters carry a lot of punch, and they can stop a threat in his tracks. They can also be used in a pinch to ward off dangerous wildlife in a wilderness environment.

Again, the options for OC/pepper spray are numerous, so take a look at our choices for the best pepper sprays to add to your EDC arsenal.

Other EDC Items

A couple of additional items you might choose to have on you depending on the circumstances include a firearm with a spare magazine and a BUG (backup gun). Since guns aren’t permitted in government buildings, schools, and other locations, whether you carry this item is entirely dependent on personal choice and local and state laws. Follow all laws regarding the carry of a firearm.

Your EDC firearm should have sufficient capacity to stop multiple bad guys (again, follow the law regarding mag capacity) without feeling like you’re carrying a brick. Having a spare mag may be an option if you know you might find yourself in a situation that might require a reload.

It’s also smart to carry a simple lighter. The ability to build a fire under survival circumstances cannot be understated. A lighter is small, compact, and as easy to forget it’s in your pocket as it is to carry.

Final Thoughts

With a little planning, your EDC loadout can be a non-intrusive part of your life. Having the tools to manage many of the everyday situations you encounter will simplify your life. It can also give you what you need to potentially save lives.

Do you have a favorite EDC item we forgot? Let us know in the comments. 
And for the ladies, Alice has written a thorough guide on EDC Basics for Women.

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