Everyday carry (August 2015)

Everyday carry (EDC) means the collection of items you lug around with you every day. It’s also the one of the most popular genres of manly lifestyle blogging. A typical EDC post contains a picture of knolled contents of the author’s EDC, along with a list of the items with their brand names and optionally a description why each item was chosen. One of the biggest EDC blogs is everydaycarry.com.

In theory, EDC is about being to prepared to the situations you might end up in. That’s why you’ll see lots of multitools, knives and other tools in the EDC postings. If you browse everdaycarry.com, it quickly becomes obvious that the posts are also about style, fashion and building your identity.

I find it fascinating to browse EDC posts. What even is a tactical pen? Do all those software architects really use all those knives for something? What do people write or draw into all those Field Notes notebooks? Where are all the charging cables?

Let’s have my contribution to the genre, then.

I almost always have my backpack with me and typically carry around a lot of stuff. In this picture I’ve included only the items whose absence nags me.

Smartphone. It’s a communication device, but it’s also a book, a camera, a map, a notebook and a bus timetable.

Smartphone charger. Unfortunately, the battery of an actively used smartphone runs out quickly. Carrying a smartphone without battery is almost worse than just leaving the smartphone home. This means I have to be always ready to charge it when the need arises.

There’s actually a recent study by Ferreira, McGregor and Lampinen about the impact of smartphone batteries on everyday life! The article is called Caring for Batteries. Here’s a conclusion they draw:

[W]e see how battery work impacts our lives in various ways. Also, we see how it is not just about particular moments when batteries go flat, but rather a matter of constant strategizing and anticipating of when and where one will be able to charge, navigating between a complex and varying infrastructure that we learn, build, and maintain. We take these tasks upon ourselves despite the stress they bring into our lives (as seen in the richness of the emotional-laden vocabulary used by participants); we rarely reflect back on these tasks. Perhaps there is a feeling that little can be done and we are unable to consider battery care as something optional.

Notebook, pen and pencil. I like to take lecture notes on paper. Sometimes I think on paper: if I can’t figure something out, I write what I know about in on paper or draw a picture. It usually helps.

Writing in the notebook feels too permanent, so I actually write on throw-away pieces of found paper, yet I carry around the notebook. I should work on this.

Watch. For years, I didn’t use watch, instead relying on the smartphone as a clock. I didn’t like the fact that my clock ran out of battery so often, so this spring I bought a watch. It hasn’t yet run out of battery. Success!

Key-sized multitool. A.k.a. the only multitool I ever actually use. Compared to bigger multitools, this one sucks. However, it totally beats using your keys as improvised cutting tools! I use this to open packages and to cut strings almost daily. It’s made by Semptec, but it seems to be identical to Swiss+Tech Utili-Key.

For further reading, check out Venkatesh Rao’s recent post The Things You Carry.

Comments or questions? Send me an e-mail.