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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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