In this series, we revisit tried-and-true EDC classics from over the years to see if they hold up alongside today's latest and greatest, and recommend the best gear to carry instead if they don't.
There’s a common saying in the EDC scene: “two is one, one is none.” It stresses the importance of having backup options in your EDC. Besides the obvious mathematical inaccuracy, it can be confusing the first time you hear it: If you already have a tool in your EDC that serves a purpose, why would you need another one?
Simply put, it’s your “Plan B.” Carrying an extra of something you already have and practicing redundancy in that way does two things. Let’s use a knife for example: if you lose it or if you've used it so much it’s gotten too dull to finish the task in front of you, having a backup knife—even if it’s tiny—still lets you make the cut. Secondly, your backup knife could have a different shape or serve a slightly different purpose, giving you that extra versatility.
But here’s the thing about backups. At the end of the day, they’re still another thing you have to carry! That means more weight and less space in your pockets (not to mention, less cash in your wallet).
What Is It? Why Was It Popular?
My EDC in 2010 featuring the Victorinox Manager on my keychain
Meet the Victorinox Manager. As its name suggests, it can handle any task thanks to its toolset that many consider perfect for EDC. With its pen blade, combination bottle opener/wire stripper/magnetic Philips driver, precision flathead screwdriver (that doubles as a nail file), scissors, tweezers, and pressurized ballpoint pen, it has everything you need for everyday tasks and nothing you don’t. Best of all, at 58mm, it rides unnoticed on your keychain. For ultra minimalists, this could be the one tool to carry.
Should You Still Carry It Today?
Judging by the sheer amount of Swiss Army Knives (SAKs) you’d see in freshly submitted EDCs here on the site and around social media, plenty EDCers still do carry a Victorinox of some sort. The Manager continues to fill its niche as an all-inclusive, backup micro-EDC for your keychain.
If you're interested in testing out how a backup could work for your EDC needs, or if you’re a minimalist shooting for the most functionality to size in your kit, go with the original Manager. Otherwise, you have plenty of options…
Don’t need tweezers? You could opt for the Midnite Manager variation, which features an LED instead. Chances are your current smartphone flashlight would do a better job as a backup, though. And since the Midnite Manager’s release, keychain-sized lights have come a long way. Given their high performance, a dedicated light could outweigh the slightly extra bulk they’d add to your carry.
If you really need the reusable toothpick traditionally found on SAKs for some reason (cleaning pocket lint out of your main EDC blade? Tying knots of paracord? General oral hygiene?), the Rambler is for you.
I know I’m not the only one out there who had a Manager on backup duty. Did you carry one? How’d it work out for you? Are you still using it today, and if not, what did you replace it with? Let me know with your comments.