Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Belly Bands
- Top Five Hollywood Gun Handling Awards
- And Top Five Everyday Carry Gun Belts
- Top Five Newer Guns I Recommend You Try
- Top Five Deep Cover Carry Options
This is the golden era of everyday carry gear. So there’s really no excuse not to have all of these basic pieces of gear with you at all times. But, even if you are equipped with all of these items, it might be worthwhile to consider giving away what you’ve got and then upgrading accordingly. That way, you can introduce a newbie to the nuances of EDC — allowing him or her to use the gear and learn about EDC and so on — and you can get newer gear. Win, win. For the record, I know that everyone’s everyday carry gear list is going to be different and I’m assuming you’re already carrying a wallet, mobile phone and at least a folding knife and probably a gun. With that, here are some ideas on what you can give away and acquire for EDC in 2018.
1. Keychain Tool
Give away the mini multi-tool — the one that requires two hands and multiple fingernails to deploy — and replace it with a much simpler tool that rides along with your keys. Numerous keychain tools are available today, including the Griffin Pocket Tool, a $25 wonder incorporating a bottle opener, bit driver, four sizes of hex driver, pry bar, flathead screwdriver, 5/16-inch hex wrench, scoring tool and pocket clip.
Most useful tools: the bottle opener and the pocket clip. Actually, the pry bar comes in quite handy too. Attached to your keychain, all the tools are instantly available but out of the way. The Griffin features polished stainless steel construction, measures 3 inches long by 0.6 inches wide and 0.2 inches in diameter and weighs 0.4 to 0.8 ounces.
2. Individual First-Aid Kit
Give away your basic first-aid kit — the one with bandages, first-aid cream and the splinter kit — and replace it with a trauma kit meant to handle serious injuries. You can add some light-duty, first-aid essentials if needed. But let’s have an individual first-aid kit capable of helping to save a life. You don’t need an EMS “first-in” bag or a backpack full of extraneous gear; a few simple items will suffice for helping preserve life in a life-threatening incident.
Not only are IFAKs, such as the $90 model from Spartan Armor Systems full of gear, they’re also very portable and can deploy quickly. Spartan’s kit includes a MOLLE first-aid pouch, trauma shears, a removable medical patch, a Celox 15g Hemostatic Granule Packet, a Swat-Tourniquet (Swat-T Tourniquet pressure dressing elastic bandage), two Foxseal Chest Seals in single package (or equivalent based on availability), a 4-inch Sterile Compressed Bandage, an Olaes 4-inch Modular Bandage (for treatment of moderate hemorrhage), .5-inch by 2.5 yards of waterproof medical tape and a pair of universally-sized, heavy-duty, tan nitrile medical gloves.
3. Credit Card Survival Tool
Give away the credit card tool you picked up for free at the last trade show you attended — the one that came in the vinyl sleeve and bends when you try to use it — and replace it with a more evolved version, such as the Zootility Pocket Monkey Deluxe (about $12).
This 12-in-1 stainless steel tool measures about the same size as a credit card and is only 1mm thick. On board is a phone kickstand, bottle opener, flat screwdriver, micro screwdriver, door latch slip, letter opener, hex wrenches, Phillips screwdriver, orange peeler, banana nicker, ruler and straightedge. Truly useful tools. Yep, this doubles up a couple tools on the keychain tool, but sometimes it’s good to have some equipment redundancy.
4. Keychain Flashlight
Actually, don’t give away the disposable keychain light you picked up at the trade show (along with the credit card tool). Maybe give the extra one away, keep one for yourself and add a keychain light with a bit more brightness, durability and portability to your collection. You just can’t have too many light sources, and they should range from cheapie freebies to serious tools.
Even though you’ve already got keys and a keychain tool, it’s no trouble to add a smallish light, such as the Tec Accessories Pixel Titanium Microlight. Retailing for about $45, this light measures .315 inches wide and 1.87 inches long and includes white and red LEDs. Powered by four watch batteries (included), the light weighs just more than a quarter ounce. Besides the titanium construction, the light includes a water-resistant O-ring seal and the square body design prevents it from rolling away. Twist on and off.
5. Tactical Pen
Give away the black kubaton that’s been sitting in the pen slot of your backpack for who knows how long — the one that can also serve as a keychain but never does — and replace it with a tactical pen, such as the Tuff Writer Operator. Retailing for $95.95, this is one serious strike weapon. Actually, it’s a fantastic and eminently durable pen. Yep, it’s both, of course, and therein lies its value in everyday carry. It’s always good to carry a pen and it’s even better to carry a pen that can double as a self-defense tool.
Like your wallet, phone and keys, it’ll always be with you — or at least it should be — and it will draw no attention whatsoever. But it’s at the ready and can even be in your hand, ready to deploy, without looking out of place. Some argue that you can get away with simply carrying a metal pen. Maybe so! But I like the idea of something significantly stronger with a knurled grip of some sort — in other words, a tool meant to take the abuse of what might turn out to be a last-ditch, life-saving fight.
There. You’ve gotten rid of some older but still useful gear, introduced a friend to some everyday carry essentials and acquired some of the latest and greatest everyday carry gear out there. What else can you give away? More importantly, what else would you recommend we acquire for everyday carry in 2018?
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.