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​A Comprehensive Guide to Men’s EDC Kits

Posted by Jack Rather on 25th Jul 2021

When it comes to the items men carry around on a day-to-day basis, no two guy’s pockets look exactly the same. As men, we only have so many ways to personalize our style and accessories, so everyday carry — or EDC — items tend to be very personal and purposeful.

If you’re still assembling your ideal EDC kit, this comprehensive guide will help. It covers the common types of items most men’s EDC kits contain and the different styles or themes you can aim for.

You have to realize that EDC is a rabbit hole. If the bug bites you, you’ll never truly finish curating your collection. But this guide will certainly point you in the right direction.

What’s in a men’s EDC kit?

A men’s EDC kit is a collection of items that a gentleman will carry on his person throughout the day. It seems pretty simple and self-explanatory, right? Which items that particular gentleman carries, however, can be anything but simple.

The following is a breakdown of some of the most common items found in men’s EDC kits. Some guys carry all of these items, while others might carry only one or two.

Pocket Knives

Arguably the most popular item that EDC aficionados are most likely to carry is the pocketknife. The tradition of carrying a great pocketknife goes back generations, with most guys’ grandfathers and great grandfathers using them regularly throughout their day.

While knives have come a long way since they laid at the bottoms of our great-grandpas’ waistcoat pockets, they’re as useful now as ever. From cutting open packages to actual life-saving scenarios, a great pocketknife won’t let you down.

Pocketknives come in a wide variety, from traditional slip joint knives to high-speed, low-drag tactical models. There are just as many materials, too, which is part of what makes them so interesting for EDC guys.

Pocket Knives

Watches

If there’s an aspect of men’s EDC kits that is its own subculture, it’s men's unique watches. It’s not even about telling the time. It’s about the appreciation for the timepiece, the heritage or uniqueness of the brand, and the added accent they bring to a guy’s style.

While many guys own a basic watch that serves a purpose, the first watch that starts the addiction is usually a diver. They’ll usually move to a chronograph or field watch after that, and the collection begins to swell. Factor in watch bracelets and straps, and there’s really no end to the watch game.

While the majority of people relate the watch-collecting hobby with luxury timepieces with massive price tags, most EDC guys can put together a very respectable collection of four or five watches for well under $2,000.

Watches

Wallets

Men’s EDC kits are hardly complete if they don’t have a great way to carry around their credit cards, ID, and cash. A top-notch wallet keeps everything bundled together, and there are options for every style.

Most EDC guys today prefer a front-pocket wallet, as it keeps things light and streamlined. Think minimalist over burdensome, and materials like leather, titanium, and carbon fiber.

There are definitely still some guys that prefer a thick bifold or trifold wallet in their back pocket. But, they must resist the tendency to stuff them with receipts from 15 years ago, or they can become a literal pain in the butt.

Wallets

Keychains

House keys. Car keys. Keys to an ATV or toy. The key to your senior year locker that you can’t let go of (it’s time).

Guys have a lot of keys, and we need a way to organize them, so most men’s EDC kits include some type of keychain. From basic split-rings and carabiners to leather organizers and multitool-inspired designs, any men’s EDC kit can benefit from a great keychain (or two or three).

Keychains

Flashlights

Sure, you can use your phone as a flashlight in a pinch, but the best men’s EDC kits usually feature a handy little flashlight. Whether it be a compact model that hangs from a keychain or a pen-style light that clips to a pocket, having a light on hand can be essential for EDC.

Guys that prefer a streamlined EDC kit might opt out of carrying a flashlight on the daily. But you can bet any guy that takes his setup seriously owns at least one great little EDC flashlight.

Flashlights

Handkerchiefs

No, we’re not talking about the old-school handkerchief your gramps used to wipe his nose. We’re talking about high-quality handkerchiefs or also called pocket squares with awesome designs. And, they’re usually snot-free. Most even pair them with a cloth bow tie and sports coat.

In today’s world, having a great microfiber cloth in their EDC kit is important to some guys. Being able to wipe a pair of sunglasses, phone screen, or watch bezel without worrying about scratches is key. After all, who wants to put a greasy, grimy screen next to their face?

Handkerchiefs

Pens

Have you ever written with a random pen, only to realize how much you enjoy the way it writes? It rolls well. The ink flows at a rate perfectly suitable for your writing style. It just feels right. EDC guys strive to find that perfect pen, and once they do, they add it to their EDC kit.

Plus, there’s something incredibly cool about producing a high-quality pen from your pocket to sign an important deal or document.

There are literally tons of great EDC pens available in a multitude of styles. Guys can choose from fountain pens, all-brass ballpoints, tactical pens, and luxury-level heirloom pens. There’s an EDC pen for any kit.

Pens

Notebooks

What good is the world’s best EDC pen if you don’t have anything to write on? Completing an EDC kit with a great notebook is essential for some guys. These EDC notebooks are an excellent place to scratch creative ideas, jot down to-do lists, and simply journal to clear your head.

Believe it or not, these EDC notebooks aren’t just leaves of paper. There are tactical-inspired options, traditional-looking journals, and minimalist pads. Some are designed to splash through the mud and the muck while you navigate rough terrain on an adventure, while others are perfectly suitable for the boardroom.

Notebooks

Bags

It’s fair to say that EDC guys love great bags. Tough construction, great looks, and plenty of function. They can store large items like laptops and organize their smaller kit, and they never have to feel unprepared.

EDC bags come in a few varieties, with the most popular being the briefcase, the messenger, the backpack, the duffle, and the weekender. Each has its particular use or style, so most guys have a couple in their EDC kits.

Bags

Extras

All the items above are the basics that most guys carry. It’s the extras where things start to get really interesting.

A lot of EDC guys are now carrying challenge coins. Popular in military and law enforcement circles, these coins have long represented important moments, accomplishments, or other memories a man wants to remember when he reaches into his pocket.

Lighters are also a popular EDC extra. Whether it’s simply for preparedness or for enjoying a fine pipe, many EDC hobbyists like to keep a quality, reliable lighter on hand. There are basic lighters, lighters meant specifically for lighting tobacco pipes, and everything in between.

Let’s face it, many EDC guys also love a good craft beer from time to time, requiring a trusty bottle opener to pop those tops. Standard lever options are as popular as ever, but knuckleduster-types (which could be illegal where you live) are certainly growing in popularity.

Lastly, certain magic-minded influencers have reignited a passion for carrying a deck of playing cards. The sleight of hand during a card trick and the interesting designs have many everyday carry lovers scrambling to find awesome, unique card sets.

Lighters

Men’s EDC Kit Themes and Styles

Now that you’re more familiar with the types of EDC gear, we’ll go over a few themes or styles for your tastes or most scenarios you might face on a daily basis. Keep in mind that these are in no way hard-and-fast rules. You can mix and match these pieces according to your own personal taste.

Traditional Men’s EDC Kit

  • Wood or staghorn-handled lockback pocket knife
  • Bifold or trifold leather wallet
  • Field watch on a leather strap
  • Split ring keychain with a leather lanyard
  • Fountain Pen
  • Field-style notebook
  • Canvas messenger bag
  • Basic microfiber handkerchief

The traditional men’s EDC kit is all about heritage and heirloom. It might contain a vintage knife or watch, but only if it’s a tried-and-true model. Most of the accessories are leather or canvas, with an earthy, rugged feel to them. There’s nothing about a traditional men’s EDC kit that’s too over-the-top or flashy, opting for simplicity and durability instead.

Casual Men’s EDC Kit

  • Wood-handled ring-lock or lockback knife
  • Leather front-pocket wallet
  • Stainless steel dive or chronograph watch on a metal bracelet
  • Leather key organizer
  • Retractable pen
  • Basic bound notebook
  • Canvas backpack
  • Simple lever bottle opener
  • Basic microfiber handkerchief
  • Deck of playing cards

The casual men’s EDC kit is all about playing it cool. This kit contains everything a guy would need for a regular day out and about without much fuss. It’s all about having fun, after all, not fawning over precious heirloom pieces.

Tactical Men’s EDC Kit

  • Assisted-opening knife with G10 fiberglass handle
  • Titanium front-pocket wallet
  • Digital sports watch in black resin
  • Titanium key organizer
  • Pen-style flashlight
  • Titanium retractable tactical pen
  • All-weather notebook
  • MOLLE backpack
  • Microfiber cloth with tactical motif
  • Titanium bottle opener
  • Tactical challenge coin

A tactical EDC kit is all about high-speed, low-drag functionality. The gear needs to be lightweight and tough, with good looks coming as a bonus rather than a necessity. This kit is all about getting the job done.

Adventurer Men’s EDC Kit

  • Linerlock folding knife
  • Multitool
  • Carbon fiber front-pocket wallet
  • Durable field watch on a stainless bracelet
  • Carabiner keychain
  • Headlamp with a handheld flashlight for backup
  • Retractable anti-gravity pen
  • Adventure-style journal
  • Hiking backpack
  • Lever bottle opener
  • All-weather lighter

The adventurer men’s EDC kit is for any guy who doesn’t know where the day might take them. This kit has to be weather-resistant, durable, and lightweight. Every piece in this EDC kit inspires adventure and gives off a confident air of ultimate preparedness.

Professional Men’s EDC Kit

  • Traditional European-made folding knife with Damascus blade
  • Leather bifold wallet and metal money clip
  • Gold, white gold, or stainless dress watch on leather strap
  • Minimalist keychain with leather fob
  • Luxury ballpoint pen and fountain pen
  • Daily planner
  • Leather briefcase
  • Silk or linen handkerchief

Professional men’s EDC is all about high-end, luxury items that don’t skimp on function. Leather accessories are likely to match to ensure no one piece stands out or is too in-your-face. This kit contains two high-quality pens, each with its own purpose. On the rare occasion where the knife surfaces from a pocket, its quality, craftsmanship, and materials make a serious impression.

The Night Out Men’s EDC Kit

  • Minimalist, modern pocketknife
  • Leather front pocket wallet and metal money clip
  • Stainless steel chronograph or diver on leather
  • Minimalist keychain on small carabiner
  • Affordable retractable pen
  • Small affordable notebook
  • Lucky coin
  • Stylish microfiber handkerchief

A night out means looking good but staying light. And, as the night progresses, the risk of putting a pen or notebook down and forgetting it increases exponentially, so high-dollar items are ill-advised.

After all, it’s better to have loved and lost, even if it’s just a pen.

Other themes

EDC is certainly a multi-tiered pursuit. Aside from having the right kit for each situation, many EDC guys love curating matching kits or themes. Some popular EDC kit themes include:

  • Matching leathers
  • Brass
  • Stainless steel
  • Titanium
  • Blacked-Out

Themed EDC kits might be for the hardcore enthusiast only, but there is something satisfying about a carefully chosen kit of matching gear. EDC gear manufacturers offer all of the items outlined earlier in these different finishes, from pens and keychains to watches and wallets.

Yes, it’s certainly possible to find a brass front pocket wallet, even though it might be a little heavy.

Your EDC Kit is Up to You

The way you assemble your EDC kit is entirely up to you. Whether you’re into vintage knives, keychain flashlights, or hefty brass challenge coins, the beauty of EDC is that it’s entirely customizable for your tastes. Like leather? Fuel that fire. Gotta have it lightweight? Go with titanium. Patina, patina, patina? Grab that brass.

We hope this guide serves as a roadmap or inspiration for you. But, remember, the best men’s EDC items are the ones you actually carry, so grab some gear and get started.