Every Day Carry Revisited

Pocket dump from Reddit user ymxyh.

It’s been a long time since I reviewed the Everyday Carry (EDC) discourse (Kelly reviewed hers in 2011). A mostly male bastion of the “prepper” subculture, EDC’s highest expression is the “pocket dump,” a picture, posted to the internet, of all the things you carry with you. Pocket dumps range from mundane photos of leather wallets and keys to more provocative displays of handguns, mace and knives.

Pocket dump from reddit user ChromeOcelot.

They almost always consist of male coded dark wood background and black or leather objects.


My current and very boring EDC also with dark objects and a dark wood background.

Other than the keys, eyeglasses and iPhone my EDC consists of two distinct objects:

1. Multitool
Since the days I did video work back in the 90s, I’ve always carried a Leatherman tool. My current life mainly revolves around being the onsite building manager of our 104 year old house, so I carry the Leatherman Rebar that I geekily wear on my belt with a leather box sheath (I’m not a fan of the canvas one it comes with). I probably use it once a day for something even if just to open a box. The pliers are particularly useful.

2. Field Sketchbook
I’ve tried the sketchbook thing before but this time around I’ve actually made a habit of it after a key insight I had about how to keep one going. Here’s that insight: notebooks and sketchbooks need to be private and are not for public consumption. In my case this is not because there’s anything in it that I wouldn’t want to share but that doing so would make my notes and sketches performative rather than useful. There is way too much notebook/sketchbook porn, especially on Instagram, my principle social media addiction these days.

In my case I use mine, mainly, for three things:

  • Note taking about books I’m reading, things that happened, stuff I need to remember to do, public transit times and general ideas.
  • To practice doing quick sketches.
  • To improve my cursive writing (more on that in another post).

Every few days I review my notes and take action, if needed. It really helps prevent me from reaching for my phone and falling into an internet hole.

One issue I’ve had is that my notebook doesn’t fit well in a pant pocket and we’re moving into the season where it’s too warm to wear my jacket. I may have to explore the idea of a smaller one for the summer months.

Our militarized lives
I was reminded of the whole world of EDC discourse via a discussion on an episode of a podcast called Nostalgia Trap. The host, David Parsons and his guest, Justin Rogers-Cooper noted how, in the United States, we tend not to feel physically safe and how this leads to things like EDC pocket dump posting.

I think some of this concern for physical safety is warranted and some is paranoia. Crime is not, of course, evenly distributed in this country and exposure to it has a lot to do with what class strata you occupy. As I’ve mentioned before, our recent trip to Japan gave me a taste for what it’s like to live in a place where you never worry about physical safety (except for earthquakes, which should be a concern of ours in California too). But, alas, we can’t have nice things in this country. Note that Japan’s strict knife rules make my multitool illegal to carry.

Everyday Memeing

I’ll conclude this EDC revisit with me, a geezer, attempting to interpret a meme about EDCs. I can only interpret some of it and I do so at the potential ridicule of my younger comrades. I think that the snarky implication here is that young women these days are Hegelian Trad Caths who embrace old school femininity (Lana Del Rey) while the boys are boring (iPhone) nihilists (cigarettes and E.M. Cioran).

I had to reverse image search some of this to discover that the set of books is a manga called Alice in Boarderland and I’m not sure what the chewing gum, Coke Light and baby deer are about. If you know please do fill me in. I include this meme just to emphasize the gendered factors in EDC discourse which you could just scratch the surface of in a book length discussion of the lack of pockets or strange, small symbolic pockets that exist in women’s clothing and a parallel discussion of purses vs. “man bags.” For the record my own EDC leans towards “girl’s pockets” if just for owning a copy of and occasionally attempting to tackle that infamous Hegel b0ok.

Feel free to drop your EDC into the comments.

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  1. Yes, it send like a lot of people carry weapons. Yeesh

    My EDC consists of:

    Samsung Galaxy S10 in left front pocket

    Keychain in right front pocket – which has my car key, some ThinOptics readers, and a metal unscrewable capsule containing Hocks Ear Breakers earplugs

    Chums wallet in right front pocket – contains driver’s license, emergency contact card, Visa credit card, medical insurance card, about 3-4 paper bills of various denominations, a 1TB SD card containing a monthly (encrypted) backup of my data at home, 4-5 small post-it notes (affixed to the insurance card), a Zebra collapsible pen, and a GeekKey (my multi tool)

    All of this stuff takes up a minimal amount of space, honestly when I see some of these dumps I don’t understand how people fit all of that crap in their pockets

  2. I live out in the country, so mine is a bit different. I have a lighter(electric) not because I smoke , but most of the year we have a woodstove lit every morning. A small penknife, mostly to open the bag from the library. they tape the crap out of it(yes we get delivered library books). I don’t carry my cell phone. I have a multitool which I should carry but don’t. I am thinking about a small flashlight, its dark out here. I would like to carry a notebook, but I have the same pocket problem you do. If I figure that out, then I will have to find a way to carry a fountain pen. Same problem, won’t fit in a pants pocket. No I am not going to wear a pocket protector on a farm.

  3. My EDC consists of:

    – 1 dog leash
    – 12+ dog poopy bags
    – Miscellaneous dog treats (crumbled)
    – 1 dog whistle that my dog ignores
    – Veterinarian’s phone number
    – A lot of other unimportant stuff

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