Rural Everyday Carry (EDC) Gear Guide

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knife blade in tree

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a farmer, or simply live in a remote location, having the right gear can make all the difference in ensuring your safety, comfort, and ability to handle any situation that arises. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss all things related to a well-rounded rural everyday carry (EDC) setup.

First, we’ll explore key factors that make rural living uniquely challenging, followed by a list of the most essential items. We’ll also look at important legal considerations, tips for curating your ideal kit, and the rural EDC community resources available to you. We know compiling the right rural EDC gear can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help you every step of the way. Let’s get started.

Considerations for Rural EDC

Rural life comes with unique challenges and requirements — ones you’ll have to consider carefully when determining what to include in your EDC. Whether you’re farming, hiking, hunting, or working on your property, the following factors make a rural EDC very different from an urban EDC.

  • Limited access to services and resources: Grocery stores, medical facilities, repair services, and other essential services may be hard to come by. Your EDC gear should include items to help you sustain yourself for extended periods, such as first aid materials, food procurement supplies, and maintenance tools for basic repairs.
  • Weather and environmental conditions: Include appropriate clothing and gear for extreme weather conditions, such as waterproof jackets, insulated layers, and extra socks. Pack emergency shelter options like a tarp or compact tent, and consider including fire-starting tools to provide warmth and the ability to cook food.
  • Wildlife encounters and pest control: Consider including animal deterrents like noise-making devices, bear spray, or pepper spray for self-defense against aggressive animals. Include insect repellents or bug nets to protect yourself from mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests.
  • Emergency situations and extended isolation: It may take a long time for help to arrive in an emergency. Consider including long-lasting food supplies, communication devices with extended battery life, and medical equipment to address injuries or illnesses. Pack emergency signaling devices such as flares or signal mirrors to attract attention.
  • Energy needs for off-grid living: Consider including portable power banks, or solar or wireless chargers to keep your electronic devices charged during power outages. And don’t forget to pack extra batteries or alternative power sources for your communication devices and other essential equipment.

More of a city dweller? Check out our Urban Gear Guide for Everyday Carry.

Rural EDC Essentials

Rural living might require you to adapt to various situations with little to no help, so your gear should enable you to handle a wide range of tasks independently. Remember to always choose high-quality, durable gear and you won’t go wrong.

Cutting Tools

  • Fixed-blade knife: A sturdy field knife is versatile and can be used for various tasks, including cutting ropes, preparing food, and fundamental woodworking.
  • Folding knife: Look for a durable and well-built pocket knife with a locking mechanism for safety.

Outdoor Essentials

  • Water filtration system: Include a portable water filtration system to ensure a safe and reliable water source.
  • Fire starter kit: Fire is essential for warmth, cooking, and signaling for help. Include waterproof matches, a reliable lighter, or a fire starter rod.
  • Emergency shelter: Pack a lightweight emergency shelter, such as a tarp or a compact tent, to use if you find yourself stranded.
  • Paracord: Incredibly versatile, paracord can be used for setting up shelters, creating makeshift tools, or securing items.

Communication Devices

  • Mobile phone: Cellular reception might be spotty, but carrying a mobile phone is still a good idea. Store yours in a protective phone case to shield it from the elements.
  • Two-way radio: Communicate with others in your group or with emergency services if cell service is limited or nonexistent.
  • Signal whistle: Attract attention or alert others to your presence using a high-quality whistle that can be heard from a distance.

First Aid and Medical Supplies

  • Bandages and dressings: Include a variety of bandages, adhesive strips, and sterile dressings to handle cuts, scrapes, and more extensive wounds.
  • Antiseptic solution: Pack antiseptic or wipes to clean wounds and prevent infection.
  • Pain relievers: Include over-the-counter pain relievers to address minor aches and pains.
  • Medical equipment: Consider including tweezers, scissors, and a thermometer for medical assessments and minor procedures.

Food Procurement and Preparation Equipment

  • Fishing kit: Include essential fishing equipment, such as fishing lines, hooks, and lures to catch fish from nearby bodies of water.
  • Snare wire: If food sources are limited, snare wire can set traps for small game, providing a potential meal.
  • Compact cooking stove: Prepare meals without access to a traditional kitchen setup.

Repair and Maintenance Tools

  • Multi-tool: Look for a multi-tool that includes a knife blade, pliers, screwdrivers, and other valuable tools for repairs and maintenance.
  • Duct tape: Known for its versatility, duct tape can be used for quick fixes, patching, and securing items.
  • Zip ties: These can be used for securing, organizing, and temporarily fixing various items.

Lighting and Illumination Devices

  • Headlamp: A hands-free headlamp provides convenient illumination for tasks that require both hands, especially in areas with limited streetlights or electricity.
  • Flashlight: Pack a durable flashlight with a long battery life or one with recharging capabilities.

Navigation Tools and Maps

  • Compass: A compass is a reliable tool for determining direction and orienting yourself in unfamiliar areas.
  • Topographic maps: These maps provide detailed information about the terrain, including elevation, water sources, and landmarks.

Legal Considerations

There are legal aspects to consider when it comes to carrying certain items, and you want to ensure your rural EDC kit is compliant. For example, different jurisdictions have varying laws concerning the possession and carrying of weapons or other potentially restricted items. National parks, protected wilderness areas, or private properties may all have their own specific rules, and you’re responsible for being aware of and adhering to all of them.

You might also be required to inform local authorities if you’re carrying certain types of gear or equipment. If you’ll need a concealed carry permit, research the application process and any training or background check requirements in advance. Follow whatever notification protocols and transportation laws are in place, especially if you have items that could be mistaken for weapons, or if you will be crossing state or national borders by plane.

Tips for Building a Rural EDC Kit

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of curating your rural EDC, here are tips for building your kit, step by step.

  • Assess your needs. Consider factors such as climate, terrain, wildlife, and the availability of resources.
  • Research, research, research. Learn about different brands, models, and types of gear that align with your needs by reading reviews, watching videos, and consulting with experts or experienced individuals in the rural EDC community.
  • Prioritize essential items. Focus on things that address the most critical aspects of rural living, such as cutting tools, outdoor essentials, communication devices, first aid supplies, and food procurement tools.
  • Consider quality and durability. Look for reputable brands known for their craftsmanship and reliability. Investing in quality gear will ensure it lasts longer and performs well in challenging situations.
  • Test and familiarize yourself with your gear. Practice using your tools, setting up your shelter, and using your communication devices until you’re proficient with every item.
  • Regularly review and update your kit. Stay informed about advancements in gear technology, new products, and techniques that may enhance your preparedness as your needs and circumstances change. Consider seasonal adjustments, such as adding cold-weather gear or adjusting your food supplies for longer trips. 
  • Seek community and expert advice. Join forums, attend workshops or training events, and seek advice from experts in the field. This community support will provide valuable insights and help you refine your rural EDC kit.

Rural EDC Community and Resources

If you want to continue expanding your knowledge, try engaging with the rural EDC community, both online and offline, to learn from others' experiences. Joining online forums and social media communities dedicated to rural EDC can provide a wealth of information and connect you with individuals who can offer more advice and tips.

You can also meet like-minded individuals by attending local meetups, workshops, or training events. Look for ones organized by outdoor clubs, survival schools, or community organizations where experts in wilderness survival, farming, or self-defense can share their knowledge. Additionally, you might find books, blogs, and publications dedicated to rural EDC to be helpful. As long as you approach these resources with an open mind and actively participate in discussions, you’ll soon find a home within your new community.

We hope this rural EDC gear guide has provided valuable insights into building your personal kit. Your rural EDC kit is not just a collection of tools but a reflection of your mindset, so remember to always prioritize the responsible use of gear, adherence to local laws, and respect for the environment. Stay prepared, stay safe, and embrace the challenges and beauty of rural living with confidence.