If you use it daily, it better hold up. Even if you don’t, knowing that your equipment can stand up to those rigors is comforting, just in case things ever go south. In this tactical EDC guide, we’ll take a look at gear that’s ideal for people who work in the military, law enforcement, or as private contractors.
5.11 Apex Waterproof Boots
Anyone who works in the elements, whether it’s walking or marching, knows that good footgear is essential tactical EDC. Being comfortable and having your feet warm and dry are huge factors that determine whether you’re miserable or not. Good traction is a plus too, especially if you’re operating in the snow, mud or on slick pavement.
5.11 has been servicing folks who operate in all of those circumstances for quite a while. When you take a look at their new Apex Waterproof Boots, you can see they understand what’s needed to thrive in them. It’s an 8-inch boot of full-grain leather with either an easy-to-polish black finish, or a rough-out coyote suede finish. They have an eVent BBP membrane lining that keeps snow and water out, as well as bodily fluids. A very aggressive VIBRAM sole provides excellent traction and is re-soleable, something you don’t see on many boots. Another unique feature is a pocket at the top of the boot that allows you to clip on a knife or small light.
- Model: Apex Waterproof 8″ Boot
- Material: Full-grain leather upper
- Sole: VIBRAM Megagrip outsole
- Lining: eVent blood borne pathogen waterproof membrane lining
- Sizes: Men’s 7-14 in D and E widths
5.11 LV18 Backpack 29L
If you’re reading this column, chances are you’re something of a tactical EDC junkie and you probably leave the house prepared every day. Pockets only go so far, so having a good pack is almost a necessity for many of us. 5.11’s 29-liter LV18 pack is the perfect size for EDC use, giving you enough room to carry a 15-inch laptop in a padded pocket, plus other gear in pockets aplenty. It’s made of water-resistant 840D nylon and is available in black, Tarmac (which is kind of a grayish-sand color), and Night Watch blue, which is nice and discrete. The LV18 has a set of comfortable padded shoulder straps with a sternum strap, and a padded back panel.
The LV18 also has a front pocket lined with laser-cut MOLLE loops, and admin org and slip pockets for smaller gear. It sports a dedicated CCW pocket with a loop panel and webbing system for a pistol and spare mags. With the water bottle pockets, a flex cuff sleeve, and myriad other pockets and zippered pouches, you can carry anything you need from trauma kits, to lights, to tools, to food on the go. I like that the bag doesn’t scream tactical, especially in the Night Watch color, but it’s built sturdily enough that there’s no question this bag was designed for hard use.
- Lower webbing straps for extra cargo or attaching the LV6 Waist Pack 3L
- Side compressions straps and expandable water bottle pockets
- Front pocket with loop lined laser-cut MOLLE, admin org and slip pockets
- Ambidextrous side entry CCW compartment with loop panel, elastic bands and webbing system for holster and mags
- Main compartment with padded laptop sleeve and rear access
- Secondary compartment with two zippered pockets and a slip pocket
- Triglide for optional waist belt attachment
- Flex cuff channel on back panel
- Padded back panel and quick release shoulder straps with removable sternum strap
- Water-resistant 840D nylon
- Customizable with purpose-built pouches
- 5.11’s signature Centerline design
AR500 Militia Steel Helmet
When it comes to tactical EDC, one of the most important things you can have is armor to make sure you survive the fight, whether you’re in law enforcement, high risk security or a tactical medic. AR500 makes body armor that’s affordable and available to both professionals and civilians alike. Their new Militia Steel helmet is groundbreaking in a couple of ways, not the least of which is its extremely affordable price. At $249, it’s only a third of the price of the competitor’s aramid and polyethylene ballistic helmets and it doesn’t have a limited shelf life like those materials do.
Its 3-pound weight is comparable to other helmets and because it’s steel, rather than a layered material, it’s a thinner profile. It offers ACH Gen II ballistic-compliant protection to stop rounds up to/including the FN 5.7 Green & Blue tip cartridges. Traditional composite helmets offer less protection on the edges, where the steel Militia helmet provides the same coverage over the entire helmet. The steel design offers excellent blunt impact trauma resistance. The basic helmet is shipping now, it’s part of a modular system that lets users upgrade it later with a night vision goggle mount, side rails for lights, a rifle up-armor kit for even more ballistic protection, and a quick-adjust dial lock suspension system. If you’ve wanted to add head protection to your work or bug-out kit but it wasn’t in the budget before, AR500 just made it affordable.
- Protection Level: European VPAM-3 compliant/ACH Gen II ballistic compliant
- Excellent blunt force and impact performance
- Protection all the way to the rim
- Weight: 3.0 pounds
ASP Talon Infinity Baton
Having a non-lethal protection option is always a good idea and a baton is one of the simplest tactical EDC items you can have for that job. When it comes to collapsible batons, one name stands out from all the rest — ASP. They’ve been in the business for over 60 years and are carried by law enforcement, security and military personnel around the globe. Despite being a legacy player in the security field, they continue to innovate — including their batons.
They recently introduced their new Talon Infinity model series in three sizes, 40, 50, or 60cm extended, in either black chromed 4140 steel, electroless nickel plated steel, or Airweight 7075 T6 aluminum. A smaller Agent model will be available as well. The Talon Infinity models have two grip options, including foamed vinyl or ASP’s new Vector molded grip. They consist of a 3-part rod, like older ASP batons, but feature fewer moving parts and have an improved locking system. Material upgrades eliminate the need for lubrication and make them pretty much maintenance-free. The Infinity Batons come with ASP’s Infinity Warranty which covers “everything, any time, for any reason, forever.”
One of man’s oldest tools was the club, and we’re still using them well into the 21st century, so it’s only fitting that ASP makes a club as advanced as the times. Designed for law enforcement and security use, and for individuals in areas that permit civilian use, so check local laws before ordering.
- Fewer moving parts
- New locking system
- New engineering and material combinations
- 4140 Steel, Airweight, or electroless nickel material
- Foam or Vector Grip
- Pushbutton tailcap lock
- 3 standard sizes plus Agent concealable
- Unprecedented “Infinity Warranty”
Bawidamann Morale Patches
Let’s face it, most every piece of tactical EDC we see now has Velcro on it, so we may as well use it. It’s handy to drop a name tag on, but most of us end up slapping some sort of morale patch on, as well. It’s fun, and in a sea of black tactical bags and packs, it helps set yours apart from everyone else.
I’m partial to Andrew Bawidamann’s designs and have been using them for about a decade now. Andrew is an extremely talented artist out of Columbus, Ohio and he uses a pin-up style with modern and retro themes. He just released three new patches in conjunction with MILSPEC MONKEY — the WW2 Army Girl, the S.S. Naughty Girl and the Space Girl (just in time for the new Space Force!). The designs would be right at home on the nose of a bomber, but they’ll work great on your caps and gear bags, too. They are backed with hook Velcro and are made of a woven material to capture as much design detail as possible. About 3 by 3.75 inches.
MSRP: $7 each
Streamlight ProTac 90 Everyday Carry Tactical Flashlight
Streamlight’s latest tactical EDC light is reminiscent of the old OD Green military angle ahead flashlights, except this one is a much more compact size for everyday carry. And, it actually has a great light output, and won’t break the first time you drop it, unlike those old Army lights.
The ProTac 90 is under 4 inches in length and weighs less than 3 ounces, making it easy to have with you when you need it. It’s constructed of machined aircraft aluminum with a black anodized finish, and uses a shock-resistant C4 LED bulb. It has a multi-function, push-button tactical switch that allows one-handed operation of momentary, variable intensity or strobe mode. The programmable switch allows user selection of one of three different programs so you can customize it to your preferences.
It has an impressive 300 lumens output and runs for 1.75 hours on high, up to 14 on low. It can use a single AA lithium, a AA alkaline, or a CR123A lithium cell, so it’s easy to run with the batteries you have on hand. That’s a big plus to me, especially for a light you want to have in an emergency or bug-out situation. The 90° head and clip let you attach it to MOLLE gear or pack straps so that you can have hands-free use.
- High Lumens: 300
- Run Time on High: 1.75 hours
- Run Time on Low: 14.00 hours
- Beam Distance: 147 meters
- Max Candela: 5,400
- Battery Type: AA Lithium, AA Alkaline, or CR123A Lithium
- Length: 3.78 inches
- Weight: 2.80 ounces
- Colors: Black
Street Prices: ~$42.00
Spyderco by Vanquest Envoy-13 Messenger Bag
If backpacks aren’t your choice for EDC carry, Spyderco has you covered with their new Envoy-13 Messenger Bag made in conjunction with Vanquest. While it’s basic black, it doesn’t scream tactical with its gray accents and red Spyderco trim. The Envoy features a high-visibility padded main compartment for 13-inch-or-smaller laptops or tablets that you can access via a zipper, without having to open the main flap. The interior is loop-lined to accept dividers and other hook-and-loop accessories so you can custom configure it. The Envoy-13 is made from 1000-D and 500-D Cordura nylon and uses YKK zippers. It has an impressive array of 22 pockets and slots to keep your gear organized and easy to find, and two collapsible bottle holders that will take up to a 32 ounce Nalgene bottles. It even has a concealed carry compartment with instant access for your EDC pistol or revolver.
- Exterior Size: 11x 16 x 6 inches
- Main Compartment (Interior): 10 x 14 x 5.5 inches
- Weight: 2.65 pounds