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.

31 thoughts on “Every Day Carry for kids

  1. $20 is a “little” bit of cash? That’s going to get pricey replacing it when it gets *lost*.

    As far as utility tools go, remember that lots of places kids go now are “weapon free” zones with zero policy.

    And remember that they’ll probably loose things a lot until the hit about…ohhh- say thirty.

    • $20 is a lot, but I’m trying to think “why would they need cash?” If say a cab ride, $5 isn’t going to get them far. Buying a little food and drink? $20 will last longer. Who knows.

      I touched on the “weapon free zones” issue, and that’s something that’s going to vary from kid to kid. I’m fortunate to homeschool and thus a lot of our daily lives never deal with “victim full zones”. YMMV.

      And yes, I expect they’ll lose things. I mean… I was given a Micra years ago by Wife. Once I got my Wave I retired the Micra. Gave the Micra to Daughter when she expressed interest in it… and it didn’t take long before it got lost. *sigh* So that’s why I want to get quality stuff, because cheap stuff doesn’t do you much good when you actually need it, but balance it against price. So that’s why I suggested Fenix instead of say SureFire or Streamlight.

  2. A couple years ago, Home Depot had (as part of their cheap stocking stuffer stuff) these little keychain multi tools for a couple $. The knives weren’t to hot, though I never tried sharpening them to see if they’d take it. After about a year of being battered around in my work bag the one fell apart, but the other two have held up. Besides the knife they have a little pair of pliers, and one flat blade and one philips screwdriver. They’ve come in handy.

    You can also find little LED lights designed to go on keychains, they”re usually a colored light rather than white, but thats ok. Or, instead of a watch I carry a timepeice thats designed to clip to a beltloop or backpack or the like, it also has a little red light on it thats come in handy a few times.

    • Hah, the little lights are even better than the last time I paid attention, something along these lines isn’t expensive to replace when it gets lost but isn’t to bulky on the keychain: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=keychain+light&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=mNz&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1473&bih=933&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=5196689981265848364&sa=X&ei=bbYIT9fTDOHV0QG6zLWbAg&ved=0CK8BEPMCMAI

      or my timepeice: https://dakota.webfeatsecurity.com/chosenwatch.aspx?ProdID=224

      sorry for the double post, I had to change to the computer to do the links.

      • That timepiece is a little expensive, but that’s a great style for the context.

        LED technology has come a long way. You can get little dinky keychain lights that blow away flashlights of yesteryear for little cost. Since writing this post, I’ve been looking at the Fenix lights and gee, the E01 for about $12 is an amazing little light. For just a few dollars more, there’s their E05 which just floors me with its capability. Small package, cheap price, HUGE performance. I’m afraid I’ve spoiled my kids on good flashlights so I have to get them at least one of these. 😉

        • It’s not cheap, but its held up to some serious abuse. I’ve even forgotten to take it off my beltloop and sent it through the wash at least a couple times. Still runs just fine (I had to replace the battery last year, the originial one last 3yrs).

    • Oo.. a timepiece. That’s a good idea. Not everyone likes to wear a watch, and if you don’t have a phone some way to tell time is good.

  3. Pingback: SayUncle » Every Day Carry For Kids

  4. For a flashlight, I picked up one of these at Lowe’s last month. It’s pretty bright, small enough to easily and comfortably fit in my pocket, very inexpensive, and easily replaceable.

    A cloth handkerchief is good to have, anyway. If nothing else it can double as a quick bandage until they can get to a first aid kit (sterility is secondary to stopping the bleeding).

    Perhaps a source of fire? It depends on their level of maturity, but if you can trust them with knives you can probably trust them with fire.

    • Source of fire is a good thought. I’d wonder… lighter/matches? Or something like one of those fire starters that you scrape with the knife blade and makes sparks. I guess it would depend on reason for the fire.

  5. My son is 7, he has an EDC, i started him when he was 5, it started with a wallet (business card carrier) it contained my business card, phone #’s for emergencies and a piece of paper he is to give to any officer or someone of authority if he ever gets separated from us. when he was 6 he got a pocket watch and mini flashlight, now that he is 7 he has a key-chain multitool and now that he has started wearing a belt he will be getting a bugger multitool with a belt case for his birthday. He has misplaced things several times but never lost them yet, i think next year he will get something along the lines of an Ipod touch, to simulate a phone for later.

      • Hey John! Enjoyed your website. I’m over the hill I guess or just another crazy baby boomer but can remember being a kid @ 5 to 11 and after washing my face and throwing on jeans and a T-shirt and my red keds (there were only two sneaker companies I believe, Keds and Converse in black only) and I was gone….. climbing trees, riding my bike all over town all day long with NO helmet feeling that wind in my hair spelled freedom for us. No seatbelts, kids rolled around everywhere in a car with no seat belts and somehow we survived. No cameras, nobody cared about a phone, we talked face to face and a phone was just an instrument of “what time will you be here” or “can you pick me up”?? That was it. I saw a little tiny girl on tv getting arrested cause her No Tolerance Policy teacher saw her wave a chicken nugget at her friend sitting at the next table. Little girl was dragged down to the principal’s office while the teacher accused her of making motions of waving a gun and she had better tell the principal what she did and everything will be fine. Confused she said she waved her nugget to her friend to say hi. Principal listens to teacher and calls the Police Department who races down to the school and handcuffs this tiny little girl with beaded braided hair in a sun dress that couldn’t weigh more than 40 lbs. soaking wet. Little girl is handcuffed to a chair she could hardly climb up on and sit down, must be special cuffs for 4 year olds. Next shot is her appearing in court before a real judge surrounded by criminals in their orange jumpsuits, and their attorneys, a packed courtroom, people running this way and that and there stood this tiny child. You could barely see the top of her head with her mom holding her hand. Does anyone think treating children like a vicious habitual criminal is flat out insane? Who is crazy here? And being videoed all day long with metal detectors, drug sniffing dogs, and cops in the hallway…..and we wonder why kids are depressed. I’m depressed just thinking about it. In our day, the police would take you home by your ear and embarrass the heck out of you to your parents. That is usually all it took. No mace, no pepper spray, no M-16 rifles, no tazers (sp?) They carried a flashlight and a stick on their hip. Guns optional. That was it. Cause they used common sense and their words. I want to know where and when we got so paranoid about every tiny detail in life? We had Vietnam and worried about if our brothers were coming home alive or not….that is something to worry about……having empathy for families and each other. Today, if 4 year old is shaking a chicken nugget at a friend..and ends up in court…..there is a huge problem that everyone younger than us baby boomers has fallen for. Is that the kind of world you want to live in, Big Brother on Steroids??? OK I’m ranting and we are told that today is a new day. The New World Order as George Bush so happily reported. No thanks, you can have your red bottom shoes, and filthy rap music and being forced to see somebody else’s dirty underwear cause the fashion is to wear your pants around your knees…..so if everyone dresses alike and rappers call what they do “a concert” with no music….. is laughable, yet they are millionaires…..are you kidding me???? Where is the band, the guitars, the drums the horns, the cool clothes and groovy beat….where are the singers with fabulous voices??? Sorry but yelling obscenities for half an hour does not qualify as a concert. Just sayin. Love your website. Don’t understand the garbage your generation puts up with. Guess every generation says that about the next but something has gone horribly wrong…confusion sets in and everyone thinks its normal. Today is not normal….concerts with no music pretty much sums it up. Our motto was Give Peace a Chance. Now its Do what We Say or We’ll Kill You. Lord Have Mercy. Janis

        • Oh I hear you, Janis. I do think there’s a lot wrong with how things are done today — your case of the little child is case in point, and then people keep wondering why we homeschool. Actually, fewer people wonder any more, because more people get it now… because they too are seeing more and more of what you’re saying.

          Yeah, in part it is just us getting old… not understanding the younger generation. But I do agree there’s a little something different here today. I think too much well-meaning stuff just got taken too far, like “zero tolerance” policies and treating every child like a precious snowflake. The War on Drugs doesn’t help either. Ah well… so many things. When we’re in the old folks home together, we can sit in our rocking chairs and reminisce. 🙂

    • it started with a wallet (business card carrier) it contained my business card, phone #’s for emergencies and a piece of paper he is to give to any officer or someone of authority if he ever gets separated from us

      Brilliant!

      As an EMS provider on a squad that does occasionally deal with missing children, or children under the care of someone who may not have all relevant information, I hereby nominate this for “Children’s EDC item of the year”, adding only that it should also include medical history (including the fact that there is NO medical history or allergies, if that is the case).

      • I used to do things like this with my kiddos under certain circumstances. For instance, we go to SeaWorld, chance of separation, so I’ll put one of my business cards with some additional writing on the back of the card, with the kid… typically in their sock/shoe to minimize chance of loss. I guess I didn’t consider it because the kids are all older now and have this stuff memorized. But of course, in an emergency situation, kid is out cold, memorization does no good.

        Good idea.

  6. Maybe a USB memory stick with ID info & medical history information just in case. You could also put in an encrypted file with “life reconstruction” disaster recovery information for the rest of the family.

    • Interesting idea. That’s something on the slate for the normal BOB stuff, to have all critical records, etc. stored for easy retrieval and minimum space taken up. But for EDC? Hadn’t considered it. I’ll ponder it.

  7. I give the Micra to all my extended family members. I get them cheap used on Ebay ($5-$8). Beauty of the Micra is that you can use the scissors in delicate society, the knife blade for a little more difficult cutting or your dedicated EDC knife for impolite society. People sometimes freak out if I whip out my 4 inch tanto blade to cut a lose thread when I’m in a store/restaurant. 🙂

    • A Micra was my first Leatherman. Why? When the kiddos were small, you’d go to a restaurant and the ratio of cup size vs. straw size was huge! I always wished for a way to cut the straws down. So Wife got me a Micra one year for Father’s Day. The scissors are awesome. 🙂

  8. Great exercise–and a longer term solution to what to put in those darn Christmas stockings. Kids used to play “Trip to Mars” (or whatever destination seemed compelling); you went around the circle, and each explained what he needed with him, and why. Years later I realized this was a sort of Kim’s Game. I haven’t heard of it in a full generation now.

    We had an inspired fifth-grade teacher a while back, who put on an Outdoors Day once a year to teach the most basic survival skills. My scoutmaster and I were invited to teach the little buggers to build a fire. I quickly found that (1)you are right to home-school; (2)the schools considered any source of ignition to be contraband; (3)almost half of the 10-year-olds had never been allowed to hold a match before. Some had never seen one!

    Tie triangle bandages and arm slings all day, you still can’t get Scouts to wear a neckerchief.

    • Yeah, Scouts isn’t the same today as it once was. *sigh*

      We are fortunte with homeschooling that we have more leeway in terms of what we and the kids can do. To me, the contrast vs. government schooling is stark and really shows how unprepared kids really end up being for the real world. But they sure know how to take a standardized test!

      Funny story on the matches. My kids have rarely used them too, mostly because we keep enough lighters around the house. This past Advent, couldn’t find a working lighter so we had to get old school and use matches. Showed them how to properly strike a match, and now they don’t want to use lighters any more. Much more fun to strike matches. 🙂 Of course, they know it’s not a toy, but somehow there’s some greater satisfaction in using matches than a lighter. Go figure. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Every Day Carry For Kids | GunCrunch

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