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Rawhide: The Best Leather EDC Essentials

Best Leather EDC Essentials 0 Hero

Apart from perhaps only wood and stone, there is one substance that we, as a species, have been using longer than any other: leather. Animal hide has served humanity as a functional material since before recorded time and there are some very good reasons for that. It’s durable, reliable, flexible, long-lasting, and easily cared for – making it tremendously versatile, as well. In fact, leather might just be the best all-around material ever discovered.

From clothes, to tools, to accessories, to upholstery – and so on – animal hide can be usefully adapted as a part of just about every facet of daily life. That makes it an incredibly worthwhile consideration in the world of everyday carry. And while you might be able to find yourself something crafted from space-age materials whose structural benefits far outweigh those of leather, it will almost certainly end up costing you much more and probably won’t look as good either as it gets older. So if you’re looking for handsome, relatively inexpensive, and tremendously dependable additions to your EDC gear, consider this curated selection of what we found to be the best leather everyday carry essentials. 

The Best Leather EDC Essentials

Animal Hide Everyday Carry

What Makes Leather EDC Items Special?

With the widespread availability of cutting-edge composite and alloy constructions like carbon fiber and titanium, one would be justified in wondering why individuals would opt to carry everyday carry items crafted from leather. The reality, however, is that this decidedly old-school construction actually possesses a myriad of characteristics that make it highly conducive to EDC applications. For starters, when using the right hide, tanning process, and treatment, leather can be incredibly hardwearing — especially when of the Nubuck, Roughout, or Horween varieties. What’s more, leather also boasts a somewhat charming and characterful quality to it, as well as the ability to imbue an item with a more vintage-inspired feel. 

On top of being able to be produced in a wide range of dyes and color options — as well as in both vegan and synthetic forms — leather also has the proven ability to slowly form a patina over time with regular use, with a hide picking up nicks, scuffs, scratches, sun-fading, and other types of general wear and tear that ultimately afford leather constructions with a unique, “lived-in” aesthetic. Leather can also be an incredibly eco-friendly material. In addition to being able to be up cycled and reused, leather can now also be manufactured using sustainable eco-tanning processes. Between its immense durability, impressive tensile strength, unique heritage-style appearance, and ability to form a patina, it’s not hard to see why leather has become such a commonly-used material in the EDC arena. 

Rustico Ember Leather Lighter Sleeve

Rustico Ember Leather Lighter Sleeve
Photo: Rustico
Why It Made The Cut
  • An artisan-made cowhide leather lighter sleeve that fits a standard BIC lighter. 

Best Lighter Sleeve: Based in Lindon, Utah, Rustico is a boutique workshop comprised of a small family of artisans that handcraft fine leather goods. Made in America, Rustico’s Ember Leather Lighter Sleeve is cut from premium top-grain cowhide leather and hand-sewn using a threaded binding. Embossed with a Rustico logo on one side and the brand’s flame emblem on the other, this sleeve is sized to fit a standard BIC lighter. Built to last a lifetime, the Ember Leather Lighter Sleeve will also slowly form a unique patina over time with regular use. 

Leather Type: Top-Grain Cowhide
Lighter Compatibility: Standard Bic
Origin: USA

Orbitkey Key Organizer Leather

Orbitkey Key Organizer Leather
Photo: Orbitkey
Why It Made The Cut
  • A modern EDC key organizer cloaked in a vintage-inspired top-grain cowhide leather outer. 

Best Key Organizer: Traditional key rings have been proven time and time again to work just fine. But, just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. And Orbitkey has taken it upon themselves to prove that point. Their EDC-specific key organizer can store up to seven keys in a format that is both more organized and jingle-free. And, in the case that your car requires a key fob, it comes with a special attachment.

Key Capacity: 2 to 7
Primary Construction: Top-Grain Cowhide Leather
Hardware: 316L Stainless Steel

Bradley Mountain Utility Roll

Bradley Mountain Utility Roll
Photo: Bradley Mountain
Why It Made The Cut
  • A super rugged utility roll that’s made in America from a hardwearing amalgamation of 18oz Martexin heavy waxed canvas and 6oz harness leather.

Best Tool/Utility Roll: Tool chests are valuable items, but they aren’t always practical or necessary. Instead of trying to lug around a heavy container and possibly a number of things you won’t use, pick up this Utility Roll from Bradley Mountain and load it only with what you need. Not only will this Martexin heavy waxed canvas pouch keep your gear well-organized, but this tool roll’s oiled leather strap will ensure that it will only come unrolled when you need to get into it. And this handy gear carrier was made right here in the USA.

Primary Constructions: 18oz Waxed Canvas & 6oz Harness Leather
Open Dimensions: 10″ H x 11″ W

Tanner Goods Key Lanyard

Tanner Goods Key Lanyard
Photo: Tanner Goods
Why It Made The Cut
  • A top-shelf USA-made keychain that’s cut from the same rugged 10oz tooling leather than Tanner Goods uses for its belts. 

Best Keychain: Made by hand in America and backed by a lifetime warranty, the Tanner Goods Key Lanyard is a high-end leather keychain engineered to offer a lifetime of use. The Key Lanyard features a secure gated clasp, releasing your keys quickly on the fly. The body of the lanyard wraps around your belt and fastens with a simple yet secure custom button stud and held in place by durable double-cap rivets. Made from the same robust 10oz vegetable-tanned Natural Tooling leather that Tanner Goods uses to craft its belts, this everyday carry keychain features a rivet-secured tethered loop at one end and a gated stainless steel clip at the other. Once pieced together, each unit is individually burnished, dyed, waxed, and stamped with Tanner Goods’ logo — a process that’s also done entirely by hand. 

Primary Construction: 10oz Tooling Leather
Type: Keychain/Key Lanyard

Hitch & Timber The Card Caddy

Hitch And Timber The Card Caddy
Photo: Hitch & Timber
Why It Made The Cut
  • An EDC gear organizer that takes on the footprint of a wallet.

Best Utility Wallet: Applying the concept and design principles of an EDC organizer pouch to the blueprint of a wallet, the Hitch & Timber The Card Caddy is an EDC utility wallet  that’s crafted by hand and built on a made to order basis. Made from full-grain leather that’s cut, stitched, and burnished entirely by hand, this item features three pockets in total. The first can accommodate between 1 and 6 cards. The second can fit a Fisher Space pen or similarly-sized EDC writing instrument. The final larger pocket is designed to hold a small knife such as a Buck 55 or Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet

Card Capacity: 1 to 6
Knife Pocket Size: 3.25” x 0.75” x 0.25”

Graf Lantz Small Kawabon Leather Merino Wool Felt Tray

Graf Lantz Small Kawabon Leather Merino Wool Felt Tray
Photo: Graf Lantz
Why It Made The Cut
  • A decidedly premium EDC valet tray that’s hand-crafted in America from leather and Merino wool felt. 

Best Valet Tray: While you probably want to keep all of your EDC gear on your person whenever you’re out and about, you might not be so eager to keep your pockets loaded up once you get home or while you’re at work. Well, instead of dumping your stuff haphazardly onto a countertop somewhere, keep it safe and organized in this stylish Kawabon Tray from Graf & Lantz. Made from a combination of Italian leather and bonded German merino wool felt, this gorgeous valet tray was handmade in the USA and is the perfect desk or countertop addition into which you can deposit your precious gear.

Primary Construction: Leather
Liner: Merino Wool Felt
Dimensions: 5.0” W x 8.25” L x 1.0” D

Shinola Leather Baseball

Shinola Supply Leather Baseball
Photo: Shinola
Why It Made The Cut
  • A handcrafted & hand-sewn leather baseball made using old-world materials & construction techniques. 

Best Novelty Item: Moving on the the most unconventional EDC item on this list we have the Shinola Leather Baseball. Constructed the same way these balls were a century ago, this baseball is made from premium leather that’s hand-cut and hand-sewn using waxed lined threading by the artisans and craftspeople at Leather Head Sports — a boutique Glen Rock, New Jersey-based outfit that was founded by an ex-MLB photographer in 2006 and specializes in handcrafting custom leather balls using old-world materials and construction techniques. 

Primary Construction: Full-Grain Leather
Threading: Waxed Linen

Bullstrap MagSafe iPhone Case

Bullstrap MagSafe iPhone Cases
Photo: Bullstrap
Why It Made The Cut
  • A polycarbonate-shelled, chrome-tanned leather MagSafe iPhone case with 316L stainless steel buttons & N52 magnets.

Best iPhone Case: Combing old-school cowhide constructions with modern tech and devices, the Bullstrap MagSafe iPhone Case is a super premium protective case that’s been designed using something of a spare-no-expense approach. The case starts with a super rugged polycarbonate shell that’s lined with microfiber on its interior before its exterior is cloaked in a USA or European-sourced full-grain leather that undergoes a chrome-tanning process — and is offered in more than half a dozen cool options. Produced in sizes compatible with iPhone generations 12 through 15,  the leather exterior is also lightly-waxed and oiled. Rounding out this case are top-shelf 316L stainless steel buttons and MagSafe-compatability that’s afforded via a ring of embedded N52 magnets.

Shell: Polycarbonate
Compatibility: iPhone 12 through iPhone 15
Liner: Microfiber

Bellroy Note Sleeve

Bellroy Note Sleeve
Photo: Bellroy
Why It Made The Cut
  • An old-school-looking wallet that’s made from eco-certified leather & armed with modern features like RIFD protection. 

Best Wallet: Your wallet is home to some of your most important carry items. Sure, your credit cards and cash aren’t going to be much use if you need to illuminate the dark or loosen a bolt, but you’ll be hard-pressed to garner any goods or services with a tactical flashlight or a comprehensive multitool. Keep your money safe and secure in this full-grain vegetable-tanned leather bifold from Bellroy – you won’t be sorry. And with an 11 card capacity, a currency pouch for bills, 3 quick-access slots, a note section, and a coin pocket, you’ll be able to keep everything you need together in one stylish unobtrusive package.

Card Capacity: 4 to 11 Cards
RFID Blocking: Yes

Northern Light NL 6

Northern Light NL 6
Photo: Northern Light
Why It Made The Cut
  • A pair of premium, handcrafted sunglasses designed for mountaineering. 

Best Sunglasses: While your classic aviator glasses might do you well in the summer months, they aren’t going to function as well when the weather gets colder – especially if you like to spend time on the trails. Unless you want to sport a pair of bulky snow goggles, these NL 6 sunglasses from Northern Lights Optic will do you right. Designed for mountaineering, the luxury quality custom wireframes are sturdy and the category 3 Aurora CR39 lenses will protect your eyes from the sun (whether it’s high overhead or if the light is reflecting off the snow). And the genuine leather side shields will block the glare and prevent the wind from drying your eyes as well.

Frames: Alloy
Lens: Aurora CR39

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Photo: Hamilton
Why It Made The Cut
  • A leather strap-equipped version of a legendary field watch that’s nothing short of an horological icon. 

Best Watch: Heavily inspired by the Swiss brand’s World War II-era military timepieces, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical has long been one of, if not our very favorite field watch. Sporting ample durability, an unmistakably vintage-inspired appearance, and an overall stellar build quality, the Khaki Field Mechanical is constructed around a 38mm stainless steel case that houses a dark military-style dial with old radium-color Super-LumiNova lume. Keeping the thing ticking is a Caliber H-50 mechanical movement with Ann 80-hour power reserve. This particular reference — H69439531 — also comes mated to a 20mm cow hide leather strap with a lightly-pre-patina’d finish. 

Check out our in-depth Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical review here.

Case Size: 38mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement Type: Mechanical
Water Resistance: 50m

The Best Copper EDC Essentials

Best Copper EDC Gear 0 Hero

Interested in checking out another selection of patina-ready EDC items with an unmistakably old-school feel? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best copper everyday carry essentials for a hand-picked selection of copper-construction classics.