I don't usually talk about myself or my life, they simply don't fit with the purpose of GQ! most of the time. However, today I'd like to talk about what I view as the key essentials for every man and woman to have on their person at all (or almost all) times.
1. The first and most important of all is a wallet. Your wallet contains ID, a CHL (if you have one), and money. All three of which are key to daily life, or identification if forced to deal with law enforcement. This should be the foundation of a person's EDC kit. I use an old leather Columbia tri-fold and it serves quite well.
2. Phone. A phone is ranked for the sole purpose of communication. If cut off from home for whatever reason a phone allows you to contact family or friends to secure aid or see how they are doing. It also allows you to contact law enforcement if something is going on that shouldn't be going on. Make sure whatever phone you have is durable, has good battery life, and you have a carrier with good coverage.
3. Knife. A sturdy pocket knife can be invaluable. Good steel, good edge retention, and quick deployment. Make sure any knife you carry is legal in your area. My personal choice for a pocket knife currently is a Kershaw Brawler, with an SOG Trident as backup. I carried a Kershaw RJI for years before I messed up the Speedsafe mechanism when I opened the knife up. I really like Kershaw's combination of their Speedsafe system in tandem with a liner lock. The combination allows one handed use (if you know what your doing, it takes some practice not to cut yourself) and speed in deployment. But, it really is a matter of personal preference. Do your research and find what fits your budget.
4. Flashlight. A flashlight can be used in working on a car, crawling around in the attic, or anything in a low light environment. I like Four Sevens lights a lot, but they can be a bit pricey. Find a light with a good output, varying brightnesses, durable, and batteries that be easily found.
These four items are the basics of my personal kit which I carry daily. Here are a couple more items which I have found are excellent additions, but are not essential.
A multitool. A solid multitool can be a major asset in doing anything from making minor car repairs to fixing a door hinge. There are a lot of good multi-tool makers out there, Gerber, Leatherman, Victorinox, and others. I carry a Leatherman Wave, which I like a lot. It's a bit on the pricey side though. 60 on Amazon. The thing that sealed the deal for me on Leatherman was the ability to use a bit kit and an extender with it. A bit kit is a set of 20 double sided 1/4in bits ranging from a 1/4in hex bit to a Torx #25 bit. It allows you to carry a miniaturized set of screwdrivers with you. Regardless of what model or maker a multi-tool is a great addition to an EDC kit.
Fixed blade knives. I don't always carry a fixed blade simply because I am unable to conceal it satisfactorily with what I'm wearing. I generally carry them more to use as a box cutter or something innocuous like that. I carry a CS Kobun and a S&W HRT7T in my boots, and occasionally a SOG Seal Pup on my belt under a jacket. These tend to be the least used items on my person, but they are good to have just in case.
A pistol. If you have a CHL I highly recommend you use it. If you have jumped through the hoops to get a CHL you probably know the legal implications and rules governing your actions using a pistol. So, I won't bother going there. I don't have a CHL at the moment. I intend to get one when I have the funds to so. I won't give my opinions on what make a good carry piece, because I don't have any experience conceal carrying (if someone does have experience, recommendations on a carry piece would be greatly appreciated in the comments). Regardless, if you have a CHL, use it. A pistol is a game changer in self-defense and allows you to go on the offense against most assailants.
I write this post to give my opinion on what I think an EDC kit should look like, and my opinions on certain tools. These are my opinions and mine alone. Take what you see here and do your research. If you buy a knife, multitool, flashlight, hell even a wallet, research the item. Find out about problems this or that item may have had, find a solution, see what people are saying about that piece of kit. Learn from what others put out there and make your decisions wisely.
Finally, with whatever you carry, be sane, be normal, don't attract attention, and don't do any thing stupid. Keep your mouth shut about what your carrying unless asked by a police officer, don't flip out a knife in public unless you really have to, and keep you kit concealed. Thanks for reading this, and be safe out there.