By Dave Johnson

No matter who you are or what you do, you probably carry certain essential items on you. What you choose for your everyday carry (EDC) items says a lot about you. There are hundreds of potential items to choose from, so let’s narrow it down and discuss a few of my top EDC recommendations.

I think every man needs to carry at least three items at all times: a knife, a flashlight, and a pen. When you start carrying them, you realize just how convenient and essential they are.

The pen is self-explanatory- you always need something to write with. Whether it be signing receipts, taking notes or measurements, a pen is an easy suggestion, and probably something you use daily.

  You also need a good flashlight. When you need to illuminate the night or a dark crevice a flashlight is your best friend. No, your crappy cellphone light doesn’t count. Even the tiniest EDC flashlight out-performs your phone, making it worthwhile EDC selection.model

  Lastly, you need a good knife. A knife is perhaps my most-used tool that I carry. From cutting tape, boxes, strings on clothes, or opening plastic packaging, a knife is immensely practical and versatile. Once you start carrying one, you’ll find it worth its weight in gold. A knife is perhaps the most difficult of the three choices to recommend due to the legality of many blades; often varying based on your locale. Every local governing region has laws regarding knives such as size and features—not to mention the rules your employer might impose. Regardless, it’s still worth mentioning because of its usefulness. Just be certain you abide by the laws governing your municipality.

I believe that most EDC items can be categorized for two types of men: The Classy Guy, and The Badass, each with different aesthetics and values: sophistication versus power. It’s a generalization, but I think all men can identify with one side more than the other.

First up, the classy guy.

Nothing exudes class quite like a fountain pen. The Visconti Homo Sapiens Midi is a great choice which is both practical and beautiful. Its body is crafted from lava rock, giving it an interesting look and feel. The Midi is their slightly smaller Homo Sapiens pen. Its built-in piston converter makes ink refills easy, and the 24kt palladium nib is exceptionally smooth, with several sizes available. And if you aren’t a fan of fountain pens, they also have ballpoint and rollerball versions. It oozes luxury and sophistication, and is sure to start conversations every time you bring it out. Price: $440 

Few flashlights are built with as much class and quality as the Beta-QR by Prometheus Lights. I chose brass, but it is also available in copper and aluminum finishes. It is a simple twist-function light that runs on a AAA battery and has three modes offering 1, Brass Flashlight15, and 85 lumens respectively with a fantastic naturally colored beam. It comes with a keychain quick-release with perfect attachment tension. If you don’t like the keychain, you can replace it with an optional pocket clip, but I say keep it. The Beta-QR has all the light output you’ll need and is simple to use, making it a very impressive EDC light. Price: $69

KnifeMy last classy choice is the Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21. The Sebenza is arguably the best production-made knife around. It’s modern, opens smoothly, locks up like a bank vault,
and has aerospace machining tolerances. I opted for the Insingo blade without inlays, but there are many options you can choose from such as; large and small versions, left-handed versions, inlay options (for grip and aesthetics), and either the standard drop point blade or Insingo blade. When you hold one, you’ll understand. Simply put–it’s perfection. Any knife and option you choose from Chris Reeve Knives is not only a classy choice, it’s a world-class choice. Price: $350

Now let’s talk about the badass.

Karas Kustoms is a machining company that has made everything from car parts, pens, copper penand even tops. The Render K is their first pen, and still my favorite among their line. With a simple twist cap and versatile Pilot G2 refill platform—upgradeable to Montblanc or Schmidt refills for extra cool points—its simplicity and quality of machining are unparalleled, making this an easy recommendation. The pens come in copper, brass, or various finishes of aluminum. My choice is copper, which is visually appealing with its patina and solid heft—but you don’t care, you’re a badass. Price: $95

FlashlightThe Olight S1 Baton is the brightest, smallest, simplest flashlight I’ve found, it also happens to be one of the best. It’s easy to use with its side positioned switch, powered by a CR123 battery. The three main modes are 8, 80, and a blinding 500 lumens along with a hidden moonlight mode of .5 lumen and hidden strobe feature. It also has flat magnetic tail cap and removable pocket clip, which adds a ton of utility and convenience. It comes standard in black anodized aluminum, offering the option of a titanium upgrade, making this a great choice for the badass in you. Price: $79

For knives, no company has the attitude of Zero Tolerance—nor the quality to match it. KnifeJust a glance at the Zero Tolerance 0456 and you know why it’s here. The sculpted titanium frame, flipper design, pop of blue, and angular lines all scream “cool”. It’s based on a custom knife from Dimitry Sinkevich, but doesn’t dumb it down as a production knife. It has a CTS-204P steel blade, super-smooth ball-bearing pivot, and solid frame-lock design, making this knife a quality choice as well as a badass one. Price: $300

All of these choices are great, and you might find that you like items in both categories. Either way, you can’t go wrong carrying these in your EDC rotation.