A year or two ago, I had taken my key ring out of my purse. It was a jumble of extra rings, keys that I had no idea what they opened, and a heavy fob that was given to me when I purchased my car years ago and had been worn smooth until it was just a hunk of metal. I decided that I was going to update my keyring and make it more functional.
After I had removed the extra keys and rings that I no longer used, I decided to research to see if I could find ideas on how to organize my keys better. What I discovered is a new fad called “everyday carry” or EDC. This is a hobby where people take being prepared for life’s little needs to a new level. I was intrigued as I scanned photos of what other people carried in their pockets and read about their ideas of preparedness. Some were survivalists that were preparing for the next nuclear war, but there were many others like myself who simply wanted to function in an urban environment more comfortably.
So what makes a basic EDC? It turns out that there are a couple of basics that most people keep in their pockets. A phone, a keyring, a wallet, a flashlight, a pen, a multi-tool, and a knife. The phone and wallet seemed normal enough to me, but the rest I sort of scratched my head at.
My first purchase was a leather key fob with a clip that I could attach to my purse and a sturdy ring for my keys. I put my car keys and regular keys on the new ring. It had a flower concho on it for decoration and I was pleased with the look and the inexpensive price tag.
I discovered a tiny keychain sized flashlight called a Streamlight Nano. I found that having a flashlight on your person all the time was a godsend. No more having to fumble with my key when I came home at night because my husband had forgotten to turn on the porch light. It helped me feel safer when going to my car after the end of a night class. After a few weeks of using the flashlight on my keyring, I was convinced that developing a useful EDC was the right way to go.
My next purchase was a Fox40 safety whistle. It is quite loud, lightweight and sturdy. Because it is pealess, it will not freeze up in cold weather. I wanted a whistle since I’m alone at night on campus or when I’m out in the park walking my dog. I never used it at school in the end, but I did use it once for an emergency. I had fallen in our garage and injured myself. I tried to call out for my husband on the other side of the property, but he could not hear me. I had my keys and the whistle with me. I blew on the whistle and this brought my husband to me. I will always keep a whistle on my keyring for now on.
The whistle, flashlight and keys are all I keep on my main keyring. It can go through the airport security or into any building without any problem with these items and the tools give me a little added help with my day to day life. However, there were the other recommended items, the multi-tool, the knife and the pen.
For my pen, I purchased a Fisher Trekker Space Pen. It came with a lightweight carabiner and that little black clip became the main holder of my “tool keyring”. The Trekker has a ring on the pen cap so my space pen hangs in my purse in a place that is easy to get to. Now I always have a good quality pen where ever I go. I added a small moleskine notebook in my purse to go with the pen. When I go to seminars or have a writing idea, I can capture ideas on the fly and go back to it later when I’m home on my computer. I highly recommend carrying a pen and a moleskine to all writers. It really makes a difference.
I did not have much trouble deciding on the multi-tool. I bought a little $20 Leatherman Micra for the job. Its main tool are a good pair of scissors, but it has a nail file, nail cleaner, a bottle opener and a flathead/philips head screwdriver along with a small flat head screwdriver. It also has a tiny blade, but I seldom use it. The multi-tool is barely 2″ long and takes up little room. I find that I use it quite often, especially when I travel or when I’m in a class or workshop.
The knife was a difficult decision for me. I had never carried a dedicated folder before. Women of my generation were not encouraged to do so, although I’ve been discovering that younger women think nothing of it. The state I live in has stricter knife laws than other places, so in the end I chose a sub 2″ blade from Spyderco called a ladybug. It helped that the scales came in many color choices, including purple! The blade is super sharp, of a high grade of steel and it locks for added safety when using it. It slices through packages like butter, will cut a sandwich in a hotel room without sweat and in general is an excellent beater blade. Its been my main pocket knife for two years and still looks like new.
I have purchased a few more EDC items since then, but these items I’ve listed are my core and go with me everywhere. By adding tools to my everyday carry and learning how to use them in my daily life, I feel more confident in the way that I tackle the world and live a little more comfortably in the process.
When was the last time you updated YOUR keyring? :)