Every Day Carry

by Frank Martin

“Be prepared.”
-Boy Scout motto

Granted, I never made it to Eagle Scout, but that was more thanks to factors outside of my control than anything. Either way, this is probably the best two word definition of the increasingly popular idea of EDC, or Every Day Carry: having an assortment of items that you carry on a daily basis for various reasons. Not that this is that new of an idea.

We all carry any number of items around with us on a daily basis, yet there seems to be this idea that a minimalist spends his days with empty pockets. While this image has a certain poetry to it, at least for me its very much not the case. I find there are a number of items I carry on a daily basis that are worth stuffing in various pockets:

the “Naked Without” Tier:
These are all items that I have on me throughout the day. I doubt many will be foreign to most people. As the Urban Prepper over on YouTube says, I’d feel naked without these five items

-Samsung Galaxy S5 & Bluetooth headphones: I know, I know. A minimalist that carries a smartphone? Heresy! I’m a geek and a technophile, and I love this thing. Shoot me. I’ll be putting a post of app recommendations up later, but this is one pocket occupant that gets regular usage. If I really wanted to, I could probably get rid of at least a couple other items that duplicate functions the phone does, but I choose not to because I love me some old school analog goodness. I love the headphones because, well, cords drive me nuts. I have been asked why I’m wearing a stethoscope though.

-Victorinox Spartan II pocket knife/keychain: For a while I had an Acura fob on my keychain, but then I noticed my pocket knife had a keychain loop on it and, well, the rest is history. The Spartan II is a standard size pocket knife, so this might not be ideal for some people. I also have a Boker Quartet that I carry on occasion, though I’ve found myself in need of a bottle opener often enough that the pen knife just wasn’t doing it for me as my EDC knife anymore.

-Big Skinny wallet: I carried a leather billfold for ages, but I’ve gotta say I love this wallet. it’s made form recycled bicycle tubing, and has a coin pouch on the side, which, if you use cash and having change loose in your pocket bugs you like it does me, is really nice. I’ve had a couple different wallets, mostly leather since I was a tween, and I prefer this one over all of them.

the Tool Tier:
While I don’t have these items on me all the time, if I’m in street clothes, I more than likely do

-pocket notebook & pen: A Field Notes notebook, and Zebra F-701 pen, have taken up permanent residence in my breast pocket. I use my phone for a similar purpose and if necessary I could leave this bit of analog tech at home, but often its just easier to flip the notebook open and scribble a note than fiddle with Evernote. I used to carry a Cross that had my name engraved on it. It was a gift from an aunt and I love that pen. However, when I saw this video, I pretty much immediately bought an F-701 and a Fisher Space Pen refill and haven’t looked back since. This might just be the best entry level EDC pen ever conceived.

-glasses cloth & handkercheif: My eyesight has been horrid since I was little. I’ve worn glasses since I was a toddler, but up until recently, for some reason I didn’t carry a glasses cloth and my glasses ended up being, well, gross on a regular basis. Now not only can I see, but the person I’m talking to can see my eyes, which, psychologically and socially is a big plus. If you wear (sun)glasses you really should carry one.

This’ll probably get me disgusted looks, but a handkercheif is pretty darn useful, and I don’t carry the same one every day. If it gets used I toss it in the dirty clothes and grab a new one in the morning.. Decent handkerchiefs aren’t that expensive, a pack of thirteen is $14 on Amazon. Disposable tissues are incredibly wasteful, and I’ve actually had a lot more exposure to mucus and other bodily secretions thanks to bleed through using them than I have using a cloth handkerchief. I know some people think hankies are germ ridden, but they’re only gross if you use the same one all the time and don’t wash it.

the EDC Backpack:
When I’m out and about during the day I’ll carry a backpack with the following in it. Many of these end up in jacket pockets instead if its cold:

-Kindle Paperwhite/paper book: Being a voracious reader, I love my Kindle. Not the easiest thing to carry around on a regular basis except that my favorite medium weight winter coat has a pair of inside pockets that are the perfect size for my Kindle and Galaxy. That said, in the summer I could easily leave it at home and use the app on my phone instead. More and more, however, I find I enjoy carrying a physical book, since I read like I breath. When I do, it usually goes in my backpack.

-Planner: I described my organizational set up last week, and while I don’t carry my commonplace or logbook around with me, I do carry my planner. These days I don’t really have many commitments beyond the same work session with my best friend/editor, farmer’s market visit, etc, each week, but I do have doctor and other appointments, plus its just best to get in the habit of carrying it around.

-extra handkerchief in a ziplock: On the off chance I run into someone in need its nice to be able to offer a clean hanky.

-Light hooded jacket: I live in the Northwest, where it can rain at a second’s notice, so I like having this with me. It rolls up into a nice little roll and gets stuffed into the bottom of my pack.

-iPal charger & flashlight: I’ve been wanting one of these for a while and finally sprang for one. I have yet to test out its recharge capabilities, but its got a great flashlight in it.

-Maglite flashlight: My current primary EDC flashlight. I could probably use this thing as a weapon for self defense in a pinch.

-Junker pen & Sharpie: I’m definitely not loaning out my Frankenzebra, so I carry a disposable in case someone needs one. I’m kind of tempted to replace this with a Frankenzebra, but its kind of expensive for a give-away. I’ve been considering getting one of the metal sharpies, but for now the disposable kind works just fine.

-ziploc with moleskine brand pencil sharpener & eraser: My planner has a wooden pencil clipped to it, so I need a sharpener (though I could probably use my pocket knife if I really wanted to) and since there’s no eraser on the end of it, I like to have a separate one with me.

I suspect that some of these items seem a bit retro, but I kind of like being retro. Of course, maybe I’m not as unusual as I think.