EDC and the Rise of a New Culture

If you have reviewed the news that has come out of Shot Show you will see that a few common themes. A return to blades, the demilitarisation of bags to a more “Urban” look and a rise in led flashlight manufacturers as well as tactical pens and other EDC type gear. It is clear 2013 will go down as the raise of the EDC.

EDC or Every Day Carry is nothing new to most of us. We all carry a wallet and likely a phone with us. Many of us that work in warehouses or retail have needed to keep a blade on us. Pens at work and at home are often required and I can remember my dad having no less then 2 pens and a pencil on him at all times, as a kid many moons ago. Why is EDC becoming such a big deal now? Why are so many companies rushing to fill the gap? How did Youtube and the blogosphere get filled with sites discussing EDC and how “best” to do it?

While we will never know there are a few things that have contributed to this.

  • Technology
  • CCW/CPL licenses
  • Prepper Fad


Technology has changed so drastically in our lifetime. Speaking with my son who can not remember a time before the iPad while I remember the Nintendo NES being released and computers that filled rooms back to my dad who didn’t even own a tv as a child. To think we have gone from No tv’s to portable devices with all the world’s information at our finger tips that fit in our pocket is truly astounding. The fact it is used to share pictures of what we had for lunch or shar cat pics is another article entirely. The point is that most of us can not imagine having a smart phone or tablet with us. While this has replaced the pen and paper for many of us it is not a complete out with the old in favor of the new. I still find writing notes on paper to be useful. The smart phone, blue tooth devices and other associated items have just made people aware of carrying a device everyday. Once you carry one thing every day it gets easier and easier to add to that collection.

CCW/CPL Licenses

On of the biggest booms to the EDC movement has been a one two punch of small carry semi automatic and CCW/CPL licenses. Statistic show the number of new CPL licenses in Michigan are growing rapidly. there is a report I am trying to confirm showing more people signed up for CCW licenses in Illinois in the first 2 weeks of registration as signed up for Obamacare in the first 2 months.  Combined with small carry guns like Ruger LCP/LC9, Sig P938/P238, Springfield XDS, Glock 26/27/42 and any number of other pistols you can see the demand for a small easily concealable handgun is growing.  With a concealed weapon comes the holster and possibly extra mags combined now with a keys and phone you are well on your way to a EDC kit.

When you look at the limitations put on Pistol Free Zones we have found more concealed pistol holders are also adding a knife to the daily kit. This allows for the advantages of a readily available utility tool for getting into blister packed items and any other number of mundane uses. In addition this is a useful defense tool when a gun is simply not an option.

Prepper Fad

Regardless of how the prepper fad has been spawned it has educated a new generation of Americans. My Grandmother lived through the depression. She kept bags of rice and sugar in her basement with boxes of oatmeal and other basic commodities. She never called herself a prepper she just thought she was protecting her family. Back then the government actually encouraged people to plant victory gardens and become self sufficient. Oh how times have changed.

Many start by prepping for 24-72 hours of food and water to get through a natural disaster. Creating a bug out bag or imho the most important gear a get home bag the market for tactical bags and army surplus has skyrocketed. With that a move to make sure you had basic life-sustaining items as well as typical comfort items became more common. Things like Leathermans, Nalgene bottles and flashlights started becoming every day items. While most items can be carried on our around your body smaller bags that included water storage moved from cyclist and runner only item to commuters.

What to Carry

There is no such thing as a universal EDC kit. Based on your work, distance of daily travel, level of training an preparedness as well as environment make an EDC a extremely unique kit.  For the sake of this article though we will discuss the most common items included in many EDC’s and why.

  • Wallet – seriously how can you go anywhere without one. If not a wallet a way to carry at least an ID and some cash.
  • Phone – Be it sat phone, smart phone or just a traditional cell phone this item is in almost every EDC.
  • Knife – Be it for self defense or just opening packaging this is a must have
  • Pen – While not as important today as it was in years past a gentleman always has a pen at hand
  • Gun and Mags – The catalyst in my opinion behind the EDC movement is CPL holders. I am not properly dressed without a handgun
  • Flashlight– due to technology advances in batteries and LED lights small and useful lights are easily carried.
  • Multitool – Leatherman made them ultra popular and now many great companies offer full sized all the way down to key chain tools. Even my smallest multi tool has saved the day on more than one occasion.
  • Paper- Field Notes Kraft Graph 3-Pack are perfect to bring with you but you never know when you may need to take a note or pass of information to another person
  • Non Lethal defense – Items like tasers and Police Strength Pepper Gel are gaining in popularity. Having a gun is great but in cases of disparity of force you may want other options to neutralize your threat.
  • Water/Purification – Nalgene 1-Quart Wide Mouth BPA-Free and camelbaks are growing in popularity. However as the recent chemical spill has proven having ways to purify water are important to. Carrying purification tablets or a lifestraw is a great way to make sure any water you do get is safe. Camelbak Products Classic Road Hydration Backpack, Racing Red, 70-Ounce
  • Sunglasses keys and watches are also often carried in an EDC kit.

How to Carry

Guns need to be in a quality holster. Buying the right holster will make a huge difference in how often you actually carry. Knives. cell phones, wallet and pens can easily be put in a pocket. If you wear cargo pants finding room for notepads and flashlights is a breeze in jeans it is doable but gets more difficult. I have taken a hybrid approach to my EDC. I keep a get home bag in my car with far more items than I would carry EDC. It includes items like flashlights and a full size leatherman, water bottles and purification. Very seldom am I very far from my car or home. On my body I carry a knife and spare mag in one pocket my phone in the other. My jacket holds my flashlight and keys. I do not carry a pen 90% of the time. Every attempt I have made to change this resulted in a lost pen. Sunglasses are usually on top of my head if I am not wearing them, this way they don’t get scratched up and I don’t have to carry a sunglass case.
Please feel free to share how you carry it all.

The options are really unlimited. We had done an EDC contest a few months back and have a gallery dedicated to cool EDC pics we have found around the net. We welcome you to share your EDC and why you carry the items in it. Post in the comments below or email me via the contact us page.