Five EDC Tips for Black Friday

   11.24.14

Five EDC Tips for Black Friday

Black Friday has become something of a holiday in and of itself, a holiday from the normal rational thinking that comes with spending money. It’s a day where people trample each other for an $11 George Foreman Grill or a $187 garbage flat screen TV. And like the Christmas season, it’s getting stretched out. I am sure all of you have been getting emails about “special black Friday deals” more than a week in advance. It’s Black Friday but on a Tuesday!

Have hope, gear geeks, as there is a way to capitalize on this wave of capitalism and not end up with 13 $1 crap flashlights. Over the years of blogging and scouring locations, I have found a few things that always work well for the Black Friday through Cyber Monday period. Here are five tips to help guide you and make sure you don’t lose your mind.

Tip 1: Multitool Madness

The vast, vast majority of stuff on sale in brick and mortar stores is just garbage–flashlights that have silver stickers as reflectors or knives that have “surgical steel” blades. Avoid that junk. No matter how cheap it is, it’s not worth buying. It’s really not.

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But there are a few things that are reliably on sale that are worth it, and it is usually multitools, specifically Leatherman multitools. I snagged a Leatherman Wingman for testing last year, and it was a great deal. Additionally, they have bundles–a Wingman or a Sidekick and a one-piece multitool. The prices are generally better than normal retail and the potential for a bundle kicks up the value a bit.


SHOP NOW

The real takeaway here is this–buy stuff on sale from brands you trust. Skip the Surefyre lights and Benchcraft knives, just like you would skip the Sorny TV. THEY AREN’T WORTH IT.

Tip 2: BOLO for Attention Grabbers

The big internet sites, Blade HQ, Knives Ship Free, Knife Center, Battery Junction et. al., are all trying to vie for your attention in the brief window of insanity that is Black Friday through Cyber Monday. They will have loss leaders–deals to get your attention–and you should take advantage of them. You’ll never find stuff cheaper than you will when it is a loss leader.

Last year there were Leeks for bargain prices, runs of Hinderers in the wild, and other bonkers deals. If you have been holding out for the perfect time to buy a knife or light in a higher than normal price bracket, now is the time. You just might score that grail production knife at a price that doesn’t kill you (or get you killed by a significant other). The rise in the number of midtech knives is another thing to look for–these knives make perfect attention grabbers, enough supply to sell them, but still exclusive enough to grab folks’ attention.

Tip 3: Batteries Baby!

There are few things that are better, on a dollar for dollar basis, than batteries on Black Friday.

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All of the awesome lights we use need batteries, and many of them need primary cells. You can find shotput-sized containers of batteries for more than 50% off. If you scour carefully you might find a pack of lithiums on sale, too.

Tip 4: Stock up on the Essentials

Batteries are the most notable thing on sale, but if you go looking for secondary stuff, lube, cleaners, polishing pastes, you find that a lot of that stuff is on sale, but in different places. I like both Rockler and Woodcraft for my EDC maintenance kit stuff, and both offer great deals around Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Here is my belt strop and Sharpmaker:

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SHOP NOW

Often times these places or your local hardware store will run coupons or grab bags that offer blanket discounts on stuff, so this is the perfect time to stock up on Rem Oil and polishing paste. The other thing is that these items rarely, if ever, go on sale on their own during the year, so Black Friday is basically the only time to jump on such deals.

Tip 5: Make One Stupid Purchase

It’s like when you are on a diet. You see some cake at work and you want some, but instead of just eating a sensibly sized piece of cake you eat everything else–a handful of cashews, a package of fruit snacks, and you end up consuming twice the calories you would have if you had just eaten the cake.

Oh...this is another kind of stupid purchase.
Oh…this is another kind of stupid purchase.
Look, if you are anything like me (and I assume you are because you are reading this), you’re going to walk into Home Depot or Lowes and see some giant 2000 lumen light for $20 and you’re going to put it in your cart, walk around, take it back out, and grab a few other things as compensation. But do yourself a favor–set aside $20 or $25 for a stupid purchase and just buy it. It will get that impulse out of your system and you might end up with something not quite terrible. There is a reason that 2000 lumen light is $20, and it’s not because the manufacturer likes you or Thanksgiving. But it never hurts to have a light or a knife stowed somewhere–down in the basement or in your car’s glove box–in case of an emergency (and as a back up to a more dependable light).

Gear is such a hard thing for other folks to buy for us that often it means we have to buy it for ourselves, which is no big deal. Gear is also something that rarely goes on sale, so when Black Friday/Cyber Monday rolls around, we have an opportunity not only to buy stuff for ourselves, but also get it at a discount. The other really awesome thing, especially if you are doing in-person shopping, is that our stuff is not the trample-your-neighbor kind of loss leader, so you can cruise into one of the big box stores after the first wave (i.e. the shombies, a portmanteau that my brother-in-law and I invented for shopping zombies) and still bag some great deals. Also, don’t forget your local hardware store. They have blanket deals and coupons, and you can sometimes snag some good stuff.

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