Everyday Carry

15 Essentials to Finally Put Your Coin Pocket to Use

Everyday Carry

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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.

A Brief History of the Fifth Pocket

Originally one of the four pockets on Levi’s first jeans in 1873 (known to denimheads as the XX), the small pocket on the front right hip was called a watch pocket. It let cowboys, miners, and other workers safely carry and protect their pocket watches. At the turn of the 20th century, pocket watches fell out of style and became obsolete. As a result, the jeans were refreshed in 1901 with a few notable changes.

A second back pocket was added as the actual final fifth pocket (rather than the small pocket most people consider to be the defining pocket in your standard “five pocket jean”), and the watch pocket got downsized from about 3.5” to 3” now that bulky watch fobs were less commonly carried. To reflect the change in design and purpose, the watch pocket was renamed the “coin pocket” that you’re familiar with today.

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The Future of Pocket Change

But these days, in an ever-increasing cashless (and coin-less) world, the coin pocket might get the same treatment the watch pocket did in the future with modern and utilitarian clothing designs. Since phones can tell time, and more recently, be used to make payments, it’s no wonder the smartphone is such an important essential for so many people.

Even then, smartphones are physically outgrowing the standard pocket by design. Screens get bigger seemingly every year, but our pockets don’t keep up. There’s a chance we could see them getting slightly larger to be more accommodating, and that extra pocket space would be most welcome.

However, that shouldn’t discredit the nebulous functionality of the fifth pocket. Sometimes, less is more, and the smaller size of the fifth pocket can prove just as useful.

The Advantages of the Fifth Pocket for EDC

  • It keeps loose things organized: Because it’s smaller, there’s less wiggle room for things to bang around, and you’ll know exactly where everything in that pocket is. Coins and keys won’t scratch your phone and other kit in here.

  • It affords quick access: Its higher placement on the hip grants easier access than fishing for stuff in the bottom of your front pocket bag, making the fifth pocket an ideal home for your most frequently used items.

  • It frees up main pocket space besides just keeping small things out of the way of bigger items like your phone or wallet.

As a testament to its versatility, the fifth pocket goes by many names depending on its usage, such as the match pocket, condom pocket, and as mentioned before, watch pocket and coin pocket. Whatever you want to call it, it can be home to your next piece of kit. Here’s our list of ideas to get you started.

Smaller knives don't need to mean diminished utility nor quality. These knives perform as well as their bigger brethren, but are conveniently sized for ease of carry and discretion.

Modern emitter technology has enabled even the smallest flashlights to have excellent output and runtimes. Don't underestimate the power of these coin pocket rockets.

  • Fenix LD02: rare appearance of a rear clicky switch on an AAA light, with 100 lumens to boot. ($30)
  • Nitecore Tube: 45 variable lumens with convenient USB charging. ($10)
  • ThruNite Ti3: one of the most powerful (120 lumens) and compact AAA lights on the market. ($20)

Sometimes you need the right tool for the job but can't afford to give up valuable pocket space. These handy helpers tuck away with your coins until needed.

When you’re on the go, you won’t always be able to properly freshen up. These hygiene essentials keep you fresh and protected against harsh elements and long days.

For the modern digital commuter, storage and battery life are key. Don’t get caught with a dead battery or a full drive again.

Like the fifth pocket itself, our list is fairly small compared to the number of pocketable possibilities out there. Let us know in the comments below — what do you keep in your fifth pocket?

Words by Bernard Capulong and Mikey Bautista
Photos by Ed Jelley

#carry-smarter #leatherman-for-mining-worker #coin-pocket #edc-coin #watch-pocket-uses #fifth-pocket-knife see all

Who Likes This (201)

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Discussion (63 total)

Rejean Michel ·
Can you tell me what the model is of the multi function pry tool with the red paracord attached, that is in the picture inside the coin pocket beside the fitbit and usb thumb drive? Cheers
Russell ·
For around 5 years now that pocket has been indispensable carrying an alox pioneer, lipbalm and fisher space pen.
Paracord is ubiquitous now. It's available in every color you can imagine, and then some. It's been a long time since I was a Boy Scout (like 60 years or so) , so I have forgotten most knots. Found a very cool App called Grog Knot. Great refresher , especially if you start using paracord in any quantity.
Stu A ·
Thanks JDU that is a great app. Never thought knots would be so interesting!
Ben Stehulak ·
The same site we use to learn fire/rescue knots.
Mark Chin ·
I must be really old school because I put my pocket watch in there.
Cody ·
This has to be one of the best articles I've read and Ive read a lot of them as a LONG time reader lol. Great stuff and the attention to detail and function was great in the whole scope of the article. Great write up and I think I've found a new couple items I need to add to my EDC!
Andreja ·
I use mine for mini Bic and lip balm, but I love how Benchmade Mini Grip look in coin pocket. I might consider buying one. Great article!
Noah Murdoc ·
This article jump started me to find tiny stuff, to stuff in my tiny, long overlooked pocket!
awesome article!
Jose Carrillo ·
A JUMP Cable, by Native Union. USB charging cable and backup battery charger in one
Nathaniel Turner ·
What pry tool is pictured?
Jarrett D. ·
What Spyderco is actually shown in the picture? That doesn't look like a Ladybug.
Darren Tong ·
That would be the Spyderco Dice
Jason E Franzone ·
A Destiny player huh? Me too - Dead Orbit all the way!
1 more comments
craig b ·
I don't use the 5th pocket, since gear seems to dig into my hip when I sit. Knives slide out when I sit or walk. Maybe it's my mom jeans...
Alex Rivera ·
When I smoked I carried a Zippo there as well. A few years after I quit smoking Boker released the Subcom and I have carried once since it was released, great knife.Thanks for a great article.
Daniel ·
Cool article! I use mine to store my house key, 128GB USB drive, mini whistle, micro pen and compact firestarter, all attached to a retractable carabiner keyring which is attached to the nearest belt loop :)
Tyler Lee Smith ·
Great article idea I like that you have a bit of history about the coin pocket. I myself use it for my zippo. It's the brass classic style so it's a rectangle.. It fits perfect in my jeans.
Pat Capulong ·
I typically keep pills in my coin pocket for when I really need it—antacid or caffeine. Good read!
35 more comments