Mastering the art of everyday carry: from minimalist wallets to rugged jackets and versatile backpacks

31 January 2024, 19:00

Some of my EDC now. Picture: Supplied
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

EDC, or Every Day Carry, refers to the essential items people carry daily for convenience and preparedness, such as wallets, keys, phones, and often tools like pocketknives or flashlights.

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If you've ever scrolled through Instagram or any social media platform, chances are you've stumbled upon those captivating snapshots of people emptying their pockets and revealing a meticulously curated collection of everyday items.

This phenomenon, known as Everyday Carry or EDC, extends far beyond a mere display of personal belongings. It's a philosophy rooted in practical preparedness and convenience, advocating the constant companionship of essential tools and supplies to tackle life's unpredictable challenges.

While EDC may have its origins in pragmatic necessities, it has evolved into a vibrant subculture, complete with its own lexicon, rituals, and a passionate community dedicated to perfecting their portable readiness kits.

My EDC from 2017
My EDC from 2017. Picture: Supplied

As a journalist navigating the bustling streets of London, I've always sought to stay prepared for anything while out on reporting assignments. However, my journey into the world of Everyday Carry truly took off a few years ago, following an unexpected drenching in a sudden downpour. Picture me, soaked to the bone, realizing I had forgotten even the most basic of supplies - an umbrella or a rain jacket. It was a moment of reckoning, prompting me to reconsider the contents of my daily carry.

At first, I made modest additions to my work bag: a compact umbrella, a packable rain jacket, and an extra power bank to keep my devices charged. But then, something extraordinary happened. I stumbled upon the EDC community online, and I became utterly fascinated with the concept of optimizing and customizing my ideal EDC setup. Soon, I was engrossed in assembling a collection of "just in case" items, each tailored to different scenarios.

Within a matter of months, my EDC loadout grew substantially. Multiple flashlights, a trusty Swiss Army Knife, a mini pry bar, an assortment of pens, and even a versatile multitool found their way into my daily ensemble. My pockets were crowded, my shoulders strained under the weight, and even a colleague couldn't resist poking fun at my excessive preparedness (although to this day they are always the ones who ask to borrow something because all they have in their bags is a packet of tissues and a mint).

Had my EDC obsession gone too far? Did I truly require all this gear for my daily life in the city?

That's when I made a conscious decision to streamline my EDC setup, prioritizing utility over flashy gadgets.

During my exploration of EDC photos online, I noticed a recurring item - The Ridge Wallet. Having tested various minimalist wallets over the years, I was intrigued. But it was The Ridge Wallet's aluminium version that won me over. Sleek, durable, and featuring RFID-blocking capabilities, it proved to be an excellent addition to my minimalist EDC philosophy.

The Ridge Wallet boasts the capacity to hold between 1 to 12 cards and cash, though getting cards in and out may require some practice initially.

However, with use, it becomes a quick and effortless process. The wallet's standout feature is its strong elastic band, which is not only replaceable but also designed to last indefinitely. While its premium look and feel are undeniable, it's worth noting that the metal construction is prone to scratches and can potentially cause wear on other items it comes into contact with. Nevertheless, it excels in compactness and comfortably disappears into your pocket.

In the world of EDC, The Ridge Wallet epitomises the essence of a minimalist wallet. While it demands an adjustment period for those transitioning from traditional leather wallets, it's built to withstand the test of time and exudes a sense of style. If you seek a slim, front pocket-friendly wallet, The Ridge Wallet is an excellent choice.

When I got my Ridge wallet I also got the Ridge pen... It's very odd, I thought the wallet would be the standout piece in my mind but there are days I don't have the wallet on me, and there are no days when I don't carry the pen. I honestly think this is the best pen I have every used.

I thought I would love this brand for their wallets, it turns out their pen is the stand out item for me.

The Ridge Wallet and Ridge Pen
The Ridge Wallet and Ridge Pen. Picture: Supplied

But my EDC journey didn't stop there, one thing I wear every single day (or carry in the summer) is a Barbour jacket.

Having been a longtime enthusiast of Barbour jackets, I can confidently say that the Barbour Lutz jacket stands out as the smartest addition to my collection. Over the years, I've had the pleasure of owning various Barbour jackets (yes, I own about ten), each with its own unique qualities, but the Lutz truly takes the cake in terms of style and versatility.

It's not merely a jacket; it's a loyal companion that has accompanied me across the globe, serving as my shield against chilly evenings and even doubling as a makeshift blanket when I needed it the most, I can think of at least ten times it has covered my head in a bright airport due to a delayed flight.

The Barbour Lutz jacket was crafted as an alternative to the famous Commander jacket featured in Skyfall, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. It comes in two distinct variants: wax and quilt (yes, I do own both...)

The waxed version, which is made from 8oz Oban waxed cotton. What sets this apart is its slightly brushed finish that resembles a suede nap. This finish not only adds a touch of sophistication but also minimises the sheen often associated with waxed jackets, giving it a unique and understated charm.

One of the standout features of the Barbour Lutz jacket is its impeccable fit. It's tailored like a sport coat, making it versatile enough to wear both in the office and down at the local pub on a relaxed Sunday. I can confidently attest to the trim and tailored fit, as the size large fits my 42" chest perfectly, ensuring I look sharp and stylish regardless of the occasion.

In summary, the Barbour Lutz jacket is a versatile and stylish piece of outerwear that's perfect for both formal and casual occasions. Its impeccable fit, durable materials, and thoughtful design details make it a true investment piece that you'll treasure for years to come. Whether you're exploring new cities or simply enjoying a relaxing weekend, this jacket will be your trusted companion, keeping you comfortable and looking sharp wherever you go.

The Barbour Lutz is a world-class jacket
The Barbour Lutz is a world-class jacket. Picture: Supplied

I have a Swiss Army Knife that I do not think I could live without the Victorinox Huntsman in Walnut

If versatility and functionality are what you're after, look no further than the Victorinox Huntsman Wood Swiss Army Knife. As a frequent traveler and London resident, I've come to rely on this remarkable tool for a wide range of everyday tasks.

The first thing that strikes you about the Huntsman is its elegant, walnut wood scales, which not only make it visually appealing but also give it a unique, handcrafted feel. However, don't let its sophistication fool you; this knife is a true workhorse.

From opening Amazon packages to tackling more demanding tasks like uncorking a bottle of wine, the Huntsman has proven to be my trusty companion. Its 13 essential functions cover a wide spectrum of needs, ensuring that you're always well-prepared. Need to tighten a screw? The Huntsman Wood has you covered with both 3mm and 6mm screwdrivers. Craving a glass of wine after a long day? The corkscrew effortlessly gets the job done.

What sets this Swiss Army Knife apart is its ability to seamlessly transition from everyday urban life to outdoor adventures. Whether it's cutting through wood with the wood saw or using the multipurpose hook for various tasks, this tool is as adaptable as the ever-changing London weather.

One of the standout features is the tactile feel of the wood scales, making each tool in the Huntsman Wood a pleasure to use. Plus, the natural grain of the wood adds a touch of individuality to every knife.

I purchased mine from Heinnie, an amazing UK-based EDC site, where I discovered this versatile tool. The purchasing experience was seamless, and I couldn't be happier with my choice.

In conclusion, the Victorinox Huntsman Wood Swiss Army Knife is a true companion for both city life and outdoor adventures. Its elegant design, robust functionality, and reliable performance make it an indispensable tool for anyone and Heinnie is the perfect place to get your hands on one.

Swiss Army Knife in Walnut (this is the Huntsman)
Swiss Army Knife in Walnut (this is the Huntsman). Picture: Supplied

Sunglasses are an often overlooked bit of kit. But a good pair of shades are invaluable. Gatorz sunglasses are handcrafted in the USA from billet aluminium, making them extremely rugged.

I used to be an Oakley fanboy, at the peak I had probably five pairs in my regular rotation, but due to a Navy SEAL and author I am firmly on the Gatorz bandwagon.

Said SEAL, Jack Carr, is highly worth a follow on Instagram, he always has an interesting rage of kit on him, and has also written some cracking books, which have been turned into a series on Amazon Prime.

Speaking to him a few months ago I said I was going to grab a pair of Gatorz and use him as my excuse when people ask why I need another pair of sunglasses.

"Jack Carr made me do it"...

The Delta frames I chose for everyday wear in Olive are comfortable and offer decent protection from the harsh sun here in London.

The brilliance of Gatorz is their self-fitting aluminium frames. You can bend them to fit your face perfectly. Despite being metal, they are lightweight and comfortable to wear all day. Most importantly, the lenses provide crisp, vibrant vision. After testing them out, I'm convinced Gatorz are top-notch sunglasses that support American manufacturing. They offer loads of customisation too. For serious eye protection that looks cool, Gatorz can't be beat.

My stuff from 2016 (I think) featuring a long lost lightweight Barbour jacket
My stuff from 2016 (I think) featuring a long lost lightweight Barbour jacket. Picture: Supplied

I recently had the privilege of experiencing the Olight Arkfeld, and I must say, it's an outstanding addition to the world of flashlights.

The Olight Arkfeld immediately captures attention with its sleek and vibrant olive green finish. Unlike your typical flashlight, it boasts a unique design that sets it apart. Although it lacks traditional knurling, it compensates with a robust clip and a magnetic tailcap. This flashlight's distinctive appearance is a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with conventional cylindrical designs.

What truly makes the Olight Arkfeld remarkable is its combination of functionality and performance. With a maximum output of 1,000 lumens, it delivers ample illumination for various scenarios, whether you're at home, in the office, or simply enjoying a leisurely walk. What sets it apart is its dual functionality, offering both a white LED for standard lighting and a green laser for presentations or engaging interactions with pets and children. Switching between these modes is effortless thanks to the selector ring and center button. Its compact size ensures it's always within easy reach for your everyday needs.

Olight's meticulous attention to detail is evident in the Arkfeld's smooth and vibrant blue finish, giving it a truly unique and attractive appearance. Moreover, Olight stands behind its product with a solid 2-year warranty, providing users with confidence in their purchase.

In a world where flashlights often adhere to a standard design, the Olight Arkfeld dares to be different. It's a beacon of versatility, seamlessly blending remarkable performance with a distinctive aesthetic. Whether you're a flashlight enthusiast or someone seeking a dependable everyday carry, the Arkfeld will exceed your expectations. Olight's unwavering commitment to quality and innovation shines through in the Arkfeld, making it an exceptional addition to your EDC collection.

If you're in search of a flashlight that not only stands out in design but also excels in performance, I wholeheartedly recommend giving the Olight Arkfeld a try. It's more than just a flashlight; it's a versatile tool that shines brilliantly in multiple ways!

My Lutz has seen enough action that it's needed to be patched up and re-lined...
My Lutz has seen enough action that it's needed to be patched up and re-lined... Picture: Supplied

But my EDC journey didn't end with clothing and accessories alone. I also sought the perfect backpack (and believe me this is a long journey that resulted in a backpack room at my house), and that's where the 5.11 Rush 12 backpack came into play. It has journeyed with me around the world, solidifying its place as my go-to backpack.

Constructed from robust 1050D nylon, the Rush 12 backpack offers 24 liters of storage, a hydration pouch, concealed carry compartment, external pouches, compression straps, and generous padding. Its dual-zip clamshell design ensures quick access to essentials, facilitating efficient packing for my global adventures.

During my travels, the Rush 12 backpack proved its mettle, comfortably accommodating clothing and necessities. The concealed carry pouch doubled as a handy snack holder during flights. Its compact size allowed me to easily stow it under aeroplane seats, enhancing travel convenience.

In the world of Everyday Carry (EDC), where practical preparedness meets personal style, my journey has led me to embrace minimalist essentials like The Ridge Wallet, appreciate the rugged sophistication of the Barbour Lutz jacket, and rely on the versatile functionality of the 5.11 Rush 12 backpack. Whether it's streamlining my daily carry with a sleek wallet, staying stylish and protected with a timeless jacket, or ensuring I'm ready for any adventure with a dependable backpack, each item has become a trusted companion on my journey through life's unpredictable twists and turns. Together, they embody the EDC philosophy of readiness and style, enhancing both the practicality and aesthetics of my everyday life.