Everyday Carry

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

Everyday Carry

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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.

1. You Forgot Your Entire EDC Altogether

You’re in a rush. Time isn’t on your side and you might be a little frazzled, and all you know is you need to get a move on. Before you know it, you’re out the door and only until it’s too late you realize something feels… different. You left your EDC behind, and now your whole day is off. You start counting the ways you’ll be needing your tools for the day and make a vow to never leave unprepared again.


The Solution: A Backup EDC Kit

Assemble a small backup EDC kit to leave in your car. It doesn’t have to be all the same gear as your main carry, but a set of basics that will cover all of your bases will be more than enough. Pack older EDC gear (into an organizer pouch like the Vanquest Maximizer, for example) that may be collecting dust on a shelf into a small bag and leave it in your vehicle. If you take public transport, leave a small bag in a visible place near the door so you’re less likely to forget it.

For the ultra minimalists out there, even a pouch of tools might be too much. In that case, there’s the Victorinox Midnite Manager, which has most of the tools you’d need in your EDC (including a pen and a flashlight). As it’s such a tiny multitool, you do compromise some usability for portability, but it’s better than nothing to keep your bases covered in a pinch.

Gear to Help: Vanquest Maximizer ($30), Victorinox Midnite Manager ($33)

2. Your Bag Strap Breaks

You’ve packed your bag with an extra-heavy load today: your laptop, important documents, a full water bottle, pens, pencils and, of course, EDC gear. Mid-commute, your shoulder strap can’t bear the burden and breaks! Maybe your pack doesn’t have any other handles on it, turning your once comfortable shoulder bag into a heavy and unwieldy burden. What do you do!?

The Solution: Sturdier Straps & Learn Your Knots

In this case, prevention is the best medicine. Look for a bag that has heavy duty handles and straps so this is less likely to happen. The 5.11 Tactical Messenger is an excellent option for a robust bag. However, no bag is truly indestructible, so we suggest keeping some 550 paracord in or on your bag. You can use this rugged material to quickly rig up a makeshift shoulder strap, or tie two broken pieces together. Weave a length around a handle on the bag to always keep some nearby!

Gear to Help: 5.11 Tactical Messenger ($96), 550 paracord ($6)

3. Your Phone Battery Dies When You Need It The Most

You’re tapping out a crucial work email, too focused on hitting a deadline to see your phone battery’s down to that 1% sliver. Before you can hit Send, it’s too late — your phone’s dead and you’re out of luck. This would be easy to remedy if inside an office or at home, but being mobile is a completely different story.

The Solution: Pocket the Power Using External Batteries

Unfortunately, phone batteries tend to call it quits before you do. Carrying a portable backup battery on you can give your phone that jumpstart that it needs. Pair it with a keychain charging cable to free up pocket space. Or, if you’re looking for a more streamlined solution, there are plenty of phone cases with built-in batteries.

Gear to Help: Anker Astro 2G ($22), Kero Nomad Cable ($19), mophie Juice Pack Plus ($119)

4. You Break Your Knife’s Tip (aka You’re Missing the Point)

There it is, giving you the evil eye: a piece of metal sticking out from your chair that you just snagged your pants on. Upon closer inspection, it's a heavy duty staple bent at just the right kind of angle to cause the wrong kind of damage to your jeans. In a fit of rage (they were nice pants, after all), you pull out your knife to hopefully pry off the misbehaving piece of metal when you realize too late that it's embedded in too deep, leaving your knife a little less pointy.

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The Solution: Get the Right Tool for the Job

It's all about using the right tool for the job, so a dedicated prybar would make short work of the task. In a pinch, tanto points on knives are designed with a reinforced tip that would survive hardier tasks, even non-cutting ones.

Gear to Help: Leatherman Brewzer ($10), Cold Steel Recon ($50)

5. Your Seldom-Used Backup Flashlight Won’t Turn On

Right when you need it the most, you forget that you haven't replaced your flashlight's batteries in a while — so long, in fact, that its battery actually corroded inside it (you had one job!). An unfortunately common scenario that can fortunately be prepared for, as the last thing you want is for a tool to fail at its only function.

The Solution: Use the Right Batteries & Keep Spares

You've heard of the EDC adage of "two is one, one is none." Backups are always important, more so with something with a lifetime like a battery. Keep spares handy in sturdy cases, and make sure your rechargeable ones are of reliable quality and performance. Unlike short-lived alkaline batteries, Lithium cells do not corrode over time. Better yet, they’re able to last 10 (as seen in these Surefire cells) to 20 years in storage without losing their capacity.

Gear to Help: 4 Cell Battery Cases ($9), Panasonic Eneloop Pro ($34), Surefire SF123A Primaries ($20)

6. You Could’ve Sworn You Had Your Keys A Second Ago

"Where'd my keys go?" It's never a good time to say or hear this statement, given how many useful EDC tools we carry on our keychains (house keys especially!). If not properly secured or tucked away in a pocket, your keychain can come loose at any moment.

The Solution: Tuck, Lock, and Track

An exposed, dangling keychain is an open target for an accidental knocking. Suspending your keys on the inside of a pocket would allow them hang safely even if they get detached from your belt loop. A suspension system would give you both length and carry options to keep your kit stowed. 

In the middle, there’s a balance between accessibility and security in a lengthened keychain. Sturdy but non-locking hardware grants easy on-off access, while a 3” length “fob” lets your keys hang tight in a pocket.

For max security, a quality locking carabiner would help secure your keychain if dangling is the only option, and will probably outlive the loop it's attached to.

Gear to Help: TEC Accessories P7 Clip ($12), DSPTCH Black Camo Keychain ($26), Black Diamond Positron Carabiner ($10)

Hopefully these tips can help you the next time your carry fails you. Have you ever encountered these problems with your EDC? If so, how did you manage? What tips did we miss that you’d recommend? Let your fellow EDCers know in the comments below!

#carry-smarter #what-are-these-edc-things-for #on-your-six-edc #too-much-stuff-on-my-belt-loop #worst-edc-gear #worst-ways-to-carry-a-flasglight #edc-gear-typical-problems #whats-in-your-everyday-bag see all

Who Likes This (204)

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Discussion (22 total)

Seth ·
Using a bluetooth tracking device like Tile on my keys helps prevent loss!
Joseph Renna ·
One thing I would add to this list: TSA agent confiscates part of my EDC. As a frequent flier, I often get my gear confiscated. It doesn't matter if the package said it was TSA APPROVED. I can't tell you how many times it happens. Mini pry bars, keychain carabiner/bottle openers, no-knive multi tools... Even took my flashlight because the bezel had ridges. Gone. Search eBay and you find TSA agents selling bags full of confiscated EDC goodies.
Vikas Kewalramani ·
I haven't done this but keep a self-addressed, stamped, padded envelope in your suitcase. Usually there's someplace in s terminal to mail an envelope.
Chuck Dee ·
I had to do this once (thankfully that airport actually had a service where you could buy something to ship things to you), and since then, I have a SASE in my travel accessories. Just in case. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work (multi-leg trips, foreign countries). But at least it's a stopgap.
Johan Bertilsson ·
I also have a backup system, i have a Photon II light, a Victorinox Minichamp and a key to the backdoor of house on my car keys, i have my car keys separated from my EDC chain. On my workplace i have spare workkeys that i can access with my keycard.
That system was put in place after i was in a hurry and left my EDC keychain at home when i went of for work. No keys at work, no housekeys when i got home, and several hours untill my wife and daughter come home.
Britt ·
I used to tie a loop of paracord with two prussic knots (interlocking) and put my keys on that, with a small carabiner cliped to my belt loop... the keys hung inside my pocket, safe and out of the way, and the clip meant that they were attached to my body and easy to recover (grab the biner, unclip and pull) and they came out of the pocket. It was a cheap and easy (though non-trendy/hipster) manner in which to ensure my keys never got misplaced.
Efrain Suarez II ·
I'm glad to see that I'm following your rules already. But in my defense I've got prior experience, militatarily speaking. But what your throwing down makes 100 %. I'm attareacted to the material and or devices that make the EDC. I will admit, I don't have a BOB or any type of EDC in my truck. As of today, that changes. Great article. RAH!!! This is why I frequent this site.
Howard ·
Love to have you add on "stopped by TSA at airport check with Leatherman I forgot to pack in shipped luggage" Worst part: Not the first time.
Greg ·
Forgetting any part of your EDC is the worst, makes you feel off the whole day.
Bruno ·
Decent tips here. I currently don't have a good backup for my flashlight or really, for my EDC in general. I carry spare keys and I have a spare knife. That's about it. I keep photocopies (at home) of all the credentials in my wallet. But while I typically purchase good-quality EDC I also purchase inexpensive ones. I never buy something which is so pricey or dear, that I will be in anguish if I lose it.

If I ever did lose my EDC sling bag, (truly outlandish possibility) everything in it can simply be re-purchased for under $100. This principle applies to my phone as well. Expensive smart-gadgets or tablets which you 'store your life on' boggle my mind, Why would you do that? Why place music or data or personal info of any kind, on a phone?

I will pass on one trick from living in the city; one that mystifies most people but which has proven itself time and time again. Go through your wallet and place some masking-tape over all your i.d. cards and credit cards. What sometimes happens to me in a bar or pub is that I drop my wallet and the stooge next to me picks it up to hand back to me. Gee thanks mister? Yeah okay, but as he does so, he naturally roves his eyes over the cards. Name, DOB, employee id number, credit card info is all right there. No way should some scruffy drug-addict chiseler who happens to be at my elbow in a taproom, privvy to all that stuff. So apply some 3m tape to the cards to mask it all over. Because you're pretty sure to realize you just dropped something within a few seconds on your route to the loo. But you get back to your seat and retrieve it before any damage is done.

Potronaut ·
I did basically the same thing here, I had forgotten my EDC a couple of times so I ended up making a spare kit that I leave in my car for those just in case moments. Best way to check if you have everything before leaving your Home Base; put a picture of the things in your EDC on the back of your front door at face level, and also the "slap test". My own means of checking just give yourself a gentle slap on your pockets where you carry your EDC items and presto you know then and there if you have everything you need or not!
Nick H ·
What kind of pen is in the 3rd picture of this page?
It looks like a rotring, but I can't seem to find it
Bernard Capulong ·
Hey Nick, that's a Lamy Vista fountain pen!
John Gargett ·
What is the pry bar in # 4? It mentions the Leatherman Brewzer but that isn't what is shown. Love the site. I spend hours here.
KEY-BAK and T-REIGN offer excellent gear tethers to keep your keys, electronics, tools, and other EDC essentials always handy and super secure. You will never lose or drop your stuff again!
Fritz ·
Under #6, what is the leather keyholder with the Victorinox Classic on it? It: a very innovative way to carry the Classic.
Brad Ruff ·
What pry bar is pictured by the knife under the section about breaking your knife tip? It is not a leatherman.
Bernard Capulong ·
It's an Atwood — they're a bit harder to find these days!
Brad Ruff ·
Thank you! They are a bit high in price for a school teacher such as myself.
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