What to Look For in an EDC Handkerchief?

An everyday carry handkerchief is a big commitment. You're making a decision on something that's going to be with you everyday going forward! It's important that you find the best handkerchief for you.

The EDC handkerchief is making a comeback, more and more people are carrying one around with them who never have before. The reason for the handkerchief's resurgence is simple—it's a useful, versatile accessory that can be tucked away into any pocket or bag and taken out whenever you need to wipe your brow, blow your nose, or protect yourself from the elements.

If you're new to handkerchiefs or just looking for some extra insight before buying new ones, then there are some things you'll want to consider before settling on a particular style or design. In this blog post, we'll explore what makes a high quality EDC handkerchief and how it can become an indispensable part of your everyday carry kit.

The attributes that make up the best EDC handkerchief:

  • Fabric Quality
  • Size & Style
  • Absorbency
  • Breathability & Drying
  • Washability
  • Construction Quality

 

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Fabric Quality

Fabric quality is the most important thing to consider before purchasing an everyday carry handkerchief and will take you 80% of the way towards finding the best EDC handkerchief.

The quality of a fabric depends on two things: how it's woven, and what materials are used to make it.

While cotton is what everyone assumes to be the best fabric for daily-use handkerchiefs, we would suggest that you question that assumption - that in fact, linen is the best EDC handkerchief material

Linen is a very misunderstood fabric, it's not fragile or weak like some might think. Flax (the fiber used to weave linen) is actually the strongest plant-based fiber in the world, capable of lasting for years when well kept and improves over time - an important trait of a good everyday carry handkerchief and something that certainly cannot be said about cotton or many other fabrics.

And, of course, not all linen is made equal. Irish linen is considered to be the cream of the crop. It's backed by 300+ years of craftsmanship that still lives on today. Once Ireland's largest export, its story is just as amazing as the material itself. It is what we use to make our handkerchiefs and it's truly unlike any other material you’ll find out there today.

It's been said that Irish linen is, "Beautiful enough to be worn by Kings and Queens and durable enough to use as feed sacks and airplane wings."

The ideal material for an EDC handkerchief.

 

Size & Style

The next most important step in finding your EDC handkerchief is determining the size and style that best suit your needs.

Size is a critical factor when choosing your handkerchief. If you’re looking for a personal item to keep in your pocket all day every day, then you should consider a small-mid size (12" x 12" or below). But, if you want something larger that will have some extra surface area and may not be stored in your pocket all day, then we recommend finding one that is at least 16" x 16."

Overall, size depends on preference and use

Something to note: look for fabrics that don't shrink easily and maintain the size and shape that they were purchased in over time. If you decide to go with linen, make sure the handkerchief is made of a pre-washed linen fabric which will keeping shrinkage to 3% or less. 

We keep our (pre-washed) linen handkerchiefs at 12" x 12" and think that is the perfect size for all-around daily use. It's a size that fits in your pocket comfortably, but also gives you a large enough surface area to work with.

As for style, this is up to the holder. Some people prefer elaborate designs, some prefer patterns, some prefer solid colors, and some will never stray away from the classic white handkerchief.

Some style considerations: can they can be carried with any outfit, are you planning to use these just at work, or only on your days off, or both. As long as they cover your basic style needs, they should be good. 

Once you've got your fabric, size, and style in mind, you can move on to how you want your EDC handkerchief to perform.

 

Absorbency

First and foremost, a good everyday carry handkerchief must be absorbent. If we can't rely on our handkerchiefs to do their job when we need them most… why carry them?

Generally speaking, the more absorbent your handkerchief is, the better it'll work in your EDC kit. That's because there are an abundance of messes out there that you'll find yourself needing your handkerchief for—spills, sneezes, nose drips, children's tears, doggy drool… the list goes on. So making sure it'll be able to soak up any liquid that comes its way is an essential element of an EDC handkerchief.  

Again linen handkerchiefs are particularly great in this regard, they can absorb up to 2 times their weight in water and the fabric's large pore spaces soak up moisture fast.

As always, personal preference and use must be considered. If you're prepping for allergy season, then you'll want a handkerchief that's able to absorb a lot of moisture. If you're looking to have one on hand as a backup napkin or to wipe your hands, then perhaps absorbency is not as important for you.

While there are not many commonly cited metrics to determine a handkerchief's absorbency when shopping online, a good back-up would be to check the thickness or the fabric's weight if they are listed. Often the thicker and heavier the handkerchief, the more absorbent. 

Absorbency is only half the battle though... 

 

Breathability & Drying

Breathability is another key factor to consider when purchasing an EDC handkerchief.

A wet handkerchief will obviously not serve you well. You don't want your handkerchief to still be wet from its last use when you need it again. So it's important that your EDC handkerchief dries fast for rapid reuse.

This is measured by the material's wicking capabilities, a.k.a. its ability (or inability) to move liquids away from its surface and into other layers below it. High wicking capabilities will help keep your handkerchief dry even when humidity levels are high. A lightweight, porous material like linen that allows air to pass through (and moisture out) while still being soft enough to feel nice on your skin is ideal. 

Additionally, a handkerchief that does not dry fast will begin to smell bad. If the moisture absorbed does not dry fast enough it can build up germs and make your handkerchief unsanitary before the day is complete. What's great about linen is it's large pore spaces allow air to pass through at four times the rate of cotton and it has antimicrobial properties that can help inhibit bacteria growth.

 

Washability

Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to washing EDC handkerchiefs. No one wants to have to go out of their way to wash their handkerchiefs by themselves or some special way. The best EDC handkerchief is one that can be washed with other clothes on normal settings and still come out great.

On top of that, they need to be durable enough to be able to withstand frequent use and frequent washing. If you've ever had a hankie that came out of the wash a different shape than when you purchased it, then you know what we're talking about. Or maybe you've had one so fragile that it fell apart after a single use? That's not what you want for your EDC handkerchiefs.

One general recommendation when it comes to caring for your EDC handkerchiefs: you do not want to dry your handkerchiefs on high heat for long periods of time in the dryer. This will weaken the fabric and create wrinkles.

 

Construction Quality

Of course, you could have all the above and it won't mean much unless the final product is of high quality. It's not just about the fabric, it's also about the stitching, the hem, and the overall construction.

Sadly, most handkerchief companies have little care about providing you with a product that will last through years of use and abuse without falling apart or losing its shape. The quality, price, and lifespan of their handkerchiefs are all reflective of it.

We believe in quality from flax to finished handkerchief and make our handkerchiefs in the USA. We believe in making products that will last for years to come. It is with pleasure that we are able to meet the people that sew our handkerchiefs and can rest knowing that the stitching and finishing are done to the highest standard.

It is not easy to find quality daily-use handkerchiefs out there. That's why many people end up buying low-quality handkerchiefs from overseas manufacturers that fall apart in less than a year and are unhappy with their purchase. This was our struggle when first trying to find great EDC handkerchiefs and is what eventually led us to start making our own - the right way, in the USA from the best materialsHandkerchiefs that are made well with quality materials can last for years with proper care, which makes them a great investment.

 

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Now you know what to look for in your next everyday carry handkerchief. So, if you're looking to add an EDC handkerchief to your gear, or perhaps upgrade your current one, hopefully, this list will help you to find something that will meet all of your carry needs. 

A quality handkerchief will save you in a pinch and open the door to a number of uses you encounter on a daily basis that you've never noticed before - it could even help save a life. If you don't already have a handkerchief as part of your everyday carry setup, I promise you - you will never go back after adding one. 

There are a wide range of handkerchiefs out there, and while they all can get the job done, there will be one that suits your needs best. It's our hope that this guide will help you make a well-informed decision and we wish you good luck in your search for the perfect model. 

Check out this link to get started on your search.

No matter what, we believe it's worth having a handkerchief around for any occasion. After all, the world is a messy place and you never know what it's going to throw at you.