Everyday carry lists can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. In this guide, I’ll cover five steps that you can follow to put together your own personalized urban EDC list — an everyday carry kit that’s minimalist, specific to what you need, and flexible.
Your everyday carry kit doesn’t need to be intense. Big knives, fire starters, emergency lights — I appreciate all of those things when I’m going camping, but that sort of gear just isn’t appropriate to my everyday life.
Most of the time, my days consist of commuting to and from work, grabbing a beer with friends, heading to the grocery store, and taking short hikes on the weekend. No matter how adventurous my walk through downtown might be, I can assure you I won’t need a bowie knife and flint for it.
Instead of going through another doomsday survival kit how-to, I want to share this: My Urban EDC list.
Whenever you’re ready, let’s dive right in.
Step 1: Take Stock
Before we start looking at everything your urban EDC list needs, you should round up all the accessories you normally carry with you day to day.
Start with your wallet, phone, and keys; everybody needs these. Then go for smaller gear, like lip balm, headphones, and notebooks. If you’re not sure what sort of everyday carry essentials you need, don’t worry; we’ll cover that in the next step.
Once you have everything in one place, clear off space on your coffee table and physically lay out all your items.
Take some time looking them over, noticing details like size, material, and condition. This will help give you a visual representation of how much space you need for all your urban everyday carry items before we move on to the next step.
Step 2: Fill in the Gaps
Next, compare your current selection of everyday carry items with the 10 featured in our everyday carry essentials list. For your convenience, I’ll re-list the categories here:
- Smart Phone
- Pocket Knife
- Lip Balm
How does your current selection compare to these basics?
If you’re missing one or two of the items, check out the everyday carry guide for Effortless Gent’s personal favorite items in each category.
I strongly recommend filling your urban EDC kit with a personal item from all ten of these categories, so you know that you’re prepared for all the eventualities of urban life.
Step 3: Organize
Now that you have your unique EDC items chosen for your kit, how do you plan to carry them?
While the bare-bones phone/wallet/keys trio is fine to keep in your pockets, you may want to consider getting an EDC bag for quicker access and better organization.
Barron wrote an awesome article on how to apply the French culinary concept of mise en place to your daily routine, and I’d highly recommend you check it out when you’re thinking about how to store your everyday carry kit.
Basically, by taking the time to put “everything in its place” each day, you’ll develop a fast and efficient organization system that saves you time and makes your life that much more effortless.
"The compact City Sling is designed for exploring the city. It features multiple pockets to store your daily essentials and a versatile webbing strap for dual carry positions." –Aer
I’m a big advocate of choosing a small, simple bag that you love the looks of and making it your dedicated EDC bag. You’ll get accustomed to exactly where everything goes in this bag, and taking everything you need for a day with you becomes second nature.
For inspiration, check out some of our favorite bags for travel, gym, and work.
Step 4: Test and Take Notes
For the next week or two, take notes on what you think of your new everyday carry arrangement. Do you have everything you need? Are there any items that you don’t use on an everyday basis?
If so, could you replace them with something that you didn’t have when you needed it?
You’ll need a few weeks to make sure that each item in your bag is really pulling its weight — and to get used to having everything you need at your fingertips. Because in the end, what’s right for my EDC kit may not be exactly the same as yours. Which leads us to our next step:
Step 5: Refine Your EDC Kit
Though it’s awesome to start out with a blueprint for everyday carry essentials, the ideal EDC kit will grow and evolve with your daily, weekly, and seasonal routines.
That’s why it’s especially important to always keep an eye on refining your kit week after week.
Starting with the notes you took during a few weeks of carrying your new kit, you’ll likely see some patterns emerge. For instance: I love using pen and paper for taking notes, but a good friend of mine keeps all his remarks in an app on his smartphone.
If you’re of a like mind, removing the notebook and pen will free up room for something more tech-related, like an external battery pack for your phone.
Start thinking of your everyday carry kit as a constant work in progress, and you’ll be able to effortlessly fill it with only the best, most useful items for every situation that you encounter.
In Conclusion: Your Urban EDC Kit
Once you strip away the hardcore survivalist tone from everyday carry, it can become a genuinely interesting and enjoyable hobby for any guy.