Altoids EDC Kit | What to Carry and Why [2024]

Altoids EDC Kit

My last article on Altoids tin kits is a little sassy, but I promise this one isn't satire. The online Everyday Carry (EDC) culture is a mess of aesthetic flex-posting, with little attention paid to practicality or quality of equipment. While I appreciate the occasional stroke of artistic genius, space in my pockets is also at a premium. In attempt to bridge the gap between these two worlds, I've tried my hand at something I've seen many times before. This thing is turning my EDC gear into a kit, safely stored into a standard Altoids tin.

Why an Altoids EDC Kit?

If you're like me, then your pockets are a jumbled mess of EDC gear. Chapstick, multitool, flashlight, and more all thrown in, constantly shifting throughout the day. Maybe something bumps your light on, draining the battery without your knowledge. Or possibly a lanyard makes its way into your pepper spray, quickly turning a cool day hot. Some sort of organization would clear these issues up in an instant.

That's where the Altoids EDC Kit comes in. A compact, hard-sided package to not only organize your things, but protect them as well. This isn't for first-line gear like a gun or pepper spray. We are putting our support gear in here--the things we won't need at a moment's notice. Still unclear? Let me explain.

What to Keep in your EDC Kit


Despite chain smoking being commonplace in my family, I've never been a smoker myself. From the added expense, to witnessing society largely regulate when and where someone can burn a butt, it just isn't my thing. That said, a lighter can still be an incredibly handy piece of gear to keep on you. During my time in the military most people kept lighters around to clean up loose uniform strings, or melt the end of a piece of cord.

Altoids EDC Kit

Hanging out at the smoke pit or smoker-friendly bar is a great way to make friends, even more so if you can give someone a light. If you're ultra cool, then you can pick up a few tricks to use with your Zippo to wow onlookers. From cheap plastic Bic's, to luxurious St Dupont, and everything in between, a lighter may be worth keeping around.


For those worried about leaking lighter fluid, a small box of matches can be a great choice as well. Now less common, matches have almost an exotic allure about them, plus they smell great. While your ability to keep a constant flame is lost, having multiple individual matches may help in other ways.


Leatherman, Victorinox, Gerber, and more are what most people think of when they hear "multitool". Terms like "Swiss Army Knife" are so pervasive in this country that nearly everyone I meet is shocked to learn that Victorinox is actually the brand name. From pliers, to folding blades, and drivers, you can get a lot of use out of your tiny toolkit. Whether you need to tighten down a part on your desk chair, or cut open some packaging, a multitool can probably do it. Throw a Leatherman PS4, or a Victorinox Tinker in your Altoids EDC kit, and you're ready for nearly anything.

Small Light

We live half of our lives in the hours of darkness. Now add in the time where the lights are out, intentionally or otherwise, and quickly you'll find utility in a pocketable flashlight. I love carrying the power of the sun in my hand, but occasionally something a little less bright fits the bill a little better. Maybe you dropped something into the void behind your desk, or you don't want to disturb the person sleeping next to you.

Altoids EDC Kit
EDC Essentials in one small package

Either way, it's dark and you need to change that. The Streamlight Microstream or Pocket Mate are great options, being high quality at a reasonable cost, and even smaller footprint.

Small Knife

It's been years since I carried a dedicated knife, instead relying upon one as part of my multitool. That said, a purpose built blade will likely be stronger, and better designed. At this size, you're likely looking at a task-knife--something to open packages, cut food, etc.

Boo-Boo Kit

Not every injury is a medical emergency. More often than not we get papercuts, tummy aches, and hang nails. While you should be carrying trauma gear on you, these little accidents should be prepared for as well. In my workplace, carrying a mommy bag filled with all manner of  remedies for cuts and bruises is inappropriate, but a pocket sized kit rarely gets a second glance. Even smaller Altoids tins can fit a handful of band-aids, ibuprofen, Imodium, and more. These can be a figurative lifesaver in your day to day.

Notebook and Pen/Pencil.

I'm a forgetful guy, and note taking material definitely helps me here. At least once a week I have to tell someone to write down or email whatever it is that they're saying to me. Carrying a small notepad is an easy fix for the scatterbrained, especially when you can read through your notes to remember what has been forgotten. Of course some will will say to just use your phone.

Altoids EDC Kit
A full book of matches and some tinder in the extra small kit

Unfortunately, that is not an option for some people--I haven't been able to bring my phone into the office for nearly a decade. Additionally, pulling out your phone can be time consuming, and it is filled with apps and notifications designed to distract. Paper and pen keeps you on task, saving the phone for more important things, like reading this article.

Whether you use Rite in the Rain, Field Notes, or a Walmart special, a notebook is a great addition to your EDC.

Sewing Kit

During my time in the military, I became the de facto seamster for my office. BDU cut uniforms lose buttons from their blouses and trousers more often than you'd expect. During survival school I had a pair of pants develop multiple holes that needed fixing in the field. Taking your uniform to clothing alterations can be costly and eats up time.

In the real world, if  you buy high enough quality clothes to last you years, you'll like have buttons come lose over time. Rather than tossing them out, or paying someone, you can make minor repairs yourself. Keeping a small sewing kit handy can help avoid sudden wardrobe malfunctions. That said, typical travel size sewing hits are soft sided, and can result in you accidentally getting poked by the sewing needle. The metallic Altoids tin will help protect you from accidental ouchies, while keeping your sewing equipment readily available.

Spare Cash/Pre-Paid Card

Have you ever lost your wallet? Maybe you missed your pocket when putting it away, set it down when paying, or something else. Another near eventuality nowadays is having your credit or debit cards compromised. Either way, suddenly being without your primary source of money is incredibly stressful. Whether it's paying for gas or groceries at home, or margaritas and mementos while traveling, you need funds now.

Altoids EDC Kit
You can fit a lot of cash in one of these

Keeping a few bills and a prepaid card separate from your main wallet could be a saving grace. This can range from a few bucks for a cab, or a serious emergency stash, whatever you deem appropriate for your situation.

Final Thoughts on Altoids EDC Kits

These are things I carry as white-collar worker. Depending on your hobbies or line of work, you may choose to fill your kit with completely different things. There are a variety of sizes of Altoids tins to help customize your EDC.

Is this something that fits your lifestyle? Let us know how you'd set yours up in the comments.

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About Daniel Reedy 399 Articles
Daniel holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has received training from Craig Douglas, Tom Givens, and Steve Fisher among others. He also has experience competing in USPSA, CAS, 3 Gun, and Steel Challenge. In his free time Daniel enjoys petting puppies and reading the Constitution. His work is also published by AmmoLand, Recoil Concealment, and Air Force Times. Daniel has also written and edited for The Kommando Blog.

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