SWAG: What’s your Cigar EDC?
For the uninitiated, the acronym, EDC, stands for Every Day Carry. The term literally means things you carry with you and/or in your vehicle every day. The idea is to gather all the things you use, need or may need for any eventuality and package them in a manner conducive for fairly immediate access. Unless you like lugging shit around in big ass pockets in your cargo pants, you may want to consider some sort of carry all. If you don’t mind being the brunt of cruel jokes or people laughing and pointing at you, go ahead…rock that fanny pack that your Mom wore back in the 80s. Since men do not carry purses, and we in the US are less prone to adopt more Euro-based ideas like carrying “man bags”, whatever your EDC, it must fit in a relatively small space to make it easier to carry. These days, manufactures like Maxpedition, have capitalized on designing thoughtful concepts of organizing and protecting your EDC with the launch of many unisex totes, bags and packs of varying sizes to house your precious things. These are usually made of high-quality ballistic nylon or some other robust material with the inner layout designed with retention straps and bands to hold the various items.
The term can mean different things to different folks. For instance, one person’s EDC may include sunglasses, a folding knife, multitool, ear buds, a pen, condoms, Chapstick, etc. Others may be strictly defined by emergency response needs like seatbelt cutter, window punch, crank radio, flashlight and MREs (meals ready to eat) or personal defense gear like tactical knives, baton, pepper spray, brass knuckles or any manor of concealable firearms. Or any combination of the above. You may have a bag you carry and one for your vehicle, but the simple idea is to bag enough essentials to get you through whatever you might encounter. Life is good.
As a duly anointed and passionate BOTL, it occurred to me that our EDC is influenced by our lifestyle and culture – the Cigar EDC or CEDC/cEDC. Unfortunately, the items we may want to have at arm’s reach may necessitate another freakin’ bag. Don’t need a crank radio, but that combo brass-knuckles/cigar-cutter is pretty bitchin. If we’re not careful we could end up resembling WWII paratroopers with all manner of gear strapped, hooked, velcroed and buttoned to every available body part. Okay, that’s an extreme, but you get the idea. We’ll worry about how we organize things later. In the meantime, let’s examine what us BOTLs and SOTLs need in our cEDC.
I’ve seen numerous ads for nice cigar carriers, you know, different kinds of leather, with silk lined pouches for lighters and cutters, and various configurations to house up to 4-5 sticks. All in one bag. I’ve seen some with cedar-lined compartments and sealable lids. But in some cases (no pun intended), it would appear that some manufactures have put the case before the cigar. In other words, have they really thought out what a typical cigar aficionado would want in a case? I understand not everyone is the same, like some minimalists who just need a cigar and something to light it with. Doesn’t get more bare bones than that. But what about those of us boy scouts who like being prepared for any event leading to cig-armegeddon? For example, I carry both a lighter AND cigar matches. I prefer matches, but if I’m outside in a windy environment, you know like skydiving, I’d prefer my wind-resistant (“windproof” lighters are marketing bullshit) 3- or 4-jet torch. In the end, like cigars, its subjective.
To start, I’ll volunteer what I typically like to have in my cEDC. Then we’ll take a look at some other items I’m betting my 401k many of you have never considered. As you can see from the photo, it’s pretty straightforward. I’ve not found a bag I like yet, so for this staged photo I used my herf-a-dor as the overall dimensions represent the right size for everything I’d like to carry.
|1. Scissors||4. Cutter||7. Knife|
|2. Lighter||5. Punch||8. Flask|
|3. Rest||6. Matches||9. Tasting Journal
Sometimes I don’t carry the flask, just depends on the occasion. I also don’t always carry my journal either, but I do most of the time. I’m sure you’re thinking carrying both the scissors and the cutter is a headscratcher, but I prefer scissors when clipping Torpedoes and Belicosos. I have a couple of rests, but the one I prefer to carry folds nice and flat. Finally, I prefer the “wind-proof” matches, but think the number of matches I carry is a bit much, so I’ll probably look for a smaller water proof container. And that’s it folks.
During my journey, I’ve discovered other items I never even thought about. For example, do you carry extra butane? I know some companies are now offering the small travel-sized containers (< 3.0 oz.). I could see this being useful over a weekend, particularly if you’re out in the sticks with no convenient Walmart or local humidor nearby. While not absolutely necessary, let’s take a look at some items that just might come in handy during your next herf, exotic escape or family hootenanny.
Yeah, yeah, I know we already covered this, just listing it here.
Extra distilled water / Propylene glycol
Running a liquid humidifier in your cigar case? With the popularity of Boveda packs and related products its difficult to imagine someone taking a long enough trip or finding themselves in a position of having to top off their humidifier with distilled water or a mix of propylene glycol/water. But if you must, perhaps an eyedropper sized bottle will do the trick.
I have one of these things, I’m not terribly fond of it, but I could see where this might come in handy for some folks. It’s a device with essentially two metal (aluminum) alligator-style clips that are joined by opposite handles. One clip offers light tension to hold the cigar or business end, while the other has a tighter grip for attaching to just about anything from a tent pole to a bed post. Its kind of bulky, but if oriented correctly, I could see this in someone’s cEDC bag. Golfers, among others, love these things.
Let’s get this out of the way ‘cause I sense some eye rolling – If you’re out in the woods nobody gives a shit. Got it. But how many times have you gone to a public place with not an ashtray, stray Miller Lite can or discarded gelato cup to be found? I know smoking bans and laws restrict where you can smoke, so the lack of smoker-friendly devices is obvious. My wife and I were with friends at a hotel recently and there was a nearby courtyard where we could smoke. Place to sit, check. Appealing scenery, check. Place to dump your ashes, other than accidentally on your new Tommy Bahama silk shirt – nada. A travel ashtray would have been nice. I found several on Amazon for less than $20 and the dimensions are fanny pack…er…cigar case-friendly. Or if you eschew using your hard-earned cash for such luxuries, try a shot glass, ramekin or if you wanna get real cheap, the lid off a discarded pickle jar.
Nub Tool (Nubber)
I’m really trying not to use the term “roach clip”, so trying to be creative yet accurate in my description. So ya wanna smoke that H Upmann Magnum to the nub but you’ve finally grown tired of singeing the knuckle hair and burning too many layers of skin off your fat digits. Get yourself what basically amounts to a metal skewer you shove through the back end of your stogie near the cap. You can now puff on your stick till you’re sucking ash. I’ve haven’t seen too many designs but some of the boutique shops will have them.
Draw Enhancer tool
This is a new one on me. I just learned that things like this exist. We take for granted that we’re smoking premium handmades and rarely have trouble with the construction. Maybe I’m just charmed, but I rarely run into this. Ironically, I’ve read several reviews and blogs highlighting the issue of either draws bad from the get go or going bad due to poor rolling or poor construction due to plugs of tobacco obstructing the draw. Don’t know if this is a pattern, but all those I’ve read about were genuine Cubans. Nonetheless, if you do happen to run into this, keep this baby in your cEDC – a tool specifically designed to remove obstructions and give you that perfect draw.
I’ve saved the best for last. Many fellow BOTL and SOTL have ever heard of this, but this stuff is not only available, you can find multiple manufacturers of this stuff. LOL, of course you can find it on Amazon! When rolling cigars, torcedores use a vegetable- or plant-based adhesive called gomma. This is used for sealing wrappers and caps. Not sure glue would help when that Davidoff your brother sent you arrives and looks like it just went through a Cuisinart, but a small tube of cigar glue can go a long way to securing peeling wrappers or perhaps a pesky cap leaf after a bad cut. How many times have you peeled off a band only to find part of the wrapper stuck to it leaving the remainder sticking up? Uh-huh, you betcha.
Many of these additional tools and gadgets seem pretty useful and they’re all relatively small and compact enough to get into your kit. If you like being prepared, then this has got to get your motor running. If you’re a minimalist or someone who just likes to wing it without getting bogged down in carrying a bunch a of stuff, I feel your ‘meh’. For me personally, I do have moments where I like to just wing it you know, go where the road takes me. But I also know I’m a creature who doesn’t like to leave a lot to chance. You can tell, I’m married with kids. So, I might add some things, move some things around and hopefully find a cool enough case to accommodate everything otherwise, might just have to blow the dust off that fanny pack.
What’s in YOUR cEDC? – In Fumo Pax!