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.
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, companies like Survival Straps make high-quality, customizable bracelets available for purchase. Survival straps are made in the USA and you can purchase special edition bracelets that benefit various military charities.
It’s a simple and functional way to support the troops.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 300 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.
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. 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 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.
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.
All of the items on this list have functional purposes that can help you survive in a SHTF situation. 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.
Is there anything we missed on this list? What other military inspired tools are part of your EDC?