*This article has been updated in July 2020. Everyday Carry doesn’t carry collections like they used to, but it has every daily used tool and convenience item that anyone might want to have close at hand. It’s a great site for those “hard to buy for” gift recipients on your list. Beware, you’ll find something for yourself!
‘What’s in your wallet?’
I envy my husband for the few essentials he has in his pockets on any given day. I carry a pocketbook the contents of which could probably sustain a small family for a week. That being said, several items in my pocketbook would be helpful in unusual situations, so I think men’s and women’s Everyday Carry (EDCs) are not too dissimilar. There are EDCs that appeal to survivalists and I’m not covering those in this article. I’m interested in the EDCs that have a combination of items that are always needed and some that are needed in unusual situations. The question that is relevant for both men and women when considering an EDC is, what do you want to be prepared for? Being stuck in traffic with a cranky toddler, riding out a tornado in the basement of a department store, being a woman alone in a city, treating an unexpected injury, camping or hiking?
Everyday Carry is a website that launched in 2009 and is dedicated to investigating what items people, primarily men, carry everyday, and to finding items to help them improve their everyday carry, their everyday lives and adventures, be prepared for emergencies, and make their work life easier. Readers share their everyday carry must-haves, see other readers’ EDCs and browse recommended products used by peers for everyday professions and interests. In my first foray into the site, I realized how pared down the rest of the world seems to be in what they carry.
This site is more for pockets than pocketbooks. It is primarily a male ‘thing’ – items they can carry in their pockets to be prepared for most common situations. I found that browsing other people’s EDC helped me realize what is and isn’t important to have on hand. The writers take the approach that what men carry every day in their pockets, backpacks or ‘manbags’ should have to meet certain criteria to make the cut. What they call ‘pocket drops’ (emptying your pockets) should have items with solid reasons for being included.
There are various types of EDC. The standard for an item to be included in a Gentlemen’s EDC, pictured above, is exquisite. Gentleman only include high quality, formal and essential items– a good watch, mobile phone, leather billfold, keys and a small and lightweight pocketknife on the key chain, for example. Everything is streamlined and lightweight.
The Classic carry is timeless, everyday gear. If it is casual, sturdy and looks as if it belonged to your grandfather it makes the cut. Items are usually made from leather, brass, copper, steel and wood.
The Tactical carry contains items for specific tasks like camping or hiking and tools that are high performance and dependable. Items tend to be made from lightweight and durable materials like stainless steel, aluminum or ballistic nylon. These items would be overkill for everyday tasks.
The typical man’s EDC contains a lightweight closable knife, an LED light that goes on your keychain, a small multi-tool with pliers, tweezers, bottle opener, plastic cutter, scissors and screwdriver, a wallet, keys, a pen, a phone or notebook, and a watch.
I think a pocketbook dump would be fascinating. Common items in a woman’s EDC would be a mobile phone, a wallet, keys, a makeup pouch, sunglasses, reading glasses and a pouch with Tylenol, tampons and band aids. I would say that list would be a minimalist pocketbook dump. Many women have at least one more pouch with mints, Kleenex, power bars and hand sanitizer – for everyone else. Note: If you want a laugh, challenge a group of women to do a public pocketbook dump.
I was curious if there were any Every Day Carry sites for women, and there are several:
This site for women’s EDC would add to the above minimalist woman’s EDC list a pocket knife, paracord keychain, lighter, a power cell for charging a phone, foldable scissors, folding can opener, snacks, food and a small first aid kit. She must live out west as she refers to tornadoes and adds all kinds of other items (including a gun) that you don’t ordinarily need on the East coast.
Here are a couple of other women’s EDC sites:
If you follow EDC on Instagram you will sneak peeks into people’s pockets and bags around the world to learn what their essentials are.