As the community of Every Day Carry (commonly initialized as EDC) continues to grow, I hear from people intrigued by the idea but not entirely sure what it actually means. The EDC philosophy is built on the cornerstones of utility and preparedness. Here’s a more in-depth overview of the concept to get you started:
What does the term Every Day Carry mean? Is it just the stuff in my pockets?
At the most literal level, your every day carry is the collection of items you carry in your pockets or in your bag on a daily basis. They’re the things you pat your pockets for before heading out the door, the things that would throw off your whole day if you had to do without them. Your every day carry is comprised of items that you find truly essential. Each component should serve a purpose or have at least one specific, useful function. Everyday, your EDC essentials prepare you for the worst and empower you to do your best.
What are the advantages of the Every Day Carry approach to my daily belongings?
At some level, everybody already has an every day carry. But by thinking of what you keep in your pockets as your actual every day carry system, you can get a lot more out of these key items:
- Do more, better: By adding new tools, you have access to all sorts of new functions that make your life better or your day easier. Or, by taking an EDC approach to upgrading essentials you already use, you can maximize their performance and efficiency, giving you a better ‘in use’ experience overall.
- Preparedness and self-reliance: Having these tools at the ready everyday will not only equip you for most of your daily routine, but also for sometimes unexpected situations. Your EDC will help you make quick work of things you might otherwise need help doing.
- Convenience:Sometimes you might not even need assistance to get things done, but you’d have to waste time trying to find the right tool you need. With a well-built EDC, you don’t have to dig through junk drawers, ask to borrow a pen, or give up on something and tell yourself you’ll bring that tool you needed next time.
- Longterm savings: If you invest in essentials that can withstand daily wear and perform up to your personal standards enough to make the cut of your EDC, you could potentially be saving in the long run. Opting for well-made, reliable and durable goods means you won’t spend more to replace inexpensive, cheaply-made disposable items every few months. If you’ve already caught the EDC bug, you might know this isn’t true all the time. But many EDC goods achieve a balance of quality and value that reach “buy it for life” status.
- Personal expression: The individualization of your EDC is arguably one of the most important aspects of the lifestyle. What you carry and use says so much about you. It’s a great outlet for expression that you’ll recognize in truly unique carries. Refining your kit to reflect you is one of the most fun reasons to look for new gear.
What items are commonly found in an every day carry?
There isn’t an all-in-one solution for all your daily essentials — you’ll have to develop a system of multiple items. Most people step out the door with three key items: phone, wallet and keychain. Beyond this, many EDCers include this “trinity” of staple tools:
Knife: When used responsibly, a well-designed, reasonably sized pocket knife safely handles cutting and slicing tasks much better than a house key, a pair of scissors, your fingers or… your teeth. There’s certainly no app for breaking down a box, slicing into brisket or cutting cordage! With that said, not everyone will need a knife, or even be able to carry one legally. But it’s important to view them for their practicality more than anything.
Flashlight: From getting through power outages to looking under couches to navigating a dimly lit path, having a light source in your pocket will come in handy. Some might be content with using their phone’s screen or camera flash for light. Flashlights, with multiple modes and a dedicated battery, perform far better in daily tasks to emergency situations without draining your phone’s battery even more, making them a must-have in many carries.
Multi-tool: The multi-tool embodies many core principles of EDC—utility, versatility, portability. For quick fixes, tinkering and other handy work, having a toolbox’s worth of functionality in a single pocketable tool is invaluable. Common multi-tool functions include pliers, screwdrivers, bottle openers, scissors and other cutting tools, making this all-in-one an essential when weight and pocket space are at a premium.
Luckily for us EDC enthusiasts, the list of useful gear to keep on hand doesn’t stop here. There are many more gadgets that people carry, and these three analog instruments still find their way into many pockets today:
Pen: Not everything is digitized just yet, and sometimes writing with a pen beats tapping away on your phone. An EDC pen takes care of common workplace tasks like jotting notes, signing paperwork or drawing out diagrams to explain something.
Paper: What’s a great pen without something to write on? Soft cover pocket notebooks have been growing in popularity in the EDC community recently.
Watch: Sure, you can keep track of time by checking your smartphone, but then you’d have to go through the trouble of pulling it out of your pocket. This can come off as rude, especially with company around. A watch is beautiful in its own right and can help you keep track of time with a discreet flick of the wrist.
Is it absolutely necessary to carry all this stuff?
Not at all! Every Day Carry is all about making a setup that fits your needs. Just as no two people are exactly alike, their respective EDCs will vary significantly. Acquire and carry what you need according to your lifestyle, location, profession, daily routine, style, budget and so on. In general, your carry should be reliable and functional, but most importantly, personal. A great EDC shows the foresight to include what you personally need for your day-to-day, and the restraint to leave behind what you don’t.
Bernard Capulong is the editor-in-chief at everydaycarry.com, where this post originally appeared. It’s been modified here.
Find more multi-purpose tools in our Pocket Friendly and Every Day Carry Collection.