10 Reasons Why Everyday Carry (EDC) is so Popular

Some of the reasons why everyday carry is so popular include a renewed interest in preparedness, America’s perception of the state of public safety, and the fact that the average American spends more time away from home.

In the rest of this article, we’ll explore 11 reasons why everyday carry is so popular. We’ll also provide useful tips to help you ease into the everyday carry lifestyle, so be sure to read to the very end.

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday carry (EDC) refers to the items you carry on an everyday basis, like a pen, wallet, keys, or anything else that’s essential to your daily life. 

Usually limited to what can be physically carried on a person or in a small bag, EDC can also be more broadly applied to preparedness items in general, extending to what can be stored in a vehicle or larger backpack.

In most cases, people think of carrying things like a flashlight, keychain, or a knife when they hear everyday carry. 

While these may be part of some people’s everyday carry, anything you always tap your pockets or check your bag for before you head out qualifies as your EDC item.

This can be your watch, keyring, gum wrappers, wallet, notebook, smartphone, a knife, a firearm, or even a pen: basically, anything that you find truly essential to overcoming small emergencies or simply ensuring that your day runs smoothly.

Usually, EDC items will be distributed among your pockets or carried in an additional carry option that can be a fanny pack, a small day pack, a purse, a bracelet, your boots, or any garment with pockets. You get the picture.

However, the way you store these items will largely depend on their intended use. If, for instance, you’re worried about being kidnapped and have been carrying such items to help you escape, you’ll likely carry them concealed in a location that can be accessed in case of illegal detention.

In recent times, everyday carry has evolved into an internet subculture. Several factors have contributed to that, so let’s review them below.

What has Made EDC so Popular?

Social Media Has Made It Easier for EDC Enthusiasts to Connect

Social media has largely contributed to popularizing everyday carry. Thanks to social platforms, EDC enthusiasts are now finding it easier to connect with like-minded individuals and share ideas.

Through these social media platforms, users share their EDC ideas and photos and engage in submitting “pocket-dumps” and sharing tips, tricks, and EDC modifications.

There are countless dedicated groups and pages across various social platforms. Their emergence has helped turn everyday carry into an internet subculture by giving it a “cool factor”.

It Provides Peace of Mind

Part of the popularity of everyday carry stems from the fact that it provides peace of mind. While you might not end up needing some of the items you carry in your EDC, the sheer knowledge that they’ll be available when you need them provides peace of mind.

Peace of mind may be particularly important for millennials because they prioritize travel more than earlier generations. For this age group, everyday carry provides a mobile solution for preparedness in spontaneous adventures and planned ones. 

Travel preparedness aside, everyday carry also allows you to be prepared for unexpected situations you may encounter in your day, from helping out in minor accidents to solving problems such as a car breakdown or even defending yourself in a life or death scenario. 

Everyday carry also provides peace of mind for parents. Whether traveling or simply letting your kid tag along on your grocery run, you’ll want to have essential items that your child might need within your reach, especially if they have medical needs. 

In particular, women have been doing this for the last century with their purses, carrying essential items such as tissue, lotion, wet wipes, and other items that they or their kids may need along the way. They were likely EDC’ing and didn’t even know it, or at least didn’t know it would be popularized with its own name.

It Is Convenient and Versatile

Everyday carry is also popular for its versatility because you can always swap out your EDC items to optimize your carry for a particular day or occasion. For any enthusiast, this is fun practice and a great way to stay flexible and adjust to your day-to-day utility and preparedness needs.

Since everyday carry kits are typically well organized (not always), it’s easier to find an item when you need it. This adds convenience to your day because it means you won’t have to dig through junk, borrow, or end up giving up on a particular endeavor simply because you didn’t bring the required tools. 

It Provides Potential Long-Term Savings

Everyday carry enthusiasts are known for shopping by the “buy it for life” principle. In simpler terms, this means they demonstrate a strong preference for well-made, durable products when shopping for items to include in their EDC kits. 

By investing in essentials that can bear the brunt of daily usage abuse, they realize potential long-term savings because they won’t have to spend often to replace cheaply-made items that wear out quickly. 

Also, since people love to show off anything we’ve invested a significant amount of our hard-earned money in, many folks have caught up with this shopping trend, something that has helped popularize EDC.

It Is Seen as a Way of Personal Expression

Another factor that has helped popularize everyday carry is the level of personalization it allows. There’s an element of intimacy in knowing that what you’re carrying in your EDC kit isn’t necessarily in someone else’s kit.

It’s your carry and it’s customized to fit your specific needs and meet your standards. 

Such personalization is one of the most appealing aspects of everyday carry and one of the reasons it’s so popular.

It means you can express your preferences through your EDC kit and continuously refine it to reflect your personality and changing tastes as you grow as a person.

The Average American Spends More Time Away From Home

According to a 2019 survey by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 24% of employed Americans worked fully or partly at home, a big difference from the 82% who worked fully or partly from their workplace (although with COVID, we’ll see a shift in numbers as 2020 stats are released).

On average, the former group worked for 3.3 hours, and the latter did so for 7.9 hours. 

There are several takeaways from these stats, but let’s focus on the fact that many people spend most of their day away from home.

An everyday carry kit allows individuals to have what they need on their person, ready for when they need it.

With such preparedness, they won’t need to rush back home to grab some of the items they might need in the day for non-work related errands, which helps save time and reduces hassles by minimizing the need for frequent commutes.

More People Are Seeing the Fun in Testing and Optimizing EDC Kits

One of the many appeals of the EDC lifestyle is the practice of testing your everyday carry kit and swapping in/out items to optimize it.

It has played a significant part in EDC’s rise to popularity because more people are now relishing the challenge of trying out different items to create the most efficient EDC kits for specific situations and locations, all while striking a balance between portability and functionality.  

That’s why it’s not uncommon to see EDC enthusiasts showing off their carry on online forums or social media platforms and describing why they’ve chosen to include certain items and swap out others.

Each person’s kit is different and that some of the items some people find useless may be ideal for others. 

Some individuals may even be willing to exchange EDC gear through online forums provided you have something they need or are looking for.

Renewed Interest in Preparedness

Preparedness isn’t a new movement. People have been preparing for all kinds of emergencies since as early as the 1930’s and before. 

More often than not, the mention of the term preppers or survivalists is often associated with the idea of people preparing for large scale emergencies such as global disasters and disruptions in social/political order.

However, the scope of survivalism also includes preparing for less dramatic personal emergencies such as being stranded or surviving adverse weather conditions. 

Typically, preppers strive to be self-reliant and acquire survival skills and knowledge. Generally, there has always been a small segment of the American population that lives according to survivalism principles.

However, most of the population is now showing interest in this kind of lifestyle, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

More people want to be prepared for unexpected eventualities such as getting quarantined or getting stranded outside their homes due to sudden changes in lockdown procedures. 

As such, there has been renewed interest in everyday carry, and the kits are significantly better stocked for survival compared to a year ago when the emphasis was mostly on personal style and convenience.

Everyday carry provides an organized way for people to pack things that may help with survival in case of an emergency.

The Concept of Everyday Carry Has Evolved to Accommodate Changing Consumer Needs

Another factor contributing to the popularity of everyday carry is that it’s changed with the times.

Ages ago, men’s EDC kits included crude knives (probably carved from rocks), a spear or a bow and arrows, and perhaps some form of a pouch for hauling home whatever food they had gathered for that day. That is far from today’s EDC kits.

Modern everyday carry has evolved to embrace not just functionality but also style. If you take a look at the multitude of everyday carry photos online, you’ll notice that while functionality is key, stylish wallets, mobile devices, and watches are a staple.

People want EDC kits that meet their needs without compromising their style, and the fact that manufacturers of everyday carry items have adapted to these changes in consumer needs is one of the many reasons why everyday carry is now an internet subculture.

Americans Are Worried About Their Security

Generally, public perceptions of crime rates in the United States are all over the place. Americans feel that national crime rates have increased regardless of whether or not it is true.

According to FBI crime statistics, the US’s rate of violent crimes tends to go up and down depending on the years you sample and how you quantify the data. One thing is for sure, more often than not, this has no bearing on one’s emotions and how they “feel” about crime.

Public perception of crime has left many worried about their security. That has played a significant part in popularizing everyday carry, particularly among individuals who carry for self-defense reasons. 

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, this is a significant segment of the population, too, with up to 9 million American adults estimated to carry loaded handguns monthly.

About 3 million are doing so daily. The study also found that handgun owners who carry loaded weapons do so primarily for protection. 

Keep in mind that we’ve only looked at stats for carrying a firearm. While things like knives may be carried for utility, they’re also a staple for EDC, and as such, some people carry them for self-defense as well

Whether it’s carrying a gun, knife, “tactical” pen, or other similar items, more Americans are now embracing the EDC approach to self-defense.

Deciding What Goes Into Your EDC Kit

If our discussion on why everyday carry’s popularity has soared over the last few years has got you interested in trying out this lifestyle, the first thing you’ll want to do is to figure out what to include in your EDC. 

Now, as long as we’d love to provide an exhaustive list of what items should feature in your kit (wait, we have…check out our EDC Essentials), everyone’s needs are different, and what’s essential to you might not have the same status for the next EDC’er. 

What we can do, however, is provide some critical questions you need to answer to help you figure out your EDC if you want a more customized approach.

Let’s review those below.

What Items Do You Use Daily?

This question might seem pretty straightforward, but it makes all the difference when it comes to optimizing your EDC kit. Think about your occupation and/or anything else you do daily.

Are you a handyman who always finds themselves in need of some tools? Or, maybe a corporate employee who feels lost without their watch?

The kind of items used by these two people in their day to day life are very different, and this is why choosing what to include in your EDC kit is entirely a personal choice. 

Once you figure out what items you’d like to feature in your EDC kits, the next step is to think about how you can streamline them for easier carry.

What Can You Minimize?

Minimalism is a popular and important aspect of EDC. Since you’ll likely take your EDC kit with you wherever you go, you’ll want to optimize it such that you’re able to carry less without sacrificing too much functionality.

Lightening your physical load will make your days less hectic by reducing your physical stress. Remember, the whole point of having your EDC kit is to make your life easier, not harder.

One way to be a minimalist with your EDC is to only pack items essential to your daily needs. It also helps if you opt for multifunctional everyday carry items with a compact design.

What Are You Preparing For?

Every EDC’er carries their kit for specific reasons, and you need to keep yours in mind when choosing your gear.

Sometimes, you may want to prepare for situations that you likely won’t encounter every day, like a security threat. Other times, you may be looking to do so for your day-to-day duties. 

Since minimizing your everyday carry load is important, the most important thing is to ensure that you strike a perfect balance between your desired level of preparedness and your daily must-haves.

Standard EDC Gear to Get You Started

By answering the above three questions, you likely have a better (albeit rough) idea of what type of EDC gear to pack.

To give you some sort of a benchmark in this regard, let’s take a look at some of the standard EDC items you may want to carry every day.

  • Wallet
  • Cash
  • Cell Phone
  • Watch
  • Pen and Notebook
  • Flashlight
  • Pocket Knife or Multitool
  • Firearm
  • Medical
  • Pepper Spray

Summing Up

That rounds up today’s discussion. Hopefully, you’ve gained a better understanding of why everyday carry has taken over the internet, as well as a rough idea of what to include in your kit if you choose to embrace the EDC lifestyle. 

While we’ve identified some of the common EDC items, keep in mind that the above list isn’t final, and you can include or swap out some items according to your needs. After all, this is the fun part of the everyday carry lifestyle, and you should enjoy every bit of it. All the best!

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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