The Best Everyday Carry Essentials

Last Updated: June 2020

Written by: Opt Outdoor Staff

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TL;DR - Here are our best picks for each essential everyday carry item:

The Everyday Carry Essentials

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to the items you carry daily that are considered essential to your everyday life.

EDC items are usually limited to the equipment you can carry on your person or in a small bag. However, the concept can also apply to general items that aid your preparedness. Including equipment stored in your vehicle to gadgetry stowed away in your backpack, EDC gear is all-encompassing.

Because we all find ourselves in need of different EDC gear, it can be hard to determine what’s an essential everyday carry item and what’s optional. Some will consider wallets, flashlights, and pocket knives indispensable. In contrast, others will think of watches, pens, notebooks, and even combs as EDC essentials.

With this in mind, we’ve narrowed our list down to the EDC items that are universal. We have also added our picks for the best product within each category. 

While it would be impossible to tell you precisely what you’ll need, consider the following list to be a starting point. You can mix and match items to find what works for you, and make the most of every single day with these EDC essentials.

Everyday Carry Wallet

Perhaps the essential EDC item is the one that accompanies you no matter where you go. As your go-to storage space for IDs, cash, credit cards, gift cards, punch cards to your favorite food spots, and more, your wallet is a critical piece of gear—forever occupying space in your pocket.

If your wallet is exploding at the seams, it may be time to look into EDC wallets that tend to be slimmer and lightweight. Furthermore, modern wallets incorporate durable materials and useful upgrades that make them a worthwhile purchase.

Our Pick: The Ridge Minimalist Metal Wallet

The Ridge wallet, made from anodized aluminum and interchangeable screws, has a simplistic design and durable build. Though it measures only two inches in width, The Ridge wallet can store up to 12 cards. At the same time, the metal money clip allows you to secure several bills outside your wallet to save space.

Other features include RFID blocking technology and an exterior notch that allows you to push the cards out for easy access. To top it off, the Ridge Wallet Lifetime Guarantee ensures your wallet will last as long as you own it. 

Everyday Carry Keychain Tool

A keychain tool may seem redundant once you’ve had a chance to review the rest of this list. Still, chances are you’ll encounter everyday situations in which a keychain tool is the only tool that you have. From cutting to tightening to popping open a bottle, keychain tools represent an inexpensive class of EDC items that often come to the rescue. 

Our Pick: Gerber Shard Keychain Tool

Crafted from a single piece of stainless steel with a titanium nitride coating, the Gerber Shard Keychain Tool is an EDC item that’s sure to win you over. It features seven tools, including a small flathead driver, a medium flathead driver, a crosshead driver, a pry bar, a wire stripper, a lanyard hole, and a bottle opener

The Shard does well to offer all essential tools in a package weighing no more than 0.6 ounces. And because the Shard is airline safe, you can throw it on your keychain and forget it’s there until the moment someone asks for a bottle opener. That’s when it’s your turn to come to the rescue. 

Everyday Carry Keychain

There’s no sense in owning a keychain tool if you don’t have a keychain to put it on. A quick internet search for “EDC keychain” will come up with hundreds, if not thousands, of options. From tactical carabiner keychains to simplified paracord patterns.

While your needs will determine what kind of keychain is right for you, be sure to pick up an EDC keychain on the off-chance you find yourself in need of one.

Our Pick: Eklorn Paracord Survival Keychain

An Everyday Carry keychain design doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. And that’s why we’re fans of Eklorn’s Paracord Survival Keychain. This model is made from a single strand of military-grade type III 550 lb test cord. You can quickly unravel the keychain cord in the event of an emergency to make traps, build a tent, haul supplies, and more. 

And an included firestarter ensures you’re never without a flame. Best of all, included in the package are two keychains—one for you and one for your EDC-loving friend. 

Everyday Carry Tactical Flashlight

Okay, so you’ve got a flashlight on your phone that works pretty well. But keeping a tactical flashlight in your pocket, car, or backpack is a safe bet should you find yourself in need of a bit more light.

Whether you’re shining a light under the hood of your car or navigating the dark sidewalks on your walk home, a tactical flashlight can offer more light than your phone. Chances are it will last longer too. Even if you don’t feel like keeping a small flashlight in your pocket, it’s never a bad idea to store one if you need a little extra light.

Our Pick: Fenix USB Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

The Fenix Tactical Flashlight is a powerful, pocketable flashlight that shines up to 1,600 lumens over 283 meters. A high-capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts for 5,00 mAh.

And it requires only four hours of charge time thanks to a fast-charging Type C port. The included carrying case lets you strap the flashlight to your belt or stow it in your pack for easy access. 

Everyday Carry Pocket Knife

A pocket knife may seem like a foreign and even dangerous tool to some. However, it is widely considered as one of the most popular EDC items because it serves so many functions. Everything from cutting open packages to administering first aid. As pocket knives come in thousands of shapes and sizes, you can find the right one that meets your needs. 

Our Pick: Spyderco Paramilitary 2

We love Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2 folding knife primarily because of its excellent design. The handle is made from lightweight, durable G10 fiberglass laminate, whereas the blade is made from CPM-S30V stainless steel. Thought to be the ultimate EDC steel on the market, this metal possesses excellent edge retention, corrosion resistance, and sharpening ability. 

Spyderco’s unique blade design and easily accessible thumb hole make this a perfect knife for EDC beginners and experts alike. 

Everyday Carry Pen & Notebook

A pen and notebook may seem redundant if you’ve already got your phone to jot down notes. Still, there’s something wonderfully simple about breaking out a notepad when you need to put words to paper.

Some reasons to carry a pen and notebook include goal tracking, to-do lists, emergency phone numbers, journaling, doodling, and more. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that many EDC pens come hidden with additional tools and tech.

The Fisher Space Pen may look like nothing more than a capsule-shaped pen. However, this durable little writing utensil comes with hidden features you won’t find elsewhere. For instance, the pen can write from any angle (and in zero gravity) in temperatures ranging from -30 to 250 Fahrenheit.  The pen comes with a lifetime warranty. And a small clip on the side of the pen means you won’t lose it as you go about your day. 

Meanwhile, the Field Notes Pitch Black 48-page Notebook is a popular pocket-sized memo book. An American-based brand, Field Notes manufactures a vast array of exciting memo books. 

Everyday Carry Multi-Tool

Of the many Everyday Carry items that will occupy space in your pocket, few will be more valuable than the classic multi-tool. They are typically made from durable materials and house a seemingly infinite number of tools. 

Multi-tools can help you get out of almost any jam, from simple car repairs to starting a fire. Best of all, multi-tools have become far more helpful within the last decade due to advancements in materials, designs, and production methods.

Our Pick: Leatherman FREE P2

Leatherman has been the embodiment of the multi-tool ever since they offered their original design to the masses in 1983. The company’s latest multi-tool line, the FREE collection, has the best multipurpose plier experience. This is due to a brand-new platform and magnetic closing technology.

Of the various FREE models that exist, we’re fans of the FREE P2. It contains 19 different tools, all accessible with one hand. These include a screwdriver, spring-action scissors, a bottle opener, and Leatherman’s signature needle-nose pliers. The FREE P2 comes with a 25-year warranty, so you know you’ll be carrying it for years to come. 

Everyday Carry Watch

A watch is an EDC item that is either worn religiously or hardly at all. Time aside, modern watches can provide a plethora of information such as weather updates, smart notifications, health and fitness metrics, and so much more. If you’ve found yourself hesitant to purchase a watch in the past, now might be the time to add one to your EDC arsenal.

Our Pick: Garmin Instinct Tactical Watch

Many smartwatches contain sensors and equipment that are delicate and subject to damage. But not Garmin’s Instinct Tactical Watch. It features a rugged design that’s constructed with U.S. Military standard 810G for thermal, shock, and water resistance of up to 100 meters. 

A 3-axis compass pairs with GPS functions, a barometric altimeter, and a heart rate monitor that measures activity and stress levels. This smartwatch also pairs with your phone to provide you with notifications. And the battery will last up to 16 hours in GPS mode before it needs to be recharged.

Recommended Gear Comparison Table

Product Name


Best Price

The Ridge Minimalist Metal Wallet


Gerber Shard Keychain Tool


EKLORN 2 Pack Paracord Keychain


Fenix USB Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight


Spyderco Paramilitary 2


Fisher Space Pen


Field Notes Pitch Black Notebook


Leatherman FREE P2


Garmin Instinct Watch



Everyday carry items come in all shapes and sizes. This variety makes them both attractive and applicable to all that choose to carry their gear wherever they go. 

Whether you’re on the job site and in need of a multi-tool or hiking in the backcountry, taking notes on flora and fauna. Take some time to amass your collection of EDC that’s sure to help you every step of the way, every single day.

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