Everyday Carry

Everyday Carry

Everyday Carry

What have you got in your pocketses? Everyday carry (EDC) is all about taking time to deliberately consider the things we choose to carry with us on a daily basis. Whether they think about it or not, everyone has their own EDC kit, whether it's the basic triad of keys, wallet, and phone or a Ranger utility belt equipped for a quest to Mount Doom. Common choices for EDC gear include flashlights, utility knives, multi-tools, and (of course) pens and paper.

Benefits of EDC

There are several benefits to the everyday carry mindset:

(1) Preparedness

A well-selected set of EDC gear will keep you prepared and equipped for all the everyday tasks (and some not-so-everyday ones) you are likely to encounter. Whether it's a pen to write down an important idea or an elven cloak to keep you safe and dry, a small amount of preparation will save a lot of inconvenience and discomfort when it counts.

(2) Convenience

It's usually fine to coast through daily life without needing to carry your own supplies, but how many times have you had to use a restaurant's pen only to find that it won't write? Having your own EDC kit means always being able to use tools you like and are familiar with.

(3) Personal Satisfaction

Gathering your EDC can be deeply satisfying. Not only is it a way for you to express your personality and lifestyle, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're prepared to deal with a variety of circumstances.

Inspired to give your everyday carry items a second thought? Let's take a look at what you should keep in mind when building your EDC, then explore some ideas and examples of things you might include.

Building Your EDC - Considerations
This is the most important consideration when selecting EDC gear, and each of the following considerations can be tied back to it. What are things you can add to your daily carry that would be useful in specific everyday or emergency situations?
Everyday carry means carrying things with you every day, so it only makes sense to pick things that are easily carried. This includes compactness as well as other things like how easy it is to slide in and out of a pouch or pocket, if it has any small parts that can come off and get lost, or if it has any sharp or pointy bits.
Your EDC kit doesn't need to survive a nuclear war, but it is important that you can count on it to work when you need it to. Something that gets carried every day—even just to the office and back—will accumulate a lot of wear and tear, and its build quality needs to be up to the challenge.
Core Components of a Pen User's EDC

If you're like us, you'll want to make sure that your EDC includes some great writing instruments and other basic stationery.

Something to Write Stuff With

This could be any pen that's just lying around, but we can do a lot better than that. Here are some pens that make particularly good EDC choices:

Retractable Ballpoint Pen
Retractable ballpoint pen
Affordable, rugged, and ubiquitous, the standard retractable ballpoint is a natural choice for EDC. They write smoothly, dry quickly, last a long time, and don't have any caps that can get lost.

Some great retractable ballpoint pens for EDC include:

(1) Rotring Tikky: Featuring chunky plastic construction, a comfortable triangular cross-section, and a non-slip dual-material grip, the unassuming Tikky is a perfect EDC pen.

It is compatible with a wide range of Parker-style ballpoint refills, as well as the Fisher Space Pen refill.

(2) Uni Jetstream Rubber Body Series: Like all Jetstream pens, this pen features super-smooth hybrid ink that combines the smoothness of a ballpoint pen with the consistent, skip-free writing of a gel pen. It's rubber body is rugged and easy to grip, and it is available in sleek silver and gunmetal or high-visibility orange.

(3) Zebra F-701: A longtime favorite among EDCers, the F-701 features a rugged stainless steel body and knurled grip section. It can even be modded to use a Fisher Space Pen refill and an all metal click mechanism.

Multi Pen
Multi pen
Combining a variety of useful writing tools into a single convenient pen body, multi pens perfectly embody the spirit of EDC. With a huge variety of multi pens to choose from, and even customizable multi pens that you can build from the ground up, there is sure to be one that fits your everyday writing needs.

Some great multi pens for EDC include:

(1) Uni Style Fit: The Style Fit is all about customization. Choose from a range of colorful 3- and 5-component pen bodies and dozens of different refill components to make the pen that perfectly meets your needs and expresses your personality.

(2) Uni Jetstream 4&1: With four super-smooth Jetstream ballpoint components and a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil, this solidly built pen is a great workhorse that can meet virtually any writing task.

(3) Zebra Sharbo X: Fitting two pen components and a mechanical pencil into a sleek, high-quality metal body, the Sharbo X has the looks and performance to earn a spot in anyone's EDC.

Pressurized Space Pen
Pressurized space pen
Able to write upside-down, underwater, over grease, and in freezing or boiling temperatures, pressurized space pens are perfect for astronauts, explorers, chefs, and anyone who works in a wet or greasy environment.

Some great pressurized space pens for EDC include:

(1) Fisher Space Pen Bullet: The original pressurized ink pen, the Fisher Space Pen is still a top choice.

The compact bullet shape is great for slipping into a pocket, but be careful not to lose the cap. Clips are available separately.

(2) Pilot Down Force: When we tested our pressurized pens under a variety of conditions, the Down Force was the best overall performer. It might not be the sleekest-looking pen around, but for a solid pen that writes anywhere, look no further.

(3) Tombow AirPress: Featuring a cool, chunky design and a sturdy wire clip, the AirPress is a great choice for working outdoors in wet conditions, but it stumbles a bit when it comes to grease and freezing temperatures.

Mini Pen
Mini pen
For minimalists—and those without an overabundance of pocket space—a mini pen is a convenient and unobtrusive way to carry a writing instrument.

Some great mini pens for EDC include:

(1) Zebra SL-F1: This clever telescoping pen clips unobtrusively onto a pocket or notebook and extends to a comfortable length when in use. For a super-smooth writing experience, we recommend pairing it with Zebra emulsion ink refills.

(2) Pilot Birdy Switch: WNot just a mini pen, the Pilot Birdy Switch also includes a mechanical pencil on the other end!

(3) Tombow Pfit Clip: It may look a little silly, but the large binder clip of the Pfit makes it easy to clip the pen securely onto a notebook or bag strap. Its short design makes the pen great for tucking into shallow pockets.

Fountain Pen
Fountain Pens
Fountain pens need the right paper for best performance, take a bit longer to dry than other kinds of pens, and require occasional maintenance to keep writing their best. Still, their smooth writing experience and unparalleled range of ink choices makes it easy for many to overlook these drawbacks and include a fountain pen in their EDC.

Some great fountain pens for EDC include:

(1) Pilot Petit1: The compact and affordable Petit1 is available in a range of fun and practical colors and can slip easily into a pocket or bag. While the ink cartridge capacity and choice of colors is limited, an eyedropper conversion will give the pen a huge ink capacity and unlimited color choice.

(2) Lamy Safari: A classic choice, the Lamy Safari features a unique style and is made from virtually indestructible ABS plastic—the same stuff Lego blocks are made from! Choose the Charcoal Black body for a sleek textured finish that helps to hide scuffs and scratches.

(3) Pilot Capless Decimo: Featuring a nib that can be extended and retracted with a simple click of the top button, the Capless Decimo is just about perfect as an EDC fountain pen. It is on the pricey side, but this is as good as it gets for combining the writing experience of a fountain pen with the convenience of a retractable pen.

Mechanical Pencil
Mechanical pencils
Ink isn't the only medium for an EDC writing tool. Mechanical pencils are versatile instruments with a number of great qualities for everyday carry. They can write on and be erased from paper and many other materials, and they are also waterproof and archival.

Some great mechanical pencils for EDC include:

(1) Rotring 600: A cult classic among EDCers, the Rotring 600 is known for its legendary German engineering and build quality.

Made from solid brass and with replacement tips available if yours ever gets bent, this is a pencil you can carry every day and still hand down to your grandkids.

(2) Pentel Sharp Kerry: Featuring a stylish mix of classic and modern design elements, the capped Pentel Sharp Kerry looks like it could be a fancy fountain or rollerball pen. Don't let that fool you though—with it's rugged build quality and compact, pocket-friendly design, this pencil is made for everyday use.

(3) Zebra TS-3: If you don't use a mechanical pencil regularly but still want to have one around if you need it, the ultra-compact Zebra Mini TS-3 is the way to go. It's so small that it can even be tucked into a wallet!

Able to make bold, permanent markings on virtually any hard surface, permanent markers can find a place in anyone's EDC arsenal.

Some great markers for EDC include:

(1) Sharpie Premium Permanent Marker: Combining the classic Sharpie fine point marker with a durable and refillable stainless steel body, the Sharpie Premium is a classic choice for EDC.

(2) Uni Posca Paint Marker: The water-based Uni Posca paint marker writes opaquely on a wide range of surfaces and can be easily wiped off of non-porous surfaces with a damp cloth.

(3) Pilot Oil-Based Twin Marker: If you need to make solid, permanent marks on glossy or non-porous surfaces, an oil-based marker like the Pilot Twin is the tool for the job.

Something to Write Stuff On

Now that you've got something to write with, you'll want something to write on. Again, this can be anything that's handy, but there are some classics that are particularly suitable for everyday carry.

Memo Book
Memo book
Memo books are small, typically 3.5" x 5.5" (8.9 cm x 14 cm) or less, making them easy to carry around in a pocket where they can be pulled out at a moment's notice. They are ideal for writing down notes, lists, and things to remember. Because of their binding, however, they are not ideal if you ever need to tear a page out to give to someone.

Some great memo books for EDC include:

(1) Field Notes Memo Book: Made in America using durable, high-quality materials and featuring an ever-evolving range of standard and seasonal editions, it's no surprise that Field Notes are our most popular memo books. Their one downside is that their highly absorbent paper doesn't work well with fountain pens. Fountain pen users will want to consider the...

(2) Rhodia Pocket Notebook: This is the EDC memo book for fountain pen users. Made with the same 80 g paper as the beloved Rhodia Pad, it stands up to all but the broadest nibs and wettest inks without a hint of feathering or bleedthrough.

Ring Notepad
Ring Notepad
Unlike memo books, ring notepads make it easy to remove pages. They can also be left open to any page without affecting their size or shape. The downside is that the ring binding can make them a bit bulkier and more fragile than a memo book.

Some great ring notepads for EDC include:

(1) Lihit Lab Aqua Drops Twist Ring Notepad: The twist ring binding of the Aqua Drops notepad can be opened and closed like the rings of a binder,

letting you reorganize and refill it whenever you want! Its smooth paper performs well with non-fountain pens and some fine nib fountain pens.

(2) Maruman Mnemosyne Notepad: Featuring excellent paper that works with all pens and is neither too rough nor too smooth, plus a sleek black plastic cover, Mnemosyne notepads are a safe choice for anyone.

Index Cards
Index cards
For the ultimate in configurability, consider carrying a set of index cards. You can carry as many or as few as you want, loose or on a binder ring. Rather than flipping through a notebook or pad whenever you need to write something down, simply pull a fresh card out and start writing.

Some great index cards for EDC include:

(1) Life Index Cards: These blank index cards are made from high-quality, fountain pen friendly paper and come pre-punched for storing on a binder ring.

They are available by themselves or with a ring and protective leather cover.

(2) Exacompta Record Index Cards: Available in packs of four colors, these index cards make it easy to color-code notes and ideas for easy organization.

Notebooks are versatile and have plenty of real estate for writing down all your notes, plans, and ideas. If your daily activities include a lot of writing, you're going to want a trusty notebook for the job. The one weakness of the notebook is also the thing that makes it useful—its size. To carry a notebook everyday, you'll probably need a bag or pouch of some kind to carry it in.

Some great notebooks for EDC include:

(1) Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook: Like the Mnemosyne notepad, these notebooks are made with great, fountain pen friendly paper with what we think is the perfect amount of smoothness for comfort and control.

(2) Rhodia Webnotebook: This notebook is famous among fountain pen users for its high-quality, ink-friendly paper, but the Rhodia “Webbie" works great with any pen or pencil. The hard yet supple leatherette cover protects the pages and is held shut by an elastic closure, making the Webnotebook a great choice for a daily carry journal.

An artist may get by with sketching in a plain old notebook with a pen or pencil, but a good sketchbook offers artist-grade paper that will improve the drawing experience and open up a wider range of wet and mixed media applications.

Some great sketchbooks for EDC include:

(1) Maruman Pocket Croquis Sketchbook: The compact size and rugged cardboard cover, and convenient twin ring binding make the Pocket Croquis a favorite choice for outdoor sketching.

Three versions are available with different paperweights suited to different media.

(2) Stillman & Birn Premium Sketchbook: These premium hardcover sketchbooks come in six different varieties, each with a different paper type specialized for different uses.

Nowadays, it's easy to keep a planner on your computer or smartphone, but paper planners still offer some advantages. Their analog format gives the freedom to arrange your thoughts and plans however you want. You can use any combination of pens, markers, and stickers to make your planner an object that is truly and uniquely your own. Many people also find that the physical act of writing things down on paper helps them to remember better than simply typing them out on a keypad.

The Hobonichi Techo Planner is a particularly interesting planner with a devout following. It is made with Tomoe River paper, which is super thin yet highly resistant to feathering and bleed-through. This allows the Hobonichi to fit 450 pages into a planner just over half an inch thick, giving you a full page for planning and recording every day of the year.

Traveler's Notebook
Traveler's Notebook
Popularized by the Midori Traveler's Notebook, this unique kind of notebook features a cover with one or more elastic straps for holding a variety of notebook and planner inserts. For example, it could hold a planner, a lined notebook for taking notes, and a blank notebook for sketching. The inserts can be swapped out when they fill up or if you just want to use another one instead, and over time the cover will develop a unique patina that reflects the adventures it's been taken on. For more info on the Midori Traveler's Notebook, check out our Comprehensive Guide.
Something to Carry Stuff In
The simplest way to carry things is in your pockets. The advantages of pockets are that they don't take up any extra space and you don't have to worry about leaving them behind. The disadvantages are that they tend to have a fairly limited carrying capacity and that carrying a lot of things in pockets can be cumbersome or uncomfortable.
Pencil Case
Pencil case
For carrying pens, pencils, and other small supplies, a pencil case is often the best choice. They come in many shapes and sizes, whether you need to carry just a few pens or a full set of art supplies.

Some great pencil cases for EDC include:

(1) Midori Pulp Storage Pen Case: This sturdy pen case is made from a blend of recycled paper and wood pulp and is good for protecting a handful of pens.

(2) Cubix Round Zip Box Case: This large pen case features a pen organizer on one side and a spacious main pocket for storing all sorts of supplies.

Pouches are perfect for carrying pens, notebooks, phone cables, and other accessories. They can be carried by hand, on a strap or belt, or as an organizer inside a larger bag or backpack.

Some great pouches for EDC include:

(1) Lihit Lab Smart Fit Carrying Pouch: Made from durable Cordura fabric and featuring pockets for pens, notebook, and a phone, this pouch is made for everyday carry. It includes snap loops and D-rings for attaching to a belt or strap.

(2) Lihit Lab Teffa Bag in Bag: The Teffa Bag in Bag is a special type of slim pouch that can be used on its own or as an organizer inside of a larger bag, holding all of the small things that would otherwise just get dumped in—like a laptop sleeve for notebooks and pens.

Messenger Bags
Messenger Bag
Commuting students and office workers may need something a little more spacious for carrying all their daily essentials. Featuring a shoulder strap and plenty of pockets, a messenger bag is a stylish and convenient solution.

Some great messenger bags for EDC include:

(1) Nomadic BC-51 Biz Comp Brief Tote: Designed with commuters in mind, the Biz Comp Brief Tote is packed with easy access pockets for phones, pass cards, water bottles, and umbrellas.

(2) Nomadic AL-04 Advanced Light Wise-Walker Tote Bag: A lighter, more compact alternative, the AL-04 still features plenty of storage space, excellent padding, and a water-repellent finish, making it a great bag for carrying on day trips.

For those who need to carry a lot of stuff all day, nothing beats the tried-and-true backpack. Backpacks offer greater carrying capacity and better ergonomic design than messenger bags, but they can also be bulky and unstylish.
Other Stuff
Office supplies
There are plenty of other tools and accessories that can serve an important role in a pen user's EDC, including erasers, highlighters, scissors, and correction tape.

The items above are are great place start for just about anybody. Now let's take a look at some specialized EDC kits you might find someone carrying.

Example EDC Kits

Here are some examples of EDC kits to get you going. Start out with any of these and customize to your heart's content!

Student EDC
(1) Backpack
(2) Maruman Eco Spiral Notebooks
(3) Uni Style Fit Meister 5 Color Multi Pen
(4) Uni Boxy Eraser

Students' lives are hectic enough without having to juggle a bunch of daily carry accessories. A customizable multi pen combines all the writing tools needed into a single, easy-to-manage instrument with a range of colorful inks, and some slim, color-coded spiral notebooks makes it easy to organize classwork.

Office Worker
Office worker edc
(1) Messenger Bag
(2) Maruman Mnemosyne Notepad Holder with 5 Pockets
(3) Midori D-Clips
(4) Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball Pen

Sitting at a desk all day, it's important to find ways to make routine tasks pleasant and enjoyable. A great pen and notepad plus some whimsical office supplies can go a long way in alleviating office tedium.

Field Worker
Field Worker EDC
(1) Field Notes Memo Book
(2) Rotring Tikky Ballpoint Pen with Fisher Space Pen Refill
(3) Sharpie Premium Permanent Marker
(4) Zebra TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil

When you work outdoors, you need writing tools that are reliable and will work in conditions that normal stationery just isn't built for. Being affordable to replace and small enough to fit into a pocket is a big plus, too.

Artist EDC
(1) Stillman & Birn Premium Sketchbook
(2) Cubix Round Zip Box Pen Case
(3) White Signo Broad Gel Pen
(4) Black Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pen with Grip
(5) Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil
(6) Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
(7) Uni Boxy Eraser

An artist needs a variety of tools on hand for sketching, inking, illustrating, and lettering. A high-quality sketchbook and pencil case also make for essential companions.

Staff EDC Kits

So what does a real-life EDC kit look like? Let's take a look at what what some our staff actually carry everyday.

JetPens EDC
(1) iPhone (5S)
(2) Digital watch
(3) Earbuds
(4) Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen with a 0.7 mm Zebra emulsion ink refill
(5) Moleskine Extra Small Notebook (often use a Maruman Mnemosyne A7 notepad instead)
(6) Slim front pocket wallet
(7) Keychain with mini USB Drive

Ryan keeps a fairly minimalist EDC, with things that can fit easily into a shirt or jeans pocket. He always makes sure to have a pen and notebook in arm's reach for writing down quotes and ideas—when he isn't absentmindedly leaving them around the office or warehouse, that is.

JetPens EDC
(1) Smart phone
(2) Zebra Penpod
(3) Mirror
(4) Sunscreen
(5) Lip balm with SPF
(6) Card case
(7) Rhodia Unlimited Notebook

Miriam also likes to keep things simple, with a cute little keychain pen and a handy notebook that can slip easily into whatever bag she's carrying. She also makes sure to stay protected from the California sun.


Our resident artist, Heidi is always eager to try out new pens is always sure to have plenty of supplies on hand. She particularly loves the soft blue Pilot Color Eno for doing base sketches, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for inking, and the Pilot Fude-makase for lettering. A more recent addition, she also carries a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen filled with her favorite Iroshizuku inks.

JetPens EDC
(1) Keychain with USB drive
(2) P+G Pochi Owl Case for loose change
(3) iPhone (5S)
(4) Sunglasses
(5) Lip balm
(6) Hair pins
(7) Field Notes Shelterwood Edition
(8) (From left to right) Sharpie, Pink Hi-Tec-C, Black Uni Signo RT
(9) Wristlet
(10) Hand lotion

Elaine keeps a variety of pens on hand for any writing occasion, plus the super-cool Field Notes Shelterwood Edition (now discontinued, but the Cherry Wood version features a similar wood veneer cover) for writing down shopping lists, reminders, inspirational quotes, and calligraphy ideas.

As you can see, EDC kits are as different as the people that carry them. As we said at the beginning of this article, EDC is all about the things that reflect your personality and lifestyle, not anyone else's.

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