Keys are an essential part of life and are likely a critical part of your EDC. Optimizing them for their weight, utility and size is a good way to ensure you're not carrying around stuff you don't need, while adding gear that might be able to come in handy while you're out and about.
We look at how to organize your keychain using gear such as the CountyComm Widgy Pico Titanium Pry Bar, Victorinox Classic Alox, MARATAC's Copper AAA Flashlight and the MARATAC Stainless Steel Split Pea Lighter. We also include the TEC Accessories Python Clip, EXOTAC's FREEkey with the extra split rings coming from the TEC Accessories Split Ring Kit #1 (24-Pack)
If you take a look at the keys you carry every day, there is a good chance there are a few old keychains you don't use but still carry around (like that old plastic freebie, advertising the car dealership where you bought your car or truck). Being intentional, which we talk extensively about here at Option Gray, about your Primary, Secondary and Extended EDC allows for you to prepare yourself for the unexpected and also the mundane.
Since keys are such an integral part of your EDC, there are three things you need to consider:
Utility <--> Weight <--> Size
These three considerations are not necessarily more important than the other, as it depends on where you're going, what you're doing and who you'll be with. Only you know what EDC gear you ultimately need.
- Utility: Keys (for your vehicle, house, work, storage, etc.), back-up cutting tool to your EDC knife, EDC flashlight are all uses for the gear you have. Ensuring that you put thought to what you're carrying and why prevents you from leaving critical EDC gear off
- Weight: Evaluating aluminum or titanium against the heavier metals such as copper and brass can make sure you don't regret a possibly expensive gear purchase
- Size: A bigger better EDC knife may not be feasible due to the conditions you'll be in, which is just one of the size considerations that needs to be made. Bigger is not necessarily always better, especially when your keys budge in your pocket, making an uncomfortable mess
Tips on how to organize your keychain
As you flex your Primary EDC based on these three considerations and change it up depending on what you're doing, what you're wearing and who you're going with, ideas to help you be more intentional include:
- Dropping any keys or keychains that offer no function
- Adding 2-3 TEC Accessories Python Clips for maximum flexibility (read our 5 Uses for the TEC Accessories Python Clip here); easily take on and off bulky car key fobs, flashlights and more
- Thinking beyond the traditional jump ring to something like the EXOTAC FREEkey or FREEkey System that allows for similar flexibility, allowing you to quickly change your keychain setup
- A super-small EDC flashlight, we've got a ton of great micro flashlights to consider, so you're never without light
- Leave keys that you don't use often but still need to have with you (storage lock key, gym key, family members house keys, etc.) on a separate key ring and put it in the glove box of your vehicle
- Separate your work and personal keys onto two different sets so in the evenings and on weekends you can drop the extra weight
- Consider an organizational system like Keybar, whose slogan "Stop the Noise!" represents their unique ability to have your keys fold up but still be easily accessible. Other good options that offer a similar benefit are Keysmart or Orbitkey
To help you get your keychain more organized, here is some inspiration for gear that can optimize what you carry in your pocket.
CountyComm Widgy Titanium Pry Bar, Pico ($23.99)
An EDC knife (either folding or fixed blade) is such a tool that you will find countless uses for, but there are many instances where using your EDC blade is not ideal. Having a tool to pry, scrape, open boxes, removing staples, etc. can save your pocket knife from damage.
The titanium pry bar from CountyComm fits nicely on a keychain and at only 2" long, it is virtually indestructible. Try carrying one and get in the habit of reaching for it for any task that doesn't require cutting.
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Silver Alox ($19.99)
The Victorinox Classic multitool is much that--a classic. It is an incredibly small and lightweight way to always insure you have basic cutting abilities with both a blade, scissors and nail file/screwdriver tip.
The Silver Alox version of the Victorinox Classic series gives your multitool durability over the well-known red celidor Swiss Army scales as well as an updated sleek look. On the opposite side of the shield, the Classic Alox features an engraving panel that allows your knife to be personalized. Just take it to a local engraving shop.
MARATAC Copper AAA Flashlight ($49.99)
With a simple class, machined look, the MARATAC AAA flashlight is machined out of solid billet ultra conductive pure alloy 101 copper and boasts an impressive 138 lumens on high. The new Rev 3 version has three levels of brightness, low - medium - high, and the LED emitter, a Cree XP-G2 R5, has a life span up to 50,000 hours. At just under an ounce in weight, its hard to beat the functionality and beauty of this single AAA battery flashlight.
It is small enough to keep on your flashlight but to take off when you need or prefer something larger. Just connect it with a TEC Accessories Python Clip (like you see here) to give your Primary EDC the most flexibility.
MARATAC Stainless Steel Split Pea Lighter ($13.99)
Having the ability to make fire on you at all times is a critical piece of EDC. With so many EDC gear options on how to start a fire, your choices can be overwhelming, but a small lighter attached to your keychain is a good choice.
The Split Pea Lighter is the smallest lighter on the market. It's a tiny 1.3" high and only weighs 0.65 ounces, making it hard to notice on a keychain. It's also available in a slightly larger size. We've put together a Split Pea and Peanut Lighter comparison review here.
Our Everyday Carry series takes a look into the different types of gear and gadgets found in pockets, bags, and however else you choose to carry your stuff. Check out more posts just like this and get inspired.