If you’ve managed to keep the same sunglasses, watch, and headphones for more than six months, you’re a unique individual. The sad problem with EDC gear is that it has to experience life, uncensored, which means being broken and lost on a regular basis. Striking a balance between carrying quality stuff and being able to afford to lose some of your gear is a highwire act that everyone has to undergo. We’ve found the answer to be spending about $20 per item on your daily carry equipment gives you solid materials that also won’t break your heart or your budget when you need to replace them a few months down the line.
We branched out from our original list of EDC items under $10 for those who aren’t as heavily constricted by a budget and can drop a little more spare change to tote around a slightly better quality of tackle. We still sought out stuff that will give you a lot of bang for every buck, but this time we wanted stuff that was truly dazzling. We wanted grade A fireworks for C-grade prices. When the dust settled, we had 15 EDC essentials under $20.
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife
As original as it gets, this is a modern version of the actual blade devised by Karl Elsener for use by the Swiss Army in the 1800’s. Complete with all your basic grooming needs, along with a small blade for opening letters or acting as the absolute last line of self-defense, this is Swiss engineering at its best.
Fenix E01 Compact LED Flashlight
Never before has a single AAA battery been able to give you so much security. Capable of throwing 13 lumens for nearly a full day on one battery, the E01 weighs in at just an ounce, allowing it to fit on your keychain or in your pocket with ease. Aircraft aluminum and an IPX-8 rating mean that it’s as tough and long-lasting as it is inexpensive.
The Friendly Swede Grenade Survival Kit
This little bundle of joy could be all you need to get by for indefinite survival, so long as you have a little shelter. Inside the paracord wrapping is a knife blade, hooks and lures, foil, tinder, and a fire starter. A body of water, a little luck, and the Grenade will have you full of grilled salmon and brook trout in no time.
Designed with a flip-out deployment style, the Keysmart will keep all your keys in their place and give you rapid access to your home, office, and car. Slimmer than putting each key on an individual ring yet capable of expanding to meet your needs, this is your keychain’s dedicated personal assistant.
Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel Flask
There’s one survival tool that is sure to get you through the worst conditions: alcohol. All right, it might not keep you alive, but it will make it so you don’t care if you die. Tough as hell with multiple sizes depending on how serious your habit, this is your little nipper for long days, tough nights, and hard knocks.
Word. Dot Grid
48 pages of grids, this is the must-have EDC notebook for artists. It allows you to sketch, draw, design, graph, and measure all through the intuitive use of a dot layout. The Dot Grid can be as free as you require or as constricting as you choose. With it, there’s no need to color inside the lines.
Gerber GDC Money Clip
Inside the G10 body with its Titanium nitride coating you can keep up to five credit cards, all guarded by the small, concealed blade. Rugged and field tested, when it comes to protecting your money from the elements, or from a would-be mugger, having the rough-and-ready GDC on hand is an investment in peace of mind.
Silicon Power Jewel
Don’t go lugging around some cheap, plastic thumb drive that is liable to shatter the moment the mercury drops or you bump against a table. Instead, keep up to 64 gigs of data safe and secure with the Power Jewel. Easy to hang on a key ring, capable of taking a beating, and stylishly simple, it’s the elegant data storage device of choice.
We’re not sure if the Grasshopper got its name from the old Kung Fu series, but it damn sure is ready to hand out a severe whoopin’ to anyone who dares cross you. Utilizing a flat ground blade with the legendary SpyderCo fast action deployment, it’s a cut above knives thrice the price.
Nitecore Tube T Series Rechargeable Key Chain Flashlight
This is a two-for-one deal. On one end is the bright but tiny 45 lumen tube light. On the other end is a smaller 25 lumen emergency light. With variable brightness settings and the ability to easily be recharged via USB, the Tube T Series is an eternally bright companion.
Swiss Army Victorinox Nail Clippers
The ultimate pocket groomsman, you’ll never be waylaid by a hangnail again. Using Victorinox’s Swiss Army know-how, this folds down to a slender pocket size, but gives you plenty of leverage for giving yourself an emergency manicure, even in a truck stop bathroom.
Leatherman Style CS Multi-tool
Just because it’s one of the most inexpensive pieces that Leatherman makes, doesn’t mean it lacks for quality. The body employs the standard Leatherman design with easy-access pliers and blades, all attached to a simple clip for carrying on a belt or backpack.
Fisher Space Pen
Take it from sub-zero temperatures to Death Valley during a heat wave and it will still write. Use it upside down as you float around the international space station or try to scrawl some notes while underwater, the versatility of the Fisher Space Pen extends well beyond the ends of the Earth.
Opinel N Degree7
If the French only ever make the Opinel Degree7, we’re willing to forgive their many other faults. Artfully crafted out of beechwood with a high carbon blade and supremely tough locking mechanism, you can take this camping or to your board meeting with equal pride.
It’s a Leatherman keychain tool without all the bells and whistles. Stripped down to give you only the basics, it can dig, pry, twist, and cut all day long, yet ride in your pocket without ever giving you a jab in the leg. It’s a Leatherman for the everyman.