Our Top 10 Everyday Carry Essentials

The phrase "everyday carry" (frequently abbreviated as EDC) has been used for years to indicate items that people carry with them on a daily basis. It's a simple concept, but something that many people take pretty seriously.

If you're familiar with the everyday carry community, you already know that it's primarily about sharing your favorite EDC tools, gadgets and gizmos. Although some people may find this trivial, there are benefits to putting thought into the items you carry.

Choosing the right everyday carry gear is primarily about three things: utility, convenience and self-expression.

First, the gear you carry should be functional. It should serve a specific purpose, whether that purpose is keeping your important items secure, opening a bottle or helping you see better in the dark. Multi-purpose items are especially useful.

Second, your EDC gear should make life more convenient. Part of that convenience is finding items that are easy to carry (i.e. compact and lightweight).

Lastly, your everyday carry gear can actually say a lot about you and your personal taste.

After spending some time mulling over this subject, I've come up with my top 10 everyday carry essentials. Obviously this list will be different for some people, and that's okay. The real point of EDC is just to think about what you carry, why you carry those items, and possibly how you can do things better or more conveniently.

1. Smartphone

If there's one device that is truly multi-functional, it's a smartphone. From texting to Googling to mapping, your smartphone is a powerhouse of productivity and entertainment. Of course, a phone can't do everything, which is why you'll likely need to carry a few additional items.

2. Wallet

Keeping your money, credit card, license and other essentials organized is an important task. Choosing the right wallet can make a big difference in convenience. From minimal to elaborate, wallets are available in a wide array of styles to suit almost any preference. Planning to do some traveling abroad? Consider picking up a concealable travel wallet for added security.

3. Pocket Knife

Everyday Carry pocket knife

A knife is a popular EDC item, and for good reason. Whether it's opening a package, slicing an apple for lunch or trimming a loose string off your shirt, an EDC knife comes in handy quite often. A knife can also be a life-saving piece of gear. In the event of a bad car accident, for instance, a pocket knife can be used to quickly cut someone free of a stuck seatbelt. This is why nearly every police officer and EMT carries one.

4. Multi-Tool

What's even more useful than a knife? How about a multi-tool knife? From pliers to screwdrivers to toothpicks, multi-tools put a wide array of functional implements right into your pocket. There are hundreds of different multi-tool designs, too, from the popular Leatherman to minimalist tools that attach to your keychain.

5. Paracord

In the great outdoors, paracord is an essential piece of survival gear. Although cordage doesn't have quite as many uses in urban settings, there are still several potential benefits to carrying it. Snapped shoelace? Splice in a section of paracord, retie your shoes and keep on truckin'. Forget to bring a hair tie? Make your own. Broken zipper-pull on your jacket? Well, you get the idea.

6. Small Flashlight

There are occasions when seeing what you're doing is pretty important, especially at night. If for some reason you find yourself in a poorly lit area, having a compact flashlight on hand can be a lifesaver. Sure, your smartphone may have a flashlight app, but what if your battery happens to be too low (as they so often are)? Better to be ready with a backup.

7. Keychain

All those keys aren't going to stay together by themselves. A good keychain will not only keep your keys organized, but it will also retain a variety of other handy items, such as a compact flashlight or small tool.

8. Pen and Paper

Obviously the notepad app on your phone is convenient, and texting is basically instantaneous, but what if you need to leave a physical note for someone? It's not common these days, but there are occasions when an actual pen and paper are necessary. Just grab a small notebook or tuck a few extra sticky notes inside your wallet and you'll be good to go. Real-world notes also make a nice impression when you leave them for friends and loved ones.

9. Handkerchief

Almost everyone has been in a situation where they needed a tissue and just didn't have one. Keep a handkerchief in your pocket, and you'll always be prepared for a sudden case of the sniffles. A handkerchief also has dozens of other uses, from cleaning the grime off your sunglasses to creating a makeshift bandage. Don't leave home without one.

10. Water Bottle

Everyday Carry Water Bottle

Hydration. We all need it, and a water bottle is probably the best way to get it on the go. Bringing water with you is also a very good way to avoid being stranded in your car or on a subway without anything to drink.

Did we miss anything? What are your everyday carry essentials? Share your favorite EDC items in the comments.
Comments (1)
8/5/2016 at 11:55 AM
Matches or a lighter. You don't often need fire, but when you do, you really need it. I also carry $20 in cash for the same reason.
  • Thanks for the comment, David. I agree that a small lighter and cash are also good EDC items. I always have at least two fire starters in my survival kit for hiking and backpacking. Cheers
    Comment made on 8/8/2016 by Beren from Northern Colorado
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