An Introduction to EDC Fidget Toys
You’re probably used to seeing a knife, flashlight, multitool, and wallet in any given pocket dump. Lately, you may have seen EDCs with a little gadget that sort of looks like a tool, but you can't quite figure out what it's for. Chances are, it isn't a tool at all. It's a toy. A fidget toy, to be precise. And while the concept isn't new, it's making a comeback thanks to a few recently released toys that are all the rage in the EDC scene right now. If you're feeling a bit confused by now, we don't blame you. In this piece, we'll shed some light on why so many EDCers are pocketing toys (yes, they can be useful!), some of the popular items to fidget with, and how they all work.
What's the point of EDC spinners and other fidget toys?
Do you ever flick open your knife over and over just because? How about spinning your phone around, or clicking your pen? If so, you know how fun and relaxing it can be to play with your gear.
It's probably not the best idea to be playing around with a knife in public, so you'd be happy to find a similar satisfaction in a discreet, dedicated fidget toy. The best part is, most EDC-worthy fidget toys are built with the quality, engineering, and materials you look for in the rest of your EDC.
With that in mind, it isn't so surprising to see so many EDCers carrying them around, since they're also useful for:
- Keeping your hands busy: Sometimes you just don't know what to do with your hands, especially when you're feeling anxious. Having a fidget toy to occupy your hands can also help prevent bad habits from forming, like biting your nails, or worse.
- Relaxation and mental breaks: Take a breather from information overload with the oddly satisfying and relaxing action of fidgeting.
- Focus and mindfulness: Spinners and other toys require a bit of coordination, which can help you refocus on a single object and action.
- Just for fun: Passing the time with something other than your phone is a nice change of pace. Dogs and babies love a good spinner, too.
Let's take a closer look at some of the most popular types of fidget toys and how you can use them:
The most popular fidget toy these days is the spinner. It’s a small fidget tool built around a bearing that simply spins. Grip the middle bearing (or button) and let it rip. Counterweights surrounding the center button keep the toy balanced to reach impressively long spin times. On the low end, there’s simple plastic ones, but custom makers have their own small batch tools made from titanium and other exotic metals.
Spinning tops are one of the oldest toys ever. They’ve been in existence for thousands of years across several completely different civilizations. These simple toys have gotten a modern upgrade. They’re engineered to be perfectly weighted and balanced for extremely long spin times. It’s not uncommon to see titanium tops and tungsten carbide beads at the point of surface contact for extended spin times. For an especially compact top to pocket, check out this one by J.L. Lawson.
The Fidget Cube was born from one of the most successful Kickstarter projects out there. This six-sided toy has different methods of fidgeting on each side. You’ll find buttons to click, wheels to spin, a joystick-like side, and a small click switch on one side. These little toys are small, pocketable, and have a ton of different features to keep your hands busy.
Way before custom CNC-machined fidget toys, there was the begleri. Originating in Greece as a derivative of the rosary/worry beads, the begleri is a small toy consisting of two weights attached at either end of a small string or chain. You flip it between your fingers to keep your hands busy, or you can learn tricks with it. These days, you can find a ton of different styles made from precious metals, paracord, and much, much more. It’s even easy to make your own for a custom experience.
Bolt Action Pen
If you're constantly rapid-fire clicking the top of your plastic clicky pen, you might want to upgrade to an even more satisfying bolt action mechanism. The Tactile Turn Glider is one of the most popular bolt action pens in the EDC scene right now. The all-metal body is built to last a lifetime and the unique mechanism is really fun to play with. Using your thumb, you can slide down the bolt, lock it into place, and then release it with a satisfying “sssssshhhhkkkk-click” back into place.
Even though you’re always told not to play with fire, the classic Zippo lighter has been a go-to source of entertainment for idle hands. Even if you’re not doing sick lighter tricks with it, the action of flipping it open, sparking the lighter, and then flipping it shut is entertaining. Using a Zippo is a uniquely tactile experience that the fidgeter will appreciate.
Mechanical Key Switch Tester
If you're looking for your fix of a different kind of tactile feedback, don't rule out a mechanical keyboard switch. It feels much better than the standard, mushy chiclet-style keys you might have on your laptop. Almost everyone here on the Everyday Carry team uses a mechanical keyboard with their preferred kind of switch (there's a huge range of them, from quiet to ultra clacky). This small tester has four different types of switches, each with a differing level of audible and physical “clicks.” If pressing and clicking is your favorite way to fidget, try one of these.
What are your thoughts on fidget toys? Passing fad or new staple in your EDC? Let us know in the comments below if you use one and why (or why not)!