Everyday Carry (EDC) isn’t just the useful stuff you carry around with you. 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.
The Most Sensible Disaster Prepping Book You’ll Ever Read?
In Disaster Preparedness for Women, Diane Vuković takes a refreshingly level-headed approach to prepping specifically geared towards women.
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 really need an item? Is it practical to carry around every day? Is the item so useful 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 carry a lot more useful 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 if 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 so we can 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 you have to wait longer than expected.
- Major emergencies, like getting attacked or suddenly finding yourself in a SHTF disaster.
It’s impossible to create an EDC kit that would 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 personally had this happen twice. Once I lost my wallet during a mugging. The other time my wallet was pick pocketed. In both cases, the thieves didn’t take anything else from my purse.
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 a lot like a police badge. One woman told about an experience when she was getting surrounded by gang-banger types. She put the badge holder on and they thought she was police so ran away quickly!
Also, if your wallet gets stolen, you’ll still have your IDs. 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 everyday 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 (like this one on Amazon)
But chances are you keep these items in your purse. What if your entire purse gets stolen? For this reason, you want to keep some hidden money ON YOUR PERSON
There are plenty of travelers’ money belts you can wear for hiding money. However, I personally 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 also to remove the money 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
In case 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 one 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 was actually able to 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 PowerCore+ Mini is only the size of a lipstick container and can charge most phones one time.
I personally 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 instead – like this 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 much first aid supplies do you need in your EDC? It depends on things like: how prone to accidents you are if you’ve got kids, where you live, your health status, and how prepared your like to be.
Personally, I just carry around 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 definitely 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 in your wallet as well as classic multi-tools (think Swiss Army knives and Leatherman).
As with all EDC gear, choosing a multi-tool is a trade-off between practicality and functionality. You want something with all the tools you need, but which 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.
Read more about the best EDC flashlights.
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.
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 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, lethargic, 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. If 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 item, 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. It 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. How’s that for resourceful. 😉
- Emergency food: Something like granola bars is 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 staving off hunger.
- Eyeglass cleaner and case
- Sewing kit
- Safety pins: good for pinning together torn clothes (especially if you don’t want to carry a sewing kit) as well as things like 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 useful 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 are unable to 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 that I don’t ever have to wear heels. If I did, I’d keep a backup pair of practical 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!
While all of these items are great to have, it’s not realistic to carry them around on a daily basis. I definitely 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.
Sample Female EDC Kit
Here’s what my EDC kit looks like. It all fits in a relatively small purse. I also often carry a backpack with me, which has paracord straps, more tissues, and some other useful items in it.
- 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!