Hopefully by now you have gone out and bought yourself an EDC bag. If not, you should backtrack to my previous post, “What is an EDC bag and why should I have one” before continuing on. At this point it is time to start getting all of your gear together and organizing it. Yes this sounds like it can be a daunting task especially when trying to figure out which items you really need and which ones should be grouped together. This article isn’t about keeping a few items that can fit into your pocket such as a knife, a few band aids and a cell phone – it’s about having all of the “essentials” on hand so that you are fully prepared for any situation that might arise. If you really think a pocket sized kit is all you will need then I hope the only thing that happens is you fall off your bike because you were looking back at a hot chick and scraped your knee.
When you look at the list of items below I know you will probably think to yourself, “how am I supposed to put all this in my EDC bag ?”. The amount of stuff you can carry will depend on the bag that you purchased, however, the main idea here is to still keep everything as compact as possible. Many of these items are small and hardly take any room. There may be some things that you will find you may not need while other items may be available in smaller sizes or formats that can do the same job just as effectively.
To help simplify things we will start by breaking everything down into categories. Remember that we’re only trying to stock the bare necessities here, not create a complete survival bag. The items I’ve listed below are just general suggestions. You will need to determine exactly what you think will be needed to accommodate your bag.
Clothing and Apparel:
You should keep a complete spare change of clothing in your bag as keeping yourself dry is very important. Modify the type of items listed here to suit your location and and environment.
- Pair of underwear and socks (add long-johns if you live in a colder climate)
- Pair of jeans or pants made of high strength material
- Pair of gloves and hat or bandana
- T-shirt and sweater
- Rain poncho
- Dust mask
- Add anything else that you would need for your location and climate but remember to keep everything as compact as possible.
Food and Water:
Having clean drinkable water should be your top priority with food following right behind. If possible, get yourself a water bottle that has a filter built into it so in the case that you need to collect water from a nearby river or stream it will filter out most of the harmful bacteria. Remember though, it’s always your safest bet to boil the water before you drink it regardless of where you found it.
- Water bottle, canteen or survival straw with built in water filter (always keep it pre-filled with fresh clean water)
- Water purification tablets
- A few MRE’s (ready to eat meals)
- A few packages of oatmeal, granola bars or high energy protein bars
- Mixed dried fruit and nuts
- Hard candies
- P-38 can opener (in case you come across some cans of food along the way)
First Aid & Medical:
A first aid kit is another critical component to your EDC bag. While a pocket sized kit could do the trick you should keep in mind that it’s always better to put together your own kit rather than buying one that’s pre-made because not one kit that you purchase will be tailored to your exact medical needs. If you choose to build your own kit you should know that many of these items can be found at the dollar store for a fraction of the cost. Below are some standard items that you should include in your kit if you decide to put it together yourself. Remove or add items to suit your needs.
- Band aids – different sizes
- Butterfly band aids
- Gauze pads
- Arm wrap (in case of a sprain or fracture)
- Medical tape
- Rubbing alcohol (to sterilize)
- Peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
- Polysporin (to help heal wounds and infections)
- Puffers, Epee Pen, etc..
- Suture kit
- Any prescription and non-prescription medication you may require
- Quick Clot or cayenne pepper (cayenne pepper will thicken the blood and help slow or stop the bleeding)
- First aid manual
Navigation, Signaling and Lighting:
Regardless of where you live you should add a map of your local area into your pack in case you need to take a different unfamiliar route in order to get home or to a safer place.
- A quality map compass
- Map of local area and state/province
- Signal mirror
- Glow sticks
- LED flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries (store batteries separately)
- Cell phone (preferably a smartphone)
Fire and Heat:
Aside from having clean drinkable water at the top of your list, keeping yourself warm and dry is also extremely important and being able to make a fire is extremely important. Hypothermia can set in faster than you think so keep this in consideration when adding any of these items to your bag. You will want to be able to make a fire in any type of weather so I personally would go with a magnesium fire starter.
- Waterproof strike anywhere matches, Windproof lighter, Magnesium fire starter or flint and steel
- Hand and foot warmers (if you live in a colder area)
- Emergency candles
- Space blanket (can also be used to create a shelter)
You may come across a time or place where you will need to have the cover of shelter perhaps to ride out the night or to protect yourself from the elements. Carrying an actual tent or other shelter with you wouldn’t make sense as they would be too bulky and wouldn’t fit in your EDC bag anyway. Instead, you will probably have to improvise and make one out of available materials. Here are a few items that can help you to make one:
- Small tarp (can be used as a wall or roof for your shelter)
- Large black garbage bags
- Rain poncho
- Paracord (to tie and hold together your shelter)
People do crazy things when under pressure and stress, especially during the after affects of a severe natural disaster or when society has broken down. Besides yourself, everyone else will be in full survival mode and being able to protect yourself will be crucial. Here are a few items that you should consider putting in your EDC bag:
- Pepper or bear spray
- Pocket knife (preferably a quality knife with a fixed blade)
- Hand gun with spare bullets
- Taser gun
Tools and other misc items:
Aside from some of the items above, here are a few more which you will want to have on hand and will find to be very useful in many scenarios.
- 50 feet of 550lb paracord
- Pen and pad of paper
- Adjustable wrench (to turn off gas valves, tons of other uses)
- Cable ties
- Small mini screw driver with bits (to fix eye glasses or other small items)
- Small hose (you might have to siphon gas) – has many other uses
- Roll of quarters (for pay phones) and at least $100 – $200 in small bills (you never know when you’ll need to make an emergency purchase or have to buy your way out of trouble
Lastly, you will need to make sure that all of your supplies stay dry. I previously wrote an article on different ways to “waterproof your backpack” and it’s contents. Although I used backpacks as an example you can still use the same ideas for your EDC bag. Click here to read it.
Best of luck with building your EDC bag and let us know what you put in yours in the comments below!
This article was written by INCH Survival and can be viewed here: