If you’ve heard about EDC or everyday carry, you might be a bit confused about this term. Is it a bag or a kit? Do I carry my EDC or wear it? Unlike a get home bag (GHB), bug out bag (BOB), or even a get out of dodge bag (GOOD), which are bags you pack up and carry when SHTF, your EDC is made up of those essential items that you carry all the time.
That means you can wear your EDC or you can carry it, or a little bit of both. For women, the basic concept of EDC or everyday carry is to have with you at all times, the items you need to handle both minor and major unexpected emergencies or crises.
Most men carry their EDC on their keys, phone, and in their wallet or pockets. Women, in this respect are lucky.
EDC for women means what you wear everyday, what you carry on your keyring, pockets, or phone, AND what you can carry in your purse.
Remember Mary Poppins’ and her bottomless carpet bag? Well, growing up, it seemed no matter what we needed or what went wrong, Gram found something to make it work in the moment.
Just like Mary Poppins, Gram never got rattled, angry, or upset when things went awry. She’d simply reach into her jacket pocket or into her purse and quietly hand us whatever we needed.
Whether it was a straw because we broke ours, a flashlight, a safety pin to fix a broken bra strap, an umbrella, or a logic puzzle book, to keep grandkids from squabbling during a road trip, Gram saved the day.
You may have a woman or two like this in your life. These are women who, whether they know it or not, have mastered the concept of EDC or everyday carry.
The ultimate guide below is to help you become more like these women, prepared to handle whatever comes your way without missing a step.
In today’s dangerous society, everyday carry (EDC) includes much more emphasis on self-defense than Mary Poppins or even Gram could have imagined. In addition to minor inconveniences, you may find yourself in situations such as:
- Stranded in a snowstorm on the side of the road
- Being followed walking home from work or school
- A carjacking or mugging
- Face to face with an intruder in your home
- Trying to get home as a hurricane or tornado approaches
- Running from the scene of a mass shooting
How can you, as a woman, possibly be ready for ANYTHING life throws at you? How can you be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones, no matter what the situation?
Read on for ways to put together your own modern women’s EDC everyday carry-the ultimate guide.
What to Carry
This next section will give you a guide to the EDC items you should consider and later we will give you recommendations on where to stash EDC items including the best purses for EDC, clothing and wearable EDC items, as well as other EDC pouches for additional carrying capacity.
Food & Water
- Bottled Water
- Water Filter (Sawyer Mini or LifeStraw)
- Stainless steel cup or container
- Water purification tablets
- Piece of aluminum foil
- Gum or Hard Candy
- Tuna fish in a foil pouch
- Single servings of instant oatmeal protected in zip lock bag
- Tea bags
- Granola bars or Energy bars
- Several methods for starting fire (waterproof matches, lighter, Fire striker)
- Hand and toe warmers
- Emergency tinder (vaseline soaked dryer lint, char cloth)
- Winter weather accessories (gloves, wool socks, hat or balaclava)
- Cordage for shelter building (duct tape, paracord, or even twine)
- Shelter items (Mylar emergency blanket, military poncho)
Self Defense and Protection
Additional EDC Items
• Button Compass
• Signaling Mirror
• Sharpie Marker
• Waterproof Notepad and pen
• Credit Card Knife or Swiss Army Knife
• USB drive (with important documents)
EDC First Aid Items
Large Altoid Tin Mini first aid kit can include:
- Neosporin or antibiotic cream
- Single doses of pain reliever, allergy relief, etc.
- Burn cream
- Bug bite relief stick
- 1-3 days doses of any personal medications
Personal Hygiene Items
- Safety pins, bobby pins, rubber bands or hair ties
- Measuring tape
- Small manicure scissors or folding scissors, nail clippers, tweezers
- Feminine hygiene products
- Eyeglass repair kit
- Crazy glue or super glue
- Makeup wipes and/or baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Breath strips, dental floss
- Wisps (mini pre-pasted disposable toothbrushes)
- N95 mask or bandana
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Bug spray
- Lip balm or Chapstick
- Small trash bags
- Goggles or other eye protection
Places to Stash EDC Items
When it comes to your EDC and where to carry it, pretty much anything goes. You can put things in a purse or carry items in your pockets.
You can also store info or apps on your phone, add items to your keychain, use an EDC pouch or several, or even wear some of your EDC items.
Below are some of our recommendations for best ways to carry your EDC.
The best purses for EDC are durable and lightweight, ideal recommended by USDA is 2.2 pounds total. The average purse weight for women is approximately 5 pounds, but ideally your purse should weigh no more than 10% of your bodyweight.
Consider number and accessibility of pockets, fabric and stitching quality, and carry style. Cross body bags or backpack purses are better for distributing weight than an over the shoulder purse.
The Vertical Travel Sling Bag by Swiss Gear has been my number one purse of choice for about four years running. It’s not too bulky and not too small. I have one in black, but the interior is bright red which makes it super easy to find things, even in dim light.
There are TONS of pockets and compartments which means EDC items are organized and accessible. If I’m working outside, I can slip a few essential items in my pockets quickly.
The deep interior pocket is great for holding all kinds of large items or paperwork. I recently discovered that my mini Lenovo laptop and charger fit perfectly inside!
TomBihn Cafe Bag or their EGO bag are also great choices for those who don’t mind a purse that looks more like a messenger bag. Both have great pockets for organization and are lightweight and durable.
I also recommend the Daylite Sling bag by Osprey, especially for women who are more active or who need their hands free to wrangle children or pets during the day.
The Daylite Sling has multiple pockets that are easily accessible and help to organize your EDC items. It’s lightweight and versatile. It can be worn cross body or on the back.
If you need a purse for your EDC items that is a bit more formal so you can blend in at your office job, I recommend this classic shoulder Utote Bag.
It will hold a 15-inch laptop securely in the main pocket but has several additional internal and external pockets for organization of your EDC items.
This budget friendly crossbody purse by Fabuxry is a good choice for those that want to carry a purse that blends in but that has the organizational capacity for EDC items.
It has small compartments on the front and ends for frequently accessed items like keys and Chapstick as well as a large compartment with zippered divider and smaller interior compartments to organize personal hygiene and other less often used EDC items.
If your budget won’t let you completely swap out your traditional style purse for one of our recommended EDC purses, don’t worry. Give your traditional style purse an instant EDC makeover by inserting one of these fabulous purse organizers by Vercord.
These organizers come in 3 sizes which makes them the perfect update no matter what size purse you currently have. Simply drop the organizer into the main pocket of your purse and presto, you instantly have tons of additional pockets and compartments to organize your EDC items.
The discreet handles on the organizer mean you can quickly and easily pull the insert out to swap it into whatever purse you are carrying that day.
Other EDC Pouches
If carrying a purse just isn’t your jam or if you need additional carrying capacity for your EDC items, you can consider any one of these other EDC pouches:
Maxpedition Organizers are a great way to organize things in your traditional style purse or for when you need to leave your purse behind and carry several items with you in your jacket pocket. They come in several sizes.
The main pocket on the EDC pocket organizer is 6 x 8” and has a full clamshell opening. It comes complete with an oversized handle for carrying, attachment webbing, and various tie-down loops, divisions, and slip pockets to help you organize all your EDC items for easy access.
Condor T & T Pouch is an EDC pouch for women who need something smaller than a purse but bigger and tougher than a coin purse. Made of cordura waterproof material, this little pouch is durable and will help keep your thing dry.
It has a thin profile but don’t worry there are plenty of elastic straps inside for your gear. Adjustable paracord opening and heavy duty pull strings make this a great option for women whose work day or play time tends to be more rugged than average.
Handmade EDC pouches available on Etsy are typically slimmer and trimmed with color or ribbon. These pouches great for women who prefer a more feminine look to their EDC pouches.
Clothing and Wearable Items
Your purse or an EDC pouch are not the only place for you to stash EDC items. In fact, putting all your EDC items in your purse isn’t recommended in case your purse is stolen.
Many times you can choose clothing or other wearable items that can hold your EDC items and help distribute weight more evenly. Women are often at a disadvantage when it comes to clothing because they are either nonexistent or smaller than a man’s pocket.
Clip Pouch by DesignGo is great for women who need to carry a few things with them discreetly. It will clip to the waistband of your pants or clip to a belt. These are durable and inexpensive, a good solution to no pockets.
Women’s Travel Concealment Shorts come in handy for discreet and secure carry of valuables such as credit cards, cash, and ID. This is a great solution if you must wear something without pockets or don’t want to carry a purse but need to keep cash and credit cards with you.
A Belly Band is a wide piece of elastic band that goes around your waist. Corset holsters are specially designed with a pocket. The belly band also includes pockets which you can use to holster a gun or carry other EDC items.
It can be adjusted to just above the hips or just below the chest and turned until the gun position or pocket positions are in a comfortable position. The cons with both is they can roll, shift, and otherwise be uncomfortable to wear, especially if you are active.
Many women prefer something like this flashbang holster is made to sit under the bra band or one of the many different options for concealment t-shirts, tank tops, or shorts.
Women’s Taclite M-65 Jacket by 5.11 is an adaptation of the military jacket. In most cases, 5.11 clothing has the disadvantage of looking “too tactical”.
But for women, 5.11 created a tailored jacket, made of Taclite ripstop and finished with Teflon, that protects you from the elements while carrying all your hidden EDC items.
Keeping the Weight of Your EDC Down
When you are planning your EDC kit, one of the key things is to consider the weight of each item. In many cases, you can greatly reduce the weight of items by doing some of the following:
- Start with a purse, pouch, or organizer that is lightweight
- Remove items from packaging or boxes
- Group smaller items together in zip lock bags or Altoid tins
- Remove handles on toothbrushes or hairbrushes
- Buy “mini” items such as breath strips, wisps (pre-pasted toothbrush), deodorant, mouthwash, etc.
Distributing the weight of your EDC in several different ways as we outlined above can also make keeping your EDC items with you more comfortable.
If you do need to pare down, put non-essential items in a separate pouch so you can quickly adjust what you’ll be carrying to fit the situation.
Many women have a different EDC kit for work or school than they do if they are traveling, working in the yard, or out for a run in the park.
What’s in your EDC? Tell us in the comments below about your favorite way to carry your EDC items.