Whether you are new to edc or a seasoned veteran, here are some actionable tips.
Here is a good place to start. It will clear up space, save your back if its carried in a back pocket, and do away with uncomfortable bulges. Even if you carry your wallet in your front pocket, a thinner wallet will free up valuable pocket space and be more comfortable.
There are some nice phone cases that double as card holders/wallets. I personally stay away from these because of the risk of losing two important aspects of my carry at once. Its an option if you are comfortable with the risk.
Statistically, there's a good chance you have a smartphone. A bare smartphone with a screen protector would suffice for some people. When you edc, things are just different. I personally edc everything in my pockets. I don’t clip anything to my belt. If you are like me, your pockets are pretty inhospitable to the finish of a smartphone. A minimal case should be enough. Ask yourself if you need or want to pocket a case that will add considerable bulk to already loaded pockets.
Das a ridicurous.
Keychains are a place where I think a lot of down-sizing can be had. Most key chains have all manner of membership and rewards key-tags that haven't seen enough use to justify its inclusion. If you have a smartphone, there's probably an app for that. I keep all my key tags on a dedicated keychain and leave it in my car. Keychains can also get overloaded with keys that are used once-in-a-while. I keep a keychain for once-in-a-while keys in my car as well. Keep car keys and fob on a dangler. On a separate dangler, keep house and other often used keys. This setup will also save your vehicle ignition. Danglers will also keep items from forming an uncomfortable lump at the bottom of your pockets.
That's real talk.
The very first thing to consider when choosing an edc knife is legality. Local laws regarding knives for your municipality can easily be found online. Be aware of blade length, deployment/action type, lock mechanism, and open versus concealed carry.
Let's not forget about the sensitivities of those who view all knives as dangerous weapons. If you are worried about drawing unwanted attention when you take out your knife in a restaurant to cut food or perform other tasks, you could consider a smaller knife. I personally do not care and prefer folding knives with a 3.5-4 inch blade. To each their own.
With many manufacturers labeling knives with a sub-4 inch blade to be edc knives, it seems the 3-3.5 inch blade range is a popular choice for an edc knife. I am sure legality across multiple municipalities is a factor. A blade with a 3-3.5 inch blade is large enough to perform daily tasks but not so large as to cause fright. Obviously, your mileage may vary. Choose a blade length based on your primary use and ease of carry.
For edc, it makes sense to carry a small light. Even in daytime conditions, a flashlight can be useful for tracking down something that’s fallen under a couch or peeking into areas where daylight cant penetrate.
The tip here is to look for a flashlight that uses a single AA or AAA battery. These battery types provide plenty of power and can easily be replaced. A single AAA battery-powered light is small and unobtrusive. Look for flashlights that have a key-ring attachment point or pocket clip-even a small flashlight can sink to the bottom of your pocket and contribute to an uncomfortable bulge. Consider your preference when choosing between a button-switch or twist-action to turn the light on and off. Led versus halogen is a choice you also have to make. Don’t forget about the number of illumination modes, such as strobe and dim, that you might want.
Dont be silly, I cant work with just this. I'll need a gum wrapper as well.
I wont say that a full size multi-tool such as a Leatherman or Gerber are not functional. I am not saying that they don't feature just about any tool you might need in a pinch. I will say that the plier function is really what puts a full-size multi-tool ahead of the pocket-tool kingdom. I believe the pliers on a multi-tool is what really compels people to make them part of their edc's. If it weren't for the pliers, would pocket tools need to be that large? Probably not. What if you want multi-function tools and you don’t need pliers or usually have one close-by? If you don’t already know, there is a slew of one piece multi-function pocket tools. These pocket tools are one-piece designs and range in price from $3.00 to upwards of $100.00 and more for a custom titanium piece. Pliers aside, most of these pocket-tools feature enough functions to tackle the problems your edc might come across. Let's not forget the size difference. Pocket multi-tools or one piece pocket tools are extremely thin and fit easily in your pocket or on a keychain. They are a great way to streamline and lighten your edc load.
Heres a review of an array of pocket multi tools: Pocket multi tool review HERE.
Pen and Paper
Notepads/notebooks and pens are becoming increasingly popular in edc's. It makes sense. You might be forgetful or have great ideas which pop-up in your head throughout the day. Maybe you’re a private investigator or a reporter. Regardless of your intentions, a notebook and pen can free up the edc in your brain. Pocket notepads tend to get beat up from just being in your pockets. Look for one that’s economical enough to carry and have backups at home or in the car. Moleskins are great but a little pricey for a carry pad that pages are ripped out of on a regular basis. I prefer soft-sided notepads. A rigid, hard-sided pad can be uncomfortable in the pocket and won't conform to the contours of your body.
There are many philosophies on pens for edc. In my opinion, your edc pen is a tool that should be something you are willing to lose. Maybe it is just me-I have lost many pens. My pen might be forgotten after a quick jot, end up in someone else's pocket after being lent out, or simply slip out of a pocket. A great way to mitigate these unforeseen occurrences is to carry a "disposable" pen. Nobody likes losing a $50 milled-brass artisan word-constructing implement. The pilot G-2 is a prominent writing utensil in the pen connoisseur and edc communities. It is revered for its reliability, smooth writing, and low cost. Theres even a mini version. Try a disposable pen as part of your edc.
Sure, keep reading.
Not a pocket-square, those are meant to look good in a suit-coat pocket. A hanky is actually very useful as an edc tool. Survival uses aside, and there are many, a hanky can be used for more than acts of chivalry and wiping sweat or other bodily fluids during cold season. Pull the corners of a hanky together and now you've got a satchel for on-the-fly transport of the M&M's you just snatched from the complimentary candy bowl. Hanky's are great for wiping eyeglasses and cleaning the screens on your e-devices. You can even use a hanky as a coaster.
Having a lighter as part of your edc does not necessarily have anything to do with whether or not you smoke. A simple Bic lighter can come in handy for many things. Bic lighters are durable and extremely reliable. They hold fuel well, last a long time, and are economical. They are not that big and you can opt for a mini-Bic if you are concerned about pocket space.
So, what can a lighter be used for in a edc capacity? Fire can be used to seal plastic bags or tidy up frayed cord and rope. Loose threads? No problem. How about a last-ditch illumination device? Even if you already carry a flashlight, you just never know. Bics are also good as an improvised bottle-cap opener. Bic lighters are also a good place to wrap a length of duct tape.
Hopefully these tips help you streamline, organize, and or customize your edc to suit your needs.