The Military has been influencing our lives for years. You can see it reflected in all parts of our lives like clothing styles, communications technology, medical advancements and so much more. That doesn’t even include the big influences like it’s effect on the economy. But you won’t see any area as effected by the Military as the Every Day Carry (often written as EDC) community. In fact, the EDC community is often made up of active and retired Military, Police, Fire Fighters and EMTs.
If you are new to EDC it’s really simple. It’s just the things we carry on a daily basis, hence the name: Every Day Carry. Some people have to gear up for work but others are just fans. For example, my day job is in an office, so I don’t need to carry bushcraft gear on a daily basis. But if I’m out on a hike you can be sure I’ve got everything I need.
Like many in the EDC community my loadout changes almost daily. I like having options of what to carry based both on need and situation. This is by no means a complete list of all the gear people put in their kit. It’s not meant to be a checklist of all the things you should carry every day. What you carry depends on your job, the days requirements, weather and so on. The gear on this list are just some of my personal favorites.
I’ve broken things down into a few broad categories. I’ll talk about my favorites and what I like about them as well as the popular items in that category.
There are a few items on this list that I think are a good idea to have on you at all times. They just come in handy in so many situations. A good torch is an absolute must have. While there are some great cheap flashlights out there that will absolutely get the job done I splurged a little and got a bit higher end flashlight that still shouldn’t break the bank. If you don’t mind second hand there are always deals out there if you are patient.
I have two flashlights that I always have on me or near me. On my keychain is the Fenix E01. It’s small, light and can really take a beating. While it’s been a solid keychain light I’d like to try out a brass flightlight. I’m looking at County Comm and Peak, both of which make some nice looking lights.
My pocket size flashlight is the EagleTac D25A Clicky. It’s hands down the brightest flashlight I have, especially at it’s size. I have some great lights from 4Sevens, Fenix, Streamlight etc. but the one I carry most is this one.
While the D25A is pretty small and light, when I have to really keep it small I carry the Streamlight MicroStream. Fantastic little light as well and pretty easy on the wallet.
The keychain is where a lot of people like to get creative with their EDC setup. I’ve seen some really loaded setups but I prefer to keep mine pretty light. I work in an office and have access to my bag 99% of the time so I keep my keychain simple. I have a USB drive, Leatherman Brewzer, the Fenix E01 and the Move Bolt pen. It’s all kept together on a Type-2 Carabiner. Some people carry more stuff and flair with theirs as well. I’ve seen some really cool paracord/beads on my Instagram. All the brass, copper and titanium makes my wallet twitch.
Speaking of wallets, this one is pretty much a given. Though I’m thankful I can travel pretty light here as well. I don’t like putting much in my pockets so I appreciate a really small wallet. Right now I’m using a 6 Pocket wallet from One Star Leather Goods. I have several items from One Star and I can’t recommend him enough. I’m thinking about getting one of his micro wallets. I just want to get it as thin as possible. There’s just so many options in this category it’s hard to list them all but a few that I find interesting are the Recycled Fire Fighter Slim Wallet, the Medium Caddy and the Finn Wallet. I’ve also used the Architect’s wallet. I just didn’t like having my notebook tied to my wallet.
I always have my Leatherman Skeletool clipped to my bag next to my D25A. I like that they both fit in the 2″ molle straps on the side of my bag (more on that later). I have an emergency tool kit packed in a Skinth XL Shield. It’s loaded with my Leatherman Wave, extender and bits, MicroStream flashlight, Fisher Space Pen and a sweet little utility knife Derma Safe.
This is another one of those items I’m never without and on the rare occasion I do forget to grab it, I feel naked. It’s almost as bad as leaving my cell phone at home. I have a small collection of knives. Some of my favorites include my Benchmade Mini Grip, CRKT M16, Kershaw Cryo/Cryo 2 and the Blur. But my favorite knives have always been Spyderco. I have the Paramilitary 2 for my big work horse knife but my EDC is the Techno. It’s perfect for an office setting and doesn’t scare people when you open a box from Amazon. There are so many other great brands that draw my eye as well: Lionsteel, Brous Blades, Zero Tolerance and Quarter Master Knives.
Pen & Paper
It really doesn’t matter what you do, I can’t imagine not having pen and paper in your EDC. Even if it’s just a Bic and a cheap notepad it’s just too useful not to have. I’ve been drawn to pen and paper for as long as I can remember so I have a few nicer pens and notebooks. Lets start with the pens. The good things about pens is that the same ink will work in a cheap pen body that will work in an expensive pen body. But people who like pens are looking for something a little nicer. I tend to rotate through a handful of favorites. I have a few pens I rotate through regularly including the Ink from Karas Kustoms, Retro 51 Albert, my vintage rOtring 600, Kaweco AL Sport. The AL Sport fountain pen is also my favorite fountain pen at the moment. This doesn’t even scratch the surface on great pens though. You should check out Pilot, Parker, Lamy and Sailor. Also, make sure to check out Kickstarter for some great pen projects. There are some great tactical pens out there they just aren’t my thing. Though I do love brass, copper and titanium.
For paper, I’m pretty picky. I only use graph paper and I prefer faint lines because they don’t compete with my writing. I also like the paper to be crisp and white. Fountain pen friendly is a bonus but not a must. My two favorites are Field Notes and Rhodia Ice noteboks. Field Notes usually come in 3.5 x 5.5 memo style notebooks and I stick with the graph editions. Some people collect them because of their limited runs but I just use them. I use a Circa notebook filled with paper from a Rhodia #18 (cut in half to fit the jr size). Rhodia is also fountain pen friendly and I do most of my long writing on that paper anyway. But there are so many great options like Word Notebooks, Midori Traveler’s Notebooksa>, which are stunning, Baron Fig, Clairefontaine, Doane Paper, Moleskine and so many more. There are also so many cool pen cases and notebook covers that it’s a whole other thing unto itself. There’s so many ways to customize how you carry and use your gear and that’s a big part of the appeal for me.
To tie it all together you need a great bag. Of all the gear I’ve pulled together for my daily carry finding the right bag has been the hardest. Until I realized there wasn’t one perfect bag for everything. While I love MOLLE webbing and my Vanquest Trident is probably my favorite bag it can still be a little intimidating to carry into a book store or coffee shop because of how military it looks. To help with that I also added a little bit of flair and instead of getting tactical black I opted for grey color. But this bag isn’t perfect for everything so I have a nice camera bag and a smaller Tom Bihn Synapse 19. It’s so light and works anywhere I want to take it. On my quest for the perfect bag I’ve tried Maxpedition, 5.11, Hazard 4, Condor and many others. And while all of them have features I liked I keep coming back to the Vanquest. What bag you carry really depends on your personal needs and preferences. For example, I love my sling/messenger style bags but only for carrying a very light amount. Any weight and a single strap just doesn’t cut it. (Saftey tip: always way single strap bags CROSS BODY when out. It’ll help prevent it from getting snatched.) If you like leather then I recommend checking out Saddleback Leather. I had one for a short time and it’s nothing short of amazing. It was just too much bag for me. Some other brands I haven’t had the pleasure of testing yet are TAD, Kifaru and Goruck.
There are so many little things I carry I just wanted to name a few stand out for me. Everyone needs a good handkerchief or pocket square. I like mine to have a little more modern look to them so I get mine from Hanks by Hank. I’m often wearing some paracord and I get mine from The Cord Kid. I carry a small hygiene kit that includes toothbrush, floss, meds, bandaids, beard wax, etc. I also have small office kit that has all the basics like tape, paper clips, pencil sharpener and an X-Acto. Of course that’s in addition to my favorite pens. And I can’t go anywhere without my trusty hat, shades and iPhone. I also keep a small camera with me in case inspiration hits.
I hope you found this useful. I get asked about gear all the time. I guess I’m the defacto EDC expert among my friends so I get questions about what I carry or for suggestions these kinds of things all the time so I wanted to share this in hopes that it helps. I carry what helps me get my job done and be prepared for the little things in life that pop up. I’ve always lived out of a bag and there are some items I just like having within arms reach. I know most of you can relate.
Did I forget anything? Do you have any suggestions for alternative gear or just want to share your personal favorites? Let me know in the comments below!