In some ways, the “Everyday Carry” hobby reminds me of playing a video game. It allows me to ponder my equipment and accessories, just as I would while preparing for new dungeon or boss battle. There’s that same sense of fun in asking, “What kind of foes will I face today?” Except, instead of defending the world from Lavos or Kefka, I’m battling construction debris and cardboard boxes. Not as magical, perhaps, but it’ll have to do until my landlord starts letting me pay my rent in Gil.
There’s also an aspect of life imitating art here. Your digital alter-ego usually has a fixed number of equipment slots, forcing you to choose your gear carefully. It makes you consider both what you’ll need and how often you’ll need it. Real life demands such considerations from us, too. As such, I’ve gone through and ranked the stapes of my EDC, ranging from most-used to least. It’s a valuable exercise, though the results turned out a bit differently than I expected. Here goes.
#1 – The Watch
These are, without question, the most used pieces of gear in my collection. Every time I look down at my wrist, I’m getting a return for the money invested in these wearable marvels. Whether it’s the spinning gears of the Mako 2 or the Solar/Atomic combo of the Casio, I’m fascinated with the wristwatch game. There’ve been some stumbles along the way (Fossil, Seiko, etc.), but I’m fairly pleased with the small collection I’ve put together.
A word of caution, however – This can be the biggest money pit in the EDC community. Nick Shabazz posted a great video recently, entitled “DO NOT GET INTO WATCHES.” He’s being tongue-in-cheek, obviously, but he also makes a lot of great points. It’s a wonderful hobby to have, so long as you keep things in perspective. Remember, a $10 Casio will often keep the same (or better) time than a $1,000 mechanical.
#2 – The Pen
The more I think back, the more I realize that I’ve almost always carried a pen. From college and food service to manual labor and construction management, they’ve been my constant companions. Yet only recently did I begin to pay attention to the quality of these ever-present objects.
It was the Fisher Space Pen that made me stand up and take notice initially. It’s the first review on this site, actually, back when I was still learning the form and using the “royal we.” I thought I might get other writers at some point, so that’s how it happened. Don’t judge me – I’m not going back to fix it.
From there, I upgraded to pens like the Parker Jotter and Lamy Safari. Now I’m in the land of machined writers, with a TiScribe Bolt in my pocket and a Karas Kustoms Retrakt on the way. I’m even in the market for a new fountain pen. Out of all the active tools in my kit, a good pen has become the most vital.
#3 – The Flashlight
I’ve only been carrying a flashlight for a year and a half or so. Come to think of it, that’s about the same amount of time I’ve had my dog. And let me tell you, potty breaks at one in the morning are much better with something to light the way.
Other than my watch and pen, the flashlight gets the most daily use of anything in my standard loadout. It’s a vital piece of kit for inspections on my jobsite, crawling over machinery and into spaces not designed for human occupancy. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the rechargeable models from Olight and UltraTac. If not for their USB capability, I’d burn through batteries like nobody’s business.
#4 – The Knife
That’s right – The most-reviewed tool on my site ranks near the bottom in daily usage. This was different when I worked manual labor jobs, but even then, it’d only make number three. Now that I spend half of my days in an office, I pass more time playing with the knife than actually using it. Still, I feel incomplete every time I leave the house without one. Not in the “What if I need to defend myself” way, but more in the “There’s a plastic package out there with my name on it” fashion.
If I’m being honest, I use my blades once, maybe twice per day. And yet, other than watches, this is where I spend the most of my hobby cash. Several makers have been good enough to send review samples, but I’m still not getting a lot of daily use for those dollars. And yet, look at the state of my collection:
That doesn’t even count the fixed blades. I have a problem.
#5 – The Handkerchief
The most recent addition to my EDC is also the least-used. Their primary function seems to be to add color to my Instagram photos. Beyond that, they serve as impromptu dust masks, phone cleaners, and door openers (I work in a pretty unsanitary place and tend to avoid skin contact with the door handles). Very rarely do I use them to blow my nose, since I’m not fond of the idea of carrying boogers around in my pocket. Still, I have fun with these little guys. There are some great makers out there, such as Hankensteins, Guerrilla Hanks, and even Recycled Firefighter. It’s a great way to carry a square of self-expression in your pocket, and I’m always on the lookout for new designs.
Odds and Ends
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen several of the items below. Take the Hitch and Timber Card Caddy, for instance. It’s a great little wallet, with enough room for cards, cash, a pen, and a multitool.
There’s also the LifeStraw Go, a filtered water bottle that follows me into the wild (filtering bacteria from lakes and streams) and to work (removing that green and black mold on the inside of the water cooler).
Then there’re the bags I use to tote my gear around. You’ve probably already seen my review of the NutSac Mag-Satch, but I’d also recommend looking at their other bags here. Lastly, there’s the Osprey Comet, which is perhaps the best backpack I’ve ever owned. It’s both my daily worker and my weekend companion, with enough versatility for hiking, office work, and even travel.
So, there you have it: A bunch of consumer goods that some would say I’ve spent too much money on. But you know what? Every single piece of gear here provides me with a valuable service. And unlike their cheaper alternatives, these will continue to do so for a long time. That’s part of the fun of putting together these sorts of collections. They reflect different aspects of your personality while putting some real-world practicality in your pocket.
See you next week!