2674: Everyday Carry

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Everyday Carry
Someday I just know I'm going to encounter a problem that requires 500 flashlights and 700 knives with weird holes in them, and on that day I won't be caught unprepared.
Title text: Someday I just know I'm going to encounter a problem that requires 500 flashlights and 700 knives with weird holes in them, and on that day I won't be caught unprepared.


"EDC" stands for everyday carry, which is a term for tools and other objects intended to be carried around during the course of everyday life. The notion is that a relatively small number of versatile items, designed to be easily portable, can prepare you for a wide variety of possible situations. Typical items include such things as wallets, cell phones, small flashlights, pocketknives and multi-tools. Items specific to a person's occupation, lifestyle, or other needs might also be included.

While the concept of regularly carrying items that you might need is a very old one, the abbreviation "EDC" has come to signify a subculture, well-represented on the internet which promotes self-reliance and preparedness for almost any situation. As with so many subcultures, this movement has spawned a thriving market in selling products explicitly intended for "being carried every day". Any internet search will reveal thousands of products, of various levels of quality and utility, marketed to people interested in EDC. Stylized pocketknives, 'tactical' flashlights, and tools purporting to fulfill multiple functions are common examples.

Rather than carefully consider the relative advantages of each of these pieces of gear, Cueball seems to have taken the advertising of such items at face value: he's purchased them all, and attempts to carry them all with him every day. The result is that he has so many items that he not only needs to wear a heavily augmented backpack, he also needs to drag around a cart carrying boxes and a massive bag, presumably filled with the thousands of pieces of gear he's purchased. Such a strategy obviously defeats the original purpose of EDC, which is to select a set of items that's both portable and useful, but such is the result of taking internet marketing literally.

In the title text, he expresses confidence that he'll be vindicated by encountering a situation in which his massive collection of items will be useful. He also makes clear that, having bought all the items available, his collection is wildly redundant, having hundreds of flashlights and pocketknives. While it's quite common to encounter a situation in which a knife or flashlight is needed (sometimes even two might be useful), a situation where hundreds would be useful is difficult to imagine.


[Cueball is standing and straining backwards, dragging a large sack nearly the size as him, with noticeable bulges. It is placed on top of two long, flat boxes on top of a flat, four-wheeled trolley. Motion lines indicate the trolley is rolling towards Cueball and his hands are shaking. Cueball is also wearing a large backpack with multiple compartments. The backpack, boxes and sack are all labelled "EDC"]
[Caption under the panel:]
It was hard work collecting all the everyday carry products on the Internet, but now I'm finally ready for anything.

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Randall speaks: https://www.npr.org/2022/09/18/1123689628/randall-munroes-what-if-2-answers-the-absurd-science-questions-you-didnt-know-yo 08:47, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

My EDC: Swiss Army Knife, Kershaw Leek, Kershaw Chive, SOG Multi Tool, Quarters for Aldi, Visa card. 08:54, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

Absolutely need the quarter for Aldi Rtanenbaum (talk) 14:13, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

Hypothetical: Wandering around the jungle, as you do, you find an old, overgrown airstrip with abandoned planes strewn across its overgrown runway. Just then, several lost school parties show up out of nowhere, having miraculously survived various mid-sized airplane emergency landings in the vicinity. With one of the crowd's mobile phones (not you, because you haven't had a spare pocket for one since 2014, but you do have a USB recharge facility built into one of your many torches), and sufficient signal, the authorities are alerted to your exact position, and can send an airliner to rescue you all, just so long as the runway is cleared and you can set up enough lights to assist with their approach and landing. – Hopefully you hadn't a day or two ago had a wheel come off your cart (because of the jungle vines snagging at it!) and found that the screw that had come loose was of a size and configuration that none of your gadgets could actually handle. I mean, you had a darned star-penta-posix (with a hole in the end) for every other size from 1mm up to 35mm except this exact one..! Amirite? 08:58, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

Turns out, when the time you prepared for comes, you're still really unprepared. It's not just that you'll still only have two hands and will be missing that one "No need, you can find it anywhere"-Part. You also will have no idea that the time has come (after 213 false alarms) or which of the many, many things you prepared for has actually occurred. 627235 (talk) 13:04, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

There's only one true EDC: a bottle opener

^- Everything is a bottle opener if you are German enough. Opening a bottle with almost anything is a serious bragging topic here. -- 12:34, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

Did this come out on Monday? I didn't see it around 1am ET Tuesday, and the bot didn't create the ExplainXKCD page until 05:47 Barmar (talk) 14:00, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

No, Tuesday. Presumably the book tour has thrown the regular schedule off. 15:59, 20 September 2022 (UTC)
Officially, this is a Monday comic. If you look at the xkcd archives here, Randall has the publication date for this comic as 2022-9-19 (Monday).

Can someone familiar with EDC give some examples and explain why all of them might be so bulky please? 15:59, 20 September 2022 (UTC) Here are examples: Swiss Army Knife, Kershaw Leek, Kershaw Chive, SOG Multi Tool, Quarters for Aldi, Visa card . . . . They would be bulky 'cause the Internet is HUGE.

This reminds me a little of 1833 when Ponytail compares code to a JSON table of the model numbers of all flashlights with the word “tactical” in their names

1833:_Code_Quality_3 and

Tweet from August 22 features Everyday Backpack from Peak Design, which might be an inspiration for the topic. -- 09:10, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

Or he came across this swiss army knife Kimmerin (talk) 10:46, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

The ultimate multi-bladed tool, if you limit yourself to just the one. (Does not contain USB chargers or its own torch(es) though. Maybe later... ;) ) 16:25, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

"knives with weird holes in them" is probably referring to spyderco 17:41, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

Isn’t there another xkcd comic that mentions how randall is weak against buying lots of new shiney gadgets with potential usefulness? i can’t find it again, but it’s refered into its explainxkcd description, i’ve read it, and it would be nice to link to in this one as well 00:07, 30 September 2022 (UTC)