One of the synonyms for the term “tactical” is “prudent.” The reason is that, while most of us consider tactical equipment to be made exclusively for military or paramilitary operations, a tactical item can be anything you carry that is intended to prepare you for multiple worst case scenarios, and allows you to perform whatever duties come your way. When we look at tactical gear, we’re not just thinking about what’s going to be adroit at taking down the bad guys, but what is going to outfit the user with items that are prudent for dealing with disasters across the board.
The overlap between your ordinary everyday carry loadout and choosing to go in a tactical direction is dependent on how much you think about pure survival on a daily basis. You’re almost certainly going to need to make some adjustments for weight, as tactical gear is often intended for more serious situations than you’ll find at the average accounting firm. We suggest making the transition slowly, accumulating a piece at a time, like you would with a personal tool set. Simply pick from among these 20 tactical EDC essentials and begin your metamorphosis.
Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book
Kill List: You need to keep the ledger of those whose heads you turned into pink mist – or just jot down directions to the ballet recital – so do it in an all-weather, rain or shine notebook where the ink won’t run, just like the flag’s colors.
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools KEY-101
Surprise Inside: Not great for a stand-up fight, but perfect for getting down and dirty, this tiny little key knife is a durable accessory for either making small cuts, or when you’ve been otherwise disarmed. Tucked in a key body, it’s easy to overlook until it’s too late.
Condor Pocket Pouch
Pocket Procedure: Having good tactical EDC gear isn’t enough. It needs to be placed so you can find it. Using the Condor, you’ll be able to get your blades, documents, money, flashlight, and forged passports all in one compact container that can go in a pocket, a bag, a pack, or hung from a strap if you’re going for the Casual Tactical look.
Monkey Fist Paracord
Full Throttle: A 1-inch steel ball wrapped in double duty paracord, you can make the Monkey Fist into a tourniquet for saving lives, a handy hair tie for your man bun, or a slick way to put assailants in their concussed place. All up to you.
Gerber GDC Money Clip
Card Caddy: Able to hold 5 credit cards along with a bit of cash and a nasty, stabby little surprise, going anywhere without the GDC to guard your cash is like just handing it to the muggers.
Gone Wrenchin’: The Piranha is actually a couple of wrenches and a basic driver in a unique take on the card tool. The simple, solid construction keeps it from bending during tough operations and reduces moving parts for less to break when the fan’s covered in brown.
NukoTools Fatboy G10 NukoHead
One Punch KO: Using a ridged top that is practically serrated with large finger holes for hands of any size, the NukoHead is a seriously vicious knuckle duster that turns your first of fury into mauling mitts that opponents will not soon forget (nor heal from).
Trayvax Original Wallet
Cash On Hand: Believe it or not, this metal marvel is actually a military-grade wallet. Cold rolled steel and aircraft aluminum mix to hold all your money in the safest possible way. If there is a nuclear explosion, rest assured that while you are dead and dust, your Bean & I membership card will survive.
Tactica One Bottle Opener
Miller Time: You’re probably not going to need a lightweight, tactical bottle opener that can crack a cold one while you’re hiding from sweepers, but if you think you might, then you should get the best.
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
Is Mightier: Gerber really put on their game face with this pen. It’s equipped with a glass breaker on the end, a “Rite in the Rain” cartridge for use in extreme weather, plus a ballpoint that is good at going into jugulars or making grocery lists.
CRKT M16-14D Desert Big Dog
Sandbox Slayer: Not the prettiest hound in the pound, the Big Dog is a large folding knife, coming in at more than 9 inches. The combo blade, aluminum handle, and 420J2 liners are all intended to help it survive the weather, retain a strong edge, and be used for picking, prying, stabbing, and slicing as the situation demands.
Fenix LD22 Flashlight
Lean & Bright: You’ll want a tactical flashlight for your pocket, but you should also have a penlight, which is the role fulfilled by the LD22. Built to fit in a breast pocket, this only goes up to 215 lumens, but that’s more than enough for checking pupil dilation on a patient, or finding that grenade pin you just dropped. Comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Leatherman 831554 Rebar Multi-Tool
Working Warrior: Leatherman is beloved by laborers for their precise construction and easy use, which also makes them suited to a hard knock life setting snares around your bivouac. Shears, pliers, knives, and saws, all done in 420HC stainless steel with a black coating that won’t give you away.
Spyderco Dog Tag Folding Knife
Lancing Locket: Going with an ordinary neck knife is good for camping and regular activities, but if you want to add a tactical edge and a little concealment to your blade-on-a-chain, pick up this offering from SpyderCo, one of the most praiseworthy names in knives.
Foursevens Maelstrom Regen MMU-X3R
Holy Glow: Program it with 5 separate user profiles that give you whatever array of settings you need, or just blast it out with the 2000 lumen high mode. The Regen has a rechargeable battery that gets its juice via USB, which means no additional batteries to buy and a convenient way to get it back up and running with just a power cord.
Benchmade Contego Folding Knife
Flame Forged: Benchmade never skimps on their blades, and the Contego is proof of that. A hardness rating in the 62-64 HRC range thanks to the CPM-M4 steel, it weighs just 8.8 ounces and slips into a pocket as subtly as rain dropping off autumn leaves.
Triple Aught Design FAST Pack EDC
Expansion Pack: Webbed over like a fly in a spider’s skein with MOLLE straps, you can use this as a simple day pack for toting around your water bottle, or turn it into a multi-purpose arsenal ready to head into the brush for a quick chat with Charlie.
Garmin Tactix GPS Navigator
Finder, Keeper: You can go classical with your tactical EDC gear and use a map and a compass for finding your 20, but when you can get a GPS watch from the most impressive name in global positioning, you don’t turn it over for a magnetic stick. Non-reflective, mineral glass, pinpoint location tracking, and long battery life all plump the Tactix up to Christmas goose proportions.
Lum-Tec Combat B27 Military 24H
Killing Time: Beneath the sapphire crystal beats a heart of pure Swiss Ronda 515.24H movement that can go into the water and into the bush with equal ease. Simple to read, lacking in frills, and hard for lookouts to spot, this is your recon timepiece.
DoubleTap Defense Pocket Pistol
Last Line: Hopefully the DoubleTap will never become necessary, but if you need quality close-range defense, this aluminum or titanium (your choice) pistol is the Derringer of the modern combatant. Sized for the boot and designed never rust, the simple firing mechanism and build guarantee that you’ll get the shot.
HiConsumption is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more