Everyday Carry

A wooden-handled pocketknife with two blades.

My first main Christmas gift that I can remember asking for what I wanted was “a Swiss Army Knife,” by which I meant both the specific brand, and an abundance of features. My Mom found something in the same vein but a whole lot cheaper, a recurring theme, and got me a non-Swiss-Army-Knife pocketknife with a wooden handle and two blades, and I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself I was not bitterly disappointed.

A Woodsman Swiss Army Knife.

The first real Swiss Army Knife I got was a Woodsman, the smallest knife I found that had a scissors. I carried this for a long time until, returning from England, I purchased a Champion and then SwissChamp:

A SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife.

And finally for knives I actually carried, a SwissChamp XLT, which has all the electronic bits of a CyberTool:

A SwissChamp XLT Swiss Army Knife.

But that was around when workplaces started to not allow pocketknives, and even more significantly a new law was passed in Illinois making it easy to post a sticker in a public building saying that weapons were not allowed inside, and all knives, including pocketknives, were now classified as weapons. I began to look at multitools intended to be openly taken through airport security as not being weapons. I started to instead carry a Leatherman Traveler:

A Leatherman Traveler

I’ve had several of these things, and the scissors simply don’t stand up to cutting my fingernails. I purchased a few of these, and Leatherman has a good guarantee but none of them lasted. And I might point out that I never needed to replace a Swiss Army Knife because it broke or wore out. I have heard of these things happening, but I have only ever replaced a Swiss Army Knife to buy more functionality.

I had a fairly long life with a Gerber Dime Travel multitool which is no longer listed on Amazon or Gerber’s site. When it broke, I sent it in for repairs and it was replaced by a bladed Dime multitool, which defeats the purpose.

A Gerber MP600 Bladeless multi-plier.

Most recently, I found a Gerber MP-600 Bladeless (please note that there is also a regular MP-600 tool which comes with blades, so if you order one, be careful to order the specific one you want). It’s a large enough multitool that I would put it in my checked luggage if I took it flying as some of its tools exceed two inches in length, and all the multitools I’ve seen intended to be taken through carry-on airport security limit themselves to tools two inches or less. None the less, it is explicitly designed to be a useful multitool that complies with “no knife” policies. It’s the best of the sort that I’ve found.

Other items I carry are more standard: a smartphone (I paid more to specifically have a larger screen), a smartwatch or outdoorsman’s Casio Pathfinder that was top-of-the-line when I got it and includes a compass which I found very useful, and my wallet.

So what?

There are occasions where it is helpful to have a screwdriver or two available, but what I carry everyday is not “every-day carry” as the concept is understood by people who speak of EDC. As a child or youth, I was frequently tinkering and I made heavy use of my Swiss Army Knife. However, it is not what is practical for most emergencies. I don’t have the obvious everyday carry of maintenance medications for at least a day. I’m looking at putting sandwich bags with morning and evening doses in my glove compartment, but I don’t carry much added carry for everyday emergencies. A lot of every-day carry needs are supplied by a smartphone, which can call 911 or contacts for immediate physical emergencies or less urgent emergencies.

Is there anything we’ve left out?

An icon of Christ Pantocrator.

Yes: Christ and the Sermon on the Mount, where Christ said,

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I remember a conversation where my rhetoric was as unclean as it has been, with a man who purchased and trained with a gun to protect his family, and explained that if someone broke in to his home to do harm, he would kill the intruder first and take it to confession second. And I pointed out other more practical measures than a gun to take, such things as motion-activated lights, or a home security system, or psychological measures that would make thieves want to go break into someplace less threatening (a fresh note posted on the door about pet scorpions and pet rattlesnakes getting loose again is terrifying to a thief). But his sense of responsibility began and ended with owning a gun, and he did not show interest in any non-firearm resources to prevent thugs from doing harm.

However, there is a same basic principle that applies, whether you take no survivalist measures, or get a gun, or get lights and a home security system, or get both lights and a home security system: we can never have complete control. That is not available, not in this life, and the same applies if you have insurance for that matter. We will never be in control, and the good news is that we don’t need it. Christ is, and the more we can meet him, the more we prepare ourselves to enjoy the ride.

And this is an invitation to adventure. Ready to roll?

Author: C.J.S. Hayward

C.J.S. Hayward is an Orthodox author and Renaissance man with master's degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC) and theology and philosophy (Cambridge). His most prized work is what he writes in Eastern Orthodox, Christian theology and apologetics. Readers of apologists like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Peter Kreeft, contemporary Orthodox authors such as Met. KALLISTOS Ware, and classic authors like St. John Chrysostom will find much food for spiritual reflection.