Minimalist Everyday Carry: Portable, Practical Preparation

minimalist everyday carry


When I talk about how to live a minimalist lifestyle, I often have to remind others (and myself) that minimalism doesn’t just mean a complete absence of stuff. Minimalism is about stripping away unnecessary items and living each day with intention. Having a minimalist everyday carry list is a great way to define the essentials in my day-to-day life.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

As a minimalist who also prioritizes self-sufficiency, I like to be prepared for whatever the day may bring, without feeling weighed down. I’ve curated a list of the items that help me stay light on my feet but prepared for any situation.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is A Minimalist Everyday Carry List?

What Is A Minimalist Everyday Carry List

An everyday carry list, or, as some call it, EDC, is simply the group of items one tends to have with them as they go about each day. For minimalists, the concept remains the same, with one key difference from other folks – the list is smaller and made up of items that perform their core function well, with few extra bells and whistles.

intentional living

Why Is A Minimalist Everyday Carry Important?

Why Is A Minimalist Everyday Carry Important

As a minimalist who also prioritizes self-sufficiency, I like to be prepared for whatever the day may bring, without feeling weighed down. I’ve curated a list of the items that help me stay light on my feet but prepared for any situation.

benefits of minimalismA minimalist everyday carry list is important to me because it helps me keep a smooth daily routine. Just as a doctor or a barber carries the instruments they need to be effective, I have found the items I need to have an effective day.

When I took a little time to define the items that made up my everyday carry, I noticed benefits right away. The major one was that – just like when I simplified my wardrobe and established my personal uniform – I could avoid decision fatigue. Once I nailed it down, my everyday carry became automatic. I don’t have to think at all about what I’ll leave the house with in the morning anymore, because it’s always the same.

Another plus is that, since these items are small and compact, they’re as well suited for a normal day as they are for longer trips outside of my home, so even traveling like a minimalist doesn’t take a ton of extra effort after my bags are packed.

What Items To Include In A Minimalist Daily Carry

What Items To Include In A Minimalist Daily Carry

EDC must-haves will be slightly different for every person – but, after some trial and error, I’ve found the ideal combination of items that make up my everyday carry. The key is to identify the tools that help you meet the specific demands of your daily routine, leaving behind anything you won’t use.

herschel minimalist wallet


A wallet is one of those things I can’t do without, and I prefer to use one that’s slim and fits easily in my pocket. Some people use a money clip or rely solely on digital payment tools, but I like to be prepared with a bit of cash, too. I find that a wallet works to hold that, along with my ID and a few cards. The days of pay phones and coin-operated parking meters are behind us, so room for coins isn’t super critical.

Ryan’s Pick: Herschel Minimalist’s Men’s Wallet — This wallet holds the cards I use every day, and it is slim enough that I don’t have to remove it from my pocket every time I sit down.

Benchmade Bugout Pocket Knife

Pocket Knife

A sturdy pocket knife is an essential in my minimalist EDC gear. I use mine a few times a day, no matter what’s going on – whether I’m camping, hiking, or doing stuff around the house. The key is to find a knife that’s durable, has a lock so it can be safely carried in a pocket, and lightweight so it doesn’t add too much bulk as you’re going about your daily activities. Once you find a good knife, you’re prepared for just about anything, even survival scenarios.

Ryan’s Pick: Benchmade Bugout Pocket Knife — As a minimalist, buying sturdy, high-quality items that’ll last is crucial, and this pocket knife is extremely reliable.

Muzen Wild Mini Speaker


You may not initially think a portable speaker should be part of your everyday carry, but that just tells me you haven’t found the right one yet. When it comes to EDC, a small speaker is an essential tool in helping me stay connected and focused. With a good speaker, you can listen while you’re on the go. The right music makes even the most onerous tasks seem a little easier.

Muzen Bluetooth Speaker Walnut

Muzen Bluetooth Speaker In Walnut Wood

On the more practical side, having a radio that’s disconnected from phone service is still a very useful tool in today’s world, especially because cell service can be spotty off the grid. I still love to listen to music even if I don’t have a signal or data to spare.

It’s important to me that my daily speaker is waterproof. I don’t have to worry about water damage if I get caught in the rain or when I’m camping or hiking, and I can keep the tunes going while I take a hot shower.

Ryan’s Pick: Muzen Wild Mini (while out and about) — This speaker is small but mighty, weighing only half a pound, so it barely adds bulk to my pack. It also offers features like different levels of light, and an SOS signal. It also provides safety backup outdoors, which brings me extra peace of mind while camping.

I found this portable speaker to be so useful and reliable that I also got their Walnut Wood speaker for my home and use the Muzen Walnutwood to jam through my Sunday reset every week.

Wuben X0 Mini Flashlight


For a while, I thought I might be able to get away without having a flashlight on me, but then I realized I was looking for one too often! A flashlight is a key part of my minimalist daily carry because it has a lot of applications inside the home and out. Especially in a tiny home, where every inch of space is put to work, extra illumination comes in handy.

In my work with tiny homes, I often find myself needing extra light in tight spaces, or when I’m working on electrical or plumbing projects. Keeping a small flashlight at the ready stops me from draining the battery on my phone by using its flashlight function.

Ryan’s Pick: Wuben X0 Mini Flashlight
— This model is incredibly powerful for its small size, which comes in at under 3 inches. With a powerful floodlight function and an internal magnet, it can be mounted while I do a task requiring both hands in tight quarters.

Kaweco Sport Ballpoint Pen


I believe having a pen close by is an essential part of preparedness. Yes, our world is highly digital, but, when and if batteries fail, you never know when you’re going to need to make a note of something. I’m also the type of person who likes writing things down, because the act of doing so helps me think things out and fixes them in my mind.

Ryan’s Pick: Kaweco Sport Ballpoint Pen — Ballpoint pens are highly useful, because their ink runs easily and smoothly compared to other pens. This is a brand I’ve used for years that’s smartly engineered for durability and performance.

Field Notes


I like to carry small notebooks that fit easily in a pocket, with sturdy covers that help them resist wear. Jotting down measurements, short reminders, or shopping lists often happens at a moment’s notice. I also don’t love to take notes on my phone while using it for audio or video calls.

Ryan’s Pick: Field Notes – These notebooks are great because they fit in either shirt or pants pockets, and they are stapled in the middle so they lie flat. I can be rough on my stuff, and some notebooks I’ve used would nearly fall apart before I filled them up, but not these.

Modern Coup Flatpack Pouch

All-Purpose Pouch

A small pouch comes in handy for organizing a minimalist’s EDC. A compact pouch will keep several of the above items together in a backpack or cargo shorts, while also leaving room for a phone or sunglasses. Choose a pouch that’s waterproof or water-resistant to keep your items safe, and you’ll be prepared for a hike close to a home or a trip halfway around the world.

Ryan’s Pick: Modern Coup Flatpack Pouch – A pouch with internal pockets is a great way to stay organized and keep my frequently used items easily accessible. This one has three pockets on the inside and three on the outside, which are great for stowing less-used objects along with keeping small parts from rolling away while I’m engrossed in a task.

Humangear utensil set

Eating Utensils

I find myself eating on the go a fair amount, whether running errands or while hiking or camping. I like carrying utensils with me, instead of using a fork or spoon one time and sending it to landfill. There are a lot of options out there, many of which are made with durable and lightweight materials, so they only need to be bought once, and they aren’t a burden to carry around.

Ryan’s Pick: Humangear utensil set – With a spoon on one end and a fork on the other, you can’t go wrong with a multi-use utensil that’s light enough to keep in your pocket.

Nano Ink Pull Tab Pen

Pull-Tab Pen

Frequently used items in a minimalist everyday carry should be easy to keep track of. If you use a pen multiple times an hour, all day, you can attach it to a zipper on your pouch or backpack and never be without a writing instrument.

Ryan’s Pick: Nano Ink Pull-Tab Pen – This is a great choice, made from durable materials. I have one on my backpack, but I also have friends who put them on coat zippers.

How To Decide What Goes Into Your Everyday Carry

How To Decide What Goes Into Your Everyday Carry

In my opinion, everyone could benefit from defining their everyday carry list. The main thing to remember is that only you will know what your everyday carry should look like. Some people might want to carry a lens cleaner for their glasses, a handkerchief, or hand sanitizer.

If you’re unsure of what should go into your EDC, start keeping tabs on the items you touch and use throughout the day. Write them down as you use them, or at regular intervals throughout the day. After a few days, you’ll notice a pattern, and you’ll be able to put together your own minimalist everyday carry so you can streamline your daily routine and simplify your purse or pockets.

What Goes Into Your Everyday Carry

Your Turn!

  • Which of the items above would you include in your everyday carry?
  • If you already use an everyday carry, which item do you use most?
  1. Hi Ryan..
    Ok..I am working through the keep & not keep, sell or donate. I know this takes time, as for getting to the point of purchasing the tiny home design, and selling my home as well as where to park the house, which I have tried to give that Alot if thought and believe I have come to that decision. Living in a tiny home community would be nice but I rather own my space and do not want to live somewhere and then, before you know it, will get the news that the state or town no longer wants tiny houses.
    So, I am moving forward toward my dreams.
    Thank you again for your email that help me to move forward.

  2. Hi Ryan — I am an armchair EDC enthusiast, although, for someone who works remotely from home in the urban sprawl, and doesn’t go out much except for groceries on the weekend, some of my EDC items are more nice-to-haves than anything else (knife, multi-tool). AS you of course indicated, EDC is highly customizable and should be carefully thought out and assessed by each person as their own needs dictate. I wonder, given all the daily things you do if you have considered carrying any kind of multi-tool or bit driver, etc., as I imagine these would be handy for many household maintenance tasks like you indicated (plumbing, electrical and so on). But if your household configuration is relatively optimal and not in constant need of re-designing or repairing something, then maybe such an item is not so critical.

  3. Phone keys wallet toothbrush floss sunscreen scalpel nail clippers reading glasses sunglasses

  4. Hi Ryan! I’ve been a fan of your (earlier podcast with Macy, and) blog for years now! I always learn something 😉. This time though, I gotta say hon, we women have been doing the “every day carry” for a long time… Whether you call it a purse, handbag, shoulder bag, or pocketbook, we generally have everything in there to get us through the day. (To keep it from getting too heavy, I keep my flashlight and pocket knife in my car’s glove compartment.) Just had to rib you a little bit 😆. Your ideas are well thought out and helpful. Thank you for a great, informative blog!

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