Minimalism, in regards to everyday carry, is kind of like an art form. One wants to get the most out of the gear they carry with them, while staying as unencumbered as possible. And, to be perfectly honest, that can be a very difficult endeavor to pursue – especially knowing how much cool and useful gear there is out there. Even if you are not a minimalist yourself, taking a look at what you carry and figuring out ways to make it better, sleeker, and more efficient is a worthwhile endeavor.
There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to minimalist everyday carry. One suggests that you should only carry the simplest and most basic necessities with you. The other, that finding the most streamlined gear with the widest range of functionality is best. Rather than taking a stand on either side of the fence – because we do sit squarely in the middle – we’ve decided to put together the following list with both schools of thought in mind. So, whether you want to go spartan with your gear or you’re just looking to trim the fat, this selection of gear – 20 minimalist EDC essentials – will get the job done.
Word Dot Grid Notebook
Free from the strictness and structure of lined paper, these dot grid notebooks feature a format that is much more creativity-friendly for everything from your doodles to in-depth schematics. But, like every Word pocket notebook, they still come in a 3-pack, feature 48 pages in each, and are made here in the USA.
Craighill Wilson Keyring
If all you need is a sturdy ring onto which to place your keys, then this one from Craighill is your best bet. Made from 1/8″ diameter solid brass, this USA-made accessory is free from everything extraneous – even a clasp – but it is still sturdy and capacious enough to carry dozens of keys and keychain accessories.
Fisher Space Pen Bullet
Not only does this classic everyday carry pen only take up 3.75″ of pocket real estate, but it is built and hand-tested in the USA, made from sturdy finished brass, and comes loaded with a Fisher pressurized PR4 black ink. For reference, that’s the same cartridge that can write upside down, underwater, and in outer space. The design of this pen is so respected, in fact, that it’s been on display at New York’s MoMA for years.
Keychain Duct Tape
Duct tape is one of the most comprehensively useful tools ever created by human hands. Period. And this 2.5″ keychain attachment allows you to carry it around with you anywhere you go. Made from either brass or stainless steel, this USA made accessory is tough enough to last through any adventure and, once you’re out of duct tape, you can just load it back up and head on back out again.
TEC Accessories Picopen
Whether you need to sign a check, jot down a number, or scrawl down a genius idea in the heat of the moment, an everyday carry pen is an indispensable tool. But normal-sized ones aren’t always the most convenient to carry around. Luckily, this one is only 3.25″ long, can attach to your keychain carabiner, has a reliable magnetic cap closure, and is built from sturdy stainless steel.
Keysmart Compact Key Holder
Not only are typical keyrings obnoxious with how much they let your keys jingle around – but, frankly, they offer very little in the way of organization. Save yourself the frustration and get one of these Keysmart compact key organizers instead. Not only will the aircraft-grade aluminum keep your pockets jingle-free – it’ll also keep all of its contents safe and organized. It even comes with a key fob loop, just in case your car key isn’t really a key at all.
Nomad Lightning Key
The longer you own a phone and the more you use it, the harder it is to keep the damn thing charged. Instead of lugging around a cumbersome and likely tangled cable, just attach this little high-tech device to your keyring and you’ll be able to charge your iPhone anywhere you can find a USB port. It’s contacts are scratch resistant and the body is made from a pliable rubber and polycarbonate so it can stand up to loads of punishment through normal use.
Handgrey Bauhaus Mo. 25 Bottle Opener
While there are plenty of everyday carry gear pieces some people can do without, the one we find ourselves using most often is our bottle opener. But if you’re limited on space or you just like to keep your keyring slim and trim, that’s fine – because this offering from Handgrey is made from incredibly sturdy titanium and measures up at only 1.35″ in length. Drink up.
Pixel Keychain Flashlight
If you’ve ever dropped anything under a dark desk, your car, or down the crack behind your bed, then you probably know the value of a good flashlight. You might not, however, want to use the extra room in your pockets to carry one around. And that’s fine, because you don’t have to if you pick up the Pixel keychain flashlight. At just 1.69″ in length and weighing only 0.45 ounces (without batteries), this water-resistant torch offers up 25 lumens from an LED with only a twist.
Brass Money Clip
Whether you’re going out for a nice dinner or you just don’t want to bog down your pants with a beefy bifold wallet, this all brass one piece money clip from Maxx & Unicorn is a superb alternative. It’s made in the USA, features a tumbled finish, is laser engraved, and will keep your cash and even a card or two secure and organized.
Grovemade Key Ring
Although its design appears incredibly simple, this superb offering from Grovemade actually offers a host of functionality that you might not be able to immediately discern. For starters, it makes grabbing your keys from your pocket all the more easy. But it can also hook on and off your belt loop, if you don’t want your keys crowding your pocket. Best of all, it also doubles as a bottle opener, so you can crack open a nice cold beer anytime you have your keys on you.
Handgrey Bauhaus K80 Carabiner
The Bauhaus design theory suggests that form and function are one and the same. And that’s what Handgrey has taken into consideration in the creation of their K80 keychain carabiner. Machined from a single piece of grade 5 titanium, this belt loop-friendly key holder is free from all extraneous pieces and/or springs, has a striking silhouette, and even doubles as a bottle opener.
Deejo Black 37G Granadilla
Devoid of all extraneous pieces – including most of what might be considered a normal handle – this skeletonized pocket knife is as sleek and handsome as it is functional and reliable. The blade is crafted from titanium-coated 420 stainless steel and folds down onto a stainless steel and granadilla wood handle. And, although it opens up to a total of 8 inches, this gentleman’s folder weighs just 1.31 ounces overall.
There are few, if any, single piece multitools that are as tough and capable as Cha-O-Ha’s EDC card. Built from military grade S35VN blade steel, this credit card-sized everyday carry tool boasts a whopping more than 30 functions, including a host of stepped hex wrenches, metric and imperial rulers, screwdrivers, and – of course – a trusty bottle opener. Best of all, it’s made here in the USA and is completely TSA compliant.
Bellroy 1 Card Phone Case
Smartphones are ubiquitous in our lives at this point. And so, it seems, are phone cases – since everyone wants to protect their expensive tech. Well, this premium leather offering from Bellroy isn’t just one of the most handsome options for keeping your iPhone safe – it’s also made to stash some emergency cash and has a single card pocket for your most frequently used credit card, ID, or otherwise. It even had a hideaway sim card slot, in case you need some discreet storage for a backup.
The Ridge Aluminum Wallet + Cash Strap
Despite its incredibly slim format, the Ridge wallet is still capacious enough to store up to 12 credit cards at a time without stretching out, has a cash strap for some walking-around money, and offers RFID protection for everything inside. Whether you just want to slim down your carry with a minimalist wallet or you need to elevate your gear with a bit more class, the Ridge wallet is definitely a superior option.
10-In-1 Titanium Pocket Tool
Although it weighs less than an ounce and measures up at just 3 inches in length, the Big Idea Design Titanium Pocket Tool boasts an impressive 10 features built into it. They include a bottle opener, dual flathead screwdrivers, a hex bit opening, a pry bar, a scraper, and a host of socket sizes. The exterior is built from incredibly strong grade 5 titanium and the insert is made from reliable 420 stainless steel. If you need a multitool, but you can’t made much room for one, this is your solution.
Bellroy Slim Sleeve
Lacking all excess materials – like glue, redundant leather folds, and clumsy stitching – the Slim Sleeve is Bellroy’s attempt at making the smallest leather bifold ever. And, by our measure, they’ve done it beautifully. This wallet can carry up to 12 cards and cash, has 2 quick-access slots, and comes with the brand’s signature internal pull tab for easier access to infrequently used cards. If you want a minimalist wallet, but you’re unwilling to go for a front-pocket format, this is easily your best option.
Aer Fit Pack
A commuter backpack can be a handy way to carry around all your everyday gear, but it remains true that some are just built better than others. Well, the Fit Pack from San Francisco-based Aer is one of the best ever made. Despite its sleek and minimalist appearance, this 19 liter ballistic nylon pack has within it compartmental storage for all your daily gear – including a 15″ padded laptop sleeve, an isolated moisture resistant gym gear compartment, and a quick-access pouch for small items.
Hamilton H38455751 Intra-Matic Watch
So many watches out there nowadays are riddled with extra functions and unnecessary dials when all we really want most of the time is a way to tell time quickly and easily. Well, this minimalist watch from Hamilton is an exceedingly good looking option for anyone who feels the same. Not bogged down by excess, this timepiece features a simple dial free of numerical markings, a date window at the 6 o’clock position, and that’s about it.
Survival EDC Essentials
Sometimes, in an emergency situation, minimalist gear doesn’t quite cut it. In that case, you’ll want to get your hands on these survival EDC essentials.