submitted by Ed Jelley
Even the most dependable gear wears down over time. Luckily, theres something you can do about it. By following a regular maintenance routine, youll keep your EDC in working order and get the most out of your gear. To put it simply: take care of your EDC, and itll take care of you.
In this guide, weve made maintenance easy. Read on to learn how to keep your gear in tip-top shape for the rest of this new year, and to ensure theyre in it for the long run.
- Sharpening the Easy Way: Perhaps youve opened up one too many bags of ice melt, dulling your blade while exposing it to corrosive salts. Your blade could definitely use a touch up. The Spyderco Sharpmaker system brings a knife edge back from dangerously dull to razor sharp with just a few steps. The kit includes two sets of sharpening stones and an ergonomically designed base to get your blades sharp in a few minutes. Each set also includes a set of detailed illustrated instructions and a DVD if you still dont feel confident with the process. BUY:Spyderco Sharpmaker on Amazon
- Spruce Up Those Wooden Handles: Wood-handled knives look great, but that natural beauty can fade without proper care. Wood is prone to drying out, cracking, and wearing faster than the metal and plastic alternatives. Hit the handles with a light coat of mineral oil from time to time so they stay moisturized and crack-free. Just a few minutes of care can greatly extend the life of your favorite knife. BUY:Mineral Oil on Amazon
- A Well-Oiled Machine: Folding knives are no doubt the most convenient type of knife to carry. Whether you carry a flipper or a lockback, all knives can benefit from a bit of CLP solution on the pivot. A good cleaning followed by a few drops of oil will keep your knife opening and closing smoothly and safely. If your blade is made of carbon steel, you can also add a light coating of oil to prevent the blade from rusting when not in use. BUY:CLP solution on Amazon
- Remember to Moisturize: You should take extra care when working with natural materials, and leather is no exception. Not unlike wood, this organic material is prone to drying out, cracking, and wearing. Obenaufs leather care oil is one of the most popular options for keeping leather goods smooth, moisturized, and protected. Use a clean cloth to apply a bit of oil to your wallet, knife sheath, boots, or any other leather you carry to protect it from the wear and tear of daily use. This odorless oil leaves leather looking like new and ready for carry. BUY:Leather Care Oil on Amazon
Bag and Jacket Maintenance
- Stay Dry: Spring weather is usually unpredictable and more often than not, wet. Carrying a small packable rain jacket is a great way to stay dry. Over time, these jackets tend to lose their ability to shed water like when they were new. Hit your garment with a DWR (durable water repellent) restoring spray like these from Nixwax to keep the elements out. Cover your bases whether youre touching up your hard or softshell apparel and equipment like tents and sleeping bags. BUY:Nikwax Hardshell Duo-Pack on Amazon / Nikwax Softshell Duo-Pack on Amazon
- Wrist Check: Watches have a tendency to get pretty dirty. Theyre on your wrist constantly being exposed to almost everything that you touch. Give your watch a good, thorough cleaning, and maybe even replace the strap if its beginning to wear out. This spring bar tool from Bergeron makes it especially easy to remove the spring bar (the piece that holds on a strap or bracelet) for greater access to the case. Clean it up, change the battery, and pop on a new strap all with a little bit of help from this must-have tool for watch maintenance. Take things a step further by making sure to keep track of when your last professional service was. Its always a good idea to know when the rubber gaskets, o-rings, and movement have been tuned up to ensure that your watch will keep ticking. BUY:Spring-bar Tool on Amazon
- Dont Get Caught in the Dark: Just because the sun is out later and later doesnt mean you should neglect your flashlight. If you pull yours out from the drawer after all this time and it doesnt turn on, check the battery. Regular alkaline batteries can leak and corrode in your light over time. Consider making the switch from alkaline to rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Theyre safer to store in your lights should they go unused for longer periods of time and can be recharged when theyre dead. We like the high capacity Panasonic Eneloops here at Everyday Carry. Theyre reliable and last longer than their one-and-done counterparts. After a small initial investment in the batteries and charger, youll find its hard to go back to the standard. To keep your light in working order, also check the o-rings for dry rot and hit the threads with some silicone grease for smooth operation and some added protection. BUY:Eneloop AA/AAA Rechargeable Batteries on Amazon / Sanyo High-Discharge 18650 Batteries on Illumn
- Make Your Metal Like New Again: Carrying some brass or copper gear thats loaded with patina? If the aged gear look isnt for you, bring those tools back to a brilliant shine with some Maas metal polish. A clean cloth, a dab of polish, and little bit of elbow grease can have your metal gear looking as good as new. BUY:Maas Metal Polish on Amazon
- Time for a Refill: Lots of EDC pens accept the ever-popular Parker-style refill, though sometimes the stock ink cartridge writes less-than-great. Blobby, skipping lines, and scratchy writing ruin the experience of putting a pen to paper. If your writing mostly takes place indoors, consider picking up some Parker Gel refills. Theyre smooth, leave a crisp line on the page, and come in several vibrant colors. Need something more suited to hard use? Grab a pack of Fisher Space Pen refills. Theyll get you writing in the rain, underwater, and even in outer space (should you find yourself up there). BUY:Parker Gel Ink Refills on Amazon
Did we miss any of your favorite maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments below how you keep your EDC in top shape.