Introduction and “Standard” EDC – Every-Day Cary 2016-17 Part 1

EDC stands for Every-Day Carry (or Electric Daisy Carnival if you’re into dance music). And, the name fortunately being self-explanatory, it is the general items one carries with them every day. Most people have an EDC but don’t call it that because it’s generally unnecessary. But if you’re a bit nuts about being prepared and organized like me, it’s a nice, easy way to condense the idea of what things you need with you all the time (or various levels of such) and separate it from all of the other things that are in life either for fun or more specific tasks.

This is my 3rd (maybe 4th) year of really being in to EDC, and my 3rd (maybe 4th) year of detailing a list of what I carry (hopefully with videos as well) online in the hopes of being helpful and entertaining. Last year I had a little bit of a debate with myself over what EDC really meant, and if I go by the strict definition, as I am one to do, this set of posts as well as the last one go beyond my (or a) true EDC. Still, I believe that the different layers of organization and carry items are relevant both in the creation of the lower and higher levels and in the sense that they can, I believe, help and entertain as much as and true EDC list would.

I will be breaking this down into chunks, to make them easier (for you) to digest and reference, while ignoring the bits that don’t pertain to you. Some smaller sets of items (like my pocket EDC) will be contained all in one post while larger sets of items (like my backpack) may be broken up into several relevant parts (like the bag of tools in my backpack being its own separate post from the other “sub-bags” in the backpack). Hopefully once I’ve finished and gone through the entire list I can go back and collect it all into one post for anyone who wants to see it all together. I’ll talk a little bit about how I use each layer and what capabilities it provides me with, and follow that up with a list of the items and my various comments about their usefulness, hardiness, aesthetics, or just something interesting about them. Those of you who have read my previous entries in this series will find some familiar items but there are many new ones and things that have been tweaked. One of my favorite things about preparedness kits and EDC is how dynamic it is, and how it can, and should, change regularly to continue to be effective. Coming up with a “perfect” kit and leaving it stagnate doesn’t work out well in the being prepared world. There is no “perfect” kit, and it only gets better the more you experiment.

* Items that are carried on a conditional basis or can be one of a few like items

** Items that will need to be specially treated when going into restricted areas (read: airports) (i.e. liquids and pointy things)

My Main EDC is stuff that I’m almost guaranteed to have on me when leaving the house. If I’m going out for anything I’ll certainly have my wallet, phone, and watch, but more often than not I’ve got all of the items on this list, so naturally, they’re some of the most useful and most portable items I have in my daily carry systems.

(Amazon Links provided may not be the cheapest one’s around. If no Amazon link is available another one will be provided so long as I think the item is of enough importance)


  • Wallet (Austin Leather Tri-Fold Wallet) (I’m not sure the company even exists any more) (I’m not a fan of billfolds because they are wider than my pocket is in some cases, and have fewer card slots or ways to expand. I would still have the phone-case wallet if I wasn’t planning on upgrading my phone at some point and not wanting to buy two of them. This gives me more options anyway.)
    • Mini Lock Pick Set (Without Case. In Ziploc bag) (These guys aren’t great but they are inexpensive and will get the job done if I or a friend gets locked out. They’re certainly better than paperclips)
      • Tension Wrench (Not what I would choose to use in any case)
      • Hook (Medium to Large)
      • Half Diamond
      • City Rake (L Rake)
      • S Rake
    • Bobby Pins x2 (Plenty of uses. If nothing else, they’ll hold hair in place, but now I have quite a few of them hanging around doing nothing)
    • Safety Pins x2
    • Straight Pins x2
    • Paper Clips x2 (Super tools)
    • Band Aids x2 (For when I cut myself every time I buy a new sharp thing)
    • 11 in 1 Credit Card Multi-tool (basically a bottle opener) ** (This thing is super dangerous to hold, and mostly useless. I covered up the sharp bits and it makes a good $1 bottle opener for the wallet)
    • Iain Sinclair Cardsharp 2 ** (It’s a working blade at this size, and it means I can have a functional knife on me essentially all the time. Only for when I have to use it though as I’d rather use anything else)
    • Touch Screen Stylus (Good for when the hands are cold)
    • Cash (Of course)
    • Cards (Of course)

  • Phone (iPhone 4s) (Still, maybe I’ll get a new one soon)
    • Custom Printed Phone Case (It looks cool, but it’s worn out way faster than I would’ve liked it to)
    • Emergency Cash (Comes in handy when you forget your wallet)

  • Knife (Ontario Rat II)** (Still goin’ strong, it’s as close to perfect as they come)

  • Watch
    • Armitron Face (It’s not as pretty anymore but it’s probably my longest running face)
    • Timex Band (The original band wasn’t as good, plain metal ones work better)
  • Change Bag (Small Leather Marble Bag) (I get a lot of compliments on this, separately from the people who are annoyed I have to get my change out of it)
    • Change
  • Keys (Leather Holder) (I ordered a custom key holder from Bulgaria over Etsy. The original clip was pretty cheap and has already broken, but the leather is still beautiful, and the rest of the hardware still going)

  • Belt Pouch (Maxpedition Anemone) (New pouch, quality is incredible, after more than a year it still looks brand new)
    • Two Maxpedition Tac Ties as Belt Loops (I don’t like these, and they have to be retightened periodically, but there aren’t many other options for belt carry here)
    • Leatherman (Juice S2)** (Still one of the best Multi-Tools out there as everyone in the world will tell you)
    • Pen (Fisher Space Pen Stowaway) (Works well; the clip is getting a bit wobbly clipping on to such thick fabric. I’d be open to something else but it’s so small and light I hardly even know it’s there)
    • Flashlight (Coast A5) (One done quit on me, but I like the new color better anyway. I hope the last one was just a fluke because this is the prefect design for me)
    • Work Phone (LG 328BG) (Got a new one because TracFone was changing their network. Not as good as the last one in my opinion but it’s just there to take calls)
    • Whistle (This one was my grandmother’s. It’s a bit rusty but I like the look and feel)
    • Lighter (Bic Mini)
    • Knife (Victorinox Classic SD)** (In lieu of having a dedicated nail file I can have a few other redundant tools as well)
    • Tape Measure (One of the first things I put in my EDC, still there, still surprisingly useful)
    • Worry Stone (Something to do with my hands when there’s nothing else. Unfortunately it gets lost in the bottom a lot and I forget about it)
    • Lens Wipes (Nikon) (For glasses and cameras)
    • Cash $10
    • AAA Battery (Flashlight spare)
    • 364 Watch Battery (Sony) (Watch spare)

  • EDC Altoids Small Tin** (This tin hasn’t changed much since I made it a few years ago, mostly it’s a back-up smaller version of other things in my EDC)
    • Flash Drive (Patriot Tab)
    • Knife (Opinel #2)**
    • Cord
    • Cotton Ball
    • Ziplock Bag
      • Matches**
      • Striker
      • Kleenex
    • Nail
    • 4 Straight Pins
    • Paperclip
    • Electrical Tape
    • 2 Migraine Medications
    • Butterfly Bandage
    • Cash (≈10)

  • Mini Tool Kit (In a GUM Soft Picks Case) (Mostly for repairing eyeglasses and feeling cool about having some small tools)
    • Glasses Screwdriver
    • Razor Blade** (This one is annoying to remember to take out when going through a checkpoint)
    • Paperclips x5 (one insulated)
    • Eyeglass Pads x2
    • Small Screws (2 sizes) x4
    • 5ft of Wire (Wrapped around one Paperclip)
    • 3 Straight Pins Wrapped in Electrical Tape
    • Copper “Snare Wire” (From the Bear Gryll’s Mini “Survival” Kit, I think it’s better suited here)
    • Cut Down #2 Pencil (I shaved the edges to get it to fit in such a small case)

  • Boo-Boo Kit/Hygiene Kit (I hope most of this is self-explanatory)
    • GUM Soft Picks in Travel Case
    • Electrolyte Tablets
    • 5 Alcohol Swabs
    • 1 Alcohol Towel-ette
    • 2 Knuckle Bandages
    • 1 Fingertip Bandage
    • Mini Med Bag
      • 3 Diphenhydramine
      • 2 Acetaminophen

  • Pocket Notebook (Field Notes Expedition Edition) (Such a good book, shows a little more wear than I would like but it holds together better than anything)
  • Pocket Planner (Brownline 2016 Weekly Planner) (Soon to be 2017)
  • Pen (Zebra F-301) (I love these guys and have one wherever I usually need a pen)

Like I said, I hardly go anywhere without this stuff, and as such I’ve tried to make it what I think is the best gear for the job. It’s a collection of my “finest equipment”. There’s probably the most similarity to other people’s EDC here as the things I need are mostly the same as what everyone needs, but there are always those differences, and those become more pronounced the higher up on these lists. My backpack will likely vary considerable from most other peoples’ EDC backpacks. But that’s to look at in the future; hopefully I’ll see you there.

What Do You Really Need To Carry Every Day?

Recently, I’ve gotten into thinking about my EDC (every day carry). And I’ve been setting it up so that everything I could conceivably need and possibly carry in a reasonable weight is on me at all times. Since it doesn’t really bother me to have a backpack, and the only real limitation is that some stores ask you to remove it to prevent shoplifting (which I think is silly, really. It just makes me concerned for my bag, and maybe slightly less prone to shop with you.) I do have everything in a backpack. And now I carry a lot of stuff.

In theory, my system is modular, moving up from pockets to fanny pack (bumbag) then satchel (which I hardly use any more) and finally to backpack. But in practice I find myself just carrying the backpack everywhere. I don’t like going without things, and since in my city it’s illegal to use disposable bags at stores, it’s handy to have around so that I don’t continually have to either carry around a cloth bag and look like a loser walking back to my apartment, or buy a “reusable” plastic or paper bag for a dime every time I go shopping. That should also answer the question of whether or not I have the bag full. I don’t, in order to put things in it when needed. And if I filled it, I would look very out of place (I say that like I don’t already). The bag would be about a “me and a half” wide, in addition to me, which is far too big to be convenient.

But that really does beg the question: do I need my backpack at all? The simple answer is no. Most people get by with a phone, wallet, keys, and maybe a pen and stylus. Some people also have iPads (tablets) and laptops, but I’m guessing those people don’t carry those around all the time. My first-aid kit, fire-starting methods (lighter, matches, flint and steel), poncho, flashlight, notebooks (I am a writer and artist, after all) and other things aren’t really necessary for day-to-day life. But they might come in quite handy at some point, and indeed when I have been out I have used these things, although I’ve used them more for the needs of other people as I am more prepared for what I’m going to be doing. Still, the items are useful.

But how useful does an item need to be to have you carry it every day? Most people could stick a multi-tool on their keys (I have one) and either have that be enough for every task they face, or never even use it. And it would just sit there taking up space and having taken $20 out of their wallet.

Obviously my first-aid kit is impractical, but it could save a life, so I keep carrying it. But for most (social) people it would be far too much of a hassle to keep anywhere but their car. (Side note: you should absolutely invest in a decent first-aid kit to go in your car. Absolutely everyone should have one, seriously, that is something I truly believe should be ubiquitous). I carry it around really because most people don’t. And if something bad does happen, I might not be the best trained to deal with it, but I can at least provide equipment and not be completely useless.

Most of the other items I could do without. In fact I could probably just tailor my items to match up with the groups I’m around most often (for instance, if I’m around a smoker a lot it’s less likely I would need a lighter) and compensate for what they lack. Together, in that scenario, we’d all make one prepared person. But really, I’m with enough different groups of people, and sometimes I go for stretches without really interacting with a group of friends, so I carry all of the things that might be useful to me in any scenario. That is where my level of carry ends, though. If it would only be useful to someone else, and not to me, I don’t carry it. Or, if it’s far too impractical to carry. My bag is a little less than 20 pounds (estimation: it varies) and I wouldn’t want to carry more than that for any significant amount of time.

So do I really need to carry it? No, I really don’t need to carry much. That list I made earlier of what most people carry was fine with me for years, and I had even less in school (I only had a pen and my keys in my pocket then). It’s very easy to get by with that. And the amount of things needed to excel is far too much for most people. I carry around a lot because I like to be prepared. I don’t want to get caught up later because I didn’t take time at the start. And I understand that won’t work for most people. What do you really need to carry every day? Nothing. A phone and a credit card will do almost everything you’d ever need now. But really you don’t “need” to carry anything. In the end, what you choose to carry is based on what you think is the best balance of what you might need, and the lightest load so you don’t get bogged down. And I might go a bit overboard, but I don’t sink.