A Knife in Every Pocket
March 26, 2019 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Without getting into the nuts and bolts of how this 'movement' has impacted society as a whole, nor really caring about how it spewed forth from the same, I can share that I have finally found a lot of utility and happy with my wallet and accessories in everyday IT/handyman/around the house work. It consists of the following, he said shamelessly,

1) A Hitch and Timber wallet with pockets for cards, cash, and slots for *things* to be specified below,
2) A telescoping space pen for all the writing needs when you don't have a pen handy,
3) a Leatherman Micra (yes it fits in that same wallet with all this other crap without hurting my butt when seated), and
4) a dead simple, metal Samsung USB drive for obvious reasons.

Seriously, those things are super handy for me these days.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:54 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

I was going to make a joke about how dudes just love telling people what is in their damn pockets and predict that this thread would mostly turn into people talking about what's in their pockets.
posted by GoblinHoney at 7:59 AM on March 26 [90 favorites]

For a look at Mefite EDC, see this Metatalktail Hour.
posted by zamboni at 8:00 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

I found myself in the same liminal space between mocking this and being drawn by it. But I'm kind of astonished that it's a fashion thing, or a consumption-driven thing. I will admit to being tickled by the idea of a firesteel, but that's basically just a more "authentic" version of the wheel on a cheap dimestore lighter. I don't smoke, so not sure I need to make fire on the regular, so why carry anything that can?

But I used to follow Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools back in the day, and found things that made stuff shrink down and fit in my pocket without becoming some kind of Mall Ninja "Tactical" affectation. Keyring USB key? Neat! It's metal, and I won't lose it! Utili-key? Wow that thing is damned useful, and security never knows it's got a blade because it just looks like a key!

And I also admit to carrying dental floss and chap-stick, because they're sort of these ordinary everyday items that aren't weird to carry on your person and might come in handy for some bizarre purpose you hadn't thought of. I've jury-rigged stuff with the floss before, and treated scratches and small burns with the chap-stick before. I hope I never have to tie a dental floss torniquet in my life, or start a fire with the help of the chap-stick, and that's not why I keep them in my pocket.

As for torches? I've got my phone, and that has a white LED on it. I also have a card-shaped USB battery. Why bother with a separate torch?

The one slightly gimmicky thing I have is a Topeak Rocket Ratchet Lite, which is a teensy ratcheting multi-head screwdriver that is about the size of my finger. I cycle everywhere, and the ability to put proper tension on a bolt without a giant tool is absolutely liberating, there.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:02 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

An absolute classic of the genre at the most extreme end of its form as selling "authentic masculinity" in the form of weapons and gadgets is wannabe Hungarian Nazi Sebastian Gorka's everyday carry, which includes 2 completely different pistols, a copy of the constitution, and a pocket tourniquet.
posted by Copronymus at 8:04 AM on March 26 [18 favorites]

I pretty much just carry my wallet, keys and phone. More stuff than that is just more stuff to forget somewhere. I'm not Batman.
posted by octothorpe at 8:05 AM on March 26 [48 favorites]

It's interesting also that the author ditched the serious tool. That's a pretty rational approach that seems to go against the pack-rat "might need it some day" mentality behind the EDC scene. Especially the guys who carry pistols everywhere. I bet you those guys have never needed those.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:07 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

how dudes just love telling people what is in their damn pockets

I've found that people who carry purses are not exactly adverse to telling you about the useful stuff they're toting around. q.v. the What Purse Do You Carry MeTa.
posted by zamboni at 8:09 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

“There’s definitely still that group [of cops and army guys], but there are now also dudes with disposable income who want to feel like they’re rugged or whatever,” Capulong said. “There’s a little bit of a totemic aspect, where if you carry a pocketknife, it’s as if you’ve assumed the license to be adventurous and manly. You’re not necessarily going to use it, but it’s cool to have.”

Something interesting to me about this is how trivially it could simply be done by the purse/bag carrying type. Even the dude with maximum EDC in his pockets is still limited to those pockets and a brick wallet. Any woman or person with a purse could vastly outcarry any simple pocketed pants wearer. Perhaps this is where cargo pants come in, like a purse for your legs.

"I found myself in the same liminal space between mocking this and being drawn by it."

I definitely feel the same, I made a tease before but I can get the appeal, plus it's a indirect way to show something about yourself or personality and I think folks are always drawn to stuff like that. Navel-gazers, all of us.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:12 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

String, or nothing.
posted by Foosnark at 8:13 AM on March 26 [38 favorites]

I find EDC sort of charming except for the way half the community are fucking gun nuts. Seriously, it's super creepy to advertise "I carry a pistol with me every day!". I'll forgive the fancy boy fantasy knives and overwrought Leathermen, those are plausibly tools for doing useful things. A pistol has only one purpose, killing human beings. It is grotesque to fetishize carrying one.
posted by Nelson at 8:15 AM on March 26 [80 favorites]

Can somebody please put together a March Madness bracket for Dumb Man Things and fill it with stuff like Mancaves, EDC, and tactical diaper bags?

I mean sure, a little pocket multi-tool and an iPhone can come in handy most days but once you start bragging about your firesteel and your Glock you probably need to start wondering where the hell it all went wrong.
posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]

A real modern man carries way more than all this stuff AND is comfortable enough in his masculinity to carry it all in a man-purse.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:16 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]

There is surely something of value to these discussions but EDC spaces are far too fixated on knives and guns for me to believe they are the best places to seek it out. I mostly read and watch minimalist travel content to scratch this itch.

Also, I try to keep my pockets empty but I carry a bag everywhere so that isn't particularly interesting.
posted by seraphine at 8:17 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

Disapproving Drake: Keeping knives and flashlights in your pocket at all times
Approving Drake: Keeping a magic ring that bestows invisibility and unnatural long life in your pocket at all times
posted by J.K. Seazer at 8:17 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]

Something interesting to me about this is how trivially it could simply be done by the purse/bag carrying type. Even the dude with maximum EDC in his pockets is still limited to those pockets and a brick wallet. Any woman or person with a purse could vastly outcarry any simple pocketed pants wearer. Perhaps this is where cargo pants come in, like a purse for your legs.

Hahaha yup!

Men who don't carry pocketbooks are pretty hampered by only having pockets to put things in. The "everyday carry" in my purse is madness. Notebook, lighter, Vaseline, medicine, even snacks -- you name it. Right now, there's a mango I'm trying to remember to eat and a ziplock of coffee grounds sitting in my bag. It's not driven by consumerism, though, just my personal neuroses. And laziness. Stuff collects in there somehow, it's a little Bermuda triangle for daily flotsam and jetsam, and I only do a cull every couple weeks or more.

Probably the most unusual-but-practical thing I carry regularly is a really nice wine key. It's got the little blade for cutting foil, a double hinge, and a rosewood handle. I carry it because it comes up kind of a lot that wine bottles need to get opened and nobody has a reasonable wine key. Plus, I have ruined too many countertops trying to open beer bottles without a bottle opener, and it covers that need, too. Technically, I should be able to open them with the lighter, but I can't get that technique down for the life of me.

Weirdly, I think everyday grooming accessories handle a lot of the "utility" stuff that I guess men carry actual tools for. I have picked locks with my bobby pins, I don't need rubber bands because I have hair ties, my little eyebrow scissors and tweezers have come in handy for small emergencies. The hairbrush, makeup, and spare earrings are just for kicks, though.
posted by rue72 at 8:19 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]

I remember back in the 90s or early 2000s there was this thing about making Altoids survival kits. I think it was a Boing Boing thing (like most dumb things) and .com guys were carrying around Altoids tins with fishhooks and water purification tablets in them as if they couldn't just bop down to the 7-11 for a bottle of Desani and some smoked salmon if they needed it.
posted by bondcliff at 8:20 AM on March 26 [42 favorites]

My pants are already too damn heavy when I carry a phone or a pen in my pockets. I'm surprised some of these dudes don't just tip over in a light breeze.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 8:21 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I'm waiting for this trend to intersect with the whiskey rocks trend. (Surely it has already? Everyday carry whiskey rocks?)
posted by clawsoon at 8:21 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

Hey, I can join in now since bettafish gifted me a quonsmas swiss army knife which I carry with my keys. Its helped me out a few times when I've needed tweezers or a nail file. I've not needed to draw the 3cm blade as yet (though I have been shouting 'By the Power of Greyskull' just in case). I also carry a protection against the evil eye I got from romakimmy in a prior quonsmas, and that has worked great so far.
posted by biffa at 8:22 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Being a white manly man, I never leave the house less fully-equipped for anything life could possibly throw at me than a Rob Liefeld character.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:22 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

I'm like Dora. I have everything I need in my backpack. Say it with me three times!
posted by clawsoon at 8:23 AM on March 26 [13 favorites]

Wallet, phone, keys, and a random assortment of toddler detritus: mittens, hats, occasionally a couple desiccated clementine slices of unknown age. Today it's part of an "alligator" (stick) that broke off yesterday and I had to save in my coat pocket.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:24 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

I have a tiny go-bag with a few basic medical/electronic/tool items in the bottom of my work/computer backpack, but I live in an earthquake prone area...
posted by PhineasGage at 8:25 AM on March 26

Meanwhile serious hikers show off how little they can carry, what with cutting the handle off their toothbrush and so on.
posted by ryanrs at 8:25 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]

"Then you have groupies like Gorka, a man whose entire self-image is cobbled out of pieces of man-flair.
I lol'd.

I don't carry anything in my pockets—well, besides a credit card and professional ID—because it spoils the lines. The phone, book, wallet, pencil, and moleskin stay in my bag. (Sometimes the phone visits my back pocket.) I do keep a tiny SOG key knife—Everyday Carry!—on my desk. I often use it to open mail and bags of snacks.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:27 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

(I do love that the dude in the picture takes his leather ball sack with him everywhere.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:29 AM on March 26

My old boss was really into Every Day Carry minus the gun but he always needed to borrow a pen.
posted by muddgirl at 8:30 AM on March 26 [21 favorites]

As I've mentioned previously, EDC comes in suburban commando and hipster/design/gear dork flavours. The tacticool side seems to be winning. Of the hipster EDC blogs I've linked previously, Persona and Uses This are still going, Cool Tools' What's In My Bag hasn't had a post since 2017, is The Burning House stopped updating in 2016, and I Am Packed seems to have gone away.
posted by zamboni at 8:32 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

My brother, who was AFAB, got into knives when he transitioned. I figure it's a performative thing.

I have a key-shaped thing that's basically a letter opener, which I always forget that I own and might as well get rid of. Security at a TOOL concert (ironically enough) missed the knife but confiscated a tiny keychain flashlight I had. Security at a Bernie rally missed the knife and questioned me about my insulin pen and the needle clipper/disposal thingy in my pocket.
posted by Foosnark at 8:33 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I always carry a Salbutmol inhaler coz wheezer4life, with change, keys, wallet, old-skool MP3 player and phone,
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:33 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Like I get that you don't want to carry a pen or pencil in your pocket. That's why I carry a damn purse. And in my purse is a pencil case that I use Every Day.
posted by muddgirl at 8:33 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Disapproving Drake: Keeping knives and flashlights in your pocket at all times
Approving Drake: Keeping a magic ring that bestows invisibility and unnatural long life in your pocket at all times

By far the biggest downside of EDC is vastly increasing your opponents chances of winning when you play Riddles in the Dark and ask them what you've got in your pockets.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:34 AM on March 26 [25 favorites]

I accidentally had my black Swiss Army knife in my purse at the airport. It was a part of my 15 year gift from a local healthcare organization. They let me mail it back to myself.
posted by Oyéah at 8:34 AM on March 26

> Meanwhile serious hikers show off how little they can carry, what with cutting the handle off their toothbrush and so on.

The EDC movement is basically cosplay of people who have actual hobbies/jobs that take them outside of the confines of suburbia. In ten years of working in the outdoor rec industry, I have never met anyone who was led by the wisdom of experience to carry a glock, six knives, and a trauma kit in their cargo shorts while grabbing a beer in town.
posted by cirgue at 8:34 AM on March 26 [22 favorites]

Came for the everyday carry, stayed for the men slapping each other with frozen fish.
posted by corb at 8:34 AM on March 26 [35 favorites]

To digress a moment from the actual subject of the essay, I really wish people would stop saying "aesthetically pleasing". It's weird, lumpy, oddly nonspecific and sounds wretchedly like you're trying to class-up your language. Is saying "attractive" too effete? What about "well-designed"? Or why not just say, "I see it everyday, so I want one I like"?

And nothing "has to be aesthetically pleasing" in any universal way because that doesn't even make any sense - I guarantee that what you find "aesthetically pleasing" will look tacky to lots of people.

"Aesthetically pleasing" is right up there with referring to women as "females" as far as I'm concerned.

I have a backpack.

Only you really know what's going to be useful on your average day. I almost never really need a pocket knife (and no longer carry one because I have to go through security for random activist court crap every so often) but I do carry pliers.
posted by Frowner at 8:35 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]

Huh. I'd been hearing about EDC as a concept for years but had never heard of this blog. I can't tell from the article whether it's saying that the site invented the term, or popularized it.

Also: too bad about the apocalypse LARPers. Why can't this shit just be healthy? Why do we need tacticool bullshit in order for men to be able to talk about what useful gear we carry in our fucking pockets? Fucking toxic masculinity ruins everything.
posted by hyperbolic at 8:36 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

…as if they couldn't just bop down to the 7-11 for a bottle of Desani and some smoked salmon if they needed it.

lol yeah.  Maybe it's that I'm an effete queer city boy, but my everyday carry is a wallet and keys.  This obsession with full 'kits' of what-have-you always just sounds like so much cosplay.   I'm sure it's fun, but unless the zombie apocalypse is around the corner, it doesn't seem worth the hassle for the vanishingly rare edge case, least of which when there's a relevant store within easy range.

Glass houses and all that though.  My bike's saddle bag has far more kit that I could concevably ever need for my daily riding.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 8:38 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

Navel-gazers, all of us.

Isn't that the truth.

It is kind of funny in the article making the connection with lumberjacks or I guess a fantasy lumberjack. My great grandfather was an actual lumberjack (among many other things) and he literally carried nothing aside for some pocket change and his pipe. He never locked his doors and didn't drive much so he didn't even carry keys. He'd have thought it pretty weird to carry so much junk around with you. He'd also think it weird if you slapped him with a fish, frozen or fresh. I do have a degree of morbid fascination for the EDC guys who carry guns - mostly because I come from a gunless culture and the thought of carrying a gun (or multiple guns!) boggles my mind.

Speaking of Rob Liefield, there used to be this group of middle-aged guys locally who would wear those vests with a million pockets all stuffed full, fanny packs, and bikes kitted out with elaborate panniers who called themselves, I kid you not, International Rescue. You'd see them at events all the time, wandering around with 2 SLRs dangling from from their belts and ready for action. I guess the idea was that they'd be ready for "anything" and be on scene to take photos and/or be able to "rescue".

The only EDC I carry is a little chargeable flashlight the size of an AA battery (which is very handy) along with my boring keys, boring wallet and boring medication.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:38 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

Came for the everyday carry, stayed for the men slapping each other with frozen fish.

Yeah, I can't remember if "hot ass" figured in Train Dreams or not.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:39 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

After having a couple of Leatherman Micra multitools taken away by TSA and then starting work in a high-security building with metal detectors at every door, I basically gave up on that. My laptop bag functions mainly as a man-purse and carries things useful to my daily life as a commuter (an umbrella, tissues, mints, a pen, etc.), but, yeah, I'm not the fucking Batman.
posted by briank at 8:39 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I associate EDC with post-9/11 anxiety. Living in NYC at the time, I started always carrying a mini-flashlight, a multitool and some other random crap around. But once cellphones with strong LEDs started appearing, it became less of a thing.
posted by gwint at 8:40 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I got so tired of over-stuffed pockets so now I've got a purse. I mean, a hand-stitched leather shoulder bag from Roots. But it's a purse. I know it's a purse. I call it a purse. I even guest-posted on my partner's beauty blog about my shoulder bag/purse hunt and it turned out to be one of her most popular posts of the year. Nothing wrong with carrying a purse. They make sense!

Wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses, pens, tissue, gum, chapstick, change purse, earplugs, headphones, a flat cap that folds nicely, some gloves (it was still below freezing this morning), some business cards, and various receipts and coupons I need to throw out. I need to restock it with an emergency granola bar for hangry purposes. You know, purse stuff.

I've also followed my partner's lead and now have two wallets. I used to get baffled when we went out and she'd not have a certain card because "it's in my other wallet" but now I feel the liberation of having a smaller wallet for my necessities and a fat wallet for every single membership card
posted by thecjm at 8:40 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

Huh. I carry a little Swiss Army knife, not one of the crazy ones, just one with a couple of straight edge screwdrivers, a Phillips screwdriver, and two blades. I do this because it's handy about once or twice a day depending on what I'm doing. Otherwise it's just wallet, keys, and phone.

I thought about one of those Leatherman multitool things, but they're so bulky and I can't say that I'm often in the situation of needing a pair of pliers in my pocket. Maybe I should get one to put into my backpack?

I will confess that my backpack is pretty full of stuff, but in my defense I do use all of it at least once every couple of weeks (various over the counter pills, a couple of thumb drives, emergency book for if I'm bored, nail clippers, stuff like that).

And I've got a tech emergency bag in my trunk with a couple of computer power cables, a USB charger wall wart and mini, micro, and USB-C cables, a VGA cable, an HDMI cable, a DVI cable, need to add a Display Port cable, a 30 foot extension cord, a 6 outlet power bar, some gaff tape. That's only useful every few months, but every time it's useful I've been glad I had it.

And of course I've got a first aid kit in the trunk too.

When I go on car trips out of town I always toss one MRE and two half liter bottles for each person on the trip into the trunk. But that's a going out of town just in case we break down and need a snack while waiting for AAA to come tow us sort of precaution, not an everyday thing.

I don't think of myself as part of the EDC thing, in fact I hadn't even heard about it until just now, but maybe I'm slipping in that direction?
posted by sotonohito at 8:41 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Is EDC the new "functional" bodybuilding? 98% about aesthetics, but because you're a man and therefore not allowed to care about that, dressed up as "practical"?
posted by clawsoon at 8:41 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]

Where do you put your book if you don’t bring a bag? It doesn’t make any sense.
posted by The Toad at 8:42 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]

I've never really given this a lot of thought, but giving things a check...

My EDC pocket carry is:
- Back right pocket: Coach tall slim billfold with zipper coin compartment (apparently no longer made)
- Front right pocket: iPhone XS and a Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pocket 40 or Pocket 66 fitted with a Masuyama needlepoint nib and loaded eyedropper-style with Sheaffer Scrip Red
- Front left pocket: Keys and a WESN Ti microblade

I usually also carry a Saddleback Leather briefcase with, among other things:
- A Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six holding six loaded fountain pens (Visconti, OMAS, Graf von Faber-Castell, Armando Simoni Club, Pelikan, etc. -- usually with broad italic nibs)
- A small hardbound blank notebook of Tomoe River paper from Paper for Fountain Pens
- Kent Wang natural horn "keyhole" sunglasses
- A Senz° Automatic umbrella
- An iPad

This all seems fairly normal to me, except obviously that I am a fan of fountain pens. Certainly not anything I could see fetishizing or obsessing over.
posted by slkinsey at 8:44 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

Book tip: Unlike tools, which have an interesting physical outline, you have to wash your jeans for the first time with the book still in the pocket so that the ink bleeds through. Rip the cover and first fifty pages off your copy of Infinite Jest and shove it in the jean pocket (cover facing out!) before you do laundry.
posted by clawsoon at 8:46 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]

My only true everyday carry is an extra twenty pounds of mid-section fat. I'd share a pic but I have been struggling to get the carbon fibre vinyl wrapping to stick.
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on March 26 [28 favorites]

Paperback books go in the back pants pocket.

At work we needed to melt some rope so it wouldn't fray, and we couldn't find anyone with a lighter. I'm old enough for that to be really wierd! That used to be the one thing you could count on someone having, but now no one smokes (maybe they vape?)
posted by BeeDo at 8:51 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I once worked as the bookkeeper in a factory, and one day a maintenance guy came upstairs to ask for some petty cash to go out and buy a set of feeler gauges. I casually rollied my steno chair back, pulled my purse out from under my desk, dug around a bit and handed him a set of feeler gauges. He stared at them for a moment, then said: oh these are standard, I need metric. So I reached back into my purse and produced a set of metric gauges. To his immense credit, he just nodded and walked out, like he fully expected that every woman carries 2 full sets of feeler gauges in their purse. If he'd asked me, I'd've explained that I'd just gotten them cheap at a flea market that weekend, but he never did ask and I suspect I became a legend that day.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 8:52 AM on March 26 [161 favorites]

I had to go back and read TFA to figure out why people are talking about frozen fish slapping. Was not disappointed.
posted by slogger at 8:52 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Meanwhile in hunting circles where cutting up a dead animal is more of a chore than a fantasy, the Havalon Piranta knife has completely taken over. Turns out a scalpel is way better at cutting up meat than your tacticool edc. Also it's orange, which means you can find it when you drop it in the grass.
posted by ryanrs at 8:54 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]

Myself, I like to carry around all the parts necessary to field-strip and repair a Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at all times. Sure, it means I have to haul around a wheeled cart filled with ball bearings, a rotor assembly, and 1200 pounds of fuselage, but in these trying times, you never know when you're going to have to make emergency repairs so that you can airlift 35,000 pounds of cargo onto an amphibious craft.
posted by Mayor West at 8:55 AM on March 26 [38 favorites]

I carry a KFS and small wine glass. Whenever a buffet or a picnic comes up, I’m equipped to deal with it.
posted by Segundus at 8:57 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Plus, think of the imprint that's gonna make on your jeans pocket.
posted by dywypi at 8:58 AM on March 26

I carry a Kent R7T with me everywhere I go because the only thing I really worry about is a strong gust of wind.
posted by cazoo at 9:00 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I have either a tiny classic SAK or a SwissCard Lite in every handbag or backpack and I use them a few times a month. The knife and the scissors come very handy. Otherwise, I always carry pens, paper and things like that.
posted by sukeban at 9:02 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

This obsession with full 'kits' of what-have-you always just sounds like so much cosplay.

I mean, I think it isn’t if you have a purse. Like: I carry medical stuff often because it’s useful. I was really glad to have serious burn dressings the time some idiot fell hands first into a campfire.
posted by corb at 9:03 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

i carry my mental burdens
posted by the phlegmatic king at 9:03 AM on March 26 [31 favorites]

I would just like to interject briefly to request that folks in this thread please consider continuing to make fun of EDC tacticool shit at every opportunity that may arise in your daily lives.

Really. This "trend" (can something so old really be a trend?) needs to be shame-bombed into oblivion.
posted by aramaic at 9:05 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

slkinsey, I am also a fountain pen doofus, but following the "is it practical enough for me to keep with me" trend I now stick to a Kaweco Sport. Tiny, light, rugged, posts to full size, and uses standard international cartridges. Not exactly a jeweled wizard's staff, but I just like writing without pressing down hard and developing a cramp, y'know?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 9:08 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

My work EDC basically consists of noise cancelling bluetooth earbuds, my laptop and a knife for opening the random box. My backpack also has wetnaps, lip balm and a couple pair of neoprene gloves in it (I *really* don't like getting my hands dirty).

My weekend bag has a usb battery pack in it, a Kindle, sometimes an iPad with cellular, more wetnaps and more lipbalm.

I briefly tried the whole EDC thing a long time ago, but it is cosplay and impractical if you're not carrying another bag. If you think about it a bit, you realize that flashlights generally kinda suck and the one on your phone is sufficient most of the time that only a hand carried flashlight will work, but my weekend bag has a headlamp which is infinitely more useful in 90% of circumstances.

I had a work kit for trips to the datacenter with a headlamp, various serial adapters, etc, but that's mostly been picked apart since I don't go there weekly like I used to.

EDC can work when you come to terms with what your life is and not what you wish it were, and only carry the things that are appropriate to that. Then it's functional.
posted by mikesch at 9:10 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

rum-soaked space hobo: Heh, I do Sports *and* ballografs for the ballpoint pens. Kaweco Sports rule.
posted by sukeban at 9:12 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

My EDC mostly consists of stuff I put in my backpack and then forgot was there.
posted by clawsoon at 9:13 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]

I am Batgrandma.
posted by Oyéah at 9:15 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]

I threw bike tools in my bag and then also motorcycle tools in my motorcycle bag. But my everyday thing is a little purse-looking thing I didn't realize is the same size and shape as a handgun bag until scarier guys started Approving of my little bag. It's mostly full of guitar picks and funny pictures I drew tho, and also some pricetapes patches

very important to EDC your pricetapes patch that has a fucked up snoopy going LIFE IS BUT A DREAM
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 9:17 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Disapproving Drake: Keeping knives and flashlights in your pocket at all times
Approving Drake: Keeping a magic ring that bestows invisibility and unnatural long life in your pocket at all times

Disapproving Dumbledore: Keeping elder wands and resurrection stones in your robe at all times
Approving Dumbledore: Keeping a magic cloak that bestows invisibility and unnatural long life in your robe at all times
posted by leotrotsky at 9:17 AM on March 26

I hate the feeling of stuff in my pockets. I have the thinnest possible wallet with as little as possible in it. Somehow I manage without carrying around knives, pens, pads of paper, paracord, or whatever.
posted by zsazsa at 9:17 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Paracord is a weird thing to carry around. I'm reasonably confident everyone with a paracord wrist-strap is a kidnapper in training.

Dental floss is less weird. Less load-bearing, but less weird, and I'd argue more generally useful. In fact, I don't use it for its intended purpose nearly often enough, despite keeping it in my pocket.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 9:20 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

the saddest part of the article is that the guy was going to be a doctor and save lives but venture capitalists convinced him to spend his life selling stuff on a website instead
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:21 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]

I carry the 1.
posted by swift at 9:21 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

In my pocket is a Swiss MiniChamp, a tiny Verbatim Store-N-Go combo USB3/USBC drive, and a Sacajawea golden dollar coin. (iPhone and wallet too.)

The MiniChamp and USB drive replace my old SwissMemory laser pointer model with integrated flash drive. New MacBook* only had USBC ports, so the old USB drive wouldn't work with it.

The golden dollar has been in my pocket since 2000, when it was released, because the US Mint website said they had tested the coin to hold up to a simulated "30 years of pocket wear" and I decided to put it to a real-world test. 19 years in, it absolutely shows some wear but is holding up just fine. It started as a total joke but it has become a permanent part of my "pocket detritus". I hope the Mint appreciates the effort I have gone through to fact-check their work.

*I am a Mac user, so my thin, svelte, lightweight laptop means I also have a cantaloupe-sized bag of dongles and adapters in my backpack. I guess that counts as EDC? Anyway if you need a USBC to pretty much anything, I probably have one you can borrow.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:24 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]

Like, look, I am an engineer that has actually done what they call "field work." I love myself a good multitool or at the very least a pocket knife. But I just don't understand how anyone travels with a $200 multitool? Do they always check a bag? Do they argue with the TSA agent when they claim that this week 2" blades aren't allowed? Do they actually leave them at home? I started buying the cheap chinese-made multitools from Northern Tool or Harbor Freight and if the TSA takes them, it's no big loss.
posted by muddgirl at 9:26 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

Marketing. Consumers. Profit...
posted by jim in austin at 9:27 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Something interesting to me about this is how trivially it could simply be done by the purse/bag carrying type.

Definitely, and I think there is a part of EDC-dom that also overlaps with people who are into high-end messenger bags and stuff. Which I'll out myself as being into, in the same way that other people have described being intrigued by but without really making it part of their self-identity or whatever. But I like my Tom Bihn bag and all its little compartments for stuff, and the way you can customize it just so, and there's something satisfying about knowing that I have basically everything that I could need for any sort of business meeting / class / minor sartorial emergency / non-life-threatening injury / migraine in there, and still have room for, you know, other stuff.

One thing I've noticed is that in less urbanized areas where people mostly commute by car, you're less likely to see men carrying bags, and that probably drives some of the emphasis on pockets. Like, in NYC where a lot of people commute on the train, having a bag that you can put your stuff in and comfortably carry is almost a requirement. But if you commute by car, then the bag—if you have one—becomes just this thing that you move the short distance from your car to your desk, and back, one round-trip a day. And they're often awkward as fuck, heavy, equipped with uncomfortable straps, etc. And the odds that you'll have it with you outside of those narrow spans of time is less. But you always have pockets, and so that's what the EDC stuff focuses on in those environments.

So I see the pocket-centric EDC thing as largely a suburban phenomenon, while bag fetishism is more urban.

Oddly, when I started commuting by car I actually stopped carrying my pocketknife (which I actually used quite regularly) because several times the metal clip of the knife scratched the steering wheel of the car as I was getting in/out. (And I tried moving the knife to my left pocket, but that's where I keep my phone... anyway it was easier to just stop carrying it.) I do miss it though. Maybe I'll get one with a plastic clip instead of metal—that's gotta be a thing, right?
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:31 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

The same leatherman since 1999.
posted by signal at 9:32 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]

I did buy one of those key-shaped multitools, because I was tired of loosing my micra at airports. It's not as useful as the micra since I use the scissors more than anything else, but at least I have a screwdriver handy.

What I do go overboard on is trunk carry! I have a 3 day supply of food and water; an earthquake/camping supply backpack; a full tool kit including a small saw; a small but high end med kit with things like abdominal pressure bandages; a fire extinguisher; and a 3 foot long wrecking bar. Also a valise with sufficient clothes for a long weekend, including a black skirt and top that can do for an interview, plus my OTC meds and a couple hundred in cash.

Anything from an earthquake to a car wreck to dumping coffee all over myself right before an interview, I'm ready to go. I do live in earthquake country so it's not as nuts as it sounds.
posted by tavella at 9:42 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]

My current EDC is pretty basic, although I have a Mission Works messenger bag that I carry most of it in. I hate carrying stuff in my hands, so I'd rather have that messenger bag for purchases or whatever. It can hold a lot of books and cans of cider. :) I carry keys on a USB keyring, wallet (with emergency cash), phone, pocket knife in my pants pockets, and then sunglasses, stomach pill + antacids, glasses repair kit, notebook, pen, towel (it folds down to smaller than my wallet), phone charger, and whatever book I'm reading in the bag. I use pretty much everything but the towel a few times a month, sometimes even a few times a week.

When I worked in the bush my EDC was pretty crazy. I had keys, three knives, three different ways to make fire (lighter, waterproof matches, fire steel), a hatchet, a small saw, a day and a half of food, 2L of water, water purification pills, plumb bob, measuring tape, rain gear, pens & pencils, camera, cell phone, sat phone, IFC drawings, clipboard, notebook, monocular, first aid kit, sunscreen, bug repellant, space blanket, and I'm sure some stuff I'm forgetting. It changed a bit in the winter. But I worked in environments that were helicopter-accessible only, often without a crew with me, and the weather was such that I had to be prepared to overnight (or potentially longer) on my own in temperatures anywhere from +30C to -30C with no prospect for immediate assistance, and not always with a shelter readily available. I wasn't out there for pleasure and I needed to be over-prepared. I almost never used any of it, but it felt good to have around.

I agree w/ muddgirl, though: I have an expensive, high-quality Grohmann belt knife (that thing is seriously magic), but it's not part of my EDC and I never took it out on the job site. If I hunted I'd probably take it out with me for that. But for my EDC, *especially* for fieldwork, I have a $15 Gerber scout knife that gets the job done 99% of the time and is bright orange. Most of my field gear is cheap, easy to replace, and bright orange so it's easy to find if I drop it. (Also, can I say that the "Expedition" notebook by Field Notes is actually the best field notebook I found; it's perfect for taking on-the-fly notes in harsh-weather environments. Also, they're bright orange. I used dozens.)
posted by Fish Sauce at 9:42 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I'd like to think I got an early start on this. Long time ago, when I was 9, a tornado warning was called for our area. Mom looked outside at the green sky and said this might be the one. I thought about all the things I'd need to deal with the wreckage and how to help the injured. And what I could keep out of my mountain of toys. A pen. Pencil. Pocket knife. Phaser in its holster on my belt. Lightsaber on the other side. All sorts of little toys stuffed in the pockets. Even a handful of bandages stuffed in there somewhere. I was prepared for anything and it felt great.

These days, I don't worry about what I carry beyond the phone and keys. But I think a lot about what needs to be on some server somewhere. All my photos including the raws, my thousands of ebooks, all the music, email backups, everything where it can be reached anywhere. I think about the virtual everyday carry much more than the actual carry. The only thing I'm tempted to add is a foldable keyboard for more preparedness to deal with the virtual stuff.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 9:48 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

Being a stay-at-home dad and always lugging around a diaper bag has made me into bag man. I don't like to have more than one thing in a pants pocket and I try to avoid putting anything in my back pockets for comfortable driving.

Is saying "attractive" too effete?

Didn't you know, men don't nurture children, we mentor. /s
posted by Groundhog Week at 9:59 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Luxury to me is not carrying anything. I have a minimalist wallet, keys, and phone, but would love to not have to carry any of them. I’m always surprised in these discussions about how much stuff people are carrying around daily.

Also, I am doubtful that many of those guys actually carry guns day in and day out (versus maybe having it the glovebox or carrying once in a while as a special event). Pistols are heavy and uncomfortable, especially when concealed, and complicate basic things like sitting in your car or using a public bathroom. (Plus of course the sheer inapplicability of guns in everyday life.) It’s good to have an active fantasy life, but there are definitely more realistic things to base your cosplay on.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:02 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Gah, this is one of those things where I find myself questioning my influence on the world and wonder if some of this is my fault.

Because those tacticool mall ninjas probably wish they could be me. I'm practically a trope.

I've been doing some nerdy version of this EDC thing since about grade school, so, uh, 30+ years, but I actually use the stuff I carry around because I actually go on adventures. Things I don't actually use I don't carry around. I might be complicated but I'm not a doofus or poser.

I also don't buy tools because they're "aesthetically pleasing" and these people spending hundreds of dollars on goofy little rainbow anodized titanium keychain prybars is super weird to me, though I wouldn't say no to someone offering me a very nice (and pretty!) high end flashlight, or maybe even a better multitool.

I don't want to have to pop down to the 7-11 and waste time and money on a disposable bottle of water, because I should have at least one of my stainless steel bottles with me. Also, relying on money to solve ones problems and lack of foresight like this is how people waste a lot of money. I generally don't have money to waste, so wasting a dollar or two on water is a bad time for me and can be inordinately stressful.

You also can't easily spend money to solve problems if you just experienced a massive earthquake and the power and computers are off everywhere you might normally use a card or spend money - so this kind of preparedness might be more of an earthquake country normalized thing.

When I was a younger raver kid I used to keep my small shoulder bag totally kitted out with an ultralight camping and survival kit that would fit right in with a PCT through-hiker's ultralight kit, and this would be in addition to a netbook, small laptop or general every day city life stuff and electronics.

Why? So I could go to desert parties with basically zero notice. People would ask me if I wanted to go out there with them and I'd say "Sure!" and wouldn't even have to go home for camping supplies because I had a bit of tyvek ground cloth and a space blanket and other basic supplies right in my bag. I did this, oh, dozens of times. Heck, I even got to DJ a few times because I had music+computer with me, and I did this in a day when digital/software based DJing was super new and weird, and it was still all vinyl or CD DJ rigs.

It got to be a known thing where people would ask if I had my magic bag with me because they needed a safety pin, ibuprofen, band-aid, needle and thread, a bit of tape or just about any small useful thing one might need. I probably had it packed into my small bag that was about the size of a loaf of bread. More than a few times I saved a party because I had tools with me to fix a cable, a speaker or an amplifier - or just a bandaid or some medical tape, or tweezers to remove splinters or cactus spines.

Heck, I used to carry a soldering iron. Do you have any idea how awesome it is to be that nerd hundreds of miles out in the middle of a desert who just happens to have a soldering iron at a desert rave when an amp blows? I've been that nerd a bunch of times. It feels super awesome.

This just happened to me at my own show. One of my DJs lost the grounding wire nut for his DJ mixer. The Leatherman Micra wire strippers on my keychain let me fix that in 30 seconds flat, and not with some half-assed wires stripped with scissors or a pocket knife kind of a solution, but a neat and permanent fix.

Another reason why is because I like to be comfortable. I don't mean comfortable as in "secure in my weird paranoia" but actually physically comfortable. In the winter this means there's probably a small camping stove and fuel in my bag so I can make a cup of hot coffee or tea anywhere I like - often in the middle of a forest, often with filtered water from a stream. It also means gloves, a balaclava, a warm scarf, even chemical handwarmers. In the summer this means stuff like extra water, or maybe a book or towel for the beach, or even a berry basket for picking berries.

Granted I also haven't carried around fish hooks or a fire steel as an EDC. Though, my Gerber bush knife has a fire steel and ferro rod built in, but that's not an EDC, that's a "ok, you're going on a proper hike or a ramble around the property and you need a bush knife" kind of thing. And, sure that knife is on my belt a lot these days because it's smaller than my machete and just about as good at whacking blackberry brambles, and I can wear it into town and people don't look at me funny.

I will carry spare emergency food, which is more immediately useful than fishhooks. If shit actually hits the fan - or I get lost and need to self rescue - I'm not going to be spending my time going fishing, I'm going to be getting the hell away from civilization and people where I'll have plenty of time to whittle some stupid fish hooks, or I'm going to be headed immediately towards civilization where there's food and/or medical aid.

Granted, I also now live in the country. Not like the suburbs or on the edge of the country, but pretty deep in the country, like the nearest grocery store is 20+ miles away country. I like living here, I like being this deep in nature, and I'm very comfortable and at home in it.

But heading a few miles off the beaten path solo and on foot and totally unprepared is not wise. At a minimum on these hikes I'm carrying water, food, a knife, a flashlight, an emergency whistle and a small first aid kit. If I twist an ankle or get immobilized - highly likely considering all the off trail undergrowth bushwhacking I do - I want a minimum of 24 hours of basic comfort because it might be a while before anyone notices I'm missing.

Today I have a small assortment of packing cubes and ditty bags I use to keep my shit sorted and modular, so packing for some purpose is really quick and easy. I have have a packing cube dedicated just for my notebooks, field guides and whatnot, and then that packing cube has room for smaller ditty bags to keep my bag tidy and not a swamp of random jumbled crap that I have to swim through to find anything.

Going to town and getting some work done in a cafe? Laptop, electronics accessories, notebook, pens. Going out into the boonies on a photography hike? Tripod, camera, lens filter pack, shutter release cable, stove+pot, tea, water, food, first aid, trekking poles. DJ gig? Laptop, mixer/controller, cables, wires, power strip. All nicely sorted and ready to go. I just grab the appropriate bags or cubes and throw them into my choice of bag, whether it's my Chrome bag or my Ortleib rolltop backpack or my internal frame 60l expedition pack.

Anyway, at some point about 10-15 years ago I almost started an EDC-focused blog or store or something, because I do have a lot of experience in this kind of every day gadgetry and know what works and what doesn't work, and what's just silly tacticool bullshit.

But I had a realization even back then that the target market for this stuff doesn't really use their gear. They just want to acquire shiny man-jewelry - or worse, cater to violent fantasies. Which isn't my thing at all. I definitely don't spend my time looking at concealed carry holsters, ballistic nylon load harnesses or other tacticool bullshit.

And that there wasn't a whole lot of marketable branding in "Yeah, you don't actually need all of that shit. Here's the basics that you really need." and I wouldn't help sell any weird rainbow anodized titanium keychain prybars.

*shrug* Whatever. Folks can make fun of me if they want, but I probably won't hear you over the birds and the sound of the forests!
posted by loquacious at 10:04 AM on March 26 [31 favorites]

Maybe it's better to be MacGyver.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:05 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

The only thing I'm tempted to add is a foldable keyboard for more preparedness to deal with the virtual stuff.

People in the Tools MeTa seemed enthusiastic about the TextBlade.
posted by zamboni at 10:06 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I find the whole EDC thing weird and fetishistic. I carry as little as possible. Wallet, keys, cellphone, handkerchief. And reading glasses because I am old. Everything else is random pocket litter -- bits of paper and garbage.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:08 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Put me in the mystified by the whole "tactical" EDC thing. I'm a dad so I have a purse with band-aid type stuff and a real (not mobile phone) camera. I do think the "practical" EDC stuff is interesting from time to time but I don't really need any of it.
posted by Defective_Monk at 10:10 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

The Toad: "Where do you put your book if you don’t bring a bag? It doesn’t make any sense."

It's in an app on my phone.
posted by octothorpe at 10:14 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

An extra 20-25lbs. I could live off my body fat for weeks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:20 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I'm so confused - why knives? Everyday carry makes more sense if it's painkillers, extra meds, several pens, a notebook, book, phone/pda, hankies (at least 2), cutlery (spoon, fork, chopsticks, resuable straw), small USB cable, USB key, folding comb/brush, hand sanitizer, lip balm, dental floss, water bottle, travel mug, headphones, spare headphones...

these are all part of a basic urban survival kit - where ever I go, I won't be bored or have to rely on disposable cutlery or cups. I don't see where knives come into it.

(okay, I can't actually fit the water bottle and the travel mug in the same small bag - but I rarely go out without at least two bags. Then I can have craft supplies, too.)
posted by jb at 10:26 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Oh, forgot a few things in the trunk supplies: a couple of fleece blankets, a bright red puffy jacket with hood that compacts down nicely, and a folding chair in a bag. Which I think I have actually made use of more times than anything else in the trunk.
posted by tavella at 10:26 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

An extra 20-25lbs. I could live off my body fat for weeks.

Your companion with a knife could also live off your body fat for weeks.
posted by clawsoon at 10:26 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]

Paracord is a weird thing to carry around. I'm reasonably confident everyone with a paracord wrist-strap is a kidnapper in training.

I usually have some paracord or microcord somewhere if I'm carrying a bag, but I'm not going to wear a braided bracelet of the crap.

It's useful for carrying things without having to use your hands. You can strap stuff to your bag, sling a canteen, or even give a shoulder strap to a grocery bag.

If I'm going out overnight I need to carry about 50+ feet of it to do a PCT/toggle style bear bag hang.

Pro tip and note to self: Don't buy camo or olive drab paracord for camping and practical use. You'll just trip over any guylines or lose it on the ground setting up a tent or fly. The next skein or roll of the cord I buy I'm splurging on the fancy camper-friendly stuff with retroreflective tape woven into it.

Most of my field gear is cheap, easy to replace, and bright orange so it's easy to find if I drop it.

Yep, learning this one. I used to have a matte black SOG multitool, which I used to lose all the time just setting it down next to me in the grass while working on something, and then I finally lost it forever.

I went with the plain old shiny stainless Leatherman this time, much easier to see in the dark. My next utility/bush knife is probably going to be a basic Morakniv in bright orange or some other color.
posted by loquacious at 10:28 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Just because it has a knife in it doesn't mean this isn't a flat lay, guys.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:29 AM on March 26

A classic in the genre is SomethingAwful forum member Myrtar; the original post seems to be lost to history but here is a post that contains the original content. That post is from 2003, so the original is something like 20 years old at this point -- this is an old idea.
posted by dbx at 10:31 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Hmm, checking my pocketses: Wallet, phone, keys, dosimeter. Yup, all there.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:32 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Looking at the stuff on the Massdrop EDC section (you may need to log in to see that, I'm not sure), it looks like we've hit "peak tactical" and moved on. Yeah there's still a few items that seem pretty mall-ninja-y, but the newer items and especially the community-designed items don't seem to be going for that aesthetic as much.

It seems like brass is in, both bright metal and chrome plated. Also more natural materials, wood and leather especially. And a few items in bright colors; there's a bright red matte-finish Zippo that's... pretty neat, actually, although I have no reason for a Zippo. (I've inherited several, and while there's something undeniably satisfying about how they're constructed, if you don't smoke they're not particularly useful. The fluid is volatile and evaporates out of them rather quickly, so they never work when you want them to. /sigh)

I find it interesting that they have different sections for "Everyday Carry", distinct from "Blades" (including pocketknives and such), "Men's Accessories", "Flashlights", and "Watches".

That Mechanical Keyboard section tho... hnnnnng
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:33 AM on March 26

I was part of and read a lot of these EDC blogs, maybe ten years or more ago.

The tactical bullshit always struck a chord - there were the people from other countries commenting incredulously about the USA being so dangerous that everyone carried a handgun, a knife, extra bullets, pepper spray, trauma kit, etc. Americans responded with some sad story from the news where they imagined themselves saving the day. Always degenerated into a shouting match.

Now, when someone posts their "carry" handgun along with enough magazines for a three hour siege, no one bats an eye (or has been thoroughly silenced). The once-normal forums I visited now have "self defense" and "survival" categories, which get more traffic than the "you're-using-it-now" phone and electronics category.

We've gone from EDC meaning "this is what I need to make my life easier" to "this is what I spend my money on to show off to other internet strangers".

EDC content: the Swiss Army Manager is one of the shortest pens you can carry - and it also has scissors, an eyeglass screwdriver, and a bottle opener! It is probably the pinnacle of tiny-useful-tool.
posted by meowzilla at 10:41 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

I hate carrying stuff in my pockets. People with cell phones in their back pocket seem like they are asking for crushed electronics. I want to be able to run on short notice, like when you are crossing the street and suddenly realize that bus is a lot closer than you thought. Having crap jiggling around in your pockets is a pain, and ergonomically insulting to your posture, IMHO.

So, what I do is carry a man-bag. If I need something useful, I can carry it and put the bag down so all that crap stays in one place. I have the usual suspects: glasses, chapstick, wallet, flashlight, stuff....stuff I use day to day.

What I really need is a decent quality man-bag with a shoulder strap, one done with the sensibility and quality control you can find in the thousands of back packs and messenger bags found online. I have a cheap Amazon man-bag that does the trick, made of cheap canvas with design flaws. Yet it's overall the most useful one I can locate and I've seriously searched.

Searches on this niche typically find basic metrosexual man-bags in leather with detailing, there are a metric ton of tablet bags with a couple of cursory pockets, and more infrequently a bag for carrying personal effects that you could actually run with and not have stuff not go flying everywhere, most of which are cheap knockoffs of something else.

Man bag gods, here my plea. Surely there's a designer somewhere worthy of this challenge. Mountain Smith ignored my missive, there must be someone up for this challenge.
posted by diode at 10:44 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I'm an experimental nuclear physicist, and I was able to buy a tube of ultra-high molecular weight vacuum grease from Amazon, where its most popular application is lubricating o-rings on tactical flashlights.

This grease has basically zero vapor pressure, so you can use it in extraordinarily clean plasma/optical pumping setups. Also flashlights?

$100/oz, for your flashlight.

Did I mention that if you overheat it it decomposes to phosgene? For your flashlight.
posted by MengerSponge at 10:48 AM on March 26 [25 favorites]

...the biggest advantage the EDC hobby tends to bring these guys is that their wives now know what to get them for Christmas.
Unless their wives are themselves EDC enthusiasts, or the husbands told them they wanted a thing, it doesn't work like that. My wife periodically gives me a small multitool for Xmas, but it's never one I would buy.

I used to take a bag to work, and it had all kinds of equipment in it. No firearms, thank you. I did have a lockpick. I don't even remember all the other stuff. Nowadays, I wear a Rothco Undercover Travel vest, which has a lot of pockets. It's not one of those bulgy photographer/fishing vests; it presents a smooth front. I put it on when I leave the house, and am thus equipped with a tiny bright flashlight, a micro-like multitool that has pliers, folding scissors, a pocket notebook, pen & pencil, lint-brush card, magnifying card, vial of nitroglycerine pills, my phone, and a vintage Black Cat folding knife. The knife is the biggest item, except for my phone.There's lots more room for other stuff, but I don't usually take anything else.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:48 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

MengerSponge does your electric torch smell like wet hay? You totally have to tell us if it does.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:56 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

jb: "I'm so confused - why knives?"

Because when you carry a knife you discover infinite uses for it. Even if just whittling.
posted by chavenet at 10:57 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

Right? I use my pocket knife constantly, often for situations where I'd normally be hunting down a pair of scissors. And it makes me cringe every time I see an adult spend five minutes trying to saw through a piece of string with a set of house keys.
posted by Fish Sauce at 11:00 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]

bright orange so it's easy to find if I drop it.

always needed to borrow a pen.

My usual pocket pen is bright pink, which is
  • pretty
  • highly visible (when I put it down, or in other people's hands)
  • cheaper than the other colors in the range (thanks, heteronormativity!)
  • resistant to being borrowed by most dudes (thanks again, heteronormativity!)
posted by zamboni at 11:02 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]

My EDC has evolved with the age of my kids. When my kids were young I had bandaids in my wallet, a small swiss army knife with a little pair of scissors which I 98% used to cut long straws on kids' drinks, and what I called a "Dad Rag" used for wiping up mostly stuff you don't want to picture that dads have to deal with when kids are around.

Nowadays I carry keys, wallet, folding comb (so the teeth don't pick up pocket lint,) and a cheap-ass pocket knife for opening packages. The bandaids in my wallet are pretty much just for me now.
posted by cross_impact at 11:02 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I wear a suit made of fixed-blade knives and sleep in a large Timbuk2 hung from any convenient tree. I start fires with my glare.
posted by salt grass at 11:04 AM on March 26 [22 favorites]

i just had a spontaneous picnic a couple days ago where i cut a pear and some cheese into shareable slices with my pocket knife, cleaned with the little tube of wet wipes i keep in my bag. much nicer than just biting it.
posted by zinful at 11:04 AM on March 26

the suit is truly uncomfortable
posted by salt grass at 11:05 AM on March 26 [19 favorites]

I've always carried wallet, cash, keys, lip balm, and a Swiss Army knife. I added a phone in the late 90s. Most of the time there's also a notebook and a (fountain!) pen.

The knife is a "normal" sized model, not the tiny little keychain ones or the giant oversized ones. The specific model has changed over the years; 20 years ago, when I was more apt to need to actually take something apart, it was a very fat Cybertool 34. Nowadays, it's a much slimmer model (a Climber) without the multi-bit driver. Swiss Army knives are not especially useful as weapons; I carried them on planes before the Permanent Post-9/11 Freakout.

When LED lights got tiny enough, I added one of those -- but before that, I kept a larger light in my computer bag, because it turns out they're AMAZINGLY USEFUL if only for checking under hotel beds for shit you're about to leave behind.

True EDC folks scoff at the SAK knives, because I guess they're not manly or tactical enough, but by my lights they're WAY more useful than the sort of fuck-off lockbacks they favor. I mean, I can trim a thread, tighten a screw, trim a nail, pull a splinter, and open both your beer and my bottle of wine. That enormous Benchmade is, though, WAY better for stabbing imaginary ninjas in your server room I guess, so they've got that going for them.

Seriously, though, having a pocketknife is insanely useful. On quick trips, I leave the knife at home and REALLY miss it -- and generally for non-cutting reasons. If the trip is longer than a few nights, I check a bag and take it. I live in a place where all my flights are direct, so it's usually smooth sailing.

>I don't see where knives come into it.

This baffles me. I mean, see above re: trim a thread, etc. An SAK isn't just a knife. It's a tiny toolbox with scissors, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a blade, a screwdriver, tweezers, a toothpick, etc., etc., etc. I use *something* on mine several times a day.
posted by uberchet at 11:05 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I use the serrated end of my utilikey to cut strings, the straight edge to cut tape and paper. It's not quite craft-knife level but I can cut good shapes out when I need to.

Oh yeah cross_impact, I also have a merino wool buff which I nominally have as a pocket scarf for windy days, but I tend to use it as a handkerchief (for everything but sneezing) as well.

See now, handkerchiefs used to be held up as the same sort of pluripotent pocket item as a knife. What ever happened to that? If you look at all the EDC guys they all seem to wear a shemagh, or moan about how they won't wear one because they see non-white people wearing them. Funny how they don't have the same aversion to driving a Ford F150...
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:05 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Gender stereotypes would be better, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

posted by zamboni at 11:06 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I start fires with my glare.

All that time I wasted as a kid trying to start a fire spinning that stick around, and I could've just used my glare??
posted by clawsoon at 11:09 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I usually go hiking/camping with people who have their own pocket knives and figure I'm taken care of but a couple of years ago I was taking my nephew camping so figured it would be a good time to get a pocket knife. I ended up getting a Swiss Army that had some basic blades and a couple of other things. For a while after the camping trip I kept it in my briefcase because I actually did get regular use out of one of the blades, tweezers and toothpick but I misplaced it and don't know where it is now. It was convenient when I had it but I don't miss it anymore either.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:22 AM on March 26

Maybe it's because I grew up poor and had to learn how to make do with what you have on you, but I try to carry the absolute minimum amount of stuff I can.

My wallet contains nothing but five cards (License, health insurance, atm card, credit card, metro card) and $40 - $60 in cash. I keep two keys on my keyring, one for the house and one for the car. The only other things I regularly carry are my smartphone, my meds, and a flashlight the size of a quarter. I used to carry a small pocket knife but I got tired of being hassled by the cops / security guards.

I keep other stuff in my laptop bag or car but even there I try for minimalism. I also have a shoulder bag/backpack that I use to carry extra stuff when needed but that is a pretty rare occurrence. Now that I have clawed my way into the middle class it is even easier to travel light because if I need something I can just buy it.

On preview: a knife is an incredibly useful item to have. Not a manly survival knife, but a simple pocket knife. Mine was a high quality super light folding knife with a 3" blade. I used it all the time and this thread has made me realize how much I miss carrying it. Fuck the man I am adding it back to my kit.
posted by iamnotangry at 11:23 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I'm so confused - why knives?

I use my pliers, multitool and knife daily/weekly at home and abroad for:

Cutting open avocados, slicing apples into tidy bites, opening packages, cutting cord/wire/rope, taking plant cuttings for pressing or foraging, cutting paper for random crafts, trimming my nails, managing/poking at a fire, grabbing hot things from a stove, replacing/swapping drives in a laptop, general electronics and geek life, picking up gross things I don't want to touch with my hands, grabbing or cutting blackberry bramble without having to touch it, whittling things for fun or practice and... a lot more.

Heck, I just built most of a compost pile with my multitool. I used the really good wire cutters and pliers to tie the wire fencing to posts. Though I used a basic hand saw I could have cut the posts/rails I made out of scrap alder saplings with the saw on the multitool, and have used the saw many times for things from punching holes in drywall to cutting firewood and kindling or even cutting a walking stick or doing yard work. I've used the high quality file to sharpen and restore hatchets, knives and other tools.

Last week my glasses frames came apart, and I was walking outside in a weedy/grassy area. I managed to just catch and pinch the edge of the loose frame at the hinge and capture the screw with one hand, and then was able to fish out my Leatherman Micra on my keychain with my other hand, open the small flathead driver one handed and drive the screw back in, put my glasses back on and go about my business like it never happened.

I am about equally confused when someone doesn't have at least a pen knife or some kind of tool and I wonder how people get by or solve every day problems whether it's eliminating an annoying hangnail or loose thread or opening a package without mucking up one's keys or hands.

And I'm not that confused, really? I get it that a lot of people have day-to-day lives that are really routine where one is basically leaving a home full of tools and going to a job or office where they have everything they need whether it's a proper box cutter or kitchen utensils, so there's never really going to be a time where they'll need a fancy $80 Leatherman.

But I am a very annoyed human without my EDC tools. A lot of the stuff I carry around is pretty important in my day to day life just because of how I live it, but also because I have to be very economically frugal. I don't drive, I rely on buses and my feet and catching occasional rides. I don't like wasting my money having to go spend money on table tax in a cafe to, say, wait for a bus or ride in inclement weather, and I'd rather be outside most of the time anyway. Sometimes I have to be outdoors a lot as a fact of life.

So sometimes that means lunch and killing time means slicing up an avocado and making tea or soup or whatnot wherever I find myself.

Or sometimes I have the opportunity to help someone or even earn some money by having some tools on me. I have helped a lot of people out with stuff like bike repairs, computer repair or even equipment repair just because I happened to have a screwdriver or hex key.

I will also note that flying or, say, going to a courthouse or some other high security venue is it's own obverse/perverse form of preparedness where I have to find all the functional pointy things and make sure I leave them at home. I have had to thoroughly search my own bags before packing because there might be anything from spare X-Acto blades, box cutters, sewing needles, oversized safety pins to bits of spring steel that I use for pipe cleaner and/or emergency plausibly not-really-lockpicks until I turn them into picks and a torsion wrench with my multitool.

I've seen one of my fully packed gadget bags on a digital X-Ray machine before. It's hilarious. It lights up with so many red flag autodetection boxes it looks like a solid cube of metal, circuits, wires and batteries. With all of the batteries and wires the machine probably thinks it resembles an IED.

I warned them before it went through and knew I was going to have to check my bag and utility belt, and they appreciated the honesty as well as my taste in gear and how well it was packed.
posted by loquacious at 11:24 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

can we coopt this in 2020 please? can the dem presidential candidates hand out free branded flashlights and bottle openers and rope and screwdrivers or whatever the fuck at their rallies in the wisconsin suburbs?
posted by wibari at 11:25 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]

Years ago I used to keep a Swiss army knife in my pocket at all times, but I found that I rarely had a use for the thing. So it sits at home now. I can't say I miss it. I guess there is the rare occasion where a knife or screwdriver or whatever would be useful, but I can wait until I get home and use a real tool instead of an annoying fiddly folding thing. I wouldn't go camping without one, but for every day city life? Sheesh.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:29 AM on March 26

I got my husband a Leatherman one year for Christmas. He loves it, carries it everywhere, uses it every day, etc. But goddamn, EVERY time we go to a concert or venue with a security check, he forgets that it's on his belt, and then we have to hike back to the car to deposit it, and then return to the venue and be late for the show.
posted by beandip at 11:30 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Just my keychain has gotten out of hand and makes a painful and unsightly lump in my pocket nowadays (not even counting the car key, which lives separately and only is carried when I'm actually driving, which is maybe twice a week). Not to mention the huge slab of glass one is expected to carry all the time. So of course I'm going to have a bag (my arcteryx messenger bag is awesome and still looks like new six years later). And if I'm carrying a bag anyway you can bet there's a pouch in there for my Leatherman crunch, a AAA flashlight, mini Allen wrench set, etc. This stuff does get used every day, but EDC as a movement or lifestyle choice seems oddly fetishized. What I don't understand is why everything needs a bottle opener. I mean one is enough. It's like the 90s when every kitchen appliance had a digital clock on it and it was impossible to get them all to synchronize.
posted by St. Oops at 11:33 AM on March 26

One of my favourite, maybe not Every Day Carry but Carry When You Go On An Adventure, that I read about and adopted in our family adventures was that when this person would go on a long drive or an adventure of some sort they'd bring a loaf cake. I think I must have read about it here, likely on one of Wordshore's posts. A loaf cake seems eminently more useful then a gun to me. Though if there's a lot of you'd need to bring a knife to divide the loaf cake evenly.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:34 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]

zamboni: As I've mentioned previously, EDC comes in suburban commando and hipster/design/gear dork flavours.

Might I suggest the third choice, more of a Red Green-slash-Dad Aesthetic? I have kids, I have a job, I have a house; I get asked for band-aids or to open things a lot...I got shit to do, yo, and since the pockets were on the pants when I got 'em, why not use them?

So yes, I have a multitool and a tiny Red Cross pouch holding a CPR mask (with three band-aids) and a thumb drive and a pocket knife. If I didn't use them I wouldn't keep carrying them....well, besides the CPR mask: that's my This Rock Repels Tigers totem, and you can't make me leave it behind because then I will need it and then somebody he gonna die and I don't want that.

(But as a Dad but not a MACHO FATHER SHEEPDOG or whatever, no damn gun.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:42 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

Bah, 2008 me is way too aggressive, but so was the internet. I sheepishly remember that comment. Also, I was being hyperbolic and straight up lying about how many "chicks" (omg what ugh?!) a soldering iron gets you, but then again I was arguing with Pastabagel.

And 2019 me now has an actual handy and simple crossbody purse - not a man purse, a purse! - for forest witch adventures with much of the same things in it, but now it's more likely to also be field guides and bird-watching binoculars and a flask of hot tea.

It's still a good idea to be prepared or helpful.
posted by loquacious at 11:48 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]

I like collecting pocket knives, and consider knife sharpening a hobby. But the edc trend can be pretty tiresome. A simple knife/Swiss army knife/multitool can be incredibly useful. A great help for someone in my profession. I've carried a purse on and off for decades, but I strive to whittle the stuff down into what I can fit comfortably in the pockets.

The worst is when edc enthusiasts try justifying the more absurd things. I mean, a gun, really? A $500 pocket knife? These are things I call "man baubles". Something you indulge for bragging rights more often than not. And then these guys like to complain how the sheeple freak out when they pull out the knife in public. In all the years I've been carrying a pocket knife, I can't recall ever anyone acting scared when I pulled out the knife. But then again, I only pull it out when something needs to be cut. I get the feeling that people who experience odd reactions are probably brandishing their knives unnecessarily.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:49 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

diode: my father-in-law (a long time carrier of handbags) turned us all onto bags from Derek Alexander, like this one. Sturdy, lots of organization and reasonably priced.
posted by jb at 11:51 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

This baffles me. I mean, see above re: trim a thread, etc.

That's what the embroidery scissors are for. They live in the craft kit, along with a tape measure, a couple of crochet hoots and some round knitting needles.
posted by jb at 11:53 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

MetaFilter: Then again I was arguing with Pastabagel
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:58 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]

In all the years I've been carrying a pocket knife, I can't recall ever anyone acting scared when I pulled out the knife. But then again, I only pull it out when something needs to be cut. I get the feeling that people who experience odd reactions are probably brandishing their knives unnecessarily.

With you on this one. If someone is constantly pulling their shiny quasi-legal assisted opening folder out and playing with it like a fidget spinner, or worse, brandishing it, they're probably an asshole.

Any time I open a pocket knife my commercial kitchen knife handling rules go into operation. It's not a toy. You keep control of the point and blade. You use it in a way that doesn't cut towards yourself or other people. If dropped, it has no handle. If carrying it, guard the blade and keep it held flat and down. Put it away when you're done using it.

I've never had anyone react with fear or "Holy shit, what are you doing with that knife?!"
posted by loquacious at 12:03 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]

Maybe it's better to be MacGyver.

When I was 9 I wanted to modesty blaise, so I packed my pockets with "stuff"... string and tape and whatnot... this was pre MacGyver
posted by infini at 12:04 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]

Since I know you're all curious, my "EDC" is modular. There's the stuff I carry in my pockets, the stuff in my bike/work bag, and the stuff I keep in my car.

My pockets are mostly reserved for stuff I know is worth carrying because I use it all the time. There are two exceptions: I carry some things on my key chain, like a titanium toothpick, that I don't use very often but are so small and light there's not much reason to remove them. The other is the pepper spray I bought right after the election in 2016 when there was a big spike in people harassing immigrants and people of color in public. (I'm neither, but I want to be prepared if I see it happening to someone else.) I haven't needed it, but I've been carrying it for two years so I figure I may as well carry it for another two, at which point it will be expired and I just won't bother to replace it.

I'm a lot less picky about what goes in my bike bag since it's roomy, and my bike is electric so weight isn't much of a consideration. And my car may as well be an extra room in my apartment that happens to have wheels on it, so I don't feel bad about carrying all kinds of crap that I rarely use, or which would only be useful in an emergency.

I'm happy to say that while I'm one of those guys who apologetically wears cargo pants, it's definitely not a response to the EDC trend. It's mostly a continuation of when I was in school and carried a backpack everywhere. Now that I'm out of school, the capacity of even a small bag would be mostly wasted, but I still like to carry more stuff than I can easily fit in a typical pair of pants.

And finally there's my pocket knife. I've been carrying one since I was a kid and my dad gave me one for Christmas. My current knife is absolutely huge by pocket knife standards, but I use it all the time, and certain things I do a lot, like breaking down boxes, are a lot easier with a bigger blade. Plus the size makes it harder to accidentally misplace, which is a real concern for me since I've lost numerous small items from my pockets over the years.
posted by shponglespore at 12:13 PM on March 26

Underrated carry item: with a pile of cash you never get "stuck" at a bar or restaurant when you are in a hurry or having a panic attack. Drop sufficient dough and leave, simple.
posted by idiopath at 12:14 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that I've said on the blue before that I think that 99% of EDC layouts are bullshit, because almost none of it shows any kind of pocket wear. Mine consists of:

- wallet, nothing extraordinary
- Spyderco Chicago folding knife, because sometimes I just need a very sharp knife and it's quite small; it's the most EDC thing that I have on me
- Field Notes notebook for notes and random business cards
- AA seven-year sobriety coin
- Space pen, brass finish
- Bandanna for back pocket, for practical reasons, not sexual signaling
- smartphone of course
- keychain has a mini Swiss Army knife for utility purposes
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:14 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Might I suggest the third choice, more of a Red Green-slash-Dad Aesthetic? I have kids, I have a job, I have a house; I get asked for band-aids or to open things a lot...I got shit to do, yo, and since the pockets were on the pants when I got 'em, why not use them?

It's a little clearer in the previous posts that by EDC comes in suburban commando and hipster/design/gear dork flavours, I meant EDC blogs. The Red Green-slash-Dad Tendency folks are usually too busy to engage in such performative nonsense. That said, I am 100% behind you and loquacious starting a blog together.
posted by zamboni at 12:15 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

In all the years I've been carrying a pocket knife, I can't recall ever anyone acting scared when I pulled out the knife.

I've gotten freakouts, and it was always while someone was having a need-to-cut-this problem, I wasn't brandishing. It was worse in the Bay Area than around Seattle, though maybe it's as bad back in Seattle now. I switched to smaller and smaller pocketknives and am down to a key-shaped one which is okay for string but not much use with a large apple.

Rite-in-the-Rain are the best field notebooks.
posted by clew at 12:22 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I feel like this thread has progressed far enough for us to remind rue72 that she has a mango in her bag and she should remember to eat it.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:31 PM on March 26 [35 favorites]

Muji has cheap tiny notebooks with top quality paper that take up very little pocket space.
posted by idiopath at 12:37 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]

Paracord is basically a piece of sturdy string, which is always useful to have, whether it's tying the nice table you found on a curb to the top of your car or making an improvised tent because your house isn't safe after the earthquake. The kind that splits means you can either have one strong string or a lot of smaller ones if you have need of a lot of string. It's definitely worth the space in a tool kit, but the fetishing can get weird.
posted by tavella at 12:46 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I grew up in Pinochet's Chile. I always, always had a Swiss (Victorinox or Wenger) pocket knife on me. I never used it, never threatened anyone with it, never let on I had it. I wouldn't have known how to use it in a fight. But I had it. Whenever I had to walk alone through some shady part of town, I'd put my hand in my pocket on the knife. It was mostly to make me feel a little bit safer.
The main threat those years wasn't from random civilians as much as from cops and soldiers, in which case having a knife on you didn't really make you safer, quite the opposite. I knew this. I still carried it.
posted by signal at 12:47 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]

zamboni: It's a little clearer in the previous posts that by "EDC comes in suburban commando and hipster/design/gear dork flavours," I meant EDC blogs.

Ah! Yeah, that makes total sense. I used to read those, but when the penetration of guns got to about 50% I simply stopped listening. Like, the miasma of fear around it got to be too distracting to read.

The "bushcrafters" are a slightly more interesting bunch: they all brag on their axe instead of their guns -- but at least the axes show use from weekends spent making campfires and setting up tarp shelters. (A few years ago they all carved a kuksa.) And they are so into teaching each other stuff, it's a really welcoming community.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:51 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I carry a leatherman squirt P4 ( the pliers version ) so that when the poker in my proto-pipe gets stuck, I can pull it out and stir the bowl.
posted by mikelieman at 12:53 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

True EDC folks scoff at the SAK knives, because I guess they're not manly or tactical enough

If they don't have the corkscrew they are definitely not tactical enough for me.
posted by srboisvert at 1:14 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Every once in a while I go onto ebay and do a search for "tactical" and I am regularly amused. TACTI-COOL, BABY.

My "EDC" is my wallet (which includes a couple of extra bills tucked into it that aren't part of my regular cash in the wallet, in case I forget to go to the bank machine), my keys (which includes a very small folding knife and used to include a micro-sd card in a tiny usb reader), my wired headphones, my car wireless fob, and my cellphone in an otterbox (and there's usually a bill tucked between the phone and the case back, which is good for when I go out and somehow forget my wallet but not my phone).

When I travel, though, I carry a small bag whose contents include a notebook, a small wad of string (smaller than paracord, maybe called utility or task cord?), some flat-pack duct tape (wrap it around a piece of cardboard and you end up with 10' or more of duct tape in the space taken up by a thick bookmark), and kleenex.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:19 PM on March 26

Ah yes, purses. They get bigger as you age, with more pill bottles and snacks and reading glasses and coupons added to the collection every year until it becomes a weapon in its own right. My mother's purse would always have a tissue for a runny nose, some ibuprofen for a headache, and a flyer that she had seen somewhere for an event she thought I might be interested in.

Dad was always ready to "do surgery" with a nail clipper for hangnails/breaks or a needle tucked in his leather wallet for splinters.

There's a lot of love that can be communicated through a handy tissue, or bandage, or lighter, or flashlight you've been carrying around just so it was there when needed.
posted by domo at 1:30 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]

I carry a leatherman squirt P4 ( the pliers version ) so that when the poker in my proto-pipe gets stuck, I can pull it out and stir the bowl.

Somewhere in here there's a very specific set of Venn diagram segment of "stoner" and "always carries a multitool."

I think I can safely assume that this segment would also almost always have headphones or a portable music device. Maybe also sketchbook or notebook.
posted by loquacious at 1:49 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Thanks in general to this thread and maybe loquacious in particular for giving me an intense flashback to my college days, when my advisor needed a lighter for some task in lab and I unthinkingly handed over the one I had in my pocket that had pot residue all over the end.
posted by muddgirl at 2:14 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

When all you have is a knife, all your problems start looking like a gunfight.
posted by valkane at 2:33 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

> There's a lot of love that can be communicated through a handy tissue

There is little that will make you feel as good about yourself as handing a crying stranger on the subway a small pack of Kleenex.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:47 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]

The illustration in the article shows a dilemma I face. I wear a pedometer because it helps me with the things pedometers are supposed to help with, but I also own a watch I'd like to wear because it's pretty. I know some people who wear both, but that makes me feel like Bananas Gorilla.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:49 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I once worked with a guy who always wore a heavy belt packed with his EDC gear. He made your average cop look like a lightweight with the amount of stuff he carried. One day in the lunchroom someone was complaining about not having tobasco sauce for his burrito and, lo, our EDC guy pulls a tiny bottle from his left rear pouch. That's preparation.
posted by diode at 3:56 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]

I want to let it be known that I do not carry around Tobasco sauce.

But I do often carry around one of those little two-sided backpacker's salt/pepper shakers specifically for eating avocados, but it's not on my belt, it's in the large ziplock bag of snacks and tea and stuff that I usually have with me. Sometimes I have soy sauce in that pouch, or packets of mustard.

And this reminds me I have an avocado in a pocket somewhere that needs eating and I'm hungry.

*picks up multitool and goes searching for missing avocado*

And now I kind of want a tacticool ammo belt specifically designed for the transporting and eating of about a dozen a fairly standard medium to large Haas avocados, complete with individual armored, padded pockets for avocados, a salt/pepper shaker, very specific avocado knife and spoon set and maybe even a little pocket sized cutting board, and perhaps some toast.

So many weird art projects, so little time and money.
posted by loquacious at 4:30 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]

My brother, who was AFAB, got into knives when he transitioned. I figure it's a performative thing.

Trans guy here, reporting the opposite was true for me. Before my transition, and during the first few months, I always carried a substantial pocket knife. And whenever anyone had a box to open or a string to cut, I immediately whipped it out and flipped it open. It was definitely performative masculinity, and I felt I had a lot to prove, as someone perceived to be a woman, or as not a "real man."

Once I grew some facial hair and people at work mostly got used to calling me "he" more often than not, however, things changed. When a man whips out a weapon, people get nervous. A key way patriarchy works is through fear. It teaches us to fear men's aggression, men's anger (while framing others' anger as ineffectual--unattractive, or at best "cute"). And sure, I wasn't angry, and it was just a pocket knife, not, like, a Bowie knife or a friggerty Glock. But I'm a college professor. Whereas in the past, if a student noticed I was carrying a knife around, they were likely to find it cool--maybe subversive, maybe cute--now they might feel uncomfortable, perhaps even nervous or scared.

Once people started recognizing me as a man, I saw that I risked becoming a creep by performing masculinity. So I stopped carrying the hefty pocket knife. I had to work on a bunch of other things as well, like learning to keep anger out of my voice, and to stop hard debating. These hadn't fazed students before my transition, but now students sometimes actually got scared.

Anyway, after my transition, I stopped carrying a knife on the daily. I have nothing to prove. Which is not to say that a multitool isn't a useful thing! But from my perspective, it seems really clear that a dude walking around with his pants full of tacticool crap is suffering from a case of insecure masculinity. And the chances of him being a jerk who enjoys nonconsensually intimidating others are good.
posted by DrMew at 4:39 PM on March 26 [13 favorites]

Now, for a wildly different EDC experience: I started carrying a knife when a woman on my campus was murdered in broad daylight. I don't know if I'd be able to use it effectively for self-defense, but it's reassuring.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 4:53 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

loquacious what about an avocado bandolier?
posted by buildmyworld at 5:28 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]

I have a ridiculously overloaded purse disguised as a backpack. Every time I try to go somewhere without it, I get caught flatfooted.

All this knife talk is making me nostalgic for the walnut-handled Case knife that I had to give back to my ex, as it had belonged to her father. The wood was more than a little worse for wear, and the non-pointy sheepsfoot blade didn't fit into the handle when closed, but damned if I didn't use that awkward-looking thing every day.
posted by whuppy at 5:48 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

In all the years I've been carrying a pocket knife, I can't recall ever anyone acting scared when I pulled out the knife.

They must’ve acted pretty scared as the knife went in?

Seriously, a knife is a must, especially for parents. Surgical intervention often becomes necessary with toddlers...who CANNOT eat a piece of fruit if it has a tiny smooshed spot.
posted by The Toad at 5:48 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

loquacious what about an avocado bandolier?

Yes, this is what I was thinking. Or a belt. Not unlike one of those silly, trashy novelty beer or shotglass bandoliers, except for annoying vegans and fans of the 'cado instead of NASCAR lot lizards.

I think you would make more friends whipping out avocados from a bandolier than tequila shots these days anyway, even at a NASCAR track parking lot.
posted by loquacious at 5:54 PM on March 26

I have a Gerber multitool in my bag, and a Wallet Ninja in my wallet. They both get used pretty much exclusively when I'm at home, although the bottle opener in the Ninja does get deployed out in the wild once a month or so. The multitool, I think I've only ever used the knife and one or two of the screwdrivers, I have fuck-all idea what any of the other shit would be used for.

I'll be honest, I'm always looking for an excuse to use the multitool at the office, but for what? Opening boxes of paper for the photocopier? Use your hands.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:07 PM on March 26

I think you would make more friends whipping out avocados from a bandolier than tequila shots these days ...

No, not these days.
Organic and regular avocados recalled in six states after listeria found in facility
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:10 PM on March 26

I think you would make more friends whipping out avocados from a bandolier than tequila shots these days anyway,

Yeah, but tequila and guacamole? Now yer talkin'!
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:43 PM on March 26

“Wait! You can’t do anything without a rope.”

“Rope!” cried Sam, talking wildly to himself in his excitement and relief. “Well, if I don’t deserve to be hung on the end of one as a warning to numbskulls! You’re nowt but a ninnyhammer, Sam Gamgee: that’s what the Gaffer said to me often enough, it being a word of his. Rope!”

“Stop chattering!” cried Frodo, now recovered enough to feel both amused and annoyed.
“Never mind your Gaffer! Are you trying to tell yourself you’ve got some rope in your pocket? If so, out with it!
posted by metacurious at 7:00 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I'm glad dudes are excited about carrying a bunch of shit now, because there was a time in the not so distant past I may have thrown a small tantrum and left a friend in the parking lot of a live music venue after rthe 100th or so iteration of You're cool with me putting my stuff in your bag right? I mean, you're already carrying that purse or whatever. It's just my keys, two records, a couple of multi-tools, a lighter, a hat, gloves, cough drops and the hoodie I just bought from the merch stand
posted by thivaia at 7:00 PM on March 26 [15 favorites]

I am curiously obsessive about having my phone with me (it's an iPhone SE, so it's nice and small). I don't leave it on my desk at work, I don't leave on the end table in the living room. If I get up, I take it with me. I don't even look at it all the time. It's just the one thing I want on-hand if the house catches on fire or an earthquake hits. No, it's not entirely reasonable, but there are worse things to obsess over, I suppose.

I'm going to be really mad if Apple never comes up with another small iPhone, though. This thing ain't gonna last forever.
posted by lhauser at 7:43 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

Every once in a while I sift through Everyday Carry looking for better ways to carry my keys, and I've noticed two things that I now suspect are related:

1. Half the entries don't even show keys and the ones that do are usually just a standard wad of keys on a ring that will get tangled up with all the other junk in your pocket.

2. Apparently you need a minimum of a two knives and a multitool.

I now realize that you need the different knives to break into the various locks for which you forgot the keys.
posted by NormieP at 9:06 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]

I swear that I read EDC site run by a woman prior to 2008. I think she was from the Philippines. This was before guns became de rigeur .

And man, I just placed an order for the TextBlade mentioned upthread... does mobile device periphs count as "man baubles"?

EDC in the bag Infini provided me for Quonsmas: jetstream pen, iPhone, earbuds, wallet, coin purse that holds my opal card, carabiner that is also a bottle opener and serves to hold my keys and a small faux swiss army knife (thanks PacBell) that replaced a lost Spyderco, headlamp, lipstick, sun hat and sunscreen. Oh yeah, a small foldable produce bag since Sydney is banning plastic bags. If I have children in tow then I include chewable Advil, Benadryl and a small pack of wet wipes because tissue has a hard time against the ooze that erupts out of children. All this fits in a x-tra small canvas tote/purse.
posted by jadepearl at 11:11 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: Avocado Bandolier
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:45 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]

I do lose respect for an article when it complains about "virtue signaling". It's not that I (necessarily) disagree with the analysis, it just associate that specific terminology with people I disagree with.
posted by wheloc at 4:58 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]

Half the entries don't even show keys and the ones that do are usually just a standard wad of keys

Huh, I keep seeing the Keybar (and similar products) come up in Massdrop's EDC section. I haven't bought one so I can't vouch for it personally, but it does seem neat. It looks like it won't work if your keys aren't flat, though (so, no car keys, no round high-security keys, etc.). It's built the same way a lot of bike toolkits and Allen wrench sets are, only for keys.

I do lose respect for an article when it complains about "virtue signaling".

Oh, god yes. It's a weird dogwhistle term used principally by shitty people who get mad when other less-shitty people dare call attention to their ... lack of shittiness, I guess.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:58 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Batman wept.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:33 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]

Avocado Bandolier

Dang it, now I have to change my password.
posted by zamboni at 8:52 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]

Somewhere in here there's a very specific set of Venn diagram segment of "stoner" and "always carries a multitool."

duckduckgo search for stoner multitool
posted by zamboni at 8:57 AM on March 27

You're cool with me putting my stuff in your bag right? I mean, you're already carrying that purse or whatever. It's just my keys, two records, a couple of multi-tools, a lighter, a hat, gloves, cough drops and the hoodie I just bought from the merch stand.
That dude sounds awful. I mean, WTF? Any hollering you did at this doofus is entirely justified. I mean, damn. OWN YOUR SHIT, BRO.
I just placed an order for the TextBlade mentioned upthread.
Good luck with that. I ordered one like 4 years ago and cancelled about 6 months later when it became ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that they were basically financing the company on pre-orders and had absolutely no intention of shipping any time soon. A quick perusal of the subreddit suggests this has not changed, and that they're still not shipping.
posted by uberchet at 9:56 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]

Good luck with that.

I KNEW IT. That thing was way too shiny to be true. I mean, I think the tech is possible because I used to have one of those little Palm folding keyboards, but something about it just screamed potential scam or crowdfunded snake oil to me.

I somehow resisted commenting "Ok, I want one of those." and instinctively didn't feel right about it, maybe because I didn't see anyone who seemed to actually own and use one.
posted by loquacious at 11:34 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]

I don't know much about that company but when there's an official forum thread in which your would-be customers are comparing what percentage of their time alive on this Earth they've been waiting for their TextBlade... I feel like maybe you have a delivery problem. And surprisingly patient customers.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:42 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]

That official forum is a trip. Maybe it's just a high proportion of non-native English speakers who write very, very well but not quite perfectly that makes it seem like it's all an elaborate set-up by the company with employees writing all of the comments themselves.
posted by muddgirl at 11:54 AM on March 27

I'm lusting over the TextBlade too, but in my google searching this is literally the only review posted by somebody who's used one of these things, outside of a forum post hosted by the company that is (or claims to be) making them.

I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm just saying that something is weird about the fact that nobody on, for instance, that subreddit has commented "I'm in the advance group; I can't say anything because of an NDA, except that I'm typing on one right now." Nothing.
posted by gauche at 11:54 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]

I keep seeing the Keybar (and similar products)

There are so many key-organizining products--there's the Keybar, and the KeyPort, and the OrbitKey, and dozens more that don't have the budget to give review units to shill sites, on Kickstarter and Etsy and Instagram. There are cloth ones, plastic ones, and, of course, all kinds of metal. There's the one that's also a Tile.

Best 7? How about best 10, or best 20? And, for a lot of them, you can get non-key accessories like flash drives and tiny wrenches and knives (this doesn't seem like a great idea) and (of course) bottle openers.

(I don't have a key organizer, but, if I was going to buy one, I'd probably get a KeyGrip.)
posted by box at 12:43 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

I own a TextBlade and can vouch that they're real. I've spent 8 or so hours at their offices and met a few of their workers and their founder.

I can say without question that it is the best keyboard I've ever used -- and I don't mean best portable keyboard. Best period. I also think at $100 that they're under-priced, something I've expressed to the founder.

THAT SAID, there is indeed no firm shipdate.

I've had mine since around Nov 2017 and haven't had any problems with it. I do not do anything fancy except write text (I'm not a coder and rarely use special characters). The Android software still has not been developed and I hate Apple, though I do open my Air in order to update TB firmware. I use the keyboard almost exclusively to type on my Note phone. It works like a dream.

If you have $100 that you can afford to lock up or possibly lose should something bad happen (and I have no indications something would), I would suggest you purchase one and be very pleased when it finally does ship. However, if losing $100 would be bad for you should they not ship, don't.

But they are not "vaporware". Here's two photos of mine -- one in a bathtub while drinking a martini in December, 2017 and the other a short time later pictured with some of my own EDC things, including the Durr I mentioned in the MetaTalk thread, a CW&T Pen Type B, and my Freitag notebook and Voyager carry-on bag and minimalist shoes. (I've replaced the wonderful Pinzat BH0 bag with a smaller Freitag Ottendorfer.)
posted by dobbs at 12:48 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

I own a TextBlade and can vouch that they're real.
They're not real until they're an actual shipping product.

Which they're not, if $joe_random can't visit the site, pay his money, and expect to receive one in a few days.

The behavior of the WayTools folks has been deeply sketchy and passive-aggressive. I would strongly recommend against anyone giving them any money at all ever until & unless the TB becomes a true shipping product and not something they dole out to a few people as prototypes for years at a time while sitting on payments from countless would-be early adopters.
posted by uberchet at 1:09 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]

dobbs: I own a TextBlade and can vouch that they're real.

...Sez a guy named "dobbs." Would that be J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, perhaps, who's not exactly known -- c.f. the last bullet point in the first list on this page -- as a rock-solid truth-teller? Hmmmm?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:18 PM on March 27

I also think at $100 that they're under-priced, something I've expressed to the founder.

The logical conclusion is they can't fill orders because they've been undercharging and can't actually afford to produce at quantity. Like every other startup they are hoping they get bought by Apple before the money wheel stops spinning.
posted by muddgirl at 1:25 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

I was a Girl Scout for 15 years. "Be prepared" is part of my soul. Swiss Army knife, first aid kit, sewing kit, nail clippers, and until recently, a notary stamp*, among other things. I aim to be the go-to for various solutions, pulling the required item out of my bag, Mary Poppins style. It makes me happy.

*I have never felt so damn useful in life as I did when I was a notary public. Word spread around my office like wildfire.
posted by Ruki at 1:29 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]

On Textblade, this article speculates that they can't ship because they are using a patent without paying for it, and the whole thing was an endeavor to get acquired that has not paid off (yet?).

That is the simplest explanation I've seen that accounts for all the data (they exist; some people have them through essentially a beta and love them; and the company is increasingly squirrelly as to why and when they will or won't ship).
posted by gauche at 1:35 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]

Oh man, I am not quite sure what to do with the TextBlade order! This is like an askmefi issue with a lot of DTMFA? Have people legitimately gotten their money back? I was so looking forward to it since it is one of the few recent tech things that has actually caused me the sensation of coveting. And being worthy as EDC.
posted by jadepearl at 3:33 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

only 1 mention of carrying a straw.

We(US) are in a culture driven by marketing, and marketing keeps telling you that Things give you Status. Friend A's sister who is considered cool got a certain bag, so Friend A got one, then Friend B got one and recommends it heartily. A whole friend group now has the same bag, which seems like a nice enough bag, but it's very much a signal that they are in that group. It's not virtue they're signalling; it's meant to be coolness, but it's really belonging.

I have a bunch-o-crap™ to carry. It's in the 2nd in a line of big old leather bags. #3 crapped out and got shelved, but has been revived and may be put back into use, as it has superior pockets. Yes, the people who give me crap about carrying it ask to put crap in it. The stuff inside is in miscellaneous zipper bags, mostly. Yes, I have bandaids, painkillers, floss, and a phone charger. Maybe a book. When my shoulder starts to hurt, I clean it out.

I would never take a picture of the stuff actually in it because wadded paper towels are not attractive.
posted by theora55 at 4:07 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

and I now desire a TextBlade but the site is hopeless, or is that because I have so much stuff blocked? Dobbs, you have pull, can we get a version in MeTa gray?
posted by theora55 at 4:09 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

They're not real until they're an actual shipping product.

I appreciate your frustration and understand your perspective. I held exactly this opinion until I received mine.

As I said, if you can't afford to risk $100, don't buy one. But, if $100 is a night out for you, and typing is important to you, then it's worth the risk.

The logical conclusion is they can't fill orders because they've been undercharging and can't actually afford to produce at quantity

Perhaps. I don't work for them and have no insight into their financials. Their offices are a few blocks from the Pacific in Santa Monica with hella views, though. It could be an elaborate scam, though in my opinion, it is not. And were Apple smarter, they would indeed purchase them. Apple laptop keyboards are the complete opposite of the TextBlade and, in my opinion, the worst in any laptop on the market right now.

this article speculates that they can't ship because they are using a patent without paying for it

Again, perhaps. I can say that, having read that article, where the guy praises both the iPad Pro and Surface keyboards, that he doesn't really know what he's talking about. Those keyboards are garbage when compared even with the keyboard on, say, the Google PixelBook or, going way back, the Palm Foldout keyboard, both of which I own and both of which are miles ahead of those devices and nowhere near the TextBlade. (Note that I gave up on both of those products after iPad Pro first gen and Surface Pro 3, both of which I had before the TextBlade.)

Also, they updated the firmware on the TextBlade less than 10 days ago, so if it's a con, it's a long con.

Sez a guy named "dobbs".

I assume this is sarcasm, but Bob's been a pain in my balls since I've existed so can never tell.

Dobbs, you have pull,

I wish I had pull. A couple times I've misplaced mine and panicked about being without one. In January I got hit by a cyclist in LA--ended up in Urgent Care with a fractured nose, knee, and wrist. Didn't realize until the next day that the TextBlade had flown out of my bag. I returned and searched the area and couldn't find it and was miserable. Couple days later--2 days before I was heading back to Toronto--a bartender at Musso & Frank contacted me saying he'd found it and knew it was mine (I'm a regular there and type at the bar often and had been in there minutes before getting hit). He put it in the lost and found. Coulda kissed him.

can we get a version in MeTa gray?

My only complaint about it is that it's plastic. I have not had any problems with it because it's plastic but I do wish it were available in titanium. ;)
posted by dobbs at 8:04 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

No one called it a scam. Vaporware is not synonymous with scam. But it's a startup that doesn't actually make money by selling products. Anyone who has worked for a tech startup knows this game, especially when they have offices with a view.

Just this year they have announced a complete rewrite of the firmware and yet they are going to start fulfillment in the fall according to their website where they will gladly take my credit card information.
posted by muddgirl at 8:29 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]

Ok loquacious called it a "potential scam" which is honestly a fair assessment of most tech startups.
posted by muddgirl at 8:35 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I wish someone would buy them like Apple. One of the issues I have with the iPad keyboard cases is that they are freaking model dependent. My daughter and I both have iPad Pros and her model's keyboard does not quite fit mine. It is functional but it grates at me that this $100+ piece of equipment does not seamlessly fit the same manufacturer's item whose main premium sell point is design.

I love keyboards. I love mechanical keyboards. I love well-made things. Which is why I felt that rare feeling of desire towards TextBlade. But I really hate unfulfilled feelings.

I hope that the TextBlade folks appreciate you, Dobbs.
posted by jadepearl at 9:21 PM on March 27

I am no expert on the textblade and have just heard of it. The website just set off my warning system and it just looked a bit too sci fi to be a deliverable to me.
posted by loquacious at 10:14 PM on March 27

zamboni: "I've found that people who carry purses are not exactly adverse to telling you about the useful stuff they're toting around"

Women will show everyone that their outfit has pockets.

PhineasGage: "A real modern man carries way more than all this stuff AND is comfortable enough in his masculinity to carry it all in a man-purse."

My EDC has been stripped down to wallet, keys, folding utility knife, pen, sharpie, Vaseline, phone, voltic. But I usually carry around or have handy my substantial camera bag which happens to hold more than cameras like protein bars, headlamps, batteries, backup Vaseline, an assortment of medication, assortment of bandaids, etc.

muddgirl: "But I just don't understand how anyone travels with a $200 multitool? Do they always check a bag? Do they argue with the TSA agent when they claim that this week 2" blades aren't allowed? Do they actually leave them at home? I started buying the cheap chinese-made multitools from Northern Tool or Harbor Freight and if the TSA takes them, it's no big loss."

Lots of people fly rarely if at all. And I hate cheap tools. In most cases I'd rather do without than use some cheap chineesium tool. Certianly in the case of a tool used so often as to carry always.

wenestvedt: "a CPR mask (with three band-aids) and a thumb drive and a pocket knife. If I didn't use them I wouldn't keep carrying them....well, besides the CPR mask: that's my This Rock Repels Tigers totem, and you can't make me leave it behind because then I will need it and then somebody he gonna die and I don't want that."

Just as an FYI: assisted breathing during CPR has been deprecated because it's been found that chest compressions are just as effective (for most people) and it is easier to do just the one thing.

RE: knives. Like I mentioned I care some sort of folding utility knife and I generally use it at least 50 times a day but it is an essential tool for my job. I have a splicing knife in my bag to but I got used to using the more dangerous utility knife so that is my go to.

One of the reasons I love EDC threads is they are like travelling to a foreign country in that everyone's EDC obviously make sense to them (even the pistol bros) and yet they often seem completely bizarre to others (IE: me). Like I can't imagine not carrying some sort of pocket knife. I've had an EDC knife since I was seven and had to smuggle it into school. Yet lots of users can't even conceive of a need for a knife let alone a need reoccurring so often as to generate a need to carry one wiith one always.
posted by Mitheral at 11:30 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

Chineseium is new to me and perfect.

My Dad was an MD and a surgeon. He always carried a small pocket knife. When Bic pens came out, he switched to them, so that he was prepared to do a tracheotomy in an emergency. This was pre-Heimlich. One time he wanted to write something down for me, so he turned to a blank page at the end of the book he was reading and used his pocket knife to carefully slice out the page, and wrote whatever. Nice to have that memory surface; he has been gone a long many years. I wish I had that pocket knife.
posted by theora55 at 5:55 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]

I held exactly this opinion until I received mine.
You are being treated specially. Normal humans cannot get a Textblade, but Textblade is more than happy to take people's money.

This is not an honorable way to do business. They may not be intending to run a scam, but if it walks like a duck...
Yet lots of users can't even conceive of a need for a knife
Invariably, though, these are the people who ask me to borrow mine.
posted by uberchet at 7:11 AM on March 28

If I may, what if any cheap aliexpress-available leatherman-like tool would anybody here recommend? Ideally, with scissors and locking blades?
posted by signal at 7:26 AM on March 28

Have looked at bandolier style bags for EDC now and again. I suppose they make sense only in limited situations.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:11 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]

I hate that I'm coming into this late, because oh man do I have a lot to say about this.

I've always been That Person who somehow has the right tool for the moment. That's something that was borne out of a complicated childhood in which there were plenty of times where I didn't know where I was going to sleep that night, just being prepared for whatever came up. As I aged and managed to get a bit more secure in things, the things I carried around with me have changed as I have. So many people have recommended EDC sites and the like to me because of this, and I have generally been more amused than anything else at the utter impracticality of what some people consider "EDC".

The sheer amount of multitools that are really just excuses to carry a shitty bottle opener - It's nuts. Seriously. If any of these tools actually were for the uses they claim to be for, they wouldn't have a bottle opener as its most prominent feature. But you can get that bottle opener in any metal you want!

However, there are small corners that are actually more interested in useful, small, practical and not so shiny things, and I've learned a thing or two from there.

One thing I've always carried - a pocket knife. Unbelievably useful. I don't know why you'd carry a big one unless you are literally going out in the bush on a regular basis, and so many of the "EDC" knives are hilariously large. What's been really useful for me is a little serrated spyderco - it's hideously unattractive and bright yellow, so I never lose it, and it has handled literally anything that comes up for me since I don't need to field dress a bear. And I mean anything - I would have zero qualms relying on it for anything I would ever need a knife for, including the implausible survival scenarios. And I wouldn't have known about it if it wasn't for EDC Internet, so there's that.

The other thing I started carrying once it was small enough to be practical was a flashlight. This was a bigger deal pre-phone, and yes, the phone generally does OK, but it has shortcomings. Finding Flashlight Internet was something else - Like the EDC stuff, it's largely a lot of exotic materials and impractically large things. The race for more lumens is utterly ridiculous for day to day, but fascinates my inner engineer.

One useful thing that came out of this was learning more about color temperature, and learning about high CRI flashlights - Flashlights that render color more accurately. I am particular about color, so this quickly got incorporated into my "kit" and I use one all the damned time - Flashlight Internet introduced me to the Rovyvon aurora, which is a horrendously named, tiny and ugly plastic light. It's the smallest light I've ever carried, and absurdly useful - super dim to as bright as you'd need, neutral high CRI light, rechargeable via USB, rugged enough.. It's really great, and it has unexpected uses - For example, we are remodeling our house, and we have been looking at a lot of color swatches / material samples in dubious lighting. As soon as I pull out the flashlight, it gives us a consistent representation of how they look (due to the color rendering being more accurate than shitty cheap fluorescents), and often exposes things we wouldn't have seen otherwise.

That's by far the most esoteric use, though. I'm constantly looking for shit the cats have batted around the house under things, this is a never ending daily battle, having the same thing serve as a great hiking tool is really convenient when you tend to wander randomly. Also, having a SUPER DIM mode (Moonlight being the trade term) flashlight is handy when your are married to someone who will spend a lot of time in total darkness due to migraines and the like, and you need just a LITTLE bit of light that won't disturb someone else.

The OTHER useful thing I learned about on EDC Internet is about the really small zebra pens that seem to be exclusively japan imports. I've never been happy with travel pens because they usually take stupid cartridges, or are fragile, or similar. However, the little zebras take easy to find refills (including the magic fischer write-anywhere refills) will clip to the inside of my wallet and vanish in the fold, yet be secure and findable. It's awesome.

These three things - pen, flashlight, knife - so unbelievably useful to have on or about my person at all times. Having the versions I have now are also luxuries compared to what I used to carry with me in my past... As it is now, it is always largely situational, but I always have a "kit" for things, and I could definitely kill some time going into detail over those. These were all borne out of need - I wasn't remotely housing stable and I had a shitty car that I often slept in that was also prone to breakdowns. You learn to be prepared when you are in that situation. I built up this desire to have small, practical kits over experiences based on NOT having had these things when I needed them in the past. There was nothing glamorous or stylish about it, so it's really weird to see the fetishization of so many exotic metal tools with highly situational uses that cost more than I made in a month during the days where I needed these "kits" the most. When you've carried shit to get by day to day, that all seems a bit nutty.

The other highly practical reason that I have these kits is because I have horrible ADHD, and if I didn't have tightly organized kits for these uses, I'd lose everything, and never find the things I need when I need them.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:13 AM on March 28 [11 favorites]

If I may, what if any cheap aliexpress-available leatherman-like tool would anybody here recommend? Ideally, with scissors and locking blades?

Unfortunately I have never meet such a creature and I wish I had. Any cheap/affordable multitool I've ever had my hands on had been dangerously floppy, unreliable on a locking mechanism (if it even has one) and usually the pliers fail the first time you really put some elbow grease into them and really need them.

After many, many years of tolerating crappy $10 multitools I just won't do it any more. I've had too many of them either try to cut me, break when needed, blades flopping out when not needed or just totally fail at doing any real work. Every single last non-American made multitool I've met just falls apart, the folding blade/tool bushings loosen and wear out and blade locking mechanisms fail.

Part of the reason why is the lesser multitools don't have positive stops and structure to the pliers, and it's usually the cheap, thin folded sheet metal frame of the handles doing the stopping and support. So you can take a pair of these, bear down on the pliers and the handles bend and end up meeting when they shouldn't.

In a good multitool the pliers are self-stopping or have heavier metal structures to support that fulcrum load of the pliers.

Another reason is that the manufacturing tolerances for a good multitool or folding pocket knife are ridiculously tight. Parts need to be made with precision tolerances down to thousandths of an inch. When Leatherman makes tool bits, they're using very high end manufacturing tools and practices. Their stamped and forged blades get passed through a precision surface grinder to make sure they all fit perfectly in the tool with no slop or play in the fit.

These higher end tools use locking bushings and washers. I've never, ever had a Leatherman's tools and bits get loose and floppy. I can put so much force into the pliers my hands will fail before the pliers do. The blades are extremely sharp and high quality, and easy to sharpen, which you won't get at all from a cheaper import multitool. The blades are tough enough that you could probably punch through the sheet metal of a car door and start sawing a hole. Try that with an import and the blade will just shatter.

This is one of those things where I'm very much "BUY AMERICAN" because the quality, fit and fiish, support and warranty is just that much better. Leatherman basically has a lifetime warranty. So does SOG. And if you have to mail it in for repair, you're mailing it to Oregon or Washington, not Shenzhen.

If you're not going to buy Leatherman or SOG, Gerber is an affordable third option for good multitools, and some people like them more than a Leatherman. While I like Gerber knives just fine, I haven't met a Gerber multitool I actually like because they usually don't have designs or tool layouts that I like, and they tend to break the pretty standard "folding pliers plus tool blades" model with some wild designs or too much plastic.

And it's really hard to compete with the tool density and quality of a Leatherman. Even the SOG tools don't manage to do it as well or as elegantly. The Leatherman Wave packs a ridiculous amount of high quality tools into the space the size of a small candy bar. There's practically no wasted space on it. And it does things even the best SOGs can't do, like offer four external blades you can get to without fully opening the pliers, two of which can be opened one-handed. Even better, there's details like tactile feedback on the two knife blades so you can select the right one without even looking at it or needing to see it in the dark. The spine of the straight blade is smooth, and the spine of the serrated blade has notches in it. The blades are conveniently opposite of each other, so no matter which way you pick up the Wave your right thumb is going to land on one of those two thumb loops to open a knife. Closing them one-handed is also effortless, just like any good folding lockback knife.

A mini Leatherman Juice S2 can be as cheap as $15-20 on sale. A full sized Leatherman Wave can be found on sale for as cheap as $50, if not less. It MSRPs and retails at about $70.

And I get it. $70 seems like a crapton of money to spend on a fancy pocket knife. I'm super broke and I don't have the budget to waste on shiny bits of metal. $70 to me is a significant portion of my monthly budget.

But considering how often I use this thing it's a bargain. My current Leatherman is only about half a year old, and it's already paid for itself. I've repaired cars with it. I restored a vintage hatchet with it, and good hatchets aren't cheap. I can build things that would require about $50-100 in dedicated hand tools. I can use it as a real tool, not a stopgap tool, but a primary tool that's totally up to the task, day after day.

I use this mutlitool as much as a dozen times a day.
posted by loquacious at 9:05 AM on March 28 [9 favorites]

dobbs: I assume this is sarcasm, but Bob's been a pain in my balls since I've existed so can never tell.

It was a lazy joke (the only kind I make), and I must apologize if it struck a nerve: my own name is a modal verb.

Mitheral: Just as an FYI: assisted breathing during CPR has been deprecated because it's been found that chest compressions are just as effective (for most people) and it is easier to do just the one thing.

Yes, so I have heard -- but carrying it means that I have two rubber gloves with me and a few band-aids, plus also it's a reminder every morning to hum "Stayin' Alive" for a moment and recommit to helping poeple in distress. (I was first to a lady in a rolled car one morning, and it shook me, so I have to remind myself their need outweighs my fear.)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:08 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]

theora55: "Chineseium" is new to me and perfect.

Then you may like the equally-xenophobic-but-also-equally-not-unfounded term "Thaitanium" as well.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:10 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]

This section of the article:
in a paper by Adam Tomczik that came out around the same time Everyday Carry launched, called “‘He-Men Could Talk to He-Men in He-Men Language’: Lumberjack Work Culture in Maine and Minnesota, 1840–1940,” ... these were guys who entertained themselves by playing a game called “hot ass” that revolved around slapping each other with frozen fish.
made me think we could use new verse in the Lumberjack Song.
posted by exogenous at 9:33 AM on March 28

I just grabbed the article "‘He-Men Could Talk to He-Men in He-Men Language’: Lumberjack Work Culture in Maine and Minnesota, 1840–1940". It's 19 pages long and I just downloaded it (because I work at a .edu and we have a subscription).

As a Minnesota kid with a white pine slab tucked away by my workbench Just In Case I Need Some and who loved the big two-man saw at the Forest History Center, I can't wait to read this!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:46 AM on March 28

made me think we could use new verse in the Lumberjack Song .

<🇫🇷>Well, I'll ask him, but I don't think he'll be very keen. Uh, he's already got one, you see?</🇫🇷>
posted by zamboni at 9:49 AM on March 28

I have been into this stuff for about as long as it's been around online (according to TFA) -- but this is the first time I have heard of EverydayCarry.com. *shrug* The author seems to seriously underestimate the proportion of hunters/campers in the community, as well as the swivel-eyed preppers.

Maybe we're not all "cops and Army guys" or posers? Naaaah...
posted by wenestvedt at 10:28 AM on March 28

Also seconding the leatherman. I've had cheap multitools break a lot just in casual use. However, I've used my leatherman - one which has locking pliers and was gifted to me - to do house repair, car repair, motorcycle repair, stage setup/strike... god knows how much else. In one of my less wise moments, I used it to cut part of a panel door out and install a cat door. I've abused the shit out of it and it hasn't cared one bit. It is still my primary toolbox in of itself, and has outlived several other hand tools - I've had it for almost 25 years. It's a lifetime tool, basically, and even if it's not a perfect match for the task, can likely be abused in a way that "gets the job done" and still survive.

Even the tiny bladeless "style ps" is an excellent tool that is much more capable than you'd think at first, and happens to be somewhat travel friendly (I say somewhat because it's always been checked out independently, it's never just sailed through) - Since I'm incapable of traveling in any way without something weird happening, it comes with me, and I've used it to fix cameras, chairs and benches, and repair the door lock on a bathroom stall, just off of the top of my head. I've actually repaired a surprising amount of public bathroom things with tools I've had on hand.

Also, more on the actual "this is easy to have anywhere and forget about until you need it" front, Victorinox makes a few "swiss cards" - The one that they are known for has a shiv in it (it's not a good knife) and is merely OK, but the one that is geared more towards grooming replaces the knife with a glass file, and is unbelievably useful, and also travel friendly! It's not considered very "masculine," so it gets overlooked, which means you can often find it for cheap. Do not underestimate the utility of a glass file, needle, scissors, tweezers, and magnifying glass all in a compact package. Perfect for splinter removal and tick removal in addition to the sudden grooming tasks that arise (hangnails, broken nails, etc). I cannot tell you how often I have used this.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:01 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]

I also own a decades-old Leatherman, which I used to use a lot. It's good as new. One thing I noticed early on is that its blade holds an edge much longer than the Victorinox knives I used to carry.

TSA collects large numbers of edged things, and periodically auctions them off. Used to be you could buy like, 10 Leatherman Micras on eBay for cheap, but I just checked, and people are asking ridiculous prices for groups of the things.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:23 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]

Like many of you, what I carry depends radically on where I'm going and how I'm getting there.
Metro to work? I might not even carry a bag if it's during normal commute hours - I won't have room to read and I'll just do Duolingo on my phone.

Biking? The big chrome bag with an extra pair of socks, dress shoes, spare tube with all the tools to change it, a couple cone wrenches, allen keys, microfiber towels, at least one small edged tool (usually just a little Olfa touch knife), bandaids, a book, a length of cord.

About three miles of my commute would be potentially very inconvenient without accounting for possible contingencies.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:43 AM on March 29

The Android software still has not been developed

It's a keyboard.

Make it speak the bluetooth keyboard protocol. No step two!

This is like saying you invented a great new USB thumbdrive, but the software to make it work on Apple laptops wasn't done yet. We have standards for these sorts of devices, people!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:42 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

That was talking about the software for flashing firmware updates. It's not required just for typing with the keyboard.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:20 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]

How a Leatherman is Made.

Just look at that factory! So shiny!

There's a lot of detail they pay attention to and skilled work going on. Considering how much cheaper import tools multitools are still 10+ at retail, it's pretty impressive to me that Leatherman tools aren't even more expensive.

Victorinox has a similar factory and manufacturing style and, is if anything, a more precision factory and operation, but it also shows in the price. The larger, fancier Victorinox pocket knives tend to be much more expensive than a Leatherman with similar features, even without pliers. They are smaller, smoother, more refined and easier ti fit in a pocket, but also won't take the beating that a Leatherman can.

It's like comparing a nice jeweled movement Swiss watch to a quartz LCD G-Shock. One of them is going to fare much better attending the opera, and one will do better working at a music festival.

Which makes sense considering the Victorinox SAK is likely to have a corkscrew, and I don't think I've ever seen a proper Leatherman with a corkscrew at all. The Wave doesn't even have a bottle opener, just a can opener.
posted by loquacious at 12:47 AM on March 30

Leatherman makes a pretty good corkscrew (in e.g. the CS4)--the edge of the can opener is shaped so that it can help leverage the cork out of the bottle. I don't know if that's a proper Leatherman, but it'll crack a bottle.
posted by box at 6:39 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]

The can opener on a Wave will pry off a bottle cap. No need for a dedicated bottle opener.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:28 AM on March 30

loquacious: The larger, fancier Victorinox pocket knives tend to be much more expensive than a Leatherman with similar features, even without pliers. They are smaller, smoother, more refined and easier ti fit in a pocket, but also won't take the beating that a Leatherman can.

If I may beg some of your time, my friend, I would like to introduce you to the SwissTool, which is the strong, simple, solid Hodor of Victorinox multitools.

I've carried a Leatherman for twenty years, and a pocket knife for longer; I got one of these beasts as a gimme from Sun Microcomputers back in the before times, and it's absolutely a monster. It really is a tool and not just a "What can I use since my real tools aren't at hand?" substitute. I racked a ton of servers with this, took it camping, and did a million real fixes that would make my little orange Leatherman Juice warp out of shape or my venerable PST snap shut.

Dang, it's a nice piece of kit.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:42 AM on April 1

I've had a SwissTool for over 20 years now. It is fantastic and takes a beating.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:09 AM on April 1

A hundred bucks for a SwissTool? I expect it to light a fire, make me hot cocoa, and tuck me into my sleeping bag, too...
posted by PhineasGage at 9:37 AM on April 1

Thank you all for this seriously delightful thread - it’s like stepping through the looking glass to a place where other people also carry actually useful things with them. I loved EDC when it first showed up on the internet. But it got eroded with some seriously toxic masculinity until it didn’t really resemble what thoughtful people carry because they observe the world around them and think about how to make it run more smoothly and then carry tools to make that happen. I miss that.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:08 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]

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