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The Seven Core EDC Categories

Every Day Carry Essentials:

The Seven Core EDC Categories

What Are the Seven Core Categories of EDC?

When you are talking about the items that most of us carry everyday, then there are going to be a few that almost all of us have in common. I like to use the idea of gathering one hundred people and having everyone empty their pockets. You’ll find that 99% of people have some kind of wallet or way to carry currency, a set of keys most likely on a keychain and of course, some kind of cell phone. After that, you’ll find the next level of slightly more prepared individuals will have a few more items that set aside the EDC community types from the average person. Those items are more than likely a pocket knife, a watch and some kind of multi-tool. Once you’ve entered that territory of every day carry, it’s only a matter of time that you add the remainder of the core items, a flashlight and a pen. Only a small percentage of the original one hundred would have all of the core categories covered but, you can be sure that those elite EDC’ers will have those items with them every single day. The seven categories of everyday carry that I believe to be essential are;

Cell phones were removed from this list due to the fact that they are overly abundant, highly subjective to the nature of their use and with so many models and options, only user preference can dictate what phone to carry in which type of case and for what reasons. It is almost a given that the majority of people on modern western society have some kind of cell phone and that device may soon overtake the roll of a wallet, watch and more. For now, we are going to stick with the basics. I have also not included firearms or firearm related accessories because it is not a universally carried piece of EDC gear that everyone either has access to or has the ability to carry. Out of one hundred random people chosen off a busy city street, you might not even find one person carrying a firearm at all. That being said, let’s move on to the reason why these core categories are essential to everyday carry.

Why are the Core Categories of EDC Essential?

Now that we’ve identified the seven core categories of EDC, lets take a quick look at why they are essential and what makes them useful for everyday life. I can go into excruciating detail about each individual item related to these categories but that is for a different article.


I’ll start with the wallet as I find it to be a basic necessity of life. Obviously a wallet, card holder, money clip, clutch purse or whatever it is that you carry your cash, cards and possibly multi-tool (PocketMonkey anyone?) in, it’s most likely something you need with you every single day. Most of us have had something made of the basic materials like leather or nylon however, nowadays there are a multitude of options that are better for water resistance or RFID protection. Titanium, sail cloth and carbon fiber are all materials made for efficiency and durability.


Keychains are one of the most diverse and personal parts of any EDC routine and just as much as they are a personal choice, they are necessary. Whether you have keys for work, home or your vehicle, you need a way to carry them around all day long in an efficient manner without losing them. We’ve all lost our keys before and it’s never a good time. Luckily, with innovative new designs coming from the everyday carry market, more and more tools are available to keep on your keychain to easily carry all your essential gear all the time.

Pocket Knives:

The pocket knife is one of the all around best items you can have with you in almost any situation. From opening a box to defending yourself, it can get you out of a tough situation in a jiffy. I personally feel naked without a knife and have a hard time understanding how anyone walks out of their front door without a blade of some sort accessible to them.

Pocket Tools:

Pocket tools can sometimes take the place of a knife if you are either unable to carry your knife with you (work, school, airport) or can help  if you need a little bit more utility out of your EDC. Your traditional Leatherman style multi-tool is always useful but they have many more compact options now that are easier to carry and still have a lot of functionality. Some are keychain sized while others are card shaped and meant to travel in your wallet. They may not have all the gadgets a Leatherman or Swiss Army knife does but, they are still a step up from just a knife and usually include a bottle opener, pry bar, belt cutter, wrench or screwdriver and a whole lot more.


Watches are a universal everyday carry item that many people wear for style or fashion and others use as tools. With smart watches also available on the market there is an unlimited selection of watches with an unlimited potential for use and function. Watches are also a very personal choice and often carry some kind of sentimental value. EDC generally refers to watches in more of the utilitarian aspect than the fashion or style aesthetics. Pens are used everyday by all types of people almost everywhere you can think of.


Pens are also not the easiest to carry around all the time. That’s why there are new and exciting companies like Tec Accessories that are creating keychain sized pens that make having a writing instrument with you everywhere an easy task. Everyday carry also refers to tactical pens quite often in this category as they are multi-functional for a writing utensil and self defense weapon simultaneously. Although they are bigger, heavier and harder to carry, sometimes they are a great substitute when your usual self defense weapon may not be allowed or admitted in your travels.


Finally, flashlights are one of those items that once you add it to your EDC, you can never be without it again. The ability to light up a dark alley or even find that earring you dropped on the carpet makes life a little bit easier. And no, your cell phone flashlight has nothing on a high quality EDC flashlight. I even have a keychain sized Photon Micro-Light that weighs nothing and still beats the crap out of my phone’s flashlight.

Seven Core Categories of EDC Wrap Up

In closing, not everyone needs everything from all of the seven major categories of everyday carry that I have identified here in this article. Some people are completely fine with just a wallet and keychain. Others may only carry a watch, a knife and a money clip. Some of us are even ultra prepared maniacs that even carry a back up knife or back up flashlight.  No matter what your everyday carry set up looks like, you can assume that it includes most of the items listed here. If you are looking to expand your EDC and needed some ideas on what to look for, then hopefully you can use this piece to help guide you toward a more well rounded EDC routine. If you are one of the elites out there who has all of the seven core categories covered and then some, then power to you and don’t forget there is always room to upgrade! Check back for more articles explaining the categories listed above and going in to detail about different items and gear within those categories. If you want to use a method to build your own EDC Kit that covers all seven core categories, click here!