Minor Obsession – Every Day Carry

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I have a small confession, I’ve been bit of an EDC (Every Day Carry) obsessive for a number of months.

I blame Jeff Atwood. After reading his post on EDC , I recognised a bit of a kindred spirit. As someone who works two very different jobs and spends a significant amount of time on client sites, what I carry on a day to day basis for work, work or pleasure tends to be quite important.

EDC itself means different things to different people. At its core, it’s taking a long hard look at what you carry in your pockets and in your bags, and trying to be prepared for the range of things you’re either likely, or mildly unlikely to encounter. For some people (read Americans) this means packing two 9mm handguns, fifteen tactical knives and a Burt’s Bees chapstick[1]. For the rest of the world, this tends to approximate to having a cutting tool, a light, wallet, keys and mobile phone (see, that wasn’t hard).

Industry specific EDC becomes interesting, and pocket dumps on the EDC sub-reddit are at their best when someone comes along from a walk of life you wouldn’t normally encounter. It’s interesting to see what tools a person needs to handle their day to day life. Curious as to what a magician carries?

For a lot of people, they’re already carrying a lot of this stuff. EDC is nothing revolutionary, nothing new. People carry stuff in their pockets all the time – that’s what they’re there for. But it is a good idea to occasionally have a think about what you’re carrying.

Personal Carry

“What have I got in my pocket?”

This is not a guide. This is simply a dump of what I keep in my pockets. Note – no One Ring in here.

On me whenever I’m wearing trousers of all descriptions.

Front-left pocket:

Front-right pocket:

Floating: Sometimes a back pocket, sometimes in my front right with wallet:

  • Samsung Galaxy S3 with OEM flip case.

This little collection of things is surprisingly useful, and importantly, are in reach at all times, rather than having to constantly hunt for a tool I need. I was unsure when I first got it just how often a flashlight would be used. Simple answer – lots. Yes, a phone can double as a torch, but it’s one of the quickest ways of eating the battery and is useless when the battery is dead. And the power output of modern LED flashlights is somewhat eyewatering for the capacity.

The multi-tool is used a surprising amount, for a surprising number of applications. The scissors and knife are used daily, screwdrivers slightly less so (although I did have to do an on-piste bodywire adjustment at the weekend). The Leatherman Squirt gives me the advantage of pliers at the penalty of a little bit of weight. If all you need is a blade, a swiss army knife is a damn fine alternative.

The flash drive contains a set of portable Windows tools that allow me to use someone else’s machine to do either development or support at a drop of a hat. It’s not as nice as my own machine, but if I’m out and I need access, I’m not stuck. There’s also portable Vim and a current set of my vim config files, because I’ll be damned if I’m ever without Vim.

Wallets have changed quite a bit over the past few years. Minimal wallets are the current trend, slim things that hold a few cards, measure a few millimetres and fit in to your front pocket. The elephant wallet is a simple wrap of elastic, with space for cards and coins. Most minimal wallets don’t accommodate coins, which works in the US, but less so over here where a pound is still a useful unit of currency. This gives the best of both worlds. I like carrying a small notebook – either for lists, random notes, telephone numbers – there’s a reason why paper is not yet completely dead, unlike my phone battery. The little Zebtra Expandz pen extends up to the length of a regular pen, and is pretty comfortable for notes or extended writing. It takes D1 inserts so you can take your pick from quite a range.

I much prefer having bundles of things vs lots of loose things. As such, there’s a S-biner to hold my tools and keys together, and Cat added an additional wrap of elastic around my wallet to hold the notebook and pen. This reduces the likelihood of leaving any one part behind. Wake up – grab keys, grab wallet, grab phone, add glasses – done.

Ready to face the day.

Trousers – don’t forget trousers.

Resources

If you’re moderately interested in reading/obsessing more, the following places are a good start:

Reddit EDC – Reddit EDC Subreddit. Mostly pocket and bag dumps, and occasional news of products and opinions. Warning – gun heavy.

UK Knife Laws – If you’re carrying any kind of knife, even a tiny Victrinox Classic, it’s good to know the laws.

Carryology – Blog dedicated to bags and EDC. They’ve got a great guide on how to pack a suitcase.

The Art Of Manliness – Despite the somewhat misogynistic name, a pretty good site, they cover EDC tools and concepts on a semi-regular basis.

Candle Power Forums – Everything you ever wanted to know about flashlights, and then some more. And then more after that.

[1] The ubiquitous Burt Bee’s Chapstick has become something of an in-joke on the EDC sub-reddit.