First of all, 3 important clarifications:
1. I live in Canada. Which is great on the most part, but one of the few negative implications is that we are not allowed to carry any weapons for self defense purposes. Period. Were it not the case, my EDC list would have included a concealed-carried handgun with 3 16-round mags, plus pepper spray and a kubotan or a telescoping baton. Ridiculously, the former can only be legally carried to an approved range and back, and all the latter are considered prohibited weapons under the current legislation here. Alas...
2. I know there are no defined boundaries for what constitutes an EDC kit, and I am thoroughly pushing the envelope here ;-) What I am going to present below is an EDC / GHB / day pack hybrid. This kit is always with me - be it at work, or when I go places, or on a short hike through a forest. Essentially, always. And I don't like the idea of having to think, "Ah, today I am going there to do that, so I have to take this and that..." It's safer to just have it all there, all the time.
My commute from the suburbs to work is 30-odd km each way. If some serious S hits the proverbial F when I'm Downtown, I may find myself walking all the way back, overnight. As remote as this possibility is, I prefer not to be caught with my pants down.
On the other hand, you'll find some pretty mundane stuff in my kit, which I use most often - and isn't that the true definition of the EDC?
That being said, this is not the only kit at my disposal. There's a car kit for when I travel on wheels, geared specifically for that (with extra water, food, blankets, 12V lighter to USB adapter, and car-related stuff). And, of course, there's a BOB, which supplements the EDC/GHB content with items like a water filter, a hatchet, a wire saw, etc.
3. Although technically this is not a part of the EDC *bag* per se, I think it's important to mention that I usually wear cargo pants with lots of pockets and a sturdy belt, and I rarely leave the home in anything other than hiking shoes (or hunting snow boots in winter). I consider those a very important part of the EDC concept.
Now, after the inadvertently lengthy intro, let's finally get to the bag and its content.
1. The bag itself. A simple, inconspicuous $40 laptop backpack from Costco. The primary reason for this choice is "the gray man" approach. A tactical (or a tacti-cool) bag with all kinds of gizmos, pouches and morale patches strapped to its MOLLE would definitely stand out among the hipster sheeple crowd. And, as an added bonus, I do carry a laptop to work ;-)
This bag obviously is not something I'd want to carry for a prolonged period of time over any significant distances, but for its declared purposes it seems quite satisfactory.
2. Maps of the area (in a ZipLock bag). Hopefully self-explanatory.
3 to 8. This is my extended survival kit. It's been a bit of a contentious issue for me, whether to include it into the EDC or leave it in the BOB... For now it's here, because there are items that IMO do belong to the EDC, and I don't like the idea of breaking kits into sub-kits; that's a sure way to find out you've forgotten the very piece of equipment you need because this time - of all the times! - you've left it home. So this way I can just grab the whole pack and transfer it to the BOB, if needed.
In further detail:
3. The core survival kit (emergency bottle, signalling stuff, compass, paracord, carbines, tape, rubber bands, wire, safety pins, sewing kit, tea candles, black garbage bag, various size ziplock bags, water purification tablets, hot glue stick).
4. Hygiene kit (lip balm, hand sanitizer, dental floss, nail clipper, moist wipes, sun screen, feminine supplies - yes, that's right; you never know when the female part of the family may need those).
5. SOL emergency bivvy.
6. Emergency blanket.
7. Fire kit (it's always good to have more than one way to light a fire; but don't worry, it includes a lighter too, not just the various low-tech suvivalist / boyscout implements).
8. Zip ties. One of the more often used items in the kit.
9. Spare clothes: T shirt, underwear, quality socks, rain pants, and yes, light thermal underwear (because even in the brief periods when there is no snow on the ground up here, the nights may still get pretty chilly). This set consumes a large bulk of the bag's space, but it's important to have. Not necessarily for spending a night in the woods at TEOTWAWKI, but even in such down to earth scenarios when you spill something on your clothes, or got soaked by a sudden rain, or a baby pees all over your clothes while you're changing the diaper. In winter this kit gets even bulkier, with a pair of warm gloves, a balaclava, a scarf, and a set of heavier thermal underwear.
10. A windbreaker / rain jacket. Because it rains here too. When it doesn't snow.
11. A Tilley hat and a bandanna. Because, believe it or not, we may even see some hot sunny days, on occasion. Between the rain and the snow.
12. Backpack rain cover. If you want your bag to take of you, you should take care of it. And to keep its content dry, of course.
13. Umbrella. Not a very macho item, I know. Still... Comes in handy on occasion.
14. Sunglasses. Does this need a justification? OK, because it's cool. And because I value my eyes.
15. A bunch of plastic bags, of various sizes. Yup. That simple. Sometimes it pays off to be able to carry more stuff than you were prepared to. Say, if you get fired from your job and have to pack all your mementos and doohickeys. Kidding. Or not.
16. Work gloves. You know what? One of the most often used items in the kit. It's surprising how many times I virtually patted myself on the back for having those handy (pun intended).
17. Toilet paper roll (flattened). Because... Do you really need me to explain?
18. Respirator mask. I've been searching for a while for a mask that can be folded flat. Because let's be honest with ourselves, the regular N95s become somewhat useless when they lose their shape - which they do surprisingly easily when just thrown into the bag.
19. FAK. I'm a little heavy on this aspect - but hey, better safe than sorry, right? Contains: surgical gloves, Israeli field bandage, tourniquet, regular & anti-burn band-aids, elastic bandage, gauze pads and bandage, antiseptic & iodine toilettes, cohesive bandage, Advil & Tylenol, Benadryl, Polysporin, After-bite, heartburn tablets, a compact CPR mask, small SAM splints.
20, 21. Water. One bottle is not enough for any prolonged situation, obviously, but that's what I've got the metal bottle and the purification tablets for. Plus the emergency bottle in the survival kit.
22. Water boiler. For when you're stuck in some relatively civilized place with a power socket, but nothing to boil the water in or on - and you can't just set up a fire on the floor.
23. Dry fruit, dry beans, energy bars, protein powder, teabags. Not only to survive a night or two in the boonies, but also for when your kids suddenly get hungry while on a 200 km trip in a car. Believe you me, appeasing hungry kids is a matter of personal survival!
24. Paper towels.
25. Plastic utensils. Even if the civilization is on a brink of an untimely demise, this is still not good enough a reason to eat with your hands. For now.
26. Cell phone. Yup. Laugh as much as you want, but with our present lifestyle it definitely is an EDC item. Communication and entertainment, anyone? Navigation too, as long as those pesky GPS satellites have not begun falling from the sky.
27. Gerber folder knife. Lives on my belt. Nothing fancy, but used a lot and has definitely proven its worth. As a tool, not as a weapon, mind you ;-)
28. Leatherman Wave with a set of bits. Another invaluable belt-carried companion.
29. Peanut lighter, carried in a side pocket of the Leatherman's case.
30. Mini permanent marker and pencil, carried in the other side pocket of the Leatherman's case.
31. Head lamp. Self explanatory.
32. Crank-operated flashlight. For when the batteries in the headlamp die at the least opportune timing.
33. LED mini-flashlight, carried on the key chain. Can also be clipped to a hat. Because you can never have too many lighting options.
34. Wall socket to 4 USB jacks converter. For when the number of wall sockets is limited, and the whole family suddenly needs to charge their devices.
35. USB battery booster. For when your phone (or other life-saving device such as MP3 player) dies in the middle of the day.
36. Crank USB charger. Yeah, that's a little far fetched, I admit. For when all other options have been exhausted, but you absolutely have to make that phone call.
37. Micro USB cables, short and long. After all, you have to connect all those chargers to your devices somehow.
38. USB flash drive. Because you never know when you'll have to copy some files.
39. A few pens. Just because.
Well, that's it, folks.
Seems like we keep getting into heavier and heavier EDC territory. This has more sheer stuff than my BOB does.
Take a look through and look at redundancies, how much you need them and where you can trim weight and bulk.
We'll talk lights for an example.
You have a headlamp, crank flashlight, a key chain light, presumably a light built onto your phone, plus a couple lighters. You could lose one and not notice - I would ditch the crank flashlight, as those are usually junk and fall apart within a few weeks. If the keychain light is inadequate for general use, there are lots of affordable, high-output keychain lights out there.
Do you need the whole fire kit? Fire is not so difficult to improvise in an urban/suburban environment, and you've got multiple lighters and items that could burn.
The clothes. Could those be left in your vehicle or drawer/cabinet at work? A lot of bulk for items that I'm going to guess are rarely used--seems more prudent to 'cache versus carry.'
Don't get me wrong, I frequently pack a change of clothes in my bag if I'm doing an overnight. But for daily use in my bag, seem like a lot.
If the clothes have got to stay, use the ranger roll to compact them down and ready them for travel.
N95s folded in half and put in a bag store fine for me. I use these medical ones versus the harder white ones.
Why dry beans? Seems like an odd choice, but maybe I'm missing something.
Toilet paper, paper towels and moist wipes. Same purpose. Pick one.
The crank USB charger...I would have a low level of confidence in that working when you needed it to.
Thumbs up on the grey man bag choice. These kinds of bags are everywhere and no one ever pays much attention to them.
Tribe - what say you?