EDC January/February 2015 (Combined Article Parts/Tiers 1-5)

Well, it’s the New Year, and what better way to start off than by looking at the system I’ve developed for carrying around things that I need, and describing what the things that I need are? (I could’ve just made a resolution, but I don’t like to do those).

I’ve divided my system up in to what amounts to tiers. And while sometimes these change, based on my needs when I leave the house, for the most part they remain the same.

In the first part, I’m going to be talking about what is always with me in my pockets. I’ve also included the belt pouch here for two reasons: first, is that it doesn’t have many items, so making it its own post would be silly; and second, because I have it on me almost every day. Since, for the most part, the lower tiers will be placed inside the higher tiers of my EDC, many of the things I would normally have in my pockets are simply kept in my belt pouch, allowing me to easily access them and to free up my pockets for other things. (When I was a kid I thought pockets were for carrying back home the things you found or bought, not carrying around things you already had, and I prefer that function.)
Here’s the list of what I carry, with a little bit about the more important items:

Taken with my iPhone, so that's not pictured.

Taken with my iPhone, so that’s not pictured.


  • Phone/wallet: iPhone 4s. (I really like this phone, and have liked the later models less and less. This model, and a slim leather wallet case, have held up for me almost since the phone’s release. There’s nothing special about the wallet, except that it has very little room for cash or band aids.)
  • Knife (Sanrenmu 7010: A cheap Chinese knife that works very well and I’m not afraid of losing. I do occasionally swap out the knife I carry.)
  • Altoids Smalls Tin. (This is more of an emergency McGyver kit, and has all of the things that I want on me, but won’t use very often. It fits nicely in a watch pocket or a change pocket in jeans and slacks.)
    • Knife (Opinel No. 2:  Soooo Small).
    • Matches and striker.
    • Cotton Ball.
    • String.
    • Nail (A small, finishing-type nail.)
    • Paperclip.
    • Electrical Tape.
    • Migraine Medication. (For me this is one of the most important things, hinted at by the fact I have it everywhere!)
    • Band-Aid.
    • Cash $10 American.
  • Keys
    • Key Pouch (a very nice, handmade thing I found on Etsy, from Bulgaria. I hate keys rattling around and possibly scratching things. The screws in this will still scratch, but more predictably. And it does make the keys quite a bit larger so it’s not for everyone)
    • Multi-tool (Leatherman Micra) (I considered the Leatherman Style CS or PS, but the scissors were the most important part for me, and in the “other tools” department the Micra is more robust than the CS {and I certainly don’t need the knife on the CS}, plus I like the look of the Micra more.)
    • Whistle (Nothing special. I’m looking for a more flat whistle as the irregular size of mine makes it hard to fit in most places.)
    • Flashlight (Maglite Solitaire) (This one I found broken in a drawer in my house and fixed it. Other than that, the only reason I use it is because it is completely flat and round, with no protruding mirror, grip, or button. It’s great at fitting anywhere, and being easily retrievable. Next, I need an LED one.)
    • Tape Measure (This is the first extra item I carried on my keys. I have no idea why!)
  • Pocket Book (Field Notes/Rhodia).  I always wear shirts with a breast pocket, so a notebook is always a nice, useful thing to put in there.
  • Pen (Zebra f-301) (A good pen. I use a lot of pens, but usually this one if I’m going outside, just because it’s both sturdy and unassuming.)
  • Watch (Cheap Armitron, Walmart Band). I hate stretching watch bands, so I replaced the one that came with my watch. (Also, this is not technically in a pocket.)
  • EDC Altoids tin. (Sometimes, see later post.  It depends on how large my pockets are.)


  • Keychain and Altoids tin (For the sake of pocket space).
  • Second (work) phone (Samsung Tracphone). (The minutes cost more than this phone did. The only problem is texting {unless you need apps}, but since I only use it for work calls it’s great, and really robust for how cheap it was)
  • Bic Mini Lighter (I don’t smoke, but fire is useful, and sometimes I’m unfortunately around people who smoke.)
  • Bandages (More of these to come).
  • Alcohol Swabs.
  • Electrolyte Tablets (dehydration is a real problem in Texas, less so where I live now, but when I visit my family back in the desert, having these with a large amount of water could save quite a bit of trouble.

photo 4

Most people find that the pocket EDC is the most important part of their systems, and I am no exception. What you always leave the house with is the only thing that will matter in many situations. And while I usually leave with one of my higher tiers of EDC equipment, I can say that I never leave without my pocket EDC. Since I developed it, I haven’t left without my belt pouch, either. I put this stuff in my pockets every day, and while I don’t always need to use it (phone wallet is the most used thing, for sure) it’s great to have it there. Just today I needed my knife to cut some rope, the lighter to burn the ends and prevent fraying, and my Micra scissors to cut paper.

I’ve used almost every item in this set, and what I haven’t is stuff that I know I will be super glad I have when I need it. These are things that most people carry around because they are so handy, and I would recommend that most people carry around such things, though perhaps not as extensive an array as mine (I have three blades and two ways to make fire just here). Pocket EDC is super important, and it’s great to have an organized one.

The second, and likely the least worn, tier of my EDC is the fanny pack, though the items contained in it are still used quite often as they are moved into my satchel and backpack as I go to larger EDC carry cases. The fanny pack is a problem in some ways. I use a Custom LeatherCraft bag to store the items inside the pack, and there is little room for both those items and the lower tiers of my EDC. My phone, pocket book, and knife generally stay in my pockets. But the items in my belt pouch might be more difficult to store in the pack and may have to stay on my belt or be attached to the belt of the pack. For this reason, and the stigma attached to fanny packs in general, I tend not to use this system very much. It is still very handy, but I find slightly smaller and/or slightly larger containers to be a bit more handy.

photo 1-3


    • Coleman Poncho (Sometimes rain surprises me, and I don’t want to be caught out in it if I can help it, or to have all my stuff get wet. This doesn’t take up much space and would work in a pinch.)
    • Stylus Pen (Bic Tech. With all this technology I get tired of using my thumb to operate screens all the time. So a stylus is nice for me, though not something I use that often. I have a few combo stylus/pens, and swap them out. I find there isn’t much in the way of difference.)
    • Notebook (Moleskine. it’s always nice to have something to write on so you don’t forget what you’re shopping for, or what you should be doing. If I don’t have my pocket book I like having one in the fanny pack. Moleskines are just what I happened to have, I could also use a Rhodia or Field Notes book.)
    • Business card holder.
    • Bic Lighter (I have another in the Altoids tin for when I’m just carrying that in my pocket, but this one is larger and easier to use.)
    • Multi-tool (Leatherman Juice S2 – The most stripped down multi-tool I could find, and no one beats Leatherman quality. I use the scissors most, so it’s slightly frustrating to have to lift up the can opener every time, but for the amount of function that’s a minor complaint.)
    • Glowstick (Just in case I might need some extra light, this one is a “take it or leave it” item.)
    • Chapstick (Lots of uses there, but I almost never use it because I find Lip balm more uncomfortable than chapped lips unless I have some specific reason.)
    • Tape (Scotch brand red tape.)
    • Bear Grylls Survival Guide (Just for a bit of fun!)
    • EDC Altoids Tin (This is sometimes carried on its own in my pocket with the lower EDC tier.)
      • Tissue
      • Toothpicks
      • Bic Mini Lighter
      • Knife (Victorinox Midnite Manager – I like the red LED for preserving night vision, and the pen as a backup is useful if not comfortable. I think overall this is such a good toolset that it could replace quite a few other things here, but for the moment I haven’t streamlined it.)
      • Light (Maglite Solitaire – Same things as in the last post, but this one I got fairly new.)
      • Container (I have no idea what this thing was or where it came from, but it’s a small cylinder and is handy for liquids. I use fountain pens a lot, so it’s good for ink and such.)
      • AAA battery (New, for replacement.)
      • Electrical tape
      • Eyeglass repair kit (A combination of several kits, and a mini screwdriver that was compact enough to fit inside. The driver used to be on my keys.)
      • Paper Clips (Super Tools.)
      • Twine
      • Alcohol swabs
      • Migraine medication (can’t have too many!)
      • Electrolyte tablets
      • Headache pills
      • Band Aids
      • Cash $20 (For those miscalculations.)

photo 3-3

photo 4-3

I really do like the amount of things that can be carried in a fanny pack, and the robustness of some of the larger tools like the Leatherman Juice. But there is something that is just a bit off about carrying them. It never feels like it’s in the right place, and everything feels more like a compromise. I love having these items with me and find uses for them all the time, but I find having them in a different case works out better for me.

The satchel tier of my EDC was once the most carried tier in my EDC. That has likely been replaced by either my belt pouch or backpack tiers, depending on how you look at it. I like the ease of carry, as well as the relative security, the satchel provided for my items. They are close to me at all times, and as long as the strap is good, they won’t likely fall or get snagged. Even with a filled satchel, it is easy to slip by people in tight spaces, whereas a backpack is more bulky and easier to steal.

Still, I just didn’t get the feeling that I was carrying all I wanted to, and what really killed it for me was the fact that there was no more room. I wanted to be able to bring home things I bought at the store, etc. And since I don’t use a car, something more substantial than the small satchel was necessary. I still do bust it out upon occasion, as it is a great little bag, but it just doesn’t hold up for me.

All of the items in both the belt pouch and the fanny pack are contained in the satchel as well as…

photo 1-4photo 2-4


  • Coleman Poncho (a second one, in case the first fails or I’m with another person.)
  • Checkbook (Sometimes a check is a handy thing. I don’t use them very often, though,
    due to time)
  • Bandana(In Texas, the main use is sweat clearance, but it has a thousand other functions)
  • Survival Tin (Bear Grylls kit minus some stuff. This is just for fun, I have no intention of “surviving” with this stuff. But it could help me get out of a bad situation, or even a mildly unpleasant one)
    • Knife (Gerber Mini Paraframe, partially serrated)
    • Cord
    • Waterproof Matches + Striker
    • Cotton balls
    • Whistle
    • Flint + Steel
    • Copper Wire (Snare Wire)
  • Small First Aid Kit
    • Bear Grylls Water resistant Bag/ziplock (With a red cross added)
    • Forceps (I have a problem with splinters)
    • Medical Gloves
    • Tissue (For nosebleeds and such)
    • Johnson and Johnson first aid guide
    • Waterproof Ziplock (I think most of the items in this bag are fairly self explanatory in their uses, this is really just a boo-boo kit, and has very little expanded capabilities. But I have been stranded an unfortunate amount of times away from home with a bleeding finger, and I guess I have thin blood because I bleed a lot.)
      • Paper medical tape
      • Electrolyte Tablets
      • Single Use Neosporin packet
      • Motrin
      • Hand Cleansing Wipes
      • Butterfly Closures
      • Small Gauze Dressing
      • Medium Non-Stick Pad
      • Band Aids

photo 3-4photo 4-4

The satchel is still my favorite method of carry, but not the most practical. I like what it brings to the table in my system by way of emergency items. However, not much of necessity is contained within. More survival-y items are in the lower tiers, and more first aid is in the higher. It would appear that It’s just the wrong size, and people keep calling it a purse, which I’m fine with, but it still feels weird.

And now I’m up to either the 4th or 5th tier of my EDC (depending on how one looks at it). And that is my backpack. I do live in an urban environment, so none of these items are directed at a survival situation. It seems slightly less modern than it should, and that’s more because I don’t feel the need to carry as many of the more modern tools of the world with me. That’s just my problem.

Fully loaded with all of the items from the lower tiers (which unfortunately or fortunately often create redundancies) it’s about 10 pounds, which I would consider a good middle ground between what should be carried at maximum, and what must be carried at minimum. It is still heavy enough to get tiresome, but not too bad, in my opinion. I can carry on a lengthy conversation while wearing it before my shoulders get sore.

It is also a bit bulky when filled, though I don’t fill it all the way in case I need to get groceries or something. It adds about a “me” again in depth to my person, and when fully filled, it ends up being “me and a half again”, and is quite silly looking. I try and keep it at a reasonably fashionable size, though I don’t end up doing that all of the time.

While I have organized the lower tiers of my EDC for convenience of carry, it seems that I prefer having all of my tools at the same time. So instead of carrying the lower tiers, I am much more likely to just carry around my backpack, even in social settings. I just don’t like only having the satchel or the fanny pack and the fewer flexible options they provide. Of course, my pockets and belt pouch are with me at all times, so my tiers end up being that, and then adding the backpack. So it is definitely my most important tier in that regard.

photo 4-2photo 5-1


  • First Aid Kit (most of this is fairly ordinary, but important stuff, so I won’t go into too much depth. A lot of this is from an off-the-shelf first aid kit, so I’ll mostly talk about what I added.)
    • Over 100 Various Adhesive Bandages(Plastic and Woven)
    • Butterfly Closures
    • Gauze Pads of Various Sizes (nonwoven and/or nonstick)
    • Eye Pads
    • Bandage roll
    • Medical Gloves
    • Moleskin (for blisters)
    • Burn Cream Single-use pouches
    • Insect Bite relief cloths
    • Tweezers
    • Cotton Swabs (applicators)
    • Finger Splints
    • Triangular bandage
    • Safety Pins
    • Paper Medical Tape
    • Instant Cold Pack
    • CPR barrier (surprisingly, this is from an off-the-shelf kit. I keep it right by the zipper so it can be accessed quickly.  It’s one of those items that only matters if you can get it out quickly.)
    • American Red Cross First Aid Guide
    • Space Blanket
    • Emergency Scissors (the crooked kind)
    • Antiseptic Towelettes
    • Antibiotic Ointment (Single Packs)
    • Alcohol Pads
    • Thermometer
    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen
    • Non-aspirin pain killer
    • Neosporin (tube) (Lots of that can be needed, and it’ll last for a long time)
    • Electrolyte Tablets
    • Pill Fob
      • Migraine Medication (more of those)
      • Pain Killers
    • Bandanna (always handy)
    • Israeli Bandage (for something slightly more serious than the rest of the kit will handle. I’m not thinking I’ll be good enough with any of the tools to be the greatest help ever, but I do want something for the “oh my God, the blood” situations.  I’d really hate to have absolutely nothing in that situation. It still wouldn’t help with the “Oh God, there are parts of you everywhere!” situations…)
    • Tampons (for nosebleeds, something I have far too often)
    • Snake Bite Kit (This one’s a bit controversial. I really have it to keep someone uneducated in the workings of snakebites calm. Having someone say “this will help you” is quite a calming thing. And the non-suction cup parts of the kit could be useful in other things. I’d never consider incisions or restricting blood flow to be an option)
      • Suction Cups
      • Scalpel
      • Constriction Band
      • Antiseptic
  • Camera Bag Strap (For my belt pouch, and for the camera bag with a camera in here. In case I want to carry either on my shoulder for a time)
  • Cord (Some inexpensive stuff, just in case)
  • Poncho (This is a much heavier poncho than the other small ones I have. As you can tell, I hate to be stranded in the rain)
  • Gloves (It’s cold out now, but even in the summer I carry some work gloves most of the time. I can never tell when I’m going to be called off to work on something. And in the winter I’ve taken to carrying both work and warm gloves. Some hand warmers are good things to carry too, but I’m not entirely convinced of their effectiveness.)
  • Heavy-duty grocery store Bag (My city has outlawed disposable grocery bags. So I’m forced to carry a reusable plastic one. It’s not like I never re-used the disposable ones, so I guess it isn’t much of a hassle)
  • GermX (The world is covered in Germs, especially cities. I always want to sanitize my hands before a snack or an appetizer, hopefully when I’m eating a meal I can wash them)
  • Leatherman Pouch (It was what I could affix to the pack strap)
    • Sabre Red Pepper Spray (Just in case I’m in a scenario where escape is difficult. Dissuading pursuit is at least an option. And with my pack on, using a knife for defense would be difficult. And since I can’t carry a firearm at the moment, something in between the two seemed necessary)
  • Glasses Case (Self explanatory)
    • Glasses
    • Cleaning Cloth
  • Cash Wallet (sometimes a Flex by Filofax) (My phone wallet doesn’t have much room. if I know I’m going to be spending money, I bring along some cash in another wallet, so that I won’t lose my phone and ID card if my wallet gets lost or taken. I’ve also experimented with using it to carry cards and notebooks, which is fun)
  • Change Purse (I don’t like clanky, scratchy change)
  • Fixed Blade Knife (Mossy Oak) (cheap, but better than a folder in some situations)
  • Map of the local area (Austin TX) (my phone works as a map, but a backup is nice)
  • Bandanas (can never have to many)
  • Monocular (Golf Rangefinder) (just for some fun, bird-watching etc. Easier to carry than binoculars, and if someone’s golfing I’m the guy to talk to)
  • Camera Pouch (Extra camera just in case something goes wrong with my phone {storage used up} and I want to take a picture, or someone else does)
    • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1
    • AA Batteries
  • Game Pouch (I like games, and I feel weird in some situations where people are looking for something to do without them. I vary the card games sometimes)
  • Multi-tool (Leatherman Juice CS4) (I keep the heavier corkscrew and saw model in an easy-to-access compartment at all times.  It’s so handy I almost wouldn’t believe, except for those added tools, that a Juice S2 would work just as well here)

photo 3-2photo 1-2photo 2-1photo 4-1

So that’s (almost) the end of my EDC. My backpack contains quite a few items, and many of them have been used (thankfully, not the first aid kit). Many of them are more emergency items, though, and could be pared down considering how infrequently they are accessed. Still, I don’t want to be unprepared. I do enjoy having all of the tiers will me at all times, and tend to not find them too cumbersome, though there are times when they definitely need to be pared down to a level below. I’m still quite happy with the setup of my pack at the moment, though it is always in flux.

While I have been making this EDC series of blog posts and videos, it usually only occurred to me to put in things that I carry a majority of the time. For me, while other people carry iPods or notebooks, or candy or something else to eat, I like to just keep things down to the basics. I usually find the places I’m going to be more engaging than whatever I bring with me. iPods and iPhones might be great for listening to music and watching videos, but for me they are temporary distractions. Even on long car trips when I’m alone in the back I prefer to shout up front than sit and listen to music. That’s not to say I don’t carry them. But they are far from the things I would like to have with me at all times. It can also be noted that I carry card games in my EDC backpack. I find these more useful than a music player or such. If I’m by myself I usually have a notebook I can doodle in, but if I’m with other people and perhaps we’re bored, everyone knows at least a few card games.

Still, it was certainly an oversight to not include some of the items that are quite important to me in the last articles, but I usually pick and choose which I carry at what time, varying wildly on the situation. Here are a few of the items I carry sometimes that I really like having when I need/want them.


  • Phone Charger (many people seem to carry a charging cable, and backup battery. I find that even with heavy use, my old iPhone 4s can easily get through several days without being charged, and my small phone even longer). So I only carry around a cable when I’m on trips, but when I am, it’s always at hand.
  • Fountain Pens (I love fountain pens, mainly for the writing experience they provide. They’re just fun for me to use. I have a couple of cases that hold 3 or 4 pens that I stick in my bag every once in a while when I’m going out for some time. It’s great to pull out a nice pen and write with it from time to time.)
  • Notebooks (These go with pens for the most part. I carry around a small and large Moleskine book quite often to write my ideas down in, and I try to create one drawing a day. I also carry around more fountain-pen-friendly notebooks sometimes, like Rhodia, or Leuchtturm)
  • Sketchbooks (These are rarer. Strathmore or Picadilly are what I usually go with. These are thicker and generally only for the days where I’ve already been drawing or am trying specifically to create something new. They’re rare enough that I thought they needed their own category.)
  • Pencils (A similar deal to the pens. Having a few pencils around is nice, as I prefer to write/draw with them to ballpoints. But if I forget them it’s no big deal)
  • Flash drive (This used to be an occasional thing, though now I have a dedicated EDC flash drive. I have yet to use it. I’ve just never been in a situation where I’ve thought, “man I need a flash drive right now” or “Man I would have stored that info on an emergency flash drive”, but I suppose when I need it there’s no replacement)
  • Altoids/gum/candies (these seem obvious to me, just for a bit of appetite suppression/ breath freshening/ though provoking. I like mint flavor and can eat what I want)
  • iPod (This is something many people {not in the EDC crowd} carry around that I absolutely loathe. I have never once ever felt it appropriate to use an iPod in public. Perhaps on a plane or bus, but even then I haven’t. That’s just me. I’m not a fan of this as out-in-the-world technology. Despite that, I do carry it sometimes, especially on trips. Mine being the classic model it is quite large and often relegated to a secondary bag.
  • Laptop and Accessories (This is one that a massive number of people have, and that I understand much more. Many people EDC a tablet of some kind, especially in an urban environment. I don’t own a tablet, nor do I want to, so that’s not an option for me. I’ve never really found places outside of my home a good place to work or browse on a laptop, but I suppose they work in a pinch. It’s never something that I want, but again, mainly on trips, I do sometimes carry around my laptop for general use.)

And that’s it. The last part of my EDC (the sometimes/maybe part). I hope you enjoyed reading this series if you have, and that you maybe got some ideas from it. It was fun to write, and I’ll likely be updating in the future with more recent developments. EDC always changes. Until then, I hope you have a good time.

Leave a Reply


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: