Essential Survival 

What to Pack in Your EDC Bag?

EDC bag contents

Before we look at how to pack an EDC bag, you need to make sure that you know what’s in it!

To answer that question, you need to read these previous posts, which detail the items you should carry. “72 Hour Survival Kit – How to Build Your Own“, “What Are the Top Ten Survival Items” and “What Are the Top 5 Survival tools“. Or follow this link back to the posts page to read them and find out what gear you need. Essential Survival Blog

If you already know what gear you need to have inside your EDC bag, then this post will show you how to pack it as well. Just like the survival qualities that your equipment provides, so should the way you pack it all in. This is especially important for the EDC/72 hour survival kit, if you understand it’s true purpose.

EDC Bag Contents:

Folding bucket
Rescue whistle
Weather station
Mess tins
Wound dressings
Palm axe
Folding shovel
Safety Matches
Fire steel
Filtered Drink container
Signal mirror
Fishing kit
Note pad and wax pencil
Heat Blanket
Water Purification Tabs
Zip lock bag
Wire Saw
Snare Wire
Sewing Kit
Filtered Straw
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Why Do I Need an EDC Bag?

I will discuss this briefly again, to reinforce the purpose of this kit and why you should think about how it is packed. And it’s not just the EDC Bag that you need to consider but all three survival kits. I will expand on these kits further, as they all work together to build your survival platform.

The Pocket Survival Kit (PSK)

Probably should rename this kit – SHTF kit, because clearly the “Fit has hit the Shan” if you need to open this kit. The contents of this kit are limited in size and quantity and are for when all else is lost. If you still have access to your other kits, then it should never be used for any survival needs. It stays in your pocket until you have nothing else left to rely on.

how to pack a pocket sized kit

The Bug Out Bag (BoB)

You can consider this bag to be your moving van, you load it up with all your gear and you move. Even your EDC kit is packed in this bag, along with all your nice to have gear. Like the other kits, the Bug out Bag, has its own features that make it fit for carrying, which I will detail in a future post.

EDC Bag (72 Hour Survival Kit) (3 day kit)

So, if your pocket kit is in your pocket and not to be touched and the BoB is just a pack horse. Where does the 72 hour kit belong in the survival platform? It is in fact your most used kit out of the three, which makes it essential to pack this kit properly. You will access the contents of this bag regularly.

Therefore, if stocks are depleted in your EDC bag, then you replenish them from the spares you carry in the BoB. When you’re ready to move camp, you pile it all back into the BoB and your PSK never left your pocket! It is important that you keep this separation of kit sizes and not pack the wrong things in the wrong places.

edc bag

Separate Sized Kits for A Reason

For instance, the smaller the kit is, then the more vital and essential the items are for survival. The larger the kit, the more the items are nice to have, rather than essential to live. And the mid sized 72 hour kit is a mix of both kits contents – vital survival equipment and whatever else you can fit.

I say whatever else because it really doesn’t matter what you want to carry in there. So long as you have packed enough of the essential items and don’t make it too heavy to carry. The weight of the three kits is also one of the most critical areas to ensure you get right.

Carrying Weight is Important

The PSK is deliberately small and lightweight, so you’re not inclined to take it out of your pocket. Similarly, the BoB is not so heavy that it prevents you from walking out to safety! And it is the same for the 72 hr kit, it has to be a good size and weight. That way you will not be inclined to leave it behind, when you venture out from camp.

How to Organize Your EDC Bag?

Understand that a EDC bag is used frequently, which means you will be unpacking and packing it quite often. And out in nature, there never is a good spot to unpack your kit to look for something. For instance, you don’t want your sterile bandages rolling around on the forest floor, while you looking for something else!

It’s for this reason that you need to put some fitness into the way you pack this kit. At the same time, whatever you add to your kit, has to add value for carrying the extra weight around. For example, packing your gear into a series of plastic containers will be heavy and not add much to your survivability.

However, sealed plastic containers, tubes or even metal tins, will add some waterproof qualities to your EDC bag. As the likelihood of you taking an unplanned swim is increased, while out foraging for materials and food. Therefore, it is a great idea to make your wilderness EDC bag as waterproof as possible.

The Amazing Zip Lock Bag

I still marvel at how useful a survival item a zip lock bag can be. The zip lock bag scored an impressive 16 pts on the essential survival spreadsheet. And here again it proves how useful it can be and not just with packing your EDC bag.

waterproofing EDC bag
Select similar items and group them into one zip lock bag
Waterproof and organized
Great protection for battery powered gear
Sterile and waterproof

Obviously, it is great for keeping grouped items together AND making them safe from water damage. Also, you can use the bags to seal and carry food you forage or hunt and keep it fresher. Most importantly, you can load them with green vegetation and extract the water to drink.

For example, you could fill several bags with green leaves and clip them to your BoB, before you start to hike. After a few hours, you can stop and take a drink and replace the foliage before setting off again. You have to get this kind of multiple use out of everything you pack in your survival kits.

Packing your kit this way provides the following:

  • Waterproof items
  • Keep gear clean and foods fresher
  • Carry water
  • Start a fire with magnification through water filled bag
  • Extract water through Transpiration of green foliage
  • Separate gear into easy to pack/unpack groups

How to Pack Your EDC Bag?

heavy items packed first in your EDC bag
Protect your zip lock bags from damage by other objects. Slip them inside a Beanie or Bandana

Main Compartment

With your heavier Bug out Bag, there is definitely a correct way to pack the weight for carrying comfort. However, not so much with the mid sized EDC bag. You just don’t have enough options, to move weight around in the bag and make a difference.

The best you can do, is place hard and heavy items at the base of your bag, such as the mess tins. I placed mine at the base and wrapped in a Beanie, to prevent damaging my zip lock bags. After that, you can place your separate bags on top. And in any order you want, which should fill up most of the main compartment’s space.

contents for your EDC bag
Mess tin in first and pile on the rest
how to pack an EDC bag
It all fits nicely

Rear Compartment for Tools

The rear pocket on my bag is perfect for all your heavy survival tools and even large enough for a multifunction shovel. Whatever tools or similar objects, if not strapped on to the outside of the bag, should be stored in here.

multifunction folding survival shovel for your EDC bag
Room for the most useful survival tool
EDC bag survival tools
Ready to leave camp

Personal Space Remaining

Now that you have all your essential gear and tools packed, you can fill up the gaps with your nice to have items. Remember to keep it lightweight though!

72 hour survival kit
A stand alone EDC bag
Make use of your bags features to save packing space
Make sure you utilize all of your bag’s storage space

What makes a good EDC kit, is not so much the things that go in it but the bag itself. The contents, as you can see from the list, are pretty straightforward and readily available. So, if you want the perfect EDC kit for you, start by finding your perfect bag to carry it all in.

I’m only going to advise you to put in the essential items for survival and to pack them in there efficiently. As a result of this, you will leave yourself with the maximum personal space for your items. And those items I don’t have any advice for you, other than to try make sure they add to your survivability.

However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter because you already have the essentials for survival. So, if you want a gun in your EDC, then pack a gun or more knives or more gear to suit your local weather. Just don’t sacrifice the essentials for the non essential things!

How to Pack a Bug Out Bag?

The next step up from the EDC bag, is the larger pack horse, Bug out Bag and this bag needs to be the toughest of them all. Read the “What should you pack in a bug out bag” post, to see how I waterproofed the contents of that bag and the gear that goes inside.

This post covered a stand-alone EDC bag, as in a kit that could be kept inside your vehicle or similar place. In the BoB post, I will also show how to incorporate the EDC bag with your BoB instead. Effectively making two kits into one!

I hope this helps and thanks for reading!

by bing74

October 9, 2020

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