It amazes me how little emphasis many in the survival/prepping community place on every day carry gear. As an example, I found one reader post on SurvivalBlog that talked about EDC gear in the past YEAR, with four reader letters responding to it. Compare that to endless letters about bug out bags, what to do during a bug out, etc. I think there are more posts about bugging out with pets - honestly.

Really? Stop and think about it. Which is more likely to save your life? Your bug out bag and your TEOTWAWKI arsenal or your EDC gear?

It's often said that "a .22 in your pocket is better than a .45 ACP left in the safe" and this same philosophy applies to why your EDC gear is so important. It's fine to have a full-on bug out bag, the best knives money can buy and a battery of high-end firearms, but you're sure as hell not going to carry those with you every day. If there's an accident, an emergency or an inconvenience, your every day gear is what you'll have on hand.

What is this EDC gear? Well, it's the stuff in your pockets, but it's also you bag/backpack/briefcase that you carry with you every day, and also the vehicle kit in your daily driver. Three full levels of EDC gear. Your bag supports your on-person EDC and your vehicle kit supports your bag. This is the stuff that's with you 24/7, as you go about your day, drive to work, run errands and live your life.
The gear that you carry with you, every day, is far more likely to save your life or get you out of a jam than your SHTF gear. A medical emergency, middle-of-nowhere car breakdown or self defense situation are far more likely than an all-out TEOTWAWKI scenario. Heck, if you work or travel frequently, even if TSHTF, you're likely to be limited to just your EDC gear until you can make it back home.

If you're starting out in prepping or are helping someone close to you get started, the first thing that most say to do is put together a bug out bag. That was pretty much how I started; get the bug out bag set up, and there's lots to put into a good bug out bag. But really - how much do you ever use a bug out bag? How often does it get you out of a jam? What are the circumstances in which you'd use one?

Heck, some are saying that most people don't need a bug out bag. Personally, I'm in no way opposed to bug out bags. We have 'em, and I think they're an essential prep. But at the same time, I know that there's a fairly low chance that we'll ever need them.

So, if you're getting started or slowly acquiring preps as budgets allow, put together a decent EDC before you start worrying about a bug out bag, high-dollar battle rifles, bug out retreats, $400 wheat grinders and so on. If you've got solid stores of supplies at home but walk around with only your wallet, car keys, cell phone and flip flops, well repent and change your ways! If you're helping someone get started, encourage them to start carrying around some useful gear - a flashlight, pocket knife, multitool, or even a little keychain tool.
 To be honest, I'm still working on my EDC gear. I'm not 100% happy with any of my EDC levels. Limited prep funds (going back to school for a Master's) make it painfully slow going. This past week I added a small ferro rod to my keychain, adding firestarting capability to my on-person EDC. I'm trying to work out a way to carry my Glock 17 concealed and relatively comfortably. My first aid/medical supplies are limited to boo-boo treatment; I will eventually put together a more major trauma/gun shot wound type kit. My vehicle kits need to be fleshed out. There's lots and lots to be done, but I'm working on it, and I'll keep you guys up to date as work progresses.