It seems like I'm constantly working on my every day carry (EDC) items lately, trying to come up with the optimum set of resources to carry on my person. One way I've done this is by looking at my actual experiences with my EDC over the years. What items in my EDC have I used most often? Are there any items I haven't used at all? Are there items I needed, but didn't have on me?
Using those questions, I've come up with my list of actually useful EDC items, which I present here in no particular order:
Extra Cash. Sometimes
we need cash when we least expect it, and ATMs never seem to be nearby
when we need one. I now carry some emergency cash on me, separate from
my spending cash. Its not in my wallet, so I'm less tempted to spend it, thus saving it for a true emergency.
Quarters. Lots of uses for
quarters - drink & snack vending machines, pay phones (there are
still a few around), change for the drive-thru, gas station air pumps,
parking meters, car washes, car vacuums, coin laundries, stamp vending
machines, and even the shopping carts at ALDI's. I carry a couple of dollars in
quarters in my pocket, and have another few dollars worth in the cup holder of my vehicle.
Swiss Army Knife. I probably use my Swiss Army Knife (Hiker model) on a daily basis. Its a great high-quality pocket knife, and the screwdrivers come in handy quite often. I've even used the wood saw on occasion.
Leatherman Multi-Tool. I
don't use it as often as my Swiss Army Knife, but it has come in useful
on a number of occasions, especially the pliers. When I needed it, I was very glad to have it. The Leatherman Charge TTi is probably the ultimate multi-tool, but is a bit pricey. Either the Leatherman Rebar or SOG PowerAssist being my second, more affordable choice.
carry an individual first aid kit, but fortunately I haven't really
needed it. Except for the aspirin, which I use a few times a month.
Pocket Flashlight. Another
often-used EDC item is my pocket flashlight. I have several, but am still trying to find the "perfect" one, so I don't have a recommendation yet. What I'm looking for is one small enough to carry comfortably in my pocket, yet bright enough to
be really useful. I prefer two modes - low (8-10 lumens) and high (80+ lumens), with at least a 3 hour battery life on high. Any suggestions? Leave hem in the comments section below.
Cell Phone. Nothing beats being able to communicate with others in an emergency.
Pen & Index Cards.
Useful for shopping lists, taking notes, leaving messages, and keeping up
with appointments & contact information, I carry a small stack of
index cards held together with a binder clip (a hipster PDA). Also a good pen.
Wet Ones Hand Wipes. I use Wet Ones hand wipes almost daily.I keep two or three individually wrapped ones in the front pocket of my Maxpedition Micro Pocket organizer, which I mainly use as my individual first aid kit, and carry in my pants cargo pocket. I can easily slip one out when needed, then refill later that night.
Duct Tape. Yes, I always carry a small roll of duct tape with me. And I have used it a number of times.
Gerber Shard Keychain tool - I use this nifty little pry-bar/bottle opener quite often. Well, at least the pry-bar part. I don't think I;ve ever used it as a bottle-opener. Its small, but very useful for removing tacks and small nails, prying open paint cans, and even opening boxes - all those things you would be tempted to use your eys for, until you bend or break one!
course, everybody is different, with different circumstances, concerns,
and needs. Your list of useful EDC items will probably be
different then mine. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.