What is an EDC Bag and Why You Need One

What is an EDC Bag and Why You Need One

Acronyms Fill Our Lexicon.

From a government peppered with ABC departments and a military fond of the language process, however, some might argue it makes language simpler. If you don’t know the meaning of the acronym, then it’s not that simple.


In the bag industry the acronym EDC meaning is Every Day Carry. A subset of tactical survivalists coined the term to label all the everyday carry essentials they haul around in their pockets or on their person. These are everyday carry items they have with them to survive an apocalypse.

Therefore, these include some kind of multi-tool or knife, watch, flashlight, pen, compass, etc. That’s more items than you can fit in a stylish skinny pants pocket nowadays. The EDC bag idea continues to evolve.


In a sense, an EDC bag has been with mankind since they stood upright on the African savanna. For instance, they needed something to stuff those rock tools and fire making flints in after discovering fire. It was vital they carried a bone or stone weapon at all times to defend against predators or other hominids.

A bag or satchel of some kind was necessary to hold other important items. This kept one hand free to defend themselves or carry food, something of a temporary shelter, or a helpless child.
Otzi’s leather belt and tool pouch.
Otzi’s leather belt and tool pouch.

We know early man had versions of an EDC bag from the famous Otzi the Iceman. His animal skin pouch had tools and grains of food in it. Essentially this was his "EDC Belt".

The archeological record is peppered with hieroglyphs of figures carrying some sort of sack. Unfortunately most bags in the past were made from perishable materials, such as animal skins or woven grasses. So existing samples of surviving bags are extremely rare.


Out in the American west the pioneer or mountain man would stash his important everyday carry items like flint, powder, and lead ball ammunition in a little leather bag they coined a possibles pouch. Red Oxx carries on this western tradition with our version of the modern day Possibles Pouch crafted in CORDURA® Brand Nylon fabric patterned in cool tiger stripe digital camo. (NOTE: the Mill no longer makes this pattern of fabric, so the bag was discontinued.)

    Over the centuries people gravitated towards an everyday carry bag that could hold the things required to survive. This became the satchel, the backpack, the fanny pack, the purse. Even bags carried on animals like the saddle bag… and so on.

Above all, war is a primary driver in EDC bag design. For instance, early Roman legions depended on a bag carried on a pole or spear. Napoleon's army troops were loaded with the early design for knapsacks. To this day, special ops and other soldiers depend on a backpack and various small bags or pouches to carry their fighting and survival gear.
Roman Legionnaire re-enactor demonstrates pack mobility.
Roman Legionnaire re-enactor demonstrates pack mobility.


Today, we still carry around an awful lot of stuff. Ironically one item, the cell phone, now seems to cover a lot of former multiple items territory. Efforts are underway to replace your cash wallet and purse with apps that digitally deliver your money from your bank account through your phone into devices that receive it when you shop.

    The smartphone replaced the typical everyday carry items list. This includes the camera, the address book, the watch, the flashlight, the calculator, a compass and map, the radio, the TV. It became the source for personal entertainment for bored children.

You still need to put this device somewhere on your person. With skinny pants fashion and it’s useless pockets, and phone sizes creeping ever larger, a place to store your phone in you bag is a thoughtful option. Whether it’s a Laptop Briefcase with it’s sleek end pockets or bellows pockets, or a C.C. Rider Messenger Bag with the top flap pocket, or slip it into the outer zip pocket on an EDC Purse like the Chica, you can securely keep your "ball-and-chain" phone easily at hand.
Red Oxx CC Rider Laptop Messenger Bag works for you.
Red Oxx CC Rider Laptop Messenger Bag works for you.


Another EDC bag with a long history at Red Oxx is the Chica. Born as a "Utility Travel Purse" from a request for one to be made by a former employee. The Chica has adapted as a useful tablet bag, a mini-messenger bag, and even a "survival" bag at the rough-and-tumble outdoor festival of Burning Man.

    Fear not Gentlemen, you may call said Chica your "Chico" and no one will know the difference. The stylish flap is reminiscent of classic messenger bags. Despite the gender name Red Oxx assigned to it, the Chica / Chico is certainly unisex and multi-use in nature.

    With over three decades of bag design experience, Red Oxx understands the needs of a variety of lifestyles. Owning a bag to carry your "every day things" in isn’t just about travel, it’s about having a bag at hand to carry things your phone cannot. An EDC bag can carry your lunch, a hat, gloves, PPE equipment, hand sanitizer, a drink, sunglasses, defense weapons, and so on.
Sam models a Red Oxx Chica EDC Purse
Sam models a Red Oxx Chica EDC Purse


Red Oxx has developed a number of EDC bags over the years to solve this dilemma. One of our longest living EDC bags is the Gator.

Developed by Red Oxx President Perry Jones as a thinly disguised "manly-man" diaper bag when his son was born. Perry went on to use his Gator at his favorite range to carry ammunition when preparing for hunting season after the boys grew out of diapers.

Red Oxx Gator shines in the sleet on South Georgia Island
Red Oxx Gator shines in the sleet on South Georgia Island

CEO Jim Markel has carried his EDC Gator(s) around the world numerous times. They’ve been safely coddling his expensive digital cameras across the bumpy roads of Africa several times. He’s carried it through the steamy jungles of Guatemala. And balanced while swaying on a boat sailing around Coco’s Island.

The Gator EDC Bag, recently updated and refined, continues to offer urban EDC fans a mid-size bag they can safely haul their stash of every day things.


The latest Red Oxx adventure into the field of urban EDC bags is The Hound. This is a padded crossbody sling bag that can be carried over-the-shoulder, across your chest or back, or around the waist. The Hound’s carry strap went through a nice update. It’s now lighter, quieter, with wider webbing that’s smoother, and softer.

Equally, the Hound is a popular bag among dog walkers as it’s the right size for snacks, poopy bags, and toys. Having this removable shoulder strap allows The Hound to be used as a packing cube. The Hound EDC Sling Bag will fit a Kindle or smaller tablet. Consider The Hound your "minimalist" everyday carry bag.

Releasing The Hound Urban EDC Bag.
Releasing The Hound Urban EDC Bag.


From students to mom’s to hikers and more, backpacks and rucksacks have been the quintessential American EDC bag for years.

Our Rucksacks, developed from the classic design of the combat tested WWII Paratrooper’s knapsacks feature Mil-Spec hardware, large usable compartments and deep side pockets, and are ruggedly handsome.

Moreover, our K-12 Kat Pack Backpack actually make more efficient use of available space due to the rectangular clam-shell design. This design is superior to the flimsy imported tapered backpacks that sadly dominate most campuses. This is a book bag that might outlast your child’s school career!
A giggling gaggle of backpacks and rucksacks hanging out on the rims in Billings, Montana

A giggling gaggle of backpacks and rucksacks hanging out on the rims in Billings, Montana


Moving down in size, Red Oxx adventured into the wasteland of waist packs. We created the world’s most innovative fanny pack.

Meet the Booty Boss. A stylish waist pack that can do more than just hang out around your waist.

This sleek concept can be worn several ways: around your waist, front or back, over the shoulder like a sling bag, across the chest. Or skip the belt/shoulder strap and cruise around carrying it by hand like a clutch.

Booty Boss hanging out at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, City of Refuge.
Booty Boss hanging out at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, City of Refuge.

Inside this little waist pack belt bag, Red Oxx again scores on usable space with the rectangular shape. It has twin compartments front and back, and a slip pocket plus a zippered mesh interior pocket. Naturally our cool Monkey Fist Zip Knots make unzipping the pockets a confident zip – zip vs. struggling to A. find the dang zipper tab, and B. opening or closing said zipper.

    You’ll know within a day of using the Booty Boss why it got it’s groovy name. This is the ultimate EDC kit bag, like a Boss!


Busy Mom’s have discovered themselves gravitating towards the Maximum Utility Travel Tote, fondly referred to by the herd as the M.U.T.T.. This zippered-top tote bag started life as a Red Oxx Market Tote and blew up and out from there.

The zippered top on this EDC tote securely stays closed and affords protection from prying eyes, fingers, and poking pens. It keeps Mom’s stuff from falling out. Mom’s have adopted it as not only a shopping tote, but a super-duty diaper bag, a hobby storage bag, toy bag, a laptop tote, and more.

A busy Mom’s young daughter eagerly anticipating her next diaper.
A busy Mom’s young daughter eagerly anticipating her next diaper.

The ladies call this kind of bag their "carry everything bag". One of the herd claimed, "This bag is the Swiss Army knife of personal items."

    Albeit, a Swiss Army Knife is designed to do many things well, and so it is with the M.U.T.T.. Another said, "I use it as a daily work bag to carry papers/computer/etc.". Like I said… Every. Day. Carry.


And not to be forgotten, there’s our regular totes, though certainly nothing is regular about them. Good things come in threes and these three Amigos are durably built to satisfy the every day shopping needs of families, couples, or solo singles.

The original Market Tote soldiers on as Red Oxx’s most popular bag year round. The washable nature of the CORDURA® Brand Nylon Fabric material used on all our bags allows shoppers to easily hand-wash their totes in the tub, sink or bucket, and hang up to dry germ and grime-free.
Red Oxx Market Tote Meets Kangaroo
Red Oxx Market Tote Meets Everyday Karry Kangaroo

Market Tote too big? Check out the Mezzo Tote. Like a middle child, quietly doing it’s thing in the background, this tote is the single shopper’s daily companion. The Mezzo Tote is capable of carrying a 12 pack of canned beverage, or gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread no problem.

Get the kids in on the every day carry fun and give them a Mini Tote. This cute little tote marched to work every day carrying our Minister of Information’s lunch and will handily haul a growler to the brewery incognito.

Gotta have them all? Sure you do, our CFO Amanda figured out she could carry all three totes stacked together like a Russian Matryoshka Nesting Doll. One tote inside another. Pretty slick idea.


There you have it. The meaning of EDC bag defined and Red Oxx refined. Now that you’ve got your EDC bag, here’s an article about the everyday carry essentials you’ll need to fill it.

As with all Red Oxx gear, every EDC bag can be had in any one of our vibrant colors. All come with our unfathomably unbeatable "No Bull" Lifetime Warranty. Find yours here!

Reading next

Everyday Carry Essentials – What You Need in Your EDC Kit
Lucky 13 – Red Oxx Adds Orange to Bag Color Wheel

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.