Julie’s gadget diary – Refining my pocket EDC

{ 26 comments }

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In my neverending quest to find the best and most useful EDC gear, I’ve decided to focus on the items that I carry in my pockets. Since I don’t carry a purse or wear a belt, the items have to be small, lightweight and serve more than one purpose. 

I recently reviewed the Trayvax Summit wallet and have fallen in love with it because it’s the perfect size and weight for minimalist pocket carry. Until the Trayvax, I had not embraced extreme minimalists wallets because I felt I was missing the ability to carry all my cards, cash, receipts etc. But when I actually sat down and thought about the cards that I used regularly, I realized it was only my Visa card, driver’s license and Sam’s club card. I didn’t really need to carry those little loyalty cards that most stores offer because I do 99% of my shopping at Walmart and they don’t use loyalty cards. For the stores that do, you can usually type your phone number into the credit card machine to get any discounts that they might offer.

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As for cash, I find that I rarely use it any more. I’d rather use my credit card because I earn points / cash back on every purchase. But for the times I do use cash, I keep three bills folded up and stored on the back of the Trayvax. I like to keep a $5 bill and two $1 bills for small purchases that I might need to make.

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I’m also using the Trayvax Summit wallet as my “notebook”. You’re probably scratching your head at that one. But here’s what I do… I put 4-5 business cards (old ones that I’m trying to use up) at the bottom of my card stack. The cards serve two purposes. If I meet someone and want to share my website, email address or phone number, I just hand them a card. And if I need to write a quick note, I just pull out a card, turn it over and write on the back and then slip it back in the stack. This is less bulky than carrying a Field Notes or other pocket notebook.

My current pocket pen of choice is a Fisher Bullet Space pen that was given to me as a gift. It’s small, has no pointy parts that jab me when it’s in my pocket and never fails to write. Smaller pocket pens are great, but most of them make my hand cramp because they are too small to write with comfortably. So I like that the Fisher pen turns into a full sized pen when the cap is posted on the back.

What else do I carry? Sometimes I carry the Photon X-Light Micro LED flashlight. I like it because it is tiny, bright for its size and has a thumb click on/off button that is very easy to use. I don’t carry this every day, but it weighs almost nothing and is barely noticeable in my pocket.

What am I missing? I want to find a very tiny knife or multi-tool. I already carry a Leatherman Squirt in my gear bag, but I don’t want to carry it in my pocket because although it’s pretty tiny, it’s not tiny enough to earn a spot in my pocket. All I really need is a small blade and a screw driver, so I’m on the hunt for one that will work for me.

Last but not least, I would like to find a thin USB flash drive or microSD card reader. I’m looking for one that is very flat so that I might be able to store it in the back of the Trayvax wallet below the cash clip.

If you have any product suggestions or would like to share your own ultra-minimalist pocket EDC setup, please do so in the comments below. I love hearing what other people find useful.

Posted in: Articles, Pocket Gear
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • David Beck June 5, 2016, 10:11 pm

    Does your pocket EDC include your keychain? I keep a Leatherman Style PS on my keychain, which is far tinier than even the squirt, but still has pliers, a screwdriver blade, tweezers and a bottle opener. It is TSA safe so it only has really small scissors, instead of a knife. Those work fine for opening most packages including cardboard boxes. If you need a bigger knife blade the Style CS does have one in a similarly sized package.

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 6:45 am

      Thanks for the tips. I’ll go check out those other Leathermans. As for your question about keychains… No, I do not carry my keychain in my pocket. I drive a MINI Cooper and the key fob is kind of large. Remember, I’m a girl. I don’t want to look to lumpy carrying a lot of gear in my pockets 🙂

  • Ales Vaupotic June 6, 2016, 2:30 am
  • Serge Stambolyan June 6, 2016, 8:47 am

    I would recommend the Gerber Zip blade. Very tiny and can hook onto anywhere and is perfect for small things like opening boxes or cutting off tape.

    http://www.amazon.com/Gerber-GDC-Zip-Blade-31-001742/dp/B00AU6AVM6

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 9:14 am

      Thanks for sharing. The Gerber would work for a blade, but it doesn’t include a screwdriver which I’d also like.

  • Clint Berry June 6, 2016, 8:58 am

    The Gerber Artifact Keychain Tool is a must on my pocket EDC list.
    Great knife, light weight (~ 1.5 oz), flat, and very versatile. It uses a replaceable exacto blade (available at WalMart) and has a prybar, screwdrivers, etc.

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 9:14 am

      I think this is bigger than my Squirt, so it’s too big for me… looks nice though.

  • Robert Grenader June 6, 2016, 9:17 am

    Jules;

    I’ve carried these for years, small, compact and at 32 Gb does everything I need:

    http://www.lacie.com/products/usb-keys/petitekey/#specs

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 11:46 am

      I think I have one of those somewhere. I will have to see if it fits in the cash slot of the Trayvax. Thanks for the idea!

  • Seth June 6, 2016, 11:11 am

    I’ve found this little bit helpful…..you could could hook it to your wallet or flashlight….

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/klinkokids/titanium-pocket-bit-key-ring-screwdriver-edc-multi

  • Mark June 6, 2016, 12:13 pm

    Hello again, Julie. Check out the Swiss+Tech Utili-Key 6-in-1. It is shaped like a key and is about as minimalist as you can get for a cutting tool with flat and Phillips screwdrivers. I carry it on my key ring, along with my front door key and a Streamlight Nano. This, my very slim front-pocket wallet, and my wristwatch make up my entire EDC.

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 12:19 pm

      Ding ding ding, we may have a winner! The Swiss+Tech does look about as minimal as you can get.

      • Seth June 6, 2016, 12:35 pm

        I’ve had that gadget. Just be careful, as it’s easy to poke yourself or damage your pants pocket.

        • Mark June 6, 2016, 1:04 pm

          I’ve carried it in my pocket on my key ring in my right front pocket every day for about 18 years and never had a problem. When folded, the knife tip is protected as the relatively blunt Phillips extends beyond it. YMMV, but that’s never been a problem for me.

      • Alan Claver June 6, 2016, 4:07 pm

        I have one of those on my keychain. It’s hard to open up and awkward to use because the sharp blade is exposed while you’re using it as a screwdriver. However it’s the only product that satisfies my requirement that it fit on my keychain and be flat. It’s the best compromise out there.

        • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 4:52 pm

          I was wondering about that – the fact that the blade is exposed while using it as a screwdriver. My luck I’d cut myself. This one is on my list but I’m still looking.

          • Alan Claver June 6, 2016, 7:44 pm

            The knife “blade” locks at 90 degrees from the Philips “blade” so you can kind of use it like a T driver. Or it locks at 180 and so you have to be careful that the blade is facing away from your palm.

            It’s really only for VERY light screwing tasks. What’s really tricky is when you want to use the bottle opener – I’ve been too scared as you have to put pressure right where the blade is located.

            If I needed it for any sort of torque, I’d surely put something over the blade.

          • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 7:46 pm

            Thanks for the extra info.

          • Mark June 7, 2016, 9:19 am

            The knife blade really hasn’t been a problem for me. When using any of the screwdrivers (Phillips, standard, or small standard) the thing is locked at 90 degrees (or all the way open), and my thumb and forefinger hold the “head” of the key. I normally open it all the way only when using the knife blade. When using the bottle opener, it’s again locked at 90 degrees, and one lifts up on the shaft of the Phillips screwdriver. It doesn’t have a huge amount of leverage, so I may go around and lift at two or three points around the cap instead of trying to pry the bottlecap off all at once. However, like the screwdriver and knife blades, I wouldn’t use this when I could grab a tool from the toolchest or kitchen drawer. Instead, it works well for me when I’m in a pinch and there isn’t a tool at hand.

  • Evelina June 6, 2016, 9:49 pm

    If all you want is a small blade and screwdriver, then the Victorinox Classic is as small as you can get! And for a small flashlight, try the Four Sevens Atom 0 flashlight. I carry those two plus my Fischer space pen everyday in my pockets!

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 6, 2016, 9:53 pm

      I’ve really never been that impressed with the quality of the Victorinox / Swiss Army knife blades / tools.
      I already have a flashlight, so I have that covered 🙂

  • Michael June 7, 2016, 1:07 am

    Loyalty cards ? There’s an app for that. I used Stocard. It comes with a lot of default card templates which let you photograph the barcode on your card and you are set to go. Just pass over your phone to be scanned. If there is no template you can photograph the card anyway. You can also get it to remind you to use your cards by location and track special offers. I had a problem with one store I use a lot because the bar code was unusual. The guys who make the card got onto the store and sorted it out.

    • Julie Strietelmeier June 7, 2016, 6:47 am

      I only have 3 loyalty cards: CVS, Yomama’s Frozen Yogurt and Kroger. It’s easier for me to just type my phone number in the credit card machine then fiddle around with my phone.

  • Andrew H. June 8, 2016, 2:44 am

    For tiny USB drives, I highly recommend these models that do not have a full USB hood. They are much thinner and hardier because of their one-piece design:

    https://www.amazon.com/Verbatim-Micro-Flash-Drive-44051/dp/B0042NDSVE
    https://www.amazon.com/Super-Talent-Pico-C-STU32GPCS-Silver/dp/B002MCB54Y/

    I’ve carried these around on keychains for years and the only disaster I had was that the little plastic ring piece on one of the Verbatim drives broke (the attachment point is definitely a weak point, but you can use a small cord or chain to lessen the strain).

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