EDC items you tote with you will be highly impacted by both where you live and where you work. State and local laws will determine what type of self-defense tools can legally be carried, and even what size of bag can be taken with you into work, shops, and restaurants you frequent when away from home.
Thankfully for me and my tribe, we live in a rural area where about 95% of the populace owns guns, and at least 60% of the folks in my county have their concealed carry permit.
Putting a firearm in your EDC is commonplace here. Because I live on a rural survival homestead and can work from home, my EDC bag is a combination of my saddlebags and horn bags.
I simply throw my saddlebags of my shoulder and my horn bags in my hand to transfer them from the back of my Ruby and onto an ATV or into my truck – they are highly versatile.
I can not only conceal carry my Ruger .40 caliber handgun, but take a rifle with me during the day. Where you work can either increase or limit your ability to protect yourself and the folks around you should a need arise.
All the stores and restaurants in my area do not require you to place a target on your back to enter except the bank, so I always use the drive thru window.
Three of our five grandchildren live in the same county, but will be homeschooled when they are old enough to start academic learning in a couple of years – so no gun free school issues to worry about until they join in activities on school grounds, which would require a slight adjustment to my EDC.
If you are also able to work from your survival homesteading retreat or rural bugin location, you can use the same type of bags or similar ones to make your EDC items go with you seamlessly from horse, to ATV, to vehicle. If not, your everyday carry bag will likely be more compact.
That is entirely fine. As long as you keep a bugout bag or get home bag in your car, you will still have a wide array of tools and gear to help you survive for at least 72 hours.
EDC items are typically small, lightweight, and compact, allowing them to be easily carried in your pockets, purse, or a small bag / case at all times. If a great survival tool is not easily portable, it should be tucked away in your bug out bag or get me home bag, and not be considered as part of your EDC ensemble.
15 Best Rural EDC Items You Should Always Have at Your Fingertips
If you live or work somewhere that does not respect your Second Amendment rights to conceal carry a gun, you will have to rely on a knife as your primary lethal self-defense tool…or move and/or find a new job.
Regardless of where you rest your head at night and earn a paycheck, you should pack some type of self-defense tool with you, mace, tactical pen, tactical flashlight, or a taser, might be legal options where you live and work.
I carry both my handgun and two knives in my EDC kit. One knife has a saw edge, and is carried in my horn bags and my larger Bowie type knife is in the saddlebags. In addition to those knives, I also have a beautiful and very sharp, boot knife. I take either my Henry .22 lever action rifle or my AR-15 with me when out on our 56-acre survival retreat.
2. Extra Ammo
I carry multiple boxes of .22 caliber rounds and 2 extra .40 caliber magazines in my EDC kit. The extra mags and handgun transfer to my purse when leaving the property. I keep an extra AR-15 magazine in the large saddlebag.
My AR-15 has a scope, but my Henry has only iron sights. I carry a pair of binoculars that are lightweight in a black bag inside on saddlebag pouch along with a compass.
4. Communication Device
A cell phone or handheld radio can allow you to communicate with your family, survival group, or get alerts regarding the small to large SHTF event that caused you to grab you EDC kit and go.
Ideally, the phone (think backup cheap minutes style phone) or radio should be wrapped in a plastic bag and then covered in aluminum foil (at least) or placed inside a lightweight metal container to makeshift a portable Faraday cage.
5. Solar Charger
A portable solar charger than can power your phone, radio, or an emergency radio is also a good idea. Many people keep a solar or battery powered charger in their vehicle, also wrapped in a Faraday cage.
This is a fine place to keep this tool, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to make it back to your vehicle before either bugging out or trying to reach home – especially if you work in an urban environment.
Being able to let your loved ones know you are ok if the trek home is on foot and takes days or even weeks, will help bring stability to the chaos everyone has suddenly been subjected to.
6. Precious Metals
Do not expect the dollar to be worth anything, or that ATM machines will be working during a doomsday event. Keep a small amount of silver or gold in your EDC kit so you have means to barter.
Just in case you cannot reach the bottles of water in your vehicle or they run out before you can reach home, keep a Lifestraw in your EDC so you can safely drink from most water sources.
This lightweight and small tool provides you with a down-sized version of commonly used tools that can help get you into or out of tough spots. Most multi-tool sets include a Phillips and flathead screwdriver, needle nose and regular pliers, bottle opener, wrench, file, knife, and wire cutters.
9. Paracord Bracelet
This durable cording has a plethora of uses. It can be used to fix a torn EDC or bugout bag strap, to replace a shoelace, tie up a tarp to make a tent, use to make netting to trap fish, and a hundred other things. Some paracord bracelets also include a compass and a whistle – or even a fishing hook and a bit of line.
Pack waterproof (at least water resistant) matches and – or multiple lighters. The ability to start a fire is one of the cornerstones of basic survival.
Pack a small amount of lightweight tinder or another type of homemade fire starter to help you easily get a warming blaze going even when weather conditions are damp or wet. Learn how to start a fire using primitive methods to increase your odds of always being able to catch a flame during a survival situation.
A standard small yet powerful flashlight or a tactical flashlight (generally heavier like a MAG light) will help you find your way in the dark or tend to a medical emergency need in non-daylight hours.
13. Mylar Blanket
An emergency thermal blanket of this type weighs only a few ounces, and comes folded up on a compact bag. Even though the blankets are designed for one time use, they can still be used like a tarp to create a makeshift tent or to lay upon to put a barrier between yourself and the cold ground.
14/ First Aid
A basic first aid kit that includes an antiseptic and disinfectant salve, burn cream, threat and needle to make stitches, pain reliever, bandaids, tourniquet, and blood clotting bandages – or cayenne pepper, will cover immediate needs until you can hopefully reach your bugout bag or get me home bag.
Because snake bites, bug bites – stings, and poison ivy, can happen easily out here, I also carry a snake bite kits, over the counter bug bite medications my husband stocked into the bags along with my homemade jewelweed and plantain salve.
15. Resource Material
A small folding pamphlet that covers local wild edibles and – or a map of the area that can guide you when highways and main roads are not a safe option will take up a lot of space, but could help save your life.
This list of EDC items is by no means exhaustive, I did not even note above that I carry toilet paper, but it does cover all major survival and emergency needs without adding too much bulk to a small preparedness kit.
If you work away from home our outside of a truly rural work environment, trying to turn an everyday carry bag into a full on bugout bag will likely make it too large and heavy to pack into, and draw too much attention to exactly prepared you are when so many around you will be panicking.
Here, the bags that I carry around blend in with our culture, and do not attract unwanted attention.
When disaster strikes, it is best to calmly walk as fast as you can to your vehicle or onto your escape route without opening the EDC bag until prying eyes are averted, if at all possible.
Having a bag that melds into the background of your environment or culture, and is no larger or heavier than absolutely essential, will help you to accomplish this potentially life-saving goal.