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Concrete Jungle: The Best Urban EDC Essentials

Best Urban EDC Essentials 0 Hero

There are a lot of folks out there who would have you believe that everyday carry enthusiasts spend most of their time traversing the wilderness or living completely off the grid. But the truth is, most of us live pretty close to or within the limits of a city. And while we’re not against tactical gear or stuff that will help us make it through a survival situation, we also know the impracticality of carrying that sort of gear around an urban environment.

Since it’s safe to assume that you, like us, spend most of your time walking upon concrete streets between the buildings of a big city, we thought it might be nice to put together a list of essentials for just such an occasion. So, free of the hardcore survivalist and soldier-driven influences, we have gathered the best gear available for folks who live in metropolitan areas. The following items are bonafide everyday carry essentials for an urban dweller.

The Best Urban EDC Essentials

Urban EDC 101

What Factors Should I Consider When Buying Urban Everyday Carry Gear

It can admittedly be a little tricky knowing exactly what to look for when shopping for urban-focused everyday carry gear — especially for the uninitiated. Well aware of this reality, we’ve pieced together this mini guide to the most pivotal factors to take into account when shopping for metropolitan-leaning EDC kit. 

Primary Materials: The materials used to craft any product will always play a monumental role in determining an item’s overall quality and durability — making this arguably the single most important element to review when shopping. 

Secondary Constructions: Though an item’s primary construction is admittedly of more importance, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also pay attention to the secondary materials. This includes details such as liners, trim elements, zipper tracks, buckles, and the hardware used to piece everything together. 

Utility: The entire purpose of any piece of everyday carry gear is to provide their user with preparedness and utility. As such, one of the most crucial areas to consider is obviously the utility afforded by a given EDC item. 

Versatility: Another major selling point of a great many EDC items is their immense versatility, as having the ability to provide utility in a myriad of situations and applications massively increases the value of any piece of gear. 

Price & Value: Generally speaking, you tend to get what you pay for with most EDC items, with costlier pieces of gear almost always boasting markedly better quality and performance. Having said that, these items can pretty massively vary in terms of value and bang for your buck — making this yet another monumentally important area to factor into your decision when shopping. 

Style & Finish: Whether its their car or their clothes, city-dwellers tend to have a proclivity for fashion-forward products – and EDC gear is no different. As such, when shopping for urban-focused EDC items, we almost always recommend opting for stylish and fashion-forward pieces of kit that favor sleek, minimalistic designs and forms. And while all pieces of EDC gear are a blend of form and function, the former is especially important when buying urban-specific everyday carry gear. 

Field Notes Streetscapes Edition Notebooks

Field Notes Streetscapes Edition Notebooks
Photo: Field Notes
Why It Made The Cut
  • A special quarterly edition 3-pack of city-themed EDC notebooks.

Best Notebooks: The EDC-specific notebooks made by Field Notes are an affordable, must-have everyday carry essential. And while you honestly can’t go wrong with any of the company’s notebooks, its Streetscapes quarterly edition is even more conducive to urban EDC use. Measuring 3.5” x 5.5”, each notebook features 48-pages of plain paper sandwiched between covers adorning in coloring book-style illustrations of one of several major U.S. cities. 

Size: 3.5” x 5.5”
Pages: 48
Page Type: Plain

Nomad ChargeKey

Nomad ChargeKey
Photo: Nomad
Why It Made The Cut
  • An ultra-compact, pocketable, & rugged USB-C to Lightning cable you can take anywhere.

Best Charging Cable: Our smartphones have become increasingly integral parts of our everyday lives, so having the ability to juice up your device from anywhere is an absolute must. And very few items make this task easier than the Nomad ChargeKey. This USB-C to Lightning — or USB-C to USB-C — cable features a magnetically-coupling set of zinc alloy housings that both sport braided nylon mini charge cords. 

Max Charging Speed: 60W
Connection: USB-C To Lightning (Or USB-C to USB-C)

The Ridge Keycase

The Ridge Keycase
Photo: The Ridge
Why It Made The Cut
  • An ultra-clean EDC key organizer design offered in a huge variety of premium constructions.

Best Key Organizer: Offered in an enormous variety of constructions ranging from forged carbon fiber to Damascus steel to 24K gold, The Ridge Keycase is a sleek key organizer that was engineered specifically for EDC. Part of The Ridge’s eco-system of purpose-built EDC gear, this key organizer features a patented tension plate system, a manganese spring steel pocket clip, and room to accommodate between 2 and 6 keys. The entire things weighs in at just 1oz, too. 

Construction: Aluminum, Titanium, Damascus Steel, 24K Gold, Carbon Fiber, Or Forged Carbon Fiber
Key Capacity: 2 to 6

The James Brand The Mehlville

TJB The Mehlville
Photo: The James brand
Why It Made The Cut
  • An ultra-secure everyday carry-biner with a spring-loaded dual-gated design.

Best Carabiner: The James Brand’s The Mehlville is far from your average carabiner. Engineered from the ground up for EDC use, the carabiner is machined from 0.25” aerospace-grade aluminum, titanium, or brass and features a unique spring-loaded dual-gate design that practically guarantees you’ll never lose your keys again. Offered in a variety of color options, this everyday carabiner also boasts an integrated bottle opener composed of rugged 204 stainless steel. 

Construction: Aluminum, Brass, or Titanium
Weight: 0.6oz

Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case

Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case
Photo: Peak Design | Nomad
Why It Made The Cut
  • A ruggedized version of Peak Design’s Everyday Phone case that gains a TPU bumper system.

Best Phone Case: Born out of a collaboration between two lauded EDC brands, the Nomad x Peak Design Rugged Case is a wildly hardwearing iPhone case that provides near-mil-spec protection in an ultra-slim and compact package. Weighing just 1.68oz (or 1.9oz for the Pro Max-spec), the case is constructed around a polycarbonate body that’s been fitted with a weatherproof canvas cover, a matte PET backplate, and a super effective TPU corner bumper system. Equipped with a high-strength ceramic locking ring and embedded high-temp neodymium magnets, this case is also compatible with Peak Design’s SlimLink accessories. 

Shell Construction: Polycarbonate
Bumper System: TPU
Weight: 1.68oz or 1.9oz

The James Brand The Burwell

TJB The Burwell
Photo: The James brand
Why It Made The Cut
  • A sleek & minimalistic EDC-specific click pen with a dot-style grip pattern.

Best EDC Pen: Coming on the heels of the Portland EDC purveyor’s Benton pen from 2016 — The James Brand’s The Burwell is a lightweight, built-to-last click pen that’s precision-machined from 303 stainless steel. In typical TJB fashion, the Burwell EDC pen sports a sleek minimalistic design language that’s complemented via a dot-style machined grip pattern. Compatible with Parker G2-style refills, the pen also features a 303 stainless steel pocket clip, a spring-loaded click actuator, and the buyer’s choice of either bare steel, black, or rose gold finishes. 

Material: 303 Stainless Steel
Length: 5.4”
Weight: 1.2oz

Pioneer Molecule Cardholder 2.0

Pioneer Molecule Cardholder
Photo: Pioneer
Why It Made The Cut
  • A minimalistic card holder cut from a proprietary material that’s 10-times stronger than steel.

Best Wallet: A minimalistic wallet designed to last a lifetime, the Pioneer Molecule Cardholder 2.0 boasts a simple and straight-forward three-slot design that provides space for 4 to 6 cards. Designed in San Francisco, the wallet may resemble your average cardholder, though the gen-2 Molecule Cardholder sets itself apart from practically every other option on the market via its insanely-rugged 10XD construction — a proprietary ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene construction that’s ten-times stronger than steel. 

Construction: 10XD, 3XD, or Baby Ballistic
Card Capacity: 4 – 6+
Weight: 0.98oz

Wexley Stem Daypack

Wexley Stem Daypack
Photo: Wexley
Why It Made The Cut
  • A sleek & spartan urban-focused 17L backpack that’s cut from ballistic-grade CORDURA.

Best Backpack: Sporting an ultra-sleek and minimalistic form that perfectly epitomizes the aesthetic of urban EDC gear, the Wexley Stem Daypack is a 17-liter pack that’s cut from ballistic-grade 1,000-denier CORDURA and equipped with RFID protection, a laptop compartment that can house a 16” MacBook Pro, Duraflex hardware, and a thermo-formed honeycomb EVA foam back panel. Offered in black or OD green color options, the backpack ticks every box one could ask for in an EDC pack. 

Shell Construction: 1,000D CORDURA
Volume: 17L
Laptop Sleeve: 16”
Weight: 1.76LBs

Maniago Knife Makers Malga 5

MKM Malga 5
Photo: Maniago Knife Makers
Why It Made The Cut
  • A super modern & premium take on a SAK-style multi-tool w/ MagnaCut steel & Micarta scales.

Best Multi-Tool: The MKM Malga 5 is a Swiss Army knife-style multi-tool that puts a thoroughly modern and premium spin on the segment. Made in Italy, the Malga 5 features a suite of 5 tools, including a 420 saw, a 430 serrated blade, folding scissors, a Phillips head driver, and a 2.64” nail nick-opening blade composed of cutting-edge CPM MagnaCut steel. The entire suite of tools comes sandwiched between a set of rugged and grippy Micarta scales. 

Blade Steel: CPM MagnaCut
Tools: 5
Closed Length: 3.94”
Weight: 3.65oz

RAEN Rufio Glasses

Raen Rufio Glasses
Photo: RAEN Eyewear
Why It Made The Cut
  • A top-shelf pair of ’90s-inspired square men’s shades crafted from recycled acetate.

Best Sunglasses: The RAEN Rufio Glasses are a high-end take on classic square-shaped men’s sunglasses that draw light inspiration from 1990s era shades. Offered in a trio of color options, the Rufio’s frame consists of an acetate structure derived from recycled, used frame material scraps. Pieced together using a robust triple rivet hardware design, the frames house of a set of polarized CR-39 lenses with 100% UVA/UVB protection and a 6 base curve — items that come courtesy of Carl Zeiss Vision. The glasses also come loaded with a five barrel hinge and are finished in RAEN’s signature fish scale wire core.

Frames: Recycled Acetate
Lenses: Carl Zeiss Vision CR-39

FocusWorks F3 Flashlight

FocusWorks F3 Flashlight
Photo: FocusWorks
Why It Made The Cut
  • A sleek & rugged anodized aluminum EDC flashlight with 900 lumens on tap.

Best Flashlight: Sporting a sleek and minimalistic design with a matte black finish, the FocusWorks F3 is an EDC-focused flashlight that’s crafted around an anodized aluminum body equipped with a machined knurled grip pattern and a grade 5 titanium pocket clip. Weighing less than 3oz, the light has 900 lumens on tap, courtesy of either a Samsung LH351d 5000k or Nichia 219c 4000k  LED emitter. This flashlight is also sold in a variety of other anodized finishes, as well as in top-shelf titanium-barrel variant. 

Body Construction: Aluminum
Lumens: 900
Length: 4.063”

Toor Knives XT1 Charlie 

Toor Knives XT1 Charlie
Photo: Toor Knives
Why It Made The Cut
  • A super versatile & utilitarian EDC folder made by a boutique brand from top-shelf materials.

Best EDC Knife: The latest folding knife from the boutique San Diego brand, the Toor Knives XT1 Charlie was designed to be as rugged, versatile, and utilitarian as possible — an objective that’s been achieved through the use of a frame-locking grade 5 titanium handle that comes cloaked in a G-10 show-side scale and mated to an ultra-versatile modified drop point standard curved blade in CPM S35VN. Rounding out this top-shelf folder is a billet titanium pocket clip, a G-10 back-spacer, and a set of phosphor bronze washers that afford a buttery smooth action. 

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN
Handle Material: 6AL-4V Titanium
Blade Length: 3.25”
Overall Length: 8.0”
Lock Type: Frame Lock

Unimatic U1 Classic

Unimatic U1 Classic
Photo: Unimatic
Why It Made The Cut
  • A minimalistic, vintage-inspired dive watch from an Italian microbrand.

Best Watch: Drawing light inspiration from the legendary Rolex Submariner, the Unimatic U1 Classic — or UC1 — is a modern 41.5mm dive watch with a minimalistic design language brought to life in premium 316 stainless steel. Water resistant down to 300 meters, the watch is kept ticking by an NH35A automatic movement that offers a 41-hour power reserve. Encompassed via a rotating coin-edge bezel with a lume dot inlay at 12 o’clock, the watch’s spartan dial design sees its hour markers and hand-set adorned in pale-green Super-LumiNova C3 paint. 

Case Size: 41.5mm
Case Construction: 316 Stainless Steel
Water Resistance: 300m
Movement Type: NH35A Automatic

Master & Dynamic MW75

Master and Dynamic MW75
Photo: Master & Dynamic
Why It Made The Cut
  • A cutting-edge pair of wireless ANC headphones w/ stellar audio quality & 4 onboard beamforming mics.

Best Headphones: Crafted from a top-shelf amalgamation of anodized aluminum, tempered glass, and supple lambskin leather, the Master & Dynamic MW75 is a premium pair of wireless, active noise-canceling over-ear headphones that boast a set of 40mm titanium drivers that afford remarkable audio quality. Alongside its premium materials and state-of-the-art ANC tech, these over-ear cans also come loaded with 32 hours of battery life, Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, and four embedded beamforming microphones. These headphones are also offered in over half a dozen color ways, and can be ordered from the American audio brand with optional custom-engraving. 

Battery: 32 Hours
Drivers: 40mm
ANC: Yes

Leica Q2

Leica Q2
Photo: Leica Camera
Why It Made The Cut
  • A compact 35mm digital camera with a TFT display & CMOS sensor.

Best Camera: Pieced together around a rugged yet lightweight magnesium alloy body, the Leica Q2 is a compact 35mm digital camera that offers simple point-and-click shooting. Also capable of recording 4K video, the camera benefits from the use of a 3″ TFT LCD monitor, an advanced optical shake compensation system, a 28mm Leica Summilux lens, and a full frame CMOS sensor. This camera is also offered in a myriad of special edition variants including the Leica x HODINKEE Ghost Edition. 

Body: Magnesium Alloy
Lens: Leica Summilux 28mm
Sensor: Full Frame CMOS

The Best High-Tech Everyday Carry Gear & Essentials

Best High Tech EDC Gear 0 Hero

Those residing in big cities often boast a proclivity for cutting-edge tech. If you happen to fall under this umbrella, then be sure to check out our guide to the best high-tech EDC for a curated selection of state-of-the-art devices, gear, and kit.