Everyday Carry, or EDC, has never been more popular. And considering the current state of the union, having what you need—when you need it—has never been more important. Here are my first-line gear items that I never leave home without. ”First line” is any gear that touches your body—the clothes you wear and any items in your pockets, on your waistline, or around your neck. The idea is, if the world goes to shit right where you stand, right now, you’ll have what you need to survive. These items are worth carrying every single day—no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

1. Cash

Cash lets you make hasty purchases with zero tracking—which may be important when you’re on the run. Cash is also the universal language when stress is high and you need something right now. Not to mention, cash is great for bribery pretty much everywhere (except the United States).

2. Credit Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa credit card

Credit cards protect your purchases and prevent your bank account from being emptied, they work almost everywhere in the world—and they track everywhere you’ve been. Chase’s Freedom Unlimited Visa will get you 1.5% cash back—which you’ll want if you ever really need to disappear.

Apply for a Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa.

3. Pistol

Shadow Systems MR920 Handgun

What you can’t get with cash, you can with a handgun. Oh, and it could save your life! I currently use a Shadow Systems MR920—it comes completely tricked out and ready for conceal carry. There are always debates about the best carry position, so here’s my two cents: on your waistline. Not in a desk drawer, not in one of your car compartments, not in your messenger bag or purse. It’s too easy for it to get left behind or, worse, used by someone who is not you. Keep it on your body, concealed and ready to go.

Check out the Shadow Systems MR920.

4. Knife

AMTAC Northman Knife

A knife is a tool. It can open your latest Amazon delivery or cut a seatbelt to free an injured person. There are two types of knives, fixed blades and folders. There are great folders on the market, and they used to be my first choice, but when you really need a knife, the extra step of unfolding it can mean the difference between life and death. So I carry a fixed blade made by AMTAC Blades. It’s easily sheathed on your waistline or in a pocket, but wherever you carry it, treat it like your gun—concealed, accessible, and ready to go.

Buy an AMTAC Blade ($450 and up).

5. Tourniquet

Tourniquets have gone from last resort to first resort for stopping major bleeders. They are light, compact, and one of the most important EDC items. Whether it’s a gunshot wound, deep laceration, partial or complete amputation, a tourniquet can save your life. There are lots of inexpensive options, like North American Rescue’s $30 Combat Tourniquet—just make sure you learn how to use it properly.

Buy North American Rescue’s Combat Tourniquet.

Clint Emerson is a retired Navy SEAL, the best-selling author of "100 Deadly Skills," and the founder of Escape the Wolf, which focuses on crisis management for global companies.

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