14 Critical EDC Mistakes to Avoid

Everyday carry is an interesting hobby and topic to get into because there’s just so much variety! Everyone carries something different, be it a knife, a flashlight, a lighter, even a keychain flashlight.

edc items
EDC items: watch, first aid items, multitool, compass, flashlights, gloves and more

It’s also not too hard to get into it which is an added bonus. Of course, when you get started, it’s easy to make mistakes.

These mistakes can range from minor inconveniences to serious problems – depending on your circumstances – and it’s important to try avoiding mistakes as much as possible.

So, with that in mind; here’s a list of EDC mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Not Paying Attention to Practicality

Okay, let’s get this one out of the way real quick.

When I talk about focusing too much on specifics, I’m referring to focusing on specific elements of your kit (i.e. your knife, wallet, watch, etc.) while neglecting other aspects.

This is a mistake that is commonly made by EDC newbies – the guys and gals who are just getting into it.

They focus on blade steels, aesthetics, price, and other bits and pieces without paying attention to the practicality of whatever it is that they’re buying.

Now, let me be very clear: I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy a good-quality knife for your first EDC setup.

It doesn’t matter if you’re law enforcement/military or a keyboard warrior who spends their day opening boxes, you still need a good blade.

What I am saying is that you should focus on where and how you’re going to use your blade/kit and get what you can afford.

With that said, getting what you can afford doesn’t mean skimping on a good knife.

Cheaper knives can be useful, but it’s important to note that sometimes they don’t last too long. So, get what’s affordable, but don’t sacrifice quality or durability if you can avoid it.

10 dollar Walmart knife
10 dollar Walmart knife

2. Not Always Carrying Your Kit

This is something I do every now and then, and it always tends to cause some problems; whether it’s my phone or my notebook if I forget a piece of kit, it drives me nuts!

The whole point of an EDC loadout is that you have the things you need to survive on a daily basis. With that in mind, why would you leave a vital piece of kit behind?

If you’re going to a place where carrying a knife or firearm is going to cause potentially serious legal headaches, then yes, leaving that piece of kit behind makes sense.

Other than that, though, you should always keep your kit handy.

clipping a folding knife to sock underneath camo pants
clipping a folding knife to sock underneath camo pants

3. Not Blending In

This is something that not a lot of people seem to think about as a mistake. Think about it, how many times have you looked at something and thought: “it’d be so cool if I carried that one!”

You end up taking all this cool-looking gear that’s going to stand out and end up broadcasting the fact that you’ve got something going on.

How? Well, it can be a variety of things; maybe you’re wearing military-style clothing or carrying a tactical-looking backpack – right down to the camouflage color scheme.

Maybe your weapon – if you carry one – is printing (meaning it can be seen through your clothes) or your shirt rides up and someone sees a knife or firearm on your hip.

It may not be something you consciously think about, but it can cause serious problems – especially if you’re in a place that isn’t particularly friendly about weapons.

4. Choosing Design over Function

This one ties into points 1 and 3.

Focusing on a theme or style essentially means that you’re looking at all the cool stuff and picking it up only to find that:

  1. it makes you ridiculously visible, and
  2. it doesn’t work for your specific needs.

This can start by looking at online trends and adopting what is cool/trendy might seem like a good idea at first… until it’s not.

With that in mind, look at your specific needs and adopt your own style adapting your carry until you have a good setup put together.

5. Carrying Too Much

I wish I could say that I’ve never made this mistake, but I have and occasionally still do. Carrying too much doesn’t really sound like a mistake, does it?

You’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it, after all. Unfortunately, carrying too much makes finding what you need in an emergency more than a little challenging.

If you’re trying to be prepared for everything, then carrying a lot of stuff isn’t the answer.

Bruce Lee once said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Rather than carrying gear for highly situational occurrences, carry gear that you can adapt to use in multiple scenarios.

6. Bragging

In my experience, most people don’t care what you carry as long as you’re not hurting yourself or someone else or doing something illegal.

With that said, don’t brag about the expensive knife on your hip or watch on your wrist or whatever other gear you might have on you.

Bragging puts a bullseye on your back for bad guys looking to score a quick buck and possibly a new weapon.

It also puts you at risk of someone who isn’t so knife-friendly calling the police because you’re carrying – regardless of whether it’s legal or not. This happens more often than you think, and it’s best to just avoid it.

Unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to tell somebody that you’re carrying (i.e. a police officer), it’s better to just keep your mouth shut.

7. Abusing Your Tools

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, don’t do something that your knife/tool isn’t built for. I cringe whenever I see videos of guys using Swiss Army Knife blades as pry bars! I have to stop myself from screaming: “IT’S A KNIFE, NOT A PRY BAR!”

Thankfully, those videos are few and far between nowadays because most people understand that their knives aren’t going to survive a job they’re not built to do in the first place.

While knives can be replaced without much issue (unless it’s a pricey knife), if you have to keep buying new knives, the price is going to add up quite a bit. Take care of your tools and they’ll take care of you.

8. Not Maintaining your Gear

It may sound strange, but a dull knife is a dangerous knife. You have to put more pressure on the blade to get it to cut and if the blade buckles…well…it’s not going to be pleasant.

If your tools / kit isn’t well cared for it’s not going to function when you need it which can be a very, very serious problem.

Seriously guys, maintain your kit. Keep your firearms clean and your knives sharp and avoid accidents.

9. Ignoring Self-Defense

Self-defense is a major consideration to keep in mind when you’re looking at carrying a knife or firearm because unfortunately there’s a real possibility that you may need to use them to protect yourself or the people you care about.

If you ignore the self-defense aspect of carrying a knife or firearm, you may end up with something that’s just impractical for that use.

When you opt to carry a knife or firearm, self-defense is something you must consider. You need to consider what you can do to someone to protect yourself and your loved ones.

What are you willing to do?

Being able to do something is not the same as being willing to do something and when it comes to self-defense you have to be both willing and able to protect yourself and your loved ones.

10. Not Practicing with your Gear

Building on the previous point, another huge mistake is not practicing with your gear.

You’ll see it all the time, people say they carry something (knife, firearm, taser, etc.) for self-defense but they don’t train/practice with their defensive tool.

The whole point of training is to ensure that you know what to do in a high-stress self-defense scenario.

You train for the worst but hope for the best. If you know how to get to your weapon and deploy it, you stand a better chance of being able to use it.

an Altoids tin urban survival kit with multi tool lighter cash
an Altoids tin urban survival kit with multi tool lighter cash

11. Underestimating Certain Tools

This is an easy one to make, we have so much stuff that works that we underestimate the usefulness/versatility of certain pieces of kit.

Let me give you an example, a few years back I’d have laughed at the guy who said I’d carry a pen and notebook. I just didn’t see the need for it.

Can you guess what I use the most nowadays? That’s right, my notebook and pen!

Research, to-do lists, price lists, reminders, you name it, it goes in the book. It’s gotten to the point that it freaks me out if I forget my notebook and pen on my desk when I go out.

12. Relying only on Battery-Operated Items

If you’re of the prepping mindset, then you probably have backup plans for all your backup plans – this includes what to do if you don’t have electricity.

Sure, battery-operated tools are great and can be very helpful and yes, rechargeable batteries are a thing.

Here’s the thing though, what if you need to recharge your batteries and you don’t have electricity to do it?

Yeah, that’s kind of a problem, isn’t it? Try to cut down your reliance on battery-operated tools. If you can, maybe try switching to solar-powered tools/appliances.

13. Not Having Basic First-Aid Supplies

Not carrying a first-aid kit is a mistake that I’m definitely guilty of making.

It may seem silly, but if you’re in need of medical aid and you’re all by your lonesome then that first-aid kit is going to be very useful. It doesn’t have to be something fancy but having basic tools can be very helpful.

If you don’t carry a first-aid kit, you may want to consider changing that and adding one to your setup.

14, Not Knowing Your Laws

Not knowing your state/country’s laws regarding knives, firearms, and self-defense can be a huge problem.

The reason being that you may end up carrying a knife that you shouldn’t or claiming self-defense in an instance that doesn’t meet the self-defense claim requirements.

Ignorance is not a good excuse and it’s not going to go over well with the legal system if you try and say you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do something.

Unfortunately, the laws are oftentimes very vaguely worded which can make things a tad complicated but if you’re not sure about your laws, talk to someone who does know them and can advise you.

Avoid these Mistakes at All Costs

These mistakes are common and can have serious repercussions even if they seem minor. Making mistakes is normal, we’re only human and even the best training can slip up occasionally.

With that said, it’s important to try and avoid making mistakes as best you can – especially when they’re easy to avoid in the first place.

With all that said, I hope you guys and gals enjoyed the article, and found it informative. As always, thanks very much for reading, it’s greatly appreciated. I’ll see you for the next one!

EDC mistakes Pinterest image

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