All black, all USB-C EDC for English Language Teaching in China

Tristan Cotterill
My professional all black, all USB-C EDC for teaching English as a second language in an International school in China

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Released in August 2018 it is no longer at the top but it has everything you can ever need. My phone is used a lot in my work particularly during lesson planning (Ed. It has the VPN unlike the laptop from work) so the large battery life is fantastic; this was even more important in my previous school where I would use Samsung DeX to run my PowerPoint. The S Pen used to get a lot more use when I was doing my presentations off of my phone but now it has been relegated to just writing quick notes and taking pictures (Which I will get to in a little bit). It also charges via USB-C which you will see is a running theme throughout

Bellroy Apex Slim Sleeve

You do not need your wallet in the classroom but as a bloke I like to keep my wallet on me. As a teacher I end up at the end of the day with a lot of stuff put into my pockets so something small and compact was what was needed. I like the magnetic close, and the brightly coloured interior. It doesn't matter that it can't hold coins because I live in China and pay with everything via WeChat or AliPay

Silicon Power 64GB USB-C/USB-3.1 Flash Drive

Having a USB Drive is almost a neccessity for teachers. Allowing us to move things quickly between our own devices as well as from our students devices. This having both USB-C and USB-3 is a god send, and it being 64GB is more than enough

Swiss+tech Utili-key

Every EDC kit or guide you see says you need a blade of some kind but, as you can imagine as a teacher it would be a bad idea to carry a knife around in a school; as much as I love my Spyderco that I keep at home. The Utili-key is discreet and the straight and serrated blades are invaluable.

Panerai Luminor Marina PAM 510

I love this watch, it was a great gift but it is most certainly overkill if you only plan on wearing it in the classroom. I will say however get a good time keeper because as all teachers would testify the clocks in the classroom are never right and/or working. I particularly like this watch being entirely mechanical and not having to worry about a battery. Mechanical or Type C there is nothing else.

Moment Lenses

As a photography enthusiast I picked these lenses up as well as the case for my phone to expand my photography. They very quickly started been taken to school on the regular. It is honestly surprising by how many photos I take at school from students work to student activities. While I have both the macro and anamorphic lenses, it is the telephoto and wide-angle that I carry at work. With the emergence of working from home over the past twelve months but especially online teaching I would like to point out that Moment have a laptop mount for these lenses.

ATech 7 in 1 Pen

I am one of those people who refuses to share my pen because to many people don't ever return them and this pen is why. It is; a ballpoint pen, a stylus, a bottle opener, a mini flat-head, a Phillips screwdriver, a metric and inch ruler, and a phone stand. It overlaps a bit with the Utili-Key but there is nothing wrong with redundancy (Ed. and really how many bottle openers does a teacher need to carry?). The phone stand is perhaps what I like the most, it really helps that multi-screen efficiency.

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Top-Spiral Notebook

What is the point of carrying a pen if there is never anywhere to write something down? I needed something I could easily rip out but I also needed something sturdy because students are monsters. The Rite in the Rain Notebook fits both of those criteria plus it came in black.


Let me introduce you to the Buff. I cannot remember a time when I didn't own at least two. As a teacher everyday and every week is different and sometimes you end up outside. Having something that can either keep your face warm or keep the sun off your head can literally be a life saver.

Acebeam EC35 Gen II Flashlight

No amount of teacher training tells you:

a) The amount of times you turn the light off in the classroom

b) Go into a dark storage room to find something

Having a proper flashlight is such a step up from using the almost whimsical flashlight on your phone, plus this is also USB-C Rechargeable.

Zippo Lighter

How many times have you needed to light candles? The Zippo Lighter is a EDC staple and it fills the need. This is one part of my kit I have been looking at upgrading for a while. There are a few USB-C plasma lighters now on the market which would be great to not have to worry about lighter fluid however but, unfortunately getting any of them here in China seems to be a challenge

Mu One: International

I originally backed these on Kickstarter intended to give them as a gift. The intended recipient got there own, and I am glad they did because they have stayed with me ever since and they seem to be constantly out of stock to buy more. Many people would probably prefer an external battery instead of a dedicated charger but I find those bulky and cumbersome. Like almost everyone in the past 12 months I haven't been able to travel so I haven't been able to make the most out of its flexibility but that doesn't matter because the design is beautiful.

Hydro Flask

My most recent addition to the kit. A considerable upgrade from the bargain basement bottle I picked up out of necessity. I chose it after reading through everydaycarry.com and seeing that it had over 14 thousand five star reviews. That has to count for something. You speak a lot while teaching and if your not careful will quickly become dehydrated.


Like all EDC kits it isn't perfect, and what works for me will not necessarily work for you. As I briefly mentioned I would like to upgrade my lighter (Ed. I am looking at you TROPRO Electric Arc). Another future addition could quiet possibly be the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and when I inevitably have to upgrade my phone I would love it to have reverse charging but, you just never know how much use you will get out of it until you try it.

#electronics #office-supplies #flashlights #lighters #knives #notebooks #watches #clothing-and-accessories #survival #wallets #mobile-phones #cameras #teaching #china #esl #tefl see all

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