Some call it a trend, a lifestyle or a hobby, but one thing is certain; everyday carry has become a hot discussion amongst men around the world. Today’s post is all about EDC and how to create a kit that works for your lifestyle.
What The Founder of Everydaycarry.com Has To Say – Most Men Want Tactical Stuff
When Bernard Capulong started his blog about what he liked to carry, little did he realize that the site would rapidly grow and soon he’d have an entire staff working to bring fresh content to their site.
I sat down with Bernard to get an idea of what’s trending and what EDC essentials are being carried by well-dressed men.
What’s interesting, is that a vast majority of the men who frequent Capulong’s site are looking for tactical items such as the kind soldiers and police officers might carry. Matte black knives and multi-tools tend to be some of the most popular, followed by tactical flashlights and backpacks with military webbing.
Not exactly what we think of when we discuss the men who read Gentleman’s Gazette. So , this guide is all about the discerning and dapper gentleman who wears a suit to the office and a blazer and bow tie at home.
The EDC Essentials Everyone Should Have
There are three essential items that almost every man carries.
After that, it tends to be a mix. Whatever they happen to need that day or items that serve them well in their job or their lifestyle.
Some men might opt to carry a little and others a lot. So where do they store them? We know that filling out suit pockets with heavy items can harm the suit and stretch the fabric. So here are a few bags that you might find can help keep all of your EDC gear in an organized fashion.
Briefcases & Messengers
The distinguished gentleman has traditionally carried an attache case or another briefcase. The modern gentleman often uses the messenger bag. If you wear a suit during the day, a pack like the one listed below isn’t going to cut it. However, a nice leather messenger bag or briefcase certainly will.
EDC Essentials Most Gentlemen Should Have
There are three essential items every modern gentleman should have with him at all times.
- A good wallet
- A reliable cell phone
- A handsome keychain
The wallet has long been used as a method of carrying cheques, bills, coins and credit cards. Today, men are using their wallets as fashionable accessories. Whether you prefer a classic billfold, a slim sleeve or a coat wallet that slides neatly into your breast pocket, there is an extensive range of wallets available for the discerning gentleman, however most use cheap leather that ages poorly. Also, the colors available are usually limited to brown and black and the nylon and plastic liners just don’t do a custom suit justice. Therefore we recommend wallets made of all aniline dyed leather because they will age well, develop a patina and bring your pleasure for years to come. Take a look at out favorite wallets.
Fort Belvedere Billfold Wallets for 10 Credit Card – $285
My personal choice for daily carry, the Ettinger Sterling Collection has a selection of boldly-conservative billfolds for even the most dapper gentleman. All of the wallets are available in various formats and options. Handmade in London, Ettinger is globally recognized as one of the leading wallet manufacturers since 1934 and holds a Royal Warrant for its exquisite leather goods. Click here to get the same wallet I carry.
A cell phone has become a staple of everyday life. The most used item in EDC, the smartphone is a lifeline for emergencies, a camera for memories and a database of information. We can check email, send instant messages and even do our banking with it. With millions of apps, there is no limit to what can be achieved via cell phone. Of course, the only limit is what we place upon ourselves. For that, take a look at our cell phone etiquette guide.
Keys are a necessity. We use them to drive our cars, enter and lock our homes and gain access to a variety of other things like offices, boats, cabins, even bicycles. What a gentleman hangs his keys on is often a direct reflection of who he is. Is the keychain a plastic beer can? Perhaps a rubber Homer Simpson? Maybe it’s a simple rhodium key ring. A lot can be told by the accessories a man chooses. Here are two key holders we recommend for very different gents.
Keyport Slide – $59.95
Discreet, packable and easy to slip into a pocket or a bag, the Keyport Slide Pro is a sleek little device that’s roughly the same size as a box of Tic Tacs. It holds six of your most important keys (standard, high-security, chipped auto) and comes with a built-in flashlight and pen. No more bulges, jingling as you walk or keys scratching you or your clothing. For the modern gentleman, this handy tool is perfect if you’re a guy on the go. Click here to get one.
Dunhill Key Case – $191
For the more distinguished gentleman, we recommend a key hanger like this one from Dunhill. Similar to a leather wallet, it opens up to reveal hooks that hold your keys. It too protects your pockets and limits the jingles and poking. Easy to slide into a coat pocket or a briefcase, it’s the perfect accessory to carry your keys in when you wear a suit to work. Click here to get one for yourself.
Recommended EDC Essentials For The Modern Gentleman
Aside from the basics, there is a small selection of EDC essentials that we highly recommend all gentlemen carry with them in addition to the keys, wallet, and phone.
If you don’t plan to carry any of the items listed below, at the very least, pack the following in your EDC kit.
Every gentleman should have a wrist watch. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $30 watch or a $30,000 watch, having one on your wrist is not just an accessory to your attire, but it means you can quickly check the time without having to take out your phone. In restaurants, meetings and on dates, taking out your phone is catastrophically rude. However, a quick glance at the watch is far more discreet and in many cases, even considered appropriate. Especially if you have somewhere else to be. For a detailed look at our top recommend watches check out the following guides:
Business Card Case
If you work in any professional capacity, chances are you have a business card. Heck, my grandfather who has been retired for the last thirty years even has a calling card. The business card deserves respect, and so does the person you’re giving it to. If you’ve ever traveled to Asia for work, you know that when someone presents you with a business card, it’s done so formally. The least we can do is slide it out of a beautiful case instead of scrounging around for it in the depths of our wallet, or worse, our pockets.
Fort Belvedere Business Card Case – $150
For many years, I’ve collected calling card cases. I probably have 15 or 20 of them, but for the most part, they sit in a drawer in my office, untouched. Today, the only case I carry is this one from Fort Belvedere. I promise you, that if it’s in your budget, you won’t regret getting it. It is, all things considered, the most beautiful card case I have ever seen and I often receive compliments from business associates and strangers when they see me pull it out. Take a look here.
You don’t see them very often anymore. Perhaps that’s why I am often complimented when people see mine. See, although handkerchiefs have a longstanding history of being used to blow your nose, mine rarely – if ever – comes out for that purpose. Usually, it’s for my kids noses. I’m partially joking. A handkerchief is useful for many things.
- It can help quickly rub a scuff off your shoe.
- It can quickly dry a spill when there’re no napkins around.
- It can be used as a napkin.
- It can be used to open the door of a public restroom when the man in front of you neglected to wash his hands.
- Or to dry your hands when that restroom is out of paper towel.
- It can dab the sweat from your forehead or your hands.
- To apply pressure to a wound or as a small tourniquet during an emergency.
- But most importantly, it can be given to a lady or your child when she’s crying.
- Of course, it also helps when you have a wicked cold and run out of tissue in a public place. Sure, it’s icky, but it’s better than accidentally blowing a snot bubble while introducing yourself to a new client.
I’m often asked what the difference between a handkerchief and a pocket square is. The general rule of thumb is a handkerchief will be solid white and made of cotton or Irish linen. A pocket square is anything else. Even if you prefer one-time use kleenex to blow your nose, a handkerchief in your back pocket may come in handy at time.
Fine Writing Instrument
Why carry a pen? Because they’re useful daily and in the event of an emergency. Here are just some of the uses for carrying a pen:
- Signing checks
- Filling out forms
- Taking the phone number of someone you fancy
- Punching out a car window in an emergency
- Writing down particulars after a car accident
- Taking notes at a meeting
- Or just signing the credit card slip from dinner
There are numerous reasons to carry a pen, but only two reasons for carrying a fine writing instrument.
- They are a beautiful accessory that will match your attire and personality.
- They are more comfortable to write with and work far more consistently.
As far as what types of pens to carry, we recommend you have two. A fountain pen for you to use and a ballpoint or rollerball pen that you can lend out when someone asks if you have a pen they can borrow. This way they won’t damage the nib on your fountain pen. Click here to read our in-depth guide on fountain pens.
Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen – $519
An exquisitely beautiful fountain pen that performs flawlessly, this is our top pick because it compares equally to the Montblanc Meisterstuck and yet it costs significantly less money. Pelikan has long been a favorite brand of the editors and staff at Gentleman’s Gazette, and it’s because of the quality, the craftsmanship, and the aesthetic appeal. Click here to get one.
Waterman Expert – $94
I love Pelikan pens and own a few, but I carry the Waterman Expert in my EDC kit because it’s less expensive and I don’t have to worry as much if it gets misplaced or stolen. Still a stunning writing instrument, I find it very comfortable to use, and it works consistently every time I pull it out. Click here to buy one for yourself.
Kaweco Sport – $25
The Kaweco Sport is a tiny little thing, but when posted, it’s sizeable enough that even those with larger hands can comfortably write with it. Intended as a pocket pen, this is what I carry with me when I’m running out in a pair of chinos and a polo shirt. It slips effortlessly into your pant pocket and doesn’t bulge or poke you. It really is a neat little pen for quick outings without a bag or a proper pen pocket. The best part is, it consistently works. Click here to get one.
Montblanc Starwalker Ballpoint Pen – $890
Even though I rarely write with it, since it’s my only ballpoint, I want it to be a statement piece. Ballpoint pens are ideal for people who are left-handed over a rollerball because the ink dries far quicker and you won’t be left with a stain on the palm of your hand and a smudge on the paper. Obviously, you don’t need to spend $890 on a pen, but if you want a beautiful pen to lend out that matches the rest of your accessories, this one is well worth using. I also particularly like this pen because it writes smoother than any other ballpoint I’ve tried and it looks great on my desk. I should note that I did not buy this pen. It was sent to me by the wonderful people at Darakjian Jewelers to review for our guide on ballpoint pens which you can read by clicking here. That or click here to get the pen.
Cross Townsend Rolling Ball Pen – $94
Favored by the White House and the official signing pen for the President of the United States, the Cross Townsend is a beautiful writing instrument that’s also quite reasonably priced. A consistent ink flow and its stunning looks are the two reasons we choose to recommend it. Not to mention that it’s a favorite of many pen collectors around the world. Click here to get one.
Popular EDC Essentials
On the advice of Bernard Capulong from EverydayCarry.com and after thoroughly perusing his website and checking other sources, we’ve curated this list of EDC essentials that men from around the world are clearly adopting as part of their kit. Whether you choose to carry any of them, or all of them is completely up to you. We think many of them have their uses.
The pocket knife is something your grandfather probably carried with him. It has many uses, both indoors and out.
Opinel Pocket Knife – $13
I carry an Opinel No 9 Carbon Steel knife in my EDC kit. I’ve used it for everything from opening parcels to cutting rope at the cabin. I taught my eldest son to whittle wood with it, cut an apple on a picnic for my daughter and shortened a tensor bandage when it was too long. There is no shortage of things that can be done with a pocket knife. During our research, it was evident most men prefer a more tactical, military-grade knife that’s serrated, but if you just want to keep it at the bottom of the bag for the odd use and don’t plan to be fighting off bears and terrorists with it, this $13 knife from France will surely do the trick. Click here to get the same knife I use.
Baladéo Laguiole Folding Pocket Knife w/ Corkscrew – $20
Another inexpensive, yet lovely French pocket knife with a wooden handle, this handcrafted Laguiole knife comes with a handy corkscrew. That’s certainly a perk if you ask us. Click here to buy it.
A battery charger can be a lifesaver when your cellphone or tablet is on its final bar, and you’re expecting an urgent email or call. If you’ve ever had your cell phone die before you got home or to the office to charge it, you know how important a power bank can be.
Xoopar Squid Mini Power Bank – $54
The Squid is the power bank I carry in my own EDC kit. It fits both Android and Apple devices and has two ports which allow me to charge two devices at the same time. Pure genius. It’s small and compact and comes with a fabric sleeve that neatly holds the device and the cord. To recharge the bank, simply plug it into the USB port on your computer. Click here to get one.
Anker Astro 2nd Gen
This is the top pick from EverydayCarry.com, and although we haven’t personally tested it, we trust the guys on their team. Not only that, but it has very positive reviews online. According to our research, it’s the most cutting edge power bank on the market, with various features other chargers don’t have. Depending on your phone, you can get multiple charges out of it, and Anker claims it’s the fastest working charger available. Click here to get one.
Even if you don’t smoke, having a quality torch lighter in your EDC is a very good idea. It can be used to light a fire while camping, toast a cigar for your boss, make a smoke signal if your plane crashes or just loan to someone who needs to light their cigarette. Not only that, but I can’t tell you how many birthdays I’ve been to where they couldn’t find a lighter or match for the cake.
S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 Lacquer Lighter in Black and Gold – $1,555
If you are an avid cigar smoker, or just view the lighter as a wardrobe accessory, this exquisite lighter from the renowned French company S.T. Dupont is fit for a king. Of course, you can find less expensive lighters from S.T. Dupont, but why would you bother? This lighter is gorgeous. Click here to buy one.
Xikar Executive – $29
Since I’m not an executive, and I need to eat and pay my mortgage, I can’t afford to spend $1500 on a lighter. Instead, I carry the far more reasonable, but still quite attractive Executive II lighter from Xikar, which I received as a gift awhile back from the good folks at CheapHumidors.com. As far as lighters go, I have many. This one is simply my favorite because it always works. The flame is adjustable, the lighter is masculine, and it’s slim enough that it slips into my pocket without bulging. I highly recommend it. Click here to buy one.
Almost a requirement if you live in a colder climate, lip balm helps to protect and heal your lips when chapped. If you reside in a cold climate, it’s an essential part of your EDC during the winter months.
D.R. Harris Lip Balm – $39.99
I am often asked why I spend $40 on my lip balm. The only answer I can give people is “try it”. Then they see for themselves. If you care about the ingredients in your products and the quality of the product itself, then you’ll love this lip balm from the oldest pharmacy in England. D.R. Harris makes some exceptional products, and this is one of them. Click here to buy it.
Nivea Lip Balm for Men – $7.49
If you don’t want to spend $40 on lip balm, consider Nivea. The well-respected company has created this lip balm, especially for their male clientele. Its fragrance-free formula nourishes and protects lips adding the necessary moisture to already chapped lips to help them heal faster. Click here to get a stick.
If you’re going to carry a pen as part of your EDC, you might as well keep a notepad with you as well. Notepads vary in quality and size so we recommend thin pads that can easily be stored.
Moleskine – $11
Moleskine notebooks are well known and highly regarded in the publishing industry as well as the marketing and advertising industries. They are well made, easy to find, and many users actually refuse to use other notebooks after trying Moleskine products. I always carry a few of them with me, and they often come in handy for jotting down notes, phone numbers, and messages. Click here to get one.
Rite in the Rain – $16.97
Another item we haven’t personally tested that was recommended by the guys at EverydayCarry.com, these notebooks are just too cool not to mention. Just as the name implies, these are all-weather notebooks that you can write on while it’s raining. The Field-Flex cover is designed to take the rigors of battle in all weather conditions. Highly useful in emergency situations or if your job requires to you take notes in inclement weather. Click here to buy one.
Tide To Go Liquid Stain Remover – $9.99
If you’re as big of a klutz as I am, or if you have small sticky-fingered children, you’ll want a Tide-to-Go stick nearby. If you have kids, you know your finest shirts and brand new clothes are like magnets for stains. With a simple application of the stick, you can comfortably go the day knowing that the would-be stain has been treated and is gone forever. Then, when you finally get home, simply wash the clothes following the directions on the tag. It really is that simple and for me, it’s worked every time. Click here to get it.
Headphones are superlative, but they take up space and unless you’re an audio engineer, a small and compact set of buds will do just fine for listening to music on your phone. Perfect for the public transit rider, the traveling executive or the athletic jogger, a pair of quality earbuds will be the difference between a boring commute and a break from the stress of the world.
Monster iSport Wireless In-Ear Headphones – $119.95
The ones that come standard with your cell phone are great, but the cord takes up space, gets tangled and isn’t always comfortable to wear. Instead, consider a pair of Monster iSport Earbuds that are designed with active people in mind. The wireless, Bluetooth earbuds are sweat resistant and can be worn during inclement weather. The sound is about as good as it gets for a wireless set of buds, but why they’re so great for EDC kits is that they take up virtually no room and connect with the push of a button. When we did our in-depth guide on headphones, Monster sent over a pair to test and of all the earbuds I tested, these were my personal favorite. They still remain a part of my EDC and are worn almost daily. Click here to get a pair.
If you’re a cigar smoker, even on a casual basis, having a cutter is a fairly essential piece of everyday carry. You never know when you’ll happen to pass by a tobacconist or a cigar lounge. Not to mention you can look like the office hero when your boss tries to light his cigar and can’t find his cutter. Maybe he’ll even offer you a stick and talk about your new promotion.
Palio Cigar Cutter – $59.95
As far as cutters go, there are the basic metal ones you get for $5 at the tobacconist. Heck, I can’t count the number of cheap guillotine cutters that I’ve received for free with a box of cigars. However, if you enjoy carrying the finest accessories, consider the same Palio cutter I carry. Made from burlwood with a strong lacquer, this elegant cutter is precise and sharp. It comes with a lifetime warranty, can cut up to a 60 ring gauge cigar and is contoured so you can use it as a cigar rest when you don’t want to share the germ-infested communal ashtray. Click here to get the same one I carry.
Considered an essential by many, the multi-tool is literally just that, a tool that has a multitude of applications. If you choose to carry one, here are a couple worthy of your attention.
Gerber Dime – $16.83
One of the leaders in knives and multitools, the Gerber Dime is a compact and convenient butterfly opening device with 10 tools including needle nose-spring pliers, a wire cutter, a fine edge blade, a retail package opener, scissors, a medium flat screwdriver, a crosshead screwdriver, a bottle opener, tweezers and a file. It’s condensed in size and compact enough to fit in your pocket. It’s the perfect multitool for men working outdoors or in manual labor positions. Click here to get one.
Leatherman Signal – $120
Significantly more expensive than the Gerber Dime, the Signal has 19 tools instead of 10 and is made from 420 high carbon stainless steel with a diamond-like coating to prevent it from corrosion and scratches. The compact multi-tool comes with needlenose pliers, regular pliers, 154CM replaceable wire cutters, 154CM replaceable hard-wire cutters, a wire stripper, 420HC combo knife, a saw, hammer, awl w/ thread loop, can opener, bottle opener, 1/4″ hex bit driver, a bit driver, 1/4″ box wrench, a carabiner, 3/16″ box wrench, a safety whistle, ferrocerium rod, and a diamond coated sharpener. Perfect for the professional who needs it or the outdoor survivalist. Click here to get one today.
More and more men are carrying flashlights as part of their everyday carry kit. We’re taught from a young age that we should always keep an emergency flashlight at home in case of emergencies or a power outage. However, in recent years with the regularity of terrorist attacks, active shooters, and other emergencies, many men are taking to carrying a flashlight with them. Not only can it be used to light your way when the power goes out, but it can be used as a weapon if you have to fend off an attacker, by shining it in their eyes to blind them or by using it to strike them. While we hope you’ll never have to use it in an emergency, it’s still very useful for lighting your way home, helping a neighbor find their missing cat or giving your child an extra bit of comfort at night while they sleep.
SureFire G2X Pro – $88.43
I don’t carry a flashlight with me. I have the one built-in to my iPhone and for me, that’s been enough. However, at home, we keep a more expensive version of this SureFire flashlight on hand for emergencies. This particular flashlight has a dual-output LED 400-lumens light. In other words, it’s basically a spotlight. Used by law enforcement and the military, SureFire is widely considered one of the most powerful and reliable flashlight manufacturers in the world. As someone who has used one to light the entire main floor of our house during a storm, I can tell you first hand that it’s one of the brightest flashlights you’ll ever see. It’s also compact enough to slip easily into the bottom of your messenger bag or backpack. Click here to get one.
USB Flash Drive – Prices Vary
If you don’t carry a wireless portable hard drive, having a USB stick can be invaluable. Even if you do have a portable hard drive, keeping a USB stick on you is great if you have to give a file to someone else. Small, discreet and full of storage, it can be used to temporarily hold important files, photos, music or even videos. It’s perfect if you need to pass documents to a client or a colleague and they’re cheap enough that you don’t have to worry about getting the stick back. Click here to get the same 64GB GorillaDrive that I carry with me.
For anyone who enjoys taking high-quality photographs or needs a camera for work, the one on your cell phone doesn’t always cut it. Of course, you can’t be expected to keep a DSLR and all its lenses in your EDC. Therefore, having a compact camera that’s perfect for the amateur or the professional is often a must.
Fujifilm X100T 16MP Digital Camera – $1299
With multiple shooting modes in manual and automatic, the photographer has more options with this camera than anything else on the market. Not only does it shoot crystal clear pictures, but it also shoots 1080p video and is capable of using other lenses that connect with an adapter. Click here to get one.
Sony RX100 IV – $948
The same camera currently being used by Bernard at EverydayCarry.com, the Sony RX100 IV is the world’s first 20.1 MP 1″ Exmor RS stacked back-illuminated CMOS camera with high-resolution 4K video recording. It’s basically a beast in a tiny body. It fits easily into any briefcase or backpack and is ideal for the amateur photographer, the blogger, reporters or even as a backup for the professional photographer. Click here to get yours today.
Laptops are great, but as an EDC item, they can get a bit bulky. In today’s world, you can do almost anything on a tablet that you can on a laptop. In fact, I often prefer to use my iPad over my MacBook, and it’s easier to take with me when I’m on assignment or a day trip. Ideal for working, watching movies, playing games or just reading the news. Tablets are an EDC device that more and more men are carrying with them.
Apple iPad Air 2 64GB – $517
My personal choice, the Apple iPad is arguably the fastest and most technologically advanced tablet on the market. It needs no introduction. It’s small, it’s light, and it’s fast. If you don’t use a portable hard drive or the cloud, consider the 64GB, or you might run out of space rather quickly. Click here to get one.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – $988
Part laptop, part tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is one of the most popular multi-platform devices sold today. With its laptop-quality power, it easily handles everything you need to do with its extremely high contrast screen and low glare so you can work through the day without straining your eyes. With a snap of the kickstand and keyboard, it changes position moving from a tablet to a laptop with the power and ease you expect. Perfect for the casual user, the student or the professional who doesn’t require an advanced system for video and photo editing or gaming. Click here to get yours today.
Portable Hard Drive
A must-have EDC essential for anyone working out of the office, a portable hard drive frees up space on your cell phone, tablet, and computer. If you don’t have the Colfax bag from Co-Alition, consider one of these hard drives to maximize your performance on the go, so you don’t have to worry about running out of space and having to delete things.
Seagate Wireless Plus 2TB Portable Hard Drive – $149
Sent to me from Seagate for review, this hard drive is a lifesaver for someone who works from a variety of places as I do. One day I might be at the office whereas the next I could be working from home, a coffee shop or even the cabin. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to pull my car over to quickly jot some notes down, send off an email or even Skype with Sven Raphael Schneider and the GG team. Having a portable hard drive frees up much-needed space on all my devices and I no longer have to worry about running out of space or having to go through my files to figure out what I can delete and what I can’t live without. It’s also great at home because it pairs with my LG Smart TV so we can store media files like family photographs, movies, and music on the drive. If I have to give a presentation, I can store it on the go, and when I’m editing images for these articles, they sit neatly in a folder on the drive. It is arguably one of the most important things I carry. To get yours, click here.
WD My Passport 2TB Ultra Portable External Hard Drive – $85
Less expensive, but just as powerful, this is the hard drive I carried with me before Seagate. In fact, it’s still in use, and I often transfer files from my WD My Cloud that sits in my office. If you’re looking for a really good-quality drive that can fit into any pack and works flawlessly every time, this is a great pick. Click here to get the hard drive or click here to get the My Cloud, which doesn’t go with you, but is a great device to have.
Other EDC Items
Of course, there are numerous EDC essentials we haven’t listed and to do so would require an even longer list. Some small items you may want to consider carrying with you include, but aren’t limited to:
Urban vs Suburban Environments
It’s important to select the items in your EDC kit based on where you live and what you’ll need on a daily basis. The requirements of a farmer living in the country will be far different than the lawyer living in the city. It becomes up to you to figure out what you need, what you can legally carry and to select a method of carrying them that compliments your style. Some men opt to carry just a few items like Sven Raphael Schneider whereas others carry thirty or forty items. The point is finding what works for you and then revising it as your needs change. Will you be carrying it in a backpack because you’re an IT specialist who takes the subway to work? In a briefcase because you’re an accountant for a large firm? Or perhaps just in your suit pockets because you prefer not to carry a bag? What you carry and how you carry it is up to you. For more inspiration and to find out what other men are carrying with them, visit EverydayCarry.com
What are your EDC essentials? Send us a pic and maybe we’ll feature it in our next article on everyday carry essentials.