When you’re spending about 30 bones on each piece of EDC gear, you might not have achieved high roller status yet, but the world is certainly opening up. The increase in options from spending under $20 or under $10 gives you loads more choices, but it also means that most of those choices are still going to be inferior. When you get to this level, a lot of companies try to make something prettier, not more functional. They put lipstick on pig products, then jack up the price. The result is a whole world of shoddy products tarted up to appear significantly more functional than they are.
To cut through the white noise and all the overpriced doppelgangers that give up the ghost after just a few months in your pocket, we found items that could take lots of abuse though not just being carried everyday, but from hard everyday use. We know that $30 for a wallet or a flashlight is still a pretty decent amount of money, and it shouldn’t cause buyer’s remorse, but rather make you feel like you received a bargain when you bought it. So that you never have a pretender in your pocket, we’ve got 15 EDC essentials under $30.
Fenix E12 CREE XP-E2 LED Flashlight
130 Lumens worth of power is all pressed down into a slim package only marginally larger than the AA battery that is uses for energy. The E12 offers a nice mixture of broad beam throw for illuminating a large area, as well as even lightning all around so if you need precise, up-close illumination, you won’t end up with lots of glare that washes out the item of your attention.
Kershaw 8700 Shuffle Knife
Coming in your choice of 8Cr13MoV or 3Cr13 steel with a glass-infused nylon handle decorated with the grippy K-texture that is unique to Kershaw yet extremely comfortable for repeated cutting even with oily or bloody fingers, the 8700 Shuffle cuts the price ceiling in half. Ergonomic contours cradle your fingers and guarantee to make this inexpensive blade love at first slice.
Best Wishes Key
Beautiful brass that sends a message, you can grind this so it fits something appropriate, like your ex’s apartment, or just use it as a decorative gift for that lovable curmudgeon in your life. Hardy and able to be used for years, there’s nothing that captures your feelings like a shiny, jagged middle finger.
Machine Era Co. Gunmetal Edition Wallet
Handmade and designed to reduce stress on your body by offering a slim fit made for your front pocket, this is the gorgeous excuse to get rid of that bulky leather contraption you’ve been sitting on. Using 6061 high-grade aluminum and then finished off with military-grade nickel plating, it’s sturdy and looks shockingly debonaire for a minimalist wallet. Holds two to six cards and cash with rubber band assist.
Timex Camper Watch
Big numbers, luminescent hands, a tough, acrylic crystal, and a resin case make the Camper a bombproof but understated accessory. Right down to the nylon strap, this is made for the great outdoors, but its matte blackness and small, 34mm face means it won’t embarrass if you pair it with your power suit.
Leatherman Squirt PS4
Leatherman’s tools aren’t just for those who work on the farm for a living, but anyone of any stripe. The Squirt PS4 bears both the rugged 420 HC blade and pliers you’d expect from the Leatherman name along with spring-loaded scissors, screwdrivers, and a nice file for work or just grooming.
Maxpedition Fatty Pocket Organizer
Get your EDC gear organized and under control with the Fatty. It’s got a place for everything, so whatever your everyday loadout is, this will help keep all your items where they belong and ultimately reduce digging through bulging pockets just to find your keys.
Madewell Front Door Key Fob
A keyring, a keychain, and an attachment clip for either hanging from your belt, pocket, bag, or expanding it even further, the Fob is as classic as you get when it comes to toting your keys around. Made with fine black or brown leather, it sits at the crossroads of syle and organization.
Work Hard Anywhere Notebooks
Made with 100% recycled paper and offering 32 pages worth of dot grid notes, all bound up with matte black stapling, these are heavy-duty enough for serious drafting or doodling, yet small enough that they won’t crowd your pockets. Also made right in the USA.
When the USB standardized the way we plugged thing into a computer, it was a renaissance. Sadly, now there’s loads of USB sizes, not to mention whatever voodoo Apple’s doing with their connectors, which is why having a simple interface that goes from normal USB to micro is like connective manna from heaven.
NukoTools FatBoy G10 Punchring
The world gets more dangerous everyday, which is why your EDC kit needs to have as many ways to protect yourself as you can pack. In this case, turning your simple ring into a powerful self-defense weapon for striking down attackers while simultaneously carrying your keys.
Kappa Quick Release
Using a Prometheus’ custom manufactured canted coil spring- this is hands down the best detachable keyring we’ve ever seen. Requiring ten pounds of pressure to pull apart, they’ll stay together during regular activity, and come clear in a hot second.
Ontario RAT Knife
A true workhorse, there’s no flash to be found on this blade. Instead, you get a big knife that measures 8.5 inches from point to pommel and is made from AUS-8 steel, yet weighs just 5 ounces. Easy to clean and lots of jimping for accurate control, once you try the RAT it will surely find a place in your rotation.
With a design that flips keys out quickly, but also gives them a sturdy home, this prevents jangling and poking keys from going rogue while also keeping your rig well organized for blind key deployment. With sizes that range from 3 to 9 keys, there’s sure to be one that suits you.
Boker Plus Tactical Pen
Capable of being used as a kubotan or breaking glass, the anodized aluminum body makes the Boker Plus sturdy while the checkered exterior means you’ll always have a good grip, even when writing in the rain. Oh, and it’s a pretty good writing implement too with replaceable ink cartridges that hardly ever dry out.