Most of you are familiar with the term “everyday carry.” If you were to look it up on Wikipedia, you’ll get something like “a small collection of items that are carried on a consistent basis to assist in dealing with normal everyday needs, to emergency situations.” Everyday carry kits vary widely, from disaster readiness to those few items you just can’t leave at home. There’s even a website dedicated to it, called Everyday Carry.
Most of these carry set-ups don’t deal with 1st line, 2nd line and 3rd line systems, so for the sake of time and space we’ll focus on the 1st line of EDC for now. (First Line refers to items that you carry on your person — or in your pants for this article). If you want more details on the Line system associated with everyday carry, check out the synopsis of the article from the latest issue of Recoil with our LoadOut insert. In this article, 5.11 Ambassador Gator covers the whole Line system through the experience and expertise of a military contractor.
Individual kits differ based on preference, job and skill level but there are a few staples, or at least categories, that stay constant. These categories include; personal safety, first aid, communication, illumination (fancy word for light) and tools. The selection should be based on a “what-if scenario” if you had to run and ditch everything at a moment’s notice.
Before we jump into this category you should have an understanding of what the laws are in your state or country. These items would be used in a defensive manner, and the more uses for an item the better (i.e., a knife with a glass breaker tip). Items can include CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) pistols with spare ammo, folding knives and defense sprays. Of course, before adding an item in this category to your carry strategy, proper training is key. And regardless of what you’re carrying, avoiding a confrontation is usually ideal. It’s also worth your time to take a self defense course and get an understanding of the skills needed if you can’t avoid the fight.
If carrying a gun is part of your everyday carry, then you will need a small first aid kit to deal with gun shot wounds. This could include a certified tourniquet and some sort of agent/bandage to stop bleeding. The thing to remember is the tourniquet is useless if you don’t have proper training on how to apply it. If you carry a gun every day, make it a priority to learn first aid from a certified instructor on how to deal with gunshot wounds. When carrying a gun is not part of your daily routine a simple personal first aid kit will suffice. Think pocket-sized boo-boo kit.
This one is simple: a phone. Today’s phones do so much more than place calls. For example, you can download apps like the Army’s survival manual (FM 21-76) or the Air Forces survival manual (AFM 64-4) or even download police scanner apps. Beside being a device to hold cute pictures of pets, you can turn it into a great resource for information.
A good light is priceless. Not only can it help you see in the dark it can be a valuable self defense weapon. Lights with 200 lumens or more can temporarily blind some one giving you enough time to run away or distract them enough to allow you to deliver the first strike.
This doesn’t have to be fancy and can be what ever your needs may require. It’s good to have tools with a flat and phillips head for common screws, small pliers with multiple functions and tweezers. There are so many different pocket tools out there, so pick one that makes the most sense for your environment.
The most important item
The most important item in your strategy for 1st Line everyday carry should be your mindset and knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest and greatest gadget if you don’t have the skill set to back that up. Take the time to learn skills that include first aid and self defense. Whether you are headed into the woods on a long day hike in the middle of no where or out-and-about in a new city exploring the streets, your skill set is the most important item that you will ever carry.
Your pocket strategy
Choosing the right items for your day or your “what-if” scenario is important. Equally important is how to carry them. 5.11 pants are designed with pockets that are purpose-built to serve the harshest use, and they work really well for everyday First Line items. Nylon reinforced pockets on our Ridgeline pant are ready for daily use of a pocket knife, tool or pen with a clip. Of the 12 pockets on our Stryke pant, two are double-deep, reinforced cargo pockets. Our Cirrus pant offers extra pockets on the front and back sized to fit a magazine or a cell phone. Our range of pants have from six to sixteen pockets in a wide variety of fit, color and function to suit any of your pocket strategies from mission-ready to casual everyday use.
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