When it comes to the gear that you have (or plan on having), it might help to think about it as being like the layers of an onion. You have the smallest part in the middle, with rings getting bigger and more expansive as you go outward. The innermost layer is what makes up your every day carry gear.

Every day carry (EDC) is made up of the things that you usually have with you on an everyday basis. The whole concept of EDC is to have things ready at hand at all times in order to make everyday life easier or more convenient. Do you suffer from allergies? EDC allergy pills, a packet of tissues, and some eyedrops. Do you go places that have low light conditions? EDC a flashlight. Many people have a pen on hand all the time. Families with infants and toddlers are familiar with this concept in the form of the diaper bag. You pack it full of things that you expect to need regularly, such as diapers, wipes a change of baby clothes, an extra bottle and pacifier, toys, etc.
Your personal EDC can take the same sort of mindset, and should be tailored to the environment that you find yourself in every day. Some people are very comprehensive with their EDC setup, while others lean toward the minimalist side of the spectrum. I am something of a minimalist.

My pockets have a handful of regular contents. The first item is my CRKT M16-13 model knife. I usually use it for opening packages and mail, but it makes a bang-up general cutting implement, because it has both plain and serrated portions of the blade. In a pinch, it can also double as a last-ditch self defense weapon. Second is my Fisher Bullet Space Pen. I have been a fan of these little guys for over a decade because they will write on just about anything and in most conditions, including when wet. I also carry my cell phone, which can be used to summon additional aid if I find myself in a predicament, or to let family know where and how I am. I carry my wallet with my ID, driver’s license, debit card and insurance information. I need to start carrying some cash, in the event that I find myself in a situation that I need money but can’t use my debit card. Finally, I have a tube of lip balm. If I am out for an extended day, I usually take my bag with a magazine or other off-line reading material, another pen, my iPad, and a Moleskine notebook.

My EDC is limited because I rarely leave town. I don’t need much beyond what i carry because there is very little in the way of predicaments that I see as needing much more. The response time for an ambulance is about eight minutes anywhere in the city. That being said, there have been times that I haves carried more than this. When I was commuting regularly, I carried a small but powerful flashlight (since discontinued by the manufacturer in preference for an LED light), a small first aid kit, a waterproof notebook, a shemagh scarf (useful for many applications despite any politics surrounding it), and my Gerber “Legend” multi-tool as well as various additional sundries.

Every EDC set should be tailored to the person carrying it. For example, my wife carries a selection of over-the-counter medicines like Advil, Day-quil, and one of several varieties of allergy tablets in her purse. With a six-person family, we have a number of different allergy needs, hence the variety of pills. We are past the baby and toddler stage, so nobody uses a diaper bag these days, and all of the kids tend to carry their own needs.

EDC is a very personal thing. What works for one person may not be useful for someone else. It should be light and convenient to carry, or you will tend to leave it behind, which defeats the whole purpose. It can also get to be a very involved topic. If you don’t believe me, just visit http://www.edcforums.com and take a look around. They are a friendly group who just happen to get into “stuff to carry” than the common person does. They frequently talk about the gear that they use and how it does or doesn’t work well.