Six or Seven EDC Lessons You May Not Have Seen In Print Until Now

A guest post by Randall B

Preparedness began for me with Hurricanes. I am slow, but after several severe storms struck Houston, followed by many weeks of power outages and food shortages etc., I finally got with it and started to prepare.

Lesson 1: it is never too late to start. (You might have seen this one in print) Food, fuel, cash were first, followed by a Berkey water filtration unit (try explaining that one to a resistant spouse), propane stove, and lots of propane. Last came the everyday carry bag (EDC). Frankly this was last because it seemed the least important. Boy was I wrong.

Lesson 2: As a new Prepper – start your preparations with the EDC bag, prepping for nuclear war can wait. I built my EDC bag originally as a possibles bag for my reenacting programs. But good stuff kept coming to my attention, so it quickly filled with all kinds of small gizmos and gadgets. Short of a few thousand board-feet of lumber, I could rebuild a war-torn city from my EDC bag. Then disaster struck. Not a big disaster, just a cut. I have kept band aids in my wallet since my kids were little. But I had run out and failed to resupply. So band aids were added to the EDC, along with ointments, gauze, and tape.

Lesson 3: EDC should have first aid supplies before tools, fire starters, flashlights, and miniature saws. We had failed to keep up our shooting training, so I took my boys and son-in-law (retired Marine, but still my boy) to the range to throw lead down field.

My first shot with my 9mm (not my everyday carry gun), mind you, the very first shot, brought the slide back and cut a huge gash in my thumb. It was one of those nasty bleeders. It exhausted my wallet band-aid stock, soaked my handkerchief, dripped on the range desk, and stained my cool tactical pants. It just kept going.

Light headiness couldn’t be far behind! I had forgotten to bring my EDC. I went into the range store to find the bathroom. The charming woman at the register smiled knowingly and pulled out a big box of band-aids for me. She gave me more than I asked for (obviously experienced with the situation) and pointed to the bathroom. Eventually, I got the bleeding under control long enough to bandage it up.

Lesson 4: Carry your EDC bag every day (now I understand the name – I am an idiot) The next day I remembered an old fashion gadget used for shaving cuts. I thought it was called a septic pen, but its official name is Styptic Pencil. Would it work for my cut? My thumb still bled generously so it was in perfect shape for an experiment.

You know what they say: “always test your gear”. The local drug store had styptic pencils so I bought one. I dampened the end and applied it to the cut – the bleeding stopped almost immediately.

Lesson 5: see Lesson 3 & 4, and include a styptic pencil.

I can only imagine how easy the day prior would have been if I had one of these babies!Following all this came the annual craft show I sell at. I had my EDC with me, or course doesn’t everyone? My EDC had a flash drive, as well as all the equipment to rebuild a city and care forthe wounded But I needed something to keep some notes on my sales.

My EDC had no pens, no pencils, and no paper. You are literate after all, so the tools of the literate are critical for everyday. So another list of items for the EDC was born.

Lesson 6: Include a pad of paper and something to write with, in your EDC. With Christmas just around the corner, I thought about EDCs for all my kids. They are all adults or close to it, so an EDC bag seemed a good gift idea. The first supplies that went in were first aid supplies followed by a pad and pen.

Lesson 7: make sure you pass along your life’s lessons to those that come behind, put the lessons in an EDC bag if they will fit!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you.


  1. Lesson 8: Don’t pack your EDC bag for every possible contingency. If you overload the bag you will end up not carrying it and not have it available for any contingency.

  2. I enjoyed this article, and especially the writing style.

  3. mom of three says:

    As a woman, I carry a purse but it’s a sturdy bag, with lots of compartments. I carry neosporin, and band-aids, in a sturdy container made by Neosporin, it has enough room to put tweesers, and a nail clipper. A bottle of regular, and baby aspirin, cough drops, lipbalm, small hand creams, package of tissue, gum and mints. I also keep dimes, nickles, and quarter’s, for change making and for parking meters. I also like to keep a few dollars held back for emergencies. Check out the travel section in most big box store’s, they have so much that can go into purses, GHB, and to keep in your vehicles. I am amazed by how many women, are unprepared I’ve given tissues, and band aids to mom’s to patch up their kid’s. My hubby, will ask for an aspirin, or a mint, my daughter a piece of gum. Good article, time to clean out my bag and replace and re add to my bag.

  4. Babycatcher says:

    Good list! I carry an EDC, but I have to switch vehicles a lot, so I keep mine in a large backpack. Many times, it’s in hubby’s vehicle if we are together. I would have to carry another bag if I had radio stuff. I don’t have that bag together yet.

  5. I loved your humor in this article. I’m sure we’ve all been in your shoes at one time or another. I know I have.

    When I first put my bag together I had lists from several different sources and included most of what was mentioned. My bag was so heavy I could barely carry it let alone walk any distance with it if I had to. That gave me the brillient idea of buying a rolling duffel bag…not such a good idea because it won’t “roll” everywhere. Back to the drawing board, which really meant thinning out my bag to necessary and really important items. So, out with the kitchen sink method:) In with the lean and mean, useful and necessary.

    I keep it in my truck, which is with me where ever I go, so it’s close at hand.

    Thanks for the reminder, I haven’t gone through my bag this year to rotate and replenish.

  6. BEAUTIFULLY told story!!! I will be passing this one on. After building what I considered my EDC, and loading it to the point of needing an extra axle on the vehicle, I changed it to my Get Back Home (Long Distance) bag and added a fold up pull cart. It stays in my vehicle with my work tools as well as a few other needful things. I then created a new EDC with the priorities of practicality and weight. MUCH happier with it!

  7. Good article. A lot of the time just living our daily lives with a liberal dose of complacency will bite us in the butt. Murphy’s Law is my watchword. Since I live 20 miles from town my EDC is set up for that long walk home. My priority is water, IFAK, and good boots w/socks. My pistol and knife are always on my person. My spouse and I have normal and E&E (if things get a little too interesting) egress routes to rendezvous points.

    • Sorry I go by Schwartz’s law. Schwartz said Murphy was an optimist

      • I blame it on Yogurt (from Spaceballs) “May the Schwartz be with you” I totally agree with your assessment of Murphy!

  8. I had a fire just south of my house yesterday. I was pleased that I have bugout stuff Iin my truck… ready! I have important papers in a box… ready! My herbal notes in a box… ready! Change of clothes and food… oops.
    For this type of bugout, with more than an hour notice, I would do pretty good. I do not have a topper for my little Tacoma, but for the first time wished I did have one. Seems like a lot of weight and it gets good mileage. Something new to think about.
    I am very pleased that I am more prepared than before. Maybe take another step or three.

  9. Like many women, my EDC is my handbag. Once I ditched the diaper bag, my handbag always had a beverage, a snack, hand sanitizer, mini first aid kit, safety pins, baby wipes, as well as a wallet, keys, hairbrush and lipbalm. Often a small toy or two ccould be found also. I always figured my handbag was suppose to be able to get me back to my car where there were more snacks and beverages, a larger first aid kit, a change of clothes, extra shoes (son loved to splash in water), paper towels, tp, a blanket and/or beach towel, multiple flashlights, tool bag, etc. Except for extra insulin (which must be kept refrigerated), hubby and I could spend the night unexpectedly with just what is in the car.

    • Suzy:
      Use MD’s link to Amazon and search for Frio Insulin Cooling. The Frio can keep insulin cool for up to 45 hours with just being wet with water. I use to use them when I was much younger and was still backpacking. You can put a dry one in the car and then wet it to use if you need to.


      • Almost There says:

        Good idea for keeping it cool. Insulin is good out of the frig for 28 days. Not sure what the temp range is though since we use it indoors out of the frig. Date it when you remove it so you will know when the 28 days has passed. They also have insulin now that lasts even longer than that out of the frig and possibly some that doesn’t require refrigeration. Maybe one of the newer ones will work for you.

  10. Moira M says:

    I’ve also seen a great idea to make EDC for school children. Obviously it can’t include knives or matches. Change, tissues, bandaids spare pencils, and (if applicable) feminine supplies, would be useful for normal situations. Juice pouches, water bottles, snacks, and (if not banned) a cell phone would be helpful in an emergency lockdown situation.

  11. Good article, Randall B. Thanks!

    Two related items I didn’t know I needed until I got them are a thumb-size charger ($10) for my phone and a cord to connect them. The difference in usable time is unbelievable.

    If I spend any time at all on the InterNet with my phone, the charge runs out like the Mighty Mississippi. The charger lets me stay on, take pictures, and if a problem comes up later which requires some phone time, I’m still fine. There are even bigger chargers out there, but the great advantage to little ones is that they are so small and light. Bigger ones are too big and heavy for my EDC. We have some, but not for EDC bags.

    This is what I bought last year through our host’s Amazon link, and I used it this morning at the swap meet when I did some quick research on the InterNet, took pictures, and realized the phone battery was down to 35%: Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger. I just checked, and it is still $9.99. When the phone is plugged in, you have to push a little button to turn the charger on. There are likely newer/better models out there, but this type of gadget is really useful. In an emergency, being able to stay on the phone could save a life. Maybe yours.

    It fits in one of the exterior pockets of my EDC bag, a 5.11 Bail Out bag which I got used at the swap a year or two ago. They make excellent EDC bags aka Guy Purse.

    Among other things, I also keep half a dozen or so WetOnes individual wipes in it. (Amazon sells big boxes of them cheap) They come in handy a couple times a week, as does one of the bigger containers which I keep in a seat back storage unit (also used, from the swap). One container fits on top of a second in reserve, so I never have less than a full container in the truck. Keeping hands clean is the best way to prevent getting sick.

  12. RobertTwoFeathers says:

    Good refresser article. I cant believe I had forgoten about the styptic pencil,having grown up arround their use. We all could also add a couple small packets of powder QuickClot and/or bandage; for the larger – deeper cuts. Probably should re-evualate these EDC’s twice a year, refreshing, and stocking up or down as nessary.
    Also I use anything, I need to replace it ASAP, least I find a reason to forget to do so.

  13. Frances says:

    I got a lady’s bag on sale with lots of compartments. I put many first aid items in it (lip balm, eye drops, tweezers, mirror, etc.) plus the usual cigarette lighter (e.g. Bic) and so forth. After a while, though, it got so heavy it was digging into my shoulder (the strap was long enough to wear it across the chest).

    I keep the lady’s bag for car trips and the like now. For everyday I use a small ‘belly bag’. It has just a couple of compartments. One is for the wallet. Other small things I carry in it include: tiny folding knife, one of those keyring flashlights (press to turn on), pen and small notepad. Of course, cell phone fits in there. I keep a magnifier for reading store labels, too.

    When I had a office job, I set up a small zippered makeup bag for special items: cloth hankerchief, small squeeze bottle of water and safety pins (you use this in case of smoke/fire). I carried these items on my ID lariat: tiny folding knife and a keyring flashlight. Hey, you never know when the lights might go out and you might be stuck in the elevator for a while. Oh, and a small knife can still be a very effective defensive weapon, especially if the assailant does not expect you to be so armed!

    We keep water and emergency items always in the vehicle, including paper maps, space blanket, hats, sunglasses etc.

    Hope these ideas help. Think about the ‘bare minimum’ and keep those items on your person at all times!

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