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The Best EDC (Everyday Carry) Bag or Backpack

After I wrote a comprehensive article on the various EDC items you can have on you every day, it only makes sens that I pair it up with one on the best edc bag or backpack you can buy. For some people, the stuff 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 EDC bag 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 have a folding knife with you at the office? Are you afraid Mike’s going to attack you for stealing his raise?

worm farming

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.

This is a little tricky. 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 how about you start small and think twice before adding new things.

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 discrete (nobody should suspect what’s inside)
  • 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 official list of the best edc bags that are out there, I trust you’re going to keep in mind the questions from the begining of this article before making your choice.

black laptop bag

The Laptop Bag

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

 

vintage messenger bag

The Messenger 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.

 

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 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.

 

molle edc pouch

A 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 or wrist watches)
  • 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 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)

My Recommendations

I hope you haven’t just scrolled directly here and actually  read the entire article so here goes:

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.

Final Word

So, what does your EDC bag look like? Let us know by placing a comment below.

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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.

5 comments

  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. Nice post. I never thought of using a tactical style backpack for my everday carry. I like the idea of being able to attach exterior pouches to the outside if I run out of space. Do you have any specific ones you recommend? I ran across this list online and I might pick one up:

    http://diysurvivalkit.com/best-molle-backpack/

    Thanks for posting.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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