What's all this EDC malarkey then?

by Scribble Monboddo

The short answer is: 'Every Day Carry'. 'Sounds simple enough, but a brief internet search can create the impression that it's as bewildering a concept as advanced feng shui or extreme decluttering. Do the items included have to be carried literally every day?  Is it obligatory to show the entire world what your EDC tools are?  Does it need to include a weapon? Where do I start?

Well, first things first. Relax. EDC doesn't have to be a rigid discipline, and you're not committing a terrible social faux pas if you don't immediately load pictures of your shiny new gear onto every social media site known to humanity. Stuart does, admittedly, but he's an enthusiast, so that's OK. Clare has no intention of showing us what's in the handbag, and that's equally fine. No pressure, either way.

So what about 'every day'? Now, let's be honest, no-one really carries writing kit every day. Some days you're at home and quite conceivably don't even have pockets. And lots of us dress differently when on- or off-duty. What matters is really just what works for you – what kit do you find yourself packing on a recurrent basis?

For me, it depends whether I'm 'suited and booted' or, well, suiting myself. When I'm at work in an office and formally dressed, I'm likely to have a briefcase which can comfortably accommodate a few A5 notebooks; big enough to avoid looking silly in a meeting, but small enough to use on the tiny tray tables in trains 'n' planes. Off-duty, since I'm a bit of a fountain pen blogger, my beaten old jacket is my handbag, currently containing the EDC tools which I used to draft this blog; a Rhodia pocket-size and a Kaweco Sport in brass. That's just what happens to be handy and comfortable for me right now... and it could change any time something cool catches my eye.Rhodia A6 and Kaweco Brass Sport EDC

Leaving aside the hassle of worrying about what anyone else thinks of your EDC selections (which we humbly suggest are none of their business), thinking about what you want to write and what you will carry writing equipment in is a good place to start. If you like to sketch, plain paper is ideal – although dot-grids are also good for lo-fi technical drawings like kitchen lay-outs and garden planting plans. If you prefer to pump out poetry and prose, lined paper works well for most of us, but dot-grids can be worth trying for that too.

If you're after a pocket notebook, which is quite likely as a visitor to this site, a key criterion is the size of your 'every day pockets'. If you are literally putting a book in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, then something around the A7 mark is often wise. Many jacket pockets will accommodate anything up to A6, and if you're not fussy about the exact dimensions then there are all sorts of fun, quirky options to discover.

Some of us take the contents of our own pocket notebooks rather seriously and want to protect the covers, and maybe even archive the results. To that end it's best to opt for a standard size like A6 or the increasingly popular (in part thanks to Field Notes) pocket size; 90 x 140mm to continentals, 9 x 14cm to Brits, and 3.5" x 5.5" to Americans. These two sizes offer plenty of choice from lots of the makers featured here at Nero's Notes, and it's also fairly easy to find a 'traveller's notebook' cover for them to keep them in one piece during your every-day activities (indeed, Nero will sell you one of those too, if you like).

Then there's the vexed question of what to carry every day in order to write with.  Well, stop vexing. All that matters, again, is what works for you.  I'm a nib-snob and wouldn't be seen out in public with a ballpoint, but that's just what floats my boat. If you enjoy a roller ball, or an interesting pencil, go for it. There's plenty of choice whatever your preference, and part of the point of 'EDC' thinking is to work out by trial and error which tools you really enjoy using – then just pack those.

Experimenting really is part of the fun. Some bits of kit you might carry for a while and then retire to 'back-up' status. Some you'll fall in love with even when you didn't expect to. If you're anything like me, the surprises often turn out to be the ones you end up adopting.

Finally, when you do find the ultimate pocket writing kit which is both functional and beautiful, of course you can share a picture or two. Why not? Just don't feel you absolutely have to – oh, and best leave your gun/knife/phaser/potterwand out of the shot.

Written with – and photographed by – stuff I carry almost every day.