If you are like me you probably have a lot of bags that surround you. You may have bags that stay in the car for emergencies, you may have bug-out bags in the house, you may have dedicated outdoor and hunting bags, and you may have a bag that you carry on a daily basis. Having a lot of emergency preparedness gear is good, but we need to set priorities when we assemble and coordinate this gear. The most vital equipment is what you have on your person at any given time. Therefore, the first tier of essential emergency tools needs to be worn on the person. A second tier of equipment that can still be readily accessible much of the time, however, can be accomplished by using an EDC pouch that can be worked into any other bag or luggage that you are using.
An EDC pouch is a small and lite-weight pack that you can carry with you in your daily life. Even in the urban setting people carrying small bags these days, or even larger back packs, so such carry appears perfectly normal in most environments. Women carry a purse all the time so for the ladies the EDC pouch can simply be a larger and more functional purse put to this use. For men there is a huge selection of sling bags and messenger bags available that fit the bill although I prefer to use a Maxpedition EDC pouch as it can easily be placed inside of other bags. I am also a proponent of keeping a “get-home” bag in each vehicle. I keep such a bag in each car which contains cold weather clothing, emergency food and water, and emergency shelter so that such gear is on hand if a situation arises when away from home.
Emergency weather gear is too bulky and heavy, though, to carry with you while going about your daily business, of course. I like the idea of a single backpack that I can put on my back that has everything needed to hit the bricks on foot but the reality is bags of such size are not easily carried around. Therefore, the EDC pouch serves a different role than a bug-out bag or get-home bag. It is a small pack with only the most essential gear that can be easily taken in the vehicle or even carried anywhere you go, and it proves modular: you can put it in the larger bags if you need to and maintain that consistent assortment of essential gear.
When considering an EDC pouch you need to prioritize what will go in this small and lite pack that will be limited in space. Therefore, what do you most need in an emergency, the nature of which would not allow you to go retrieve something from your vehicle or other distant place? For example, you should be able to make it to your car if a blizzard strikes and you need warm clothes or an emergency blanket. You don’t need to carry those items on you, unless, perhaps, you use public transportation. Likewise, if you are in the wilderness and desperately need food and water you should be carrying a substantial pack with rations, a canteen, and water purification ability already. Certainly keep this survival gear in your vehicle or carry it while in the wilderness, but you don’t need it in an EDC pouch.
So, conversely, the EDC pouch is made for daily use and should contain gear for emergencies as well as tools of any kind that you may need but don’t carry actually on your person. The EDC pouch is an extension of your carry that would probably be on your person if there was room for it! Weaponry or support gear for your weaponry is in order. Medical gear is in order as a tourniquet and hemostatic gauze is needed right here and now if it is needed at all. Special medications for certain conditions is needed immediately if such a crisis arises. These things are all suitable for the EDC pouch.
When deciding what to put in your bag consider what you are carrying on your person already as that should be the first tier of emergency gear. On a daily basis I carry on my body a gun, a reload, a knife, a tourniquet and hemostatic, a light, and pepper spray. Therefore, this first line of gear can go a long way in resolving emergency situations. In my EDC bag I supplement this gear. In the pack I keep spare magazines, a spare light, a multi tool, and extra trauma gear. This gives me emergency management ability that is beyond just what I can carry on my body.
Along with these defensive and medical tools I also keep things that are essential to me personally. I keep a spare set of glasses and contact lenses as I need corrective lenses. I also keep medicine that I sometimes need like Aspirin and Tylenol and the like. I also keep a pen and a phone charger and other daily needs. Therefore, the EDC bag is not only practical for an unforeseen crisis, but also for daily life. This little pouch is always at least in the vehicle and if spending significant amounts of time in public places with the family I will carry it in another bag so that the gear within is immediately available and can be carried in any other pack.
Since the EDC pouch is fairly small if I am in a situation where I need to walk home in hostile weather or an emergency evacuation or the like I can simply put the EDC pouch in the larger emergency backpack that stays in my car. Likewise, if going on a hike or doing something outdoors the EDC pouch can go in the larger backpack. It can even go in a diaper bag that is needed when out and about with an infant, or be placed in the stroller. This way I always have this essential gear with me no matter what other bag I am using or what activity I am doing. This, in my experience, is a good solution because packing and using different bags for different activities obviously requires different gear. The self-defense and medical gear in the EDC pouch, however, is universal to anything I do and it gets plugged into the other gear being used.