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What is an EDC Bag and Why You Need One

Jess and her favorite color violet C Ruck Rucksack and Market Tote

The World is Filled with Acronyms.

From a government peppered with ABC departments and a military fond of the language process, some might argue it makes language simpler, but 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 everyday carry essentials they haul around in their pockets or on their person. These are everyday carry items they felt were required to survive the apocalypse. Frequently these include some kind of multi-tool or knife, watch, flashlight, pen, compass, etc. That’s pretty much more than you can fit in a pocket nowadays. So the EDC bag idea evolved.


In a sense, an EDC bag has been with man since he stood upright on the African savanna and needed something to stuff those rock tools and fire making flints in after discovering fire. It was vital he carried a bone or stone weapon at all times to defend against predators or other hominids. A bag or satchel of some kind was needed to hold other important items. This kept one hand free to defend himself or carry food, shelter, or a child.

Otzis 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 and his animal skin pouch that 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 skins or woven grasses.

Out in the American west the pioneer or mountain man stashed 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 tradition with our version of the modern day Possibles Pouch done in CORDURA® Brand Fabric Nylon digital camo.

Over the centuries people gravitated towards an everyday carry bag that could hold the things they needed 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.

War was a primary driver in EDC bag design — early Roman legions depended on a bag carried on a pole or spear, Napolean’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.


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

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

You still need to put this device somewhere on your person and with skinny pants fashion and it’s useless pockets the way it is, and phone sizes getting ever larger, the Red Oxx Smartcase Smartphone Holster is an ideal solution – your ball-and-chain phone easily at hand, clipped to your belt or to your … EDC Purse!

Sam models a Red Oxx Chica purse
Sam models a Red Oxx Chica EDC purse

As long-time bag designers, 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… like a lunch, a hat, gloves, PPE equipment, a drink, light device, weapons, and so on.


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 the Gator at his favorite range to carry ammunition when preparing for hunting season after the boys grew out of diapers.

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

CEO Jim Markel has carried his EDC Gator(s) around the world numerous times, safely coddling expensive digital cameras across the bumpy roads of Africa, through the steamy jungles of Guatemala, or swaying on the boat around Coco’s Island.

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

The latest Red Oxx adventure into the field of urban EDC bags is The Hound, a soft 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 – lighter, quieter, and wider webbing that is smoother, and softer.

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.

Release The Hounds
Releasing The Hound Urban EDC Bag

Busy Mom’s have found themselves gravitating towards the Maximum Utility Travel Tote, fondly referred to around here 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.

A Busy Mom’s daughter eagerly anticipating her next diaper.

The zippered top on this EDC tote securely stays closed and affords protection from prying eyes, fingers, and poking pens, and keeps 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.

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."

A Swiss Army Knife is designed to do many things well, and so is 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.


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 are ruggedly handsome.

Our K-12 Kat Pack Backpack make more efficient use of available space due to the rectangular clam-shell design, as opposed to the flimsy imported tapered backpacks that sadly dominate most campuses. This is a book bag that might outlast your child’s school career if there ever was one!

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 and 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.

The 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, twin compartments front and back, and a slip pocket and 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 Boss is the ultimate EDC kit bag.

Another EDC bag with a long history at Red Oxx is the Chica. Born 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, so despite the gender name Red Oxx assigned to it, the Chica / Chico is certainly unisex and multi-use in nature.

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 every day shopping needs of most any size from families, to couples, down to solo singles.

The original Market Tote soldiers on as Red Oxx’s most popular bag year round. The washable nature of the CORDURA® Brand Fabric nylon material allows shoppers to easily hand-wash their totes in the tub, sink or bucket, and hang up to dry Corona 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, capable of carrying a 12 pack of beverage, or gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread no problem.

Get the kids in on the grocery shopping 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 your 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 12 vibrant colors, and all come with our unfathomably unbeatable "No Bull" Lifetime Warranty. Find yours here!