Everyone wants to be prepared. But since you never know what you're going to face out there, others like us want to be prepared for just about anything and everything. That's why we everyday carry - stuffing gear into every pocket, choosing clothing that has even more pockets to cram stuff into, then shouldering a backpack or sling bag everywhere we go.
After awhile carrying all that weight takes its toll and your back hurts, you've got holes in your pockets and an empty bank account after buying so many grown up toys - making you wonder if you really need all this stuff. Worse yet, carry too much and your risk looking tacticool or like a mall ninja - the guys who look like they are ready for a paintball war at any minute. Trust us, that's not a look you want.
That's why we came up with the following list to give you ideas on paring down your every day carry. Chances are there are plenty of areas you can shave some weight and reduce the load. Read through the seven tips we suggest and then let us know in the comments below if any of them helped you get a grip on your EDC addiction.
Titanium is not one of our favorite EDC trends due to the price but it's hard to deny that the metal is strong and light while remaining corrosion resistant. If you can afford the best of the best you will save some serious weight by switching out your basic everyday carry gear like knives, flashlights, pens, money clips and key chains for titanium ones.
Just about everything you can think of is available in titanium so if you carry things like bottle openers, tweezers, or tools you can save even more weight by making the switch. On our EDC wish list is the Big Idea Design Ti EDC Wrench: it's like carrying a full set of wrenches everywhere you go but is key chain sized. Their Pocket Friendly Screwdriver completes our dream titanium tool set. If you bike to work and need to make adjustments on the go you might want to check them out.
Look at Your Admin Section
Taking a look at the admin section of your EDC bag is the quickest way to save some weight. You know what were talking about - that little zippered pocket on your bag that's meant to carry things like pens and pencils. It's full of little areas begging you to over stuff your bag with things you don't use or need.
The tendency we see is to carry two or three of everything including pens, pencils, sharpies, hi-lighters, etc. Maybe even a stapler and scissors. We carry a pen and highlighter combo like the Pilot Markliter Stick. Sure it's not the sexiest of EDC gear but it gets the job done and it's cheap.
The truth is you shouldn't be carrying a whole office around with you unless you work remotely, and a lot of these administrative type tasks can be accomplished with other tools like a pocket knife so you might not need to carry individual tools. That brings us to our next point:
Think Multi Purpose
If your going to shave weight off an EDC bag you need to think multipurpose. You just can't carry every piece of gear everyday for every scenario. Staying fast and light is about compromise so you need to look for tools and equipment that can do several jobs while maintaining a small form factor. That's where a good multi-tool comes in: it can drastically reduce the number of items in your bag, and look pretty cool doing it. A multitool is also non threatening - if your concerned about not looking tactical in a workplace this is the perfect piece of gear since many tech guys carry one.
Choosing a multitool is going to be based on your budget and the jobs you need it to handle. When looking for a mulitool choose one that has the least amount of items that you will use. Many feature scissors, tweezers, wire cutters, bottle openers, saws, etc. We found that we just didn't use most of those tools on a day to day basis. That's what were talking about: Every Day Carry. What is it you will use in 90% of tasks? That's why we like the Skeletool CX. It's a multi tool that has exactly what we need and use but nothing more. The Skeletool features a pair of wire cutters, a bottle opener, bit holder, and knife. That's it. The tool is small and we can go without a seaprate pocket knife if we choose.
Leatherman is the name everyone knows because they invented the favorite piece of gear for EDC'ers but there are plenty of options out there. We also like the Gerber Suspension and Dime. The Suspension is larger and has all the tools we mentioned as usually not needed, but it's so inexpensive we picked one up and use it when hiking. The Gerber Dime is small, as in pocket sized, but does have a knife and wire cutters. With plenty of color options it matches any EDC set up and gives you a lot of options in a small form factor.
Don't carry such a large water bottle, instead of carrying 32 ounces try making it through the day with 24 ounces and a refill. If your looking for a new water bottle we recently wrote about a few cool ones we found. Check out that article by clicking here.
You can even save weight on the notebook you carry. Instead of a full sized one, how about a 4x6. We did carry a 4x6 and decided to go down a size and now daily carry a 3x5 flip style memo pad by Rite in the Rain. We made the switch because most of our note taking is by messaging or email - we send reminders to our self so that they are always present when we look at our phone. That saves times and writing. So we do use a note pad, just not as often as we used to, so that means we were able to save a little weight with a smaller one.
Cut Out Some of Your First Aid Supplies
Sure you want to be prepared. That's why just about every EDC'er carries some kind of first aid kit. The problem is where do you stop? It's real easy to look like a military field medic when you think about all of the worst case scenarios you could face. In reality, for day to day carry you don't need to be quite so prepared. We took a hard look at our first aid kit and decided we would man up if we got a paper cut, eliminating most of the small things like band aids, or cut down to just two or three of these basic comfort type items.
We also decided to go as minimal as possible, focusing on just the worst case scenario: we decided that a bandage and blood clotting sponge was all we would carry in our minimalist first aid kit. Your needs my be different, but take a good look at your first aid kit and think about what you wouldn't have access to in an emergency. Many offices have wall mounted first aid stations that can supply the basics - and you can always keep a second kit in the glove box or trunk for an impromptu range session or hike.
Don't Be So Tactical
We love tactical gear - it's field tested and often battle born, meaning it'll stand up to almost everything and last a lifetime. But tactical gear is also heavy: molle platforms, buckles, 1000D cordura, and pouches all over will make your bag approach the limit of whats comfortable to carry before you even put anything in your bag.
Besides the obvious benefits of blending in and keeping eyes off of your gear, a greyman approach can be significantly lighter in load without sacrificing much if anything in preparedness. There are plenty of backpacks and pouches aimed at the tech crowd that are lighter (and often cheaper) than tactical gear which will stand up to years of use in non combat situations. Most of these urban carry styled backpacks still use robust materials like cordura, but choose slightly lighter weights like 500D or 800D and eliminate unnecessary and heavy clutter like buckles and molle. Others use innovative fabrics like sailcloth and dyneema that can stand up to heavy use but are lighter weight.
Don't Carry So Much
The often quoted rule when it comes to preparedness is "two is one, one is none" and while that may be true in survival scenarios, for most of us one is enough to make it home. Probably a good 90% of us who EDC are carrying to the office and work, hitting the gym or picking up kids after, then headed straight home. That means your actual needs are probably less than you think. Eliminating some of the redundancies in your kit and following the simple rule of "don't carry so much" is the easiest and cheapest way to shave weight off your EDC.
Shaving weight off of your EDC can save you some back aches and bulging pockets, but it doesn't mean going unprepared. The key to lightening your load is evaluating what you carry and getting rid of rarely used items. Additional weight savings can be found by careful selection of materials and sizing down on some items.
Items mentioned in the article:
Big Idea Design Ti EDC Wrench and screwdriver AKA the Pocket Friendly Screwdriver
Gerber Suspension and its little brother, the Gerber Dime
Rite in the Rain Memo Pad