The whole concept of everyday carry may seem strange. The typical list of recommended components looks more akin to an Army Surplus marketing campaign than an effort to provide needed and accessible gear.
But, there are three essential everyday carry items that should be considered – and that's the subject of this post.
Granted, some look at every day carry or EDC as a prerequisite to joining some cult. The fact, however, is that many have needs that can easily be met by recognizing and carrying some basic tools.
What tools? Well, they're more common than you might imagine. Actually, the most essential EDC items are a watch, a knife, and a flashlight.
Pretty basic right? Of course, not just any watch, knife or light.
Unfortunately, most people only know the difference between a Timex and a Rolex, and view watches as simply throw away items that are commonly replaced every Christmas.
There, however, is a lot more to watches than meets the eye.
Although clocks and pocket watches have been around since the 13th century, the wristwatch didn't become popularized until it found military usage toward the end of the 19th century. Until much later, watches were powered by a winding mechanism, or through a self-winding balance wheel. Seiko introduced the first quartz watch in 1969 and most of the watches today are either electronic or quartz watches. The automatic watches, which are somewhat less accurate generally, remain as upper-end and collector pieces and are generally much more expensive.
Watches that fall into the category of EDC or generally tactical or military in nature and provide other functions commonly referred to as “ABC” or Altimeter/Barometer/Compass.
The common features of a tactical watch are as follows:
- waterproof – obviously outdoor use dictates the ability to operate even when submerged.
- scratch proof – mid-priced watches often use mineral glass crystal which is ordinary glass that has been heat or chemically treated to withstand scratches. Synthetic sapphire is more expensive, much more scratch resistant and is used on almost all higher-end watches.
- rubber straps – leather and metal bands do not do as well as rubber and latex materials with outdoor and tactical uses.
- additional functions – as discussed above, include ABC features.
- night time luminance – this is critical, watches without the ability to see when dark is worthless as a tactical watch.
More specifically folding or EDC knives are what this article is discussing. The concept of an EDC knife may seem somewhat non-PC but we're not talking bowie knives here, we're simply discussing knives with a 2 to a 4-inch blade that can be used for very common practical purposes – even opening up Amazon packages.
The differences in the numerously available knives are related to the quality of the steel used in the blade, the locking mechanism and other features such as the material that the handle is produced.
Generally, knife steel has three characteristics:
- the ability to resist corrosion
- the ability to maintain a sharp edge, and
- the ease of sharpening.
These three characteristics are trade-offs. For example, a knife which maintains a sharp edge generally is harder to sharpen. Although that might not seem to be a critical issue. A knife which is used on a camping or backpacking trip will need to be sharp and stay sharp easily. One which is harder to sharpen may not be practical in this environment.
In another post, I discuss the various steels that are used in crafting knives and prime EDC tactical knife examples.
The top companies that make EDC knives are firms like Benchmade, Spyderco, Zero Tolerance, and Kershaw. Benchmade, Spyderco, and Zero Tolerance are so good in fact, that you can hardly go wrong with any one of their products.
In many situations, access to a light on your smartphone is all you'll need to meet your needs. Tactical lights, however, have become so advanced and practical in terms of power, duration, and size that it may be worth looking into the available EDC light options and you can review my article on available EDC options.
Additionally, outdoor needs often dictate the use of a headlamp, and my two favorites are the Nitecore HC90 for really technical uses, and the much more affordable Black Diamond Spot for less technical needs.
Hopefully, this opens up a world of EDC essentials. Nothing earthshaking, you might be already carrying these items and have never considered yourself an EDC advocate. There is, however, much more in terms of quality components and available options as the technology in all three of these areas continue to advance. Actually, it could be a bit fun researching and selecting your peculiar needs for your specific purposes. Are you an outdoor photographer, or backpacker or just like the outdoors. You'll find there are options available and that the underlying components are truly modern in design to specifically meet your needs.
You're welcome to check out the Recommended Gear page which covers all three items and more.
Always be prepared. Be well.