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The Best EDC (Everyday Carry) Bag or Backpack

After writing a comprehensive article on the various EDC items you can have on you every day, it only makes sense to continue with one on the best edc bag or backpack you can buy. For some, the things they carry in their pockets is enough, but not for us. We’re going to raise the bar in this article and, with it, our level of security and our chances of surviving critical events and getting home safe when it hits the fan.

So… EDC bags and backpacks. Which one is right for you? In order to answer this, we have to dig a little into your needs and lifestyle…

What job do you have? Do you work from home? Do you travel a lot? Do you live in an urban, suburban or rural area? Are you a man or a woman? Do you have like-minded people around you that won’t raise their eyebrows if you start carrying too much gear with you? These are all good questions to ask yourself.

Rule #1 for your is to never raise suspicions. Ever.

You don’t want a nosy co-worker to see some of the gear inside and make fun of you:

Hey, John, what’s with this? Why do you carry a folding knife with you at the office? Are you afraid Mike’s going to attack you for stealing his raise?

Since you’ll be carrying these items every day, chances are someone is going to see them at some point, unless you’re really careful. You don’t want people to give you the cold shoulder simply because you’re a prepper. If you live in a city and you have a job you want to keep, things like this may hinder your career.

That being said, your everyday carry pouch shouldn’t be too big. You don’t need to carry a hiking backpack with you at the office that’s full of gear (though, if you can, you’ll get such examples of recommendations as well). On the other hand, a smaller backpack could not only conceal your gear but can also be useful to carry your laptop, documents and anything else you need on a daily basis.

This is the reason I don’t recommend you get the absolute smallest bag possible, like some folks do. A larger one, such as a laptop bag could have a double purpose, meaning no one is going to ask any questions about its contents. It’s all about balance. This whole “not standing out” concept is also referred to as being a grey man or woman, by the way.

Rule #2: only get the essentials.

On the one hand, you want to have as many items with you as possible. On the other, you don’t want too much stuff because it’ll weigh you down and you’ll have trouble fitting everything in your pockets or your survival edc bag.

Here’s the kicker: even if you can fit a lot more stuff in your bag, don’t do it. I know it’s tempting, but it’s best to keep everything as light as possible. It’s also a good idea to start small, so you don’t end up with a bunch of gear you regret buying.

Ok, let’s talk about what you should look for when choosing an everyday carry bag…

The Ideal EDC Bag Should…

  • be large enough to hold most of your items
  • be lightweight and strong
  • be kept under the radar (nobody should ever suspect you’re prepping)
  • have plenty of pockets
  • (optional) have MOLLE webbing to allow you to attach more gear to it when needed

The Best Everyday Carry Bag for You

Here’s my full list of the best edc bags that are out there, I trust you’re going to keep in mind the questions from the beginning of this article before making your choice.

black laptop bag

The Laptop Bag

You don’t even have to carry a laptop, the things you need and use on a daily basis are enough to justify having it. A lot of them have zippered pockets that can store all sorts of EDC gear.


vintage messenger bag

A Messenger/Shoulder Bag (for Men)

This is the most stylish EDC alternative for guys and I think you should consider it even if you’re not trying to dress dapper. However, keep in mind that a good bag doesn’t leave any clues as to the gear that it’s hiding inside. Many guys are wearing messenger bags in cities so it’s easy to blend in when you have one.

Keep in mind that the look and feel of the bag should match your surroundings. You don’t want anything too fancy if you live in a small town, it will only attract attention. On the other hand, if you have a corporate job in a big city, one that’s more stylish will work. The best way to protect your survival items and yourself is to never stand out form the crowd.

If you’re not interested in the fashion aspect, you can go for a proven brand and get the Maxpedition Veldspar Shoulder Bag. If you’re looking for something cheaper, the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag is also great, in addition to being waterproof.


sling bag

A Sling/Waist Bag

If you’re looking for something small to carry around your waist or shoulders, how about the Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack or the WATERFLY Waist Bag? Lots of options here, so why not go for something that is waterproof?



large capacity ladies purse

A Big Purse

Ladies, I know guys sometimes make fun of you for having big purses but you should probably consider getting bigger ones. It’s either that or sacrificing some of your less useful EDC items.

Besides, no one is going to say anything when you show up with a big purse, like they would if you showed up with a big tactical backpack. Purses are socially accepted, making them great EDC carry bags. And don’t shy away from wearing something that’s brightly colored on the inside, at least:

edc bag for ladies


ipad case

A Tablet Case With Card Holder

Not really a bag, but you think of it as an extension of your wallet. If you take your tablet with you every day, why not opt for a case that has some extra storage space. Whether you have an iPad or an Android tablet, there’re plenty of such cases to choose from.



travel edc backpack in neutral color

The Travel EDC Backpack

A backpack is great because you get used to having weight on your back every day. It’s good practice for when you’re gonna need to carry your bug-out bag. Some of them are also meant to hold laptop, meaning they have straps and sponges to protect it from shocks.

This is a great alternative to option #1, the laptop bag (that you’d normally carry in your hand). The other benefit is that it’s good practice for carrying your bug out bag. As you get used to it, you should add more weight (such as a big bottle of water). It’ll be quite the workout…

EDC Backpack recommendations:



EDC Tactical Assault Bag

A Tactical Backpack

If you live in a smaller town and use your car a lot, you can go for something a little more advanced such as a tactical backpack. This will allow you to pack more stuff in to cover a wider variety of scenarios. Do this right and you’ll also end up with something that will act as a get home bag and even a bug out bag.



belt pouch

A Belt Pack

Belt packs are smaller and go around your waist but they’re more than enough to keep your EDC gear as well as some of the stuff you use everyday, such as your keys and your phone. If you choose one, you’re gonna have to put the rest of your EDC gear in your pockets. Plus, you can’t really fit a bottle of water like you can in a purse or a backpack so you’re just gonna have to settle for a few water purifying tablets.


vodoo tactical duffle bag

Duffle Bags

If you don’t mind carrying a lot of weight with you, then how about a bag from a company that’s more or less as good as Maxpedition but has lower prices? The Voodoo Tactical Mammoth Deployment Duffle Bag may be what you’re looking for.


A Camera Bag

If you’re a photographer, you’ve got a good excuse to wear such a bag with you at all times. Just like laptop bags, many have lots of pockets where you can fit all sorts of things.

Camera bag recommendations:

  • the Domke 701-83A F-803 Camera Satchel Bag
  • the Fujifilm F-803 Camera Bag



molle edc pouch


This one is just great. The fact that it’s MOLLE compatible means you can attach it to other tactical backpacks that are also compatible.

The beauty of it is that it’s specifically designed with survival situation in mind. So what you have is one large compartment where you can put the bulk of the items and smaller pockets where you can add the things you might need quick access to.

Other Places to Hide Your EDC Items

Besides having an actual bag to keep your edc gear, you can stash some of them in other places such as:

  • the front pocket of your shirt or polo shirt
  • the extra pockets of your cargo pants
  • on your wrist (think paracord bracelets)
  • your phone! (to keep survival knowledge such as offline maps, your car’s owner’s manual and survival ebooks)
  • around your neck (using a lanyard)

The Following Do NOT Make Good EDC Bags

  • large backpacks that you would normally use as get home bags or BOBs
  • camouflage/tactical bags (you’re just asking for it)
  • bags that are too small (and don’t allow you to store all the items you think you’ll need)

More Recommendations

I hope you didn’t just scroll here, and actually  read the entire article. Here goes:

Final Word

Well, that was it. I hope by now you have a pretty good idea of what to get. And if you’re still in doubt because you may need one for certain types of activities and another one for other types, why not get two of them? The advantage of EDC bags (as opposed to bug out bags) is that you can just take out the contents and quickly move it into your other bag.

So, what’s the best EDC bag for you? Only you can answer that by looking at your daily activities, and making a list of all the emergencies you might have to face.

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About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.


  1. Nick from TacticalAssaultGear.net

    Altough i like the messenger bag is would go for the tactical backpack if there would be something happening. The tactical bag can still look like a schoolbag and not raise any suspicion in you leave out the camouflage pattern.

  2. Why not a large lunch bag with multiple compartments? That would certainly not raise many questions.

  3. I like the tactical sling bags
    5.11 moab 6 or 10
    Vanquest javelin 3.0
    If price is an issue there are 1/3rd cost for like bags.
    The most important thing that people fail at is buying the bag first… rookie mistake, get everything you plan to carry and go from there.

  4. A lot of good ideas. For me, my EDC is ultra simple, a multi-tool on my belt, folding knife in my pocket and a smart phone. When in my corporate atire I keep a multi-tool in my briefcase. Where I live, this is more than adequate.

  5. what about the 5.11 push pack?

  6. My EDC is a Domke F-803 camera satchel. Dimensions are 13.5X10X3.5 inches, no overt badging, lightly padded sides and bottom with a removable padded insert, and 5 other pockets around the outside of the bag. Material is heavy-weight cotton canvas (mine is plain black). I have found this bag to be just about perfect for my normal EDC stuff (including a large iPad or small Mac book). Plus, when I need a “grey man” camera bag, it’s great for that too. Great site. Keep up the good work.

  7. I have a condor pouch where I keep a couple of pens, multi tool, note pad, lighter, spare pair of contact lenses, chap stick, wallet, basic first aid kit and packs of instant coffee (big coffee drinker). The nice thing about it is that I can throw it into my back pack that I use for work or backpack I use for my kids diapers, spare clothes, etc.

  8. I like to use a multiple pocketed book bag that is well made. People nowadays carry these with them to transport a variety of things; lunches, books, paperwork, and whatever else they think they need. With something that blends in so well with society no matter where you reside I think it is best.

  9. I have the Oakley Icon 2.0. It’s a good pack and very durable; I’ve used mine in Afghanistan. The only problem is that it doesn’t have many pockets. Two outside pockets and a few smaller inside the flap that are mainly good for holding pens/pencils and maybe a small GPS. If someone does go that route (this will probably work for most other backpacks too) take it to a tailor shop and have them sew the soft side of velcro onto the back panel where the laptop pouch is. Then you can fabric glue the rough side to pouches you’ll use for your gear. It’s better than having everything in a pile in the bottom and it will help you distribute the weight.

  10. You really provided great information to us. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Cannae pro gear is a great place to check out, they literally have all the styles of bags mentioned. Satchel, messenger, sling, day pack, duffel, backpack, rucksack, even range gear. Some with helmet carriers for motorcycle riders. Some are even made for the gray man to blend in.

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