8 Items to Improve Your Everyday Carry

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Regardless of your occupation or location, the things in your everyday carry (EDC) kit will often be essential to get you through the day. I have several pseudo-EDC kits in my life. I have a kit in the car, one on the boat, one in my bike pannier and, when on foot, a few items that make me feel unbalanced in their absence.

Most EDC kits comprise what some consider essential gear, but if you are looking to add to your EDC, check out this list of suggested gear.

1. Mobile Phone

Do you remember that day you left your cell phone at home? Your probably do, because your phone is part of your EDC. The mobile phone is possibly the newest member of the EDC kit and, by far, the single most popular. In the case of some, the phone may be the only EDC item they truly have on their person every day. Not only does almost everyone always have a mobile phone on them, the cool among them accessorize their phones.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy S9

2. Multi-tool

The multi-tool is a modern-day miracle in so many ways. Once the sovereignty of the Swiss Army Knife, itself a versatile tool, today’s multi-tools give your EDC kit almost infinite utility options. I asked B&H Explora Senior Copy Editor, Howard Gotfryd, why he was a fan of the multi-tool. “I keep my EDC in my city messenger bag because I commute to the office underground, on the problem-riddled New York City subway system. You never know when an emergency may arise—power lost, train stuck in tunnel between stations, police investigation, unruly passenger, or the now infamous “train traffic ahead of us”—in which a multitool would come in handy to jimmy a door, unscrew a window panel, or perform an emergency tooth extraction; and my Swiss Army knife to slice salami while you’re waiting to be rescued.” (By the way, he just copy-edited his own quote. Twice.)

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X Pocket Knife
Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X Pocket Knife

3. Knife

I am not a knife guy, but many are. A staple of the EDC kit is the knife. Pocket, folding, fixed, serrated, straight, drop point. There are endless options and uses; self-protection, survival, utility, opening letters, slicing mozzarella, etc. B&H Writer Chris Witt says, “I commute by train every day into Manhattan from Long Island, and that requires me to travel through the tunnel under the East River and Manhattan for an average of about 15 minutes each way. The transit system is notoriously unreliable, and if something happened while in the tunnel I want to make sure I have the tools to get out and home safely. The knife I carry not only has a practical blade, it is also equipped with a glass break and strap cutter.”

Leatherman Skeletool KBx Folding Knife
Leatherman Skeletool KBx Folding Knife

4. Flashlight

I remember my grandfather’s lantern battery flashlight—the ones where the flashlight part mounted directly on top of a giant lantern battery. He kept it in his workshop in the garage and I thought the thing was pretty bright. And then MagLight came along and suddenly flashlights were cool. Fast forward a few years and LED technology has allowed flashlights the size of a pen to be way brighter than Grandpa’s behemoth lantern battery.

Maglite Mini Maglite Pro+ 2AA LED Flashlight with Holster
Maglite Mini Maglite Pro+ 2AA LED Flashlight with Holster

5. Watch

It seems that a whole new generation of people rely on their phones when it comes to determining the time of day. Personally, I cannot be without a wristwatch. Maybe it is the pilot in me, or maybe it is because I learned how to read analog time before the smartphone was invented. Who knows? What I do know is that watches have never been cooler. How beautiful is the analog Garmin vivoactive 3 watch that doubles as a fitness tracker? And, of course, the latest wrist rage, the “Smart Watch” syncs easily with your smartphone. Wristwatches are still cool, and will be forever.

Garmin vivoactive 3 Sport Activity Tracking Watch
Garmin vivoactive 3 Sport Activity Tracking Watch

6. First Aid Kit

“Really? Why do you need a first-aid kit? The answer is, ‘duh,’” said Chris Witt, when I asked him why he carried one. I carry a small one in a waterproof case inside my bike pannier so that I can patch myself up after a crash and get to work—hopefully without being a bloody mess!

First Aid Kit

7. Pen and Notepad

“Don’t forget ideas!” said a former B&H employee. In the digital world, just like there is a certain pleasure to shooting a film camera, there is still a need to write on the page. I’ve always been a fan of the Fisher Space Pen and its ability to write at any angle. It turns out a lot of my B&H teammates have not given up on the art of writing. Matt Sinclair tells me that he carries the DuraRite note pad because “a pencil doesn’t bleed and rain happens.” Coming back to our intrepid Senior Copy Editor, he shared with me the following: “Being a compulsive—but old-school analog—list-maker and note-taker, I like to carry an all-weather pen and notebook. Rite in The Rain All-Weather products let me do this under any atmospheric conditions.” Also, check out this product category for multi-purpose survival pens and other emergency gear.

Rite in The Rain All-Weather Pen and Notebooks
Rite in The Rain All-Weather Pen and Notebooks

8. Paracord

Hang out around survivalists enough and you might hear this phrase: “550 is the only number you need to know.” Paracord, short for parachute cord, is lightweight nylon line (rope for non-sailors) that can be used for almost anything, including repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. There are different types, styles, and strengths. “550 cord” has a breaking strength of 550 pounds.

Tamrac Quick Release Strap - Paracord Wrist Strap
Tamrac Quick Release Strap - Paracord Wrist Strap

Tell us what you have in your EDC kit! To read more articles about everyday carry solutions, click here.

12 Comments

I was lost for about two weeks. I didn't have my Swiss Army knife with me. After drying clothes, the dryer sounded like it had a pair of tennis shoes. I use my Swiss Army knife to tighten screws (handy for eyeglasses), I used it this past week to remove a splinter. I'm looking to get the Swiss Champ, but I may have to reinforce my pants pocket.

Hey Ralph,

I know what you mean. I lost a reliable old Space Pen that was so weathered that a lot of the black had been warn off. It still bothers me that it wandered off (research suggests that dropping your laundry off at a laundry mat greatly increases your chances of not getting small items left in pockets back). I hope it turns up some day.

Thanks for reading!

FYI, the sunglasses image is not correct. That's actually a Smith product. The link does work, however.

Hey MT,

Thanks for catching that error. I will notify our art department and then terminate them immediately. Thanks for reading!

I'm curious about the Swiss flag emblem on the first aid kit. Is it like the Swiss Army knife? (I know it's supposed to be a first aid symbol but it's a copy of the Swiss flag. I'm surprised they haven't asked that their flag not be used to represent first aid.)

If memory serves correctly, the Red Cross organization was first founded by Henri Dunant, a Swiss citizen. That organization was in Europe originally. The organization adopted the symbol of a red cross on a white backgound, the reverse of the Swiss national flag of a white cross on a red backgound, in honor of Dunant's contribution to the care/safety of wounded soldiers, the original goal of the organization. The Swiss nation, always a neutral in timesof conflict, probably takes pride in the red cross symbol

Thanks for the history lesson, Chris! I honestly did not know about this history. In Islamic countries, the Red Cross is known as the Red Crescent and has a different symbol. I learned this when flying helicopters in the Persian Gulf.

Thanks for writing in!

Hi Wally,

I think Chris's post will keep me from going on a web search for answers. But, good question. That symbol is so common, I've never given much though to its origins.

a clean, dry pair of socks and an energy bar

Good stuff, Bill! Thanks for sharing!

EDC kits should include tourniquet, Israeli IFAK first aid and means to stay hydrated.  If you get thirsty or stop sweating, it's too late, you are seriously dehydrated and need water now.  

Thanks for the tip, Ken! Luckily for us in New York City, there is a store on every corner that sells expensive bottled water!

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