Imagine you’re walking to your car from a late night at work. You hear footsteps behind you, so you pick up your pace and walk faster, trying to avoid confrontation because you’re tired.
As you walk faster, so does the person behind you. You start to run, but are quickly apprehended by your assailant. What happens next is up to your ability to access what you have in your EDC.
We all know a few women that say they “can handle their own”, but let’s face the fact that women aren’t as strong as men. For this very reason, you need to prioritize your EDC, so you can be prepared for situations that can quickly spiral out of control.
Never be complacent, you should always be thinking of ways to get out of potential scenarios. The following list is a basic guideline of items that could potentially save your life. However, you don’t need every item, you can pick and choose as you please.
Everyday carry items aren’t meant solely for self-defense, contrary to popular belief. The primary reason to have a well put together EDC is to make normal everyday life easier, and to be prepared for most situations.
This is the most common tool for self-defense amongst women, but just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Pepper spray is also known as “OC Spray”, or Oleoresin Capsicum.
When you break it down, it’s basically skin irritating spicy shit that’s combined with a resin that sticks to whatever you spray it to. Most pepper sprays have an orange dye in them to help mark who you’ve sprayed.
This way, if you spray someone and they run away, the police can easily locate them unless they’ve washed it off. However, the assailant will feel the effects for hours after they wash it off. Once you spray someone with pepper spray, the effects take place anywhere from 3-10 seconds (depending on the impact location).
The best place to aim pepper spray is the eyes, nose, ears, or mouth. If you hit one or all locations, your attacker will feel extreme irritation to the affected area, and most of the time they’ll lose motivation to continue the attack and give you the time needed to escape.
There are four basic types of delivery for pepper spray: stream (a straight line), cone (think hairspray, but more concentrated), fog (a large mist area, usually for crowd control), and foam/gel (think mousse).
I highly recommend using the stream or foam delivery method, because they have a higher chance of impacting only your designated target with a lower risk of cross-contamination on yourself.
Foam is a great delivery method if you spend most of your time indoors, because it will have minimal effect on ventilation indoors, but stream works the best for outdoor scenarios because the wind won’t affect it as much.
I highly recommend that once you get pepper spray, you spray it on a paper towel, and rub a light coat over your closed eyes, under your nose, on your tongue, and on a portion of your bare skin. You might be thinking, “why would I do that to myself?”.
The answer is simple, it will give you a better understanding of what to expect if you accidentally get some on yourself if you have to use it on somebody. This way, you won’t freak out if it happens.
If you become contaminated with pepper spray, simply rinse it off with cold water and baby shampoo if you have some accessible. The baby shampoo has a mild affect on your eyes, and will soothe your skin faster than regular soap.
Do not use regular shampoo or soap in your eyes. If you don’t have baby shampoo, simply use just water. Make sure you wash your hair so that it does not run down your body, otherwise you will feel mild effects in more “sensitive” areas of your body.
The “SABRE 3-In-1 Pepper Spray” is an inexpensive ($5), small, lightweight, and very effective pepper spray that’s easily concealed. Due to this, it makes a great pepper spray for your EDC!
I don’t recommend relying on the clip attached to it, as people have complained that it’s not durable. However, the clip has nothing to do with what’s inside. This particular cannister is a stream spray, making it a great option for your EDC arsenal.
The “SABRE Red Pepper Gel” is another great pepper spray that easily fits in your purse. Although the name says, “home protection”, that doesn’t mean that it’s too big to have for your EDC. It simply means the gel is more popular for home defense due to the decreased cross-contamination risk. It features 17 bursts inside the cannister that can reach up to 17 feet! That’s an incredible distance for a gel delivered pepper spray.
Stun guns are becoming increasingly popular amongst women for self-defense, and for a very good reason. These destructive little tools are incredibly devastating, and anyone who’s been on the receiving end on a quality stun gun will tell you the same thing. Once you deploy a stun gun on somebody, their muscles will instantly “lock”, causing extreme pain and can cause incapacitation for a considerate amount of time.
Unlike the pepper spray, I would not recommend trying your stun gun out on yourself. You can cause permanent burn marks on your skin, on top of running the risk of internal complications that could cause lasting negative effects on your body. Don’t mess around with your friends with a stun gun, these things are nothing to play with.
Stun guns have a voltage that ranges from 30,000 volts to millions of volts. On average, it takes roughly 500,000 volts to render a large man unconscious. However, due to everyone’s body being different, the voltage count will differ for each person. Due to this, I recommend using a higher voltage stun gun. Why risk it?
To use a stun gun, simply press the prongs firmly into your target and push the designated button to deploy an electric current either into their body, or through their skin (depending on how hard you press the prongs onto your target). Due to stun guns being very simple to use, they are highly recommended for EDCs for women. The best area to use a stun gun against an attacker is the side of the neck.
If for some reason you are playing with your stun gun around your friends and you render one of them unconscious, simply let them rest for a few seconds. After a few seconds have passed, gently sit them up, and tap them gently on their upper back with the palm of your hand.
Most of the time, this will wake a person up. Reassure them once they wake up that everything’s okay. Waking up from unconsciousness can be confusing, and scary. If they don’t respond to this method, simply make a fist that you would use to knock on a door, and rub their sternum vertically. This will cause a lot of pain, waking up a more unconscious victim.
The “VIPERTEK VTS-989” is my most highly recommended stun gun for any EDC. With a stunning (pun definitely intended) 19 million volts, this stun gun will surely incapacitate any attacker on the receiving end of an effective counter attack with it. The best part of the “VIPERTEK” stun gun is it only costs $25!
The “MTW-825 CANN-KS” is a very effective stun gun/light combo. While it doesn’t have as much voltage as the “VIPERTEK” stun gun, it still has a powerful 7 million volts that are sure to incapacitate most assailants. The great part about the “MTW” is that it looks like a normal flashlight at first glance, making it easy to conceal. At the price of $15, it’s definitely affordable for your EDC.
There are multiple reasons why you should have a bright light in your EDC, not only for the self-defense standpoint. You should never rely on your cell phone light, as it barely reaches out five yards. What if you need to see down a dark corridor, or down the path to your car through a low-lit area?
80 lumens can cause temporary blindness in a dark area, and 200 lumens can in daylight conditions. However, I would shoot for a light with over 300 lumens just to play it safe. If you don’t have means to an accessible tool for self-defense, or your work doesn’t allow you to carry weapons inside, an ultra-bright light can be your solution for self-defense in your EDC.
If someone poses a threat, and you shine that bright light into their eyes, you give yourself a great chance of buying enough time to escape your assailant while they recover from temporary blindness and disorientation. While we’re on the topic of these lights, I prefer the flashlights with ridges along the lens, this way you can bash the attacker in the face after you’ve temporarily blinded them for added effect.
I highly recommend the “EagleTac T25C2 XP-L HI LED” flashlight for self-defense, because of its incredible durability, along with a high lumen count. Boasting 1,250 lumens, the “EagleTac” flashlight will easily cause temporary blindness in most assailants. On top of the high lumen count, it has ridges along the lens, so you can cause significant injuries to the face of your opponent should you feel the need. While the “EagleTac” is slightly on the more expensive side ($60), the price is well worth the quality.
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
Another self-defense EDC flashlight I recommend if you’re on more of a budget is the “Maglite Mag-Tac LED 2-Cell CR123”. The “Maglite” can easily find its way into your EDC. Although it has a significantly less lumen count than the “EagleTac” light (320 lumens), it still is effective.
Another great feature with the “Maglite” is the strobe feature. Strobe lights are great for disorienting attackers, because it bombards them with multiple bright lights in a row. This gives you a great chance at opening up an opportunity to escape.
This category should be self-explanatory for any EDC list; however, they are more overlooked than you might think. The best part about having knives in your EDC for self-defense or other reasons, is you really don’t need to spend a lot of money for a quality knife. Most people look for the most expensive, brand-name knivesbecause that’s all they know for quality. This is a myth; however, you do need to spend slightly more than bottom-dollar knives if you want reliability.
Before we get into brands, you need to know the three effective spots to effectively engage an attacker with a knife. Disclaimer: some details in this description can be disturbing for some readers. However, to prepare for the worst, you need to hear the worst.
This is the most effective area to disable an attacker with a knife. Wherever you strike your assailant in the neck, you will cause major disruption and pain to them. This will cause their attention to shift from attacking you, to their own survival.
Either stab straight at the groin, or from an upward angle. This method of attack will cause extreme pain and blood loss very quickly for your attacker. It is almost guaranteed that a successful strike to the groin will buy your ticket to escape.
The Upper Abdomen
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention the chest. The reason is because you have a ribcage to worry about. Yes, you will more than likely penetrate the layer of muscle between ribs, but don’t risk an ineffective attack. The upper abdomen is a great area of attack, especially if you stab in an upward motion. You have a great chance of puncturing a lung, or any vital organ for that matter. Your goal should be an upward penetration in this area.
When it comes to knives, I recommend Smith & Wesson. While they’re more expensive than other brands, I find that they are the best quality for an affordable price. The “Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S Folding Knife” is an outstanding knife for an EDC at a great price ($13). It features a very sharp high carbon stainless steel partially serrated blade, making it (in my opinion) a great choice for your EDC knife.
Another knife that I’ve grown to love is the “Smith & Wesson Military and Police SWMP11B Folding Knife”, simply due to the seatbelt cutter along the butt-end of the knife. While it does not boast a serrated blade, it is still well-known for retaining a sharp edge. Costing an average of $23, it is still highly affordable for your EDC needs.
This category is also a “no brainer” when it comes to an EDC list. There are some stipulations when it comes to handguns, however. You need to make sure you follow your local and state laws, otherwise your EDC can cause you a lot of legal trouble. Make sure you research your state laws regarding handguns. Most states require a concealed carry permit to carry a handgun with a magazine loaded into it.
Getting a concealed carry permit is not difficult if you have the time, and money to spend on the required classes. Another stipulation, is your criminal history. If you have a lot of prior run-ins with the law, or any felonies, you can almost guarantee your chances of getting a concealed carry permit goodbye.
For the readers who know my style, I’m very picky when it comes to guns. This is a great benefit to you, because you can rest assured that my handgun advice is trustworthy, and factual.
If you are going to carry a handgun in your EDC, I highly recommend you practice your shooting techniques at a gun range at least once every month or two months to keep your skills fresh. Shooting a handgun requires much more skill than just “point and shoot”.
In my article “Advanced Shooting Techniques for Preppers”, I describe different techniques you can use for different types of threats. If you need a base of knowledge to take to the range, read that article. That way, you’re not instilling your trust in some YouTube “veteran”. Now, let’s get to the guns.
The best EDC handgun in my opinion is easily the “Glock 43” 9x19mm paired with “Federal HST 124-Grain” jacketed hollow point.
For those of you who say “9mm is a small round and won’t do anything to anyone”, I have only one thing to say to you: let me have one shot at you from 20m with a jacketed 9x19mm hollow point, and see if you still say that. The Glock 43 is an outstanding compact semi-auto handgun that costs on average $450. While the magazine has only a six-round capacity, it’s sure to stop most attackers in their tracks once the rounds start flying.
Another outstanding EDC handgun if you’re not a fan of Glocks, is the “Smith & Wesson M&P .40 Shield”. The Shield is a great handgun for EDC due to its small size, and light weight. With the magazine size being the same as the “Glock 43”, it’s still enough to win the fight with most assailants.
With an average price the same as the “Glock 43” ($450), it’s still in the affordable range as far as handguns are concerned. I recommend using “180-grain Winchester Jacketed Hollow Point” ammunition. I prefer jacketed hollow points due to their increased spread upon impact, creating a much larger area of damage compared to their bonded hollow point counter points.
This is a very overlooked tool when it comes to most EDC items, and it really shouldn’t be. Glass-breaker pens are very useful in various situations, whether you’ve been in a car crash, or if you’ve been kidnapped and need a quick escape. Another use for these pens is a quick, yet effective self-defense tool against assailants. If you jab the breaker point into your assailant’s eye, you will cause extreme injury to them, giving you the chance to escape.
Glass-breaker pens are given their name because they are built to do exactly what they’re called, break glass very easily. All you need to do is strike a glass surface directly with the sharp point of the pen, and most glass will shatter instantly with the first hit. Sometimes, however, it can take more than one hit.
My most highly recommended brand for this category is the Uzi Tactical Titanium Coated Pen. This tool has a working pen on one side, and a glass breaking tool on the other side. I personally used to carry one of these in my EDC, and I loved it. Thankfully, I’ve never had to use it in a real-world scenario. However, I have tested it, and it worked beautifully. Costing on average $20, this tool is very affordable for your EDC.
Watches are a very important part of your EDC, because if you need to follow a timeline for any reason, you can’t count on your phone battery for everything. Most watches are highly inexpensive, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for a watch unless you want to be fashionable. Personally, I prefer water-resistant watches from “Wal Mart” because they’re inexpensive, and easily replaceable if I lose or break them.
Gauze and Medical Tape
I highly recommend having gauze and medical tape in your purse, because of various reasons. The biggest reason, is because what if you escape your potential attacker, but only after he/she managed to get a shot off and hit you or stabbed you? Now, you’re running away from the threat while you’re bleeding. You can’t just run 10 feet and sit down while you call 911 and expect your attacker to show you mercy, right?
Reach into your purse, grab your gauze, stuff as much of it into the wound as possible, and layer tape over it to secure it. This will reduce the blood you lose and give you a better chance at covering more distance until help can arrive to further assist you. You can find gauze and medical tape very easily at most pharmaceutical stores like “CVS”, or “Walgreens”.
“Date Rape” Drug Detectors
“Date Rape” is a term that most women are eerily familiar with, sadly. Date rape is defined as “rape committed by someone with whom the victim has gone on a date”. Most date rapes are made possible by an easily accessed pill called “Rohypnol”, more commonly referred to as “Roofies”.
This drug is used mostly to combat insomnia by enabling the user to sleep deeply. Not all date rape cases involve this drug, however. There are a lot of pharmaceutical drugs on the market that can have the same (or similar) effects on the victim, and are easily acquired.
Date rape is very humiliating for victims, and is extremely common in the bar/club scene. I personally know a few women who have fallen victim to this atrocity, so I am very passionate at enabling women to have access to ways to combat it. Most victims who are subjected to date rape drugs will wake up the following morning with very little memory of what occurred the night before, and feel extremely sick (sicker than the usual hangover).
Thankfully, there have been numerous detectors invented throughout this last decade that are decently effective. I personally recommend the “SABRE Drink Test Kit”, mostly because “SABRE” is a very well known, trusted brand. While there are multiple drugs on the market that could be used for date rape, this test kit tests for “GHB” (gamma hydroxybutyrate) which is in the same sleeping pill category as Rohypnol, and “Ketamine” which is also a drug which causes drowsiness.
Although the “SABRE” test kit doesn’t necessarily detect Rohypnol, the two drugs it does detect are more readily available than roofies. To use the kit, simply place the card on a flat surface, and smear drops of your drink on either side of the kit. If it turns to a dark blue color, that means that there are possible drugs detected. I would say that the $10 investment is well worth the peace of mind, ladies.
Miscellaneous EDC Items
Not everything in your EDC should be geared towards self-defense, however. There are many great items that every woman should have readily available in case of an emergency.
Although there are many items in the following list, that doesn’t mean you must carry every item every day. It’s simply meant to give you an idea of what items you should look at if you want to beef up your EDC. Let’s face it, most of you have purses, which have great amounts of space in them for small EDC items that you could one day find useful!
Yes, I went there. You might be thinking “no shit, sherlock”, but I’m dead serious. I’m not putting these on the list solely for “that time of the month”. No, there are so many situations in which tampons could be used for.
Think about it, tampons are great for absorbing liquid. Most tampons are small enough to fit in a gunshot wound. If you’re not too keen on carrying around gauze and medical tape like I stated before, tampons are another great item that could be used at your disposal to help reduce blood loss after you’ve been shot.
Another great use for tampons is fire starting. Most tampons are very flammable, making them excellent fire starters. If you find yourself stranded in the wilderness, or simply need to start a fire for warmth, just take a tampon out of your purse and light it. If you’re in mostly dry conditions, the tampon will quickly catch on fire. Make sure you have a good base of wood, because the tampon will only burn for 30 seconds to one minute.
Some of you might be smokers, so this item will be on you at all times anyways. However, for those of you who aren’t, I would recommend having at least one. Not only are they used to start fires in emergency situations, they have multiple other uses as well.
If you have a loose string hanging off of your clothes, you can use your lighter to burn it off (not on white clothing). Who knows, somebody might just ask you to use your lighter to light a cigarette. What’s wrong with helping a stranger?
Paper and a Pen
Most people overlook these items, because they have a phone that they can use to store information in. As a prepper, you should never heavily rely on electronics. Not only can these items be used to take notes if need be, you can also leave a note for somebody that might be looking for you in case of an emergency.
Another use for a pen/paper is writing information down and handing it to someone in case they need directions, or other information without having to give them your number.
I’m not talking about using floss for the sole purpose of getting food out of your teeth. There are many great uses for dental floss. Some of those purposes include: emergency shoe laces, sewing, tying hair back, and much more! I highly recommend including dental floss in your EDC, you never know what you might need it for!
Small First Aid Kit
You should always have some medicine on standby in case you, or somebody else, needs some. Some medicine I would include in your kit include: Migraine medicine, Benadryl, Neosporin, caffeine pills (to stay awake while driving long distances), sleeping pills (for yourself, or to sedate a kidnapper), heart burn medication, and whatever else you might think of for your (or your family’s) specific needs!
If you’re around a diabetic, I highly recommend having glucose pills with you as well. This way, in case they have a low blood sugar episode, you are right there ready to help them. It’s too easy to give a simple pill to somebody who has low blood sugar, and it could save their life!
I’m not talking money in a little compartment in your wallet separate from your other money. Most women refer to this little “stash” as “bra-money”. Emergency money is not to be used as coffee money in a pinch, but for legitimate emergencies. There are many circumstances that could arise where you need to use your emergency stash like taxis, food, or water. I recommend keeping $20-$40 in your emergency stash in case you run out of your primary source, or it’s stolen.
This wonderful invention has so many great uses! My favorite use for superglue is sealing up small wounds. Make sure you get non-toxic superglue, so you don’t cause yourself or others more harm than good. To use it, simply squeeze together the skin where the wound is, and apply the superglue while blowing on it gently. This will accelerate the drying time, and will hold well even around moisture. On top of closing wounds, you can use superglue to repair most minor breaks such as glasses, watch bands, etc.
As an Infantryman, I know very well that these bad boys are so incredibly useful. Their uses range from emergency toilet paper, to basic hygiene. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t access a shower to keep yourself clean, simply use some baby wipes on the major areas of your body that accumulate the most moisture (armpits, chest, feet, and groin area). In public bathrooms, germs are everywhere.
Baby wipes are great for a quick clean on the toilet seat, so you don’t risk contracting skin diseases while you use it. Keep in mind, however, that baby wipes don’t kill every disease and germ. Although, they’re better than using nothing.
It says it right in the word, “multi”. There are so many uses for multitools, that you really can’t justify not having one in your EDC. I love the brand “Gerber”. I have used them my entire time in the military, with honestly no complaints. The “Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier” multitool is a great fit for a woman’s EDC, because it’s compact, and it has a plethora of tools at your disposal.
The “Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier” multitool comes with 12 tools including:
- Spring-loaded needle nose pliers
- Regular pliers
- Wire cutter
- Fine-edge blade
- Large flathead screwdriver
- Cross driver
- Can opener
- Small Philips screwdriver
- Serrated blade
- Bottle opener
Another great feature of this multitool is the lanyard hole. This way, you can have a string tied to it, sticking out of your purse or purse pocket for easy access to it. Each side of tools comes with a locking mechanism that locks whatever tool you expand in place, so it doesn’t move around while you’re using it.
Don’t keep all of your EDC items in one location (like your purse), especially your self-defense items. What if your attacker grabs your purse from you first? Then, you’re shit out of luck. Make sure you have at least one form of self-defense on you at all times. With that being said, don’t spread your items out too much (a knife in your boot, tac pen in your bra, gun in your purse), because it can be hard to access items quickly if you need to reach into 30 different places in a matter of minutes. Have three or four localized areas where you will keep items, including your purse.
If you carry a handgun, make sure you have a spare magazine. In high-intensity situations, it’s not uncommon to miss a few rounds when you’re fighting for your life. Since most concealable handguns have a small magazine capacity, try to have more than one in case you need to reload (if you have the opportunity).
Remember, two is one and one is none. The more spare items you have, the better. However, don’t weigh yourself down with 100lbs of gear in your EDC. Simply have a spare of the essentials in case the original is rendered useless. For example, have a knife in your purse, and on you. This way, you have more than one option to acquire a self-defense tool if you need it.
Make sure your phone has a case, and a screen protector. This way your phone isn’t rendered useless in a struggle, so you can call the proper authorities once you get distance between you and your attacker. While we’re on the subject of cell phones, try to have authorities on speed dial, or have a plan to be able to quickly get ahold of them so you’re not digging through apps trying to get to your dial pad.
As women, you have a great advantage when it comes to EDC items. You have a great way to carry more items, your purse. You can never be too prepared, so make sure you don’t neglect basic items that could prove to be useful when you need them most!
You don’t have to be easy targets for criminals. Prepare yourselves, and get a solid EDC plan together. While there are hundreds of different combinations of EDC items that you could choose from, I narrowed the list down to some essentials for you to pick and choose from.
If you have any additions to this list, please feel free to leave a comment below. I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not perfect. I love hearing what my readers have to say for input. You can never stop learning!
I’m an active-duty infantryman with the U.S. Army, and I’ve served a combined-service of over 5 years. Throughout my career, I’ve learned various survival techniques, as well as self-defense techniques. I specialize in weapons, long-range reconnaissance, distance shooting, and long-term isolation survival. I’m a very conservative, very “to the point” kind of person.