My Affordable EDC Setup

Alejandro Medellin

undefinedAll images by author. 

Just before I leave the house I always check my pockets for those little trinkets that I can’t live without, and apart from the essentials like keys and wallet, there are some items I feel naked without. These items that travel with me everywhere have a name, and it’s become a movement known as everyday carry or EDC. Websites like fully capitalize on this movement and have users that post their EDC setups for all to see. It’s a way to brag, but also to share your story and to learn. You can tell a lot about a person by what is in their pockets. 

Everyone’s EDC is different, and it can vary by a person’s job, hobbies or, if you carry a knife, state laws. And it’s not just about what’s in your pocket, EDC can also mean the watch on your wrist or the backpack you wear. My EDC is different depending on if I am at work, going out, or traveling but a few pieces never change. Below is most of my EDC, which includes pieces that I have written about before, and some new ones that have recently joined my collection. 

undefinedWallet: Nomatic Basic Wallet ($20)

This is the most essential of all pocket mainstays, it’s got my cash, debit card, ID and most importantly, my business cards, which without, I would never win free lunches at Jimmy Johns. Nomatic sent us a few of their wallets for review a couple of months back, and I loved it. I’m actually still using it. It’s affordable with a slim profile and holds just what you need and nothing more. Take a look the in-depth review. 

undefinedKnife: Spyderco Delica 4 ($60)

Lightweight, sharp, and affordable, this little dude can do it all. I picked mine up last year and it has handled itself well since. The VG10 steel takes on an edge with little effort, and with proper care it won’t rust. I previously wrote an in-depth review, but the TL;DR version is that it’s worth buying and it won’t hurt your wallet.


Flashlight: Coast 100 lumens ($20)

The light on your phone can get you out of a jam if you drop your keys under the couch, but this 130-lumen flashlight can blind an assailant, illuminate your path if you’re walking down a dark road, or get you out of a bind if the lights go out. The flashlight runs on a single AAA battery but if upgraded to a li-ion it can produce 345 lumens—almost three times the standard output. The light itself is unobtrusive but surprisingly rugged, and not too bad financially. 

undefinedMulti-tool: Leatherman CS ($30)

Leatherman makes great multi-tools. One of our Nomads was once stuck out in the weeds with nothing but his multi-tool to fix his jeep; he survived. I don’t often get stuck in the woods, but I do always carry my Leatherman. It doesn’t come with a flint or a ferrocerium rod to make a fire like the Signal, nor does it come with a huge blade, but it does come with enough tools to make itself a pocket mainstay. It has: Scissors, tweezers, bottle opener, screwdriver, and even a file. I always end up using it for the most random of tasks, but I am always glad it’s there. For more information, check out the in-depth review.

undefinedWatch: Timex Expedition ($40)

There was a huge watch sale on Amazon and I nabbed this simple but useful watch for just $25. I had given up on smartwatches and I was just looking for something simple when I came across this one. Here’s what it does: it tells times, has the date, and it lights up. If you want notifications or GPS tracking you’re looking at the wrong watch. I customized mine and bought several bands in different colors that change out easily. Reviews on Amazon were split down the middle, but so far I haven’t experienced anything bad, broken or annoying about this timepiece. If you’re looking for a simple watch with a classic design, this is your best bet. Read the in-depth review for more information.


Notebook: Field Notes (around $10 for a three-pack)

Sure, you could take notes on your phone, but something about putting pen to paper just never gets old. I’ve been using Field Notes since I received one in a monthly subscription box years ago, and now I’ve got a collection that keeps growing. They mostly produce memo books that are 3 in. by 5 in. and they come in either lined, grid, or dotted paper depending on the series. If you’re afraid they might get wet or torn, they even make ones that are weatherproof. Use it for grocery shopping, doodling, taking notes or sketching.

Pen: Lamy ($30)

I’ll keep this simple. Most EDC’s have some sort of small titanium pen, or a space pen that NASA used, and these are fine if you're packing light or staying as minimal as possible. But, my LAMY Safari fountain pen is a workhorse and it’s not too pricey. It uses ink cartridges, or you can also refill through a converter that sucks up ink from a bottle. Plus, fountain pens are classy and they need to come back in style already. Just give them a shot. If you do want one of those small pens, Fisher Space Pens makes a nice one for $20

Electronics: Phone/earbuds/voice record

It goes without saying that you need a phone, so I’ll just leave it at that. For me, though, I need earbuds at all times especially if I’m cranking out an article or going somewhere. These Panasonic headphones are less than $10 on Amazon and, sometimes, you can find them for $5. I usually buy multiple pairs because I tend to lose them, or they get destroyed by my cats. They sound amazing for the price, and even better than some $20 to $30 headphones. 

Because I interview people occasionally I always have a voice recorder in my bag, but mostly I use the Pio app on my phone. The recorder is for backup, but the dedicated recording device has a higher sound quality than my phone.

undefinedLighter: UST Lighter

I have carried Zippos and all other types of windproof lighters, but this is, by leaps and bounds, the best lighter I have ever owned. It runs on butane, which is inexpensive and easily available, and it lights up in wind conditions up to 80mph, according to the packacking—so far, I have not come across Category 1 hurricane winds. The compass on the lighter is not the most accurate, but I have tested it against the compass on my phone and it’s not too far off the mark. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a compass, but it could get you out of a bind. It comes built-in with a metal clasp to close it shut and it opens with a click of a button—because of these two features the lighter remains waterproof. And unlike Zippos, you won’t have to worry about replacing the cotton, flints or wicking.


Water Bottle: Poler Stainless Steel ($24)

I won’t go on a diatribe about how essential water is, but I will say that the Poler stainless steel bottle that I have keeps my water cold all day. The bottle has a 21. Oz capacity with an innovative lid that lets you sip by lining the two water droplets on the bottle—this is better than taking off the whole cap. The bottle has a nice powder coating, and it feels durable. It’s also surprisingly lightweight. Needless to say, this has become my favorite water vessel, and I own a few from other brands.

Backpack: Nomatic ($209) 

I got this backpack last Fall after I came across one of their Kickstarter videos, and I ordered it immediately. It does what a backpack does, but more than that, it is expertly designed with little pockets everywhere. Aesthetically it is very pleasing, and although it is expensive by far, I wouldn’t want another bag. They’ve thought of everything, like a retractable keychain, an RFID-safe passport pocket, a hidden compartment, a hard-case for sunglasses and many more things. They also have messenger and laptop bags if that’s more of your style. Check out the review we wrote for the travel bag.

Because of Amazon's ever-changing pricing, the prices above may differ from the link.