Everyday Carry – What’s in your pockets?

Everyday carry or EDC has gained popularity over the last few years; there are countless blogs and websites dedicated to the subject and tons of videos on YouTube with guys doing the “pocket dump,” showing what they carry and why. I have to admit I’ve watched my fair share…and it has nothing to do with my obsession over gear. One of my favorite things to do when I’m passing time on my iPad is to go to the Everyday Carry site and check out the gear people are carrying.

For the uninitiated, your everyday carry is basically the stuff you put in your pockets or your purse before you leave the house. Some believe your EDC has to address all kinds of situations that might come up – from being able to start a fire to brandishing a tourniquet. For most people, their EDC may begin and end with wallet, keys, phone, and watch. That’s a good start, but for me it comes down to answering these questions:

What things do you need every day no matter what?

What things do you need for your job or would make your job/life more efficient if you carried them on your person?

What are the most likely emergency situations based on your location? Is there something you could carry that would help mitigate the risk?

Do you want to carry a tool for self defense?

Now remember, this is referring to your on-body EDC – stuff you will carry on your person. I think of EDC in layers. The first layer is on-body. The second layer is the EDC bag, which is nothing more that the bag you take with you every day (briefcase or backpack, for example). That bag will supplement what you carry on your person – tablet or laptop, water bottle, business cards, maybe a simple first aid kit. A lot of it will depend on your job or where you’re going. Then there’s a third layer that is not exactly EDC but related – a “get home bag” that we keep in the car. It’s basically a backpack we keep in the trunk that has stuff we think we’d need to get from somewhere around our home (work, out shopping) to our house if we couldn’t drive (natural disaster, man-made disaster, who knows what). Maybe I’ll do a separate post on our “get home bag” and “bug-out bag” if people are interested. Let me know!

Where was I…So, once you answer the above questions, then you can think about the effectiveness of the tools you have and whether you want different versions for different situations (e.g., dress watch vs smart watch; nice sunglasses vs less expensive ones for going to the beach).

For me, the first thing I did was try to get rid of bulky items and streamline the stuff I was already carrying. That led to:

iPhone with Utomic Edge Case – I’ve been an Apple person for a while and I’ve always favored thin phone cases; I really like the Utomic Edge, which I first saw on my in-laws’ phones. They allow the beautiful design of the iPhone to shine while still providing some protection. I did drop my phone once and it did its job protecting the phone.

Ridge Wallet – The wallet is the bane of many guys’ existence. How long did I have a typical trifold wallet with cash, credit cards, membership cards to places I’d never go, business cards from people I’d never contact, receipts from items purchased a year ago, and a bunch of random crap that made it so unwieldy I had to take it out of my back pocket every time I sat down? Too long. A few years ago I discovered the Ridge Wallet – a wallet designed to be placed in the front pocket (which you should be doing anyway, in my humble opinion) – compact, cool-looking, and RFID-blocking.

Keysmart – There are a bunch of minimalist keychains out there. The first one I came across a few years ago was Keysmart, and I haven’t had a need to change. It’s slim and easy to use (though a bit of a pain to put together).

I keep the car keys separate because we go back and forth between our two cars.

Nite Ize Doohickey Multitool – A lot of people carry a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife. Years ago I carried a Leatherman, but don’t anymore; I now keep it with our bug out bag. I need something to open a box, take a quick measurement or open a bottle. This little “Doohickey” does the trick.

Apple Watch Series 2 – When the first Apple Watch came out, I was intrigued but figured it would go through some growing pains as all first-generation gadgets do; so I waited. When I started reading about the second generation watch, I decided to take the plunge. I haven’t regretted it for one moment. The ability to read and send texts and emails discreetly is almost worth the price alone. I use the timer, haptic alarm (which my wife likes so I don’t wake her up in the morning), and workout apps almost every day, and having iTranslate and the currency converter at the flick of a wrist is super convenient while traveling. The Maps app and Apple Pay are awesome as is having airline tickets on the watch so I’m not fumbling with my phone (or paper ticket) when going through the gate. Oh, and how cool is answering the phone on your watch? (It actually works quite well.) Do I need a smart watch? Of course not. What’s your point?

Maui Jim Sunglasses – These are, without question, the best sunglasses I’ve ever owned. I had this exact pair before and lost them while on vacation. I was devastated. Apprehensive about spending money on another pair, I tried some less expensive options for a while, but finally bit the bullet and bought these. I won’t lose them this time. I hope. They are durable, super lightweight, work beautifully, and look great.

Kiehl’s Lip Balm – This is my favorite lip balm. It’s very moisturizing while also being “no-shine” so it doesn’t look like I’m wearing lip balm.

When I started to get more into EDC, I added a couple more items:

Schrade Tactical Pen – I know what you’re thinking. “A tactical pen. Really? What does it do – shoot poison darts?” I was just as skeptical when I first read about them on EDC websites, but I think there’s a place for something like this. Now, there are tactical pens with all kinds of bells and whistles (some of them actually have whistles). Some of them also look more like a weapon than a pen, which wouldn’t bode well if you wanted to get through the TSA (which for me was an important criterion since I travel so much). I was looking for a pen I could use every day (which I do), designed to also be a self defense tool that could be used like a Japanese kubotan. The Schrade fit the bill. It looks like pen rather than a weapon, is built like a tank, has a flat surface on one end for good thumb purchase, and a rounded point on the other end. In a hand-to-hand situation, it won’t puncture skin – it’ll just hurt – hopefully enough to extract myself from the situation. It’s the perfect “get the heck off me” self defense tool.

Olight S1R Turbo S Flashlight – The latest edition to my EDC is this Olight Flashlight. It is small, powerful (up to 900 lumens), and rechargeable. A lot of guys carry a flashlight as part of their EDC but it took me a while to come around to the idea. I realized how helpful a small, powerful flashlight could be (and more effective than the flashlight on my phone) in certain situations like looking for stuff or checking out a darkened corner (like in a poorly lit garage). It’s practical while also being a great tool for self defense. Want to not look like a soft target while walking down a dark street or garage? Pull out this little flashlight. Bad guys look for the path of least resistance. If you look like you are alert and have good situational awareness, they’ll probably wait for an easier target.

So that’s my current EDC:

Hopefully you got something out of it and maybe I gave you a few ideas. Sorry if I put a dent in your wallet!

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Field Band in Puerto Rico

Last month, I accompanied the Soldiers’ Chorus of the Army Field Band during their goodwill mission to Puerto Rico. In the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that hit the island, it has been a slow recovery. But, what was evident during our short time there is that the people of Puerto Rico are resilient and can truly serve as an inspiration to us all. Continue reading

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Join the Army. Travel the World.

So, it’s been three months since my last post…I’ve been at my new assignment, The U.S. Army Field Band, for over six months and haven’t done a blog post about the job yet…you could say I’m terrible at this blogging thing and you’d be right! But better late than never.

I’ve been with the Army Field Band since September and have already gone on two tours – one, a 21-day tour of the Midwest; the other, an 18-day tour of the Southeast – both shorter than their usual 30-40 day tours. I have to say it’s been nice to be eased into the touring thing with these shorter tours! A rude awakening is coming next spring when we tour the Northeast. I know; I’ve seen the draft schedule.

Shortly after I arrived (and after taking some PCS leave after returning from Korea), I hit the ground running as the Band was preparing to do a recording of Leonard Bernstein’s music in celebration of his 100th birthday in August 2018. My role was to organize and run the schedule as well as assist the lead engineer in the booth during the recording sessions. It was a great learning experience working with a Grammy-nominated engineer. The Band played well and I was immediately impressed with their nuanced musicianship. It’s funny how when a band is stabilized and performs a lot together, they sound really good. Huh… Continue reading

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The Last Jedi Review

Like a lot of people, we went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi during its premiere week. Like many geeks, I’d been going over the trailers and watching YouTube videos analyzing them shot-by-shot in an attempt to gleam insights into the direction the story might be taken. Overall, I enjoyed the movie; there were many positives – I think the visual palette, cinematography, humorous moments, and the overall feel of the film were all well-executed. Continue reading

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Cut the Cord (already)

Over the last year, more people cut the cord from their cable providers than ever before, and why not? Between the multiple streaming services, the move by networks to place content online – even original, exclusive content – and the different devices we can now use to watch said content (pretty much all home theater devices are “smart” at this point), there’s really no excuse unless you like paying all that money for channels you’ll never watch…or if you really do use most of those channels, go for it. I know a little about this because my wife and I were a little ahead of the curve when we cut the cord back in 2011. Home theater is one of my hobbies so after recently upgrading our set up, I thought it was time to write another post about how we continually enjoy our home theater without the “aid” of cable television. Continue reading

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Thank you, Korea

Last week, after 22 months of serving in the Republic of Korea, I relinquished command of the Eighth Army Band to a friend of mine and I’ve begun in-processing Fort Meade for my new job as the Deputy Commander of The U.S. Army Field Band. While it’s great to be back in the States and serving at the Field Band, it was tough to say goodbye to our home for the last two years.

We made a lot of friends and created many great memories that we will re-live through our thousands of photos (digital photography is one of the great inventions for travelers). While we were able to get some great travel in to Japan, Thailand, and of course Bhutan, the two things that made these last two years so special was the beauty and hospitality of Korea and the Korean People and the unique and important mission of the Eighth Army Band…and Korean fried chicken. Continue reading

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Happy Independence Day


This July Fourth, don’t read other people’s opinions on the meaning of Independence Day or what someone else thinks the Founders meant. Read the founding document yourself and come to your own conclusions. Read it and see for yourself why the United States is unique in the history of nations. Happy Fourth! Continue reading

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