When we think of everyday carry (EDC), most of us picture the typical items such as a knife, phone, wallet and a set of keys.
In spite of this, our second and third-tier gear is often loaded with various pieces of technology, so it is important to include the necessary gear to keep our equipment functional no matter the circumstances.
What equipment you carry entirely depends on your needs, but whether you carry a phone or a laptop, you should always look to include a way to keep your gear charged, your information accessible, and most importantly, your data protected. When it comes to outfitting your EDC with tech-based gear, think of items like multi-use charging cables, power banks, wall-chargers, data-blockers, secure keys, and more.
How to keep devices charged?
Most technology today includes extremely large batteries, but the increased functionality of both phones and laptops often leave the battery dead after only a few hours without incredibly frequent charging.
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve needed a phone only to have it die at a critical moment, so as this is the biggest problem we will likely run into with our tech, it makes sense to be our biggest consideration when building our electronics EDC.
USAMS 4-in-1 Charger
Despite the rise in wireless chargers, for speed and reliability, nothing can beat a traditional wired charger.
If you are lucky you can choose your technology carefully to all be powered by a single USB-C cable and save down on bulk, but what about if your friend needs to borrow an iPhone charger, or you need to power two devices at the same time?
This is where the 4-in-1 charger by USAMS comes into play and can truly be a game changer.
From a single USB port, the USAMS is able to power:
- one USB-C connector
- two Apple lighting connectors
- one micro-USB connector.
What sets this cable apart from many other multi-connector chargers on the market is its unique ability to fast-charge your devices, even when supplying power to all four connectors.
This is extremely valuable as it offers all the power we get from using a OEM charger, with the convenience found with splitter cables.
At the low cost of $13.50, it’s easy to assume the quality has been sacrificed, especially considering that USAMS includes two cables in the box, but in our testing, this could not be further from the truth.
The braided nylon coating surrounding each cable goes a long way to help with this, but what truly makes the difference is the amount of reinforcing around each connector, which dramatically helps reduce the stress and wear experienced by most cables.
While many of us will still choose to carry a collection of various cables with us, upgrading to a single cable can go a huge way to help keep you organized and avoid being caught empty handed when you need a charger most.
Anker Power Core 10,000
A good USB cable is all but useless without access to a power-supply, and while many of us rely on wall-chargers, the independence of a good power bank cannot be beaten.
Throughout the years, ANKER has made their name a staple within the tech community by offering high-quality portable chargers at affordable prices, and the PowerCore 10,000 is no different at only $29.99.
While Anker offers larger power banks, such as the PowerCore 20,000, the 10,000mAh battery included in the standard PowerCore is more than capable, allowing you to top up most phones twice before needing to charge the bank itself.
This power comes neatly packaged in a very portable size, making it an excellent choice regardless of if you plan to keep the charger in your bag or in a pocket.
Anker can be expensive compared to other chargers on the market but are well worth the cost as all Anker products come with PowerIQ fast charging to keep you connected no matter where you find yourself.
Unfortunately, while the PowerCore is likely to meet all of your needs when it comes to keeping your phone or tablets reliably charged, the device is unsuitable for meeting the power requirements of larger devices such as laptops so it is still worth investing in a quality wall charger for your serious power needs.
Lencent USB Wall Charger
The decision to carry a dedicated wall charger makes a lot of sense when you need that little extra juice that a power bank cannot offer, for devices such as your laptop.
The easiest way to do this is just to pack your originally supplied wall adapter into your EDC bag, but a better option may be to invest in a Lencent USB Wall Charger. This particular unit comes loaded with additional features, making it extremely deserving of a place in your EDC.
For $13.99, the Lencent is able to support up to 4 devices, all at an output of 4.4A, allowing you to quickly charge most laptops while also having spare ports to either share or top up your other devices.
The main reason we like the Lencent Charger so much is how seamlessly it doubles as a travel adaptor, supporting use in over 150 countries, including the U.K, Australia, and Europe.
It’s unlikely you’d want to carry around these adaptors all of the time, but having the flexibility when you need it makes this plug an excellent choice.
Using your plug while visiting foreign countries can be concerning because of the range of voltages used in other countries, but Lencent protects against this through the inclusion of their Auto-ID technology.
This allows the adaptor to identify what devices you are charging in order to regulate the amount of power it receives and minimize the potential risk of overcharging in order to keep you and your technology safe.
How to Keep information Accessible
It is critical to keep your devices charged to keep them functional, but in recent years, our devices have become increasingly more powerful. This is especially true if you can find ways to integrate your devices into your normal EDC and bring them outside of your pocket.
As a gray man, this can be an incredibly effective way to increase your situational awareness, as the technology we’ll look at here still allows you to access critical information on your phone without being locked to a phone screen and unable to see the world around you.
Garmin Tactix Charlie
A smartwatch is the easiest way you can move the power of your phone outside of your pocket and on to your wrist.
Unfortunately, options from Apple and Samsung are sometimes unable to keep up with the busy life of a modern gray man, but this is where Garmin’s line of smartwatches changes the game.
Not only are the quality of Garmin’s devices impeccable, and able to roll with the punches like other sports watches, such as G-Shocks, but what truly set’s the Garmin Tactix Charlie apart from their competitors is the amazing battery life.
Thanks to the power-efficient 1.2” MiP display, during our testing, our watch was able to comfortably last well over a week between charges, even with frequent use of the GPS and backlight.
Good battery life is not the only benefit this screen can offer you though, as the Tactix earns its name by coming loaded with features that have survival and military applications in mind.
These include night vision compatibility, jumpmaster and navigator modes, and a wealth of options to control how your watch behaves to prevent it ever from compromising your position, just to name a few.
Using any smartwatch will always pose some security concerns, as they typically lack many of the security features found in modern phones, but the convenience of being able to access all of your messages and other notifications directly from your wrist cannot be beaten.
Garmin products can come at an incredibly high price (starting at $749), but is well worth the asking price for a watch that can be worn almost anywhere around the world to keep you connected, all without sacrificing any of your situational awareness.
Whether taking a call in public, or listening to music during a long workout, most of us will at some point need to use headphones while in a public place.
While we could recommend technology such as the Sony WF-1000XM3, which are renowned for their ability to block out sound, any noise-canceling headphones are guaranteed to almost cripple your situational awareness.
Bone conduction headphones solve this problem by directly pushing the sound into your ear bones and keeping your ear canals completely free to hear the world around you.
While traditional bone conduction headphones will typically make you stand out in a crowd, the Bose Frames and newly released Amazon Echo Frames solve this problem by neatly integrating the bone conduction technology into glasses.
These styles of headphones may appear gimmicky to some but can be incredibly powerful by allowing you to discretely make calls or even covertly record to your phone without shutting out the outside world.
The Bose Frames are very impressive; however, they are by no means perfect technology.
To work effectively, the headphones need to be charged on a daily basis, but their much bigger problem is how much sound they leak when turned to a high enough volume.
At normal volumes, this is not overly noticeable, but if you turn your phone up too much, there is a much greater risk of having those nearby listening in on your music or conversations.
If bone conduction headphones aren’t the choice for you, it is still important to be considerate of how you use your headphones in order to maximize your situational awareness.
Using your device at low volumes can go a long way to help with this, but to really be aware of your environment, we recommend the age old technique of only using one earphone, leaving your other ear open to the world.
How to keep electronic information protected
Our final area of discussion is arguably the most important for some of us. Keeping your device charged and accessible is all but useless if it risks compromising sensitive information.
Luckily there are additions we can make to our EDC to protect against such a risk.
This is perhaps the area with the greatest variety, especially when considering digital options such as antivirus software and VPNs (discussed previously), but for this article we are only concerned about the physical items you can work into your EDC.
PortaPow USB DataBlocker
For the last decade, USB has taken over as the go-to standard as a means to connect two or more devices.
What makes them so powerful, unlike some previous connectors (such as TOS-Link and certain Cat5e cables), is they are able to transfer both data and power in a single compact package.
In most cases, this mechanism is incredibly secure, however, it is susceptible to interception. This most commonly happens when using public USB sockets (such as at an airport) that have been specifically modified with the intent of either connecting your system to another computer or to a rubber-ducky.
In either scenario, as you sit there charging your device, a third party is able to exploit the data connection offered by USB charging cables to transfer malicious software to your device.
USB condoms, such as the PortaPow DataBlocker, have been developed specifically to defend against these styles of attack and can go a long way in protecting you against unknowingly being infected.
Essentially, these small adaptors are a standard USB plug that has had its data pins removed, meaning no matter how questionable the USB port you are using, it becomes impossible to have data transmitted.
It is possible to create your own, however the reliability offered with commercial units make it well worth the investment of purchasing a PortaPow.
In all our testing, the DataBlocker showed almost no signs of wear and was consistently able to provide a charge, regardless of being powered with a laptop or wall charger.
If the reliability has not sold you on a PortaPow yet, they are also considerably safer than DIY units as you do not run the risk of improperly soldering a connection between a data pin and power pin, while also providing much greater flexibility than homemade variants.
While the DataBlocker is our recommended choice of USB condom, PortaPow also supports various other styles of the connector. These include connectors for both USB-C and micro-USB, meaning no matter your needs, you can always stay protected.
Apricorn Aegis Secure Key
Protecting your phone, laptop or tablet can go a long way to help protecting your information but we often lose all sense of security the moment our information comes off of these devices and onto portable storage devices, such as flash drives or SD cards.
While it is possible to password protect these devices to stop third parties from accessing our data, most of us do not take this precaution, even when these devices are trusted with incredibly sensitive information.
The Apricorn Aegis 128GB flash drive solves this problem by directly building the encryption and password technology into the drive itself, making it considerably easier to protect your data.
While other encrypted flash drives are available on the market, such as by Lexar, very few offer such as a wide array of memory capacities (up to 1TB) or similar levels of encryption, for such a reasonable price ($189.99).
Another huge benefit of using an encrypted drive, over simply password protecting a standard flash drive, is the feedback such devices are able to provide you.
Three indicator lights located at the top of the device clearly tell you what state the drive is presently in and switching from an unlocked to locked drive really is as simple as clicking a single button.
The Apricorn Aegis is available for both standard USB and USB-C so it is almost guaranteed you will be able to find a style and capacity to meet your needs and keep your information safe.
Our everyday carry should always be evolving, and we hope some of the items included here today will help inspire you as continue to grow and develop your collection of equipment.
With so many considerations it can be difficult to know exactly what you should include but staying charged and protected should always be your top priority.
You can’t go wrong with any of the items we’ve covered here today, but you should always keep your eyes open as technology is constantly improving, so you should attempt to have your EDC improve as new options become available on the market.
Technology is a critical aspect of any EDC, but if you’re looking to start building a traditional EDC, be sure to check out our previous guide looking at the everyday carry essentials everyone should keep on them.