What to Carry in Your Everyday Carry Bag

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Header image: EverydayCarry.com x Manhattan Portage Atlas Sling Pro

We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we wished we had a particular item with us right when we needed it the most – a pen to jot down an important note or sign a document, a flashlight to see in the dark, or a band-aid to cover a cut. These are just some scenarios where having an everyday carry (EDC) bag can be useful.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of having an EDC bag, how to choose the best EDC bag for your needs, and what items to include in your EDC bag, giving you a better understanding of how to build your own EDC bag and how to use it effectively.


What is an Everyday Carry Bag?

An everyday carry (EDC) bag serves as portable storage for frequently used items, whether to prepare you for daily tasks or help you during unforeseen situations. Typical contents that you’d usually have in your EDC bag include your wallet (cash, cards, IDs), phone, multitool, flashlight, pen and notebook, a power bank, or even a first-aid kit. Your EDC bag and its contents will vary based on your needs and lifestyle.

The types of EDC bags you can choose from range from backpacks and messenger bags (which often have larger carrying capacities) to sling bags and fanny packs (which are more portable and compact).

When shopping for an EDC bag, consider essential features like durability, comfort, capacity, organization, and style. These all play a part in the selection process since your EDC bag should complement your preferences and enhance your efficiency and adaptability to daily life.


Essential Items to Carry in Your Everyday Carry Bag

From everyday essentials that can help you in day-to-day tasks to survival items that can come in handy during emergencies, these are some of our favorite items in our EDC bags.

Everyday Carry Essentials

Wallet: A good wallet is a quintessential item for any EDC bag because it typically stores our cash, cards, ID, and other important documents in a compact and secure way. It should be durable, lightweight, easy to access, and reflect your style. Slim, minimalist, and made from durable metals like aluminum and titanium, the Ridge Wallet has long been our wallet of choice. It also has RFID-blocking features for that extra peace of mind and comes in various designs.

Our pick: Ridge Wallet

Phone: Realizing we left our phone at home can be a panic-inducing moment, and that’s why it deserves a permanent spot in any EDC bag. More than just a device that keeps us connected to work, friends, and family, our phones often serve as a source of entertainment, can take photos and videos, and can also provide us with navigation and emergency services.

Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max is a popular choice here, with a stunning 6.7″ display, a powerful A17 Pro chip, a versatile camera system, a long-lasting battery, and durable titanium construction. The Apple app ecosystem is rich and diverse, making the iPhone 15 Pro Max an excellent choice for anyone wanting a premium and versatile phone.

Our pick: iPhone 15 Pro Max

Keychain: You’d be surprised how a simple act like organizing your keys can make your life easier and more efficient. Keys are often needed for everyday tasks such as locking and unlocking doors, cars, or cabinets, making the humble keychain an essential item for any EDC bag.

One of the best keychains for an EDC bag is the Ridge KeyCase. Its innovative design streamlines and securely holds up to 6 of your keys in a sleek, durable case. Made from a choice of premium metal plates or lightweight carbon fiber, the Ridge KeyCase is designed to fit in your pocket or attach to your bag, making it convenient and versatile.

Our pick: Ridge KeyCase

Pen and Notebook: It’s often a great practice to write down your thoughts, ideas, plans, or reminders as they come, which is why we believe a pen and notebook deserve a spot in your EDC bag. Not only can writing help you clear your mind, boost your creativity, or improve your productivity, but a pen and notebook can also come in handy for emergencies, such as leaving a note, signaling for help, or even starting a fire.

The Tactile Turn Aluminum Bolt Action Pen and the Field Notes Expedition are among the best pen and notebook combinations for an EDC bag. The pen comes in various premium metals, boasts smooth writing characteristics, and features an all-metal bolt action mechanism, and a stainless-steel deep carry pocket clip. The notebook is a waterproof and tear-resistant journal that can withstand harsh environments and extreme temperatures.

Our picks:

Tactile Turn Aluminum Bolt Action Pen
Field Notes Expedition

Charger: With all the devices we carry for communication, navigation, entertainment, or work, a power bank becomes an essential item for any EDC bag. A power bank keeps your devices charged and ready to use when you don’t have easy access to a wall outlet.

One of the best power banks for an EDC bag is the Anker Prime 200W Power Bank. It’s a compact, high-capacity battery that can charge multiple devices simultaneously. Equipped with two high-powered USB-C ports and one USB-A port totaling 200W output, it’s got enough juice to quickly charge two laptops simultaneously at 100W each.

Our pick: Anker Prime 200W Power Bank


Survival Essentials

Water bottle: There are many benefits to ensuring you stay hydrated throughout the day, and the best way to do that is with a full water bottle that you can carry around in your EDC bag. But besides drinking water to regulate your temperature, flush out toxins, and quench your thirst, you can use water to cook and clean food when exploring the outdoors or during accidental injuries when you need to clean a wound.

We’re big fans of the Yeti Rambler. It’s double-walled and vacuum-insulated to keep drinks cold or hot for hours. Its stainless steel construction stands up to harsh conditions and is available in many sizes, colors, and designs to suit your preferences.

Our pick: Yeti Rambler

Energy bars: Together with staying hydrated, it’s equally important to make sure you have a readily available source of calories, proteins, and carbohydrates. Energy bars can not only help you boost your energy levels, satisfy your hunger, and provide nutrition to support your muscles and brain, but they can also be a lifesaver during emergencies, such as when you find yourself stranded, injured, or lost.

We like the KIND Bars because they’re gluten-free, have a low glycemic index, and are made without genetically engineered ingredients. They also come in various flavors and contain a good amount of macronutrients.

Our pick: KIND Bars

First Aid Kit: Disaster often strikes when you least expect it, so it pays to be prepared. A First Aid Kit in your EDC bag helps you deal with minor injuries or illnesses and can be a lifesaver during emergencies such as bleeding, choking, or when you’re having an allergic reaction. A First Aid Kit can also prevent infections against cuts you get while you’re adventuring outdoors.

One of the best First Aid Kits for an EDC bag is the MyMedic MyFAK. It’s a compact and comprehensive kit containing over 62 lifesaving first aid items, such as bandages, gauze, gloves, scissors, tweezers, a tourniquet, a CPR mask, and more. The MyMedic MyFAK is designed to treat cuts, burns, sprains, fractures, bites, stings, and other injuries that range from minor to life-threatening.

Our pick: MyMedic MyFAK

Flashlight: With a flashlight in your EDC bag, you’ll never fumble in the dark in case of a sudden power outage or if you find yourself out in the wilderness late at night. A flashlight can also be used for signaling, self-defense, or during search and rescue situations.

The light we’d recommend that you include in your EDC bag is the AceBeam Pokelit 1000-Lumen AA Flashlight. It is a powerful and surprisingly compact flashlight that can produce up to 1000 lumens of brightness and a beam range of 105 meters. It’s also constructed from hard anodizing aircraft grade 7075 aluminum alloy and is IP68 water-resistant, able to withstand immersion in up to 2 meters of water. The AceBeam Pokelit 1000-Lumen AA Flashlight runs on a single AA battery, making it easy to power in a pinch.

Our pick: AceBeam Pokelit 1000-Lumen AA Flashlight

Multi-tool: Multi-tools are the best all-purpose items you can have that help you perform various tasks and functions, from cutting and screwing to pulling stubborn objects out and opening cans or bottles. A multitool can also be a lifesaver in emergencies, such as when you need to repair something, break a window, or even when you need to defend yourself.

One of the best multitools for an EDC bag is the Leatherman Wave+. It features 18 tools to help you in almost any situation: knives, scissors, wire cutters, saws, screwdrivers, and more. The Leatherman Wave+ is made of stainless steel and has a 25-year warranty for absolute peace of mind.

Our pick: Leatherman Wave+

Pocket knife/folding knife: Whether you’re opening packages, preparing food, making a fire, or defending yourself, a pocket/folding knife is a great tool to always have around. A pocket knife/folding knife is essential for an EDC bag because it helps you cut, slice, or pierce various materials, like if you need to cut yourself free from the seatbelt of your car or if you need to cut a fishing line.

The Kershaw Bel-Air is one of the latest and greatst to include in an EDC bag. It’s a sleek and lightweight knife with a 3″ CPM MagnaCut blade, nickel Cerakote-coated aluminum scales on the handle, and a reliable crossbar lock.

Our pick: Kershaw Bel-Air

Firestarter: The ability to ignite a fire is one of humanity’s most significant achievements, so it only makes sense to include a fire starter in our EDC bag. It can help you in several situations, such as providing warmth, light, and the ability to cook your food when adventuring outdoors. A fire starter can also be a lifesaver during emergencies, such as when you need to sterilize water, start a signal, cauterize a wound, or fend off wild animals.

The Exotak nanoSTRIKER XL is a portable, durable fire starter with a ferrocerium rod and a tungsten carbide striker. The Exotak nanoSTRIKER XL can produce up to 3000 sparks and is waterproof and corrosion-resistant.

Our pick: Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL

Poncho/rainproof jacket: A poncho or rainproof jacket helps you stay dry and comfortable in wet weather, making it a must in any EDC bag. It can also be used as a shelter, a blanket, or a signal in emergencies.

When it comes to rainproof jackets, we like the Marmot Precip Jacket for our EDC bag because of its lightweight and breathable characteristics. It’s also fully waterproof thanks to its NanoPro nylon ripstop fabric with fully sealed seams.

Our pick: Marmot Precip Jacket


Optional Items to Include in Your Everyday Carry Bag

Since the contents of your EDC bag cater to your use cases and lifestyle, you may want to add some specialized tools and items that can help you in very specific scenarios. While not necessarily strictly essential, these items provide added versatility to your pack, assisting in communication and navigation, personal comfort, and safety.

Communication and Navigation

Map and Compass: If you love going on faraway trips to places you’re not familiar with, a map and compass can help you find your way in case you get lost. A map can show you your surroundings’ terrain, roads, landmarks, and other features, while a compass can help you orient yourself to follow directions easier. While we can easily get these on our phones through apps, a physical map and compass don’t rely on batteries, signals, or networks, so that they can work in any situation.

Whistle: A whistle produces a loud and piercing sound that can be heard over long distances and other loud noises, making it helpful as a means of communication or as a way to be easily heard. With the use of simple codes such as one blast for “stop,” two blasts for “go,” and three blasts for “help,” having a whistle in your EDC bag can significantly increase your safety when adventuring with a friend.

Walkie-talkie or Two-Way Radio: When it comes to direct lines of communication over long distances without cellular networks, nothing beats a walkie-talkie or portable two-way radio. A walkie-talkie lets you send and receive voice messages, alerts, and updates over a particular range and frequency. Unlike cell phones, they do not depend on cellular networks or internet connections so they can work in remote areas or when the infrastructure is down. A walkie-talkie in your EDC bag can increase your chances of staying in touch and coordinating with others in these scenarios.

Personal Comfort

Sunglasses: Sunglasses can be a helpful addition to your EDC bag because they can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, glare, and dust. Sunglasses can also improve your vision and comfort in bright or sunny conditions, such as when driving, hiking, or skiing. And if you need to be discrete, sunglasses can also help you conceal your identity or emotions in case you need to avoid unwanted attention or confrontation.

Hat: Indiana Jones never goes anywhere without his hat for a reason. A hat can protect your head from various elements, such as sun, rain, wind, or cold, and it can also help you regulate your body temperature and prevent heatstroke or hypothermia.

Sunscreen: If you often find yourself under the sun during most of the day, then sunscreen is a great item to have in your EDC bag. Not only can it protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but it can also moisturize your skin and prevent dryness, cracking, or irritation.

Insect repellent: No one likes bug bites. They can cause itching, swelling, pain, or infection, and certain insects transmit diseases such as malaria, Lyme disease, or yellow fever. Having some insect repellent in your EDC bag can prevent nasty bites and increase your chances of staying safe and comfortable outdoors.

Hand sanitizer: If there’s anything the COVID-19 lockdown taught us, it’s that hand sanitizers go a long way in preventing infections from germs. We often subconsciously touch our face without realizing it, so having some hand sanitizer in our EDC bag is a great way to avoid infections or diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Face mask: A face mask isn’t just helpful in protecting yourself and others from airborne diseases, but it can also filter out dust, smoke, pollen, or other pollutants that can irritate your respiratory system, making it a valuable thing to have in your EDC bag.

Bandana: An extremely versatile addition to your EDC bag, a bandana can serve multiple purposes in different situations. It can be used as a headband, a scarf, a mask, a sling, a tourniquet, a filter, a signal, or even a fire starter. It can also help you keep cool, dry, warm, or clean.

Other Options

Pepper spray: You can never be too careful in an unfamiliar environment. Pepper spray is a helpful item to have in an EDC bag because it can help you defend yourself and deter attackers in case of a threat, causing temporary blindness, pain, coughing, and breathing difficulties to anyone who is exposed to it. If you’re out in the woods, pepper spray can also scare away wild animals or aggressive dogs.

Paracord: A paracord is another versatile item to add to your EDC bag that can be used for various tasks and emergencies. Strong and durable, it can tie things together, secure important items, or repair torn materials. In a pinch, a paracord can also be unraveled into smaller strands that can be used as fishing lines, sewing threads, or snares to trap animals.
Carabiner: A carabiner’s primary purpose is to help you easily attach, carry, or hang items such as your keys, water bottle, flashlight, or other gear on your bag or belt. Having a carabiner in your EDC bag can increase your chances of staying organized and convenient when out and about, saving you a lot of time looking for a particular item right when you need it the most.


How to Choose the Right Everyday Carry Bag

Choosing the right EDC bag depends on several factors, such as:

Size: Your EDC bag should match the size of your items while being comfortable to carry on your body. Measure the dimensions of your most oversized item and look for a bag that can easily fit it, with some extra space for other items. You’ll also want a bag that doesn’t strain your shoulders, back, or neck.

Durability: The durability of your EDC bag is important because you’ll want a bag that can withstand daily wear and tear and harsh weather conditions. You should look for a bag made of high-quality materials, such as leather, canvas, nylon, or polyester. You should also check the stitching, zippers, buckles, and straps of the bag to ensure they’re sturdy and reliable.

Accessibility: The accessibility of your EDC bag is another factor to consider because you’ll want a bag that allows you to access your items quickly and easily. Look for a bag with multiple compartments, pockets, and organizers to keep your items organized and secure. You should also look for a bag with easy-to-open closures that use magnets, snaps, or Velcro while avoiding bags with complicated or hard-to-reach closures, such as drawstrings, buttons, or hooks.

Read: 10 Best EDC Backpacks on the Market in 2024


Everyday Carry Bag Maintenance and Organization

OK, so you’ve got your new EDC bag. Not so fast, though. To make the most of your EDC bag, you need to know how to maintain it and keep it organized. Here’s how you can do just that.

Clean your bag regularly: Depending on the material and usage of your bag, you should clean it at least once a month to remove dirt, dust, stains, and odors. You can use a damp cloth, mild soap, and water to wipe the exterior and interior of your bag. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove any crumbs, lint, or debris on the inside. Always make sure to dry your bag thoroughly before using it again.

Keep items organized in pouches or compartments: To avoid clutter and confusion, you should keep your items organized in your bag’s pouches or compartments. You can use zippered pouches, mesh bags, or plastic containers to store your items according to their categories, such as electronics, toiletries, stationery, etc. You can also label your pouches or containers to make them easier to identify. This way, you can find what you need quickly and efficiently.
Regularly check to ensure all items are still in good condition: We need our items to be ready when we need them, so you should periodically check to ensure they’re still in good condition. Be sure to look for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, scratches, leaks, or malfunctions. It’s also good to check the expiration dates of any perishable items, such as food, medicine, or cosmetics. Be sure to replace or repair any damaged or expired items immediately.

Organize your bag for quick access: To make your EDC bag more convenient and user-friendly, you should organize it for quick access. One way to do this is by placing the items that you use most frequently in the most accessible places, such as the front pocket, the side pocket, or the top of the main compartment. You can also use color-coded or distinctive pouches or containers to make them easier to spot. Avoid overloading or stuffing your bag, as this can make it harder to access your items and cause unnecessary strain on your bag and yourself.

Read: The 18 Best EDC Pocket Organizers in 2023, Ranked & Reviewed


Conclusion

Whether you’re a seasoned EDC enthusiast or new to the idea of an Everyday Carry bag, there’s no question about its practicality and helpfulness in daily life. From the convenience of having everyday items at arm’s reach to the peace of mind provided by emergency essentials, an EDC bag is an invaluable companion. Create your own EDC bag and empower yourself to be more prepared, efficient, and adaptable daily.

FAQs

What is an everyday carry toolkit?

An everyday carry toolkit, or EDC toolkit, is a collection of items that you keep with you at all times to help you deal with various situations and tasks. Some of the most common EDC items are watches, pens, wallets, knives, flashlights, lighters, key rings, mobile phones, and multi-tools. EDC toolkits can vary depending on your preferences, needs, and lifestyle. The primary purpose of having an EDC toolkit is to be prepared, efficient, and self-reliant in your daily life.

What is the purpose of an everyday carry bag?

An everyday carry bag is used to carry the essential items you need for your daily activities. It can help you organize your gear, protect it from water or damage from impact, and access it easily.

What are some types of everyday carry bags?

The type and size of your everyday carry bag depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. Some common examples of everyday carry bags are backpacks, sling bags, messenger bags, and pouches. They can vary in capacity, materials, features, and design.

What is a tactical everyday carry bag?

A tactical everyday carry bag is a type of bag that is designed for durability, functionality, and versatility. It usually has features such as MOLLE webbing, water-resistant materials, multiple compartments, and padded straps. It can be used for various purposes, such as work, travel, outdoor activities, or emergencies.

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