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Budget EDC – How to Build an EDC Kit on a Budget

With all the options on the market, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed when you start to add up the cost of putting together an EDC. Let's take a look at a few options to build out a Primary EDC for less than $50 and a Secondary EDC for under $100.
Maxpedition CAP Organizer

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Budget EDC Options

There can be a lot of reasons for wanting to build a budget EDC. Maybe you’re new to the concept of everyday carry, maybe you’re buying someone a gift, or maybe your finances are in a spot where you need to be smart with your purchases.

The thing to keep in mind is the underlying purpose of each piece of EDC gear you are carrying. We believe that being intentional with your EDC creates a mindset of self-reliance and confidence. Having the confidence and ability to rely on yourself instead of others allows you to have a more fulfilling life. A lack of dependency breeds life. 

So, why not save a little money and put together some gear that will help you get through the daily grind? I’m not talking about solving world problems with this gear. I’m focusing on being able to complete the little tasks and to-do’s that popup throughout the day.

Build a budget Primary EDC for less than $50

In our article “The Three Tiers of Everyday Carry (EDC)“, we defined Your Primary EDC as gear that fits in your pockets or is on your person. It’s readily accessible and mostly or entirely concealed. Staying within that definition, I’m going to be focusing on the slice, write, light, components of an EDC.

There are tons of options out there, so I’m not saying you need to go with these options. However, I personally use, or have used, all of these options and can vouch for them. It’s a good place to start to get you thinking about the subject.

Knife: Opinel No.7 Carbon, Beech $15

Opinel No 7 Carbon/Beech, Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen Raw Brass, and Field Notes Original.
Opinel No 7 Carbon/Beech, Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen Raw Brass, and Field Notes Original.

The Opinel No.7 in Beech is a great knife to carry as part of a Primary EDC. I say this because of the cost and utility and because it doesn’t scream “tacticool”. Opinels by their very nature are more acceptable, especially in more non-permissive environments. 

This particular model features a beechwood handle and carbon steel blade. It has a folded length of 4” and barely weighs anything at 1.2 oz. The No.7 is perfect if you’re looking for something “middle of the road” when it comes to size. The No.7 also features a twist ring lock to keep the blade in place when in use. 

Pen: Fisher Space Pen Stowaway $10

Fisher Space Pen Stowaway and Rite in the Rain Pocket Top Spiral
Fisher Space Pen Stowaway and Rite in the Rain Pocket Top Spiral

The Fisher Space Pen Stowaway is a great choice for anyone looking for a smaller, compact, affordable pen that will work when you need it. Coming in at less than 4” and a ridiculous 0.2 oz., you won’t even know it’s there.

Add in Fisher’s famous pressurized ink cartridge, which will give you the upper hand in all types of conditions, and you are set up for success. Now all you need is something to write on. 

Paper: Rite in the Rain Pocket Top Spiral $4

Rite in the Rain Pocket Top Spiral
Rite in the Rain Pocket Top Spiral

If you going to have a pen that can write in all conditions, you might as well have paper that can match that capability. The Rite in the Rain Pocket Top Spiral consists of 100 pages (50 sheets) of weather-proof paper. Do you find yourself working or playing in environments that have tendency to be wet? If so, this is the paper for your. 

The universal pattern on the pages gives you a multitude of options from standard note-taking to scaled drawings. There is also a bunch of useful reference material printed on the back and inside covers for those times when the “Google” isn’t quite accessible.

Light: Streamlight Microstream $17

Streamlight Microstream
Streamlight Microstream

The Streamlight Microstream is one of those compact lights that just gets the job done. Keep in mind, this not a defensive tool, it’s is a piece of equipment that will allow you to perform multitude of tasks in low-light or no-light situations. 

The tailcap switch provides momentary or constant-on operation and is stiff enough to help prevent accidental activations. The pocket clip can also double as a hat clip for those times when to need light and the ability to use both hands. The Microstream has an output of 45 lumens, which will be ample light for most tasks. 

Build a budget Secondary EDC for less than $100

Note: I’ve updated pricing on this article and the total for the items below is $108…inflation sucks!

As mentioned in the article we linked to above, we define a Secondary EDC as gear that is carried in a separate bag, organizer, or container, etc., but is still with you as you go about day-to-day life. It can be carried in a backpack, briefcase, in a cargo pocket, purse and, more.

Knife/Multitool: Gerber Dime $23

Gerber Dime Multitool
Gerber Dime Multitool

The Gerber Dime is great compact multitool that is packed with features. It comes with a set of spring-loaded pliers that offer more precision than you would think from a package this small. It’s rounded edges and corners keep it from inadvertently snagging on whatever you’re carrying it in. 

The Dime also houses wire cutters, a fine edge blade, spring-loaded scissors, flathead screwdriver, crosshead driver, bottle opener, tweezers, file, and a unique blade designed to safely cut and score plastic packaging. The Dime gets its name from the 10 tools found in this piece of EDC gear.

Pen: Fisher Space Pen Bullet Chrome $19

Fisher Space Pen Bullet, MARATAC AAA Copper, Syperdo Manix2 Lightweight
Fisher Space Pen Bullet, MARATAC AAA Copper, Syperdo Manix2 Lightweight

Some consider the Fisher Space Pen Bullet the perfect addition to any EDC setup. It’s kind of hard to disagree. With a closed length of 3.75” and an open/extended length of 5.25” you get the best of both worlds in terms of size. It’s small enough to store in just about any location and when it’s opened, it’s big enough to give you a “full-length” writing instrument. With its polished finish and “write-on-anything” refill, you will be hard-pressed to find a better option. 

Paper: Field Notes Pitch Black $13

Field Notes Pitch Black, Karas Kustoms Render K, Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer, and Prometheus Lights Beta QR.
Field Notes Pitch Black, Karas Kustoms Render K, Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer, and Prometheus Lights Beta QR.

Once again, if you carry a pen, why not carry something to write on. The Field Notes Pitch Black takes the original Field Notes and adds a classic black cover. This memo book comes with dot grid paper and is sold in pack of three. It has a thin profile that is almost unnoticeable when carried in a back pocket. Once you get used to carrying it, you will feel naked without it.

Light: Fenix LD02 $40

Fenix LDO2 and Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X
Fenix LDO2 and Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X

The Fenix LD02 is small and lightweight and produces a maximum output of 100 lumens. The LD02 is waterproof and impact-resistant, meaning you shouldn’t be afraid to use it. The pocket clip and 3 brightness levels allow it to be used in a number of scenarios.  Add in the fact you can get an impressive 15 hours of runtime on one AAA battery…what’s not to love?

Fire: UCO Stormproof Match Kit $9

UCO Stormproof Match Kit
UCO Stormproof Match Kit

If you are carrying a Secondary EDC, there is no excuse for not having a way to make fire. The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is a waterproof case that includes 25 matches and 3 strikers for the times when you need it the most. The included matches will stay lit for up to 15 seconds allowing you the time needed to get that critical fire started. 

Organizer: Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer $14

Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer
Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer

What good is all this gear if you don’t have a way to carry it? Look no further. The Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer is super small yet still has the room to carry the essentials.

With the exterior mesh slip pocket and organized storage on the inside, the Micro will surprise you with how much EDC gear you can store inside. The clam-shell opening provides easy access to the main compartment and the strong nylon construction ensures you can use it like you need to.

Conclusion

The whole point of this article is to try to disrupt the belief you have to spend a lot of money on your gear. You don’t! On the flip side, there is nothing wrong with buying and using more and more expensive gear as you figure out what works for you and as budget allows.

Whether you are starting out or buying a gift for someone, I firmly believe any of the choices above will work.

If you have some budget options you would like to share, please drop a comment below. I would love to hear what you use.

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