As a way of life — or at the very least a massive subculture on Instagram, and in practicality a booming trend for several dozen years — you’re likely no stranger to the term EDC: Every Day Carry.
Adapted from the tactical and “concealed carry” world, EDC merges the practical and aspirational, the legal and disputable, the handy and sometimes necessary items you could easily tote along on a daily basis. EDC is a status symbol, an accessory, a life saver, and daily curation of personal style.
Not to be confused with a Boy Scout, EDC takes preparedness to a new level. Think everything from high-end watches and carbon fiber folding knives to small firearms, penlights, key rings, and other compact oddities. EDC simply makes leaving the house easier and more enjoyable. Especially during pandemic times, it’s the little things – the daily comforts – that make all the difference.
Illicit items also slide into the picture. Just like previous generations carried flip lighters and cigarettes, young people today likely slip a vape pen in their shirt pocket (even if it is still a flannel). Starting with switchblades, there’s always been a bit of an edge to the EDC concept… which may contribute to the mystique and widespread social media following behind EDC as well.
If you consider that EDC rests on a foundation of utility, (or as Wikipedia puts it, “to overcome simple everyday problems, and to prepare someone for unexpected or possibly dangerous situations”), then EDC comes down to what you grab every day before walking out the door. A meticulously crafted and personally engraved folding pocket knife could be as essential to your daily adventures as your contact lenses, while others won’t leave home without Mace.
For many people, that extends a bit beyond what fits in a pocket to the belt, the purse, the fanny pack, or even a boot in which cash or a knife can be surreptitiously stored. Larger items like flashlights, fixed blade knives, firearms, and personal computers will often require a separate storage solution, but still remain essential EDC. The purpose and frequency of use for each EDC item determines exactly how you carry it. Though smartphones may by definition fall into in this category, I tend to think of them as outside the realm of true EDC. I have to have my smartphone on me all the time; I don’t necessarily have to have my knife on me to get from point A to point B. But what about phone cases with wallets and keychains? You be the judge. ECD can be fluid and evolve over time with your personality, with your daily habits, and with the state of technology.
All this to say, you’ll find a wide range of staunch opinions on how, when, and where to carry particular EDC items. The beauty is, there’s no wrong way (so long as you don’t venture into full-on backpack territory). EDC is just as much about personal expression as it is about practicality — so make it what you need to make each day that much easier to swallow.
With phones, tablets, and laptops by almost all definitions EDC nowadays, you’ll need technologically imbued cases and covers so that these devices match your personal style and purpose-driven lives. Authentic Horween leather gives the new Nomad laptop sleeve an appearance that is simultaneously rugged and stylish, and only looks better with time and real life use. You can count on this sleeve to provide sleek and effective protection for your MacBook, no matter if you are working from home and traveling from the kitchen to the den or if you’re commuting miles by train. This sophisticated sleeve features a lovely magnetic close, microfibre lining, and access for a USB-C port for charging while protected. It’s available for both 13- and 16-inch models of your 2016 to 2020 MacBook Pro.
I’ve been collecting and carrying pocket knives for more than three decades (yeah, my parents let me play with knives), and my custom engraved Deejo folder is the most stylish, sleekest, most personal knife I own. I have other knives that have been engraved with my name – a chef knife from Camp Chef, and an original Leatherman signed by Tim Leatherman – but my Deejo just feels special in comparison. Maybe it’s the French craftsmanship. Maybe it’s the nautical tattoo inspired engravings. Or maybe it’s the smooth opening and satisfying click into open and locked. In any case, this knife is just so beautiful that it simply sits on my desk, being admired, maybe opening the occasional letter. But it certainly doesn’t have to be that way; I could easily see a Deejo being an EDC pocket knife for any discerning knife owner. Each knife is custom built to order online based on their skeletal 11cm (closed) base model, so half the fun is building your unique knife and then sitting back and waiting for it to appear.
Don’t touch that! Keep yourself safe as you navigate the new normal with this simple device from Leatherman (arguably the original EDC brand) that allows you to interact with any potentially contaminated public surfaces. The Clean Contact Carabiner is a specially designed copper alloy (naturally antimicrobial) keychain allowing you to push buttons, hook handles, and even serve as a stylus for touch screens at the store, coffee shop, or ATM. Distancing yourself from public surfaces just makes good sense these days, and this incredibly simple and economical tool makes an easy addition to your EDC.
Everyone out and about in their daily business needs to have an ink pen handy, even in today’s digital age. It’s still only sophisticated to have something to write with. My dad always had a selection of pens in his front shirt pocket, and it’s a habit I picked up at a young age. But this slick, compact little number improves on that tradition. It’s so well designed, sleek, and durable that you don’t even know it’s a writing device at first. It’s even refillable using common D1 style cartridges. The cap locks in place in both the closed and open position using triple O-ring construction, keeping it securely positioned under all conditions. Easy to use and hard to lose, the Stilwell pen features a removable lanyard. It writes well even in unweildy situations like trying to deposit a check at a street ATM in the rain or get that guys number on a napkin in a dark club, and is available in either titanium or aluminum – both stunning.
Anyone who has studied self defense for very long knows a non-lethal carry is the way to go. Pepper spray will be more useful, more practical, and more legal than anything else you can carry and use to protect yourself. That said, going with a product from PepperBall still puts you in a league alongside thousands of law enforcement agencies globally, and has a non-lethal safety record spanning 20 years. The brand’s new Compact Launcher weighs less than 3 ounces and can be inconspicuously stashed in any pocket or hand bag. Yet this new single-shot launcher sends PepperBall projectiles 130 miles per hour to disable threats from up to 30 feet away, creating a kinetic impact and debilitating 12-foot irritant cloud, and giving you time to run away.
For something a little more intimidating, the Pepper Ball Tactical Compact Pistol (TCP) provides non-lethal protection in a lightweight, compact, multi-shot launcher. This pretty damn cool military-grade device features an undermount rail and supports original .68 caliber PepperBall rounds as well as long range VXR projectiles, and can be used with both CO2 and N2 cartridges.
I love Gerber knives and products and the Gerber Covert Auto can handle pretty much anything you throw at it in any number of suboptimal conditions that you might find yourself in. One push and this knife is ready for action faster than you can lift your finger off the button. The G10 handle with tactile grip makes sure it won’t slide out of your hand in the rain (or heavy palm sweat), and the stainless steel blade coated in black oxide holds up under the elements. At 8.7″ from tip to tail, it is well within EDC standards but gives it a little extra oomph in more demanding situations. Even the tail end of this knife serves a purpose, with a tapered strike point and lanyard hole. Two caveats with these:
- Make sure with your local laws that automatic or auto-assisted knives are legal in your state.
- To obtain a Gerber automatic knife, you will have to provide proof to Gerber that you are active military, a veteran, or law enforcement.
I’m not sure if I could count on both hands the number of times I’ve locked myself out of my own house and also my car in a rush to get out the door or hold the dog with an armful of bags. Instead of calling a locksmith or breaking into my bathroom window a basic lock picking kit would save a lot of money, stress, and skinned knees crawling through the windowpane. There are everyday objects and there are everyday skills. The set will give you both, plus a good dose of self-sufficiency as you solve the problem on your own and with less damage to your property. This kit contains a practice lock, a rake pick, a hook pick, a couple of textured handles, a tension wrench, and a manual to give you all the info you need to add a valuable skill set to your repertoire.
There are a lot of knives out in the world to select from, but the new Pachmayr knives designed specifically for the Every Day Carry enthusiast are worthy of your time and consideration. There are six different lightweight and comfortable styles all designed for different specific uses so sportsmen, shooters, professionals, and law enforcement can all be supplied with the right types of products that they need. Compact and affordable without sacrificing durability, your knife of choice will fit into your EDC setup without a hitch in whatever way you want to carry it – on your belt, in your pocket, or even strapped to your pack. Stainless steel alongside fiberglass, wood, stone, or aluminum handles give these knives a graceful but formidable presence. There’s no reason to leave the house without one anymore, with the largest option still coming in at 8.5″ unfolded and less than $100, and the smallest at only 6.75″ and a mere $25.
A top-rated Vape Pen, the Special K is sleek, discreet, elegant, and fits nicely into your hand. Designed and developed in the USA, this is a fully refillable pen with a lifetime warranty on the battery. Each pen is handmade one by one It even comes with its own carrying case for protection and added discretion. This makes a great choice for anyone on the move who simply wants to go about their business, ready for whatever stress or social occasions the day may bring, without attracting undue attention.
“This powerful and fun Micro Flashlight is designed to put a smile on your face by combining a whimsical body with a high-quality task light that’s built to last. Featuring the convenience of rechargeability and four bendable Gear Tie legs, this BugLit can hang, wrap, sit, and stay almost anywhere. Four push-button activated modes allow you to use this task light for everything from reading to nighttime visibility. The included lightweight S-Biner allows you to easily attach and detach this BugLit to zipper pulls, backpacks, and more.”
A highly versatile and practical little device, this bug light features 4 bendable legs and S-Biner that allow a large variety of attachment options. It can also stand on its own, and is fully rechargeable and lightweight. The tiny flashlight can illuminate those hard to reach places while also putting a little smile on your face. It’s true that there’s nothing like a bug when it comes to getting around through nooks and crannies with ease, so it makes sense for this handy light to take after that kind of accessibility. Wrap it around your finger or on the edge of your desk, attach it to your keychain, or take it to its most natural habitat – sitting on a tree branch to light up your after-dark adventures.
Ledlenser has been one of my favorite outdoor lighting brands for years, and I use several of their headlamps and lanterns regularly on both daily and extended adventures. For EDC however, the i6R Penlight is the way to go. This slim, lightweight, modern penlight packs a powerful punch for its size with up to 120 lumens of illumination, including a patented Advanced Focus System that allows you to switch back and forth between a long distance pinpoint beam and broader flood pattern. The pocket clip helps keep it secure on a daily basis. When it’s time for a recharge, simply slip it into the included charging station that doubles as a desk holder and let it sit for just three hours. All of this makes the i6R an ideal pocket penlight for trying to unlock the door in the dark, looking for dropped items, or working in tight quarters.
Need something a little bigger? The P5R is a high-power rechargeable light that is as practical as it is powerful, while retaining versatility with its clip, holster, and dual power settings. Low power mode gets you a full 15 hours of battery life, and the patented charging system is equivalently versatile as it can be used with a wall mount or on the go via an included USB cable. The strobe mode is particularly useful for emergencies with 420 lumens. This light uses the same patented focus system as the i6R allowing the beam to switch focus from tight (almost 790 feet) to broad as needed.
Before the Internet, there was Swiss Army: the original multi-tool and classic EDC, for everyone from boy scouts and farmers to soldiers and hunters. Victorinox built the name Swiss Army Knife, which became synonymous with that EDC represents today — practicality, preparedness, and quality. The new Farmer X is a compact version of the old standby, with a full repertoire of tools packed into a 93mm-thick package. Scissors are a new addition to the Farmer, alongside more familiar elements such as a bottle opener, punch, screwdriver, reamer and saw. Also new from Victorinox is a remake of the iconic Signature Lite, now in a more durable, all-black finish. The sleek black Signature Lite Onyx takes the classic knife but adds a ballpoint pen and nifty LED light and then wraps it all in a dusky black finish for a lifetime investment that will go with you everywhere. There’s also a version of this without the knife blade which is great for carrying on the plane.
// Author’s Note: A version of this story was originally published on Advnture.com, a UK-based publication. When writing this story, I didn’t realize it was going to be for a global audience, as they had recruited me for U.S. content, therefore, I had recommended and included items for discussion that are illegal to purchase, own or carry in some countries. And that got me examining our carry culture here in the U.S. Even my own habits and perceptions and the way I was raised or what I have seen. So take it for what it is, this list is not meant to be exhaustive, and some of these products like the Kershaw Cigar Cutter I initially included have gone out of stock or out of production. But as a consumer category, I’m not gonna lie, EDC is one of my favorites, and there are some amazing new products out there.