Whether you spend your days in an office, by a river, in the woods, or strapped to a cliff, chances are you will find yourself in a situation where you need a knife or tool. The task could be as simple as opening a letter or as vital as saving your life! In any situation, I think you’ll find that having a knife or multi-tool (or both) in your pocket will make life easier.
Having an Every Day Carry (EDC) tool in your pocket requires a sense of awareness and self-control. One important fact to remember is that anything with a sharp edge on it (and even a lot of blunt objects) is considered weapons in today’s world security-sensitive world. I personally carry two knives and two multi-tools on me at all times. None of which I personally consider to be weapons.
Chances are you’ll never need to pull out that knife to defend yourself (and if do need to defend yourself, please don’t pull out a set of pliers with a screw-driver on it—that’s just going to be silly. Albeit, really creative). Of course, you can use these EDC tools to defend yourself but the chance of you needing to escalate a situation to that level is a rare. You’ll be more likely to use them to cut through your restraints after the bandits tie you to the railroad tracks.
To help avoid situations that require your EDC tool be used in a defensive manner, you need to develop a little bit of self-control. You should keep its presence to yourself. Remember, the EDC exists as a utility—there’s no need to keep taking it out of your pocket in public.
An EDC tool is something you should you carry without fanfare. Fifteen years ago, the art of carry an Every Day Carry knife (a.k.a. a ‘pocket knife’) was much easier than it was today. In fact, back then you were able to carry a knife or multi-tool on a plane. With few exceptions, if you try that today, you may be water-boarded and put on the top of a very fancy list that some very important people have access to. This reality isn’t limited to just airports and airplanes, either—you cannot carry any type of EDC tool in most state/federal buildings.
Additionally, on a larger scale—you cannot legally carry a “concealed’ knife or multi-tool in the Five Boroughs of New York or even in some national parks or preserves. But let’s be realistic here for a minute: Do you know how many people live in Manhattan, let alone the other NYC boroughs? Do you know how many people visit the Hoover Dam as part of their family vacation? There are people carrying EDC tools in these places all the time without incident.
Now, I am not advocating that you go out and willfully break the law. On the contrary, I am assuming that you are willing to and I want to help you lower your chances of getting caught.
Keep it under 4 inches long.Laws do fluctuate on the length of a blade from state to state, but the general rule has been that the blade should be less than 4 inches in length.
Carry something that meets your needs. An EDC tool is not designed to be the tool or tools you rely on to cut through heavy brush in the middle of the Congo. They are there to help you out in a jam in your everyday life. For Example:Someone who spends their day in an office would be well suited with a Leatherman “Freestyle” or the classic Victorinox “Spartan”—both of these are small multi-tools that will offer modest functionality in everyday-type situations.
On the other hand, the person who spends every day outside may want to go with a Benchmade “Mini Griptilian” or a Leatherman “Wave.” Each of these is designed to serve multiple purposes in multiple settings. I would recommend one of each style of EDC tool for someone like this as a knife can take on the additional role of “food prep” in You’ll note that I did recommend a knife for the office-dweller. I personally think they would find themselves “under-equipped” in an office setting with just a knife blade. Screwdrivers are almost a must in the modern, business world. (NOTE: I anticipate a flurry of emails thanking me for recommending an EDC tool with multiple driver heads for folks working in the cubical carnival).
Serration.You’re probably wondering why I would even make serration one of the topics, but in reality I could write a whole article on serration alone. For now, though, I will note that serration adds a level of complexity to the EDC tool, as it requires more maintenance than a plain-edged blade. For folks who need to cut through things—rope, meat, or even wood—serration is a key component to the blade. But for the day-to-day user, serration may actually take away from the function of the blade as it usually takes up an otherwise useful portion of the blade.
So, unless you are planning on having to “saw” through anything, avoid serration. For years I carried a serrated blade and it really helped out when I was an active climber and bouldering enthusiast. But for standard EDC, it just got gummed up with packing tape and cardboard curls.
Outside of these five things, picking the right EDC tool is something that can’t be categorized. People look at me in disbelief when I try to explain to them that the knife in my back pocket is there to do things that the knife on my hip isn’t designed to do. It gets lost on them—but then again, some of the things they use their EDC tools for may get lost on me. Treat them like your wallet or key ring; they are there to serve a particular purpose and you have chosen them because of that purpose. But the bottom-line will always be that an EDC tool is a utility and not a weapon. You should not feel empowered because you have a blade in your pocket. You should feel confident that you are prepared to get through your day.