EDC Tier 1 – Must Haves

EDC Tier 1 – Must Haves

If you’re like me, then each item in your EDC kit has a level of importance associated to it.

Some items you can survive without, but others are “must haves” that you will always have with you.

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In my last post, I talked about this overarching tier approach. Today I want to expand specifically on my Tier 1 items.

EDC Tier 1 – What It Means

Plain and simple, Tier 1 items are the core components I won’t leave the house without.  It doesn’t matter if I’m going on vacation a few states away with the entire family or down the street to pick up a gallon of milk.  These items are ALWAYS on my person.

The four items in this list provide the most basic of essentials to me: purchasing power, communication, navigation and safety/protection.

The list is short, but distinguished:


Being the technology-obsessed person I am, I never go anywhere without my cellphone.  I’m currently running an iPhone as you can see in the picture above. My cellphone provides me with many different assets including communication, navigation (compass, maps, etc) and information access via internet hookup. It also acts as a camera if a situation needs documentation and a flashlight in emergency situations.


Obviously, my keys provide me the ability to operate my vehicle. They also ensure that I can lock/unlock my house.

In addition to my keys, I also carry a ResQMe Car Escape device.  This item is crucial for any possible situation where you are trapped in your car.  It provides you with the ability to break glass and cut a car safety belt.

The final item on my keychain is a bottle opener (thanks to Jack at The Survival Podcast).  You always have to be prepared to open an adult beverage or two!

Also, remember that keys can be used as a defense item in a pinch.  Imagine getting punched by a guy with keys sticking out between his knuckles.  I doubt that would feel good.


The cash (you always carry cash, right?) and credit/debit cards I carry allow me to purchase items I may need (water, gas, food, medicine, etc).  I also have ID and a AAA card on me. You never know when you’re going to need any of that. No more needs to be said here.


This item is probably the most ‘aesthetic’ item out of the group, but it still serves multiple purposes. I’m obviously able to tell time with it.  By wearing a watch, I have a backup (redundancy is key) to the clock on my cellphone which has become my primary time keeper.

Also, this particular model watch has a tachymeter on it. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what a tachymeter is (you can read about it here) other than to say that it provides me with the ability to measure speed and/or distance.

Finally, a non-digital watch gives me the ability to find north via the location of the sun.


Overall, my Tier 1 EDC kit is pretty basic, but contains a handful of items I could not and would not leave the house without. Functioning, and getting home, without these items would be incredibly difficult.  The best part about this kit is that it can be worn on your body at all times no matter what kind of clothes you are wearing.

What are the items you can’t leave the house without? Let me know in the comments.

In case you’re interested, here’s where you can buy any of the items listed in this post:

Each item in your EDC kit has a level of importance associated to it. Some items you can survive without, but others are "must haves" that…

EDC Methodology

  1. EDC Methodology – It’s More Important Than What You Carry
  2. EDC Tier 1 – Must Haves
  3. EDC Tier 2 – Necessary Tools
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Founder/Owner at Suburban Steader
I am a middle-age guy with a wife, two young kids and a crazy dog. We live on Long Island, NY and had an interesting experience with Hurricane Sandy. That experience led me towards the self-sufficiency movement and eventually led to the founding of SuburbanSteader.com. I aim to provide suburbanites with the confidence and know-how to become more self-reliant by providing content on topics such as gardening, personal health, financial responsibility, cooking, self-preparedness and self-protection.
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