Best Everyday Carry (EDC) Items List For Women

Ladies, are you confused by everyday carry (EDC) jargon? Do you wonder if what you have stashed in your purse counts as EDC gear?

If you’re intrigued by pocket dump culture, but maybe aren’t inclined to go full-tactical just to hit the grocery store, we’re here to help.

EDC Purse
Epic EDC Purse (courtesy of Lifehacker)

The world of EDC doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you’re a woman, chances are you’re already packing some of the standard go-to items.

Today, we’re going to walk you through the basics of the everyday carry philosophy, examine ways to scale your EDC gear to meet your individual needs, and ultimately help you build a useful kit that reflects your lifestyle.  

Note: This article is geared toward women, especially those new to the concept of everyday carry. However, this blog has a lot of helpful information that could be relevant to more experienced readers, and even lads ready to explore the what, why, and how of EDC.

Table of Contents

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What Is EDC?

It’s easy for newcomers to feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the nebulous concept that is EDC, especially when the internet is saturated with information, personal opinions, and gear debates.  

So, here’s your simple answer: EDC stands for “Everyday Carry” and encompasses the must-have items you need to make it through the day.

That’s it.

Everyday Carry Gif

For example, your basic kit should include your keys, cell phone, wallet, and any other daily necessities essential to your personal lifestyle.

You know that awful feeling when you’ve forgotten something at home, and the loss upsets the entire flow of your day? Whatever that critical item is, try to include it in your EDC kit.

Despite popular—and oftentimes hilarious—misconceptions, EDC isn’t all about tactical or wilderness survival gear.

But for those of us who like to be prepared for the unexpected, it’s not a bad idea to carry tools like flashlights, pocket knives, handguns, and what have you.

Left Something at Home
Don’t be this guy.

Believe it or not, most women are natural EDC experts. Your purse probably contains the items you need to handle simple everyday accidents and unexpected emergencies—both major and minor.

Do you keep a hair tie or nail file handy, just in case? Are there Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, and ibuprofen in your handbag?

That, ladies, is everyday carry. And you’re already earning a gold star!

Mary Poppins
No one can beat the queen of EDC. But you can get close!

Now, let’s learn how to maximize your EDC gear. 

EDC: Understanding Purpose, Need, Probability & Impact

While EDC technically refers to everything you’re carrying when you leave the house, it’s not meant to include those crumpled receipts and used tissues we’re all guilty of stashing in our purses.

The concept of EDC can be broken down into four cornerstones: purpose, probability, frequency of need, and impact.

Girl, we all have those days.
Girl, we all have those days.

Your EDC pieces should serve some purpose, even if you rarely or never need to use them. The idea is that they will be there, right at your fingertips, if you ever find yourself in a tight spot.

In other words, it is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them. 

Preparation

True, it’s impossible to prepare for every inconvenience, accident, or emergency.

But you can plan for situations that have a high probability of actually happening, and prioritize certain EDC tools and items with those scenarios in mind.

You can also think about your EDC gear in terms of “frequency of need.” 

If chipped or broken nails are a regular source of frustration, you may want to carry a nail file with you to work. This is a situation that ranks high in probability.

In contrast, if you are unlikely to encounter a bear attack on your morning commute, it’s probably safe to say you can leave the bear spray at home. 

Bears
Cute, deadly, but not something you need to worry about in most urban landscapes.

“Impact” is another aspect to weigh when considering what to add to your EDC kit. The more severe the impact of a potential situation, the more you should consider preparing for that scenario. 

For instance, your chances of experiencing a mass shooting are relatively low. The lifetime risk of dying in a mass shooting event is approximately 1 in 110,150.

Although the probability is extremely low, its potential impact on you and the others around you could be catastrophic.

Due to the severity of impact, you may want to add a tourniquet or trauma kit to your EDC set-up if you have the room. 

EDITOR'S PICK
25
at LAPG

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

There are so many reasons to carry a tourniquet. If you would like to learn more, review our hands-on guide Best Tourniquets & Holders [Myths, Usage, and Top Picks].

How to Carry: Purse, Pockets & Other Options

Have you ever felt frustrated looking at cool pocket dump pictures on the internet? I certainly have.

It’s nothing for the average guy to cram a wallet, pocket knife, flashlight, multitool, and a lighter into his extra-roomy pants pockets.

Better Pockets
What am I supposed to do with this? Levi’s? Calvin Klein? Bueller?

Unfortunately, women’s fashion isn’t nearly as generous.

Our pants usually have small, shallow pockets that can barely fit a credit card and a hair tie, let alone a cell phone or keys.

And that’s if we’re lucky to have pockets at all—don’t get me started on those fake pockets, especially the ones with functional zippers. Talk about cruelty!   

No wonder we get so deliriously happy when we score a dress with actual pockets.

Pockets

Thankfully, women do have one socially acceptable EDC carry method: our purses. No one gives a second glance to a woman with her handbag. This opens up some major carry space!

But don’t get carried away, at least not yet. There are some factors you need to consider before loading up your purse.

The Problem With Purses

A good purse isn’t just a major fashion statement—it can also double as an excellent gear bag!

Even so, you should still carry your most important EDC items on your body.

A purse is easy to misplace or forget, especially if you aren’t used to carrying one. They are also easy targets for thieves.

Inept Thief
If only all thieves were so inept…

As a rule, you shouldn’t carry anything in your handbag that you aren’t willing to lose.

If your EDC kit includes a weapon of any sort, keep that weapon on your body, even if you choose to carry other items in your purse. 

Sure, there are tons of purses designed and marketed for concealed carry, but that doesn’t mean they are the best place to keep your CCW.

Why? I’m glad you asked!

First, you don’t get to choose when or where you’ll be attacked. Most victims, even those who try to be prepared, are typically caught off-guard in the heat of the moment.

Self-Defense
Speaking of preparation, I highly recommend taking some self-defense courses.

In a self-defense situation, you don’t want to have to reach for your bag, fumble around, locate your firearm, and then draw it (along with a wad of receipts and used tissues) to engage your attacker.

Even if it only takes a few extra seconds to access your weapon, that lost time could cost you your life.  

But a holstered CCW is always within easy reach.

Second, your firearm is much more secure when it is on your body.

The last thing you want is for an assailant or thief—or god forbid, a curious child—to find a weapon carefully hidden in your shoulder bag.

Other EDC & CCW Clothing Options

If you aren’t the purse-carrying type of gal, don’t worry. There are other ways you can carry your EDC items, even if your wardrobe options don’t include deep pockets or cargo pants (let me dream).

Here are a few convenient ways to keep your EDC items handy.   

1. Belly Band

A belly band is a wide piece of stretchy material that wraps around your waist, hips, or chest.

It’s typically used for concealed carry, but these stretchy bands often have integrated pockets in addition to a spot for your favorite handgun.

I recommend the ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band Holster.

If you need to wear an outfit without pockets, this belly band provides a secure place for your weapon and other essentials, like your credit card, ID, and some spare cash. 

28
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Concealment Shorts

Concealment clothing typically looks, feels, and functions like regular compression shorts. Most brands are designed for exercise or CCW, so you shouldn’t have any trouble carrying your favorite EDC items.

But that’s not the only good news.

Concealment shorts flatten your tummy and lift your butt cheeks, so you’ll always look fabulous as you go about your day.

Wink

UnderTech Undercover makes super comfy Women’s Concealment Shorts that fit under dresses, skirts, and shorts.

What makes these shorts so great (aside from the comfort) is that they are custom-built to carry sidearms, IDs, spare magazines, and handcuffs—and that’s just a few examples.

According to anecdotal reviews, you can even wear these versatile shorts in reverse so the holsters are positioned in front of your body.

60
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you want to carry more items, BALEAF compression shorts for runners feature wide pockets that are the perfect size for your phone, driver’s license, and other essentials. 

The only downside to these shorts is that they’re made specifically for runners, bikers, and yoga enthusiasts—not people concealed carrying.

Also, they aren’t exactly squat-proof, if you catch my drift. If you aren’t wearing another article of clothing over your shorts, people may be able to see the outline of your EDC items.

20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Money Belt

A money belt is a small zippered pouch that you can strap around your waist.

Concerned about looking like a nerdy dad on vacation? Don’t worry. Money belts are smaller, less conspicuous, and slightly more fashionable than a fanny pack. 

EDC Essentials
A money belt can carry it all!

You can tuck a money belt under your everyday clothes without much fuss.

And, while savvy travelers tend to use these wearable pockets for their passports, travelers’ checks, and other important documents, a money belt works just as well for carrying a flashlight, pocket knife, lighter, and Band-Aids to the office.

You know, just in case. 

We are big fans of the Raytix Travel Money Belt.

This belt is thin enough to disappear under your clothes, even if you’re a fan of filmy blouses and skinny jeans.

It also blocks all RFID transmissions, so you get an extra layer of protection from electronic thieves. 

10
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

EDC: What To Carry

There is no one-size-fits-all EDC list.

Deciding what to include in your EDC kit is a highly personal decision, and what works for one person may not work for you.

Ultimately, the best items for your kit need to fit your lifestyle, routine, available space, and personal preferences.  

Good Choices

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with checking out other people’s pocket dumps for inspiration.

Here is a picture of my basic “EDC Lite” pocket dump:

Alice's EDC Set-Up

This is what I carry to the grocery store, out to eat, etc.

My EDC pocket dump includes my handgun, an extra magazine, keys (with kubaton and paracord keychains), pocket knife, flashlight, lighter, phone, ID, credit card, feminine product, lip balm, and a hair tie. 

You’re likely wondering how I fit all that stuff into the tiny pockets of my jeans.

For the record, I take great pride in being able to pull it off without looking lumpy. Here’s what I look like on my way to the grocery store:

Alice the ECD Queen

Still not sure where to start? Let’s go over the basics. 

Your Basic Items

Let’s start with the things you always grab when you leave the house. If you’re like most people, that includes your phone, wallet, and keys.

1. Cell Phone

This handy item goes without saying. After all, when was the last time you left home without your cell phone?

Cell Phone
Oh look, it’s me.

The modern smartphone does far more than make calls and send SnapChats.

It’s also a camera, map, notepad, flashlight, credit card, measuring tape, and whatever else you can download as an app.

However, your phone is little more than a useless paperweight if the battery dies or the network crashes, so prepare a backup plan just in case.  

Backup Plan

2. Wallet

The type of wallet you carry really doesn’t matter all that much. It’s what’s inside that counts, and by that, I mean your money, credit cards, driver’s license, etc.

Your wallet can also be a handy place to tuck a small, credit card-sized multi-tool like the Tuncily Survival Tool.

This handy little device is incredibly durable and manufactured with heat-treated stainless steel, so you’ll never need to worry about it bending or breaking.

You can use it as a screwdriver, bottle opener, wrench, saw blade, ruler, and so much more.

Just don’t forget to take it out of your wallet before entering a courthouse or dancing with the TSA. It’s not expensive to replace, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of it being confiscated.

8
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Confession time: I have a reputation for losing my wallet.

Fortunately, the same can’t be said for my cell phone; in fact, my brain has practically evolved into a functioning GPS for that thing.  

While I can’t explain the logic behind that disparity, I can at least work with my strengths.

My life changed after I attached a Wallaroo Card Holder to my cell phone—no, I’m not kidding or exaggerating.

This baby holds all my essential wallet items, and now I have one less thing to grab (or remember, in my case) when leaving the house.

The Wallaroo Card Holder is compatible with most smartphones, made with genuine leather, comes in multiple colors, and its non-slip interior grip holds up to three credit card-sized items.

Plus, every purchase supports baby kangaroos. Wallaroo, indeed!

14
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Keys

If you leave the house without your keys, chances are you won’t get very far.

But it can be such a hassle to cart around keys to your house, car, office, boyfriend’s apartment, et cetera, and so on. If you want to minimize your gear, get rid of any keys you don’t need on a daily basis.

Consider a keychain that doubles as a fire starter or one that can be used as a self-defense weapon, like a monkey fist or a kubaton

Personally, I favor the steel kubaton.

It’s a small keychain weapon—only 5.5” in length, but you can do some serious damage with that blunt tip.

You can also use it to break a car window if you’re trapped inside or trying to save someone after a collision.

12
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Knives, Flashlights & Multitools

Now that we’ve covered the basic necessities, let’s move on to what many people in the preparedness world consider the “Holy Trinity” of EDC.

These three items are largely considered to be the most useful tools you can add to your kit; in fact, you’ll never see a die-hard EDC aficionado without them.

1. Pocket Knife

Guys love their pocket knives, but the same can’t be said for a majority of women. Ladies, it’s time to kick societal norms to the curb and embrace the pocket knife.

Pocket Knife

A good pocket knife can be the most useful and versatile tool in your EDC arsenal.

You can use it to open packages, break down boxes, cut string, peel an apple, or slice a cheesecake. One should always be prepared for cheesecake!

edc pocket knives
EDC Pocket Knives

Now, on to the big question: What type of pocket knife should you use?

I chose mine because it reminds me of my Dad. I picked it up at a flea market almost a decade ago, and it has always served me well.

While sentimentality worked for me, you should probably rely on logic, practicalities, and customer reviews before slapping down a credit card.

I recommended looking for an EDC-friendly option that is compact and lightweight.

If you want specific suggestions, Travis covers what to look for in an EDC knife and gives some pretty cool hands-on reviews in the 10 Best EDC Knives Under $50 & $100.

For a cost-effective option, I recommend the light duty Kershaw Leek. It’s manufactured with Sandvik 14C28N knife steel, the same alloy used to make high-quality chef knives.

This slim little number only weighs 3 ounces and is perfect for slipping into tight pockets.

Best For Light-Duty
45
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Make sure to check local regulations before you settle on a specific pocket knife. Some places have laws restricting blade size and style. 

2. Flashlight

Your swanky smartphone probably comes with a pretty decent flashlight. Even so, you should probably carry a standalone EDC flashlight for that unexpected crisis.

Remember, you don’t want to be SOL when your phone light drains the battery!

Best EDC Flashlights (L to R, Zebralight SC63, Olight S2, Fenix PD25, ThruNite Ti4, ThruNite Ti3)
EDC Flashlights

A small flashlight is easy to maneuver and has a tight beam, making it the perfect ally during a power outage or a swift nighttime stroll to the car.

…it’s also useful if you need to hunt for a missing earring under the couch. Just saying.

While my husband, with his deep man pockets, can totally get away with carrying a big, tactical flashlight, I opt for something much smaller.

It fits better in my shallow lady pockets without drawing tons of unwanted attention.

Fenix PD25 & Accesories
Fenix PD25 & Accesories

If you want to learn more about EDC-friendly flashlights, check out our hands-on review of the 5 Best Everyday Carry Flashlights for 2020.

We tested for lumen output, ease of use, and ease of carry to find the best ultra-portable and low weight flashlights.

One of our top winners was the Fenix PD25, a compact EDC light that is powered by a mini-USB rechargeable 16340 battery.

We’re big fans of the button set-up, quality beam spread, and its potential to double as a tactical light.  

Editor's Choice (EDC Flashlight)
58
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Multitool

A multitool may look like some cartoon scientist’s latest and greatest invention, but these handy gadgets allow you to stuff a virtual tool shed right into your pocket or purse.

Multitool Family Photo
Multitool Family Photo

Your average multitool provides options like pliers, screwdrivers, bottle openers, nail files, wire cutters, scissors, and cutting edges—and all in one convenient, foldable device!

Need a little more convincing? We’ve got you covered with the 6 Best Multitools [Hands-On Tested & Video].

Spoiler alert: Our favorite is the Leatherman Wave+.

It’s compact, intuitive, lightweight, and bursting with features, including needle nose pliers, a flathead screwdriver, shears, a can opener, Phillip’s attachments, a built-in wirecutter, and more.

The Leatherman Wave+ also incorporates a serrated blade, a saw blade, and a file.

It’s very safe to use and carry; in fact, you can’t even utilize the serrated blade or primary knife without the multitool being fully closed.

99
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Daily Essentials For Your EDC Kit

There’s no need to confine your EDC kit to just the bare basics. Ultimately, you’re only limited by your imagination and the amount of space in your pockets or bag.  

Again, that doesn’t mean you should go wild and carry a heavy suitcase around, but you can pack first aid essentials and other critical supplies.

Having a good IFAK or first aid kit in your car is a wise plan but you also need to carry a tourniquet on your body. If you have an EDC you can also have an EDC TQ.
Always pack your first aid essentials.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started!

Hygiene:

  • Lip balm
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Baby wipes

First Aid:

  • Face mask
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Pain reliever (like aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen)
  • Extra prescription medication
  • Burn cream
  • Ace bandage
  • Latex gloves

When it comes to first aid, you can always include a premade “boo-boo” kit, or you can assemble your own.

Hydration:

If you think tap water is nasty, wait until you try drinking from a mud puddle. Luckily, you can avoid that fate with these hydration options.

Outdoor Survival:

Other Supplies:

  • Super glue
  • Safety pins
  • Rubber bands
  • Zip ties
  • Small trash bags
  • Energy or protein bars
  • Solar charger for cell phone
  • Paracord or twine
  • Duct tape
  • Area map
  • Notepad and pen

I know this is a pretty long list. Try not to overthink it. No one could carry ALL that stuff unless they have that cool beaded bag Hermione uses in the last Harry Potter book.

Hermione Bag
Add this to my EDC wishlist, please!

If you feel overwhelmed by the options, it’s perfectly okay to start with a few basic items, like a pocket knife and a flashlight. You can always expand from there. 

Got Skills?

When it comes to cultivating an EDC mindset, don’t neglect your personal skill sets. You can’t always head to the store, whip out your credit card, and buy a solution to every problem.

Besides, gear is pointless if you don’t know how to use it.

I'm Poor
I wish I could buy my problems away!

Skills are vital to preparedness. You can take them with you wherever you go, even into gun-free zones. They don’t even take up space in your pockets or handbag!

So, while you’re adding gear to your EDC pocket dump, invest in some classes. Basic first aid, martial arts, firearms training, and swimming lessons should be at the top of your list.

You can also rely on internet guides and YouTube tutorials to learn more basic skills.

For example, if you don’t know how to sew a button, change a tire, tie a knot, start a fire, or read a map, take the time to learn these valuable skills before you’re SOL.

I got skills

Final Thoughts

EDC is about establishing your priorities and ensuring your peace of mind. The heart of this philosophy is to assemble a unique kit or set-up that fits your individual needs.

There aren’t any set “rules,” but try to balance potential impact and probability when choosing your gear.

And try not to carry too many nonessentials. A heavy kit is going to weigh you down and tire you out, so don’t overdo it. If possible, find items that can serve multiple purposes, like a multitool.

You got this

What are some of the essentials you carry with you every day? Share your suggestions, questions, or personal stories in the comments below. 

Need some advice on how to conceal carry your EDC weapon? Check out our article on the  Best Way to Conceal Carry for Women.

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1 Leave a Reply

  • Nilsigne

    My daily carry is usually my small camera bag (I work as a photographer) I tried carrying on person but I could never get into it. Instead I have a Velcro Mount inside bag with a safariland holster for my beretta px4 and attached light and spare magazine. Other things are phone and Nikon D850 and whatever lens I’m using that day, and hair ties... lots and lots of hair ties lol. Also I do sometimes keep bear spray because I live in Washington mountains

    2 weeks ago
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