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The ABC’s of the EDC Bags

The Every Day Carry (EDC) Bag, as the name implies, is going to be your go-to bag in the survival bag biz. In fact, you probably already have it. You may even already carry it every day. All you need to do is add a few items to it and it goes from being a purse, shoulder bag or backpack into a vital urban survival tool.

The suggestion of putting “survival items” in a handbag is going to sound silly to some people, but it’s likely those people have never experienced a real emergency, and take it for granted that the world ““ particularly their part of town ““ is a very safe place. Besides, those items take up valuable space that could be used for other more important items.

But, that’s precisely the point. There may come a time when the most important thing in your bag is the one thing that isn’t there, because you didn’t think ahead. I’m reminded of a clever character in a movie who once said, “It’s better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.”

And, that pretty much sums up the entire philosophy of the EDC Bag and its contents.


There are some basic contents that apply across the board, and if you’re going to upgrade your bag to an EDC Bag you may as well do it right. These include:

Now, a couple notes on these basic items. They may not seem like they could make the difference, but remember that a tool is only as good as the person using it. These items, aside from the pepper spray, are not designed to save your life.

(Side note: Don’t think you’re too hard to carry pepper spray. Almost everyone who has been jumped will tell you they were surprised as hell, and would have probably fared better with pepper spray.)

These survival tools are to help someone who already has survivalist sensibilities. Are you going to stab someone with your pocketknife? No, probably not. But, you will be better prepared to dig gum out of your lock, or cut your pant cuff out of an escalator. Are you going to escape a damp, dark kidnapper’s lair with only the aid of your penlight? Nope. But, you could more quickly find your keys or your medication if you drop them in a dark place.

And, the time you saved finding those items could make the difference between getting home safe and getting mugged.

In addition to the basic items, people who have advanced training or are first responders may consider carrying additional items that are pertinent to their skills in their EDC Bags. For example, it may be appropriate for a nurse to have smelling salts in her bag to rouse a bystander who has fainted in a dangerous place (i.e. a train platform).

So you may be wondering, if you’re not a first responder or otherwise an emergency-savvy individual, how do you get survivalist sensibilities? Well, there are always self-defense courses, books and the like. But really, having these items in your EDC Bag will help remind you when the need arises. And, that is skill-building, plain and simple.

While not a substitute for a good Red Cross class, many app makers now sell first aid apps for smart phones. Hazardous material apps also make for a handy resource at time, especially with CERT training.

Additional Considerations:

Note pads can be an invaluable tool. On the outside cover I write, “1st RESPONDER: Emergency #s and Info Inside”. On the inside of the cover I put: Health Insurance, Primary Physician, Medical Alerts, and Driver’s License Number. On the first page I keep a list of my most important contact telephone numbers. After family, I include the highest-ranking friend from each named and unnamed law enforcement agency I know. This all works best using a waterproof marker, like a Sharpie, and a “Rite in the Rain” all-weather notebook.

I guarantee you that once you place these items in your bag, the day will shortly come when you stumble across a situation and you’ll say, “I have just the thing for that!” Or, maybe you’ll just be screaming maniacally as you drench some thug with pepper spray, but either way you’ll be prepared.

In his free time, he enjoys hogging the remote, surfing, scotch, mental masturbation and debate over philosophical topics, and shooting stuff--usually not all at the same time.

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