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We often talk about how to maximize your travel through points and miles. Though sometimes, it’s the small things in life that can help save you time and effort, both in your daily life and when traveling. It might seem strange, but there is a whole sub-community of people obsessed about what they carry every day. The concept is called everyday carry, or EDC. In this video/post, we’re going to discuss my EDC for travel and daily life.
First, a disclaimer
Before we start, I want to express two caveats. First, I will not be focused solely on multi-tools. I’m working on a separate video/post on that topic. Multi-tools are tricky when it comes to travel, so I want to dedicate a video/post on which tools I use and tips for carrying them.
Second, the concept of EDC is sometimes associated with weapons. That’s not part of my EDC (in case that’s why you clicked on this post). As a frequent traveler, I discourage carrying any sort of weapon especially when the laws prohibit it.
My daily EDC
I’m going to start with the items that I carry in my daily life. Since I work in an office environment during the week, my EDC revolves around items that help me stay organized and save time. My focus is surviving a day in the office rather than the wilderness.
OrbitKey: My current set-up
To start off, I’ve used an organizer to keep my keys tidy for years called the OrbitKey Key Organiser. The OrbitKey holds between 2-7 keys and requires either a screwdriver or coin to unlock the main screw. It’s made of leather, though OrbitKey does offer models with non-leather materials (like rubber and canvas). I also got one for Fiona a few years ago that she uses daily.
My only complaints with the OrbitKey is that the leather feels a bit cheap and the locking mechanism is a bit finicky, especially on the newer 2.0 models. Also, while it keeps your keys mostly covered, there are still metallic parts on the outside that can scratch items in the same pocket. The D-ring on my older OrbitKey also has a tendency to slide up and down the leather and get stuck. I ended up removing mine and just using a steel ring.
Jibbon: A better way to organize my keys
I recently received a similar product from an Australian-based company called Jibbon that is launching on Kickstarter. They asked if I would be interested in checking out their product. After researching online, I thought it seemed interesting. I was surprised that their key organizer addresses all the complaints that I have with OrbitKey. It uses Italian leather which gives it a much more premium feel. It has a D-ring at the very end that is secured in place but can be removed easily without any tools. And your keys can be secured into the organizer without any tools or coins!
All you have to do is stack your keys into the organizer and hand screw the top. Once it’s tight, just press down on both sides of the leather. That’s all it takes! This is an improvement from the OrbitKey which requires a coin to open. The OrbitKey also has extra washers that can easily get lost when you’re trying to add keys.
The Jibbon features marine-grade stainless steel hardware rather than the aluminum parts that you’ll find in many other key organizers. Though what’s really cool is that there is less metal material on the outside of the product. This means that it’s less likely to scratch other items in your pocket.
They even offer accessories like USB drives and multitools that can be added to their system. It definitely seems like an upgrade over the OrbitKey. In my time testing the product, I’ve been impressed and will be replacing my OrbitKey with the Jibbon.
Cost and availability
The Jibbon is available on Kickstarter for about $27. That’s a solid price considering that similar devices cost more. I’d love to see Jibbon offer alternative materials, especially for those that don’t like leather. However, this is their first keychain organizer, so I’m sure we’ll see the product line grow.
It was generous of them to send me one to test out. I honestly feel like it’s well-designed and worth your consideration and money, especially if you want to keep your keys organized.
Wallet that can carry multiple credit cards
Next on the list is my Bellroy Card Pocket Wallet. I won’t go into too many details since I did a separate review on it. It’s one of my favorite wallets for carrying a lot of credit cards, which is perfect for points and miles collectors. Since I usually carry five or more cards in my wallet, and often swap cards as bonus categories change, it makes sense to use a wallet that doesn’t have pockets that stretch.
For the past few years, I’ve been carrying a Leatherman Style PS. It’s a great keychain multi-tool and one that I’ve used for years. It has eight different tools:
- Spring-action pliers
- Wire cutters
- Screwdriver (that fits both flat-head and Philips-head)
- Nail file
- Bottle opener
The one thing you’ll notice missing is a knife blade. Having a pocket knife is extremely useful, and I know EDC fans are going to hate me for saying this, but I honestly find it a pain to carry a knife blade. I can’t tell you how many Swiss Army Knives that I’ve had confiscated when entering different places and facilities. I used to have a Swiss Army Manager Knife, which I thought was the perfect keychain size pocket knife and multitool. However, it was confiscated at Universal Studios a few years ago. I was already too far along in the entrance line. I didn’t want to have to go back to my car and reenter the line and keep my entire party waiting too. So I gave it up, even though I absolutely loved that model.
The keychain-sized Leatherman isn’t going to replace your regular tools, nor will you be able to build a house with it. But for the occasional small issue or repair, this tool has been extremely handy. When we traveled to Joshua Tree National Park in 2017, I used my Style PS to pull off the Cholla cactus needles that were stuck in my hand.
The Leatherman Style PS costs about $30 and is available on Amazon, Leatherman’s website, and most sporting goods and department stores.
I usually carry my phone in my left pocket since I don’t want it to get scratched by all the stuff in my right pocket. In case you’re interested, I use a RhinoShield bumper case. I think it’s a great compromise between having a minimal case and still getting protection if dropped.
The last thing I want to cover in my daily EDC review are the small clips that I use with everything. They are called McGizmo clips, and they come in all different sizes. I really like them since it makes adding and removing items very quick and easy. For example, if I’m walking down to the store and don’t plan to drive, I can quickly remove my car keys from my keychain. This also works well when I need to leave my keys with an attendant, like when valet parking or having my car serviced. And when I might be going on a hike where I might want to carry a small knife, I can quickly clip one onto my keychain.
These clips are a bit tricky to find. I’ve ordered them through Berkeley Point, but you can also find them on eBay. If you do order them, I recommend getting various sizes. You’ll be amazed at how useful they are and will likely want to start adding a clip to everything that you carry.
EDC for travel
Now let’s talk about my travel EDC. For travel, it’s generally lighter.
I usually carry a different wallet, depending on where I am going and whether I anticipate using more cash than credit card. When traveling, I usually only carry and use my Chase Sapphire Reserve and Charles Schwab debit card. I don’t need the extra capacity of the Bellroy Card Pocket. For most trips, I prefer using a wallet that is more accessible with notes. Specifically, one that doesn’t require me to tri-fold my bills. Check out our wallet reviews for more information.
I usually don’t carry my keys while traveling, especially if I’m overseas. However, I still carry a multi-tool. Instead of my Leatherman Style PS, I carry a more simple and inexpensive tool like the Gerber Shard. The Shard is a one-piece design tool. It lacks the complexity of a real multi-tool but instead is simple and straightforward. It still has some useful tools and functions, including a:
- Pry bar
- Flat-head screwdriver (two different sizes)
- Wire stripper
- Bottle opener
- Nail puller
- Phillips screwdriver
Like the Leatherman Style PS, it doesn’t have a knife blade. However, I’ve found the screwdriver edge and nail puller to work great for opening packages and bags.
The reason I think this is a fantastic tool for traveling is that it’s simple and easy to inspect. The classic multi-tool design requires someone to open the tools to see what’s there. This tool doesn’t have that problem. Also, it only costs $7 and can be found for even less on sites like Amazon.
While the Leatherman Style PS can technically pass through TSA since it doesn’t have a knife blade, I don’t actually travel with it. The reason being that I would feel annoyed having this tool confiscated by airport security, especially since it’s $30. Also, it does look a bit tactical. It doesn’t bother me, but I worry that it might draw unnecessary attention if I carried it abroad. While I miss scissors and tweezers, I think the Gerber Shard is a great compromise. And at $7, I won’t be heartbroken if an airport official decides to confiscate it.
Other EDC items
There are other items that have come and gone in my set-up, like flashlights and pens. I used to carry a small keychain pen called the Nite Ize Inka Mobile. Though I found myself using it less and less every day, especially since things are more digital these days. I also have used a pocket clip on my keychain to items positioned and easily accessible in my pocket. For clips, I recommend the TEC Accessories P-7 Keychain Suspension Clip. It’s only $12, looks discrete, and does a great job of keeping your keys and other items aligned in your pocket.
What items do you carry in your EDC? I’d love to hear if you have any gadgets or devices that you find especially helpful and useful.
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