Several years ago, I planned on getting a carabiner to organize my keys. I got tired of carrying loose keys in my pocket. They’re bulky, noisy, hard to dig out, and it hurts when they jab you in the leg. Knowing this, my wife got me the KeySmart Rugged for Christmas 2018. I’ve been using […]
I don't sell everyday carry gear on The EDC Life. What Ido instead is review as much gear as I can and show you the best tools and apparel across several categories such as knives, wallets, boots, key accessories, and more.
My reviews and buyers guides are listed below. Below that, I talk a little bit more about what you should think about and consider when buying everyday carry gear.
I don’t know about you, but I take a minimalist approach to my everyday carry. I don’t want to add more gear to my everyday carry, but instead want to find ways to reduce how much I carry. You’d think any wallet would work. They’re small and compact, right? Not exactly. If you’ve ever carried […]
How Much Should You Spend on Your EDC Gear?
I'm sure you'd get different opinions depending on who you asked. Here's my take on it.
You should spend whatever you need to get quality gear. There's no sense in buying a $10 knife if it breaks the first time you use it.
However, you don't need to spend $200 on a knife either. Not on your first one. You can buy a pocket knife from Kershaw for $30 or $40 that will likely do what you need it to.
This means that you can get plenty of mileage out of $100. You can pick up a knife for $40, a simple pocket flashlight for $15, carry a cheap pen, notebook paper, a multi-tool for $30, and probably have a few bucks over.
This is just an example, of course. Your carry will depend on your needs. But I make that example to show you how far you can go with just $100.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't feel compelled to buy everything you see. If you don't need fancy pocket coins or gadgets, beads, or a brand new wallet, don't spend the money on one.
You can also buy items that will serve multiple purposes. For example, you can buy a watch that also has a compass. You can buy a tactical pen that will also work as a weapon and glass breaker. You can also buy a phone case that doubles as a wallet or money clip. Then there are multi-tools that will have bottle openers, screwdrivers, knives, pliers, measuring tapes, pry bars, wire strippers, and more.
However, the goal here isn't to be cheap. You'll depend on these items for work and if or when you're in an emergency situation, so they should be as high of quality as you can afford. Focus on quality over quantity and your tools will work when you need them to and last a long time.
Should You Buy Used Gear?
You sure can. There's a huge second hand market where you can buy anything used from knives to guns to backpacks to flashlights and more.
You want to be careful buying used, though. For one thing, used gear can actually be stolen gear that people are trying to unload quickly.
For guns, you'll want to do a proper transfer. This might mean doing a background check, paying a transfer fee, and following whatever process your state requires. Before you get that far, though, you'll want to inspect the gun or have an expert do it before you buy. A little bit of damage or rust can make the gun inoperable or throw its accuracy off.
For other items, you'll want to make sure you do a good inspection before you buy.
And since you're buying used, try to negotiate a lower price. If the seller is asking too much it might be more practical to just buy new since new will come with customer support, warranties, etc.
Don't Forget About Maintenance
One thing that's easy to forget is that tools need to be maintained. Here are some of the maintenance related tasks you will need to do.
- - Break down, inspect, clean, and oil your guns.
- - Sharpen your knives.
- - Wind your watches.
- - Replace or charge batteries in your watches, flashlights, and more.
You will either need to learn how to do these things or find someone who does. This is something to think about beforehand as the cost of maintenance can often depend on the brand.
Think about it like servicing a car. You might want to drive a BMW, but it's going to be far cheaper and easier to service a Ford or Chevy. You have to decide if the BMW will be doable in the long run.
Don't Forget About Ongoing Costs
Another thing you don't want to forget are the ongoing costs of owning various EDC gear. Here are a few examples to show you what I mean.
- - Guns need ammo. They also need oil.
- - You will need to replenish your first aid kit as you use your supplies.
- - Your flashlights and watches will need batteries.
- - You will need to buy targets to shoot out.
And so on.
The point is that purchasing a knife, gun, or flashlight isn't a one and done type of thing. You have the cost of buying it and the cost of paying for the consumables that piece of gear uses.
Don't Forget About Training with Your Gear
This is extremely important. It's a good idea to carry all the gear mentioned above (if you need it). But if you don't know how to use it, then it's not gong to do you any good if/when the time comes to use it.
This means that either before or immediately after you buy some gear you should educated yourself on when and how to use it. The good news is that it's not hard to find formal classes that teach this stuff.
Here are some of the things you will want to know how to do.
- - Take a gun safety course so you know how to safely handle and fire a gun.
- - Take a concealed carry course before you conceal carry.
- - Go to the range regularly (once per week or more) to shoot your gun. This is one of those things where you either use it or you lose it.
- - Learn how to provide first aid. For example, learn how to give CPR, tie a tourniquet, or stop an injury from bleeding.
- - Take a few survival courses where you learn how to start a fire, use a compass, sanitize water, tie knots, and more.
- - Learn how to sharpen your knife properly.
- - Watch YouTube to learn how to wind your watch.
The bottom line - having all this gear will do you absolutely no good if you don't know how to use them, or use them safely.
Don’t Forget About the Laws in Your Area
I'm not going to get into much detail here, and I'm not a lawyer so I'm unsure of how much information I can really provide anyway.
But another thing you don't want to forget to think about or check before you buy something is to check that it's legal to carry it in your area.
This is going to apply mostly to things like guns, knives, and multi-tools. Some places let you have them while others don't. And those that do might have restrictions on what specifically you can or cannot carry.
In the case of guns, there might be laws about what you need to do before you can buy a gun or carry it on you.
Every state, country, or jurisdiction's laws are going to be different. It's your responsibility to figure out what those are before you go out and buy your gear.
There's a lot to think about when it comes to buying your everyday carry gear.
People on Instagram make this stuff look like a lot of fun. Ooh, look at this shiny new knife or look at my small arsenal of pistols and rifles! What about this $500 knife I just bought?
And sure, this stuff is fun. New tools are exciting. And who doesn't want the newest, shiniest, or brassiest things out there?
But don't forget there's a practical element to all of this. We're buying everyday carry gear to be prepared for whatever the day throws at you. So, while I encourage you to buy that shiny new blue knife or that Glock 19 Gen 5 you have your eyes on, make sure that:
- You need it.
- Are prepared to pay for ongoing cost (consumables), maintenance, etc.
- It's legal for you to have it.
- You’re going to train so that you know how to correctly use it.
Do all this and you'll find that you have an excellent assortment of high quality everyday carry gear that will help you deal with whatever life throws your way.