15 critical EDC mistakes you should avoid

You never know what's around the corner, but you can be prepared. We highlight 15 mistakes to avoid when it comes to your EDC.

from Martin Gebhardt | Prepping | reading time 11 Min
Updated on 30 May 2023 9.481 views 100% found this guide helpful
15 critical EDC mistakes you should avoid

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Always carry your EDC tools with you and pay attention to their functionality and practical application.
  • Avoid standing out too much or placing too much value on the design of your tools.
  • Do not overload yourself with too many tools, and do not brag about your equipment.
  • Maintain your equipment and do not underestimate the importance of certain tools, including a first aid kit.
  • Do not rely too heavily on battery-powered equipment, and make sure you know the laws of your country regarding EDC tools.

EDC, also Everyday Carry, is characterized by its versatility. Objects that are suitable for daily use and as EDC tools are available in numerous colors and shapes.

The beauty of it is that everyone can choose for themselves which usage possibilities and accordingly objects they place greater value on.

Some prioritize their folding knife, which can cut all materials, from ropes to butter.

Others always carry their flashlight on them, to be able to illuminate even the darkest paths.

Still others don't leave the house without their "spork," which is the combination of a lighter and a spoon.

This great possibility of variation is on the one hand a great advantage of EDC, but on the other hand also the crux of the matter.

A large variation always means quite potent sources of error and pitfalls, which not infrequently primarily beginners fall into.

To prevent this from happening to you, I have created this guide for you.

In the following sections, you will be given 15 critical EDC mistakes that you should avoid.

Of course, valuable tips and tricks on how to do it better can also be found in the following lines.

So, have fun reading and thank you for your trust!

1. You don't always carry your EDC tools with you

When you hear the term EDC, which stands for Everyday Carry, what do you think of?

In the ideal case, you think of objects and tools that you carry with you every day, in every situation, always and everywhere. This is especially true when you are on the go. At home, you should at least keep them readily available at all times.

But what should not happen to you is to forget them (regularly).

messer in hosentasche

Sure, there are days and weeks when you're just not as focused as you should be. You leave something behind here, forget something there, and just don't make as much progress as you wish.

Of course, this can also apply to your EDC tools, which is absolutely understandable. It is still annoying at least, but in the worst case, it can be critical.

The whole point of EDC is to have useful and meaningful tools with you every day.

If that's not the case, you may not be able to do certain things you've planned for the day, and your daily planning will be thrown off course. In an SHTF scenario, it may even be dangerous.

Of course, it may happen that on some days you move through so-called weapons-free zones, where even carrying the smallest pocket knife can cause you problems. In this case, you'd better leave your knife at home or find alternative solutions.

Otherwise, always place your EDC tools where you can see them well and in a place that you can remember well. Ideally, you have to pass this place when leaving your apartment or house, and you won't overlook your tools anymore.

Read also

What is an EDC? What should be in an EDC kit? - EDC stands for Everyday Carry. An Everyday Carry describes a small collection of items that are carried to solve problems.

2. You don't value functionality and practical application

You probably know this moment, when you're renewing your EDC gear and notice the absolute top offer.

Maybe you just discovered the most stylish pocket knife at a bargain price, which catches your eye. However, you know that this piece is of inferior quality.

taschenmesser erneut benoetigt

So what do you do? Do you buy the knife for your EDC gear? Simply because it looks top-notch and is also cheap?

If so, then I have bad news for you ...

Sure, there's nothing wrong with treating yourself to such a piece, why not?

But the focus in EDC should definitely be on the functionality of the tools.

Beginners often make this mistake. Not surprising, as they are not yet familiar with the subject matter and are more easily influenced by sales slogans than someone with experience.

To avoid making this mistake, you should clearly prioritize and stick to your priorities.

So focus primarily on functionality. Choose factors that can prove that a tool is particularly practical and fulfills its purpose without major problems.

Ask yourself what the tool can do, not what it looks like at first glance. So approach your errands with care and nothing can go wrong.

3. You stand out too much

As already emphasized, EDC is about keeping practical tools constantly at hand to be prepared for possible eventualities.

It's not about attracting attention as quickly as possible.

You don't carry EDC tools with you to show off or highlight how prepared you are at every opportunity.

No one needs to know how many cool flashlights you own
No one needs to know how many cool flashlights you own

Exactly this behavior can do you more harm than good in retrospect.

Let me exaggerate for a moment: How do you think it looks when you walk down the street with the latest "military gear", including a visible folding knife, tactical flashlight, and other tools that the average person doesn't even know?

In the best case, people will think you're a weirdo, in the worst case, someone who has bad intentions.

You know how sensitive some citizens have become in today's world. So avoid standing out too much and keep a low profile when it comes to your EDC kit, if possible. Adjust the appearance of your tools to your overall appearance.

4. You place too much emphasis on design

The fact that this critical source of error is being mentioned right now is no coincidence. You have already learned that you should primarily focus on functionality and pay attention to not looking ridiculous.

This point starts exactly where the previous two sections ended.

Most people love remarkable, unusual design. What would you like?

Maybe the elegantly crafted pocket knife that looks more like a Victorian dagger in its splendor and is additionally decorated with bright red "camouflage" pattern? Or rather the military-style backpack adorned with numerous colorful patches?

Don't get me wrong, both items will certainly look great in your art collection, but as serious EDC items, they are probably less suitable.

drei edc messer

Remember that the beauty you prioritize will wear off over time, the more you use the tool. So if you only invest in style, you're wasting your money.

Also, consider in what situations you can use the tool. Remember what you know about prepping and SHTF situations: You don't necessarily want to be seen from a distance of 3 km, as that could be unfavorable for you.

Luxurious pocket knives and conspicuous containers are anything but useful.

If you want to read up on prepping or SHTF scenarios, I recommend these two articles on my blog:

5. You're Carrying Too Much Stuff

Now we come to a mistake that beginners in particular often make, as they cannot yet accurately assess their capacities and actual needs.

EDC, or Everyday Carry, means equipping yourself with items that you can carry with you every day. In plain language, this means: as much as necessary and as little as possible.

It doesn't help you if you have a tool for every possible situation, but the sum of your EDC tools is too heavy or cumbersome to transport or carry with you properly.

Ideally, all your tools can be stored in a small bag that you can easily carry on your person.

Of course, it is also possible to carry your EDC gear directly on your body. However, be aware of special protection and the possible increased risk of injury, depending on what items are involved. Simply compare this point to the Bug Out Bag, just broken down. Remember, as mentioned: as much as necessary and as little as possible.

If you want to learn more about what a Bug Out Bag is, just check out these two articles I've linked for you:

6. You're Carrying Too Much Stuff (2)

This source of error actually deserves a second mention, and for the following reason: not only will the weight become problematic later on, but also the number of items you carry with you.

The question is: do you use each of these items and can you even use them?

The more tools you carry with you, the greater the need to practice with these tools.

edc kit 2

Don't get me wrong, it certainly makes sense to master a variety of tools, but you should also think practically here.

Do you really need 17 tools for making fire if you live in a very dry area? Wouldn't you rather invest the time it would take you to learn and master these tools into one or two portable water filtration systems? This typical example from prepping can be extrapolated and applied to EDC.

You understand, I think, what I'm trying to say. Focus, learn, and master the basics. Then you can begin to develop further and learn new things that may belong in certain niches.

Don't overburden yourself, especially at the beginning.

7. You brag excessively

I already briefly mentioned this topic in a previous point and would like to delve into it again briefly.

Boasting and showing off the expensive, high-quality or stylish equipment you carry around with you will do you more harm than good in the event of an emergency.

Most people are not interested in what EDC tools you carry with you. It only counts when you actually achieve an effect with it (if required).

However, if you stroll around, brag about your equipment, or show it off everywhere, you will attract more envy than those who mean well with you.

The EDC scene doesn't need braggarts, show-offs, or machos
The EDC scene doesn't need braggarts, show-offs, or machos

As in prepping, it is better to only let those who are in your inner circle and have a certain understanding of the subject (or are just learning) know about it.

And even then, it's better to refrain from bragging and instead offer support through your experience and EDC tools if necessary.

8. You misuse your EDC tools

Yes, I know - I always demand creativity and resourcefulness and preach that these two virtues are almost essential for survivalists, EDC enthusiasts, preppers, and those who want to become one.

So, it surely belongs to occasionally being able to misuse this or that tool, right? After all, that works great with duct tape too.

What I mean is that you shouldn't use your Swiss Army Knife (Find my buying guide + list of the best Swiss pocket knives here) as a pickaxe to mine copper because you suddenly get the mining fever.

That may sound exaggerated, but you have no idea what variations of misuse I have observed, which often resulted in the destruction of expensive EDC tools.

Your tools should last as long as possible, right? So, please don't use them for activities that completely contradict their intended purpose and harm their durability in the long run. In the worst case, you'll need a new tool in no time, which is annoying.

You can find out how to appropriately misuse duct tape in this article: 13 ways how duct tape can help you in emergency situations.

9. You don't take care of your equipment

Certain equipment will certainly wear out over time and lose value, making it inevitable to get new ones.

However, this does not mean that you have to provoke it at all costs by not taking care of your tools. Especially after more challenging missions, it may be necessary to "maintain" your EDC tools.

So, always make sure that your knife, for example, is sharp enough to do its job. A dull knife will give you more problems at the end of the day than it can help you.

Read here how to sharpen your knife and what alternatives to a sharpening stone there are.

messer schaerfen verschiedene moeglichkeiten

The cleanliness of your equipment also plays a significant role, which is why you should clean your tools regularly.

If you move around in particularly dusty or sandy areas, the subsequent cleaning plays a big role. Even the smallest grains of sand can severely impair the function of your tools if you don't properly remove them.

So please do me a favor and make sure that your EDC tools are well-maintained and functional. Otherwise, you are taking unnecessary risks that can actually be quickly resolved.

10. You underestimate certain tools

Sure, the newest combat knife is surely the coolest tool in your collection that you are particularly proud of.

I certainly do not want to deny you that - quite the opposite. I am happy for you to add any good piece to your equipment. I just want to remind you that there are also very useful tools that you might not even notice at first glance.

The classic combination of pen and paper is such a case. Hardly anyone thinks of it, yet it proves to be extremely useful.

buch und stift aufzeichnungen faehrtenlesen

There will always be occasions where you may need to take notes or make a necessary sketch at that moment. If the battery of your smartphone is also empty, it can be difficult for you.

Pen and paper prove to be useful helpers, just like numerous other equipment items that are probably currently outside your field of vision. Look around a little and check what else you can use.

11. You neglect the factor of self-defense

I cannot blame you if, for reasons of self-defense, you carry pepper spray or other legal weapons as part of your EDC equipment.

On the contrary, it is even more necessary in today's times to be able to protect yourself adequately. The factor of self-defense should therefore be worth considering for you.

Consider which parts of your EDC equipment you can and should use for this purpose. Expand your repertoire accordingly.

Make sure to stay as legal as possible. You simply want to be able to defend yourself and not risk any trouble with the police or other authorities.

You can find all information about legal weapons in Germany in this guide.

12. You don't train with your equipment

Although this mistake is particularly fatal in terms of the factor of self-defense, it also applies to other areas.

It certainly doesn't help you if you have the most modern equipment but have no idea how to use it in any way. At best, you shorten the life cycle of your equipment and achieve no effect.

lagerfeuer entzuenden

At worst, this is particularly true when it comes to self-defense, you harm yourself or other innocent people who are not responsible for your self-inflicted incompetence.

Don't get me wrong, everyone starts as a beginner and that's absolutely fine. But that's exactly why you should always practice using your tools.

Here are some ideas for what you can practice:

Only if you do this, can you assume that you are able to use your EDC tool effectively and efficiently when the need arises.

13. You don't carry a first aid kit with you

I'm not talking about carrying a fully packed emergency kit with you. I just want to integrate the aspect of first aid into your EDC tools as much as possible.

erste hilfe set fuer die wildnis

Remember that EDC is all about equipping yourself for all eventualities that can occur on the go - and an injury can always happen to you.

If you at least carry the means of basic care with you, you are able to take care of yourself to some extent.

This can work wonders, especially if you are traveling alone and either have to wait for an ambulance or have to go to the hospital yourself.

So make sure you always carry a small first aid kit with you. Read my guide here to find out which essential items belong in a first aid kit.

14. You rely too much on battery-powered equipment

Especially when it comes to electronic gadgets, we rely far too much on electronics these days.

We believe that we will always be able to recharge the empty batteries of our electronic devices wherever and whenever we want.

powerbank laedt smartphone im wald auf

But don't forget that exceptional situations can also occur. Maybe you are moving around in the wilderness for a while, have no access to the power grid to charge your batteries, and even the last power bank (here are my recommendations) has finally given up the ghost.

What do you do then? It would be optimal if you had alternative charging options for your electronic devices, wouldn't it?

Some electronic devices, no matter how small, have additional solar panels or hand cranks to quickly recharge empty batteries without being connected to the power grid. Take a look around and see what you can use.

Of course, it is ideal if you are not dependent on electricity at all.

15. You don't know the laws of your country

As you have read, utensils such as knives and pepper spray were also mentioned in this article.

In order to be able to carry these as part of your EDC equipment, you should at least be familiar with or ideally fully aware of the applicable laws in your country.

You should know when and where you are allowed to be with which equipment and where not.

Does it really have to be the one-handed knife?
Does it really have to be the one-handed knife?

Believe me, if you walk the streets with a 20 cm long and sharp machete and want to tell the police that you need it to carve wooden sculptures, that could end badly for you.

You understand what I mean: Keep an eye on the laws of your country and check to what extent your EDC project can be reconciled with them. You want to be prepared for difficulties and challenges and not create new ones.

Take a look at my guide on knife law and find out if you are allowed to carry your knife.

Conclusion: Maintain discipline in your EDC project to avoid these critical mistakes

As you have seen, all of the critical mistakes listed here can be avoided through discipline in principle.

In all areas, whether it's prepping, EDC, or bushcrafting, you should always act responsibly and with discipline.

Go through your equipment items conscientiously and regularly check your inventory.

What do you need, what don't you need? Which items require more practice, which less? Do you follow the principle: as much as necessary and as little as possible?

EDC means constant questioning, even if you may not feel like it occasionally. But once you have disciplined and trained yourself, you will be rewarded with a lot of fun and functionality.

I hope you were able to take away some valuable lessons from my article. Perhaps you recognized one or the other mistake in yourself and now feel motivated enough to correct it.

In any case, I am happy if I could help you and thank you for your attention.

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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