A major disaster strikes while you are coming home from the store. You can’t go home, the world is in turmoil, and you have to survive with just what you have on you…
These “what if” urban survival exercises are fun – like when you figure out that the lint building up in your pockets would make a good firestarter, or you could make rope from plants.
But let’s be honest: Unless you are McGyver, a bit of lint probably won’t save your life. If you want these “what if” games to have merit, you’ve got to use them to better plan your EDC survival gear.
Now let’s be even more honest. Most people aren’t carrying around a bunch of EDC tools on the off chance that a nuclear bomb might drop that day.
Instead, keeping a complete Bug Out Bag in your car and at work (or wherever you spend a lot of time) is better.
So, that means…
A good EDC kit will contain must-have survival items and items that you actually use on a regular basis.
Since everyone has different survival needs, I decided not to give an EDC checklist.
Instead, here are examples of real-life EDC kits.
Let these EDC kits inspire you to build your own!
EDC KIT #1
Here is the EDC kit, which is most realistic for most people: It contains essential survival gear (knife, firestarter, cordage…) but not so much that the items won’t fit in your pocket.
EDC KIT #2
This is a second-line EDC kit. By “second line,” Jessica means that it is secondary to the stuff in her pockets, such as keys and wallet.
Jessica travels a lot, so her kit has items for the field and for entertaining herself in everyday life. She wears the EDC on a shoulder strap, or it can be attached to a backpack.
EDC KIT #3
This is an EDC kit for someone who expects to flee into the wilderness at any moment (as is evident by the compass, wire saw, and amount of cordage).
Most people probably won’t want to carry around this much stuff every day. So, again, this is an example of how you have to choose between practicality and having all the EDC gear you might need.
EDC KIT #4
Here’s another bulky EDC kit. But you’ll also note that this is the only EDC kit that contains phone numbers. I guess he’s the only one who plans on contacting family in an emergency! 😉
EDC KIT #5
This EDC kit by “Churl” fits perfectly into a portable HDD carrying case. He’s quick to admit that he rarely uses most of the items in the kit (except for the pocket knife) and wonders why he bothers carrying the case daily.
Well, you never know…
EDC KIT #6
This super-small EDC kit fits in an Altoids tin.
There are a LOT of survival items in the EDC kit. But do note that most people wouldn’t be able to survive with just these items – it takes a lot of McGyver-style skills to pick a lock with a paperclip or start a fire with a magnifying card!
However, those safety pins, duct tape, and Swiss Army knife will come in handy on an everyday basis.
EDC KIT #7
This is a not-quite-pocket EDC kit. The owner carried it around in his backpack every day. However, he admits that he eventually stopped taking it because it got to be too bulky.
Lots of unnecessary stuff in this one, which goes to show that while you may want to get every single important survival item in your EDC kit, practicality still matters.
Now he carries around the duct tape and cash – nothing else.
What Do All of these EDC Kits Have in Common?
Rather than trying to mimic someone else’s EDC kit or going off of a checklist, it is worthwhile to see what most/all of these EDC kits have in common.
Then go off of that for building your own EDC survival kit.
The Core EDC items include:
- Safety Pins
What’s in your EDC kit? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Leave a comment
every edc kit should have a can opener (p51 or or p38).
Nice article, but I think that people really do need some guidelines or even a basic list to follow. The important point to emphasize and focus on is that your selected items should meet basic survival needs and allow one to take whatever actions are needed in the event of any crisis.
Situation may arise where the common items are not enough or we need other things. A compass may never be used since we navigate by street maps, spoken directions or even GPS. Out in the wilderness, the compass will be THE tool for navigation, so we should learn to use one. Each person will have to choose whether or not to carry more stuff and what to pack.
A knife and flashlight are great, but if you were forced to hideout, you’d probably enjoy a tarp, an MRE and a pocket stove in a small pouch and that spork you carry. Again, you know that some items are in your kit are only there, because you might need them if there was a big emergency.
The question to consider is if you want to keep a minimal EDC kit, expand it to meet other needs or have a bigger kit someplace else and just have a few items tucked into your pockets. I lean towards a waist pouch or fanny pack and a more capable and versatile kit.
Good general points Frank but this article is about EDC kits hence it focuses on the stuff people can easily carry on their person. We have plenty of information on more complete kits and bug out bags for more long term emergencies. have a look here for all our BOB info – https://www.primalsurvivor.net/bug-out-bags-bugging-out/
I agree. You at least need a protein bar and someway to carry water or a lifestraw so you can use it to drink canal water etc.
This made me think, “what is in my bag that would be useful?” So I had a look. Here’s what I found: sharp pocket knife, emergency whistle with built in magnifying glass, signal mirror, and signal light plus a space for my water purification tablets, small led flashlight x 2, strong plastic fork, coffee stirrers( kindling) magnifying card, cash, personal alarm, bottle of water, polo mints, pain relief, pad of paper and pencil, pen, pack of tissues, antiseptic wipe and bandaid. That’s my unplanned stuff in my handbag. Not bad huh? There’s usually a small sewing kit and a lighter or matches too.
That’s a decent kit there Diana. Has anyone got anymore?
The basic list at the end needs to include water, or a way to make safe water, like a. Life straw or purification tablets
Not really practical to carry a water supply everyday but a sawyer mini would be a great addition as a water filter. See why we like it here – https://www.primalsurvivor.net/sawyer-mini-vs-lifestraw/
I have a bandana and always carry water purification tablets with me. They’re tiny, and I can fit 6 in the empty space in my emergency whistle. The whistle also has a compass, signal light, mirror, magnifying glass and tiny thermometer in it, all on a parachord neck string.. I got it at Mountain Warehouse. Tiny, yet mighty!
Hi, I must have seen thousand of these EDC kits and these are super amazing. One thing I have never or rarely seen in any kit is a backup phone. Something like the cheap Nokia basic with nearly 20 days of backup also pretty small in size and weight. In today’s world network coverage isn’t one important also weights nothing. Would come really handy in a situation one need to be contacted or to contact when the fancy smartphone run out of juice in 12 hours.
The challenge lies in keeping it charged, if you can do this then would be a good addition no doubt.
I decided to do a “pocket dump” because I tend to not think twice about what I edc. I get to wear cargo shorts for work, so I have multiple pockets to store stuff in. Contents: Bigger pocket knife, small Swiss Army knife, on my key chain, whistle, p-38 can opener, Chums multi-tool similar to Nitize Doohikey, a key-knife, and an eye glasses cloth. I have what’s sometimes referred to as a booboo kit: self made first aid kit with band aids, pain meds anti biotic cream pouch and a small mole skin, two lighters one wrapped in duct tape and the other in electrical tape ( yes I’ve had situations where I’ve actually used the tape), bandana and of course my phone.
Cool pocket dump and some nice edc there.
I think I may be over-carrying a bit.
In my cache belt, I have a Victorinox bantam (knife, a bottle opener, can opener, screw driver), a 130-lumen 10180 flashlight, water purification tablets and water container, split pea lighter, a fire starter, some cotton with petroleum jelly, a set of lock picks, large band aids, a couple of iodine and alcohol wipes, and a compass.
In my belt pouch I carry an Olight S2A Baton, some duct tape, extra AAA and 10180 batteries, and a small sewing kit.
In my pocket organizer, there’s a Gerber EAB Lite, a Leatherman Squirt PS4, a Surefire Titan Plus and a cheap small fixed blade.
My paracord bracelet has a small multitool, fire starter, compass, thermometer, cotton tinders, ranger bands, fishing kit, and whistle.
As for my necklace, I wear a Victorinox Classic SD Alox.
Some quality gear there. You do carry a lot but all your gear is wearable, so shouldn’t be too hard to manage. Interested to hear what others think of this setup?
I love reading what everybody packs into their own EDC kit, they are all very inventive. And some very cool gadgets, which, as a bloke I’ve drawn to!
However, I don’t have an edc.
I’m a tradesman with a truck load of gear. Got everything I need to get through in that.
Keep up the good work guys
A couple of things I’m not seeing here, which I find useful…
LiteLoad compressed towels-Good for wiping off sweat, dust, or for first aid, weighs nearly nothing.
Leatherman CS and PS mini-multitools-Scissors in the CS, Pliers in the PS, with the PS being TSA approved.
One of these along with a bit of cordage, a whistle and pen comprises my suburban survival kit. Also there’s a tiny flashlight and a $20 folded and stashed into a nitro pill container.
Sensible additions Carol. Thanks for the comment.
Good pictorial article. Like to see other’s ideas for edc so as to get ideas for mine. Besides my Victorinox knife in my pocket I’ve in the past year purchased a Maxpedition phone case for my belt it works great for my phone but also holds:
Tape measure, magnifier card, back up charger, flashlight, and a pen. I have a little bit more room in it and been working to figure out the best way to carry a lighter or other fire starter besides the maginifier.
Since I work outside getting to my truck is generally pretty easy which contains more of what I might need in case of a full blown emergency situation.
Thanks again for the article.
Nice sounding kit there Chris. Thanks for sharing.
Spyderco paramilitary, rare izula, magnesium fire starter necklace, paracord bracelet, micro l.e.d flashlight, cell phone, wallet with cash and card, glock 27 and extra magazine
My EDC: Kimber Micro .380, Kershaw Shuffle, wet wipes, dental floss, chapstick, phone, keys, pen, paper, multiple lighters, bug spray, bandaid, paracord emergency fishing kit, pain meds, CRKT EAT’N tool, tinder, pepper spray, hand santizer
So, after reading this I decided to list my EDC:
Tier 1 (pockets):
Knife, flashlight, smartphone, keys, multitool, duct tape roll, first aid kit, iphone ear buds, bandana, tissues, paracord, tampons (for tinder) and a small compass.
Tier 2 (my backpack that goes with me everywhere):
1 complete layer of clothes incl. gloves, bigger first aid kit, candles, map of my area + 30km radius, pen, paper, powerbank, USBdrive with all family photos (in case home burns down), CPR mouthprotection, spork, fork, spoon, permanent marker, another flashlight, drugs against motion sickness, lip balm, sillcock key, hand sanitizer, a hygiene kit (shaving tools, toothbrush + paste, mouthspray etc for those last minute business meetings), another (better) compass, waterproof matches, roll of trash bags, headlamp, a water bottle and pepper spray.
Very thorough kit you have there Arctic Fox.
Always in my pockets, small knife (leatherman skeletool kb) flashlight (ultratac k18), lighter (usually 2 because i smoke), bandana, bandaids And alcohol wipes (in my Wallet) And phone. Regards from Spain
I probably carry too much but I live in LA and have a home on 100 acres just outside Yosemite and therefore, have to plan for numerous contingencies. As far as true EDC, I carry either a 1911 or an H&K USP. On my belt, I carry a Leatherman super tool and Benchmade Griptillian. I usually have a magnifying glass and some sort of smaller blade in my pocket. I generally wear a paracord bracelet. Around my neck I carry a leather pouch with a gold coin. I have a number of small shoulder satchels to match what I’m wearing. In them I carry the typical first aid supplies. Alcohol wipes, meds, hemostats and tweezers, and several different fire starting sources. I also carry a couple of bandanas and a compass. Obviously, I always have my phone and a charger. That’s what is generally on my person regardless of the situation. I have a well stocked backpack that I carry in my vehicles, but, I’m keenly aware that I may not be able to get back to the vehicle. I think about this a lot and enjoy learning new techniques adding ideas. Knowledge is the most useful thing and it doesn’t weigh anything.
EDC kits are fun to make, but hard to get right depending on your actual needs. I started out with several Maxpedition EDC pouches, a micro, mini, and a fatty I filled each one up with critical IMHO items I might need. There’s one in the glove compartment, and one in my GHB along with one in my BOB all attached to the outside of the packs so I can wear them if needed. Additionally, I “made” an EDC Keychain. This started out fine but soon grew into a monster that wouldn’t fir in my pockets any longer. I ended up downsizing it to a Niteze micro light, Victornox keychain knife, 25 GB flash drive, True Value cash stash, a EXOTAC nano fire starter, and of course my keys in a key smart holder along with my car key fob. Still that’s a lot but it’s the minimum I can get around having.
What are the odds that a national shtf event will really occur, needing this?
Impossible to say with any certainty. We prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
With your leadership at present, unpredictable and therefore high risk.
In my opinion, EDC kit should be make considering the situation / context and the level of crisis.
Situation / context could be urban or wildness locations, chemical, pandemy, conflict or earthquake issue.
Levels of crisis usually go to moderate to extrem.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to have EDC kit (or BOB for that matter) for every categories of course. It means that some items are common to all situations and then, you complete depending on what you are facing. You need to have as many thing sas possible stored somewhere in order to be ready when SHTF.
This is how I manage my emergency preparedness.
Sorry for my english, it’s not my mothertongue.
I live in a suburban environment. I primarily work from home, going into the office a couple times a week- 10 minute drive away. I do keep an emergency kit in the car – IFAK, poncho, woobie, lighter, hot packs, some emergency rations, portable john, light sticks, some light cordage, and a few other goodies. On my person are always: pocket knife, multitool, lighter, wallet, some cash, “survival paracord bracelet”.
When I go on a longer trip, I will add in a go bag, with an extra woobie, change of clothes, small cook kit, water filter, a couple of tent stakes, belt knife, pen/pencil, Rite in the Rain paper, more cordage, eating utensils. I know the areas that I travel well enough to be able to forage, hunt and trap for food, but, I have enough to get started while I wait for snares to be effective. Very seldom am I far enough out in the bush to warrant carrying more, and I honestly don’t expect to need to use most of this – but it is a comfort to have on hand, with the knowledge to use it, just in case. Stuff happens – cars break down, roads become impassable, etc, and I have enough on hand to get from A to B should I need to. If I have to leave my car and hike cross country, all of this is easily carried by 1 person, without slowing me down much.
I live in the city but do travel by car to surrounding areas, occasionally two or three hours away. I could be working at an industrial site or in a skyscraper in a corporate setting. In my pocket I carry an older Nitecore TIP rechargeable flashlight, iPhone and a Spyderco Delica or Kershaw Leek where permitted. I also carry a Domke 803 Satchel / Messenger camera bag. Inside I have an Anker phone charger with cable, wet wipes, Visine, Chapstick, gloves, N95 mask, bandana, Israeli bandage, tourniquet, Hyfin Vent chest seal twin pack, sterile gloves, Gorilla tape, BIC lighter, matches, vintage Ray Ban’s, wireless earbuds, business cards, a small Drink & Hide notebook case with 3×5 notepad, Victorinox Climber, pencil, pen, Olight 5ti. Inside the back zippered pocket is a spare AA battery, a few Bandaids, Tylenol, Sting Relief wipes and Alcohol prep pads. I also like to have a paperback book in the bag. Pretty full but handy and easy to carry along.
Multitool or pocket knife
2 survival blankets
Munchies (dried raisins and such)
A ziploc baggie
An EDC kit for me is about Shelter, Warmth, Water … and Food.
This rather minimalist kit is enough for building a quick-and-dirty shelter, and building a fire if needed. (Please try not to burn down the forest!)
It gives you time to think about your next steps while munching on something soothing and energy rich.
The ziplock bag can be handy for transporting wild edibles and other small finds.
P.S. I really like the mini roll of duct tape and will add one to my kit. It may be useful as an emergency band-aid, as well as for keeping my blanket shelter together…
I’ve got duct tape wrapped around the lighter in my EDC. It’s incredibly useful!