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EDC 101: An Introduction To Everyday Carry

Though the acronym EDC – standing for everyday carry – might have just popped onto the radar these past few years, the concept is ancient. Dating back to prehistoric humans who lived when getting food was the order of everyday, there were certain items that each person had to have at all times so they were prepared to fell a boar or clip fruits from a high tree branch. To go into the world unprepared was to starve, so as soon as our opposable thumbs permitted us the ability to make tools, we also needed to carry these tools with us on a daily basis, just to stop hunger from eradicating us.

What EDC Means Today

As time has gone on, EDC has taken on different forms. Currently, it refers to the things we need and use and therefore have on our person each day. What goes into our EDC gear varies by vocation, by personal temperament, by need, and by geography. Your EDC gear is meant to make life easier for your and make you prepared to face the tasks you will undertake. For the urban tech junkie, it means the fastest, most cutting edge smartphone, tablet, and probably a laptop or Chromebook so they’re always connected. For a field hand, it means a sturdy knife and the right tools for working hand in EDC glove with the land. For you it might mean little more than your wallet, car keys, and phone.

Ultimately, whatever is in your EDC kit is the items that you would be lost without. It’s the stuff that provides the modern sustenance you need and makes your life easier, allowing you to function at the level you want, accomplish what you set out to do, and facilitate your existence.

EDC is a State of Mind

Though everyday carry is partly about the stuff you use, it’s more than that. It’s about being truly prepared for each and every day. Being ready for challenges, facing down foes, and putting out fires is the idea behind each item in an EDC loadout. Those who embrace EDC realize that due to the limited space they have in their pockets, backpacks, briefcases, and satchels, each item they take along with them should have a specific purpose or set of purposes in mind. A soldier doesn’t go to war unarmed, an artisan doesn’t go to his workshop without his tools, and you shouldn’t try to get through your day flying by the seat of your pants.

Adopting the philosophy of everyday carry is about really thinking about what each item you lug around does for you, why it is there, and how it can be made better. In putting thought, time, and money into your EDC gear, you’re ensuring that you can work better, work faster, and accomplish more with your time, as well as be ready for those curveballs in the dirt that life’s going to try to get you to swing at. Once you’ve decided you want to streamline your lifestyle, then you’re ready to start gearing up and collecting the equipment that is going to be by your side.

Selecting Your EDC Items

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to deciding what is good enough to go into your pockets. You have very limited space, so choosing wisely and finding items that will fulfill multiple needs requires innovation, savvy shopping, and self-awareness. You must know what obstacles you face day to day and what you’re likely to use to overcome them. Selecting your everyday carry stuff requires looking at all facets of your life and answering a few questions about your devices, utensils, and instruments.

  • What Do You Need?: The idea is simple. What can you literally not get through your day without. You need a way to pay for things, so probably a wallet. You’re going to start your car, lock your home or office, and maybe even get into luggage, so you’re probably going to need keys, and they’re going to need to go on a chain. You’ll need to stay in touch with the world, which means a phone, tablet, computer, or all of the above. As the staples of your gear, you should start with the things you must have.
  • How Can They Be Better?: Once you have your bare bones basics set down, you need to decide how to improve them so that they solve more problems. You have a key ring, but can it open bottles? Do you find yourself longing for a screwdriver or perhaps aching for a light to help you pick the right key in that dark employee parking lot? Determine what you want your basics to do and get stuff that improves your day to day life so you’re doing more and each item does as many jobs as possible.
  • What Would Make Life Easier?: Here is where you start adding to your essentials and solve problems you don’t even have yet. What is a constant headache in your life? Are you forever looking for a pen? Do you end up with dry skin? Maybe the battery on your phone is never quite enough or you need a flash drive for mobile storage. Here, you are trying to prepare for the problems that plague you and finding small items that solve those problems quickly so that you’re never fumbling around looking for something to write on or trying to crack a cold one with your thumbnail.
  • What Complements Your Style and Works Well?: EDC isn’t just about getting ready to win every fight and break every barrier. It’s about showing off who you are. Your stuff should be personal as well as effective. Don’t just take whatever utility knife is out there, find one that looks good and works well. Your EDC stuff should be an extension of you and you should be proud of it. It’s going to be riding along for all your jobs and adventures, so it damn well should showcase the kind of person you are. A little bling never hurt an EDC kit.

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you should have a reasonably good idea where your everyday carry gear should start. If you’re still lost, or there’s areas where you might need a little help, we’ve also compiled some of our favorite EDC stuff to give you a leg up. We’ve chosen the most common elements for most people and chosen the best places to begin your collection. Naturally, these ideas are to be added or discarded per your needs and discretion. This is just where most EDC begins.

EDC Knives


  1. Spyderco Dragonfly ($46)
  2. Kershaw Ken Onion Blur ($62)
  3. Benchmade Griptilian ($111)

Knives get a bad rap. When we think of a person carrying a blade in their pocket, it conjures up negative images. The truth is that a knife is a marvelous tool, not a weapon. A person with a knife can open boxes, letters, and cut away irritating tags. A knife can be a flathead screwdriver, an efficient way to slice a sandwich or pry open a broken battery flap. We suggest you just put a very basic knife in your pocket for a little while and see how often you reach for it. You’ll be surprised. Each of our choices is small, smooth, and meant to be useful, not dangerous. Though they also can be if the situation requires it.

EDC Wallets


  1. Machine Era Slim ($33)
  2. Tanner Goods Journeyman ($60)
  3. Bellroy Note Sleeve ($89)

Almost everyone has a wallet, a billfold, or a money clip to store their identification, credit cards, and cash. It’s a staple of a capitalist culture. Whether you like to go with a big one that organizes your receipts or a minimalist option that takes up almost no space, you need something to protect your payment choices and keep your identity from falling into the wrong hands. We recommend you select something long-lasting that also guards against digital magnetic theft of your cards and personal information.

EDC Flashlights


  1. Nitecore Tube T ($11)
  2. Fenix E12 ($27)
  3. Prometheus Beta-QRv2 ($59)

Flashlights are generally forgotten in the EDC world, and that’s a massive oversight in our opinion. Just looking for your keys under a desk, finding a dropped pill, pulling out the right key when your porch light has burned out, or working on a car that won’t start all are easier to do if you have quality illumination. With modern technology, you can get a long-lasting LED light that is tiny, but will still light up your darkest hour.

EDC Multi-tools


  1. Gerber Shard ($10)
  2. Leatherman Squirt PS4 ($33)
  3. Victorinox Swisscard Lite ($34)

The world is full of screws that need to be loosened or tightened, errant hairs that need to be clipped, nails that need to be filed, and plastic packages that need to be levered open. Doing all of that with your fingernails is going to leave you with bloody, ragged nubs and jobs badly done. Being able to do basic repairs or just capable of cutting into an orange will quickly make you the go-to person around your office or the local pub. That Mr. Fix-It merit badge not only makes life simpler on you, it proves that you’re a practical and pragmatic person. That’s good for both attracting potential mates as well as impressing your boss and colleagues.

EDC Notebooks


  1. Field Notes ($10)
  2. Rite in the Rain ($15)
  3. Moleskine Classic ($16)

True, we live in a digital world where you can take notes on your phone as easily as scrawling them on a piece of paper, but how often do you actually do that? Besides, what if you need to leave a note for someone, make a quick sketch of an idea, or jot down information that needs to be passed along? Typing everything isn’t always practical, while having a notebook on your person or even just resting in your glovebox will save your bacon time and again.

EDC Pens


  1. Zebra F-701 ($5)
  2. Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker ($7)
  3. Fisher Space Pen ($20)

Having a pen or marker on hand is ideal in part because the world is so digital. Odds are good you’ve heard someone asking for a pen regularly because no one carries them around anymore, yet they’re constantly necessary. Just having a stylish writing implement to whip out when you sign a contract makes you look debonaire and prepared. The right pen can also double as a self-defense object so that you’re not just ready and able but also armed and dangerous.

EDC Keychains


  1. KeySmart ($20)
  2. M&U Co. Pill Keyring ($30)
  3. Apolis Transit Issue ($38)

This shouldn’t even require much thought. You have to have your keys and they’re better if they’re organized. Since your keyring is going to be taking up space anyhow, get one that helps to organize your keys or gives you a little more storage. Find a keychain with a light or get a multi-tool keychain and kill two birds. Maybe give your keys a tough makeover with a ring that opens bottles and will make your punches land with extra force.

EDC Watches


  1. Timex Weekender ($36)
  2. Seiko Divers Automatic ($163)
  3. Shinola Runwell Contrast Chrono ($750)

Everything has a clock these days, but pulling out your 6 inch phone or turning on your computer just to check the time is inconvenient. A watch is smooth and purposeful, plus it can be used as a timer, can often go underwater, and you never have to worry about where it is since it’s living on your wrist. It’s also a beautiful accessory for the person who wants to show off without diamond chains around their neck.

EDC Phones


  1. Apple iPhone 6S ($649)
  2. Samsung Galaxy Edge S6 Edge+ ($768)
  3. Google Nexus 6P ($499)

Your phone is your connection to the world. It’s how you keep in touch with friends and family, how you dominate your opponents at Trivia Crack, how you find your way in strange neighborhoods, the way to capture memories, and a way to light up the night. If you so choose, you can consolidate much of your EDC load into a quality phone. We’ve suggested a few of our favorites that can really go the distance.

EDC Misc


  1. Anker Astro E4 Portable Charge ($30)
  2. Silicon Power 32GB Jewel USB 3.0 Flash Drive ($12)
  3. Friendly Swede Paracord Survival Bracelet ($9)
  4. Audio-Technica QuietPoint Noise-Cancelling Earbuds ($50)
  5. Zippo Brass Lighter ($15)
  6. Stanley Adventure Flask ($14)
  7. Sony DSC-RX100/B Camera ($398)

You should always leave a little space for the things that you personally need. Whether you’re an audiophile who spends time on the subway in need of a way to shut out inane conversation and amuse yourself while you ride or a serious outdoorsman who must have a way to start a fire or spark their pipe in a pinch, you should have some personal items in your EDC. From the person who needs a mobile battery to the heavy drinker who needs a nip to get through the day, we’ve selected a few pieces for your miscellaneous consideration.