Freelancers and remote workers depend on their everyday carry (EDC)—the tools they carry with them all the time—to confront unexpected challenges and life hack their way to their ambitions.
The EDC items in this list are time tested after years of working remotely. I’ve taken them on road trips across the U.S. and to over a dozen countries. They’ve kept me working in hotels, trade shows, airports, and coffee shops. These are the core EDC tools that I’ve come to trust every day.
Whether you’re looking to boost your productivity arsenal or find a gift for a freelancer or business traveller, THESE are the tools to get.
This EDC list divided into the following categories:
Most freelancers and remote workers write. They take notes, sketch ideas, and draft documents on the go. My top EDC picks for better writing include my favorite all-around travel pen and the best notebook I’ve ever used.
Zebra F-301 Compact Pen
The Zebra F‑301 Compact is an excellent all-around pen. It’s not a cheap gimmick, nor is it expensive. Its sturdy metal and plastic construction is shorter than standard pens. The cap snaps shut securely, while a rubber gasket provides smooth but secure retention when you’re ready to write. The low-profile clip is robust enough to keep it where you clip it, and a lanyard hole offers one more securement option for keychains or conference name tags. The Zebra F‑301 Compact saves the day by accepting refills available at most office supply stores.
Moleskine Classic Notebook
Moleskine’s classic, ruled, hard‑cover notebook is a rugged, lay-flat journal that holds up in your pocket no matter how many countries you bring it to. It features an attached bookmark and a versatile pocket inside the back cover. The 3.5″ x 5.5″ size is great for carrying, though larger and smaller options exist as well. I’ve also used Moleskine variations for sheet music, storyboarding, graph paper, sketching, and more. Whatever your craft, Moleskine has the notebook to get you started.
Communication is the number-one priority when working remotely. No EDC is complete without the means to stay online no matter what.
inCharge Keychain Charging Cable
The inCharge keychain charging cable is the perfect charging backup for lightning, micro USB, and USB C devices. Having an extra charging option offers peace of mind, whether you’re on assignment overseas or just trying to deliver a project before your hotspot dies. A powerful magnet clasps the cable around your keychain to create what might be the smallest charging cable on the market. The cable is surprisingly resilient. It’s never gotten broken or fallen off my keychain in the ten months it’s lived in my pocket.
XSKN InDesign Shortcut Keyboard Cover
Keyboard covers protect your laptop from threats like dust and coffee. They weigh almost nothing, and learning to type on silicone only takes a session or two. This XSKN keyboard cover overlays keyboard shortcuts for Adobe InDesign, which is perfect for turning novices into super users. And showing off your know-how is a great way to flex at your co-working space, if you’re into that. I actually have a thin stack of covers inside the pocket of my laptop sleeve with shortcuts for half the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop lineup, so I’m ready for any project that comes along.
Many of us use a DSLR or mirrorless camera to document technical writing procedures, supplement blogs, or produce media for clients. Two of the most useful and portable EDC tools for photographers are a wrist strap and an SD card reader for iPhones and iPads.
Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist Strap
Peak Design’s Cuff wrist strap is a phenomenal accessory for securing your camera to prevent damage or theft. When a task needs two hands, the cuff allows you to drop the camera without finding a clean, dry surface to put it on. Untethered, the cuff stores away on your wrist with a magnet. When you remove the cuff, it tends to keep an open loop shape, which makes it easier to put on again. The Peak Design attachment system is damage-evident to warn you before it fails. And when I’m shooting, I only notice it when I need it.
Apple SD Card Reader with Lightning Connector
The Apple SD card reader makes it easy to get images from your camera to your project, website, or Instagram without tedious wifi or lugging around a laptop or external hard drive. As soon as you plug the card and dongle into your iPhone or iPad, the Photos app immediately opens an import dialog. From here, move your images to your camera roll, Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, or any number of other digital destinations. And if you know about Apple Shortcuts, even this process is becoming simpler. The Apple SD card reader fits in almost any organizer pocket, and the workflow gets you back to writing and shooting fast.
I’ve accumulated lots of sweet travel gear through the years, but there are two items that I’ll never fly without. My passport wallet conveniently stores and protects all my most important documents, and my modern sleeping pillow gets me to my destination refreshed and ready to hustle.
Zero Grid Passport Wallet
The Zero Grid RFID-blocking passport wallet is a pocketable portfolio for all your travel documents. The industry-standard YKK zipper protects everything inside, and an exterior pocket can hold your boarding passes while you’re waiting in line. Inside, the wallet includes six passport-sized pockets for easy organization. Two additional credit card pockets, a large pocket on the left, and a large zippered pocket on the right are perfect for insurance cards, licenses, immunization records, baggage receipts, keys, and cash. Best of all, the Zero Grid Passport Wallet comes with a pen in the spine so you can write wherever inspiration strikes.
Forart Inflatable Travel Pillow
The Forart Inflatable Travel Pillow is an inflatable upright pillow perfect for belly sleepers who struggle to sleep on airplanes. Place the pillow in your lap, slip your arms through, and hug it to yourself with your head down in the top hole. It inflates in less than ten breaths, and features a push-button valve for easy deflating. The stuff bag is a little bigger than it needs to be for easier stowage. The sack is also great for building a modular sleep kit with earplugs, an eye mask, a notebook, and a “Please wake me for breakfast!” or “Please let me sleep!” sign.
Good grooming is essential for visiting clients and making connections. The following EDC grooming items help you deal with unexpected stains, look good for sudden meetups, and keep your travel bag light and simple.
Tide To Go Mini
Tide To Go cleans up stains quickly when you’re out of the house. At roughly 3.5 inches long, the mini size is TSA-friendly and the perfect addition to any EDC kit.
Munkees Keychain Fingernail Trimmer
Specializing in keychain-ready EDC gear, Munkees has created its own budget version of the modern, thin-line fingernail trimmer. The tiny profile is barely noticeable on a keychain. The clasp is easy to operate, though it may open by accident in your pocket now and then. The nail file on the back is small and effective.
Wahl Travel Trimmer
The Wahl cordless travel trimmer is a great addition to your bag for overnight trips or a quick touchup to meet a client. The trimmer’s small size is its greatest asset. In fact, minimalists and full-time travelers might make this trimmer their daily driver. The trimmer runs on a single, commonly available AA battery, and it comes with several guards to get the length just right.
Lush Solid Shampoo
Lush makes environmentally responsible body care products that are also cruelty-free. The solid shampoo and body wash last a long time and do not count against your liquid allowance in the air. The price is steep, but unlike liquid products, you’re not paying for water. A metal case keeps your soap intact and your bag dry. Hard core minimalists like the team at Pack Hacker suggest a breathable soap case to add a little freshness to your luggage, but I haven’t tried that yet.
The final two items on this list are things I carry all the time, whether I’m working or not. One is a TSA-compliant mini multitool, and the other is a minimalist wallet that has been trimming down my pocket bump for years now.
Leatherman Style PS
The Leatherman Style PS is a tiny, sturdy, TSA-compliant multitool. The device is small enough (less than 3″) to fit into a change pocket, but still has room for spring-loaded standard and needle-nose pliers, a wire cutter, scissors, a flat-head screwdriver, a nail file, and removable tweezers. The keychain-ready carabiner clip also doubles as a bottle opener. There are no knives or blades in this EDC tool, so it’s safe to bring through airport security.
The Ridge Wallet
The Ridge makes premium minimalist wallets in a range of materials and finishes. It fits a stack of credit cards inside with either a money clip or money strap on the back. Most of The Ridge’s wallets block RFID signals for theft protection. A small, rectangular wallet from The Ridge creates space in your pocket for a Moleskine notebook or other freelancer gear.
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