Everyday Carry (EDC) isn’t just the useful stuff you carry around. EDC is a lifestyle that revolves around the idea of preparedness, self-reliance and having the tools you need for survival on hand. As a female prepper, I decided it was time we discussed EDC kits from a woman’s perspective.
*The title image shows what’s in my purse EDC. There’s a backup bank card and a $20 hidden in the pad. I’ve also got another $20 under the insert of my shoe.
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What Makes a Women’s EDC Kit Different?
Whether you are a man or woman, building an EDC kit is all about balancing function with practicality: How much do you need an item? Is it practical to carry around every day? Is the item so helpful it is worth carrying around, despite being impractical?
Women have an inherent advantage with EDC kits: we are more likely to carry purses. A purse can take a lot more helpful gear than would fit on a keychain or in a pocket.
However, any advantage is negated by the fact that women are more likely to be victims of crime. This fact haunts the back of our minds in everyday situations like having to take the trash out in the dark. If a breakdown happens, it can be damn scary to accept help from a Good Samaritan – especially on a remote road!
A woman’s EDC kit should address the likelihood of being a victim. It’s more important for us to have an operating cell phone to call for help, a self-defense weapon, and items to keep us from getting stranded.
Situations Your Female EDC Kit Should Prepare You For
- Everyday annoyances, like a rip in your skirt, broken shoelace, or blisters.
- Hygiene, like when you have to use gross public bathrooms which don’t have toilet paper or soap, or when your period comes early.
- Mom issues, like being able to wipe a runny nose, bandage a scraped knee, or fix a broken toy (yes, these are also dad issues!).
- Vehicle breakdowns, such as being able to call for a tow truck or survive if stranded without cell signal (though you have a car emergency kit, right?)
- Helping strangers with injuries, medical emergencies, or their everyday annoyances.
- Self-defense because harassment is part of our reality as women.
- Long delays. Items like food, water, and entertainment can help you stay sane when waiting longer than expected.
- Major emergencies, like getting attacked or suddenly finding yourself in a SHTF disaster.
It’s impossible to create an EDC kit to prepare you for everything. However, the women’s EDC list below contains items that address most needs.
Women’s EDC Kit Checklist
Instead of just putting all your bank cards and cash in your wallet, assume your wallet will be stolen. I had this happen twice. Once I lost my wallet during a mugging. The other time my wallet was pickpocketed. The thieves didn’t take anything else from my purse in both cases.
Once you accept your wallet could be stolen, you will carry your items differently:
- Only keep the cash and cards you need for that day in your wallet.
- Cards you don’t need should be left at home or hidden (see #3).
- Large amounts of cash should be left at home or carried in a money belt.
Tip: Keep IDs in a necklace ID badge holder instead of your wallet.
When worn around your neck, an ID holder looks like a police badge. One woman told about an experience of being surrounded by gang-banger types. She put the badge holder on and they thought she was police so ran away quickly!
Also, you’ll still have your IDs if your wallet gets stolen. This makes your life a lot easier since it’s such a pain to replace IDs (again, something I had to learn from experience).
2. Hidden Cash
You should keep your primary cash for every day in your wallet.
But what if your wallet gets stolen?
You’ll want to have some backup cash.
There should be enough to get yourself home or to safety, like taxi or bus fare.
There are lots of places to hide backup cash. Some include:
- Behind your cell phone case
- Inside of a tampon applicator or pad (doubt a thief would look there, haha!)
- Hairbrush “safes” (like this one on Amazon)
- “Cash Stash” secret compartment key chains which can hold one rolled-up bill
But chances are you keep these items in your purse. What if your entire purse gets stolen? For this reason, you want to save some hidden money ON YOUR PERSON.
There are plenty of travelers’ money belts you can wear for hiding money. However, I find money belts too annoying to wear for EDC. You can keep backup money hidden in an interior jacket pocket, but then you must remember to put money into the jacket you are wearing that particular day and remove it before washing it.
Because of this, IMO the best way to carry hidden money is under your shoe insert.
Put the money in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get ruined by moisture. Then slip it under your shoe insert. You can keep it there for months or even years, and it should be fine (though maybe a bit smelly should you ever need it).
If you are the type to wear high heels, then wear a secret compartment key chain or survival necklace.
3. Hidden Bank Card
If my wallet gets stolen, I keep one bank card hidden in my purse. I keep it in a menstrual pad. Even if a thief did steal my entire purse, it’s unlikely they will open up the pad and find the card, which gives me more time to cancel the card before they run up a bill.
Tip: I use the menstrual pad trick while traveling too. The primary bank card goes in a money belt, and the backup is in a pad in the hotel room or my backpack.
Two things about phones for your EDC:
- Program an In Case of Emergency (ICE) number: If you get injured and are unresponsive, EMS know to look for an ICE number in your phone, so they know who to contact.
- Use GPS tracking. You’d be surprised how many stupid thieves don’t turn off the phone or GPS tracking on phones they’ve just stolen. My friend had her phone stolen recently and could get it back simply by following its GPS coordinates. Here’s how to track your stolen phone.
5. Phone Charging Kit
Getting stranded as a woman can be very dangerous, so you want to make sure your phone never dies so you can call for help. Most power banks are too bulky to carry in your EDC.
However, the Anker Power Core is only the size of a lipstick container and can charge most phones once.
I carry a disposable Bic lighter with me because they are cheap, refillable, and I won’t care if it’s lost/taken. If you are better at hanging on to your stuff, there are cool EDC lighters you can pack, like this brass peanut lighter.
My survival knife is a sturdy fixed-blade. For EDC, though, I go with a folder because it’s smaller.
Don’t just choose any small folding knife for your EDC, though. You need something which is still sturdy enough to be of use in a SHTF situation. You also don’t want to go with a cheap knife since the locking mechanism can fail, causing the knife to open and injure you.
Read here for our pick of the best assisted opening knives.
Spoiler: Our favorite was the Zero Tolerance 0350.
8. Mini First Aid Kit
How many first aid supplies do you need in your EDC? It depends on how prone to accidents you are, if you’ve got kids, where you live, your health status, and how prepared you like to be.
I carry some Band-Aids and a small tube of beeswax balm (which doubles as lip balm and wound cream). But I’m usually never that far from home or a hospital.
When I travel or go on hikes to remote areas, I carry a more comprehensive first aid kit!
Here are some of the items you might want in your EDC:
- Adhesive bandages
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic wipes
- Sterile gauze
- Butterfly closures – here’s how to use them or make your own
- Medical tape
- Blister pads/moleskin – especially if you wear heels.
- Tweezers – good for removing ticks, splinters, or impromptu grooming of eyebrows
- Pain killers, individually packaged – like ibuprofen
- GI medications, individually packaged
- Small scissors: These can also be on your multi-tool
- Personal medications: like EpiPen or antihistamines
- Latex gloves
- CPR barrier
There are so many cool multi-tools for your women’s EDC kit. These include credit card-sized EDC tools that fit your wallet and classic multi-tools (think Swiss Army knives and Leatherman).
Choosing a multi-tool is a trade-off between practicality and functionality, as with all EDC gear. You want something with all the necessary tools that won’t be too heavy or bulky.
I get by fine with a Leatherman Micra. The tool I end up using the most is the scissors. My daughter constantly asks to borrow them so she can make nature crafts while we are hiking.
A more robust multi-tool would be better for urban survival situations. See our post about the best EDC multi-tools.
Below are some tools you might want to have on your multi-tool.
- Straight blade
- Serrated blade
- Bottle opener
- Seat belt cutter
- Nail file
10. Mini Flashlight
Lose something under your car seat? Hallway light went out, and can’t see your door lock? Need to check your kid’s throat for strep? These are all things I’ve used my mini flashlight for.
There are dozens of uses for paracord. As a parent, I use it all the time. Like when I fixed a broken kite with some cordage. Or how I tied my baby’s sippy cup to her stroller with a rolling hitch knot so she couldn’t throw it on the ground.
It’s easy enough to carry paracord around as a keychain, bracelet, or ornament. See these cool paracord projects for ideas.
12. Self-Defense Items
Unfortunately, I don’t even have to explain why women need to worry about self-defense more than men. It’s pertinent that self-defense items are part of your EDC. It doesn’t have to be a firearm, though. Pepper spray, personal safety alarms, and tactical pens are just some of the options.
13. Water Bottle
Getting stuck somewhere without water – even if it’s just the DMV – can be a miserable experience. It doesn’t take long for dehydration to set in, and you can quickly get headaches, lethargy, or cranky.
If you want to be a hardcore survivalist, carry a water bottle with a built-in filtration device like the Katadyn BeFree collapsible filter bottle.
14. Small Notebook and Pencil/Pen
I’m a writer, so I’ve got a notebook and about 10 pens in my purse at any moment. Suppose you don’t want to carry zillions of pens as backups, I’d recommend using a pencil instead. Pens die too quickly.
15. Hygiene Kit
These EDC items are what women need for dealing with surprise periods, public bathrooms, dirty conditions, and grimy children.
- Menstrual items, like an extra tampon or pad. I keep a hidden bank card in a pad.
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
16. Duct Tape
Instead of carrying an entire roll of duct tape, cut up strips and wrap them around your lighter.
I have yet to meet a woman that doesn’t include chapstick as part of her female EDC kit. I also carry a beeswax-based salve which comes in a tube. In addition to chapped lips, it can be used for minor wounds, burns, or cracked skin.
Other Items for Your EDC
- Spork: When I forgot my spork once, I used two pencils as chopsticks. HHow’sthat for resourceful. 😉
- Emergency food: Granola bars are great for situations where you get stranded or just have to wait longer than expected. Even just some mints or a pack of gum can go a long way to stave off hunger.
- Eyeglass cleaner and case
- Sewing kit
- Safety pins: suitable for pinning together torn clothes (especially if you don’t want to carry a sewing kit) and removing splinters.
- Bandana: A zillion uses, from tying your hair back to making a tourniquet.
- Hairbands or rubber bands
- Entertainment: Such as a Kindle, Suduko book, or offline games on your phone. Good for situations where you end up waiting for a long time, like breakdowns or delays.
- Plastic bags: For trash or keeping items dry.
- USB drive: Keep your important documents and contacts on it (encrypted). Also helpful to have so friends can instantly share documents, music, photos, etc.
- Poncho/emergency blanket – see our post on mylar blankets.
- Nail clippers.
- Seasonal items: sunblock and sunglasses in summer or extra gloves, socks, and hat in winter
- Female urination device: If you cannot squat over gross toilets, this device makes it possible to pee standing up. Go Girl is the most popular option.
- Practical shoes: I’m lucky I never have to wear heels. If I did, I’d keep a backup pair of sensible shoes somewhere close in case I needed to run.
Tip: Use an Altoids tin to hold small items like safety pins and hair bands. This will keep your EDC purse more organized.
Don’t Go Overboard!
I’ve seen some women’s EDC lists with items like N95 masks, water purification tablets, mosquito repellent, work gloves, complete first aid kits…
While all these items are great, carrying them around daily is unrealistic. I don’t want to be that lady with the gigantic purse and the kitchen sink.
There is no reason to have all of these items in your purse.
Because you should have an emergency bag (see our Bug Out Bag List or Get Home Bag) somewhere accessible, like in your vehicle or at work, if a real emergency occurs, this is what you will grab!
Sample Female EDC Kit
HHere’swhat my EDC kit looks like. It all fits in a relatively small purse. I also often carry a backpack with paracord straps, more tissues, and other useful items.
- Phone and charging cable
- Power bank with solar panel (see picks here)
- Hygiene kit: wet wipes, tissues, antibacterial hand gel
- Wallet, with just the money I need for the day
- Band-Aids kept in my wallet
- Pad, with backup bank card and $20 hidden in it
- Plastic bags kept in a coin purse
- Lip balm and a beeswax salve can be used for cuts, burns, and dry skin
- Leatherman Micra
- Notebook plus pens
- Pepper spray plus alarm on keychain
- Folding knife
- Paracord: 10 feet on a quick-release bracelet
- Mini flashlight
- Tin with small items: Lighter with duct tape strips around it, Ferro rod and striker, safety pins, USB, tweezers, whistle, and rubber bands
Not shown: A $20 hidden under my shoe insert. Snacks (granola bars or mixed nuts).
Ladies – What do you keep in your EDC survival kit? Let us know in the comments!
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I find it desirable to have a small plastic bag with dried berries in it. Also, top-quality meat or fish leathers in plastic wrap.
What kind of handbag do you recommend? Any every day handbags to carry our EDC?
I don’t have a specific recommendation. There are plenty of good ones. Just look for things like: sturdy strap, LOTS of pockets, and easy access to any self-defense items.
I like to use a handbag organiser. It has a lot of pockets and I can change handbags easily. It also saves my handbag lining by keeping keys and pens, etc from poking holes in pockets. My phone and wallet may go into a zip pocket on a handbag, but everything else is always in the organiser. Stuffing receipts, wrappers, etc in the handbag’s pockets keeps them from accumulating in the organiser. Of course, they then accumulate in the handbags but at least my essential items stay tidy.
No actual life saving equipment? Yet another soccer mom EDC list. Very disappointed.
I’m not sure how big your purse is that you’d be able to carry things like a tourniquet, water filter, etc. in it. EDC is about balancing common emergencies with practicality. For real life-saving, it’s about knowledge and being able to act fast. And for SHTF emergencies, it’s about having the right gear nearby, like keeping a bug out bag in your vehicle and at work.
This is just another typical sexist list. Where’s the important stuff? Chest seals? Tournaquet? A proper bag, not a purse? The classes to know how to use all of the life saving stuff? CPR class? A gun? A chl? So disappointed.
What you are talking about is a Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag or maybe a Medic Kit. That’s a completely different philosophy than EDC, which is all about small, lightweight items that are easy to take with you everywhere. A chest seal is definitely not a realistic part of EDC.
I don’t see any of the guys posting their EDC’s full of anything like first aid or survival gear, beyond what their knives, multitools and maybe a bandana can handle.
People are confusing EDC with emergency preparedness like a bug out bag.
You even mention that you carry more stuff when you’re camping and that your daily life is always close to a hospital.
I don’t know what their problem is.
I think this is a great list and don’t find it sexist or soccer mom-ish. I also have a car emergency kit and a 72 hour bag. Those have many things in them that would not be in my EDC purse/bag. Thanks for putting this together!
I think this is a great list too and agree that you need to balance preparedness with practicality. The fact that we’re doing any of this puts us ahead of most women out there. Whenever possible I buy items that have multiple functions to cut down on space, like an electric lighter that is also a flashlight. I got 2 little zippered coin purses at the dollar store, one for a tool kit and one a first aid kit. Both fit in the inside zippered section of my purses. You thought of things that I didn’t so I very much appreciate this list!
This is a great list, I always find your articles very informative. I have a pretty well stocked (ok very well stocked, hahaha) edc bag- although it’s a fanny pack as I’m not a purse carrier. Then I keep a more substantial get home/bug out bag in my car. It sits under my grandson’s car seat with a baby blanket tossed casually over it so it doesn’t look like anything worth breaking in for.
That’s smart about the baby blanket – I’ve heard about a lot of people using baby bags as their Bug Out Bags. Unless someone desperately needs diapers, it doesn’t look like something worth stealing.
I cannot say thank you enough!! These posts, this site, yall are amazing! I am learning so much about self reliance and preparedness. THANK YOU!!!
Great list! I’m curious what you carry in your backpack. Do you put your purse in your backpack on those days? I agree that the EDC is not the same as a Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag. Everyone must also look at their own situations and carry accordingly.
Personally, I never put my purse in my backpack. Got to make sure my pepper spray, etc. is always accessible. My EDC backpack is mostly extra water, snacks, extra masks and hand sanitizer, extra wipes, kids’ stuff (change of clothes for my little one), and shopping bags. In cooler weather, I often have my Keffiyeh (scarf like thing that is useful on many levels).
If I go more than 20 miles from home by car, I’ll bring my BOB with me. I also travel a lot between towns by bus, but will pack a bag to suit that specific trip.
I love this list. You’ve got some great suggestions for a compact power bank and a safety alarm.
In the UK it’s illegal to carry anything for the purpose of self defense. No chemical sprays or tazers. Our knives have to be no longer than 3 inches and must not lock. This puts a lot of the best multitools off limits. (a tradesman can have them at work but can’t stop off at the supermarket with one on their person or even stashed in their car glove box.)
I carry a Swiss Army Knife and a Swiss Card (the nailcare version with a glass file, scissors, pen, tweezers, strait pin and a magnifying glass.) I also carry a tiny keychain multitool with pliers and blade, etc, and smallish regular multitool with interchangeable driver and saw.
I have a little utility tin, too! I have a bic mini, a roll of electrician tape – inside of which is a tea light candle, a little magnet holding my spare multitool drill bits together, super glue, rubber bands and spare batteries.
Another, smaller, tin holds a mini sewing kit: needles, threader, thread, safety pins and a retractable tape measure. Scissors are on my Swiss Army Knife.
A little plastic snack box holds health and beauty essentials like tin of vaseline, wet wipes, hotel lotion, vape juice, lens wipe, cold sore cream (gotta apply at first tingle to stop the sore from developing so crucial to have on hand), one of those compressed towels wrapped in plastic, a tiny spray bottle of antiseptic, 2x breath mints, 2x pain killers, 2 q-tips and a pony tail holder,and a sample size of my perfume.
In my wallet is a pocket-sized first aid kit (wipes, bandaids and butterflies) and my Swiss Card.
I also carry a small notebook with pen, a very compact umbrella, power bank, cable with multiple heads (c, mini, etc), and two foldaway nylon shopping bags.
On a caribiner is a mini flashlight, shopping trolley token, my gym lock, the above mentioned mini multitool, and a retractable thingy to hold my key wallet. Its all clipped to my handbag so won’t get lost.
I use a handbag organiser to hold it all. Everything has its place and I can switch bags easily.