EDC Bug Out Kit – Your Every Day Carry Solution

While most Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags, and 72-hour kits that you read about focus on long-term survival, there’s one area that’s often overlooked.

Every Day Carry Items

What happens during those times when you can’t carry a bug out bag?

Let’s face it; having a 30-pound bag of gear at your side at all time is pretty impractical. Yes, you can have multiple bags stashed at your home, office and even in your vehicle, but no matter how much you prepare there are going to be times when you become separated from your main stash of gear. That’s why I suggest always having an EDC Kit.

What is an EDC Kit?

EDC stands for Every Day Carry. Every Day Carry (EDC) is an extremely important part of your preparedness plan and is something you should put some serious thought into. What goes into your EDC will depend on your unique survival needs, but in general, it should contain basic supplies that will hold you over and provide protection until you can safely make your way back to your main stockpile of survival goods.

The gear you choose to carry as part of your EDC is something that you should have on your person at all times, so it needs to be small, lightweight and easy to carry. While many of us who are prepared have our important gear close at hand, stored in some sort of bug out or get home bag, there are going to be times when you may be separated from your main source of supplies. That’s when having an EDC become so vitally important to your survival.

Examples of Every Day Carry Kits (EDC)

In most cases, your EDC should be small enough to fit in a pocket, and should only include gear that is absolutely necessary to sustain you until you can reach your primary source of supplies. If you work in an office, and regularly carry something like a briefcase, then you may be able to get away with carrying a slightly larger EDC. But in most cases, they are small, and can usually be comfortably slipped into a pocket without attracting attention.

The Infamous Altoids Survival Kit:

These little Altoid Tin kits have become extremely popular and are a great way to pack a bunch of essential gear into an easy to carry discreet case.

To give you an example of what you can fit in one of these small tins, I have included a kit that I often take with me when I’m going out into the wilderness to hunt or fish. Your kit should be tailored to fit your unique needs and environment, so if you live in an urban setting many of these items will probably be useless to you. But I’m going to show you what I carry in this situation to give you some general ideas and show you how many items you can comfortably carry in this type of EDC.

altoids tin survival kit

This specific kit Altoids EDC kit has:

  • A Pocket Knife (Swiss Army Style)
  • Basic Medical Supplies (Butterfly bandages, tweezers, scalpel blades, & small magnifying glass which can also be used for starting fires)
  • Spool of Dental Floss (Dual Purpose uses; cordage, fishing line, medical uses such as suturing wounds)
  • Tinder (Cotton shoved into all the little crevices)
  • A couple of needles, fishing hooks & weights, zip ties)
  • Bic lighter & a couple of half matchsticks with a striker in plastic wrap.
  • Small LED flashlight
  • Bandana wrapped around the case.

Compact Knife Sheath Kit:

When in an urban setting, I usually always carry something like the kit in this picture.

SOG Knife Sheath with Survival Items

SOG Sheath Survival Kit

This kit allows me to carry a decent size knife while being able to add a number of items right to the front pocket of the Sheath. In this case, I am showing the SOG Seal PUP Elite with Nylon Sheath. It’s something that I carry almost everywhere I go, whether it be in an urban or wilderness setting.

The Knife Sheath Kit fits:

  • The SOG Seal Pup Knife
  • A Lighter Wrapped with Duct Tape & fishing line (in between the line and the tape there are a couple of needles and fishing hooks.)
  • A SOG Multitool
  • A Mini LED Flashlight
  • A 550 Paracord Wrapper

Other items that you should always carry as part of your EDC include:

Carry an EDC Kit? What Items do you include?

34 Comments

  1. Stephen
    June 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    My preference is to NOT carry essential items in kit form, but rather carry them distributed among pockets and belt. Any kit that can contain enough items to be useful is going to be uncomfortable to carry at all times if you’re wearing the type of clothing normally worn down here in The South – even a small Altoids kit.

    A good pocket knife, handkerchief, and Speed-Strip of spare ammo fit in one pocket; LED flashlight and cell phone are in pouches on the belt, while a revolver is inside the belt and under the shirt; “Peanut” lighter and whistle and tweezers are on the key ring in the other pocket. Distributed this way just works well for me.

    • z
      July 10, 2012 at 12:17 am

      I agree with this minimalist approach and posted my own comments below. I don’t live in the south, however, but in the Pacific northwest.

    • Brian
      October 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Its nice to distribute the items around to make them less cumbersome but when you put more items in more places you have a greater chance to loose to loose or damage those items small containers like the altods tin or a small phone case or even an extra slim line bi-fold wallet can be used to put in other pockets to keep small supplies from being lost

  2. TacticalFry
    June 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Among the survival supplies, small med kit & my trusty glock, I carry other supplies essential to my job.

    I carry my laptop & charger, a thumb drive, extra pens & receipt books, & my nalgene water bottle. Also, some paracord, gloves, flashlight, & a bandana.

    People often go overboard on their EDC bag, forgetting it’s an Every Day Carry, they turn it into a BOB bag by overloading with survival supplies.

    Carry the things you use EVERY DAY. Your BOB is for everything else.

    • Corey
      June 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

      “Carry the things you use EVERY DAY. Your BOB is for everything else.”

      Beat me to it, well said! I do wish I could get away with wearing a belt knife and sheath mounted kit every day, but working in an office, my EDC kit is relegated to my pockets. If necessary, it then could be supplemented by my truck bag which is in my vehicle, but not as accessible.

  3. Steve
    June 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    All you need is a good knife. The rest are luxuries.

    • Shooter
      July 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Good point. Well maybe a bit more but a good knife and a small flashlight are great.

      Fishing stuff???? Seems like a waste to me. I want to get to my vehicle and/or home to the BOB ASAP. Stopping to fish is the last thing I am going to do. But if it makes you feel better…..

      • jun1orbaitor
        November 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        A good knife and small, higher lumen flashlight. I like to carry 3; a small multitool(Gerber Bear Grylls), a good sharp knife, and a strong small flashlight(84 lumens), that uses AAA batteries ’cause its light and you can easily find a replacement.

      • islandboy
        November 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

        I agree that fishing supplies should be in a BOB. Personally, I think most fish will end up contaminated along with the water. But if you must fish, try something that a lot of us countryboys use, a trot line. Set it and leave it while you hunt squirels and rabbits. Sitting around waiting for one fish to bite one line is very unproductive when it comes to survival.

    • tom
      July 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

      I tried to teach myself to fish naturally and it works so easy. I always dug up worms on the site 20 feet away. Bamboo, hooks, swivels, line… I caught nice sized catfish and blue gills. 2-3 in two hours every time I went on these natural fishing endeavors. Fish in lakes not rivers and in the VERY early morning.

  4. Gail
    June 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I like this EDC kit, especially for a woman. It’s not so easy for us with the clothing we normally wear. This allows me to have everything neatly placed in one quick to reach location…my purse. I have an altoid fishing kit in my BOB but this is a great idea. Thanks…from the ladies!

    • brijo89
      September 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      I also keep the small kit in my purse, but have another in the diaper bag…I usually end up forgetting one or the the other in a rush to get out the door, so this way I am covered either way!

  5. Matt
    June 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    It’s so great to see women getting into prepping! I want to recommend having a flint striker, lighters and matches run out. It’s also wise to have an emergency blanket.

    • deerhunter
      December 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      I strongly agree with the flint and steel, actually quartz works very also. For the striker I took an old file and ground the edges smooth, then put it in a vise and snapped off about a 4″ section, works great. My first fire took a while but my third one was blazing in under five minutes. Check out you tube for flint and steel. I think everyone should be able to build a fire this way. I know I felt good being able to do it in the most ancient fashion.

  6. millenniumfly
    July 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

    For my money, I liked using the Lexan N-case series for waterproof EDC carry.

  7. old soldier
    July 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Good article. I don’t carry any of those things yet, except a knife, a good one, and and my essential meds in a small container.

    • J. Gordon
      February 25, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      You make a good point. If your not carrying your medication your missing out on something that can take you out of the fight before it even begins.

  8. Mike
    July 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I like the Leatherman Wave in the nylon case, it has the Wave, a sleeve behind the tool for a few band aids and a pack of Neosporin to-go (I am sure some other items could be placed there too); the elastic sides are loops that have a small fisher pen and a small firesteel on either side, and the Velcro closure has a small pocket for a folded up $20 bill.
    Then on my key ring I have a Freedom Micro light and a small stainless pill fob for a vial of nitro-glycerin. A bandana is always in a pocket as is a tube of Vaseline lipbalm.
    This will get me to my vehicle where my GHB resides.

  9. JayOfAllTrades
    July 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Fortunately, I’m never far from any of my bags. Since I am the first responder at work, my EDC is my emergency med kit, which is always nearby (a Maxpedition Sabercat bag). On the smallest EDC level, I have a Maxpedition Micro pocket organizer. Great size for pants pockets. Has a bit of everything, organizes really well, can fit in a large pocket, or even wear on a belt. Lastly, my SOG Powerlock multi-tool is always on my belt, and a Kobalt mini box cutter knife for my daily work tasks. (Great little knife, fits on a keychain, with extra blades in the handle compartment, stands up to all the abuse I give it. Not bad for about $7!)

  10. JJ Johnson
    July 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    For my EDC I carry a bic lighter, a Victorinox Farmer Silver Alox pocket knife, a Fenix E11 LED Flashlight, a small ferro rod, a donut of about 15 feet of 115 lbs bank line on a carabiner with my keys, cell phone, wallet, and a small Gerber folder.

  11. LULZGUY
    July 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I carry my trusty swiss army knife, a lighter and my altoids fishing kit

  12. Daniel Vivier
    July 4, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I carry my phone, wallet(with credit card multitool), 2 folding knifes, 2 550 bracelet, blue line flashlight, belt, and s&w tactical pen.

    • daniel vivier
      July 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Just added the leatherman style cs.

  13. Tim
    July 7, 2012 at 6:16 am

    My EDC pouch contains:
    Gerber Shard
    Small Multitool
    Decent set of tweezers
    Nail clippers
    Zippo lighter
    Miniature Zippo lighter (no fuel but great sparks)
    Solar-powered LED torch
    Large safety pin
    Bic biro wrapped in Duct tape

    The belt loop of the pouch is velcro-secured, so can be looped through the belt loops on jeans etc even if no belt is worn. In addition, I also wear a paracord bracelet (made myself, so replaceable if need be) and if the need arose, could trade my Submariner watch for something. I also carry my BOB any time I leave the house.

  14. Zig Zag
    July 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Great article, clear and concise. I prefer minimal EDC and dispersing the items on my body. Around my neck I have a paracord necklace that has a small whistle, red LED mini-lite, and a button compass tied on. On my wrists I have a watch on one and a paracord bracelet on the other (about 7 feet). In my pockets I have a Bic lighter, a small folding knife, and on a key-chain a mini-flashlight. In my wallet I have some bandages, a pre-threaded needle, and 4 safety pins. My clothing I consider to be my first level of shelter. I frequently carry a small backpack that has more items, but sometimes I don’t have it. I guess it’s more of a GHB than EDC.

  15. Mylo Haba
    July 12, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Hi all .. am new to this site …

    On the subject in hand .. I would say there is nothing close to standard …
    You see first of all .. A EDC is deferent than a Bug out … EDC servers best those work in the field .. Bug out is for more civilians who under the worst case scenarios still have few moments to grab thier Bug Out bag ..

    Secondly .. Environment dictates … if you are in an urban area is deferent than the wilderness .. and if you are in a Hostile area is deferent that if you are in a safe place …

    Third .. Up-Time is a key element … if you are preparing to survive an earth quick where you’ll reach some assembly point within few hours and upto 24 hours is deferent than being prepared for a classical S.E.S. (Scape – Evade – Survive) such if you are working for some security company in some hostile environment …

    Plan for your own situation .. use everything else as ideas .. but plan only for your situation … study all aspects and question all preparations .. plan drills and try-outs .. pick up skills and put your preparations to test …

    Thank you all …

  16. Brian
    July 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I don’t think everyday carry, or EDC, is or necessarily should be associated with survival gear or bug out paraphernalia.

    My personal vehicle is equipped with both wilderness and urban survival items, yet I don’t carry any of those types of items on my person. I have a backpack with some items in it, but I don’t carry the backpack, which is a North Face, on me. Rather, it’s more of a portable container. It’s not even close to what you’d call “full.” The built in storage compartments in my four door pickup have more of those sorts of items including spare ammunition since I’m a “hobby shooter,” but my EDC includes my wallet, vehicle remote and three keys, Droid, Streamlight Micro, Glock 23 in an IWB, Kershaw Leek and depending on what I’m doing a Wenger SAK I’ve had for nearly 20 years or Leatherman Juice S2. Easy and sufficient.

    • JayOfAllTrades
      July 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

      I’d agree, there has to be a balance. I tend to carry first aid items (since our med kit is always poorly stocked), tools (since we have almost nothing when we need it), I wear a cap-light (the ones with built in LED’s) if the lights go out, and my phone with a charger that is permanently left at work. There is no need to drag a ton of stuff with me.. why draw attention to yourself? Where I work, extra stuffed pockets raise suspicion of theft, so less is better. Again, I can get away with a lot being the “on call” first responder, and carrying a large medic bag with me. Honestly, if something bad enough happens, that I can’t make the 30 second dash to my truck for needed gear (other than the first aid), its a bigger problem than I could possibly prepare for.

  17. juanita
    July 29, 2012 at 9:05 am

    my edc are a cell phone and a 2nd wallet. in my wallet i have keys, id, address book, credit card, tool logic survival II, cash, and 2 oven roasting bags, some note paper

    2nd wallet because it won’t hold grocery cards and enough cash 1st wallet is in purse which might or might not be nearby—keys on diaper pin smaller and more light weight than a key chain also has alternate uses and i like quirky—address book actually a strip of paper its for when i show up at a hospital unconscious it has points of contact including email, meds i take, doctor#, dentist and insurance—credit card in heavy duty aluminum foil pocket might boil water might protect against id theft handheld scanner—tool logic is a credit card sized knife with a red led (should be white), a whistle (signaling when covered by earthquake debris), a magnesium alloy bar to start a fire (havent tested it and sometimes it falls off)—cash 2 20’s and 2 5’s emergency funds only can buy some food and cab home if something happens to the car—roasting bags supposedly packs better and holds more water than a condom. when i tried it had a slow leak might have had a bad bag maybe 2 will solve the problem or hold even more water—
    note paper fire starter or with charcoal can leave note—thinking about adding first aid tape wrapped around a toothpick (trail maker, first aid, and alternate duct tape) some dental floss, a mylar blanket but dont know an edc needs to stay small and lightweight

  18. Gryphon Moor
    August 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I wish I could get comfortable with the man bag/ man purse concept. The good sense of EDC items along with other necessary items that men carry these days, well, a man bag is very practical. But as much as I want to believe I don’t care what people think, I still believe it looks feminine.

    Pro-man-bag-wannabe

    • JoeTLakeCharles
      September 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      I carry a 5.11 MOAB 6 Bag for EDC. It’s excellent for all my essentials. If you think it’s feminine to carry a “Go-Bag”, that’s your opinion (which you are entitled to). However, I’d rather have all operational equipment handy than be a star on “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” PPPPPPP

    • Connie Q
      December 21, 2014 at 8:41 am

      You might want to check out something called the North south shoulder bag by Derek Alexander. Reminds me of Indiana Jones size bag, but has multiple amazing pocket for organizing. Comes in black and OD green, so pretty inconspicuous. My hubby loves his now that he’s used to it. I have one too and can put more in it than larger bags I own. They have a website so you can take a look.

  19. Gramas
    August 5, 2012 at 1:35 am

    All very good ideas ~S~ Being an old Granny, I of course carry my “purse” every where. Little does any one know exactly what I do carry in mu purse. I have horses, so I always carry a metal hoof pick, great for up close contact.In my manicure bag, I carry large tweezers, scissors, razor knife, a large diaper pin to close the bag, an old fashioned can opener, 2 bic lighters, 2 tampons, 2 pads, my own mixture of healing salve in a quarter sized Tupperware bowl, a large pill bottle with matches, a striker, another large pill bottle with needles, cotton is stuffed in the bottom, needles through the cotton with black thread. Thats just in my little bag ~S~ I also have a walmart bag that rolls into itself and hangs from a carbiner on my purse, I can hide it in my hand. Since I am in and out of our court house, I made sure all of these items go right through the scanner, no problems. Then I have my makeup bag, although I dont where much makeup, the bag has extra stuff as well~S~ A medical bag, zip lock baggies with cream and sugar, salt, tea bags, single coffee packets, etc etc. I could go on for ever and all of this is lightweight but sturdy~S~

  20. JoeTLakeCharles
    September 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    This site is outstanding. I’ve read some really interesting and thought provoking ideas. Keep up the great work and stay motivated!

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