Every Day Carry for kids

My kids are all old enough to start carrying some things on their person on a regular basis.

I searched around for topics of “every day carry” (EDC) for kids. There’s not a lot out there. So time to brainstorm.

Updated: I’ve received a lot of traffic due to Unc posting this (thanx!). Due to the feedback received, I wanted to update this post from the feedback. Updates will be marked accordingly.

Some criteria.

It can’t be much. Kids forget things. Kids lose things. Plus, kids are small(er). Thus, they cannot haul around as much weight, nor do they have enough pocket real estate. It needs to fit into pockets, because the boys don’t like wearing belts and the girl’s fashion sense either leads to no belts or non-functional-but-decorative belts. Yes yes, change clothing to suit the lifestyle, but let’s first get them more into the lifestyle.

Small. Light. Essential. Quality stuff, but not too expensive to replace because again, kids will forget/lose things. We must accept they are working to build good habits, and in doing so will fail at times. I don’t want the failure to be too costly to recover from.

And note, this is purely stuff to carry on-person. If we started talking about backpacks (e.g. for school), you can start to carry a lot more such as a small first aid kit, a little food, a water purifier, maybe a space blanket. I’m not going there, tho perhaps Daughter could with her purse. Nor is this about full on “bug-out” types of gear. I’m trying to keep this limited to on-person carry: pockets, and perhaps belt. Every day stuff, every day needs. Focused scope.

So with that in mind, here’s what I can think of:

  • Keychain/ring.
    • I’d say to keep this simple, just a split-ring with keys on it. Less space wasted that way, especially if functional stuff gets hung off it. Of course, things like the housekey go on it.
  • Small flashlight.
  • Small knife or multitool.
    • I’d say a multitool, Leatherman. Micra as a baseline. But I’d entertain a Squirt PS4 or one of the Style (Style, Style CS, Style PS) models if that better suited a particular child.
      • Updated: I settled on the Micra. After reviewing all styles with the Kiddos, we all agreed that the Micra would fit their “every day” needs best. YMMV.
    • I don’t really want a pure knife, because it’s not as versatile as having a multitool. And while some of the kiddos have traditional swiss-army-style pocket knives, I don’t like those since the blades typically don’t lock.
    • Note: my kids are homeschooled and so the (home)school policy is you will be proficient with tools, including knives, and yes the School Board and Principal expect you to have on on your person at all times. :-) If your child attends school where knives aren’t permitted, well… I found this thing, the “Quirky Switch” that allows you to make a “custom multitool”, however, reviews aren’t that great (no personal experience). I see Leatherman made a “no knife” Fuse (made. Retired on their website, but apparently you can buy it online tho I reckon on a dwindling basis). But I bet no matter what, “zero tolerance” policies will probably get any sort of useful tool taken away by school admins. YMMV.
  • Little bit of cash, like a $20.
    • This is not money to spend, it’s money in case of emergency.
  • Cloth handkerchief.
    • Youngest is prone to nosebleeds during the dry winter, so this grew out of a need for him to have a means to contend with it. But I could see all manner of usefulness for all the children to carry one.
  • Mobile phone.
    • My kids don’t have mobile phones because of lack of need. But certainly this is a useful tool to have. I could consider getting them something like a small GoPhone or other pre-paid phone to get them used to carrying a phone AND to self-impose a limit on what they can do with it. Emergencies-only.
    • Updated: There’s always the argument to have an old, unused, no-plan, but charged phone, since 911 is required to work from any mobile phone. There’s truth in that and it’s better than nothing (tho many old phones are kinda bulky). But consider that all calls a child may need to make may not be to solely 911.
  • Updated: lighter or other fire starter.
    • This was suggested by numerous people, and of course, the ability to carry a fire-starter varies from person to person. If your kids go to public schools, I’m sure there will be zero tolerance for such items. If my kids do this, I’m not sure what would be best tho: lighter, matches, magnesium fire starter? Have to think about this one in terms of what’s right for OUR needs.
  • Updated: timepiece.
    • Wrist watch. Keychain watch/clock. It could even be the mobile phone. Whatever works for you, but some way to tell time.
  • Updated: Paracord bracelet.
    • And knowledge of knots and lashings.
    • This is certainly a useful idea. The difficulty may be in getting the kids to wear it. Either boys may not want a bracelet, or the girl will want something more fashionable. :-)
  • Updated: compass
    • Knowledge of how you find your way, if you get lost, is certainly useful. Use a compass. Read a map.
    • A counter to this may be modern smartphones, with their GPS functionality.
  • Updated identification
    • Some means for the child to identify themselves and things about themselves, such as perhaps medical conditions.
    • Could also be a means for someone to contact YOU about the child. When my kids were younger, we’d go to SeaWorld and I’d slip my business card into their sock/shoe so if we did get separated they would know to give that card to an adult so I could be contacted.
  • Updated: a weapon?
    • Stun gun? Pepper Spray? Other things? This is an area I’m not going to touch, not in this context. There are too many legal issues, public school issues, and kid-specific issues here that I’m just not going to go there. I’m not saying kids should be defenseless and at the mercy of criminals and predators, but this is one area you’ll have to investigate on your own.

That’s what I came up with.

Of course I know, this is gear discussion. They need to know how to use the gear. How to handle emergency situations. All those good things. Fret not, that’s all here. I am purely interested right now in a “gear for kids” discussion.

What would you add? Remove? Change?

Updated: As you can see, a lot of useful stuff was added.

Realize, this is not a definitive list nor Bible on what to do. You have to do what is right for you and your situation. As well, all of these things? That’s a lot. Can your 8 year old really haul around all those things? Can they remember them all? Not lose them all? Maybe, maybe not; every child is different. You have to pick and choose what’s right for YOU and YOUR child and YOUR situation. This list is mainly here to have some information and discussion on the matter.

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29 thoughts on “Every Day Carry for kids”

  1. Some ideas to spark -

    I read a book one time, the kid in the story had a watch from his awesome spy uncle. The watch could do anything, if you pressed a button a sharp diamond would come out and you could cut stuff. I still want a watch like that.

    One time I got off a train – i had no idea which way was which. I had a compass on my watch. I didn’t point north, but tended not to point south. Good enough. I made it to a hotel.

    Go creepy on them, give them “Little Buddy Child Tracker” and then let them run free. Or a PLB (personal location beacon). Let them run around anywhere they want to go, just track the heck out of them.

    anything with hidden compartments, for sneaking food, money, knives, or anything cool in it.

    water in bottles.

  2. Don’t forget a mil-spec dogtag (available from mydogtag.com) which is a great way to add a bit of text or identification to an expensive EDC keychain in case it gets lost. Its also a great way for kids to have important ICE (in case of emergency) contact information handy.

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