Update 04 January 2011
One of the most important items in your EDC (everyday carry) bag is a bottle of water. You can’t carry too much, or it’ll be too heavy and impractical for everyday use, but you should carry at least enough to get you out of a bind if your car is stolen with the bugout bag inside.
Well, we have the perfect solution — the Sport Berkey bottle, which has built-in filtration and is refillable up to 600 times before replacing the filter. Watch this video in which we test it with pond water!
This has been an update. The original article appears below.
How to Choose the Best Everyday Carry Bag
The everyday carry bag is just what it sounds like — you take it with you everyday, everywhere you go, and it contains the handy things you need in everyday situations. It’s an essential part of your general, lifelong, ongoing survival plan. If you’ve ever asked any of the following questions, you need an everyday carry bag:
- Can I borrow a pen?
- Do you have the time?
- Do you have a flashlight?
- Can I borrow your pocketknife?
- Honey, do you have a tissue?
- Ouch! Do you have a bandaid?
- May I have a light?
Survivalists, former Scouts, and outdoor adventurers are embarrassed to ask these questions. It’s not manly. Another way you can identify these people is by some of the cool things they do say:
- Dude, have a breath mint. Really.
- He went that way, officer. You’ll recognize him by the 45-caliber hole in his center of mass. He can’t be far.
- Yikes. Lucky for you I can make a paracord tourniquet. Johnny, put his hand on ice so they can sew it back on.
I admit that some of their one-liners are less cool:
- Sure, Honey, I have a spare diaper and some wipes. Take’em. Please.
Other identifying characteristics vary depending on how big their bag is, and how much they’re willing to carry. Some of these guys always carry water and some snacks; a compass or gps; a ham radio in case the cell grid goes down; a change of underwear, toothbrush, and toothpaste. There’s a lot of leeway. Some people take emergency preparedness very seriously; we’ll poke a little fun at ourselves, but when the big crunch comes, you’ll be asking to borrow our stuff. So get your own bag.
Characteristics of a good everyday carry bag
You have many choices of everyday carry bags, and you can find literally hundreds of YouTube videos on the topic. Your bag should have the following characteristics:
- It should be comfortable. This has to do with its design and how much you carry. If it’s uncomfortable, you’ll quit carrying it, and it will do you no good.
- It should be durable.
- It should be scalable. Molle compatibility allows you to add accessories for when you’re carrying more stuff, like a day at the zoo or doing the tourist thing in Miami. You can then lighten the load again when you’re just traveling to and from the office.
- It should have several pockets/compartments. This eases organization.
- It should have a readily accessible CCW compartment for your handgun, unless you prefer to carry it on your person.
- I prefer a larger bag that I don’t fill to capacity, rather than a smaller one I have to stuff. That gives me the option to pick something up during the day and have a place to put it.
Undoubtedly the best-designed, best-built bags on the market are by Maxpedition. Some good ones are the Fatboy, the Jumbo E.D.C., and my personal favorite, the Sitka Gearslinger. Watch my videos reviews of these excellent everyday carry bags:
SNOmultimedia Review of the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger Everyday Carry Bag
The Sitka is a great Everyday Carry bag, but I now carry the Falcon 2. Both of these excellent bags are from Maxpedition. The best prices I’ve found are at Amazon, but choose your color carefully as prices and shipping options vary depending on color choice:
Now onto more video reviews. I have recently switched from the Sitka to the Falcon 2, and the first video explains why.
SNOmultimedia Review of the Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack
SNOmultimedia Review of the Maxpedition Jumbo EDC Versipack
Suggested contents of the everyday carry bag
Many of these items are already listed in our Amazon affiliate store for your convenience. In selecting these items I have given high priority to high quality, lowest price for a given item, and free shipping (which is not available on all items).
- multitool with can opener and screwdrivers
- Sport Berkey water bottle
- snacks like crackers or Slim Jims
- breath mints or gum
- handgun (check State and local laws for carry permits)
- fixed blade knife (check your State and local laws)
- flashlight and spare batteries
- personal toiletries
- basic first aid kit
- lip balm
- facial tissue
- change of socks and underwear
- pencil and notepad
- a few feet of paracord
- small canister of cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly
- a few empty ziploc baggies
- signaling mirror
- small Otterbox container
This looks like a long list, but many of these items are very small and light. I carry all these plus spare magazines and a few other items, and the bag is neither full nor heavy. There are plenty more useful items you could carry, but at some point you have to decide what you’ll carry everyday vs. what you’ll have in your bug out bag.
What’s in your EDC bag? Feel free to comment below.