Essential Survival 

EDC Bag or 72 Hour Survival Kit?

EDC Bag contents

The EDC Bag, is the next size up from pocket size and the next pillar in your survival platform. EDC, which stands for every-day-carry and that’s exactly what this kit is designed for. The EDC bag has the same function as the 72 hour kit or also known as a 3 day kit.

The EDC/3 day/72 hour kit is the logical sized bag, in between the pocket kit and the larger Bug out Bag. As mentioned in previous posts, the pocket kit, is for an emergency situation and not to be touched otherwise. So, that leaves the BoB and it’s just too big and heavy of a bag to carry around everywhere you go.

Therefore, the mid-sized bag is just right, for filling the gap in your survival kits. For example, once you make camp, the BoB is no longer needed and can be set down for you to rest. However, you’re likely to go off foraging or exploring from there and will be separated from your main survival gear.

In that scenario, you can grab your 3 day kit and head off to explore, and still have your essential survival gear. It is important that you never are just relying on your pocket kit for your survival. While the PSK’s contents are certainly useful for survival. There is just not enough gear packed in there, for anything other than an absolute emergency.

What Do You Pack in a EDC Bag?

With the EDC/72 hour survival kit, you can pack in more of the essential items, that make up your Pocket Survival Kit. For instance, if you needed a band aid/bandage, you would carry a number of them in the 72-hour kit and then not have to raid the PSK contents.

Let’s first decide on the primary use of the EDC Bag and its essential contents should become obvious. And for this post, I will detail my standalone EDC bag, as opposed to Bug out Bag EDC, which has a different function. For example, this bag described below would suit a hunter or explorer, who leaves their main camp/vehicle for an extended period and distance. Or, a bag you can just leave in the back of you car or truck and always be ready to survive.

Finding Your Survival Gear

This bag will cover you for a 72 hour stay, in a temperate wilderness environment, rather than an Urban environment. However, it is the bag I want to focus on first, as the contents are interchangeable to the different environments you may face.

If you don’t have the survival gear lying around the garage like me, then I have included Amazon links only as a guide to appropriate gear to search for. You should be able to get an idea from the links as to the type of survival gear you need to find and search for it in your local area.

For the rest of you it’s time to dig through your stuff in the garage and see what your kit looks like.

EDC – The Bag

In order for your EDC/72hr bag to properly function in your survival platform, it has to be a mid-sized bag. For instance, if this bag is too small, then it won’t fit your gear and if it’s too heavy, you won’t carry it everywhere. So, it’s important to find the right sized bag first and then the gear to fill it.

When I look for a bag, carrying comfort is the first quality that I need see and feel. From there, it will need a good carrying capacity, however, not so big that you are tempted to overfill it. Your bag will also need pockets and more pockets, that are all securable and of strong material/webbing construction. Although, having waterproof material is fantastic, you can just look for water resistance and still be ok.

Wilderness EDC Bag
No.2 Survival Kit – the 72 hour survival kit or EDC bag

This pouch style can be carried around the front when walking up hill or slung back for walking down. And this allows for you to reposition the pouch, to help keep your balance on difficult terrain.

Bag dimensions: H 300mm x W 300mm x D 150mm (12″ x 12″ x 6”)

I found my EDC bag at an Army surplus outlet and hopefully you have access to similar options. I will discuss the bag at the end in more detail, as we need to focus on what goes inside, now we know the bag size.

Alternative Bags

Good pocket fasteners

Modern materials, repositionable

Drink bottle holder

Similar Bags

If Army surplus isn’t your thing, then those modern style bags are what you need to look for. Just make sure your choice suits the contents you would like to pack in there, before you buy. Bags are a highly personal choice, so, go out and find one similar in size and that suits you best.

What to Pack Inside an EDC Bag?

EDC bag for a bug out bag
Detachable EDC for a Bug out Bag

My standalone EDC bag, is at least twice the size as my Bug out Bag’s detachable EDC. Which allows you to pack larger survival tools inside the standalone kit and also a variety of other tools. However, before I get into the tools, your EDC must cover the same essentials as your pocket sized kit does:

  • Fire lighting
  • Water/purification
  • Shelter
  • Food gathering
  • Signalling
  • Navigation
  • Personal Space

Fire Lighting for Your EDC

In your EDC kit, you would include one or two devices that simplify lighting a fire. For example, a Butane lighter and heaps of matches or even a rechargeable plasma lighter. Another example with the bigger bag, is that you could now include a signal mirror AND a flare in your EDC. The same applies for all of your other survival gear in the EDC; more of it and more reliable than what inside your PSK.

However, just because you have all the technology, don’t forget to pack the basic reliable items too. So, I’d put a Ferro rod and striker in the bag and use it for practice occasionally, instead of the lighter. Similar example again; just because you have a compass, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice other methods of navigation.

fire steel
waterproof storm matches
Storm matches
survival tools
No Butane leaks? Make sure its a good one

Include some tinder to make starting a fire easier and don’t forget to include striking paper for your matches. Just cut the sides of a matchbox and slip them in.

Striker not great but it works

A mini fire steel and whistle for your pocket kit too!

High quality rod and tinder with this one

I purchased this one

Battery Indicator

This one has fitness!

Water Purification

Clean drinkable water, like protection from Hypothermia, is one of the top priorities for a survivor. You’ll probably enter a survival situation well hydrated but with activity and the environment factors, you may need to replenish reserves soon. It’s for this reason, that a survivor will spend a lot of the time obtaining and purifying water, from the start, to the finish of their ordeal.

Already purified for you? Boil it, if you can

So, make sure you pack gear in your EDC, that will assist you to find, extract, purify and carry water. Even the inclusion of a shovel in your EDC bag, will increase your ability to find water, by digging down for it. As said before, you should always practice skills, this time making water filters or even purifying water with your tablets.

Think of this bag, as being for a practicing survivor, where the pocket kit is for the real survivor.

You will have room for one of these

But get one of these type instead

For your BoB only

Water Goes In?

In an EDC Bag, I would carry water, actual water already purified and in a filtered drinking bottle. Along with more purification tablets and a folding bucket, to hopefully collect a larger amount of water.

All they needed was an empty bottle
At least BG had a one

Shelter in Your EDC Bag

Protection from exposure should be foremost in the survivor’s mind, as you can’t always be guaranteed fine weather conditions. In fact, it’s entirely possible that bad weather has caused your survival situation and shelter is the priority. Keep in mind, that even well hydrated survivors can succumb to hypothermia.

As a minimum…

  • Pack a suitable amount of heat blankets for the number of dependents you have, as they take up little room
  • Single person Bivi’s are even small enough to strap to the handle of your EDC survival pouch, save on packing space
  • A Poncho or other suitable protection from rain

Having this ready to go protection from exposure eliminates the urgent need for shelter, if the weather/terrain conditions are against you.

Instead of a heat blanket you could try using your brain and a pair of shorts to climb Mt Everest! Survival Fitness at the extreme level!

With a technique and a lot of practice the human body can exceed the limits we thought possible. For the rest of us we will need to carry some gear to prevent falling victim to the elements.

Luckily you have a larger kit bag and you can pack some of the better quality blankets and Bivies. These will surely increase your survivability from the cold and here are some good quality types to pack in. And remember to pack enough for all of your family/group:

Fits in your hand!

4 x 3 inches


Don’t overlook the poncho option in your EDC Bag. This one above can be joined to other like ponchos to form a larger sheet. They will pack well and prevent other items from rattling around.

Food Options for Your EDC

slingshot rubber
Little Boys Toy? Deadly Weapon

Food is always on the mind but in reality, you can go quite a while without eating and with discipline. This from Google for example:

The human body needs food and water to survive. A human can go for more than three weeks without food — Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation — but water is a different story. At least 60% of the adult body is made of it and every living cell in the body needs it to keep functioning


Clearly water is our priority and that relegates food way down the list of the survivors needs. However, with an EDC sized bag, you can pack in some ration packs or any food you like that keeps well. Do not sacrifice other essential items for more food though.

I would pack in some short term rations, to get you through a couple of tense days while you leg it back to safety. Otherwise, you will have to balance out the need to search for food, against hiking out and looking for water.

What to pack?

You should pack enough short term rations that you can eat for a 3 day ordeal. That will be Jerky for some people or you could even throw in a few tins of canned Tuna for instance. Collect some edible greens and you can have a Tuna salad! The importance of these rations, remembering that they are not really a priority, will be to keep up morale and energy for the trek back to safety. So, pack enough to eat sparingly for 72 hours, don’t over pack and try to forage for meals to make up for it.

72 Hour Hunting Trip

Fishing kit and snares might be tempting to use but they take up a lot of time to set up and monitor. There’s also little chance you will be immediately successful with them anyway. So, slip a Slingshot rubber and leather pouch inside your EDC instead. A Slingshot will provide an instant hunting ability for a survivor and you can even do it while you’re walking out to safety.

You’ll have the space for a couple of ball bearings or the clay type ammo and there’s plenty of rocks if you run out. All of these items will improve your chances of a meal immensely, for little downside in carrying weight. You could find a suitable forked branch to fashion a handle or carry a proper one on your shoulder strap.

Simple but deadly

Less simple but still deadly

Good for your Bug out Bag

Check the condition of the silicone rubber tubes before you pack and they can also be used as a straw. Pack one and practice with it so you become a master at hitting your targets, as it can be an invaluable weapon for the survivor.

In the pocket survival kit, you could replace the filtered straw with a Slingshot and some ball bearings. You can then limit the number of snares and fishing gear and give yourself more room for water and fire provisions.

I’m ready for a meal

Clay balls will help find you a meal

Steel balls too

Signalling for Rescue

Water resistant closure
Water Resistant

You can easily cover this important area with the inclusion of the most common rescue gear:

  • Rescue whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Flashlight
  • Flare
  • Radio
  • GPS

You probably have space in your EDC bag for all of them but as a minimum, take the first two on the list.

Standard Flare

Roadside flares

Military grade mirror

Standard mirror

micro mirror

Torch, compass and solar charger!

There are enough products there for you to get an idea of what you need for rescue gear. However, if you can, look for products like the solar charger, that will reduce packing space by covering multiple survival needs.

EDC Navigation

rescue whistle
Go for a combo to save space

The BG Survival whistle/compass/match container is a great example of combination gear. Although, this compass I would consider as a back up and I would also pack a better quality type. Further options, such as GPS, will require you to also pack batteries or solar charges, to maintain their navigation abilities.

EDC Bag gear
Some items to consider

Of course, with your mid-sized EDC bag you can fit all that and even maps of the area you’re in. However, you can easily cover your navigation needs just with a compass. Therefore, don’t use up space for more navigation options, at the expense of other more essential items.

Tools for 72 Hours

My choice of bag, has a large pocket to the back, that can fit a lot of tools inside.

Tools go here

Here is the list of tools in my EDC kit:

  • Small folding shovel
  • Palm axe
  • Multitool
  • Back up survival knife
mini shovel
Tiny Folding Shovel

Or, you could just slip the #1 survival tool in the rear pocket, instead of the small shovel and axe.

multifunctional shovel
#1 Survival tool – The multifunction shovel
jungle knives
Top Peak multitool
palm axe
Palm Axe
EDC Bag tools
Pack one of each

Covers a lot of bases

This will fit in my EDC Bag

Good size but not as functional

Watch your knuckles

Fixed blade with single edge

Knuckle saver

Nice but not for survival duties

Similar to mine

The best multitool

Great Knife but a bit too big

Smaller version of a great knife

Folding knives I don’t recommend

Tool Quality

The above selection should be enough of an idea to get you on your way and make sure whatever you purchase will fit in your bag first! You can read these posts to see the best survival tools and gear to carry in this sized kit and your BoB:

Shovels, multitools and knives will need to be of a high quality, therefore, they’ll be more expensive. If you are going to go cheap, just make sure it will hold up like your life depends on it, because one day it might.

  • Avoid high impact tools with too many features that will just weaken the overall structure of the tool
  • A compass, that is embedded in the handle of a tool you bang and chop with, should be considered useless
  • Avoid 12 in 1 type tools that don’t really perform very well in any of the 12 functions they claim
  • Be wary of tools that claim a bottle opener as a survival tool!


You might not have much food to cook but you can always make a cup of tea/coffee or even soup. As such powdered soups or other similar meals can easily fit into your bag then all you need is a mess tin to prepare and eat from.

Mess Tins

mess tins for an EDC Bag

I chose the above mess tins for their strong handles and they fitted inside each other well, they’re also a lightweight Aluminium construction. You can pack your ration packs inside the tins or anything delicate that you want to protect from impacts.

medical supplies for an EDC Bag
All this medical gear fits in the mess tins
waterproof containers for survival kit
Waterproof containers for Tea/Coffee or a sewing kit

Dutch army, only two tins

It has to fit in your bag

3 in 1 Stainless set, no handles though


mini portable stove for a 72 hour survival kit
Takes up little room
Quick cuppa Tea


packing an EDC Bag
Fill it up
cordage options
Child car seat belts
cordage options for an EDC Bag
Options for cordage

Heavy duty seat belt material salvaged from a child car seat has many uses for the adventurer and survivor. Make sure you include something similar or at least some paracord and especially if you’re heading into difficult terrain.

EDC Bag – Technology

Your EDC Bag is the place for your cell phone or depending on signal coverage, it might need to be a satellite phone. Any communication device you have belongs in this bag when you leave camp. Obviously, you would also need to carry a means to recharge their batteries or spares.

Basic GPS
pocket weather station
Pocket weather station
LED lenser torch for an EDC Bag
Don’t forget the torch
Take the small ones if you must
EDC Bag/72 hour survival kit contents

Similar to mine

Cheaper and with a compass

Cheaper Kestrel

Get one of these and you can do your own weather forecasting, which can be very handy when living outdoors. Even if you’re only ahead of bad weather by a half an hour, you will be better prepared for it.

The Bag Continued

Your bag selection will be critical, now that you can see the type and amount of gear you should be looking to carry. I will go through the details of why I chose my kit bag. Even though you will select yours based on what you prefer. So long as long as you stick to these fundamentals, then your choice of bag will be a success.

Survival Pouch key areas:
  • Impressive mid sized carrying capacity, lots of storage space, webbing, pockets, loops, ties etc?
  • Strong water resistant materials used for manufacture of bag and straps/handles
  • Stitching and rivets for seam strength, buckles and clips all from durable metal or hard plastic and they all engage and hold tight?
  • Supreme carrying comfort including the weight distribution on the body, padded straps and other pressure point areas padded?
  • When carried it remains in place and stable and not sliding off or around the shoulders also not bouncing against the body as you walk?
  • Can the bag’s weight be completely repositioned on the body and remain stable and as comfortable as before? Or is there an alternate way to carry the bag to alleviate the carrying stress points?
  • Can you reposition the bag quickly to increase your stability walking on difficult terrain?
  • Will your choice satisfy ALL your needs and look and feel so good that you will want to take it with you and not leave it behind?
  • This bag WILL make you want to walk somewhere with it!
Army Surplus EDC Bag

My EDC Bag, was purchased from an Army surplus outlet and I chose it for the very bottom reason on the list. As I could already see it had all the other attributes mentioned above. With my survival bag you can see and feel when you wear it, that someone has put a lot of thought into its design. It ticked all of the boxes for me so make sure yours does too.

Not everyone can or will find an Army surplus bag and suggesting any bag (or thing) to anyone is difficult. I consider the choice of a bag to be a highly personal task. All because of the reasons stated above – the bag HAS to be comfortable on you personally, even to the point that you like to look at it!

Any kits or bags I recommend will be based on how close they get to answering the above fundamental questions, the same applies to any tools, equipment or the like. The fundamentals are what’s important and you can make the personal choices based on what suits your situation best.

Before you head off to make your own awesome EDC Bag/72 hr survival kit check out the photos of my bags fundamentals to assist in your own choices. When you’re done assembling your gear for your EDC bag, check out this post on how to pack it.

I hope this helps!

Hard plastic clips, durable bag materials
Hold tight but quick release too
Strong webbing and drawstring, zippers are all good to have
drawstring inside the EDC Bag/72 hour survival kit bag
Keep everything inside
stress point padding for a EDC Bag/72 hour survival kit bag
Stress points padded, especially the shoulder strap
Carrying weight
carrying position for a shoulder bag
Carry on either hip and shoulder
Carried to the front, rest your arms
EDC Bag/72 hour survival kit carried on the back
Carried on the back
Easy to reach items
More loops, tie your Bivi bag on
Velcro – attach a map pocket
Many storage options with this bag
water container tied to an EDC Bag/72 hour survival kit
Tie on a water container
Slips under the flap
pocket survival kit stored in the 72 hour survival kit
Store your Pocket Survival Kit here when not in use

Thanks for reading!

by bing74

July 31, 2020

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