EDC Bug Out Kit – Your Every Day Carry Solution

Every Day Carry Items

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.

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?

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. Living in earthquake country, I carry a whistle in pocket as often as possible. If for some reason the build collapses, I have the whistle to alert rescue teams to where I am.

    I am starting a GHM bag for my car – in the case of an EMP walking would be the only way home, in the case of an earthquake it will likely take a few hours to get home in the car (at least that was my experience after the ’89 quake in the Bay Area because of panic, fear, and NO traffic lights!)

  2. I’m “former active duty marine” & Commercial Diver, I keep a small “fanny pack with a ziplock bag of cotton and old receipts(fire starter) a magnesium stick and a very sharp Gerber. Small first aid kit, raingear, and an emergency blanket, sounds like alot, but the bag is about 6″ long and 6” in diameter. WHenever I leave shore or work a pier job its on me. It sits with my .45 under the seat of my truck on the road. Both are with me whenever I have to walk or drive anywhere I’m not familiar. Ive read all of these posts, be prepared for anything but use common sense. Your brain is your most powerful asset should you ever be separated from your “tools”. Anything is better than nothing, but just incase practice by walking into one room (1 only) and discover how to make due with what is there.

  3. Leatherman or similar, small waterproof torch, flint lighter, metal water bottle with your lunch box(can boil water to purify), spool of dental floss (can plat for stronger cordage), goretex jacket liner, knowledge.
    Glock’s a great gun, but you’ll need a shit load of ammo and body armour if you start shooting. Better to avoid the threat in the first place and build relationships with the people you’ll need to work with to survive long term like a doctor, a farmer, someone skilled in living off the land and someone who can knit clothes from wool. Good luck!

    • I think that my ability to provide security against threats will be VERY valuable to high-value assets like doctors and farmers. For that, my skills and weapons, should prove to be VERY valuable because they are unlikely to posses my skill set, as I am unlikely to posses theirs.

      I agree that avoiding the threats, keeping yourself safe and “powder dry” are very important.

  4. These are all FABULOUS ideas, thought,& suggestions.
    I urge you all to find your local milita & be sworn in! SHTF day rapidly approaches . Milita & Patriots are UNITING to stand!

  5. I have been building a EDC and I am using inch and a half tubular webbing to make a belt and sliding the things I think I will need inside. With a little thought you can keep it flat and wear it without anyone knowing, Also for a small cheap knife check out the 10 cent survival knife you can make from a hacksaw blade,and it will fit in the belt, just cover it with duct tape. I don’t have the web site but comes up on google

  6. Even before I was into prepping I carried most of this already. My friends have always asked me for band-aids and such :) They know I’ve usually got whatever they need, but don’t know how prepared I really am. All of this is in a small messenger style bag which passes as my purse. The bag has an adjustable strap and can be carried cross-body if needed.

    My wallet: This includes standard items plus an ID card that has my info (blood type, conditions, meds, etc.) and emergency contacts on it.
    Bandana – stylishly tied on one strap
    Cell phone
    Super bright thumb-sized flashlight
    Small folding knife
    Small Moleskine journal
    Sharpie; a pen / pencil combo that has black ink, red ink and pencil; and a Sakura art pen in black for doodles in journal
    2-blank unlined pieces of paper, folded in quarters, tucked in journal (I hate ripping pages out of my Moleskines! Theses could be used as tinder.)
    Kindle, fully charged
    Small bottle of hand sanitizer
    Earbuds for cell phone or kindle (in teeny ziplock bag)
    1-breakfast bar
    Sugar-free gum
    Thumb drive
    1-gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag with several of the 2″x3″ ziplock bags in it (The bag is rolled very thin with two rubber bands around it to keep it tight. I carry the small bags for seeds. I am into native plants and collect seeds every now and then to plant around my house.)
    A plastic grocery bag wound up really tight to put my purse in if I get caught in the rain.
    4-True Lime packets (I’m a lime addict. Each packet is equal one lime wedge. For use with food/drinks.)

    In small makeup bag (though I don’t wear any):
    Sunscreen wipes and/or stick
    Lip balm of some type with UV protection
    2-Off wipes for mosquitos
    Glass nail file – damn sharp too
    2-alcohol wipes (first aid purposes)
    2-GermX wipes (cleaning/sanitizing hands)
    Small pill container with a day of my meds; and allergy, headache, and Pepcid pills
    Some safety pins
    A cloth-covered rubber band and some clips and barrettes.
    Small dental floss packets (the type where you tear package in half and the ends are your handles)
    2-small “toothbrushes” with breath freshener
    Extra mouthpiece worn at night for TMJ
    Small tube of lotion
    2-feminine pads

    Keychain (big carabiner):
    Keys (lol)
    Mini LED flashlight
    I clip these to a strap of my bag for quick access, but they also can slip into one of the side pockets (while still clipped on) for silence.

    These are things I added once I got into prepping. A couple I still need to get/do.
    1/2 tank or more of gas in car at all times
    Battery-operated charger for phone
    $20 (2-$5, 10-$1)
    Bic disposable lighter with duct tape wrapped around it
    Para cord bracelet 10-in-1 (clipped on strap of bag below the bandana where it is not obvious.)
    Small cheap multi-tool w/ thermometer, button compass, LED light, mirror, magnifier, whistle
    One of those tiny, thin sewing kits that are wrapped around a piece of cardstock. (Will add another sturdy needle to the thin one that is included, as well as a wrap of thick thread.)
    Large trash bag (poncho or to keep my bag dry)
    I want to add a few family and friend pictures to the journal. I have pictures on my phone, but would like to have them if I can’t view them on my phone.
    A light jacket / sweater (I carry it if I’m going in a movie theater, or anywhere if it is going to be 65 or below. I can just hang the jacket across my bag for no-trouble carry. I live in SE Texas and very seldom need more, but if I do it’s in my car.)
    A credit card multi-tool in wallet

    I don’t carry a face mask, but I could use the bandana. I also don’t carry any water – it’s just so heavy. I do have room to add it to my bag though. I also still have room for small purchases. I used to carry a small digicam, but my phone takes really good pics and video so I only carry the digicam if I’m going on a Nature outing. I don’t expect to need fire starting tools, but a lighter is hardly any weight to add.

    I will be taking concealed handgun training in the first part of 2013. Once I do, I will either find a comparable bag that includes a special place for my gun, or I will sew one for myself. I’d like my bag to be leather, but it adds weight. My current bag is sturdy black canvas with bright green, high contrast lining. I will use the same if I make a new bag for myself.

    Hope this helps!

    Faith :)

      • Yes. I really carry all that, and it’s not very heavy. The biggest, heaviest thing is my Kindle. Next in weight and size is my iPhone. I can adjust the strap and wear cross-body if my shoulder gets tired. Just about everything on my list is there because I’ve needed it and didn’t have it. Usually this has to happen a few times before I decide to add an item.

  7. Wow alot of this stuff is so silly im train to be droped off in the mid of a jungal and walk my way out relly all you need is a brain well a goos knife i carry a folding crkt m16-14 knif in evry day its a strong wep and i cen throw it 15 ft and it will kill stuff allso i keep a cell 2 bats flashlight on me now for work i cen carry upto 100 lb of gear pluss wep in need be

  8. I love the articles, but some of this stuff gets out of hand.fast LOL

    Gotta love TV shows turning paradise into a disaster waiting to happen. Most everything I read, here are all based on what-if, and not what-will scenarios.

    Any country boy, with a pocket knife, is good to go. Seriously, a jungle isn’t going to spontaneously materialize in Central Park to make this remotely necessary.

    Being “prepared” means being “informed”. All the casualties of Hurricane Katrina, and Sandy could have been avoided. 99% of all disasters, we have more than enough time to get out of harms way, that 1 everyone is preparing for, it will be too late before you realize it.

    Mother nature provides, and takes it away.

  9. I use an over the shoulder kit from Maxpedition. It’s a bag that fits under my left arm and I can fit a ton of gear in it. I carry a Taurus .327 Federal Magnum revolver as my backup gun to my CHP which is a Glock .45 on my belt. I also carry ; a firesteel, magnesium block for starting fire with, tinder quick to start fires in wer conditions, cotton balls covered in vaseline, a filter straw for making unsafe water drinkable, a mid sized first aid kit with quick clot,a tourniquet, a whole lot of different sized bandages, alocohol prep pads, iodine for wound prep and for making water safe to drink and a lot of over the counter meds for Diarhea and pain. Also I have s small fishing kit and several small and one medium sized snare. The bag also has a pouch for a 32 ounce Nalgene water botle that I carry everywhere. There is a Gerber multi tool, a 200 lumen flashlight, a signaling mirror, a loud signaling whistle, a small prybar, 100 feet of 550 paracord and duct tape wrapped around a piece of cardboard. I also carry a couple of power bars or protein bars and a couple of boxes of water in it for emergencies. This kit is large for EDC but I wan’t to have every possibilty covered and I a disabled veteran that uses a power chair to get around so the weight is not an issue. My BOB is another Maxpedition bag but it is much bigger and it has 2 of everything for redundancy and is much more stocked with food and water.

  10. My keyring contains a lot of keys that don’t go to anything anymore. I think it’s time to replace those keys with something useful, and turn it into an EDC.

  11. other than a gun and knife, I have found everything i need to fit in a regular size wallet, including a small med kit.

  12. I’m only 17 and I carry a pocket knife, paracord bracelet, a mini mag light, zippo lighter, a watch and compass

  13. My job working at a rehab/treatment center restricts what I can carry on my person or in my car on days I work. I do keep a small GHB in the truck but can’t pack a firearm. When I am off work though I carry my S&W .40 in a tactical thigh holster. We have open carry laws in my state and I am still working on getting my concealed carry. I can’t carry even a bit of gear at work though. Even my car keys are locked in my locker in admin building. :-/

  14. My kit is in a sinus tab tin (good space for a freebie) it has my scout knife, flint, 3 waterproof matches (easy to make at home with string, paraffin wax and old school wood matches), emergency blanket, tinfoil ( to start a fire in winter) fishing line and hook, chocolate, first aid basics, dryer lint and mag glass and wrapped in twine. Small, but very useful! I lead a scout group here in Northern Canada and we all agreed to carrying one of these kits at all itmes ( no knives at school for the scouts in respect for school policy of course). A great kit for all ages.

  15. My EDC:
    – Kershaw OSO Sweet knife
    – Keyset on a Nite-eze caribiner with a mini prybar, a mini flashlight, an aluminum whistle, and Rosary Ring (if the STHF – I’m praying)
    – Smartphone with some survival apps (Knot Guide, Wild Edibles, Scanner Radio, Compass, Flashlight, First Aid Guide)
    – wallet with $50.00 stashed inside and a fresnel lens card
    – Watch – Seiko 5 Automatic (no batteries).

  16. A lot of great ideas but no one has mentioned what to carry if you work in a secured area. Going thru metal detectors and having your stuff x-rayed is a way of life for a lot of us. It is next to impossible to carry any kind of knife or other sharp object! Any thoughts? I have a Bag with first aid gear, lights, glow sticks, gloves, ham radio and blankets. This will help me for shelter in place.

  17. Leatherman Signal with small flashlight on the side pocket of leatherman pouch, Zipple lighter, iPad mini, cellphone with 2W solar panel charger power bank, CIMA survival knife, ferror rod, BIC lighter, in-reach satellite com, Bao-Feng VHF and UHF handheld radio and US mil water canteen.

  18. I have items distributed on my person as well as a small pack in my car. In a small coin purse I have my 2″ pocket knife, eye drops for my allergy, Chapstick and a aaa single cell flashlight. The coin purse is the size of which these items lay in it singly and flat to my leg, making it practically unnoticeable. In the other pocket I have a credit card multitool in my watch pocket along with a $20 bill. In the big pocket, my keys which have sharp folding scissors and fingernail clippers. I’m trying to build altoid kits for myself and family. I’m not up with the fishing stuff included either but if I have room for a hook or two, ok. A small multi tool, small flashlight, lighter wrapped with duct tape, striker, fire starter sealed into straws (entire straw can be lit or can be opened and contents removed for more ifficult situations. Fishing line wound onto a plastic sewing machine bobbin. First aid cream sealed in a straw, band aids, needles and scalpel blade on a bit of magnetic strip glued into the lid. Waterproof matches and an emery board as striker. Thinking of including a credit card multi tool of the type that has tweezers, file, awl and toothpick included. That would take up less space than regular sized tweezers and provide additional tools.

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