Choosing the best EDC pouch to contain your every day carry items is an important part optimizing your day-to-day preparedness.
There are many brands, styles, features, and sizes of bags out there, and in this article, we will help you identify what to look for as well as what to avoid when selecting the right pouch for your EDC kit.
Step 1: Choose Your EDC Items
Before choosing an EDC pouch, we need to go over exactly what gear we plan to carry.
Whether you are new to the idea of Every Day Carry or someone who has been carrying a kit around for years, take this as an opportunity to reassess your EDC needs.
Let’s perform our EDC list review by asking ourselves following questions.
1. What items do you NEED to carry with you to accomplish your basic daily routine?
These are the basic items that you can’t leave your house without. These items usually include a wallet, keys, and cell phone. You may require more than this based on where you live or what you do professionally.
Keep this list as minimal as possible, it will be the core of your EDC kit, and we will add on from here.
2. What are the threats, risks, and common problems that you are likely to face on a day-to-day basis?
The basics of this are to take a look at your environment and identify what potentially negative events are most likely to occur. Part of knowing this is to understand what has happened historically in your area as well as paying attention to evolving risks around you. Once you have a list of medium to high probability risks, add to this the commonly occurring problems in your daily life.
- Do you need to frequently open boxes or packages? Would carrying a knife help you with that?
- Is it common for you to be in dark areas or to be out late at night?
Maybe it would be a good idea to start carrying an EDC flashlight
What we are looking to address here are items that address common problems and high probability risks. Think critically about these two elements and be shrewd about what you plan on packing.
3. What could you carry that would be universally useful in many situations?
This follows the philosophy of carrying multipurpose survival items.
What items could you carry that have many uses? Items like duct tape, paracord, and a multitool fit perfectly into this category. Is there anything that you can add to your every day carry bag that fits this profile?
4. What items do you want to carry to assist with a low probability/high impact situation you may have to face?
These items are ones that are nice to have but not things that you hope to have to use except in less common circumstances. They may include emergency tools such as a seatbelt cutter/window breaker for escaping vehicles, a spare handcuff key, or a pry tool for forcing doors open.
Do you have to walk through a rough neighborhood on your way home from work every? Maybe carrying pepper spray would be prudent? Consider low-probability events with a high, negative impact that you could greatly improve your survivability by having a simple tool.
Carefully consider the questions above when crafting your EDC list.
Keep in mind that you are not striving to solve every problem or cover every possibility with your EDC kit, for that you will want a full Bug Out Bag.
Keep your EDC kit as simple and effective as possible.
If your intention is to carry these items with you EVERY DAY, you do not want a bloated list of gear that you carry around and never use.
Step 2: How Big Should Your EDC Pouch Be?
After determining your ideal every day carry list, figuring out the best EDC Pouch size to contain it is relatively straightforward.
I suggest finding the smallest pouch that can fit all your items, once discounting any items that you may decide to carry in your pockets.
Start by measuring the largest item. Its size will be the minimum dimensions of your EDC pouch. Also, consider if you will be adding any items to your EDC kit on an occasional basis such as rain gear, water bottles, food, documents, or anything else you will be carrying as the need arises.
You will want extra space or the option of modular additions through a MOLLE system or other method to fit these occasional items. EDC bags come in many styles and sizes, from a small organizer pouch that can fit into a cargo pocket up to 30-liter backpacks. Anything larger than this is moving into Get Home or Bug Out Bag territory.
If you require a bag larger than 30L, you either have some BIG EDC items to carry or may want to re-examine your EDC list.
Step 3: Choosing the Best EDC Bag/Pouch Type for You
There are many types of bags/pouches used for Every Day Carry purposes.
Here is a list of the most common EDC bag/pouch types:
EDC Organizer Pouch
An EDC Organizer Pouch is the smallest style of EDC bag. This is for people who have too many items to simply carry in their pants pockets but not enough to require a pack.
EDC organizer pouches typically:
- Are 1 liter or less in volume
- Have many interior pockets, hooks, and webbing for organizing EDC gear
- Have MOLLE attachment points for integration into larger kits
- Fit in a cargo pocket or are worn on a belt
Common EDC items that are stored in an EDC organizer pouch include:
- Folding Knife
- Tactical Pen
- Waterproof Notebook
- First Aid Items
- Credit Cards
- Survival Whistle
EDC Sling Bag
An EDC Sling Bag is typically used to carry heavier items than a lumbar pack due to its over-the-shoulder design. They are made to be comfortably carried further with a heavier load and can be the best EDC bag choice for someone who has many items to haul on a day to day basis.
EDC Sling Bags typically:
- Are 10-20 liters in volume
- Have MOLLE integration
- Allow left or right side carry
- Are easier to secure tightly to the body than a lumbar pack
- Have many pockets and compartments that allow for easy organization of every day carry gear
In addition to the items listed to be carried in an organizer pouch and lumbar pack, items that can be carried in an EDC Sling Bag include:
- Extra ammunition
- Small Laptop
- Mid-sized Medkit
- Prepackaged Meals
- Fire Starting Kit
- Pry Tool
An EDC backpack is perfect for someone who likes to pack lots of “just in case” gear. It is the obvious choice for anyone who has large sized every day carry items or a long EDC list based on their EDC needs.
EDC backpacks typically:
- Are 20-55 liters in volume
- Have MOLLE integration
- Include hydration bladder systems
- Have fewer pockets but more modular customization possibilities for external pouches
In addition to the items listed for the 3 bags already covered, every day carry items carried in EDC Backpacks include:
- Folding Saw or Hatchet
- Hydration Bladder
- Change of Clothes
- Full Sized Laptop
- Full Medkit
- Mini survival kit
Step 4: Features You Need and Features to Avoid in an EDC Pouch/Bag
We suggest carrying the smallest pouch/bag that suits your every day carry needs.
Fortunately, many of the best EDC pouches/bags come with customization options to add or remove space as you need it via modular MOLLE pouches so your EDC bag can evolve with your requirements.
Regardless of what pouch/bag style you choose here is a list of features to seek out and avoid when finding the best EDC pouch/bag for your needs.
If you are planning on carrying the best EDC pouch/bag EVERY DAY you do not want something cheap that is going to fall apart on you. Invest in a quality bag from a brand that has a good reputation and it will pay dividends.
MOLLE integration is a valuable feature to have in any tactical or preparedness bag as its widespread use allows for limitless customization options. Having it as a part of your EDC kit, regardless of the pouch/bag size and style that you choose will allow flexible adaptation as your EDC needs evolve.
Every body is different. Buying a pouch/bag that is meant to fit all people is a recipe for frustration and discomfort. Your EDC pouch/bag needs to fit your body shape securely and not restrict your movement.
This means having multiple adjustment straps and clips at the following points at a minimum:
Being able to adjust the fit of the bag at these 3 points will ensure that you have a securely fitting bag that you can wear all day, every day if need be.
Ability To Run With Your Pouch/Bag
This goes hand in hand with having a well-fitted bag. You never know when you need to run with your pouch/bag, you may need to catch a bus or evade detection from unfriendly people.
Either way, having a bag that both stays in place and does not jumble your EDC items around is an important feature to look for when choosing the right EDC pouch/bag for your situation.
Organization Pouches Within The Bag
A good indication that you have a high-quality EDC pouch/bag instead of a more general consumer style bag is that it has well laid out, accessible, and practical organization features built into them.
This helps you find your EDC items when you need them and allows you to organize them in the manner that is most logical to your EDC needs.
Most quality EDC bags come with a variety of webbing, pouches, velcro, zippers, sleeves, and compartments that allow for efficient storage of your items.
Tough, Corrosion Resistant Zippers
The zipper is a weak point in any pouch/bag. Being that you will use them thousands of times over the life of the bag it is important that your EDC pouch/bag has quality zippers that will not get stuck or break on you.
Additionally, it is better to have zippers and pulls that are made from a strong plastic, aluminum, or other rust-free material.
If you are carrying this pouch/bag every day it will at many times be exposed to the elements. Over time this will cause corrosion and failure in cheap zippers. Zippers are where cheap manufacturers will look to cut corners.
The best EDC bag makers on the market know that a quality zipper can mean the difference between a reliable bag and a piece of junk.
Features to avoid
As important as the above mentioned Essential Features are to include it is also necessary to be aware of features to avoid when finding the best EDC pouch/bag for you.
If you are going to carry your carefully selected EDC gear in a pouch/bag that has one large compartment you might as well just tote around a burlap sack. It will be cheaper and accomplish the same thing – jumbling your gear so you can’t find what you need in an emergency and making for an uncomfortable carry.
Choose a pouch/bag with multiple compartments and organizational options within the bag to optimize the accessibility of your EDC items and better manage the load.
This is a way that cheap bag makers cut costs. Instead of making strong, padded, adjustable straps they will use elastic ones that make the bag a one-size-fits-none. Additionally, the elasticity of these will wear out over time making the bag hang lower than desired.
If a bag uses elastic straps to attach it to your body avoid it at all costs. Look for robust shoulder and hip straps with adjustable buckles for comfortable, long lasting fit.
Once again, even the best EDC bag is not intended to cover every possible circumstance. This is what your bug out bag is for. Carefully assess your every day carry needs and try these tips to minimize what gear you will be carrying:
- Review your EDC list of items and see what you actually use on a day to day basis and what you can cut out.
- Utilize multipurpose items to save space and weight
- Try to find lightweight options for the items that you do carry that are constructed in materials such as titanium, micarta, carbon fiber, and plastics
- If an item comes in multiple sizes choose the smaller version – small medkit versus full sized or folding knife versus fixed blade
Finding The Best EDC Option For You
As you can see, the journey of finding the best EDC option to meet your every day carry needs is a highly personal choice.
You will have to balance the threats you are likely to face with what you are able and willing to carry with you every step of the way. Once you have come to a decision of what your EDC kit will be it is best to find a high-quality bag that is comfortable and small enough to not encumber you if you need to move quickly.
Having a smaller, lighter kit with useful, practical items is more desirable than having a huge bag full of items you are unlikely to ever use.
Plan your kit thoughtfully and choose the best EDC option you can to meet YOUR needs.
Do you have a strategy for your EDC gear? Let us know how you pack your gear in the comments below!