I’ve seen a lot of bag and pocket dumps.
There’s a lot of cool EDC gear out there, that’s for sure. Some of it’s functional, other stuff isn’t.
But when it comes down to it, what are the bare essentials that one should carry?
Most of the time when I go out, I have my trusty everyday carry bag that has a lot of the things that I might want or need with me. It has everything from a small first aid kit to over-the-counter medications to a knife, flashlight and multitool.
But what if you don’t have your bag with you? What if it gets lost, stolen or for whatever reason, inaccessible?
There’s a few things that you probably will want to have on you at all times, regardless of whether you have an everyday carry bag with you or not.
Assuming that all you have are your front and back pockets to stash things in, let’s take a look at what you will want to have as a bare urban carry essentials load out.
This is probably one of the most important things to have with you. The wallet itself is optional. Some people carry a very minimal card sleeve wallet while other have a huge brick in their back pocket. At the minimum, you will want your driver’s license, a second form of ID (company ID, School ID, etc…), a bank or credit card if you have one, and cash.
I was once told that you should have as much cash on you as needed to get you home from where ever you’re at. I always have $100 in cash (4x $20, 2x $10 bills) stashed away in the wallet for emergencies.
If you do carry a normal wallet (as opposed to a minimal card sleeve), I suggest putting a couple of those single travel packs of Ibuprofin/Asprin that you can find at gas stations, and a few bandaids into the wallet (preferably in a small plastic bag).
Most of us make sure that we have our phones on us.
It’s more common to forget a wallet at home than a phone. It’s for that reason, I put my license and one credit card in a phone case that has a door in the back for the cards. You can find these credit card phone cases on Amazon pretty easily.
Keys and Keychain
Most of us still use a keychain that has at a minimum, car and house keys.
Consider having a small multitool (Leatherman Squirt, Gerber Dime, etc…) so that you always have a knife, pliers and a couple other basic tools with you. I have a Gerber Dime as a primary, and the Leatherman Style PS (Carry On permitted, no blade) when I have to fly for work.
I also carry a small flashlight on my keychain. I currently have the Nitecore Tube (45 Lumens) for a small, but functional flashlight.
Optionally, having a durable USB Drive on your keychain can also be useful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a client’s office and they just can’t get their email to work to send attachments. I can just tell them to put the files on to my drive and I’ll take them back to the office that way. I chose a 32GB USB 3.0 Gorrilla Drive for that job as it’s IPX6 weather proof and is pretty much crush proof.
Pen and Notebook
When all else fails, pen and paper can be your best friend. I carry a “Trekker” Fisher Space Pen and a small 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebook at all times.
I got tired of waiting on fast food staff or cashiers in retail stores to find a pen to sign my credit card slips. I started carrying a pen with me and now I don’t have to wait.
Other Small Items
As far as I’m concerned, those are the basics. Of course, add or remove anything that fits your situation. One of my law enforcement friends keeps a spare handcuff key in his shoe, and another friend carries his firearm and CCW.
The trick is to have all of these things on items that you instinctively (or out of necessity) pick up before you leave your house. That way, they are just there, and never forgotten. Anything that can be attached to your wallet, keychain or phone increases the chance that you’ll have the things you need with you.