Whether you’re a city dweller, commuter, or professional on the go, having the right items at your disposal can mean the difference between merely surviving or fully thriving in an urban environment. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the necessary considerations for a comprehensive urban everyday carry (EDC) gear kit.
First, we’ll look at the main considerations of day-to-day life in the city, followed by a list of the most important items. We’ll also explore legal considerations, tips for assembling the necessary tools, and the benefits of participating in the urban EDC community. If you weren’t sure where to begin, you’re in the right place because we’re about to lay it all out for you, plain and simple. Let’s dive in.
For an introduction to everyday carry, check out our Guide to EDC.
Considerations for Urban EDC
Life in a bustling urban area presents its own set of challenges. But knowing you have the necessary tools to handle various situations can increase your confidence and provide peace of mind. If you want to feel ready for anything in an urban setting, consider the following factors before assembling your own urban EDC.
- Personal needs: Think through your hobbies and daily leisure activities that might require specific items. For example, maybe you play a sport, attend a class, or regularly meet up with friends. Other examples of personal objects include gym attire, a water bottle, and walking shoes.
- Work and professional needs: First and foremost, protect your laptop or tablet with a padded sleeve or case for easy transport. You might also carry a small cardholder with your business cards for networking opportunities and professional encounters.
- Commuting and transportation: Consider what you might need to make your daily walk, drive, or ride on public transportation more comfortable. This could include a durable and comfortable bag, a transit card or ticket holder, earphones, and a book or e-reader.
- Power: You likely have devices that go with you everywhere, and you’ll need a way to keep them all charged. Consider a portable power bank, wireless charger, or extra-long charging cord.
- Personal security: Urban areas can have higher crime rates. As deterrents or ways of dealing with potential risks, your gear might include personal alarms, self-defense tools, or even discreet carry options. Additionally, it’s a good idea to always carry emergency contact information.
- Mobility and efficiency: For on-the-go city life, it’s necessary to have your essentials accessible and well-managed. Consider a high-quality backpack, bag, organizer, or other storage option. And whatever gear you plan to include in your urban EDC, look for options that are compact, lightweight, and portable.
Live in a rural area? Check out our Rural Everyday Carry Guide.
Essentials for Your Everyday City Life
Your core urban EDC should help you feel prepared for whatever might pop up over the course of a day in the city. Here are examples of items you can use to perform common tasks or address everyday challenges. But remember, you’ll also want to take into account your personal hobbies and regular day-to-day activities.
- Identification: Always carry a valid ID card or driver's license.
- Cash and cards: A reasonable amount of money and debit or credit cards are necessary for day-to-day transactions.
- Emergency contact information: Include a card with emergency contact numbers in case of unforeseen events.
- Key organizer: Consider a critical organizer that keeps your keys easily accessible.
- Self-defense tools: Depending on local laws and personal comfort, consider a compact pepper spray, personal alarm, or discreet self-defense tool.
- Flashlight: Navigate dimly lit areas or use it as a signaling device.
- Emergency whistle: Use this to alert others in an emergency.
- Smartphone: Keep your smartphone safe with a protective phone case so you always have communication, navigation, and other resources at your fingertips.
- Portable charger: Carry a compact or wireless charger to ensure your devices remain powered throughout the day.
- Bluetooth tracker: Attach this to valuable items, such as your keys or wallet, to help locate them if you misplace them.
- EDC pouch or organizer: This helps to keep your items easily accessible.
- Cable management: Keep your charging cables and earphones tangle-free.
- Multi-tool: A multi-tool with essential tools like pliers, knives, screwdrivers, and scissors can handle various tasks.
- Pocket knife: A small, folding pocket knife can be useful for cutting tasks and general utility.
- Pry bar or mini crowbar: This can assist in opening doors, crates, or boxes if needed.
- Map or city guide: Navigation is crucial in sprawling urban environments, especially if you find yourself in unfamiliar places.
- Compass: This can help with directional orientation, especially in areas where tall buildings may interfere with GPS signals.
- GPS watch or smartphone app: These options can also provide tracking and accurate navigation.
- Hand sanitizer: Maintain cleanliness on the go and avoid germs in public places.
- Travel-sized tissues: Keep a small pack for personal hygiene and unexpected situations.
- Miniature toiletries: Consider travel-sized toiletries, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and wet wipes for freshening up.
Notebooks and Pens
- Pocket-sized notebook: You never know when you’ll need to jot down important information, reminders, or ideas.
- Pen or pencil: Have a reliable writing instrument to accompany your notebook.
- Additional layer of clothing: Include a lightweight, packable jacket or sweater you can easily add or remove to adjust to temperature fluctuations.
- Rain gear: A compact, waterproof jacket or umbrella will keep you dry during sudden rain showers.
- Sun protection: Carry sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat or cap to protect yourself from the sun's rays.
When building an EDC kit that contains a weapon or an item that could be perceived as a weapon, it’s crucial to consider any legal aspects or relevant regulations, especially if you’re traveling between states. Familiarize yourself with the laws regarding the carrying of self-defense tools, such as pepper spray, knives, and firearms, and, if necessary, research the requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit. Lastly, identify locations where these items are restricted or prohibited (such as government buildings, airports, and schools). Adhering to local laws will ensure you avoid potential legal complications.
Tips for Building Your Kit
Determining your urban EDC can be an exciting and personalized process. Here are the steps we recommend for putting together a kit that’s tailored to your specific needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
- Assess your needs. Consider your typical activities and the challenges you face in your urban environment. Are you a student, a professional, or a frequent traveler? Assess the risks and challenges you may encounter. Consider crime rates, weather conditions, transportation issues, or natural disasters.
- Select essential items. Start with your core items, such as wallet essentials, personal security tools, mobile gadgets, organizers, compact tools, urban navigation aids, personal hygiene items, and notebooks with pens. Prioritize versatility, quality, and reliability when making your selections, but also consider comfort and portability.
- Customize your kit. While functionality is essential, aesthetics can also play a role in your urban EDC kit, so feel free to let your preferences and personal style guide your choices too.
- Organize everything. Use pouches, organizers, or compartments within your bag to keep your items well-organized and easily accessible. This will save you time and frustration when retrieving specific items.
- Evaluate and adjust. Periodically evaluate your urban EDC kit to ensure it’s still relevant to your needs. Replace items once they are near the end of their lifecycle, or make adjustments to accommodate any new challenges or changes in your routine.
- Continue learning. It can’t hurt to keep up with the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in urban EDC. Stay connected with online communities, blogs, and forums to learn from others and discover new gear that may enhance your kit.
Urban EDC Community and Resources
If you’re interested in improving your urban EDC or just want to meet others who share your interest in the lifestyle, consider getting involved in the urban EDC community. You’ll learn a lot from enthusiasts who are excited to share their EDC setups and discuss gear recommendations.
To connect with people online, visit the r/EDC or r/urbanEDC subreddits; forums like edcforums.com and bladeforums.com; websites such as carryology.com and everydaycarry.com; and relevant Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, and Twitter hashtags. There’s also a slew of blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts dedicated to all things urban EDC, and manufacturer websites can be good places to find updates on the latest product releases.
Offline, you can attend local EDC meetups or gatherings organized by urban EDC enthusiasts in your area. There might also be annual gear expos, conventions, or trade shows where you can enjoy feature demonstrations, workshops, and opportunities to try out new products. If you’re open to meeting new people and learning from others, you’ll soon be on the path to gaining knowledge and leveling up your urban preparedness.
We hope you’ve found this urban EDC gear guide useful as you begin curating your own kit. Now it’s time to assemble your chosen items and start exploring your urban environment with confidence. Embrace the everyday carry principles of preparedness, efficiency, and adaptability, and you’ll soon be making the most of every moment in the urban jungle.