Everyday Carry: 10 Reasons to add a pencil to your EDC

various pencils for edc
selection of edc pencils

Pencils have a long and interesting history. The discovery of a large graphite deposit in England in the mid-1500s prompted its widespread use in writing. Fast forward 200 plus years and folks finally decided to start covering the graphite in wood due to its brittle nature. The wood was much better than the string wrapping they were previously accustomed to using. The mid-1800s marked the addition of the eraser being attached and voila, a fully functional writing utensil was born.

Fast-forward to modern-day and you can more than likely find a pencil that will tickle whatever fancies you may have. They come in a ton of styles, colors, lengths, etc. 

What are the benefits of adding a pencil to your everyday carry? We’re glad you asked. Let’s take a look at 10 reasons to add a pencil to your Primary EDC.

#1 No shelf life

You don’t have to worry about ink drying out or any similar problems and pencils. They seemingly last forever. In all seriousness, pencils will eventually run out, but in most cases, they last much longer than an ink cartridge.

#2 Erase your mistakes

Make a lot of mistakes like me? A pencil eraser is an old school backspace key for the modern-day renaissance man. Just erase that “uh-oh” and get back to the grind.

#3 They are easy to carry

It’s hard to beat the lightweight aspects of a pencil. Do you want to shave some weight off of your Primary EDC? Easy…just knock that pencil down a few inches and save those precious grams. The shorter length also makes it a bit easier to stow in tight spots.

#4 Works on many surfaces and papers

Can be used on multiple surfaces and will work on a variety of papers. Plus, the graphite won’t bleed through like heavy inks. Pencils have no issues with water and won’t fade in the light.

#5 Can be used at any angle

What do you think NASA used prior to Paul Fisher developing the Fisher Space Pen? That’s right, a pencil. Do you work regularly in zero gravity? Maybe not, but if so, the pencil won’t let you down.

#6 Multi-use for sketching, writing, doodling, and even to-do lists

Pencils seem to be more versatile for the jack-of-all-trades. Want to sketch, write, doodle, etc…your trustworthy pencil has you covered. The versatility of a pencil also allows it to be used to produce different degrees of darkness. Perfect for all you aspiring artists.

# 7 They can be broken into multiples

Do you and your “non-EDC buddy” need to jot down some ideas or sketch out the next big thing? Not a problem. Since you are intentional with your EDC and you are prepared, just break that pencil in half and share the love. A little sharpening with your favorite blade and you and your buddy are both ready to go.

#8 Pencils are a cheap addition to your EDC setup

I have lost some expensive pens over the years and the loss can sting for a while. Lose a pencil…who cares? For most people, they can lose a cheap pencil and it’s not a big deal. Pencils are also readily available almost everywhere you go.

# 9 You’ve got to sharpen them

Taking the time to sharpen a pencil has added hidden benefits. This process allows you to slow down a bit and forces you out of the rush of life. This type of mental break can really help your productivity levels while breaking the monotony of whatever you’re doing. Who likes boredom anyways?

#10. Pencils are TSA-approved

Want to fly somewhere and take your beloved pencil with you? No problem! TSA should not give you any trouble unless you have been giving the screener the stink eye as he’s going through your stuff. Why might it be important to have a pencil on you when you fly? No, I’m not talking about Sudoku. Check out the “Bonus Reason” below.

#11 Bonus: A pencil can be used as an improvised weapon

The worst-case scenario is you find yourself in a life or death scenario and you’re in some sort of non-permissive environment. A pencil can be a discreet weapon for the gray man. Let me reiterate, a pencil should not be your first choice for a personal defense weapon…heck, it shouldn’t even be your second or third choice. However, don’t rule out its effectiveness if you find yourself in a bad spot. 

Remember what Viggo Tarasov said in John Wick …

“John is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will… something you know very little about. I once saw him kill three men in a bar… with a pencil, with a f****** pencil.”  

Have you tried a pencil as part of your everyday carry? Which one do you use?

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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