Everyday Carry maketh not the man

Posted on January 15 2016, by Scott Gilmore

What the hell is “everyday carry”? We’d never even heard of this, and yet it’s so popular it even has an acronym, EDC. Apparently this is a whole new retail category that might best be described as “theoretically useful stuff that you can carry around in your pocket in the hope that one day you’ll need to use it”. But let’s be serious, when was the last time you said to yourself “Dammit! If only I had a tiny spirit level!” Or, “Gadzooks! My kingdom for a Tactical Notebook!”

The folks at the Lodge pride themselves on their Boy Scout ability to be prepared. Typically that means carrying a wallet when you’re in town. And when you’re in the bush, our list of essential items tops out at about 29. That includes boots, clothes, and pack. It does not include spirit levels.

So why is EDC so popular? We have two theories.

First, this is the retail manifestation of the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Like that Thurber character, there are a significant number of men out there who feel trapped in the doldrums. They fantasize about leading far more exciting lives. Lives where international spies are chasing you and the only way to survive is with a pen that doubles as a kubotan (we have no idea what that is either). EDC aficionados grew up wondering what sort of cool stuff Batman carried in his utility belt. Later, they watched in awe as MacGyver built a paraglider with his Swiss Army knife. As adults, they began to read every Special Forces book they could find and decided anything “tactical” has to be amazing. Unfortunately, buying a katana doesn’t make you a ninja. It just makes you a guy who bought a katana, Which is pretty bad, actually.

Second, Madison Avenue did this to us. The marketing folks are really really good at creating demand out of thin air. Consider the engagement ring. Up until the 1930s, wedding proposals rarely involved expensive diamond rings. Then in 1938, De Beers hired New York–based ad agency N.W. Ayer to launch a campaign announcing tradition dictates grooms should spend three months salary on their fiancée’s ring. People bought it, literally. Now they’re telling us you aren’t a real man unless you load up on EDC. And people are buying that too.

So, put down the stealth EDC key chain with the spoon, whistle, and Sharpie. You don’t need it. If you want a more adventurous life, take your normal key chain, start your car, and drive up into the woods for the weekend. Go for a hike. Pitch a tent. Track a deer and spot an owl.

When you get back to the office on Monday, you’ll feel like Jason Bourne. We promise. Real men are defined by where they take their pack, not what they’ve crammed inside of it.

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