Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rethinking EDC

EDITOR'S NOTE: A while back a reader sent me an email pointing out a few different things about a review.  This is nothing new.  The Cryo review generated more email than I ever thought possible.  But this reader's comments were particularly insightful.  The reader basically pointed out that gear reviews and mine in particular have certain assumptions built in that made them harder for this reader to use.  The funny thing is that these assumptions, while 100% pervasive, have a huge impact on about 50% of the potential gear carrying world and I, for one, never even stopped to consider them.  I asked this reader for some insights and here they are.  

What were these assumptions?  That the person carrying the gear is a man.

Here is Jenna's quick look at how to EDC stuff if your a woman:

When it comes to EDC everyone has their own tastes and needs, but for women a little more thought goes into what is carried due to the size of women overall as well as the impractical trends of women's fashions.

Choosing to carry a knife or EDC gear often means the style of clothing has to be well thought out. Women's clothing can be exceptionally limiting, especially when it comes to dresses. Additionally, pocket carry is often difficult for most types of women's pants. From skinny jeans to dress slacks, there generally just isn’t space for a large knife or flashlight.

Carrying anything for EDC must take into consideration [often impractical] clothing that women wear.  For me, what works best is carrying any EDC item at home first.  I do this to determine if a knife is too big for my jean pockets or if a flashlight is too bulky.  This also to help me adjust to how I can carry an item best for my daily routine. In this “at home" phase, I realized knives with blade lengths over 3 inches usually do not work well.  Over the course of a day they become uncomfortable in the pocket and usually completely pop out of the top of my pants when I sit down. The low rise style of the pants that I wear is not accommodating to carrying around a fixed blade.

Fixed blades are reliable and very useful tools, but it becomes difficult to carry a fixed blade since they are not usually made with women in mind. They are often thick and heavy, which makes them very exhausting to have on a belt.   Additionally, if a woman was to EDC a fixed blade her shirt is either too tight resulting making the blade print or the shirt is too short and the knife sticks out.  While fixed blades are great to use in the backyard or camping, it is hard to actually use them for an EDC item.

Here are some things to consider that will make it easy for any women to EDC gear.  First, pick a knife, usually a small one, that will fit comfortably in the pocket all day because larger knives are more challenging to carry in a jeans pocket. Second, distribute the bulk of your EDC evenly since pockets on women's clothing usually can't handle more than one item in them. It may also help to carry a keychain flashlight instead of trying to have it in the same pocket as a knife.  Make sure fixed blades are small, concealable, and relatively light carry.  Finally, smaller EDC items can, understandably, be easier to carry without requiring a dramatic change in wardrobe for women.

Some ideas may be obvious to women who already EDC knives, flashlights, and any other gear. But what I'd like this article to accomplish is to have my EDC experience from the female perspective shared so that others can benefit from it. The more sharing I do, the more other women can give feedback.  Hopefully, this can lead to solutions that women face when planning their EDC. 

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Here's Jenna's typical EDC:

The watch is a Coach watch, the pen is a Matthew Martin pen (gotta get me one of those), and the rest of the stuff you probably recognize: a Boker Gnome, a SAK Bantam, and the Spyderco Techno.

Thanks for the comments, article, and pic Jenna.

19 comments:

  1. Whilst some womens clothing might be at one end of the tightness/small pockets scale, I'm a bloke who wears reasonably tight jeans and doesn't own a pair of cargo pants/trousers, so I also have to read reviews with an eye as to how things will fit in my pockets. I don't carry flashlights in my pockets because of the bulk, but I do have one on my keyring. Also remember that many women carry bags or purses which many men do not. I guess my point is, don't treat women differently, treat different carry options differently. You go girls!

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  2. If Jenna would like to respond to this comment: I am really interested in buying a techno, but I'm worried that the width will be too much now that I'm accustomed to carrying "Tony's Favorite Knife," the df2 zdp189. Do you find it comfortable to carry? I find it to be an interesting choice considering toptopic of this article (edc choices with limiting clothing)

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    1. Thanks for reading the article! The techno is one of my favorite knives. I don't find the handle very wide when I carry it. I think it's actually quite comfortable to hold in the hand because the handle has a curved shape. I think the only thing you'd have to get used to is its weight.

      - Jenna

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    2. Thanks for the response! I will probably have to get a techno soon...

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  3. My wife's EDC puts mine to shame - including a set of throwing knives! She has the advantage(?) of carting a handbag around with her everywhere she goes. I'm not about to go the manbag route

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  4. Being a male, I cannot confirm that anything I'm about to say is reasonable, but in my opinion, there are many slim knives and even thin flashlights for tight carry. I don't know if these were made with women in mind or just for size, but knives like the Kershaw Leek come to mind when I think of thin knives. I have a few friends at school who are girls and get freaked out by the fact that I carry the stuff I do. When trying to introduce them to EDC, I've shown knives like the Leek, Spyderco keychain knives, or the Baladeo 37 gram type knives. Small, inobtrusive knives and tools not only seem to be practical for the average women's carry but also more appealing to beginners than a tank like a Zero Tolerance. As an anonymous commenter above said, the purse or handbag is also an option that can hold quite a bit of gear

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    1. As a fellow male, I don't have direct experience with this, but I have a lot of female friends who complain that their pockets are very shallow in addition to very tight. I know in at least one case my friend's Kershaw Leek would often start to fall out because her pockets were so shallow.

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    2. I hadn't thought about that. For modern women the focus by markets seems to be fashion over function, and the exact opposite for male focused clothing. Someone needs to make a line of girl-friendly knives or something. Thing but strong, short but comfortable to use.

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    3. Thanks for looking at the article! As both of you have mentioned there are small knives out there already. I have just found a select few that are ideal for me. Everyone has to do that when picking out an EDC knife. And yes I agree Michael someone should make a line of knives for women. Also I'd like to add while a purse can hold lots of things I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to putting more gear in my bag. I will usually only have my wallet, phone, keys, a small notebook, and a pen. I like to keep my purse light since it hangs off my shoulder almost daily. I'd rather have it comfortable than weigh me down with too much stuff.

      - Jenna

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  5. Replies
    1. I had the same thought. But maybe they're part of a rotation and she wanted to demonstrate examples of different knife types that work for her.

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    2. Ameer is correct. I figured I should show several different options. I especially wanted to show an example of a small fixed blade that I carry at times. Like my article said clothing is limited I definitely don't have enough room to carry all three at once. Thanks for reading the article!

      - Jenna

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    3. Cool.
      +1 for the spyderco.

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  6. OMG this is a neat discussion! As a male, I'm drawn to many of the female EDC reddit pics because they vary considerably from the knife/light/handgun humdrum. That said, never ONCE has such a considered conversation take place, so more like this please! I'm also interested in seeing what people in the same line of work share in common when it comes to EDC. Also, I noticed I've started to save reading this site until the end of my day, sort of as my reward for getting through work.

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  7. Hi Jenna,

    I wanted to understand: Since women typically carry purses of one sort or another - at least to hold ID, car/house keys, etc - wouldn't you be better served by carrying the pen/light/knife in a purse? By that I don't mean to carry larger devices, but from a comfort and convenience standpoint. I've always likened a woman's purse to a man's wallet, in that ID and money are carried there, so it is always with the person.

    Thanks! I'm enjoying this thread.

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    1. Thanks for the response. Basically I need things accessible. Purses need essentials like ID, money, and keys like you mentioned. But in my experience anything more than that things tend to fall to the bottom of the bag. Pockets make things easy to get to that's why I use them for my EDC stuff.

      - Jenna

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  8. I'd switch to the Jenna camp. I think her choices for EDC are great. The Techno appeals to me more than the DFII. How did she get so knowledgeable about EDC anyway?
    From her Dad maybe??
    Great EDC tastes Jenna but definitely not on a budget (expensive).
    Thanks for the insights.

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  9. I'm a woman who has been doing an everyday carry for around four or five years. I got started thinking about it when I decided to update my key ring. I confirm what Jenna says about women's clothing, you simply don't carry stuff in your pockets on a daily basis. I use a purse.

    I keep a Nano flashlight on my regular keyring and I have a "tool ring" that I hang inside my bag. There is a metal grommet at the top designed for purse straps that does double duty. The tools dangle inside the bag from a carabiner and are all in one place. When needed, I pull out the tool ring and select the tool. The only tools I don't keep there are my knife and larger flashlight. The knife has a dedicated pocket in the purse, again at the top of the bag. The flashlight is kept in a single pen leather case. It is tactical in appearance so I like to keep it more hidden from view until I need it. Otherwise it tends to freak out my girlfriends that don't carry. (The guys love it however. LOL)

    Currently I carry:

    Spyderco Ladybug Folder (purple)
    Leatherman Micra
    Pico Prybar
    Uncle Bill's Tweezers
    Fisher Space Pen Tracker
    Moleskine Pocket Notebook
    Streamlight ProTac
    Streamlight Nano
    First Aid Kit

    Few manufacturers make items that appeal to women as EDC items, even so, more woman are catching onto the trend and starting to carry simple tools with them. The trio of phone, flashlight, and knife works for us too. We like our tools to be smaller, light weight, not too tactical appearing, and available in more colors. One reason that I carry the ladybug is that not only is it a high quality locking blade (under 2" blade in length as required by law in my area), but I could get it in purple, my favorite color.

    Anyway, my thanks to Jenna for sharing her very cool EDC items. That fixed blade looks appealing, but I don't believe that I could legally carry it in my area. We have ridiculous knife laws where I live. I'll stick with my well-worn ladybug.

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  10. One word - handbag. A typical handbag will hold a Glock 22, extra magazine, SureFire R1, water bottle, a few PowerBars, 100' of paracord, makeup, cash/cards/ID with room left over.

    Those are some cool little pieces of gear, though.

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