So you or someone you know is going off to school and they ask you for advice, what would you tell them? Study hard? Don’t forget to write home? Don’t skip classes? As a college student is it vital to be prepared for your courses…but why stop there? The everyday carry of a college student likely consists of a laptop, a few notebooks and folders, writing utensils and a calculator, but this is only part of the spectrum. I think it is important that every college student have a small kit of useful items they can carry with them every day; something that can slide into a backpack or purse and not take up too much space would certainly be ideal.
First, something to contain the contents of your kit is important. Having a bunch of useful items is great, but if they’re all contained in one convenient location, the things you need are easier to find. It’s also convenient if you change backpacks or purses often. Having a container you can move from backpack to bag to purse is the easiest way to stay prepared. My container is a custom-made Cordura Pouch made by CloudRabbitDesigns and it ran about $30. Before that, I used a mesh/fabric pouch I picked up from Eastern Mountain Sports for about $15. I also understand that Maxpedition makes a good line of EDC pouches that would work well to contain an every-day-carry kit.
Now that we have a container, what do we put in it? Items contained in the kit will certainly vary between people but some of the essentials that every strong kit should have include: a first aid kit, a knife, paracord, a lighter, a handkerchief and chapstick.
I purchased a Johnson & Johnson travel first aid kit for $2. It came with a few band aids, gauze, and sterile pads. I added a few more band aids to this and a small bottle of Neosporin. In the small case it came in I also keep a book of matches, chapstick, a pencil wrapped in duct tape, and a small baggie containing a variety of paperclips and rubber bands. In addition to my first aid kit, I also keep a few large-sized adhesive bandages and a small re-sealable travel package of “Wet Wipes,” an antibacterial hand wipe. In the larger EDC case I also keep a mini bic lighter, 10 or so feet of thin paracord wrapped up tight, a handkerchief, a few zipties and two small knives. A knife is a very important tool and I believe in carrying multiple blades. In my EDC kit, I have two small, lightweight knives. One is a SOG Micron II Tanto, $22.50 at Bladeops, and the other is a Spyderco Dragonfly 2, $54.95 at Bladeops. The Micron II has always been reliable and has a very study lockup. The Dragonfly 2 has premium VG-10 steel and is one of the lightest knives I’ve carried. It’s a real work-horse and totally worth the money. Attached via strap on the back-side of my Cordura pouch, I have an extendable razor and a mini Maglite.
In addition to my EDC kit, I keep four items separate in an easily accessible pocket on my backpack. I keep my 16gb Sandisk flashdrive, my Fisher Spacepen, a Leatherman Juice CS4, and a sharpie in my front pocket because I use these items more frequently than those in my kit, so I’d like to have easier access to them.
In addition to what a student carries in their backpack, it is important that they keep their pockets stocked with the right equipment as well.
I keep my knife in my front right pocket along with my mini-pouch. I carry a Kershaw-Emerson CQC-6k, $37.95 at Bladeops. This knife is not only tactical, as it deploys very quickly via the wave feature, but it also has a sturdy lock-up, a reversible pocket clip, a decent steel and not to mention it’s budget friendly and legal where I live. A person’s knife choice will vary depending on the legality, the price, and a variety of other factors. A few others I have carried or would suggest as EDC knives include: the Kersha Cryo ($34.95 at Bladeops), the Spyderco Tenacious ($45.75 at Bladeops), the Spyderco Delica 4 ($68.75 at Bladeops) and the Benchmade Griptilian or Mini-Griptilian ($90-$110 at Bladeops, depending on style, model etc).
In my mini-pouch I keep a pocket top (mostly for entertainment and sentimental purposes), a Fenix LD-01 flashlight, and a Gerber Dime Multitool ($19.95 at BladeOps). I also sometimes put my Fisher Spacepen in this pouch along with a few quarters.
In my front left pocket I keep my wallet and phone (although sometimes I keep my phone in my back right pocket). I also have a small keychain I keep attached to a beltloop or my pants which has a custom bottle opener/screw driver made by JWoytaz Knives and a Spyderco Ladybug that my girlfriend won in a Bladeops Giveaway a while back and gave to me as a gift :). In my back right or left pocket I keep a mini marble notebook to write down ideas, homework, and general tasks I need to complete.
That concludes my University-Everyday-Carry. I hope this article was helpful. Keep in mind, everyone is different and may carry more or less, but the best carry is the one that works for you.