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The Ultimate Guide To Everyday Carry

Whether you’re a hardcore outdoorsman, an urban adventurer, or a casual weekender, you’re participating in EDC, even if you don’t know it. EDC - which stands for ‘everyday carry’ - is a concept which has been gaining headway recently, but is not so ubiquitous that it has entered our common lexicon in the same way as things like ‘hashtag’ or ‘gluten-free.’ Similarly, it isn’t just a trend to be dismissed as a passing fad. It deserves the kind of respect and consideration befitting a generations-old tradition. Because, in truth, that’s what it is.

What is EDC?

Though the terminology is relatively new, the core idea behind everyday carry goes back to the days of cavemen. Literally. If that sounds like a little too far of a stretch, bear with us. Boiled down to its basest elements, EDC refers to the things that one requires to make it through any given day. So, for a caveman, that would mean something like: a bow and arrows for hunting, a small blade for skinning and field dressing meat, and an animal hide satchel in which to haul everything.

Nowadays, EDC encompasses all those items which the modern man carries on his person day-in and day-out to ensure that he is prepared for whatever might come his way. And it is highly personalized depending on a number of different factors including, but not limited to: environment, profession, locale, necessity, and preference. For example, an urban mechanic who dons all-black-everything is going to have a very different set of gear from, say, a midwestern mountaineer who tans his own leather. The trick behind it is to figure out what you need and what you want and find that sweet spot where the two meet.

Things to Consider

The determining factors surrounding your EDC load out can be fairly fluid and your choice of items will likely require some deliberation. What seemed important at one point may not retain its utility forever. So, there’s no such thing as a definitive everyday carry layout, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself to ensure you’re choosing the right gear for the right time.

What’s Necessary? It seems self-explanatory, but you do need to figure out specifically the things that you cannot do without. Just as a plumber needs a wrench, there are some bare-bones fundamentals that one must have in order to get through the day. This is the core of everyday carry and the one question that absolutely can’t go unanswered.

What Can Be Left Out? Nearly as important as determining exactly what you need, figuring out what you can do away with will streamline your equipment and, by proxy, your daily life. There’s nothing more burdensome than lugging around a bunch of extraneous stuff, so considering whittling down your gear to the basest utility can be hugely beneficial.

What’s Next? It’s important to examine your life in a way that reveals potential pitfalls. Yes, you can probably figure out what you generally need on a daily basis, but what if things don’t go as planned? what if you end up moving to a new city or get a new job? Within reason, you can determine obstacles that are overcome easily so long as you incorporate the solution into your everyday carry.

What’s Your Preference? Just because something is utilitarian doesn’t mean it has to be boring. We are lucky enough to exist in an era where you can personalize your stuff outside of the parameters of function. If you need a rugged backpack that doesn’t have a bunch of pockets, you can have one in a dozen different materials, colors, sizes, etc. Don’t relegate yourself strictly to purpose. Add some flair. Or don’t. The choice is entirely yours.

EDC Gear Types

After you’ve considered what you need, what you don’t, what to prepare for, and how you like it, you’re going to have a general sense of direction regarding what kinds of items to pick up. But, as we mentioned, there are lots of options out there. To make things a little easier, we’ve put together a breakdown of some of the different categories of everyday carry, their varying purposes, and a few options for each.

Wallets

Likely the most common EDC item (and for good reason), the wallet comes in a number of different forms. From simple money clips to heirloom leather bi-folds, most people like to have a vessel in which to store and keep organized their money, credit/debit/business cards, and identification. And it’s certainly safer and less frustrating than fishing around for loose items in your pockets. Though not always openly displayed, a wallet can tell a lot about a person’s values and lifestyle.

Knives

Typically - and wrongfully - pigeonholed as strictly a weapon, knives are much more advantageous than they are made out to be. They can be used as a quick and easy way to open packages, remove tags, cut food, pry open containers, and can even function as a screwdriver in a pinch. If you do choose to add one to your load out, you’ll likely be surprised by how often you end up using it. And, yes, they can be used for self defense, should you find yourself in an unfortunate situation.

Flashlights

Most people spend approximately half of their time on this planet in the dark. It’s just the nature of the Earth’s rotation. And, since we aren’t nocturnal creatures, we can’t see very well at night. So, keeping some kind of way to illuminate your path, brighten up your campsite, or find a dropped item in the shadows is a pretty good idea. Thanks to modern technology, it’s gotten much easier to get a very bright light in a very small package.

Pens

Perhaps you’re perfectly happy with punching notes into your phone. What happens, however, when your battery runs out, you need to leave someone a note, you have to write a check, or you have an idea you’d like to sketch? You need a pen. Sure, you could ask a friend, coworker, or stranger every single time you need one. Or you could actually be prepared and carry one yourself. It won’t go unnoticed.

Watches

Nothing says ‘style’ like a wristwatch. Sure, in this day and age, everyone’s phone has a clock on it, but it’s a clunky and sometimes rude way to check the time. Watches circumvent that problem and lend a bit of sophistication and vigor to the wearer. They also represent fundamentally utility, on top of it. And it’s easy to find one that fits your individual tastes and sense of self. Whether you want something rugged, basic, or smart, there’s a watch out there for you.

Keychains

Whether you live in a mansion, apartment, shotgun shack, or car, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve got a set of keys. And it’s a good bet that you need some way to transport and keep them organized. A good keychain works wonders in that department. Especially if you like to keep a multitool, thumb drive, and/or flashlight on you. There are a lot of different styles and materials. Figure out which works best for your individual needs.

Tools

Unless you are Inspector Gadget, occasions will probably arise in which you need to tighten a screw, clip a thread, loosen a bolt, measure something, or open a beer and you won’t be near your toolbox. If you find yourself in such unfortunate circumstances, a multitool is a wonderful thing to have. Most of them can accomplish a multitude of different tasks while coming in remarkably compact formats and varying materials.

Bags

Sometimes, not everything you need fits into your pockets. Maybe you are off camping and need to store some food. Or you’re backpacking across Europe and you’ve got to store your passport and all your clothes. Perhaps you just need a way to stay mobile with your office equipment. In any case, you’re going to need a bag. Whether you just need one big compartment, or numerous specialized pouches, there’s a pack for the job.

Etc.

Every person’s experience is different. The same goes for EDC gear. What may be a definitive setup for one person could be lacking for another. Similarly, you might want or need something that doesn’t quite fit into any of these specific categories. And that’s fine. This is your gear to do with what you so choose. Maybe you want a notebook on hand at all times. Maybe you need a little cash stash because you sometimes forget your wallet. Make it your own, whatever that may entail.

The Final Word

Remember that everyday carry is fluid. It is intended to change as your requirements and tastes evolve. And you don’t have to be complacent or compliant unless you want to. You can alter your setup, try new things, have a few different groups of gear, or customize your load out for a specific event or outing at your own discretion. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, because, when it all boils down, your EDC is representative of you. And that means you can make of it whatever you wish. Own it. Alter it. Enjoy it.

© Photography by Gallantry

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