The Ultimate Everyday Carry Solution
Everything about Everyday Carry (EDC Bags)
We’ve got a special treat for you today. Aaron Tweedie from Man-PACK (as seen on ABC’s Shark Tank) agreed to sit down with us to discuss the concept of “Everyday Carry” and why an EDC bag is a critical addition to your daily repertoire.
(We had a good time chatting with Aaron, so if you’re pressed for time, go ahead and skip down to the heading “What is an EDC?“)
Also, before we get into it, we wanted to let you know that Man-PACK has graciously agreed to offer 10% off ANY order. USE THE CODE BOBA10 at checkout to take advantage of this great deal.
And with that out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff…
The Man Behind Man-PACK’s EDC Bag
Q: Hey, Aaron. Thanks for agreeing to sit down and chat with us for a bit. It seems like we’re seeing you everywhere these days. First, Shark Tank and now we can’t really search “EDC bags” or “Everyday Carry” online without seeing you pop up in the results.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how you came up with the idea to create Man-PACK and EDC bags.
I’m 36 years old and live in Front Royal, VA. I’m a dad, US Army veteran, and entrepreneur. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I built my first house when I was 19 years old and put myself through college speculating in real estate.
After graduating from Old Dominion University, I became a construction contractor. In 2005 a cabinet salesman left me a small promotional bag on one of my job sites. I started wearing the bag and found it incredibly useful. It broke pretty quick so I asked for another. I did this 5 times and the bags kept breaking because of the poor quality.
Then I decided to actually spend some money and buy something better. I started shopping online. I was amazed when I discovered that there was no Every Day Carry bag company catering to the average civilian guy.
I found very tactical bags, and very high end bags, but no brand that was stylish, durable, affordable, and utilitarian. So I decided to design and build my own.
I liquidated my retirement fund of $5K and then raised an additional $30K from friends and family to order the first inventory. I thought “If I build it, they will come…” That didn’t happen. I needed to get out and hustle. I had to educate people on the entire concept of EDC and my main market starting out was men.
I grew up shooting as a sport in military school and identify with the shooting sports consumer so I decided to try selling at gun shows. I started selling just outside of Washington, DC and found a good consumer base with Secret Service, State Dept., Customs and Border Patrol, and other federal agency personnel. They were buying with their own money for off-duty use.
What they liked about the product was that as a brand we hadn’t painted ourselves into a corner as a military/LEO brand.
We’re an EDC bag. For WHATEVER anyone wants to carry.
We just make CCW an option. And our style doesn’t look tactical so you blend into the population.
Like you guys tell your readers as well, if you carry a tactical looking bag, or a bag made by any of our larger competitors, unless you have something to conceal or disguise what you’re packing, you scream to the world that you are an “operator.’
So I found this great market of true professional operators from various federal and state agencies that liked my brand and product. These guys started sending me emails with design suggestions and I tweaked the design based on customer feedback.
So the whole concept of Man-PACK has really evolved over time. What started out as a construction bag, turned into an EDC CCW bag, and now we’re offering accessories like bulletproof backpack inserts, and power bank/bluetooth speakers. We’ll also be bringing out some cool new products in 2017.
That said, Man-PACK is turning into a “Everyday carry solutions” company.
All Man-PACK products center around four key concepts:
We want to evolve into your first and only source for bags and accessories regardless of whether you need a sling pack for CCW, a backpack for school, or luggage for a vacation.
What exactly is an Everyday Carry / EDC Bag?
Q: Your site talks about “EDC” and “Everyday Carry.” Can you tell us in your own words what an EDC is?
A: Sure, an EDC is an Everyday Carry bag. It’s not a bug out bag. It’s not a rucksack. It’s something light weight and comfortable that contains the items you use often, if not “every day.”
These items are different for everyone. If you’re diabetic, you’ll carry different items than if you are a new dad, and different items if you’re an off duty police officer.
Get the picture?
Traditionally, in North America it’s been considered effeminate for men to carry bags because women carry purses, with one exception… The soldier.
All the way back in the Revolutionary War soldiers carried bags known as “haversacks” that held lead balls, cleaning patches, letters from home, and maybe a biscuit. These men were always on the move and always in danger so they needed to be prepared and travel light.
This is the light infantry mentality and that is our customer base. People who think in this manner. Many of them happen to be military, law enforcement, and civilians with an interest in preparedness.
Why Do I Need an Everyday Carry / EDC Bag?
Q: Okay, so to further elaborate on that, why should someone reading this think seriously about getting an EDC?
Well, that’s simple. You never know when you’ll need it. Wait until you need to take a… dump in the middle of the woods and don’t have any napkins on you. Haha.
Or you meet a great business contact and don’t have any business cards on you. Or your phone dies. Or you need to remember something, but don’t have a pen to write down a note. Or you need both hands free for activity, but you don’t carry an EDC bag and now you have to carry something around in your hands all day.
There are so many reasons to carry an EDC bag. The point is that it makes you more efficient, organized, and better prepared.
What is Different About an EDC Bag and a Bug Out Bag?
Q: Is an EDC bag similar or different to a bug out bag? How so?
An Everyday Carry / EDC bag is completely different than a bugout bag.
A bugout bag is for the zombie apocalypse. A bug out bag is a pre-planned 72 hour bag with a dedicated use for emergency situations. It’s for when you need to “bug out.” Bugout bags are usually pre-packed with food, ammunition, medical supplies, fire starters, maps, etc.
An EDC bag is a bag with dynamic use. It’s what you carry everywhere so that you’re prepared for day-to-day situations.
You’ll unpack and re-pack you’re EDC bag based on what you are doing any given day. You’ll take different things to the office than you would take hunting or taking your children to the park. But regardless of where you are, you always want to be prepared. An EDC makes this possible.
What Do You Put in Your EDC Bag?
Q: What do you personally carry in your Man-PACK EDC? What do you recommend others carry?
Let’s see… I’ll have to open it up and I’ll be completely honest.
I have a wallet, a Man-PACK portable power bank/bluetooth speaker for my cell phone, a knife, my keys, business cards, a can of Grizzly long cut wintergreen, a pen, a packaged wet napkin I saved from my last airline flight…
Earbuds, some skin moisturizer I picked up on China, chapstick, tissues, a notebook, a copy of Vetpreneur magazine, a watertight plastic bag (Loksak) in case I need to protect my phone from water, a toothpick…
And a 40 Cal S&W, with a Man-PACK bulletproof backpack insert. That’s all of it!
I think some standard items for anyone would be:
Wallet, keys, cell phone, knife, napkins or tissues, chapstick, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a pen or pencil, some paper to write on, a portable power bank for charging electronics (which you should get from Man-PACK of course!), some breath mints, and a spare $100 bill hidden somewhere in the bag (for when you forget or lose your wallet.)
But that’s the beauty of an EDC. You can carry whatever you need. Whatever fits you best. Yours may look quite a bit different from mine, and that’s okay.
Any Odd Items in Your Everyday Carry / EDC?
Q: Speaking of, is there anything else you’ve carried at one time or another that’s a bit odd for a typical EDC? If so, why do you include it/them?
There is nothing that can be considered odd in EDC. Everyone has such different lives and professions that they need to carry vastly different items.
Some might think that my Man-PACK bulletproof backpack insert is odd, but I’d rather have it than not. Just in case of an active shooter situation. It happens.
How is Man-PACK Different Than Other EDC Bags?
Q: What is it about Man-PACK that sets it apart from the competition?
It’s important to realize that there was no EDC market when I started and the whole concept of carrying electronics and firearms as an EDC bag staple didn’t exist either.
Same thing with the civilian CCW bag market. I can confidently say that I created a market segment. I saw this big gaping hole and designed a bag and a brand around it.
When I started Man-PACK, all CCW bags were very traditional tactical style. I went to various gun shows working my way into national shows like the NRA Annual Meeting selling Man-PACK and introduced a new definition of tactical. The larger competitors took notice and started producing non-traditional bags.
It’s kind of flattering really…
That these big companies (I won’t mention their names, you know who I’m talking about) see I’ve created something worthwhile. However, the big companies lose before they even start.
They have so firmly entrenched themselves in their marketing as the “champion” brand for military and law enforcement that merely wearing their products makes you stick out like a sore thumb to anyone who knows anything. So the “wanna be’s” that wish they were special forces may want to look the part, but the real special forces don’t want to look the part.
Man-PACK is the brand that real “operators” use and I’ve had various reports of Man-PACK being used in various foreign theaters by agency personnel. And that’s pretty cool!
So in a nutshell, what sets us apart?
We have an incredible patented product at the best quality, styles, and price point. You won’t find better.
Further, when you wear our products, you really do blend into the population since we’re also distributing our bags far outside of the CCW community. There are college kids, new dads, diabetics, commuters, cyclists, and many other types of people that carry Man-PACK as an EDC bag. The big boys can’t compete with that. Their brand identities are to entrenched to ever dig themselves out of that hole.
The Concealed Carry (CCW) Compartment
Q: The thing we love about your bags, aside from the quality and ease of access, is the concealed carry compartment (video). Any general, practical advice for people looking to conceal and carry?
Yes, first off, make sure you train, train, train. This is for two reasons.
One is safety, and the second is to establish muscle memory.
God forbid, you are ever in a situation that you have to draw a weapon, instinct and muscle memory will take over. If the motions are not set in muscle memory, you will fumble losing precious time, and also lose safety concerns. So train, train, train.
Also make sure that your firearm is secured in a holster. Some people think that the firearm should free-float in the bag, but that’s not safe nor recommended. I suggest using the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) as a valuable educational resource. You can also research CCW laws there.
If you carry concealed, you need to know the laws surrounding CCW where you live, and if you plan to travel with a firearm, you need to know the CCW laws of everywhere you go.
What Handgun Do You Prefer for your Everyday Carry?
Q: We know everyone has their preferences when it comes to what CCW they carry. What handgun do you personally prefer to have on you and what is the range of weapons that can be visually hidden in a Man-PACK, in plain sight?
I carry a 40 cal. S&W. Unlike on-body carry in which people have to scale down the size of firearms due to imprinting, the nice thing about off-body carry is that you can carry full size firearms. Many people tell me they comfortably carry a 1911 in their Man-PACK.
A Bulleproof EDC, Really?
Q: That ballistic insert is pretty sweet as well. What can you tell us about that?
Sure, it measures 10″x13″, weighs 16 oz., and is rated level IIIA. So it basically stops handgun rounds.
It’s also a dry erase whiteboard. There is no metal inside and you can easily pass through any airport in the world with it since it is a “dry erase whiteboard.”
It’s good for the Man-PACK when you carry concealed since you get offense and defense in one. When you swing the bag around front to draw your weapon, you cover your vital organs with ballistic protection. It’s also good for children’s backpacks. We also have a level IIIA ballistic clipboard on the website and even a level IIIA peel-and-stick door covering for your front door. The backpack insert costs just over $100 and well worth it.
One more thing… It pays for itself the very first time you need it!
Q: Anything we didn’t mention or ask that you want our readers to know About Everyday Carry or Man-PACK?
Yes, keep an eye on the Man-PACK website and sign up for our newsletter to see the cool new stuff coming out from Man-PACK. We’re planning a crowdfunding campaign for the 2017 summer that will make you say “WOW, that’s some cool sh*!.” If you’re subscribed to the newsletter you’ll know when the Kickstarter begins. Maybe these guys here at BOBA will give us a shout out when it begins.
Oh, and don’t forget about that 10% off your order if you use the code BOBA10. We’d love to help more people get prepared for the unexpected.
Q: Any last tips or advice about Everyday Carry / EDC bags?
Remember you should pack light and prepare well. It’s a light infantry mentality. Being prepared and organized will make you more efficient and successful. If you don’t have an EDC bag, get one. One that won’t fall apart on you either. Everyday Carry bags take a beating.
Thanks, Aaron. We’re big fans of practicality and smart design when it comes to emergency preparedness. And you’ve taken both to the next level with your bags and accessories. Do let us know when you get ready to launch your Kickstarter campaign and we’ll be glad to share with our readers.
Well, there you have it. If you appreciated this post and found it of value, be sure to let us know in the comments. Like and share with your social buddies if you will, and be sure to check out Aaron’s EDC bags and accessories over at www.Man-PACK.com.
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