Before we get started, an important disclosure
What is an EDC kit?
EDC stands for Everyday Carry. This is the stuff you carry around with you on a daily basis, usually in a pocket or a bag that’s always on you. Over the years, I’ve developed a very specific collection of EDC items for my photography kit. This is the stuff that always comes with me when I take my camera somewhere. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, what the weather is like or even where in the world I am! My photography EDC kit has all the essentials to keep me shooting. What’s important is that it’s in a small bag that’s easy to grab and stuff into a jacket pocket or a camera bag. If you have multiple camera bags (who doesn’t?!), then it’s easy to leave stuff behind in another bag unless it’s organized in this way. I can’t tell you how much time this saves me when I’m packing for a trip or a shoot. Just grab, and go. Let’s take a look at the kit…!
As well as being a shoulder strap, the Leash also functions as an emergency tether. Loop one end of the strap around an object and clip the end into the special Anchor half way along the strap. Now you have a solid tether, and you can attach the remaining end to a camera or a camera bag to secure it. I’ve used this to tie cameras to myself while I shoot out of helicopters, and I’ve tied camera bags to trees on the edge of cliffs and waterfalls. It’s also great for tethering a camera to yourself if you’re leaning off a building or bridge.
All these uses from a $35 shoulder strap that’s small enough to fit in a shirt pocket! I hope you can see why this quickly earned a permanent spot in my EDC kit.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless earbuds are part of my EDC kit because they have great bluetooth range, about 7 hours of battery life and they’re incredibly comfortable. I can easily wear them for a while day and there’s not a hint of an ache in my ear. I have the wired versions as well, but the freedom of the wireless ones is awesome, particularly when I’m riding my bike and can simply stash my phone safely in my backpack once I’ve pressed play.
In order to make it useful for photography equipment, you need to add the optional Leatherman Bit Kit. As standard, the Signal only comes with a Phillips and a flat-head screwdriver, but the Bit Kit adds on a further 40 different head types that encompass pretty much everything you’d expect to find on a tripod, lightstand or lens foot (the most common items that need tightening in the field). The Bit Kit is about $15, and the low profile design means you can slot them into a Leatherman Sheath, or directly into the Outdoor Research organizer. The Signal is available with a Sheath as a kit, but you can also get a Molle Sheath that attaches far easier to the outside of a camera bag when you need fast access to it. I LOVE this thing, and I never leave home without it as this is part of my personal EDC and not just my photography one. If you don’t want to carry it in a sheath, it comes with a very sturdy metal belt clip.
Looking for something similar in design to the Signal, but a little smaller? Check out the Leatherman Skeletool CX which I keep in my travel duffle bag.
Note: Eagle-eyed reader might note that the tripod in the gear spread photo at the top of the page is actually the regular TFA-01, and not the slightly more expensive TFA-01 Ultra. The Ultra variation is a newer model, and has replaced my previous one since this photo was taken. The Ultra is well sort the additional few dollars as it adds the ratcheting legs which really increases the useable capacity of it. Honestly, this thing is simply brilliant for DSLRs, GoPros, or even holding a cell phone while it records a timelapse – something I’m quite fond of doing while I’m shooting with my big camera on a larger tripod.
I also usually carry a Fenix UC35 tactical flashlight with me which is also chargeable via USB and puts out a full 960 lumens.