These are the essentials that belong in most guys’ everyday carry. Check out our list, and add or subtract to your own everyday carry as needed, depending on your lifestyle!
As surely as humans have evolved to make use of tools to influence the environments around them, the mark of a gentleman today is often his preparedness for whatever life throws at him.
Perhaps that’s why Everyday Carry (EDC) items have become popular so quickly: No matter your profession or lifestyle, a thoughtfully curated selection of everyday carry gadgets will give you a greater ability to adapt to routine and unexpected events alike.
With that purpose in mind, we collaborated with a group of our most prepared friends to create a guide to the best EDC setup for today’s men.
Our Favorite Everyday Carry Essentials
Follow along as we introduce you to the essential items for your everyday carry bag, and by the end of this article, we hope that you’ll be inspired to set yourself up for success in everyday life.
1. Rogue Industries Front Pocket Wallet
Upgrading to a slim wallet that is as comfortable to carry as it is good looking should be the first item you cross off of your EDC checklist.
By making the switch to a more streamlined front pocket wallet you’ll be more likely to keep your wallet neat and tidy, preventing the urge to keep your receipts long after they would have been useful.
Rogue Industries makes a uniquely shaped wallet that is just as functional as it is stylish. Made of top-grain leather, it’s just large enough to hold your essentials — driver’s license, credit cards, and cash — but not so large as to create an unsightly bulge in your pocket.
2. Northwall Leather Key Organizer
Anything from a simple metal keyring to a leather or nylon key fob will do a fine job of keeping your keys in one place, but we’ve been rocking a smart key organizer as part of our EDC setup for a few years now.
Rather than have your keys dangling and unkempt in your bag, a smart organizer will keep everything in place and easier to access when you need it.
Northwall’s organizer keychain includes a small multi-tool with a bottle opener and flathead screwdriver, and sports a compact design that’s super easy to select specific keys from.
3. Apple iPhone or Samsung Moto G
Rounding out the “holy trinity” of EDC — phone, wallet, and keys — no man should be caught out and about without the flexible functionality of a smartphone.
From calls and texts to GPS capabilities and apps for tracking productivity and exercise goals, the smartphone has become an essential tool of our time no matter what sort of life you lead.
While debates rage hotly over which smartphone is best, your authors have had roughly equal success with both Apple and Samsung products.
As with many EDC ideas for guys to consider, the right choice of smartphone will usually be the one that you’re personally most comfortable with, so go with your gut and your experience when choosing a smartphone for your EDC bag.
4. Rite in the Rain Bullet Pen
Equipping yourself with a handsome, reliable writing instrument is a must if you’re looking to put together the best EDC setup possible. Sure, you could take notes all day long with your smartphone — but when you truly need a physical pen, even the latest technologies will be no substitute.
Originally developed in the early 1900s, Rite in the Rain still builds and ships its products from a headquarters in Washington state. As the name suggests, each of their pens is fully capable of writing in even the heaviest of rains.
We’re partial to their bullet pen, thanks to its comfortable grip and smooth writing action.
5. Rite in the Rain Hardcover Notebook
Pair the bullet pen listed above with a rugged and durable notebook from Rite in the Rain, and you’ll never find yourself without the ability to record and share important notes.
Specially treated pages won’t dampen when exposed to water, making each note you take impervious to the elements when written with a Rite in the Rain pen.
If spiral-bound is more your style, Rite in the Rain offers top- or side-mounted spiral notebooks in a variety of sizes as well.
Your authors have been using these notebooks for over a decade, and we’re extremely happy with how well they hold up to both day-to-day wear and tear as well as more intense camping and hiking trips.
6. Apple Airpods
In situations where peace of mind can be hard to achieve, a good pair of headphones will feel worth their weight in gold.
From your daily commute to lunch breaks in the park, a set of earbuds will allow you to tune out the noise of the everyday world and dive into your favorite album, a great audiobook, or the latest podcasts.
Apple’s AirPods have always done right by us thanks to their slick design, easy portability, and substantial noise-canceling properties. Plus, they’ll usually hold a 24-hour charge after a single night left on the charger.
7. Opinel No. 8 OR Leatherman Wingman
Until you start carrying a well-made knife with you every day, you may not realize just how useful they can be — and how much effort they can save you in everyday tasks.
A simple pocket knife might be the item most missed out on by guys setting up their first EDC kit.
With a stylish pocket knife, even something as simple as opening a package or letter can make you look great and feel great.
When your knife is sharp enough, stray threads on your clothing can be judiciously pruned without causing damage.
Eating fruit as a snack? A knife will make it easier on your teeth and better looking by far because let’s be real, nobody wants apple skin stuck in their teeth.
If you’re a little bit more gear-oriented rather than minimalist, consider a multi-tool instead of a pocket knife.
Leatherman is the OG of multi-tools, and still produces the most reliable and functional tools around; try their Wingman for a travel-ready solution to simple repairs and everyday problems.
Here’s a pro tip: Counting on your smartphone to tell you the time can be a dangerous game. When you’re in a meeting or having a meal with a friend, pulling your phone out to check the time can be seen as exceptionally rude.
This is the perfect watch when you just feel like being yourself. This watch gives you fun options to customize your straps depending on your outfit or mood.
Take a simple glance at your wristwatch, however, and you’ll never be in danger of offending the company you keep.
Fellow EG author Beau Hayhoe has put together a beautiful guide to the top Timex watches, and we’re inclined to agree with his top choice of the
9. Levi’s Cotton Bandanas
Kept in your bag or back pocket, a simple cotton bandana can not only add an attractive splash of color to your outfit but also come in handy for sweat, spills, or accidents.
For something as unassuming as a hemmed square of cotton fabric, a handkerchief can be a total game-changer for your EDC setup and something you’ll never want to leave home without.
Famous denim producer Levi’s offers affordable packs of bandanas in a wide variety of colors and styles. They can easily double as a scarf or face-covering in a pinch and tend to look great with just about any outfit.
Definitely check out the article on our favorite EDC handkerchiefs / bandanas for more options.
10. Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm
Last but not least, a small tube of lip balm for everyday self-care will prevent painful and unsightly chapped lips. Burt’s Bees is a classic choice, and their peppermint lip balm is a mellow and soothing solution to any dry lip problems.
On the note of taking care of dry skin, any man sporting a beard should take special care to keep their skin beard hair moisturized.
Honest Amish Beard Balm is a leave-in conditioner that does a great job of softening hairs and preventing the dreaded beardruff and should be a staple of any bearded man’s EDC kit.
Final Thoughts on Everyday Carry Essentials
We’re big proponents of putting time and effort into setting up your EDC bag for success for one simple reason: Every investment in your everyday carry essentials has the potential for a recurring payoff in your happiness, style, and enjoyment of life.
We hope that this article has given you a better idea of how to optimize your everyday carry kit.
If you have any questions about the items we’ve selected — or suggestions for awesome EDC add-ons we might have missed — we’d love to hear from you. Hit me up on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!