In this hands-on, we take a closer look at the Bertucci A-3P Vintage Field Watch. Military style watches are known for their durability, reliability, and clean design. The high level of utility and ease of wear make them ideal candidates for the perfect everyday watch. Does the A3-P meet these criteria? Read on to find out how it stands up to EDC use.
When you look for a go-to knife recommendation for EDC, the Benchmade Mini Griptilian is bound to come up in your search. It's widely regarded as one of the best EDC knives for your money thanks to its ideal compact size, quality materials and construction, useful blade shape, and excellent ambidextrous locking system. You've probably seen it in other people's EDC photos as well, but photos can only tell part of the story. In this hands-on video, we give you a quick review of the knife, show how it handles in the flesh, and compare it to some similarly sized knives to give you a better idea if it's the right blade for your EDC.
Rite in the Rain are not newcomers to the pen and paper market. Their namesake all-weather resistant notebooks have earned their spot in many EDCs for their durability and reliability. In this video, we give you a quick hands-on of their newest line of notebooks. It's a departure from their typical spiral-bound field journal, marking their entry into the popular stapled backpocket notebook category. Watch the video after the jump for a closer look at the notebooks inside and out, how they hold up to daily use, what pens write best with it, and how effective its water resistance can be.
Able Archer is a brand that produces high quality military inspired bags. Blending vintage aesthetic with modern fabrics, Able Archer’s line of bags is timeless and functional. For this review, they’ve sent us one of their more EDC-suitable offerings, the Able Archer Buttpack. It draws inspiration from military bags of the same name, but Able Archer has beefed theirs up and added a modular strap system for customizability and extra storage. Read on to see how the Able Archer bag held up under EDC conditions!
While most phones come equipped to take photos, they don’t come close to the same experience of using a dedicated camera. The distinct feel and added control are just some reasons to keep a compact camera in your carry. Fujifilm has been a huge player in the mirrorless camera game over the past few years, and they’ve sent us their X30 to review, confident that it can fill that need for a small, capable on-the-go camera. In this review, we’ll put that to the test — but we won’t be doing any extreme pixel peeping. Instead, we’ll explore how the X30 measures up as an everyday carry camera.The Specs12MP 2/3” XTRANS CMOS Sensor4x Optical Zoom Lens with f2.0-2.8 aperture, 28-112mm equivalentMacro, Super Macro, Scene shooting modesFull Manual Controls3” Tilt LCDBuilt in Wifi for easy sharingDesign, Fit, and FinishThe Fuji X30 is a compelling blend of retro design and modern technology. Magnesium alloy construction of the body leads to an incredibly sturdy camera that feels great in the hand. The dials and control rings are all crafted of metal with precision ridges for tactile control. Nothing on the camera wobbles — the dials and buttons feel deliberate and solid, as they should be. Every press on the customizable buttons are affirmed with a satisfying “click,” nothing mushy here. The electronic viewfinder is the largest in its class, providing an excellent field of view and accurate color representation. Settings, a shooting grid, and focus confirmation are all easy to read on the display. Flipping the orientation of the camera changes the viewfinder as well, making it even easier to see what’s going on. The large viewfinder made it easy to frame out shots and it is hugely helpful to know exactly what the exposure settings are going to look like before pressing the shutter.The camera is fitted with a comfortable, ergonomic molded rubber grip section. Throughout the course of using the camera, I never felt as if it were going to slip out of my grasp. I brought the camera with me to New York City and the grip was easy to maintain with one hand. Overall, the design, fit and finish of the X30 are superb. It feels like a solid camera that will have no problem bouncing around in a bag or being worn around your wrist for countless days of shooting.Operation and PerformanceI really like how the X30 can be as easy or as complex to use as you want it to be. The camera can be set to fully automatic to capture fleeting moments, but has full manual controls to get a shot exactly the way you planned it. The menu system is easy to pick up on and the quick menu (with a dedicated “Q” button) is fully customizable to suit your shooting style. Through most of the testing, I shot on aperture priority mode. This leaves the shutter speed up to the camera and the aperture setting up to me. Most photos were properly metered and exposed, leaving me happy with the results.The zoom lens is equivalent to 28-112mm on the full frame scale. The low aperture lens shoots effectively in low light and can produce some nice bokeh (background blur with your subject in focus). At the wide end, it’s great for landscapes, architecture, and getting pictures of large groups. The middle range is ideal for portraits, and the long range end of the zoom can get up close to something that you might not be physically able to. The unique image stabilization mechanism ensures that most shots are in focus and tack sharp. I found this particularly useful in low light settings. When taking pictures at night, the darker conditions usually resulted in a lower shutter speed. The image stabilization allowed for lower shutter speeds when hand holding the camera, eliminating the need for a tripod.Fuji’s mirrorless cameras have earned so many accolades for their straight-out-of-camera JPEG image quality. This is due in part to the on-board film simulation that emulates Fuji’s film stock. There are several modes and all of them have their place (Provia is standard, Velvia is vidid, Astia is soft, etc.). I personally prefer the muted tones of the Classic Chrome setting. The in-camera processing ability lessens the need for extensive post-processing and makes for a quicker, easier to share, and more fun photography experience. Post processing at a computer is not my favorite part about taking pictures. The X30’s straight out of camera JPEGs cut down on the need to spend extra time in front of a screen, leaving you with more time for shooting. To see some samples of the X30’s image quality and in-camera processing at work, check out the photos I shot with the X30 in my review of the Spyderco Dice.The tilting screen is useful in a variety of shooting situations. No more laying on the ground to frame out a shot or standing awkwardly on a chair to get that perfect pocket dump photo. The hinge mechanism is robust and the screen locks back into the body with ease. Once you’ve taken a photo, it’s easy to share straight to your smart phone or computer. Simply press the dedicated wifi button on the camera, connect to the created network from your device, and beam the photos over. Sometimes it’s just as fun to share the photos as they are to take, and the built-in wifi is a welcomed and useful feature. This was especially useful on my trip to the city. I was able to shoot during the day, go through the photos on the train, and the share the images I liked by the time I got home.Carry OptionsFuji’s X30 is much easier to carry around than even the smallest digital SLR. The camera is compact, ergonomic, and easy to use. The X30 can fit in a jacket or cargo pocket, but don’t expect it to slip comfortably into your jeans. I’ve been carrying the camera in both my bag and jacket and haven’t found it to be a burden. The lens does stick out from the camera a bit, so be careful of snagging it when placing the camera in a pocket or bag.While not the best option for a truly pocketable camera, the X30 is excellent to keep in your EDC bag. It’s light enough to not weigh you down, and the performance and versatility of the zoom lens will come in handy in lots of shooting scenarios. The X30 has a ring on either side of the body for strap attachment, either a neck or wrist strap can easily be used. Due to the smaller size of the camera, I prefer a simple wrist strap. Holding and using the camera is easy with one hand. The thumb and finger grips are comfortably shaped and encourage a firm grip.Pros & ConsPros:Great image quality straight out of cameraSturdy constructionWifi for easy sharingTilting screen makes composing easyCons:Not truly pocketableNo dedicated charger, must charge battery in cameraConclusionI can honestly say I’m a big fan of the X30. It’s been fun to shoot with for the month. The X Series by Fuji is an optimal blend of retro styling and cutting edge camera technology that results in a well-built, fun to use camera. Fuji has managed to retain the spirit of shooting with a dedicated camera in the X30. The electronic viewfinder is crystal clear, the build quality is top-notch, and the price is right at $599 MSRP.I personally EDC the X100T, the X30’s bigger (and more expensive) brother, and both cameras are equally fun and easy to use. It’s been hard to pick out anything truly negative about the X30, and I’ve been trying. For a point and shoot camera, the X30 delivers on ease of use, image quality, and speed of sharing images. With street prices dipping as low as $500 for this dedicated EDC point and shoot, the X30 delivers a lot of camera for the money.BUY ($500)Disclosure: The manufacturer of this product sent this sample to be considered for review at no charge...
Coming off a streak of handling mostly modern minimalist cardholders, I decided to take a look at other interesting, EDC-worthy wallets. Taking some suggestions from our readers who prefer more traditional materials, I opted for wallets made from leather.
Not just any leather, though. I was aiming high.
I reached out to a local leather goods and carry brand — MAKR out of Orlando, FL. They’ve been in the leather goods game for years, hand-crafting high quality wallets, keychains, and other essentials. They graciously sent over some samples for me to test.
In this review, I’ll go over two of my favorites: the Round Wallet in Matte Navy and the Zip Slim Wallet in Charcoal. There are enough similarities in these wallets to do a double-feature review, but they’re unique enough on their own to deserve some specific commentary.
Almost everyone carries at least one mobile device these days. But not all devices offer the battery life we need to stay connected throughout the day. An external battery is the most obvious solution, but the market is so saturated with these gadgets that it's hard to find the right one for your carry. For all the on-the-go work I need to do to keep this site running, I eventually settled on Limefuel products. I’ve purchased two of their chargers last year, but Limefuel generously sent over an updated version of the mid-size L156X Pro I was using before to consider here. In this review, I’ll touch upon both, but I’ll focus mainly on the smaller, more EDC-able L60X model.The SpecsCapacity: 6000 mAh for L60X / 15600 mAh for L156X ProInput/Output: 5V 1.8A for L60X / 5V 2.4A for L156X ProSize: 3.6” x 1.7” x 0.9” for L60X / 4.8" x 3.1" x 0.9" for L156X ProWeight: 4.6 oz for L60X / 12.8 oz for L156X ProBuilt-in LED battery level indicatorEmergency LED flashlight2-in-1 USB to Micro USB / Apple Lightning CableDesign, Fit & FinishLimefuel’s “Blast” line takes a middle ground between the ultra compact lipstick-style chargers and the sleek, familiar rectangular power banks. The oval shape affords fantastic ergonomics in hand — the rounded edges curve and fit to your grip, while the flat sides lay securely on your palm or on a table (something you can’t do with the lipstick chargers). And it’s not just the shape that produces these awesome ergos — the entire body is covered in this finessed rubberized grip. It makes edges comfortably smooth, prevents slippage, and just looks cool (if you can tolerate occasional smudges). There’s a button flush on the side of the body that activates the battery indicator lights with a single press. It's positioned perfectly for right-handers, but lefties can very comfortably access the button using their index finger. Press again to turn on a dinky 5mm LED flashlight. It’s not the greatest, but I appreciate that it’s there just in case. On the top face of the charger are In and Out ports on either side of the LED. You charge the pack itself via micro USB using the In port, while the Out port handles on-the-go (or pass-through) charging of whichever device is low on juice. The larger, L156X model has four output ports so you can charge all your tech essentials at once, or make some new friends with dying phones.Limefuel conveniently includes a 2-in-1 cable that’s useful for charging devices and the battery itself. However, it’s not MFi certified by Apple, so it isn’t ideal for data transfer. But from an EDC standpoint, it does so many things right. It’s a ribbon cable, so it’s hard to tangle in your bag or pocket (it has never knotted on me). An adjustable loop that’s attached to the cable makes it easy to bundle up. Its USB terminal does away with extraneous connector bulk, and the other end cleverly fits a micro USB and a Lightning without having to detach anything from the cable. Even if you already have a favorite charging cable, it’s hard to beat the included one for an on-the-go solution.Operation and PerformanceThe Blast chargers perform as you’d expect from a high-quality consumer external battery pack. Respectable speeds of 1.8A and 2.4A in their larger capacity chargers are fast enough to get you out of the red in a reasonable time. 6000 mAh in the L60X allows for almost three full charges on an iPhone 6, which seems even more impressive considering just how compact the power bank is.I’ve also never experienced the frustration of hooking my phone up to the pack and not having it start charging right away. Plugging in any device, micro USB or Lightning, would charge without a hitch. I know that sounds like it should be an obvious, requisite functionality of a charger, but with so many cheap cables and batteries flooding the market, it’s not as common as you’d expect.With that said, there isn’t much left to say about how it charges other than it actually does it, at a good pace, many times over. Carry OptionsAs much as I appreciate the rounded rectangle form factor for strictly in-hand comfort, the L60X doesn’t feel quite right in the pocket. This is where the thin, card-shaped chargers have an advantage. I preferred keeping my L60X in my jacket pocket, or in my back jeans pocket when standing. However, when it comes to bag carry, I found the oval form factor does it better than the thin, wide rectangular shape. It actually fits well in MOLLE-type webbing that you’d find in tactical packs or pocket organizers. If you really need something in your front pocket at all times, you’ll likely have to sacrifice a ton of capacity to get something more your size.Pros & ConsPros:Light and compact for EDC and comfortable ergonomicsHandy, sensible features like battery indicator, backup light and pass-through chargingIncluded cable designed with EDC in mindL156X: Four, fast ports and huge capacity for its sizeCons:Awkward to pocket carryPlastic micro USB to Lightning converter piece can snap (not break) off easilyL156X: Very dense and heavy feeling unless in a backpack or similar large bag.ConclusionAt only $30, it was an easy purchase for me to make. It works reliably, manages to cram plenty of capacity and thoughtful, functional features into a compact, appealing form factor with fantastic ergos. Better yet, the all-in-one solution of a cable it comes with adds even more value. While I personally prefer the rubberized black L60X for its all-around size, grip, and capacity, you can’t go wrong with their other, larger models if you need more juice or ports...
If you’ve been following along with our Carry Smarter features, you should be familiar with the value of carrying a pen and the allure of titanium. In this review, we’ll give Ti2 Design’s TechLiner titanium pen a closer look. As a writer, I’m particular about my pens. As an EDCer, there’s no other metal I want my gear made from than titanium. So when Mike Bond and the masters of titanium at Ti2 Design sent over their take on the machined titanium EDC pen, I was intrigued. Maybe skeptical is a better word. The pen certainly didn’t look like other pens on the market. No clicky, but a cap instead? A short barrel? An exposed needle tip? Nonetheless, I slipped it into my pocket to begin “testing.” What started as a trial run turned into months of daily use. In this review, I’ll touch on what qualities kept the TechLiner in my rotation, and what I feel could be improved.The SpecsFull CP2 grade 2 titanium construction5” Length (Shorty Version) / .375” Body Diameter, .4375” Cap Diameter0.97 gTakes Uni-ball Signo 207 RefillsNeodymium N42 magnets in cap and tailDesign, Fit & FinishThe TechLiner’s unique design takes inspiration from the pens that engineers, designers, and architects used for technical work. The exposed “needle point” writing tip lends a high level of precision to meet the standards of engineers and artists alike. The pen’s machined grip portion adds even more control with its distinct grooves. The other end of the pen looks identical, simplifying the design and allowing the cap to feel the same when posted on the other side. I found its pocket clip to look disproportionately small compared to the rest of the pen, even on this shorter version. True to its technical roots, it has that industrial feel without looking too sterile. The attention to detail is there. I dig it.Operation and PerformanceHOW DO THEY WORKUncapping the TechLiner was one of those magical moments for me. It reminded me why I love well-designed gear so much. When you think of how a pen with a cap should work, chances are it's something like what Ti2 Design managed to achieve on the TechLiner. You pull the cap with a deliberate amount of force and it pops right off — without the hassle of twisting, rattling, clicking, and so on. But then you’d think, “Oh, so I’m responsible for this cap now?” until you post the cap, seemingly through telekinesis, without lifting a finger. “Yoooooo…” That was the first time a pen ever got me audibly hyped in the office. I let everyone I meet who’s remotely into gear experience this. Having to uncap a pen isn't the most convenient, but Ti2 Design took every measure to make the process as close to perfect as possible with the TechLiner."Dear Diary, yo this pen is sick."With the cap posted, the slight heft of its titanium construction offers this pleasant balance that I was surprised to feel in a shorter pen (the regular TechLiner felt a little unwieldy to me). The grip is sized just right and patterned for adequate control. You might run into problems if you’re used to really choking up on your pens. The grip stops short and the nose is truncated to create the exposed tip. And while this body only takes Signo 207 refills, it still glides on paper with the precision you’d expect from a technical instrument. It’s so smooth that you can fly through sentences before the ink has a chance to dry. That could be problematic for lefties or anyone prone to smudging during scribble sessions.Carry OptionsUnfortunately, its pocket clip isn’t as good as the rest of the pen. It looks small and insubstantial, but it actually feels too strong. On rare occasions when I didn’t have it angled just right, the clip would snag on my pocket. It could be because it’s a narrow clip to begin with, or the clearance is a bit tight. It definitely got better over time but the clip rides too high in the pocket — for my tastes anyway. For most of my testing period, I just took the clip off and loose-pocketed it. The tumbled Ti finish is resistant enough to handle that and the Shorty design lends better to deep pocket carry. It’s also important to note that the exposed tip makes the pen more prone to damage if dropped. Without a clip, there’s no anti-roll mechanism. One roll off the desk was all it took to make my refill stop writing. A quick e-mail to Ti2 and their customer service took care of me promptly.Pros & ConsPros:Best cap and post mechanism on an everyday pen I’ve handledCompact size with nice weightSmooth, balanced, precise writing experiencePlenty of customization optionsCons:Only accepts 1 line of refills, dries slowlyExposed tip makes it prone to damagePocket clip rides slightly highThe end of the pen extends quite far past the clip.ConclusionAll the ways this pen is different from the rest are reason alone to pick one up for yourself. I respect that Ti2 Design decided to let other machined pens do what they do best (refill compatibility, silent knock clickies or precision threaded caps) and instead fulfilled a niche with beautiful execution. It’s not perfect in an everyday carry context — a cap to lose, magnets in your pocket, a high-riding clip, and exposed tip are not “ideal” for longevity. Given its competitive price and truly unique experience, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in more people’s pockets. It definitely has a place in mine.BUY ($70+)Disclosure: Ti2 Design sent this product at no charge to be considered for review...
Keep it simple. Keep it tight. For designer Jack Sutter and his Brooklyn-based company, TGT (pronounced “tight”), that’s the motto. It’s important to keep that in mind to understand their line of wallets, from form to function. They remain the most successful Kickstarter-funded wallets to date, giving rise to plenty of competing minimalist wallets vying to ride the waves they’ve made. In this review, I look at the wallets from a carry-centric perspective to see if they’re as successful in an EDC as they were on Kickstarter.Specs2.25 in. x 2.75 in.8.0 g empty weightPremium Italian lambskin leather pocketElastic canvas sleeveHandmade in the USADesign, Fit & FinishKeep it simple. That, it does. At first glance, their best-selling Americana 2.0 Wallet looks like little more than a small, streamlined piece of canvas with a leather pocket in front. But after stuffing some cash and a few cards into it, you’ll find it’s quite a clever, minimalist design. As you might expect from a minimalist wallet, every non-functional fraction of an inch is shaved from its dimensions, unnecessary bulk is cut down, and what’s left is simultaneously barebones and attractive. Aside from extensive organization, you don’t feel like you’re “losing” much from a design this minimal. It’s simple but not sloppy in execution. Instead, it strikes a great balance of premium and casual, I think in part due to the tasteful color ways and quality materials used throughout. The canvas backing is soft but not flimsy. The Italian lambskin leather pocket? Butter.Performance & OperationQuality canvas backing leaves cards partially exposed, but also easy to access with a push or a tug.Keep it tight. It delivers on that too. You slide cards into the elastic canvas, which has enough give to accommodate a higher number of cards, but can also snap back to fit snugly around just a few. The texture of the canvas was another big win for the wallet, as it’s grippy enough for your fingers but smooth enough for cards to slide out only when you want them to, unlike minimalist wallets that fight you with tight, death-grip rubber bands for retention. Since there’s no “bottom” to the wallet, cards can be pushed out using your thumb or pulled up from the top. Either way, I found myself sliding the whole stack out just to grab a card anyway, since there’s no real individual card organization.Tri-folding will turn a few bills thick quick, making stowing cash not so tight.If you like to carry some cash, you can do that by folding a note in half, then in half again, and stuffing the tri-folded cash in the lambskin pocket. It definitely keeps it tight — maybe too tight for me, personally. On several occasions at the register, if I’m given more than a few bills in change, I reluctantly stuff the notes into my front pocket and sort it out later. This is where the TGT Wallet encourages minimalism on you. The wallet’s tight and simple design unfortunately makes stowing small bills not trivial. It’s a tradeoff in ease of use that you might find in a traditional bifold for its extremely small footprint. I’d recommend keeping larger bills or emergency cash in there only. The extra slant pocket on their Deluxe models offers another layer of organization, but I feel it’s better suited for small essentials like a key, coin, or (micro)SD card.Carry OptionsButtery goodness on their "Prado" deluxe wallet after weeks of daily carry.This wallet is small. Rivaling a money clip, even. The buttery lambskin front, not-too-grippy canvas back and overall thin profile make it a comfortable front pocket carry. Better yet, it’ll play nice with the rest of your gear, so you can go on ahead and slide your phone behind it without worry of scratches. If I had any complaints about pocketing this thing, is that it might be too small, to the point where I'm digging way deep into my pocket only to inadvertently slide out my cards from the top of the wallet, rather than pulling the whole thing out as intended.Pros & ConsPros:Impressively compact. Simple. Tight.Quality materials (read: butter)Comfortable in hand and in pocketAttractive designs and colorsCons:Tri-folding bills into the cash pocket is a choreLackluster features and organizationWrapping UpKeep it simple. Keep it tight. It’s worth repeating because it so accurately describes this wallet, in both its triumphs and in its faults. It’s a minimalist wallet for people who still want familiar textures, like leather and canvas instead of aluminum and carbon fiber. Given its premium materials and construction, I'd say it's priced fairly, and there are enough color options to find something to match your style. Ultimately, it’s not perfect, especially when faced with even a modest wad of cash. However, it does so many things right by not straying far from simplicity. I can definitely see why TGT has so many fans. SHOP NOW ($34+)Disclosure: TGT graciously provided these wallet samples for the purpose of this review at no charge. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of the wallets!