There are a range of options for your everyday carry that are military tested and offer a tactical advantage. Make these items readily available so that if you find yourself in a survival or SHTF scenario you will have the tools to make it out.
This article will look at items in three categories: wearables, tools and packs. Within each category are items used by military personnel around the world.
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Table of Contents
A wearable is an item that can be worn at all times and offers functional uses. A wearable should be comfortable so that you aren’t deterred from having it on. Apart from clothing I add things like watches, bracelets, biofeedback devices and head coverings to wearables.
Paracord bracelets have become a fashion statement over the last few years, but this doesn’t mean they can’t serve as a functional part of your EDC. Cording is one of the essentials of survival because of its range of uses and a paracord bracelet means you can carry cording with you at all times.
While it is a good idea to learn how to make your own paracord bracelet, there are plenty of companies that make high-quality, customizable bracelets available for purchase.
The shemagh is a scarf that originated in the Middle-East as a way to protect the wearer from the harsh environment of the desert.
Deployed for combat in the Middle-East, American and British military personnel, especially in Special Operations units, have adopted the shemagh as part of their kit. In fact, as far back at World War II, British soldiers were issued a shemagh as part of their desert uniform.
A shemagh is commonly used as a head wrapping and will protect you from sun exposure and can keep blowing sand and dirt from getting into your mouth and nose.
A shemagh can keep you cool too. People in the Middle-East have been wearing loose fitting clothing as a way to keep cool for centuries, and research has shown that a layer of cloth can keep sweat from evaporating, thus keeping you cooler. So in a hot environment, this is a must.
The reason it should be a part of your EDC is because of the huge range of functions it serves. A shemagh can be used as:
- Head and face covering
- A way to camouflage your face
- To keep the dust out of your face
- A signal
Sunglasses – Oakley Gascan
A good pair of shades is more than a fashion accessory. Proper eyewear will of course shield your eyes from the sun’s searing rays, keeping your vision intact, but will also shield your eyes from flying debris and particulate, keeping your literal eyeball intact.
For daily wear, Oakley makes some of the best shades you can buy: optically excellent, durable and available in a huge variety of styles and colors, and most of those being had with good to excellent shatter resistance.
Shades are also a tricky tactical tool: you can pretend to nod off somewhere like on an airplane, at a bus stop or somewhere similar and surreptitiously observe people and events around you.
You should choose your eyewear to suit your typical style if possible- blending in is about fitting your environment, not dressing in drab- but if you need a go-to choice that can be dressed up or down go with the Gascans.
The other great thing about Oakley’s is that you can get parts and replacement lenses nearly anywhere in a pinch.
You can get the Oakley Gascan sunglasses on Amazon.
Gloves – Mechanix Wear Fast Fit
There are all kinds of threats to your hands out in the world, and not all of them will come as symptoms of some dreadful disaster. Anything from broken glass, slippery tool handles and hot radiator caps lie in wait it give your tender, baby-soft hands a good scalding.
An injury to your hand is a major issue in the best of times, but if it were to actually happen during a crisis event? Forget it, you’ve got problems.
No matter how leathery and how tough your hands are from years of toil and salt-of-the-earth hard physical work, you should take care to protect them when the time calls for it.
For this, tried and trusted Mechanix Wear gloves are ideal for tossing in with your EDC kit. The Fast Fit line is easy to don and easy to doff, and lacking the large Velcro strap they do give up a little security, but make up for it with compactness. You can easily bundle these gloves up and tuck them into a pocket if you need to.
Aside from physical protection and enhances grip, you can pull these guys on just in case you don’t want to leave any fingerprints behind. Oh, sure, you can use latex or nitrile for that, but you should know that modern forensics techniques can recover fingerprints from inside these gloves now…
You can get the gloves here.
Hat – 5.11 Tactical Cap
You never know when you’ll need to grab a little shade, or just change up your appearance with a quick and hasty disguise.
You need a hat, man! You should choose a hat based on your local weather, climate and typical attire, but you can never go wrong with a trusty ballcap unless you are living someplace seriously hot or cold.
Beyond shading your eyes and keeping the sun off your head (which seriously speeds you along the road toward heat casualty) a hat an perform several other vital functions.
There is a very real need for camo in uncertain times, and the round, smooth and comparatively bright outline of a human head is easily spotted along the corners of buildings, through windows and behind doorjambs.
A hat in a drab color will help reduce this profile. In the case of a tactical cap with room for adhering your own patches, you can make good use of glint tape for nighttime identification under NODs, or one of several patches you and your group decide on for quick and easy identification or discreet communication of status.
A hat like this by itself is not a terrible tipoff to one and all that you are a prepper so long as the rest of your getup is not too “tactified”.
Get this tactical cap here.
Rain Slicker – Arcturus Stowable Poncho
Exposure us a major killer all over the globe, and even tolerably cool temperatures can turn deadly when you add soaked clothing to the mix.
Dealing with a stiff breeze or the cold, hard ground, that nasty combination will strip heat from your body in a flash and send your core temperature plummeting.
It won’t be long before your teeth start chattering, your fingers lose sensation and your thoughts get cloudy. One wrong turn and a little bad weather can spell your doom even close to civilization.
To help hedge your bets against such an unfortunate fate, or just annoyance and embarrassment, turn to a lightweight, easy to carry rain poncho.
A tiny investment in weight and space gives you insurance against the most common weather event on earth. They even provide a little protection against wind, or being splashed with other nasty and unfortunate liquids.
You can never be too careful in this era of political and social upheaval. One minute you are walking down the street minding your own business, the next you are getting hit with a plastic bottle of urine.
This model from Arcturus is light, well-fitted and available in colors and patterns to suit any prepper’s tastes, from high-vis orange and blue to more low profile fare like woodland camo and gray.
Get my recommended poncho here.
The true multi-use item that all preppers love has to be the humble bandana. This simple swatch of cloth is a true do-everything staple no well-equipped guy or gal should be without.
A bandana can be a sweatband, an improvised bandage, a bindle, a sleeping mask, insulation, a head covering, a mask, a lashing, a coarse filter, a shade, a potholder, a pad, a work mat, a rag and even toilet tissue, in a pinch. You don’t want to get caught without one!
Shemaghs work great as garments but are very large and bulky for “just in case carry.” Bandanas are the opposite, being a little small for major sun coverage, but eminently more useful for a host of other things.
Any bandana can do in a pinch, but you’ll be best served by 100% natural fibers like cotton or silk. I prefer cotton for its cost considering the relatively short and brutal life that many bandanas will lead. With just a little washing and wear, it will turn soft and chafing-free, ready to be used however you might.
One of my favorites is this nifty khaki color from Pendleton, which looks interesting enough to pull out as a handkerchief but is discreet enough to afford you some camouflage if you need it.
Don’t leave home without your bandana, ever. Get some here.
Carry Platform – Phlster Flex
Strapping pouch after pouch onto your belt or inside the waistband of your pants can get tiresome fast, not to mention bulky.
For all the advances in materials we have made in the intervening decades, there has not been much in the way of improvement when it comes mechanically carrying all the crap that preppers and gun-toters haul around.
Phlster might just have changed the game on that front with one of their newest and, in my opinion, biggest sleeper hits.
The Flex is, as its name suggests, a flexible yet sturdy platform, a paper thin mounting surface for all the kit and caboodle you carry on a daily basis, from holsters to magazine pouches and even medical gear.
The beauty of the flex is that the entire rig is detached and donned as one unit. No more playing crochet between your belt, your pouches and your belt loops to get your EDC gear on, and definitely no relying on some bulky, nerdy warbelt for daily carry in permissive environments.
The Phlster Flex is a huge leap forward in convenience and speed for those who daily carry more than what fits in your pockets.
Get the Phlster Flex here.
Pocket Holster – EDC Leather Organizer
Not that kind of pocket holster! Still, for those that carry just the essential tools when out and about you still have need of some onboard organization.
Aside from satisfying your OCD, a proper pocket holster shields the items it carries by obscuring their outline in your pants, and also keeps them presented for a smooth, consistent and glitch-free draw.
Seconds count in emergencies, and getting your knife, pepper spray or flashlight out in a jiffy may spell the difference between a good outcome and a bad one.
This inexpensive full-grain leather organizer will hold a small folding knife and a small flashlight in two stitched leather pouches and also a compact pen on the side in an elastic loop.
The whole thing then drops into a pocket however you like, with the raised protective back edge completely obscuring the outline of the items while they ride safely within. The pen pocket might seem an afterthough, but let’s face it: a pen clipped into the pocket of your polo is never a good look.
Upgrade the “ride” and concealment of your pocket gear and gain a little speed and comfort in the process with this gem.
Get this EDC pocket organizer on Amazon.
RFID Blocker Wallet – Estalon Trifold
Some threats you won’t see coming. In fact, some threats you really won’t know they were ever there and they’ll leave no trace, coming or going! You’ll find out you were had when you get the bill or when your credit card company calls you with bad news: you are the owner of a new sailboat!
Ugh. You guessed it y now, surely. I am talking about, of course, one of the most pervasive of modern crimes- the wireless credit card thief.
Advances in modern gadgetry have allowed credit card thieves to rip off your purchasing power in more ways than ever, from gas pump and retail POS card skimmers to sophisticated over-the-air RFID readers that can yoink the entirety of your credit card info right out of your wallet as you blithely walk by the thief.
These insidious gadgets are impossible to detect easily, and again, you won’t even know you have been had until it is way past too late.
Luckily the countermeasure is a simple one, though you might have to part with your old faithful wallet. By picking up one of the new breed of wallets with build-in RFID blocking technology, you can stroll on in confidence knowing that any interrogating radio waves are deflecting harmlessly off your high-tech shields protecting your credit and debit cards.
Get this RFID blocking wallet here.
Watch – Casio Tactical Master Rangeman
This Casio G-Shock watch has a shocking price, but the features package makes it an excellent investment for your tactical EDC.
Set in a rugged shell with solar power, this watch is reliable and durable. This watch was constructed to withstand tough conditions and with first responders and law enforcement in mind. It has since been used by the armed forces in the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq.
What makes this watch so incredible is the “triple sensor”. This feature gives the watch the ability to read temperature, barometric pressure and direction.
This means you’ll have accurate metrics for navigating a city, readying for the weather or prepping. It also has radio-controlled atomic timekeeping, so it will be precise anywhere you go.
Check around when buying, I’ve seen this watch go for around $190 at some US retailers.
Get the Casio Tactical Master Rangeman on Amazon.
The tools listed below are meant to serve multiple functions and have a history of use in military and law enforcement. A cutting tool is a must for an EDC kit and there is also a flashlight.
Utility Knife – The Morakniv Knife
Mora knives are used by the Swedish military and are famed for their simple, rugged dependability. I personally carry a fixed-blade Mora with me whenever I go backpacking and it has never let me down.
It holds its sharpness, is well-made and is military tested. Importantly too, it’s made from carbon steel, meaning it can be used with another object to create a spark for a fire.
This particular Mora has a striking stick built into the plastic handle so it can be used in a survival situation as a fire starting tool.
You can find “cooler” knives out there, but for simple, rugged dependability, a Mora knife is all you’ll ever need.
Defensive Knife – CRKT Obake
If a big, heavy-duty bush and utility knife is not appropriate for your daily life or your environment, you can look at a knife that still has serious chops for the urban jungle, something equally adept at slicing cordage, packaging or necks.
Enter the CRKT Obake, an ingenious, slim little knife that combines the best of modern materials with old school design and results in one pint-sized but powerful EDC knife. The Obake is more than suitable for defensive use and light utility chores.
Featuring a cord-wrapped handle over a faux ray skin scale that affords tons of grip wet or dry. The slim blade is traditionally Eastern in configuration and comes frightfully sharp right from the factory.
Perhaps the best part of the whole getup is its unconventional but eminently useable sheath. The Obake makes use of a “static line” attachment for your belt, or anything you might stow the knife in like a bag or purse.
The synthetic cord attachment (crowned with a tiny chrome skull bead for some evil bling) is tied off to your belt and then the whole scabbard and knife is tucked behind your belt or behind your waistband, reducing the overall profile of the package considerably.
On drawing, the scabbard comes out with the knife until the static line goes taut, popping the sheath off the blade. This makes for an easy draw to master, and also affords you more control and safety upon sheathing the knife since you aren’t probing around with the blade near your waistline trying to reinsert it into the scabbard.
The flexibility of this system is enormous, and it is a snap to reposition the knife on the fly if you are seated or driving. A traditional belt loop is available as an option, included.
Get the CRKT Obake here.
Leatherman MUT EOD
Built for military and law enforcement personnel, this multi-tool has specific features that make it a perfect addition to your tactical EDC.
This multi-tool was built with the M4 and M16 in mind and for use by explosives technicians. It has a bolt override tool to clear a jam out of a rifle or pistol, EOD spec wire gripper and cutters, C4 punch, driver bit for use with optics rings and a bronze carbon scraper for rifle cleaning. It also comes in a MOLLE sheath so it can be mounted to your vest or backpack
As with any Leatherman, it is durable and long lasting and has a ton of other uses. As a multi-use survival and tactical tool this is a must-carry, especially if you have an AR-type rifle in your bug out bag.
Get the Leatherman here.
Swiss Army Knife
Maybe you need to be prepared for those curveballs life and emergencies can throw your way, but you just can’t find the room or justify the weight of a big, bulky multi-plier.
Turn your gaze to the past and embrace the Swiss Army knife like your grandpa did. A lighter, smaller, leaner counterpart to the modern multitool, the legendary Swiss Army knife will handle just about any task a Leatherman or Gerber can, only most models lack pliers of any kind. If you can live without that, a SAK is a shoo-in for EDC multi-tool.
Slim, small and light are the watchwords of the Swiss Army knife. Dropping into any pocket or lashing securely to a keyring or lanyard, your SAK will always be close at hand for any contingency.
More than just a low-profile option, or one a little less gauche in polite company that breathes rarified air, Victorinox Swiss Army knives use legendarily good steel sharpened to a hair popping edge alongside an assortment of useful tools, everything from drivers and awls to saws and magnifying glasses. There is a model to suit every preference and taste.
A Swiss Army knife makes a perfect companion to a more specialized “serious” or defensive knife, and modern versions can be had in all kinds of colors and handle materials.
Get the Swiss army knife here.
Lighter – Zippo Pocket Lighter
The ability to start fire is mandatory for preppers. No matter where you live or where you are going, the ability to summon a flame is among the most elemental of survival skills.
A fire means light, warmth, signaling and cooked food; four indispensible elements for many survival scenarios. Preppers rely on all kinds of fire starting contrivances, from flints and steels to ferro rods and storm matches, but one modern tool that is seemingly overlooked and often the more elegant solution is the simple lighter.
In all but the most heinous conditions, a lighter can get a fire started with the stroke of a striker. And speed counts!
One of the most adaptable and simplest of lighters is the iconic and beloved Zippo. More than a catchy name and addictive click, the vintage workings of the Zippo lend themselves towards use of a variety of fuels, anything from diesel and kerosene to clarified animal fat and other oils.
The versatility of a Zippo makes them an ideal long-term survival tool where you won’t be able to just get more Zippo fuel or butane at the corner store.
Yes, they do evaporate gas unlike butane lighters, but a weekly fillup is a small price to pay for the overall ruggedness and dependability of a classic lighter. You can make your Zippo even more SHTF capable by tossing it in a sealing, weatherproof flip-top case.
You can find plenty of Zippo pocket lightes on Amazon.
Benchmade 8 Safety Cutter
Cutting tools like this Benchmade 8 Safety Cutter are part of a paramedic/battlefield medics EDC and they are a smart addition to yours too.
Medics will use cutting tools like this to quickly cut away clothing to reveal a wound so they can get to work. Paramedics use them too to cut civilian clothing and shoes. And if you’re trapped in a car, this can be used to cut away the seatbelt so you can escape.
Cutting tools can be used for a variety of different situations such as:
- Cutting a car seatbelt
- Cutting away clothing
- Cutting cord or cloth to make rope
- Cutting off boots or shoes
Get the Benchmade 8 Safety Cutter here.
First Aid Kit – Coleman Mini First Aid Kit
Not all injuries you’ll face on your journeys will warrant serious intervention, but they are nonetheless annoying and could evolve into a bigger problem left unchecked. That’s where the boo-boo kit comes in.
A boo-boo kit is what non-preppers call a first aid kit: the box containing band-aids, antiseptic, medicines, tweezers, moleskin, sting relief, burn gel and so forth to keep minor dings, dents, cuts, scrape and gashes from turning worse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Coleman makes one of the best tiny kits, containing just the essentials to reduce the snivels while allowing a little room for you to supplement in your own desired supplies within its sturdy aluminum “mint case” tin.
The tin case is not going to survive a fall of a building, but neither will you! It is though adequate for resisting crushing, mangling and the rigors of actual daily travel.
Add some superglue, a few packets of various meds and some blister relief stuff and you’ll be all set with this affordable gem! It can ride in a pocket or in any bag there is with room to spare.
You’ll go to your trauma kit if you suffer a big boo-boo, but for the most common minor injuries this kit will suffice handily.
Get the Coleman Mini First Aid Kit here.
Tourniquet – NAR Combat Application Tourniquet
If you were going to carry just one piece of gear that could save you from an entirely preventable death due to a hemorrhaging limb, you’d better have a tourniquet. One of the most common injuries resulting from weapons in fights, be they guns or knives, is a penetrating injury to a limb.
These leaking limbs are easy to treat if you have the right kit, and the right piece of kit in this case is a tourniquet. The best tourniquet all around is the North American Rescue Combat Application Tourniquet, or CAT.
Serving for ages with our armed forces, the CAT is proven under fire and has few if any weaknesses. Whatever advantages other tourniquets may offer, none have the amazing track record and amount of use, study and refinement that the CAT does.
Certainty is one of those things you can’t buy, and so long as you apply it properly, you can be sure a CAT will staunch the flow of the red stuff when you need it stopped now.
Like all medical kit and especially trauma supplies, you’ll need training and practice to apply the CAT correctly the first time. It is simple enough to do with one hand on your own leg or arm, and a cinch to apply to someone else with both hands. Get two, and carry at least one!
Get the NAR Combat Application Tourniquet here.
Compass – Suunto Clipper
The image of the intrepid outdoorsman making his way with map and compass in hand is a powerful piece of cultural lore, but one rooted firmly in reality.
If you have lost your way, or even your heading, compass is one of the few man-made artifacts you can rely on to quickly and accurately re-orient yourself. Even for city dwellers, the ability to find north (or east, south or west) in a pinch, in a hurry, is priceless.
Consider that a major disaster could see the once familiar landscape of your city streets reconfigured violently and you might have some idea of what you are up against.
Rather than toting around an admittedly overkill field or lensatic compass, or placing your trust in fickle electronics that could be subject to all kinds of failure or interference, rely instead on another venerable tool: the compass!
Among the class of compact “button” compasses, Suunto’s Clipper is the most convenient and one of the most reliable in its class, and will clip onto your watch band, lanyard or backpack straps to stay ready to go but out of the way.
The photoreactive luminous dial markings allow you to easily read it at night or in conditions of low light and the sturdy high-density plastic housing will stand up to the bumps and scrapes that it will invariably endure.
Get the Suunto Clipper compass here.
Mini-Thumper – Plum Garden Brass Bottle Opener
Sometimes you need a little extra “oomph” to get your point across. Sometimes you need to open up a frosty beverage. Why not combine the two concepts in a convenient and handsomely made brass tool, part bottle opener and part lanyard, with the, uh, “lanyard” hole conveniently sized to fit over a finger and nestle snugly into a palm for, uh, aggressively cracking open bottles. Yeah.
There are times intermediate force is useful, i.e. a plain punch is not enough and knives or guns is too much. That’s where a cleverly employed tool like the Plum Garden opener comes in.
You’ll need to pay close attention to your local laws before employing a tool like this, but in a WROL situation or a really sticky emergency, it can be the surprise you need to get clear of trouble.
Even better, it looks innocuous enough to go almost anywhere, and its gentle brass styling does not arouse suspicion or a second glance.
Get the Mini-Trhuper here.
Pepper Spray – POM Maximum Strength OC
The most overlooked and undeniably the most effective intermediate force option available to anyone, it is criminal how neglected pepper spray is from the armories of most preppers.
High-test, strong OC spray is statistically 90+% effective in knocking the “fight” right out of someone when they don’t want to leave you alone or let you leave.
Why risk a messy hand-to-hand confrontation that can still see you maimed or crippled ? You need an option more effective than fists and bad language and less decisively deadly than a gun, but one that affords you range. Pepper spray is it.
POM is a breakout brand that started selling pepper spray with a simple premise: most concentrated solution (by major capsaicinoids percentage, not Scovilles or any other bunk), best controls (flip top thumb activation) and best price. I’d say they have succeeded on all fronts, and offer their shriekingly hot spicy stuff in a huge variety of colors and canister configurations to suit any need.
ProTip: get the pocket clip model. Keychain rigs are too cumbersome to make use of in a hurry, and the rotational clip on the clip-on model allows you to position it in pocket for any kind of draw you prefer.
Get the POM Maximum Strength OC here.
Flashlight – Surefire E2D Defender
This little flashlight has quickly become a go-to for my EDC kit.
Flashlights are a popular EDC item because they can be used for multiple purposes. Apart from the obvious use of lighting a dark space, flashlights can carry other advantages.
From a personal defense standpoint, this flashlight can be used in multiple ways. The Defender has a built in “strike bezel” that this can be used to add extra power to a backhand strike. The weight can give extra power to a punch too, like if you were to put a roll of coins in your hand before punching.
On the brightest setting the 1,000 lumen brightness can cause temporary blindness and give you enough time to run or move in to strike.
Another advantage this light has is that it can be pressed to turn on momentarily. This has a useful tactical advantage.
Say you were in a dark room and an attacker was trying to find you. With some pressure on the back of the light you could quickly sweep a light across the room to get your bearings then quickly move to another position.
From here, another quick sweep before moving could be done before the assailant knows your position. Self-defense coaches have taught this type of leapfrogging technique as a way of using deception to escape a situation.
Get the Surefire E2D Defender on Amazon.
Notepad – Rite in the Rain
If you have been prepping any length of time, you have probably noticed the general trend towards choosing tools and equipment with a decidedly analog bent.
That’s on purpose: despite the capabilities of modern high-tech electronics and other solutions, low-tech reliability and flexibility is often the way to go when the chips are down and you need to remain adaptable.
Consider the humble notebook compared to a note-taking app on a phone. The notepad is swifter into action, can have pages torn from it to leave notes, messages, instruction or correspondence, and can even work as tinder in a pinch, all without relying on power.
Sure, the electronics have the benefit of reusability, but at the cost of total dependency on sustained power.
The one Achilles’ Heel of paper, its vulnerability to water and moisture, has been eliminated thanks to Rite-in-the-Rain’s patented waterproofing process, which will let you scribble, jot or record even in the middle of a hurricane if you can hang onto your pen or pencil.
Not just great for bad weather, the greater durability of both paper and binding means your notebook is far more survivable all around, and will not turn to mush in your pocket if you get all sweaty.
Get the Rite in the Rain notepad here.
Pen – Fisher Space Pen
A sturdy notebook deserves an equally sturdy pen. Fisher’s Space Pen, as the name suggests, has literally been to space as standard issue equipment designed to operate normally in any conditions, strictly, under the sun.
From zero gravity to the cold of total vacuum, the Fisher Space Pen will right upside down, underwater and in the blisteringly caustic volcanic calderas of Venus. Okay, I’m joking about the last one, but it is probably true anyway!
Back on Earth, the Space Pen’s thixotropic ink is totally indelible, and makes a great partner to the RitR pads above. Even better, their ink canisters are completely sealed, hostile environment proof and last over 5 times longer than standard pen refills, meaning you won’t get caught short when you need to write.
If you were pressed, the hardened metal casing of the Space Pen would make for a certainly effective jabbing or thrusting weapon, one that can go anywhere, innocently in your pocket, until you needed it.
A hammering blow to the throat or jaw of an assailant with this in hand would doubtlessly make them wish they were in outer space!
Get the Fisher Space Pen here.
Power Bank – Anker PowerCore 13000
Electronics offer tons of capability so long as we can keep them juiced up, and while disasters of all kinds will put the infrastructure they rely on to a severe test, it is still not reason to dump them if they do work!
No matter what happens though, running out of power is a showstopper to anything electrical. To give yourself an “air tank” of off-grid time, invest in a power bank, aka a power cell.
A slim, inexpensive power bank can refuel a phone or similar device at least once, and often several more times before it itself is depleted. Using power conserving methods an prudence, even a single recharge can give you days more up time before the screen dims for good.
Anker makes some of the best and most reliable power banks in their category, and their 13000 model will charge most phones twice, can power up a phone from a dead state to running, and is slim enough to ride in your pocket or any bag.
Get the Anker PowerCore 13000 here.
You’re going to need somewhere to put all this gear and these options are two of my favorites. Both of these packs are meant to be used in a modular, tiered system, but if you want more suggestions, you can find plenty here.
This means that they can be attached to a larger pack, like a bug out bag, and then taken apart for a shorter trip into the backcountry or city.
5.11 Tactical backpack
5.11 Tactical is a clothing and accessories company made in the USA. It’s run by ex-military and law enforcement professionals and caters a tactically-minded crowd. If you’re looking for a body armor vest, functional backpack or clothing, 5.11 Tactical is a go-to source.
As a tactical EDC backpack, 5.11 tactical makes a range of awesome options. For a tactical backpack to work it should be rugged, sturdy, and have a range of options. As an EDC pack it should be light and maneuverable too. The best choice here is the Rush Moab 10.
The Rush Moab 10 has interesting design features that it a great choice as an everyday carry item. It is smaller in size but meant to be attached to a larger pack as part of a tiered system. This means that it can be packed with what’s needed for a day and attached to a bug out bag if needed.
The Moab is covered in MOLLE and has compartments for a hydration bladder, glasses, rifle magazines, pens and writing utensils, softshell or bedroll as well as having a large center space.
It is a sling style pack but it ambidextrous, meaning it can be customized to fall on your right or left shoulder and then swung around to access the compartments.
Get the 5.11 Tactical backpack here.
Source Razor 3l
Source Tactical Gear is an Israeli company that is making quite a stir in the tactical market because of their hydration and load-bearing packs.
The quality shows in that they were recently selected by the British government to supply new kits for their military. The “Virtus Solider System” is a kit system of integrated protective gear and armor.
While the armoring is not available to the public, we can buy one of Source’s combat tested hydration systems.
The Razor 3l is a compact and low profile hydration bladder that can be attached to MOLLE compatible body armor or backpacks. The low profile design means it’s almost flat and can be added to a tiered system of MOLLE bags.
While most backpacks will come with a hydration bladder having a detachable one like the Razor 3l means you will always have water with you. It can be moved from one pack to another, onto body armor, a sling or carried off of a belt.
Having water is a foundational element of survival and this pack means you can carry your hydration with you on any platform.
Get the Source Razor here.
Grey Ghost Gear Hideout
Sometimes you need a pack, but don’t want to carry a pack. Does that make sense? No? It will. If you want the capability of a light duty pack but you don’t want to haul around a full-size bag, Grey Ghost Gear has you covered with their collapsing Hideout pack.
Stuffing itself into an integrated pouch and bundling up to the size of a large grapefruit, the all-nylon Hideout gives you the ability to haul lighter loads in comfort on your back when you need to grab a few things and go.
Unfolded, it looks a lot like a standard Jansport or similar “school” bookbag or daypack and while it is not going to win any awards for most volume, most durable or most tactical, it is perfect for what your average prepper needs: the ability to carry more essentials at a moment’s notice.
You can unfold, fill and don this nifty pack in seconds, and it should be an indispensible part of your kit if you are an EDC-lite or minimalist prepper.
Get the Grey Ghost Gear Hideout on Amazon.
All of the items on this list have functional purposes that can help you survive disasters and emergencies. With the added features of being military-use or military-designed, it also means they won’t let you down when you need them most.
If you’re looking for more items suggestions to add to your EDC, check out this full list.
Is there anything we missed on this list? What other military-inspired tools are part of your EDC?
Jonathan is a prepper from Youngstown OH, US who’s simply in love with camping and hiking.