Carry Smarter

5 Tips to Gear Up in Style This Winter

Winter is coming. You’ve probably already noticed the sun setting way too early, how much harder it is to get out of bed in the morning, and the air getting too cold to head out without a proper jacket. For us EDCers at least, having to wear a jacket has a silver lining — more pocket space! But with the changing demands of the colder conditions creeping in, you’ll have to think carefully not just about how you dress, but also how you EDC. In this guide, we’ll break down some tips and recommendations to keep in mind to help you get your winter setup down cold.

How to Take Better EDC Photos in 7 Easy Steps

So you’ve finally put together an EDC you’re proud of. Your bases are covered, you’ve found your favorite gear, and now you’re ready to share it with the world. All that’s left is taking a photo that does your carry justice. If you’ve tried and every attempt ends up looking like this somehow, this guide should help. You might want to chalk it up to just having a bad camera, but with a few easy tips, you can drastically improve the quality of your photos with the equipment you already have on hand.

10 Non-Locking EDC Knives to Carry (Almost) Anywhere

We know some of you might feel left out when every promising knife out there seems to have a lock on it. Luckily, we’ve found some capable blades you can carry in even the most restrictive areas, or if you just want a simpler everyday knife. By the end of this Carry Smarter guide, you should have a better understanding of why some EDCers opt for non-locking knives, what to look for when choosing one, and ideas to start your search with our top 10 picks for EDC blades that are legal to carry practically anywhere.

The Beginner's Guide to EDC Flashlights

In this Carry Smarter guide, we shine some light on an essential but nevertheless poorly understood tool: the flashlight. We’ll explain torches and how they work piece by piece, and fill you in on how each component and feature can work for you. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to read a product page or spec sheet and speak the language like a true flashaholic.

5 Common Types of Locking Knives Explained

If you’ve ever shopped around for a pocket knife for everyday carry, you’d know there’s a staggering amount of options to choose from. Trying to make sense of the many types of knives and their subtle differences can get overwhelming. Of the many factors to consider when choosing something as personal as a knife, its locking mechanism is one of the most important. You should know what type of lock, if any, you should have depending on your needs and preferences before investing in a quality knife.

In this guide, we’ll show you some of the most common types of locking mechanisms you’d find in a desirable EDC knife. You’ll discover the advantages of having a knife that locks, which type is best suited for your EDC, how they work, and knives to consider if the locking type isn’t an option where you live.

How to Choose the Best Water Bottle for Your EDC

It’s hot out. Brutal, at times. Staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to keep cool against this summer’s unrelenting heat. Drinking plenty of water is also just a healthy habit to have! For something as essential as water to keep nearby, not just any bottle will do for your daily carry. In this Carry Smarter guide, we’ll break down some key features to consider when picking an everyday bottle and recommend our favorites to fit your hydration needs.

How to Build a Weatherproof EDC

Life in the Philippines isn't always the tropical paradise our tourism department would have the world believe. We are far enough from the equator to enjoy cool weather during parts of the year, but close enough to the Ring of Fire to be burned in its wake. We've been battered by heat waves, storms, floods, and earthquakes in our recent past, and the writing on the wall is that we're in for much worse. Today, July 30th, our country prepares for the inevitable Big One as we conduct a metro-wide earthquake drill. Six big storms have hit the country in the past seven months, and every day the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable.

15 Essentials to Finally Put Your Coin Pocket to Use

Every pair of pants you’ve ever worn probably has one — that little pocket inside the right front pocket. As EDCers, we need to use our pocket space wisely. So it’s important to not overlook this little guy, the fifth pocket, as a valuable resource for carrying our essentials. In this installment of Carry Smarter, you’ll learn what that curious tiny pocket is all about, why you should make the most of this pocket, and our list of ideas of essentials that might be a great fit for both your fifth pocket and your everyday carry.

The 6 Worst Things to Happen to Your EDC (and What to Do About Them)

As EDCers, we take pride in being resourceful and prepared at any given moment. That’s why we carry what we do every day. But sometimes, life happens — and even our finely-tuned essentials can fail us. We wouldn’t wish that on anyone, so we’ve listed some quick tips to avoid these situations. 

In this guide, we bring up some worst-case scenarios for your EDC, how to prevent or remedy them, and what gear you can carry to make sure you’re prepared for when things go south.

How to Choose a Pen Tough Enough to EDC

Investing in a quality writing instrument has plenty of benefits, and an especially tough pen can easily last a lifetime. In this installment of Carry Smarter, you’ll discover what to look for to make sure your next pen is built to last, and what types of pens might best suit your needs. Lastly, we list 8 of the toughest pens you can buy to make your search (and next writing session) go smoothly.

The Best EDC Flashlights Under $100

You know how handy and awesome flashlights can be in your carry. Now that you also know what makes for good EDC lights, here are five of our favorites, all affordable enough to add to your kit at under $100.

CR123A vs AA: Choosing the Right Battery for Your EDC Flashlight

Modern-day EDC lights are leagues above the garden-variety lights you might have collecting dust in a junk drawer somewhere. But the advancing technology that makes them so great can get confusing at times. In this guide, I’ll explain one important aspect of choosing a light: batteries!

5 Everyday Uses for Paracord

Paracord. You’ve probably seen it in countless EDCs (they’re almost ubiquitous in outdoorsy ones) in various shapes, colors, and sizes. It’s the community’s favorite cordage, found in the form of lanyards, bracelets, keychains, and much more. In this Carry Smarter guide, you’ll learn more about what paracord is, what makes its ideal for EDC, and some great ways to incorporate some into your everyday carry.

The Best Compact Digital Cameras for EDC

Whether you’re capturing your surroundings or your latest pocket dump, a dedicated camera can be a welcome addition to your EDC. There are hundreds of models of cameras out there from dozens of manufacturers, each one fitting into an individual’s lifestyle differently. By the end of this guide, we hope you’ll have a better grasp on these different types of cameras and how to fit them seamlessly into your EDC.

5 Types of Flashlights You Didn't Know You Wanted

In the last installment of Carry Smarter, I talked about the reasons why you should carry a flashlight and the considerations in choosing one that fits your needs. In this post, I take a look at some types of unique flashlights with features you may not have known existed, and some you didn't even know you wanted.

Why Carrying a Flashlight is a Bright Idea

In this installment of Carry Smarter, I'm going to take you through the basics of choosing and carrying a modern flashlight, and how and why a good one — even without a ridiculous amount of lumens and features — is worth a spot in your EDC.

"Why should I carry a flashlight when my phone has one?"

As a flashaholic, this is by far the most common question we get from people who see the flashlights in our EDCs. It's also a perfectly valid one. Why should we carry an extra piece of equipment that would just weigh down our pockets, when the phone we carry with us all the time can perform all the lighting tasks we need in normal situations? My favorite response to that question has always been: "You would bring an umbrella without a thought for a 50% chance of rain, so why wouldn't you carry a light for a 100% chance of darkness every night?"

The Right Tool for the Job

While a mobile phone flashlight can fulfill basic lighting tasks, the goal of carrying a dedicated flashlight is to be the best tool for the job. As an example: you could certainly open boxes and prep food with the same dinner knife, but wouldn't a box cutter and a chef's knife be better for those tasks? A dedicated tool also means a more focused and specific set of features. In the case of flashlights, this means more power, sturdier construction, and the fact that on some outputs a light's runtime is measured in days. It comes in handy in emergency situations where your phone is the quickest to run out of power and darkness is one of the first challenges you'd need to overcome.

Shedding Light on Your Needs

With dozens of brands and hundreds of options and features in the market, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice in choosing a first light. Even knowing what I do about lights it's still hard for me to make a purchase because of how specific some of my needs are. The important thing is to think about how a light would benefit your carry and the usual situations you're in where an extra bit of light would be helpful. Here are some things to consider when choosing a light:

Convenience: A light is useless if it's a hassle to carry every day. Do you prefer a light that is small enough to go on your keychain, or something larger that would have a bigger battery for more power and runtime? Is the light something you'll carry daily in your pants, or something handy for emergencies in your bag or glove box? A light should be there the moment you need it but quietly stay out of your way when you don't.Ease of use: You may be like Adam Savage who prefers his light modes to be as simple as possible, or someone who wants as many modes and functions as possible at their disposal. What's important is that your light functions as easily as possible to you. You'll end up leaving your light at home if it fails to perform just the way you like it exactly when you need it.Runtime: This is, in my opinion, the best reason to carry a light. Yes, at the end of the day, your phone's light might get the job done. Unfortunately, the end of the day is also the usual quitting time for your phone's battery unless you have access to an outlet or a portable battery pack. For the price of said pack and a fraction of the space, you could get a light that will see you through the night long after your phone has died.Ordinary Cells, Extraordinary Value

So you've thought about how a light would fit in your carry and are ready to take on the daunting task in choosing your first one, but that doesn't decrease the number of choices out there. My recommendation is to start with something small and inexpensive, and work your way up to lights with easily-accessible primary cells. Here are my picks for solid lights to get you started.

Button Cell

Nitecore Tube Keychain Light
At one point or another, most flashaholics started with these lights. They're inexpensive, durable due to the plastic design, plenty bright for everyday tasks, and invisible on a keychain. The Nitecore Tube has made waves since its release as it takes those qualities and levels them up in every way. For little investment you get durable Polycarbonate construction, 45 variable lumens at the push of a button, and extremely convenient micro USB charging. Whether or not you move on to bigger lights, you can't go wrong with this on your keychain.
BUY ($11)

Single AAA Battery

Fenix LD02
AAA lights are a great balance of form and function. They're compact enough to easily carry on a keychain or disappear in your pocket, and extremely convenient to power due to AAA cells being available in every convenience store in the world. The Fenix LD02 is small in size, but big on features. Its simple rear clicky activation makes cycling through its three brightness levels a breeze. It's 8-lumen low setting can keep going for 15 hours, while it's 100-lumen high is not a brightness you'd believe possible from such a tiny package. An AAA flashlight should be the first stop for every EDC, and the LD02 is a solid pick from one of the most reliable brands on the market.
BUY ($30)

Single AA Battery

ThruNite T10
The AA cell is just as common as its AAA little brother, but has about three times the capacity for a much longer runtime. The ThruNite T10 makes amazing use of the battery, fueling its 0.2-lumen firefly low setting for an unbelievable 147 hours -- that's almost a full week of continuous light! It also has a simple rear clicky activation for fuss-free operation. If you can spare the room for its larger body (which comes in a variety of materials to fit your style and preference), the T10 will light up your evenings for a very, very long time.
BUY ($27)

A Bright Future Ahead

Now that you've given thought to how having a dedicated light will improve your carry and maybe picked out your first one, what now? In the next installment of Carry Smarter, I take a look at some unique lights and their uncommon features that may prove useful companions to your daily carry.
Did I miss out on reasons why a light is useful for your EDC? What would you recommend as a practical and useful light to invest in? Sound off in the comments below!