When Is Your EDC Too Much? 4 Must-Know EDC Guidelines

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By Bryan Lynch •  5 min read

If you are reading this then you are interested in being prepared for emergencies and you most likely have an EDC loadout. Some people are minimalist in what they carry while others are, well, fully stocked.

Long ago, back before I put labels on everything, my EDC was simple. It consisted of a pocketknife and that was it.

Over time more and more items found their way into my pockets and on my person. Flashlights, lighters, pocket knives, multitools, and on the list goes. Heck, at one point my pockets were so full that I am sure that a feather could not have been added.

However, at that time I do not think I considered my gear too much. Which poses the question, “When is your EDC too much?”

On the surface, this seems like a loaded question. EDC items are there to allow us to be prepared when we are away from our main gear. Having too much of this gear implies that a person is over-prepared which seems to go against the whole purpose.

For me, every day carry items fall under two categories. Items that I use often and items that I do not use often. For example, I use a pocketknife or multitool daily whereas I may not use my flashlight every single day, but I still carry it.

Someone out there is probably asking why I carry something that I may not use all that often. The answer is that I like to live by the old saying, “It is better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

4 Must-Know EDC Guidelines

As I mentioned above there have been times when the number of items on my person got a little out of hand. Below are some guidelines that I use to help keep my EDC in check.


Nobody wants to be uncomfortable carrying their gear. This is especially true of EDC items because they are carried every day. If you become physically weighed down by your supplies, it may be time to rethink your loadout.

Along with being comfortable, EDC items should not interfere with your daily activities. You should be able to move around freely without your gear hindering those movements.

For example, if a person is performing maintenance tasks that require them to frequently bend, squat, climb ladders, and crawl in confined spaces, an abundance of gear can be both uncomfortable and prohibit some of those movements.

Pocket Dump

Some people may not check their loadout all that often but continue to add items. I am extremely guilty of this during the winter when I wear a heavy coat with pockets. I sometimes forget what I have on me and will innocently add another item in a pocket.

The last time that I performed a pocket dump I found that I had ten butane lighters in my coat. Nine lighters are okay, but ten is just excessive. I am just kidding. Having a backup to a critical piece of gear is okay but a line must be drawn somewhere

To keep this problem in check I recommend conducting periodic pocket dumps. At the end of the day when you get home empty your pockets, purse, wallet, and take stock of what you have.

Start Fresh Everyday

Another method that has helped me to keep my EDC in check is similar to the pocket dump and that method is to start fresh every day. Just like we may set out our clothes for the next day, set out your EDC items for the following day on a table or dresser.

There are two main reasons that I like this approach. The first reason is that it allows me to see exactly what I have as I load it and it reinforces the memory of exactly where everything is.

The second reason is that it forces me to put eyes on those items every day and this acts as a visual inspection of that gear. Inspecting gear regularly is something that I think most people put on the back burner. Items that are carried every day should be inspected every day to ensure they work when you need them.  

The Item is Completely Out of Place

I once had a person ask me if they should carry an inflatable life vest as part of their EDC because they were not a confident swimmer nor did they like the water.

Okay, that makes sense, but the person rarely spent any time on or even near a water source. So, to carry such an item on your person all the time does not make sense.

I know that this example may seem a bit silly or extreme, but I have found myself carrying certain items that did not fit the environment or tasks I encountered on that day. If you find items in your EDC that are like the above example, I suggest moving them to a pack or car. This way if circumstances change you can add them back into your loadout.

Wrap Up

What we carry every day to be better prepared for situations is a highly personal choice and everyone carries items that are a little different from everyone else.

There is nothing wrong with having light or even moderately heavy EDC loadout as long as it helps you to accomplish what you need without being a burden. When your pockets start ripping at the seams or you begin being stabbed constantly by various gear in different pockets, then your EDC may be too much.

Thanks for reading and stay prepared

What are your thoughts on EDC items becoming too much? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.