I’ve spent a long time now optimizing and finding the most ideal items for me to carry everyday. There’s a huge community around this topic, but no one seems to cover two things I faced:
- My life is always changes, and thus so are my needs.
- I didn’t want an abundance of crap in my house.
To that end I have tried to be overly realistic about what I actually need and to build out my kit around that. Here’s what I have settled on:
I’ll go through every item in there in a moment, and why, but first: the case is the Cache EDC Valet from Drop.com since you were probably wondering and I highly recommend it.
Knives have been a huge endeavor with the widest range of options. It’s my third most used EDC item and I put a lot of focus on finding the perfect options. I thought the collection could be completed with one knife, then I thought I needed to spend more money, but the truth is money was never the issue — I was focusing on the wrong type of blade. Here’s where I am:
From left to right:
- Benchmade Griptilian with 154CM steel and custom micarta scales on the handle. This is a big knife and rarely used. I only carry this knife when I am going outdoors, hiking or, doing yard work. Both things which I don’t do very often. Still it is useful to have a big knife.
- Chris Reeves Small Sebenza 21 (left handed). This was my grail knife and I thought it would be everything I need. But it only sees pocket time on the weekend. I still think it’s the best locking blade everyday carry knife you can buy. It turned out, that I didn’t want or need a locking blade for everyday carry.
- Benchmade Proper Sheepsfoot with micarta handles. This is easily my most carried knife. It’s perfect in so many ways and completely non-threatening. It’s the perfect everyday knife for me now that I am in an office.
- Benchmade Proper Clip-point with G10 handles. This is my backup and I rotate to it a couple times a week just to change things up. Fantastic knife but the sheepsfoot blade shape is better.
What I found was that a slipjoint is all you need and while there are fancier slipjoint knives out there, I cannot see why you would need them. Benchmade has made a couple masterful versions here and you cannot be the price/quality aspect of those two.
Oh my, is it just me or has it seemed like the last couple of years I have really been on a watch frenzy. I thought I knew what I wanted it, and it wasn’t until I actually put my hands on many watches that I found out what I really needed. A watch is my most used item.
Here’s where I am:
Left to right:
- Mont Blanc Sport Chronograph: this was a graduation present. It’s quite an interesting watch — one of Mont Blanc’s first. It’s a chronograph with a diver bezel, a full 200m water resistance and a date with a cyclops. On top of all of that, it has a very low-contrast champagne looking face. It’s dressy, sporty, and a weird in between of everything. I dig it, but it holds far more sentimental value than anything else. It gets very little wrist time as I find it very bulky and heavy to wear.
- Tudor Black Bay GMT: this is my newest and it is perfection. A true GMT, I never realized this is exactly what I need, and it is certified at 200m water resistance on top of it all. If I didn’t already have sentimental reasons for keeping the other two, I would truly only need and want this watch. I basically never take it off. (Buy from authorized dealer only, not Amazon.)
- Rolex Datejust Turn-o-Graph Thunderbird: I adore this watch, it was my grandfather’s and given to me after he passed. It could easily be my only watch, but I do like a little larger of a watch. When life feels tough, I wear this watch. I’d give up everything else on this list before I would give this one up.
My singular advice is to forget about dive watches. Yes people love them, and no one knows why we are all drawn to them, but they are not useful. Get a GMT, a true GMT with a jumping hour hand, and experience a truly useful watch. Also, your watch needs to have a date display on it, lesson learned there for me.
I love flashlights, and I love the idea of carrying them everyday. I never really did until winter rolled in, because there was just so much daylight to be had in Washington during the summers. But in the winter I would keep one in my jacket pockets so I had it. Then I read something interesting about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers, where they said that many of the people there wished they were better prepared, and that a flashlight would have simply made a world of difference.
I now work in a tall building, and I realized that walking down the stairs if the power was out, would be very disconcerting without a flashlight. Even though we all have lights on our phones, I now carry a flashlight everyday. I have settled on keeping just three in my everyday rotation:
Left to right:
- SureFire E1B-MV: This is not a light I reach for to actually carry in my pockets on a day to day basis. However, if I am certain I need a flashlight, this is the one I grab. Thus it is my most used flashlight. The compact nature, huge light fill, and sheer brightness of it all makes it perfect. It’s really well made and tough. I love it.
- SureFire Titan Plus: I carry this light a ton, and basically evenly split pocket time with the next light. It’s really bright, and powered by a AAA battery. It’s a little wonky to use since it is a twist head, but that also means you likely won’t accidentally find it on in your pocket. It is top notch and very bright. The light gives me a lot of confidence since I trust SureFire’s build quality and durability. This is always on me during the weekends, and about half the work week.
- Massdrop AAA Flashlight: This is the brass model, and probably the biggest bargain of my entire everyday carry kit. It costs a whopping $29. The brass patinas nicely for a great effect, and this light is tiny. I carry this when I am wearing pants that require a lower profile in my pockets. I love the controls and everything about this light. And while it is not the brightest, (I went with the Nichia 219c LED) it makes up for with the quality of the color renditions from the light. Stellar stuff.
I think the Titan Plus could be your only flashlight, from emergencies, everyday, to even camping — you would be hard pressed to need more than it for most of life. So if you can only have one, or if I could only have one, the Titan would be my pick. Luckily, my case has room for all three.
I have written a ton about wallets over the years, and I will properly review what I am using soon. But I now have a Mont Blanc wallet, as you can tell I am a fan of the brand. But the reason I use it is different entirely, and for another time. For now, that’s what you see in the case and I like it a lot.
Here’s what else you are seeing:
- Zippo, brass: when you need a lighter, carry a classy one. Plus there is nothing more fun to fidget with than a Zippo.
- Chapstick: cracked lips suck. #crackedlipssuck
- American Optic Aviators: great sunglasses, I have had them for a long time. I keep plenty of pairs of other sunglasses in my car, so these are basically for when I need to grab some to walk to the park, or the hang out in the backyard. They are also what I travel with.
- Keys: two car keys and house keys. On the house key ring is the MechArmy flashlight, and a small brass pill case to hold Advil.
- Mont Blanc Pens: two variants of the same pens, they cost a fortune, but both have meaning to me. The black one was the first nice pen I bought in (believe it or not) 10th grade after a summer of hard work, I have signed almost every important document in my life with it. The silver and black one was a gift for the first huge business deal I was a part of.
- Butane lighter: because you don’t light your cigar or fireworks with a Zippo.
- Handkerchiefs: I carry one with me every day, they are so useful. I have two in here, no clue where I bought either of them. And again, highly encourage people to carry one, as they are very handy to have.
- Inova X5 Ultraviolet Flashlight: I bought this purely for the novelty of it, because it is a great and fast way to charge up the “lume” on a watch. And while I never carry it, it sits in this box. Also, you can find gross stuff on your carpet with these, which was something I could have gone without having access to. I don’t recommend buying these, super gross.
I recently purged a ton of gear to reach this point, and it feels great. I love every single item in this box, and feel no itch to upgrade or change any of it. I didn’t think I would get to that point.