Every Day Carry Contest

The tools you have with you are the ones that are going to get used, and so it is with great pleasure that we are announcing our newest contest seeking the best everyday carry (EDC) tools. The diversity of tools that people carry with them whether on keychains, in pockets and/or bags never ceases to astonish. From Moleskines to Leathermen, and flashlights to Buffs, the sheer number of tools we have to choose from is overwhelming. That's where you come in.
Send us reviews of your everyday carry tools, and explain why they have made the cut. There is no limit to how many you can include, and feel free to submit EDC tools from specific situations like camping or biking. Just remember every tool should be reviewed with the following five parts in mind: 1) a succinct description of what the tool is, 2) how it changed your behavior, 3) why Cool Tools should run the item, 4) why it is superior to other things, and 5) why we should believe you. Submissions will be accepted until Friday, April 22nd. As usual, the author of the most publishable review gets to select a prize from the Prize Pool and will be published the following week. In addition to the current prize pool we have added a Baladeo 22g and 34g ultralight folding knife. So tell us all about the tools you have with you when it counts! For inspiration, here are some previously reviewed EDC Cool Tools: Split-Pea Lighter Credit Card Survival Tool Fisher Bullet Space Pen Nite Ize S-Biner Utili-Key Good Luck! -- Oliver Hulland, Editor, Cool Tools


  1. The most useful, versatile, lightweight and inexpensive tool that I habitually carry with me is a safety pin on a beltloop of my pants. It can be used to open letters, open boxes, clean the fingernails, pick the teeth (okay, preferably not in that order), remove a sliver, open a knot, and even, in a pinch, fasten things together! It’s also useful for jabbing inconspicuously in your thigh when you find yourself in a dull meeting or lecture and on the verge of socially inappropriate sleep.

    But it’s not “cool” enough for Cool Tools because it’s just an ordinary humble safety pin…

    1. I carry a couple of safety pins clipped to the little key ring on my baby Swiss Army knife.


    2. The almighty safety pin. I am never without a safety pin. But, I carry one on one of my socks and not a belt loop. I have done so for 25 plus years. I use it primarily to pin my socks together so I don’t loose a sock during the sock laundry cycle and miraculously my socks always come back as pair.

      And just like Verre, I have this little handy tool available for 101 uses throughout the day. I don’t think I ever picked my teeth with one though. It is quite hilarious when someone gets to know you have a safety pin stored neatly inside the top of your sock and asks if they can have it because they need this “tool” to fix a wardrobe malfunction, to reset a router, replace a button that was lost, or any other of the hundreds of uses for the humble safety pin.
      Pat Crosbie

  2. Not true! Write up a review, and I’ll definitely consider it. I think most people haven’t thought about all you can do with a safety pin, and a well written review would do wonders to change most people’s minds.

    — oliver h, editor, cool tools

  3. I like the EDC concept, but I find the blog to be mostly useless. It’s just pretty pictures and sometimes lists of model numbers. Am I really supposed to know what a “Fenix LD-01 R4” is?

    I’d find it a lot more useful if there was some explanation as to WHY these items were chosen.

  4. It is a bit large but no matter what small or large job I’m doing I need my Bosch Lithium Cordless Pocket Driver purchased in 2006. I have had this stored for longer than 6 months and its still holds a charge and is just as powerful as its larger counterpart. I had to get a second one because my partner, a master electrician, added it to his own bag of daily work tools. His co-workers laughed at him until theirs died and his was still going strong.


  5. Can you do section on users “oldest” tools, ones they’ve had and used for years without a failure?

    Years ago I bought a very expensive level, my testosterone was to blame. I attempted to build a deck and messed up terribly, the damn thing ended up arthritic and crooked. But, I never once questioned the exactness of the level until, uh, my wife used it to level a flower box and figured it out immediately, she trusted her eye and retrieved my grandfathers antique level he used to build the Al-Can highway. Its the only level we use in my home and on outdoor projects. Its worth a pretty penny now, along with his plane, but I would never sell them.

  6. @Verre

    I was going to post exactly the same thing. I have safety pins fastened around the belt loops of all of my pants. Unbelievably versatile, with the ability to both cut and fasten. They weigh next to nothing, take up no space, and are dirt cheap. The ultimate multitool!

  7. I’m a service technician, so the list of tools I carry each and every day is pretty long.

    But I’ll limit it to my two very best EDC tools: my hands and my brain.

  8. There are a couple of things which people don’t usually mention in these kinds of conversations.

    One is a small toothbrush. I saw off the base of a regular one and keep it.

    The second is a small bottle of perfume.

    The flashlight, pocketknife, notebook, wallet, card holder, handkerchief and pen are the rest of my things.

    1. Thats for the tooth brush idea, so far I have been using a folding travel tooth brush. Really is quite rubbish.

  9. My EDC consists of:

    * Keys, to keep my apartment secure while I’m out, and improve ease of re-entry when I return home

    * Wallet, because money can be exchanged for goods and services

    * Phone, for the making and receiving of telephone calls

    * A tissue, in case I need to wipe my nose.

    1. I’m with Anon. I use my keys, wallet, and phone every day! I’ve never felt the need to carry a knife or flashlight or whatever; they would just weigh me down.

      I only carry tissues with me when I have a cold, though. Instead, though, I do carry my Metro pass and City employee ID badge in a plastic sleeve I keep on a lanyard. The Metro pass gives me freedom of movement around the city without having to stop to pay with each boarding, and the City employee ID badge gives me access to my workplace and other City facilities, occasionally gives me a discount when eating lunch, and establishes my identity and authority when appearing in an official capacity outside the office.

      Also: hands and brain.

  10. I have three things attached to my wallet chain: a safety pin, a paper clip, and a hair elastic. All three have been useful in many many ways. :3

  11. I won’t do a write-up, because several have already been done on the tool, but I find it invaluable: a stainless steel multi tool that fits in your wallet. No, really. See: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000Q06LI4

    Most of the items are fairly awkward to use, since they’re in such a tight space; but if you’re like most guys, never leaving their wallet out of sight, you’ll always have a tool with you can count on.

    Instance where it came in handy: VGA cable screwed too tight into the video card. Unscrewing the cable removed one of the stand-offs from the card. The cable is being replaced due to internal damage. I need the standoff for the new cable to attach, but it’s on too tight and it’s too small to screw off with my fingers. I have zero tools with me (I wasn’t expecting this); well, zero except for my credit card-sized multitool!

    Whip out my wallet, slide the tool out of the wallet and it’s vinyl sleeve, and made use of the two-position wrench. Standoff is off the old cable, finger-screwed it into the video card, then used the two-position wrench to tighten it down. Problem solved!

    I’ve used the ruler on occasions when I needed just a quick measurement. I’ve only used the bottle opener once or twice. Haven’t used any of the other tools, except the knife edge, which does work fairly well for opening boxes.

  12. – Some kind of LED on my keyring. Some years it’s been a Photon microlight, courtesy of John Gilmore and the FreeSWAN project, currently it’s a little cover on my housekey.
    – Guitar picks, in the watch-pocket of my jeans
    – 4GB flash drive, in the really tiny format that’s not much bigger than the USB connector. If I were more organized it would have a bootable Linux on it, but usually it’s just there for backup and moving random files around.

  13. The three tools that never leave my pants pocket: my ancient Leatherman Mini-Tool double-folding pliers, my Victorinox Executive Swiss Army knife, and my 4-in-1 pocket screwdriver.

    Each of them excels at things that the others don’t do well, so I need all three of them.

    I hot-rodded the pocket screwdriver long ago, by replacing the generic Chinese driver bits with old made-in-USA Irwin bits. They are still in excellent condition even after being used regularly for all sorts of repairs over the decades.

  14. I use a pocket protector to hold a small flat blade and a small Philips screwdriver. The former is often called “a greenie”. There is also a Sharpie permanent marker and a ballpoint pen. Aside from fixing glasses and tweaking controls the greenie will also tear open the tape on most parcels.
    I would often have someone borrow my greenie and not bring it back. I stocked my filing cabinet with a carton of them.

  15. I always have a small, transparent ziplock plastic bag in my wallet. Weighs close to nothing and takes no space, but is useful pretty often even for folks like me who aren’t (a) crime scene investigators and/or (b) into drugs.

  16. Let’s see… a Photon minilight on my keychain, along with a Japanese yen coin for good luck and occasional screwdriver use. A Victorinox Tinker knife (because it has a Philips head screwdriver). My wallet contains a plastic Fresnel lens magnifier, a bobby pin, a single-edge razor blade (taped), a stubby pencil and spare door/ignition keys for two cars.
    And I carry a Zippo, because I smoke.

  17. My main two are:

    Swiss army knife – version containing a mini-screwdriver set + pliers, immensely handy additions to the default version.

    Android phone + short USB cable – usual smartphone stuff, the LED flash on its camera doubles as a LED torch, USB cable enables it to function as a USB flash drive containing useful PC repair programs.

  18. Moderator note: This is a contest where you submit reviews, not an open thread on how dumb other people are for not carrying the same things that you do. Please remain on topic.

  19. I thought the contest involved using the “Submit a Tool” link that Cool Tools posted. I thought the comments were for, you know, comments.

  20. I just sent a review for my Opinel pocket knife. I love how this object feels both very primitive and perfectly designed. It’s sturdy, nice to look at and it does its job perfectly.

    But I must admit that my #1 tool is the iPhone 4. Map + pocket light + camera + Google + notepad + dictionary + weather + messenging + phone + video + music + calendar + other stuff = most useful object I’ve ever owned.

  21. I enjoy putting some thought into what ends up in my bag and I am often trying new things to see if they are a good fit and worth the trouble. Since I take the subway every day and have so many friends who have lost keys, phones and whatnot down the subway tracks I tried to find something to deal with this particular (potential) problem. The solution I found was a TeleStik reacher. I ordered one and I have to admit it’s light and well made. Only time will tell whether this was a silly thing to stick in my commuting bag or whether it will save me or a friend a great deal of hassle some day from a lost item on the tracks.

    I also really have to put in a good word for the Leatherman Squirt PS4, I used to carry the Micra and have gone through many of them (from loss or gifts, not from failure) but I like the grippy sides and the tool mix of the PS4 slightly better than the Micra.

    I also believe that one should have a standard knife as an option, and Gerber’s Applegate-Fairbairn Mini Covert is a great pocket knife. Almost any knife can have a nice blade (I prefer semi-serrated) but the clip on this one is high on the case so it rides low and comfortably in your pocket and prevents others (like NYPD) from knowing or caring that you have your knife handy.

  22. Another vote for the Photon micro-light. Mine was a gift nearly a decade ago, is still on its first battery, and saved my butt in a flash flood. It’s true!

  23. Other than my wallet and cellphone, not very much. Only two things, really made the cut for every day use.

    Trigger snap, which I use as a keychain. Very hard to open accidentally, attaches to belt loop, part of my backpack, my cellphone, etc. (example: http://bit.ly/fsgjjB )

    Chain, which I use to attach my wallet to a belt loop because otherwise I would forget it somewhere.

  24. Petzl Zipka Headlamp.

    Yes, it’s been mentioned on CoolTools before (http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/000693.php) but amongst the handful of things I always have in the messenger bag I carry everyday, it has seen by far the most actual use.

    It’s compact and unobtrusive to store, exceedingly abusable, and the retracting-cord allows you to use it in all sorts of scenarios. That it’s bright, dimmable, and has a flasher mode make it all the most useful.

    I’ve used it at work to find electrical panels in unfamiliar warehouses, as a bike light (headlight and safety flasher), as a general purpose flashlight, to night-hike mountains on spur-of-the-moment jaunts (including one up Mt Fuji on a random business trip!), to see what I’m working on when fixing a car, to light up details on parts under magnification, on and on and on…

    My EDC list is constantly being tweaked as I travel for work and pleasure, but I now consider my Zipka indispensable.

    Question for the other hyper-frequent flier happy mutants: I miss having a multitool that gets past the TSA. Suggestions?

  25. What is this pocket phone thing you speak of? Mine is attached to the wall with a wire, like it should be.

    I can use the handset for self-defense if needed, as it’s a Western Electric 500.

  26. Love, love, love aforementioned my Victorinox Swiss Army key-chain pocket knife. Nothing fancy, just a small knife, screw driver/nail file, and a tiny pair of scissors (some models also have a pair of tweezers and a tooth pick). It’s not like I’ve drastically changed my behavior because of it, but I notice just how much I use it whenever I don’t have. This is usually on vacations when I have to take it off lest the TSA confiscate it (which has happened 2-3 times). I pull out my keys to open a plastic package, clip a hang nail, or pry open a battery compartment and sadly remember that I took it off. It’s a great tool because I can’t help but always have it on me. It’s also sturdy (never had one break on me) and cheap (so replacing it isn’t a big deal anyway). I’ve given it to friends as a gift and at first they’re a little disappointed to be receiving a key chain for a gift, but not long after thank me profusely since they’ve quickly started using it daily.

  27. I haven’t seen this mentioned, but I carry a nail clipper with me everywhere; I’m a pianist and therefore neurotic about the length of my nails.

  28. My nomination: 6″ black plastic zip ties.


    I used them when I worked IT for a company and they were great for running cables.

    However, I’ve found in my own personal life they’re among the most useful things ever: dirt cheap and extremely versatile, holding together everything from cables to furniture parts to SCUBA gear (plastic clip broke; a zip tie made the flipper usable again) to attaching a power strip to the side of a bookshelf for a quick power outlet source to moving and keeping things together.

    The 6″ size shouldn’t be seen as a detriment–they’re about perfect size for most uses, and anything needing a longer tie can be dealt with by zipping multiple zip ties together.

    They’re extremely cheap and very versatile. They’re making moving much easier and have become some of my favorite things to have on hand.

  29. Swiss Tech MPTBS Micro-Plus 8-in-1 Polished Stainless Steel Key Ring Multi-Tool.

    I bought just over two dozen of these on clearance at a local store just after Christmas for under two bucks each, and gave them as “no occasion, no reason” gifts to friends, family and coworkers over the course of a couple years.

    #1 and #2 Flat Screwdrivers, #1 and #2 Phillips Screwdrivers, Precision Pliers, Wire Cutter, Wire Stripper, Sheet Shears, and 1/8″ Rule markings. They clip right onto a key ring and stay there pretty well.

    They’re better than the average pocket tool because they incorporate a usable set of pliers. They’re worse because they don’t have a knife.

    I’m not interested in the Prize Pool, so I’ll leave it to Amazon; they have plenty of reviews there.


  30. The carabiner I use to wrangle my keys is useful. I’ve cycled through a couple of types, from steel hardware-store-type to aluminum. It doesn’t much matter. Sometimes you have to clip something to something else, and a carabiner is great.

    More importantly, I like my Victorinox Spartan pocketknife. The Tinker has a phillips screwdriver, but I’ve found the corkscrew on the Spartan to be far more useful. It’s a marlin spike for knots in cord and shoelace, it’s a staple remover, it pulls foam packing out of the press tools at work when they need repair. It cleans under my fingernails. Sometimes it opens wine bottles. Aside from the blade itself and maybe the bottle opener/screwdriver, I think the corkscrew is the most valuable thing on that knife. For phillips screws, the narrow, tapered flathead screwdriver on the end of the can opener nearly always suffices, so I don’t really even need a dedicated phillips driver. Any carry knife I might switch to must either have a corkscrew or be so utterly awesome that it makes up for the corkscrew’s absence.

    The Spartan is light and rounded on the ends, so it doesn’t tear holes in pockets and is generally inoffensive to carry. If I lost it, however, there’s a model I’d switch to. The Victorinox Tourist is the exact same thing as the popular Spartan, but 1/4″ shorter. That’s my current ideal option. But I’ve had this Spartan for 16 years and I’m not ditching it just for grins. :)

  31. Review: Suck UK Character Bag

    1) This is both a shopping bag and an exercise in creativity. Oh, and a wonderful example of affective design.

    2) There are other ultra-portable, durable shopping bags, but none are this cool or aesthetically pleasing. This has changed my life in that I now have a shopping bag that is also a cute plush squirrel, or bat, or bird…

    3) Cool tools should run this because portable shopping bags are under-reported as a part of people’s EDC, despite likely being an important part of many peoples’ EDC (or should be – what, you take your groceries home in LDPE bags?)

    4) This beats other bags because it is both compact and cute. I’ve had re-usable supermarket bags that were really bulky and unpleasant, and many seem to be just getting more so. I have had a few that are equally compact, folding into a small, keychain-clippable pouch, but none have the same cuteness factor. Oh, and the fact that it can sling over your shoulder when deployed is a serious bonus.

    5) The link is there if you don’t believe me. Suck UK give a pretty good description themselves.

    I carry many of the other standard EDC items — torch, multitool, etc, but like the others playing up the importance of cable ties and safety pins, I think a lot of really useful but simple items get neglected in favour of expensive, over-engineered tool-candy. Hence the love for shopping bags.

  32. Hands down, its my iPhone. Its got an LED flashlight, a compass, global maps that include satellite imagery, I can write notes on it, record audio directions, tune my guitar, identify a song that I like, listen to songs I like, use its calculator, get a weather report, take pictures and video (and from a tool perspective, these can be notational), calculate the correct amount of bromine to add to my hot tub, check the tides at the beach, kill time in all sorts of ways including reading The New York Times, and if that’s not enough I can even play Connect 4.

    Beat that, Leatherman.

    1. The remarkable thing about my Leatherman (Juice S2), and my iPhone, is that I have yet to come up with a single job that either could do. Not. a. single. one.

      Yet between them, I’m covered.

      Additional EDC: Cash, BART/CTA card (depending), small notebook, pen, keys, passport. The notebook is probably worth a writeup; size of a billfold, perfect for the kind of notes that will flow faster from a pen than a tiny screen keyboard.

      My takeaway from this thread: time to start carrying a safety pin again. In my sock.

  33. While not a “tool” in the sense of having myriad uses, I’ve had great success carrying a couple cloth band-aids in my wallet.

    Rarely use them myself, but at least once a year while out you get the opportunity to give one to someone who needs it in a pinch, most commonly when a friend or stranger’s kid hurts themselves.

    Usually they treat you as if you’re a complete hero. Makes my day every time.

  34. My cool tool is my multitool. It’s a cheap Leatherman-type folding tool with the Winchester brand on it. It has pliers, wire cutters, a ruler, a fish scaler, a file, a Philips screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver, two knife blades, a bottle opener and a can opener.

    This tool has allowed me to have a variety of options for dealing with small problems that I otherwise would have ignored to wasted a lot of time searching for the appropriate tool.

    What makes this tool a Cool Tool is that it was incredibly cheap — only $5, and that included the carrying case with a belt loop. It’s unnecessary to spend a lot of money on EDC. You can do 80% as well on 30% of the price.

  35. Keys

    Tiny cheap pen I don’t mind losing

    Hipster PDA http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/03/introducing-the-hipster-pda

    Wallet (includes bottle opener shaped like credit card)

    Sometimes I bring my phone but not always. It’s mostly used as a clock and camera.

    My bicycle speedometer goes where I go, either on my bike or in my pocket, and is also used as a clock.

    Tissues. Sometimes there’s no other way to elegantly deal with a sneeze.

  36. It’s a hell of a tool and I use it for every day carrying…

    1) 1960s Pashley sit-up-and-beg bike with a (new) Sturmey Archer 3 speed, rod breaks and a shopping basket on the back (which I added). Classic, stylish and as practical as the A-Team.

    2) I cycle everywhere now. It’s so much faster, without breaking a sweat easily I beat public transport anywhere in town and during rush hour cars don’t stand a chance. I’m so much fitter and this year has been the first in 8 that I’ve not suffered from SAD, I put this entirely down to exercising on this bike. (If you even call it exercising, I just call it refusing to take the bus) Yeah, my EDC cures depression.

    3) Because it’s cool. Unlike a Leatherman it’s got style, see this modern one as an example. It turns heads, in a good way, I get quite a bit of envy from people at the local bike co-op…

    As a style of bike most over look it as too old and get themselves an uncomfortable racer or, even worse, a mountain bike with suspension and then give up when they find it uncomfortable, hard work. They are put off by the sweaty mark their rucksack leaves. Sit-up-and-begs are the Rolls Royce of bikes, extremely comfortable, well ranged gears and they come with a rack to put your bag on. (I’ve added a shopping basket to, er, put my shopping in…)

    If you want to commute, cycle with a purpose (going shopping/visiting etc) or to just enjoy the view then there is no better style of bike. Racers are for racing and how often are you cycling at high speed on a mountain track?

    4) Why is it better than other bikes? Firstly because of the riding position. I’m high up so I can see, all my weight is over my legs so potholes no longer risk spraining my wrists or bruising somewhere personal, legs are designed to absorb bumps and when sitting over them you’ll do it naturally. On my old mountain bike (with road tires) I used to get a sore back really quickly, not now!

    Secondly because it’s rock solid. The Sturmey Archer will last years and never needs oiled (it’s a modern one) and apart from the wheels (replaced in the early 90s, with the hub) everything on this bike is original, think you’ll still be able to ride in 50 years? Get a new one of these bikes and it’ll be ready.

    5) Because they’ve been manufacturing bikes on this exact design for over 100 years (really, the addition of break cables is the only change). Flight was invented AFTER this bike and for all the composite materials and fancy engineering this design is still the same. Ride one and you’ll know why it’s not changed, like with a Zippo or a hammer there’s no room for improvement. Also the Dutch almost literally live on this type of bike, are you going to argue with the whole of The Netherlands?!?

    If you were to get one though I’d recommend getting one without a dynamo hub, modern battery powered lamps are really bright, light weight, last forever and although you’ve got to remember to turn them on they don’t suck energy from your peddling, which is rather demoralising when you’re exhausted and in the sun…

  37. I despise big, jangly, bulky keychains, so I have a very minimalist keyring with only the essential keys I need to carry. But aside from a pierced coin that my wife gave me many years ago as anniversary gift, the only other non-key thing I have on my keyring (and I’m not sure if this exactly qualifies as a “tool”) is one of these small stainless steel pill containers from Hobby Tool Supply (http://www.hobbytoolsupply.com/products/6pc-Small-Size-Pill-Container-Set-w%7B47%7DKey-Chain-%252d-WATER-RESISTANT.html). This has been on my keyring for more than a decade and it’s the perfect thing for carrying mid-day maintenance meds – it’s darned-near indestuctible, unobtrusive, waterproof, and inexpensive.

    My Leatherman Juice is always in the other front pocket.

  38. Cybertool 34. I have had one for about 7 years or so. I use it on a daily basis. I work with computers a lot and have found it invaluable. It has a good mix of bits for genaral computer and around the house work including torx. The pen is always useful when you need one and don’t have one. I had the larger obne with the light, and the added thickness and small light didn’t make the extra tools worth it.

    TSA take one of them from me an went out and bought another immediately since i felt inneffectual without having it with me at all times.

  39. I have a very long EDC list, but the most important items are two condoms and a sachet of lube. It’s very important to carry two condoms, not one, as if you only have one and it breaks it is exceedingly frustrating.

    My other top tip is to carry a toddler’s plastic fork: much lighter than a metal fork, and much less likely to damage your bag, but much sturdier than a disposable plastic fork, so less likely to break. I got a pack of 12 for a pound at the pound shop.

  40. I live in an urban environment and hold an office job. I carry my keys, my wallet, and my cell phone. I don’t need a knife or a gun. My keychain has a tiny $1 plastic LED button light. I use that to look into the back of my computer sometimes…

    I guess I just don’t fantasize about being stuck without a multitool when the zombie apocalypse and the collapse of the government happens.

    1. Same here, down to the not fantasizing. Yet I get good use both out of my Leatherman and my knife.

      Oh well, I don’t waste the company’s time by tring to open packets and clamshells with ineffectual means, but I guess that’s my loss.

  41. Two of the things I carry might be of use to others.

    First is an Opinel knife. Simple, open and locks open with one hand, carbon steel so sharpened quickly, which means it gets done more often. Several sizes to choose from. Cheap. Long-lasting. Nice feel in the hand. Can be touched up with some wet-dry 1000 sandpaper on a flat surface, and 400 will do a yeoman job of getting out gouges but not as shiny as 1000 for the finish.

    I like Stainless stuff until it needs sharpening. I can do it, but the grainy composition means I never quite get what I want unless I want to get out a polisher or strop. CS is very easy and empowering for beginners to sharpen with no tools other than a sheet of 400 to 1000-grit. A small amount of oil or chapstick or whatever you have that’s oily rubbed on once in a while keeps the rust away. Machinist’s often use camelia oil. I’ve used mine sailing in salt and it’s come back fine. Stainless is, despite its rep, a dirty metal.

    Second is a 3×3 post-it notes wallet. Shopping lists, phone numbers from signs or for sale flyers that I need temporarily, quick notes left on shop doors, windshields, desks, can hand contact info to someone customising the exact info I give them if I don’t want to use a biz card. Or draw and hand someone a map. Very easy to edit or rearrange, just peel off and toss what’s done. This is an area where paper beats my Incredible every time.

    The wallet I carry is a Levenger leather one, but before that I just made covers out of various materials and replaced when I wanted a new color. Oaktag works well, or sometimes I’d use a store-bought notebook’s cover. I use a small stack on each part of the cover to duplex the info I keep handy. I like the recycled super sticky ones, a pack lasts a long time. One small pad equals several refills, the idea is not to carry a lot.

  42. Some great tips here. Come the inevitable zombie apocalypse I too will be carrying PaulR’s hands and brain.

  43. Can I suggest a sub-topic?

    EDC tools for people who fly a lot?

    I fly A LOT. usually 100+ flights every year. 90% of them on carry-on baggage only… which means there’s a load of stuff I can’t carry. No Leatherman, Swiss Army Knife, etc, etc. So the EDC tool question becomes a bit more demanding.

    A few of my frequent-flyer EDC choices:

    plastic bottle owner/corkscrew – a tiny bit of metal, but mostly plastic. Doesn’t freak out airport scanners, costs less than £1, often purloinable-with-implicit-advertising-based-permission from hotels…

    safety pins and cable ties – as other people have proposed! Always worth having a few of each. I have them in my laptop bag.

    electrical insulating tape – a small roll doesn’t take much space, but can fix all sorts of travelling problems.

    a promo give-away screwdriver pen – I’ve had this for ages… plastic pen-type cylinder with a small straight driver on one end and a phillips on the other end. Pen-type covers on each end. The metal bits are small enough not to worry anyone, but it’ll cover any small screw requirements, especially electrical terminal sizes, which is often useful to me.

    USB flash drives? Too obvious?

    A USB cable I bought in Toronto a few years ago… USB A-A with adaptors to make it A, B, miniature, subminiature… and the cable itself is one of those retracting self-windy doofers. Excellent. I ditched 3 or 4 cables from my bag when I got this.

    A worldwide power adaptor – I have a couple of these… plastic cylinder with slide-out bits that make it provide almost any mains plug to almost any mains socket. There are new versions out with a USB socket for charging things… must get me one.

    A foldable metre stick – another commercial giveaway, but it’s a metre stick that folds up in 100mm sections, locking at straight or 90 degrees. Folds down to about 100mm x 10mm x 10mm.

    Has anyone mentioned a Sharpie marker?

  44. Ideas for everyday carry? I’d like to be known as “a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is”

  45. The Leatherman Squirt PS4 has been mentioned above already. I’ll elaborate.

    It’s the only gadget I really do carry every day, all the time. It’s small and light enough that I don’t notice it in my pocket. Which is really the whole point of a tool like this: it’s never the perfect tool for the job, but nine times out of ten it’s good enough and it’s always there. Carrying it means I do more things properly: cut when I would otherwise rip, tighten things that are loose, open things properly instead of tearing them. I can fix something on the spot instead of running to fetch my toolbox (which inevitably leads to me being distracted by something else).

    The Squirt PS4 is a miniature multi-tool, about the size of my thumb. Specs and pictures are easy to find. It unfolds, Leatherman-style, to reveal a small combination pliers/cutter that springs open. The handles conceal 5 fold-out tools that are accessible when the tool is closed: a knife; a file; scissors; a flat Phillips screwdriver; and a combined flat screwdriver/bottle opener.

    The mix of tools is excellent. There’s no space wasted on obscure or useless tools. I use all of them regularly (though not always for their intended purpose).

    I use the scissors most often. It’s a thumb-squeeze type, like on a Swiss Army knife. The blades are sharp and have very little sidewise play, so it cuts cleanly. Useful for trimming fingernails, cutting thread, tape, cloth, thin plastic, paper as long as you don’t need a straight line.

    The knife is about 4cm long and bevelled on one edge only. It’s small enough to be legal almost anywhere (except airports) and no one will mistake it for a weapon (except the TSA). I use it for opening boxes, cutting tape, thin packaging, string, peeling fruit, and as an impromptu craft knife. It’s too small for heavy jobs like breaking down boxes – the blade is sharp enough, but only a friction lock, and the handle is too small for a secure grip.

    The file is a real file, not a nail file. I use it mostly as a lever or pry. The Phillips is a flat blade shaped to fit a Phillips screw, approximately the size of a PH1 (commonly used on battery compartments). The shape of the tool means you can exert plenty of torque on the screwdrivers. The flat screwdriver is fairly wide and works well as a wedge or for prying off lids. The bottle opener opens bottles.

    The cutting blade on the pliers is good for thin wire and cable ties. The main drawback is that the blade is a long way back in the jaw, and the shape and length of the pliers means I sometimes can’t reach into a small space where the cutters are needed. The pliers have two gripping surfaces, both corrugated. It’s about as well designed as small multi-purpose pliers could be – it is of limited use, but that’s simply due to the size.

    Some PS4s are held together with torx screws and can be disassembled. Mine is riveted and cannot. That doesn’t matter to me because I wouldn’t change anything.

    I haven’t compared this with other Leatherman tools, so I can’t say if it’s better than the Micra or other versions of the Squirt. Compared with a small Swiss Army knife, you gain pliers at the expense of a bigger knife. That was enough for me to switch.

    Don’t believe me. Carry what you use. For me, the Squirt happens to be just what I need, no more or less. Cool Tools should review others instead because if there’s a better mini tool I’d like to know about it.

  46. I’m an artist. This is my pencil case.

    I have this little metal tin I bought in 2000 or 2001. It’s flaked aluminum and has Pochacco on it; I bought it at the Hello Kitty store because it was cute and I liked the font on it. And because I wanted something better than an old cardboard box or whatever. The fact that it totally queered my classmates out was a bonus (remember, I was still a boy back in 2000). It’s got room for 7-10 pens or pencils (depending on if one of them is a thick black marker), a little sharpener, and a plastic eraser. It looked cute sticking out of my jeans pocket when that was my primary means of transport, and it fits nicely in my purse nowadays as well.

    At this point the only way I’ll replace it is if it gets lost, or if it falls out of my purse and gets run over by a car or something. It’s been dented and I’ve bent its rounded lid back into shape. It’s gone to cons and been my entire toolkit for doing table sketchbooks. At some point in the next few years I will meet an emerging artist who is younger than my pencil case and I will feel terribly, terribly old. And also strangely proud; with all the chaos I’ve been through in the past decade, this simple little object is kind of a connection to my past. I went to the Griffith Park Zoo I don’t know how many times with this and a sketchbook; it’s gone to friends’ places and been invaluable during late-night sessions of watching TV, chatting, and doodling. The exact contents vary over time as different pens come and go, but it probably won’t be anything exotic – the demise of the Blackwing cured my tool fetishism.

    Some people have giant boxes that can store every tool they might ever need, and haul that to cons. Me? I just carry around this tiny selection of stuff. I have a lot more at home to play with – paint, colored pencils, and of course the computer – but this is all I really need. Less stuff = less superfluous decisions = one less thing to keep me from focusing.

    It is, of course, paired with a sketchbook. I’ve almost always got one on me. These days it’s usually one in the Moleskine form factor though rarely that brand – I don’t like their paper. I greatly prefer either the hardbound Hand•Book 5×8″ or the softcover Cachet 5×8″.

  47. What I have in my pocketses…

    For multi-tools these days I’m partial to the Leatherman Micra. Small, and some of the best scissors around. I keep a couple paper clips and a safety pin attached to the split ring.

    A couple zip closure plastic bags, a length of string, some stainless steel wire and a couple adhesive bandages.

    I also have a multi-pen (red/green/blue/black ink + pencil) with some 1/2 inch wide duct tape and some Kapton(r) tape wrapped around it.

    Finally an 8 GB flash drive, small 6 foot tape measure and 50x microscope with reticule (0.001 inch/0.025 mm lines) (also has telescope objective lens attachment).

  48. Nothing more than a boring old pocket knife. I carry it in my purse and it always comes in handy. Mostly I just need the basic knife, bottle opener, and wine corker (not sure what that says about me…). I find myself getting in trouble with it though, when I forget to take it out during flying or going to concerts where they search bags. I got it in Switzerland and got it engraved with my name, so I try to take good care of it.

  49. My Ultimate EDC tool is what I carry my absurd EDC in. I am on the lots of stuff end of the EDC spectrum, so some of my friends consider me to be a walking emergency kit. I currently carry a Maxpedition Fatboy Jumbo, which carries all kinds of stuff, depending on the day, and job, but the basics are a towel, first aid kit, assorted small tools, 1L water bottle and other bits and things. It is my grab-and-go bag, as I will often dump my pockets into it, so it will also have my watch, wallet and wedding ring. I’m habitually disorganized and a bit forgetful, so this way I can be sure I have everything I might need in one place. I used to carry a MEC Brio day-pack, but found that I only really used the top lid pocket, and only ever put a jacket in the main area. The Maxped bag slimmed things down enormously. I do get a few laughs from friends about the Man Purse, but not too many as sooner or later it comes to everyone’s rescue. There is also an EDC jumbo which is lighter material, and has some better EDC type features, and no worries since the regular one is over built by about ten times, reducing the nylon by half will still keep it well in the indestructible range for most people.

  50. Since I don’t want to carry lots of separate things, I prefer EDC multi-tools that fit inside other stuff that I already lug around.

    My favorite EDC multi-tool I’ve used for a couple of years now is the SwissCard Lite (http://www.swissarmy.com/MultiTools/Pages/Product.aspx?category=swisscard&product=53331&), which has a credit card form factor – only thicker – and includes a knife, scissors, pin, pen, 4 screwdrivers, tweezers, magnifying glass, LED light and cm/inch rulers.

    It fits neatly inside my wallet, and the only downside is I have to remember to take it out before I fly.

  51. Like everyone else, I carry the wallet and keys. But oddly enough, never needed a compact screwdriver in the various forms they have. My knife however gets constant daily use.

    Despite carrying a CRKT folding knife for many years, I’ve now fell in love with SpyderCo knives. They are hands down the best opening system out there. Plus, I don’t like the new safeties that CRKT have introduced. And the company’s “spider hole” opening system may sound cheesy, but it works very effectively, even with gloves on.

    SpyderCo Tenacious G-10

    It’s the first EDC folding knife that made me care enough to keep it razor sharp. For the first time I’ve actually learned how to *properly* sharpen a blade.

    My other EDC item is a Sig P232 .380 pistol:

    Thankfully the Sig has never been used (outside the range), nor do I ever want to have to use it. But it’s there in case it’s needed. The small size makes it easy to carry, although the larger Hogue grips increase it’s thickness slightly. Despite the low caliber, this pistol is easier to carry that a Glock sub-compact.

  52. Due to the limited carrying space in most women’s pants pockets (or having no pockets,) all my tools have to fit on my keyring or in my coat pocket.
    Therefore, my tools are:
    1) a 4GB flash drive with computer recovery tools installed (helpful for when someone has a virus and no recovery disk or when the computer just won’t boot properly)
    2) a Swiss-tech Utili-key (perfect for screwing in, prying up, and even cutting)
    3) a handcuff key (hey, you never know)

  53. Crap, the only tools that I carry at all times have already been covered: a tiny USB stick and a utili-key.

    The way that I discovered the utily-key was somewhat interesting. At one point while decorating my new home, I ordered a ton of stuff that came in boxes. This was over a period of several weeks; I’d get a box or two in the mail every few days. Since I picked up the boxes each time I walked in through my front door, I had my keys on me, and I kept opening up the boxes using my keys. Then I came up with a brilliant invention: a key that, like a Swiss Army knife, had a small sharp blade tucked into it, and also maybe a screwdriver and a bottle opener. As soon as I thought of the idea and imagined it in my head, I knew that it was too good and someone else must have already invented it. So I searched online and found it. But I do insist that I independently invented it too!

    (My sister then visited me, and told me how handy it would be to have that at the department store that she assistant-managed where there are boxes coming in every day, so I let her take it, and I bought two more. I expect that at some point, someone will see me use mine and will like it so much that I’ll let them have it and then I’ll start using the back-up one. The screwdriver fits a surprising variety of screws, the bottle opener comes in handy at parties, and I do use the blade to open whatever boxes I get in the mail.)

    As for the USB stick: I really like the idea of not being tied to one computer. All my files – songs, pictures, videos, past projects, etc – go on a 2TB external HD that gets regularly backed up offsite. The HD inside my computer is practically empty. Similarly, all my current projects (website-coding projects, an unfinished book, and random pieces of writing that will become articles or presentations or letters) fit into a tiny 4GB USB drive that’s on my keychain. That way, any computer can become “my” computer as soon as I plug in my keychain and get to work. (The files are in pretty common text formats). And any computer could replace my home computer, as long as it has the right software on it (and all the installers are on the 2TB external HD, along with a text document describing the installation/registration steps for each one). Maybe one day the world will become internet-connected sufficiently thoroughly for me to do all this from the Cloud… but not yet.

    What do I always have on me? Keychain (including utili-key and tiny USB thing), wallet, phone (including camera, some music, etc) and watch. And I try to have my Canon S90 on me as often as possible, but unfortunately that’s not allowed in my workplace.

    I look forward to learning about what other tools are carried everywhere by people. Great idea for a contest!!!

  54. Reading all the comments above reminded me;

    – I carry a small metal pen in my wallet. Comes in handy ALL the time. It’s thin enough to fit into the crease where my wallet folds, and the length matches the wallet’s height very well, so I don’t even notice it. Sure, I wouldn’t want to write a two-page letter with something that thin and that short, but it’s fine for filling out a form or signing a receipt.

    – I carry band-aids in my wallet. I think they get used once every few months. I bite my nails, my co-workers get paper cuts, etc.

    I like the idea of carrying around some tape (rolled around a rectangle and over itself). Not sure how useful a safety pin or zip ties would be for me, though; Depends on what your daily activities are, I guess. As for a permanent marker, they ARE handy, but I would be too afraid of a leak to carry one around on me all the time. Got one in the car, though. Often useful.

  55. While I carry an assortment of tools with me at all times (Victorinox Cybertool 41, safety-pin, jailbroken iPhone4 with lots of utility apps, USB flash drive, flint stick, nylon all-ett, nail clippers, and paper measuring tape from Ikea), my new favorite is a pair of micro-hook and loop cable ties. Before I started using these ties, I was a plastic tie guy, but the problem is that the standard ratcheting ties are difficult to remove when you need to, and it destroys them in the process. I picked up two 50-packs of these ties in sale at Home Depot on a whim, and have been using them for over 2 years now.

    The loop side of the ties is velvet soft, and the hook side is just slightly rough, but not likely to catch on clothing, and they are remarkably thin. So much so that I now carry two with me in a previously unused part of my wallet. Don’t let the micro part fool you though. These things hold tight. At least as good as any velcro strap, and the best part is that if you need to readjust a cable you can simply peel it apart and put it back.

    Of course they are good for more than cables, and they are easy to lengthen by simply using more than one. I’ve used them for hanging objects by simply driving a screw through the middle of it, and fastening a clipped tie around the object to be hung. For my wallet, I had to trim off an inch as well, but it allows me to carry them without noticing any extra weight or bulk.

    I highly recommend them both to add to your EDC collection, and to your cable-management system. You won’t regret it.

  56. The HyMini universal charger is a battery, strapped to a generator, glued to a propeller, with a USB hole on the side for power going out, another one for going in, and a switch that controls where the power is going. It also comes with a solar panel, a hand crank, and a bunch of power adapters. Once you’ve charged the battery up with a combination of wind, solar, and kinetic energy, you can plug it into your gadget of choice and juice it back up. The solar panels are designed to be used in series, so you can buy extras and plug one into the next until you get back to the main unit, thereby decreasing charging time. It also has to LED lights on the front that aren’t very bright, but are still a nice touch.

    It has become a crucial accessory to my iPod which is an every day carry and has thus become an every day carry itself.

    I leave it in the window sill at night so that it picks up any available morning sunshine. After breakfast, I clamp it on my bike where it consistently generates enough power with my twenty to forty minute commutes. Then at night, I plug it into my iPod and in the morning, I repeat the process.

    It’s hard to find reliable information on this, so please take this “statistic” with a grain of salt: to charge a fully depleted iPod battery to completely full takes about a dollar’s worth of electricity. Some guy on the internet told me that.

    The whole kit costs about seventy-five dollars.

    They sell a number of add-ons and adapters. I bought the bike adapter. The arm band adapter cracks me up. I mean, hey, why not, right?

  57. I carry two pocket knives and a Bic lighter (besides wallet, phone, keys.) The lighter, besides making fire, will also lever off the top of any bottle. Even though I quit smoking years ago, the guy with the Bic will be the Lord of the Flies.

    One knife is a basic Victorinox Swiss army knife that I almost never cut with, saving the very nicely sharp blade for cutting rope etc. It also includes a bottle opener that I never use as the lighter is handier. The other knife is a Timberline that can be opened with one hand and is used several times a day to open envelopes and boxes and comes in handy for wiener stick whittling too.

    My girlfriend affectionately says that I have chipmunk pockets. I sometimes regret that a tiny bit of fashion sense has relegated my Leatherman’s belt pouch to my laptop bag.

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