Everyday Carry – The Basics

They both had that slight look of worry on their face. It was as if they had just lost something valuable, but they were not yet sure it was gone.

Just finishing my run I was sweaty and shirtless, but I walked up to the ladies anyways.

“Is everything okay?”

“No! I just locked my keys in my car and I’m going to be late for a meeting.”

The woman with the blonde hair replied in a bit of Like you could do anything about it tone as she glanced at her friend.

I asked, “Would you like me to open your car for you?”

“Umm… can you do that?”

“Sure – I’ll be right back.”

I went to my truck, threw my shirt on so I didn’t freak them out anymore than they already were, grabbed my entry tools and went to work.

Maybe about five minutes later (I’m getting rusty) their car was open. By this point the mood had significantly changed from mild irritation and suspicion to gratitude and amazement.

“What? I mean… How did you do that? Who are you?”

My hair was a bit on the long side and I had a full beard so I probably looked a bit suspect to them. But, I think because of how organized my tools were in their little black bag, and the speed at which I worked, they must have assumed something more interesting than a common criminal.

“Oh. I used to work for the Government.”

Their jaws dropped a bit and they just kind of stared as I got into my truck and drove away.

As I passed the blonde driver shouted, “Are you married?”

I don’t wear a wedding ring so I just stuck my hand out the window and gave them an ambiguous thumbs up and kept driving.

“Always be prepared” I thought to myself as I cracked a smile and headed home to tell my wife what had happened.

You Are What You’re Ready For

They say that luck favors the prepared. I say, you are what you’re ready for.

Either way there is no greater indicator of preparedness than what goes into someone’s personal “Everyday Carry”.

The story I shared is a little more on the lighter side of readiness, but the topic itself is much more serious and can get incredibly deep. For these reasons, there are many professionals who consider their everyday carry a matter of life or death. That’s because it is.


I recognized that we have many seasoned operators here in the Loadout Room. When I sent out “Every day carry – RFI” I received tons of valuable, and extremely seasoned, inputs. My thought here is to begin this series with the basics. Something you could send to a friend or family member. So for you salty bastards out there please send in the comments, but send them in with a spirit of teaching those who may be new to this kind of thinking.

1st Line – 2nd Line – 3rd Line

The “Line” system for gear distribution layers your capabilities in order of priority and, as in all special operations principles, applies to every situation in life.

The line system is broken down into three distinct categories.

First line is carried on your person and includes items that you would never be without. This line is meant to help you survive. It’s your last line of defense.

Second line is carried close to your body and would include things such as load bearing equipment (combat belts), fanny packs, etc. This line is meant to support your primary mission and aid in sustainment and survival.

Third line would be carried on your body, like a backpack, or carried on a vehicle. This line is meant to increase your capabilities as well as sustain you for long periods of time.

All lines are considered portable. The “First Line” is commonly referred to as “Everyday Carry” meaning it is what one would have on them on or off duty. I follow an “Everyday Carry” philosophy for all lines which means there are things I keep on my person, in my bag and in my car everyday.

Today we’re going to cover your “First Line”.

First Line: “Everyday Carry”

sunglasses gatorz lifeproof iphone flashlight gun weapon everyday carry copy

This is what you carry on your person and would never remove. For me this means my clothes and pockets.

Your First Line will modify depending on the situation.

If you’re in a combative tactical situation, this could include a knife, personal weapon, a “Blow out kit” (first aid), survival kit, money, blood chit, etc.

If you’re in a non-combative tactical situation, say a trip to Disneyland, this would – at a minimal – include your car key, money, credit card, I.D. and cell phone.

** Pay attention to this part **

When you go anywhere you should always ask yourself this question: “If I had to drop everything and run away, what would I need with me?”

So if you were at Disneyland and you had to run out of there what would be the one thing you would want to make sure you had? Could you imagine not being able to get into your car and drive away? That’s your “First Line” gear!
My Ideal First Line:

The Core:

every day carry 1st line DSC04654 copy A single car key without any type of remote, my I.D., money and a credit card. On a day-to-day basis I’ll carry these items in a normal fashion: i.e, key ring and wallet.

If I go anywhere atypical, I’ll take my car key off its ring, remove my money, I.D. and credit card from my wallet so that I could carry them in my bathing suit if I had to.

This way if I were to get robbed I could hand over my backpack, cash, camera whatever and still get my family out of there. Being stranded leaves you vulnerable and forces you to engage with unknowns. It ain’t happening on “Dad’s Watch”.


iphone lifeproof gear DSC04482 copy

I carry an iPhone inside of a Life Proof nüüd case. This allows me to grab pictures, navigate and communicate. Worst case, if I were to lose the phone I could still drive, buy or run my way out of there.


Shades: Gatorz sunglasses

iphone lifeproof gear gatorz sunglasses everyday carry DSC04476 DSC04474

Gatorz sunglasses are a “Team Guy” favorite and I love them. They’re made of aluminum so they can be formed to a perfect wrap on my pumpkin.

It’s important to protect your eyes from all elements so that they don’t fatigue.

I just ordered their new “Cerakote” coated glasses. It’s the same coating used on modern day weapons. Killer!

Knife: SOG Trident

Knife Sog every day trident board

I’ve used many different knives, but right now I’m loving on the SOG Trident. A great blade at a great price, it has a line cutter built into the handle which is perfect for cutting paracord, fishing line and sometimes can be useful on seatbelts in an emergency.

Gun: Glock 26

Glock weapons Gun copy
When I’m in a situation in which a gun is necessary I carry the Glock 26. Nothing fancy on it, I just added grip extenders and called it good.

I actually never used a holster until I came across Pit Bull Tactical’s Bloodline Holster. To keep things streamlined and tight I just stuffed the gun into my waistband. This holster actually had enough adjustment points allowing me to finally strike that delicate balance between concealment, comfort and quickness.

Watch: Nixon-The Unit

nixon watch 2013-10-11 11.38.49
I tend to obsess over watches. Right now I’m wearing the Nixon Unit watch. I love the higher functioning and higher priced watches with GPSs etc., but often I like to keep it simple. The Unit is easy to use and looks cool, so I’ve been rocking it for a while now.

Escape and Evasion:

every day carry escape survival DSC04656 copy
I don’t know of any place to buy this, but here’s what was given to me. The small plastic “dime bag” carries a teflon string for tying or cutting through things, a small ceramic blade to cut out of hand ties, a plastic handcuff key, and one other item that I can’t mention here.

So I know with a group like this there has to be many variations, thoughts, opinions and better ideas on what to carry. Everytime I write an article like this one I’ll receive comments that make for a better final product and that’s what I’m all about.

What do you carry and why?

Next up will be 2nd line carry. Hit me up with what you would put in a weapons belt or small backpack.



I'm with McPosterdoor about the kit-tease...LOL  But hey, I understand you can't give up all your secrets, because then, they wouldn't be secrets!  Thanks Eric.  Definitely good stuff, as always. 


All of that is very cool. Bottle of water is something I always try to have on me or nearby.

I probably should get a new phone cause my 3G isn't quick enough for emergency work.

Probably should get a new pistol too just because.

Gonna need a new watch too, maybe one with a compass\altimeter.

Even though I have great knives, I have always wanted a SOG knife.

New shades never hurt anyone.

Since I shopped at Target for Christmas I probably need new credit cards.

Somewhere I saw a self defense pen with a handcuff key.

I keep a small hiking fanny type pack or my sling pack with water, flint, granola bars, cheap tactical flashlight and monocular in plastic baggies in the car all the time,

Great articles. Keeps you constantly thinking.



ITS tactical carries the E&E gear you mentioned. They package in a nice little kit. I have no connection to them other than I like the site and some of the gear. Check it out at http://www.itstactical.com/


Dammit Eric, don't mention that there was a last item in your dime bag and not post it, no one like a kit-tease. Maybe a clue? Is it pictured (doesn't look like it unless its the metal strip)? Its obv, an exfil kit so what else is getting you out? You are killing me here.


i have the exact flashlight. Fenix LD 20. That would be my primary primary first line. That flashlight had defused countless situations for me and had made alot of things much easier for me, great flashlight.

The country im currently residing in will crucify you if you were found carrying a pocket knife, however, the criminals are not too law abiding(criminals weapon of choice here is a farmer's machete slipped between the pants and the outside thigh, covering the handle with a shirt for full concealment.) and the citizens are at a disadvantage, the only self defence tool that can be carried here are if your female, pepperspray, everything else is illegal. (the women keep their pepperstray deep inside their bag, which will be pointless to have as deployment of the spray is not possible, education on how violent crimes happen must be taught to these women.)

So tactics for avoidance and prevention is the only self defence tool available here. that flashlight stays with me no matter what. Plus it runs on AA batteries, which is very convenient.


Foot ware as part of an EDC is very important to me. I like having something waterproof and comfortable to run in. I went with some good Solomon trail shoes, served me great so far, other than paying out the ass for them. I drive 30 minutes to work, if shit ever found it's way south and I couldn't rely on motorized transportation I would be more than alright with the extra cost. Also they are great for an active lifestyle in general, if they get dirty then you just hit them with a blast from the hose. My two cents.  


I promise I'll try not to geek out. This comes from the perspective of a civilian average joe dad.

1st level is generally same basic stuff as you have, but add a small flashlight (which is the most used piece of gear I have),spare battery in an old Tylenol pill holder (amazing how many times that has come in handy), and 1 cotton made in the USA bandana/handkerchief. It comes in handy when your kids have a runny nose. It also is the last resort weapon when in places I cannot carry my pistol or knife. Toss keys in and whack away!

Backpack, depending on where we are going, is basic stuff. First aid kit, backup light, phone battery charger, snacks, spare cash, sharpie, 2 large cable ties, leatherman charge, chem lights, surgical masks for all family members (how many New Yorkers would have wanted those on 9/11?). I do have a spare magazine or speed loader depending on pistol, fixed blade knife (alright, I'm a knife nut and usually carry a Winkler belt knife. One of the coolest and most useful knives ever, even for us civilians). Other items come and go, but. The thing I have used the most besides a flashlight is the garbage bag I have in my pack. I have had at least 5 family trips saved by having something to put dirty clothes (car sick kids, muddy clothes, potty training during a trip, lunch on the go, and a rainy day in Yellowstone).

I have this all in a 511 covert backpack. It is tough doesn't make me look like a tactical poser or scream out I carry concealed, and can go through an airport if needed.


The only thing I would add for EDC is a high lumen small flashlight, multi-tool, and a Zippo lighter.