Illustration for article titled The Never-Ending Quest To Shrink My Everyday CarryPhoto: Whitson Gordon

Top product: Samsung Galaxy S10e | $ 359 | Back Market

I am fascinated by that Everyday wear (EDC) Community demonstrating the useful tools to get you through the day. But I feel like I have the opposite goal: to have as few things in my pocket as possible. As a result, I came up with a slightly different strategy: my everyday comfort is extremely small, and everything else I need is strategically placed around my house and car – sometimes in multiples – so I can access it when I need it without it actually wear on my person.

The stuff I wear every day

I only have four things in my pocket: my phone, my wallet, my bunch of keys (only for necessities) and a box cutter for the myriad shipments that come to my door. (Working in product reviews is a blessing and a curse.)

My phone is one refurbished Samsung Galaxy S10e I got it from Back Market for a very reasonable price – nothing too interesting about it other than the now basically extinct headphone jack.

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$ 12

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I pop occasionally a slim case on it, but I usually like to live dangerously (and only then inevitably drop my phone on the sidewalk, so do what I say, not like me).

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Illustration for article titled The Never-Ending Quest To Shrink My Everyday Carry

I try to keep everything else as small as possible. I keep my ID, debit card, and a single credit card online Ridge wallet, an aluminum wallet that is literally the same size as the cards themselves – making them significantly smaller than even the narrowest leather wallets. All other cards are in my car (e.g. restaurant gift cards), my phone (my health insurance card), or my desk (my business credit card, which is not widely used in brick and mortar stores). The Ridge Wallet is a bit expensive, but if you are on a tight budget there are plenty of imitations of varying sheen. ThisWorks well, for example, but has a slight sound of nails on a board when cards are pulled in and out, as opposed to the smooth gliding of the ridge.

You can combine all of these with if you want a wallet case also for your mobile phone.

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$ 75

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$ 28

My keys are … well, they are keys, although most of the time I only have one house key and a few different keys to things in my house – plus a YubiKey for two-factor authentication. I used to think these were unnecessary, but after seeing how much faster they are than looking up a code on my phone, I have one on my keychain so I can easily access it all day. If you have more modern equipment there is one too USB-C / Lightning version that should cover everything you need. My car keys are noticeably missing in my keys – I’ll come back to that later.

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While tactical knives are incredibly popular with EDC gamers, I’ve gotten a little less survivor and stuck to a small, collapsible box cutter from Gerber. I sang the praises of Gerber EAB beforehand, but suffice to say it does exactly the job it should do without taking up much space in my pocket. Once you’ve opened enough Amazon boxes to blunt the blade, insert a new one and be on your way – the standard EAB is the smallest, but that EAB Lite offers a slightly larger form factor with a slightly lower weight. Both will work wonderfully, I own both and hardly notice the difference between them.

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Oh, and I think people often include watches in their EDC posts, but it exists in this strange space between clothes and tools, so I don’t see it as part of the kit – if it’s not in my pocket, I don’t confuse it with EDC. But for the curious that Orient Ray is my personal favorite watch. It’s downright low tech (for someone who writes about tech), but it’s easily one of the best automatic watches you can get for this price, with a hand-wound and hacking movement, and a 40-hour, 200-meter power reserve Water resistance. I will evangelize this watch until my face is blue but if you are on a budget then Casio has plenty of robust alternatives at cheaper prices.

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$ 48

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The stuff that lives elsewhere

Illustration for article titled The Never-Ending Quest To Shrink My Everyday CarryPhoto: Whitson Gordon

These are nowhere near the only items I need all day, but everything else is not strictly necessary and can be kept in optimal locations so I can grab them on the way to the door. For example, my car keys live on one magnetic key holder next to the door to the garage. This way I keep my useful keys with me while the car’s bulky trailer only takes up space when I’m actually driving.

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$ 16

The same goes for my many pairs of cheap sunglasses, Earphones, mask and hand disinfectant, pencilsand everything else i need.

Illustration for article titled The Never-Ending Quest To Shrink My Everyday Carry

In fact, I buy cheap multiples for most of these things so I can stash them anywhere – I have that a pair of non-isolating earphones in my car, for example, when I’m on the road, as a companion to my friend Bose SoundSport Wireless I use at home. My personal favorite face mask is the Wake Up & Fight mask by Hedley & Bennett, which are available in practical 3-packs, can be distributed anywhere you need them. Before I started taking the YubiKey and Gerber EAB with me, I had some of them stowed away for quick access.

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$ 25

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$ 32

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$ 129

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I’m not saying any of this because I think everyone should wear the exact same stuff as me – we all lead different lives with different needs (although I will personally vouch for everything on this list). Instead, I’m just trying to point out how much you can lose weight in these bags with the right approach and the right tiny gear. Hopefully, if your bags feel a little heavy, some of these tricks can help. In the meantime, I’ll just wait for the rest of the world to accept contactless payments so I can dispose of my wallet for good.