Do you carry a handkerchief? A nice square of cloth in your pocket comes in handy in several ways.
This may be TMI, but I am a sweaty dude. Having a cloth to wipe my face makes summer bearable. In winter, with runny noses, a hanky frees me from a snot-streaked sleeve and is better environmentally and economically than an endless stream of tissues. A hank is a convenient way to dry your hands or wipe off dirt and grime.
The hank protects my hand when I grab something that’s been sitting in the car for hours on a summer day and is now approaching the temperature of the sun. It adds an insulating layer in the winter when holding onto something cold. (A note from our lawyers: a pocket handkerchief is not designed to protect skin against extremes of cold or hot. Use appropriate gear and a bit of that EDC brain to protect yourself. Don’t be an idiot and sue us saying we led you astray.)
Offering a (clean, unused) handkerchief to a friend at a funeral or a date at a sappy movie is an easy way to show kindness and nurture a friendship or romance.
Finally, a hank is an easy way to express yourself and add some style to your day. Several of mine have a coffee theme!
The hank embodies the three aspects of EDC discussed a while back: utility, preparedness, and fun. And hanks are cheap enough that you can easily have a bunch to express different interests and themes.
So let’s talk about that elephant that keeps edging into your mind: hygiene. I’ll carry the same knife and flashlight every day for a month, but a hank (assuming it gets used) needs to be changed on the same frequency as your underwear - daily. Maybe more often in some cases. I don’t stick the same sweaty, snotty handkerchief in my pocket every day for a week. When I leave the house, I grab a clean one. Through folding, you can keep the messy bits from getting left behind in your pocket. When I get home, the hank goes in the laundry and I grab a clean one. Be sure to check the washing instructions with your hanks, but generally speaking a cold wash and line dry will be fine.
Check out the stylish Riley’s 66 hankies, handmade in upstate NY. Post your thoughts in the comments and feel free to offer suggestions on hank patterns. Personally, I’m pushing for a history of aviation series (check out the biplane design!) and of course, more coffee prints!