Men tend to carry things in their pockets or maybe a backpack or briefcase. Women on the other hand usually carry purses. Backpack style and cross-body bags are popular with many commuters as they give you a secure hands-free option.
Many of these purses are created in leather, and some have gotten so big that they are really no longer purses but similar to day packs. Of course, decked out in stylish leather and bearing designer price tags they would not be something you would ever see on an afternoon hike. However, there are affordable options, they give you plenty of room for an EDC kit. Some also have internal holsters for carrying a handgun but that is an article for another day.
Also if you work in an urban environment and typically wear heels to work, you are going to want to figure out a way to carry shoes you can walk or run in. That could mean a bigger purse/pack or if you drive directly to work you could leave a pair in your vehicle or perhaps in a desk drawer. Either way, you need something that will allow you to evacuate as quickly and painless as possible.
I have listed very few brands here, with a few exceptions. The eighteen items listed (not including the example purse) and the bonus items are all based on the 10 c’s of survival, with emphasis on the first 5 c’s. They are examples to get you thinking about what would work best in your environment and typical situation. You want your EDC kit to be light enough and user-friendly enough that you will find uses for most things outside of a survival situation.
UTO Women Backpack Purse PU Washed Leather Convertible Ladies Rucksack Tassel Zipper Pocket Shoulder Bag. I would remove the single shoulder strap since you can still sling it over a single shoulder with the back pack straps and removing it means someone can’t come up behind you and grab that strap. A rucksack style gives you more options in the interior and the organizer above can go at the bottom out of the way of any other items or pouches. Plus it has exterior water bottle pouches on the side. You could have a water bottle on side and you poncho in its stuff sack on the other side to balance it out. You might even be able to nest a metal cup with the water bottle as the side pockets expand.
Gonex Travel Makeup Bag for Women with Mirror/Travel Kit Organizer with Handle Strap. Much cheaper than the more tactical brands. What I like about it is one side is highly organized and the other side is more open allowing you to fit in odd-shaped items.
Small First Aid Kit – 66 Pieces – Small and Light Bag . There should be plenty of room to add a small tube of antibiotic ointment and some pain relievers, anti-diarrheal, anti-gas, cough drops and heartburn meds and any prescription meds you might need. Make sure you take the time to note expiration dates on any medications so you know when items need to be replaced.
Waterproof Headlamp and a spare battery. This will allow you to move and work handsfree. The cheapest ones start around $5 and go up depending on quality.
A spring-assist folding knife will work, but if you have the room and the budget a full-tang knife is an excellent option. And yes there is a knife on the multitool you will be adding as well, but you should always have at least two ways of cutting something just like you always carry more than one way to start a fire.
Titanium Spork means
no worries about forgetting utensils for your lunch. Stainless steel would also work but isn’t
any cheaper and this weighs just slightly less.
UZI UZI-TACPEN1-BK Aircraft Aluminum Defender Tactical Pen. It is an actual pen, can break glass and be used to defend yourself. There are entire YouTube videos devoted to self-defense with a tactical pen.
SPF 50 Sunscreen Lip Balm – especially if you are fair-skinned you need to have this in your purse. Cracked and bleeding lips because you got stuck outside for a few extra hours is not something you want to experience.
Mini LED Keychain Flashlight. This is a backup light to your headlamp, and because it is on your keys you will be shocked at how often you end up using it. Even if it is just to find something at the bottom of your purse.
#36 Tarred Bank Line –Heavy Duty 100% Nylon Twine. Paracord is great, but it takes up a lot of space. This is not as strong, but it holds knots very well and can handle up to 350lbs. Useful for many things, but most of all for improvising shelter.
SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick. It isn’t going to cover your entire body, but it will keep you from sun burning your face or the face of your unprepared friend. The stick style makes it easier to organize and you don’t have to be concerned with leaks.
Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover Pen. Life gets messy. This can keep you from walking around with an embarrassing stain on your clothing all day.
Repel 100 Insect Repellent, Pen-Size Pump Spray, 0.475-Ounce. Biting insects can drive you crazy, plus they can carry disease. Unless you live in a utopia without bugs, you owe it to your peace of mind to carry this.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle – single wall with wide mouth. A single wall container can be placed directly in a fire to boil water to purify it or too cook food. If you have the room to add a stainless steel cup you could pack some instant oatmeal, or other “just add water” food to make a quick hot meal.
Multitool Multi-Purpose Pocket Knife, Saw, Pliers Kit. Get the best one you can afford that will fit in the space you have. Leatherman is generally considered the best multitools, however, they are very spendy.
Hooded Rain Poncho – use as poncho or tarp, has gromets in corners. The ones that have the visor are especially useful for those wear glasses as unless the wind is blowing into your face it will keep the water off your glasses.
Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System, includes collapsible water pouch for filtering. This allows you to drink water without having to boil it first and the pouch gives you one more option for carrying water with you.
Ferrocerium drilled fire starter Ferro Rod and Striker – you can purchase them like the one pictured here, or if you get a drilled one you can attach a bright-colored paracord lanyard so you don’t lose it.
Compressed biodegradable towel tablets. With just a tiny bit of water these turn into a moist towelette that you can use for to clean up with and for personal hygiene in the bathroom too.
A cotton bandana in orange allows you to use it as a signaling device to draw attention to yourself. You can also use it as a pre-filter when filling your water filtration system. It has many uses additional uses as well, such as a dust mask, sling, head cover or hair tie.
You already have a ferro rod in your kit but you will also want to carry a Bic Lighter or two and possibly a frensel lens or strong magnifying lens for solar powered fire starts. Make sure you get a bright colored one that is easy to spot if it gets dropped. There are many hacks and tips on getting the most from your lighter including holders and gadgets.
Some other things you may want to include are a packet of tissues, feminine hygiene products, cosmetics, hard candies, gloves, small sewing kit, hair ties, fingernail clippers and/or file or anything else that fits you and your environment.
For example, if you spend a lot of time on your phone, then you are probably going to want a power bank to recharge your phone if you don’t have the time or place to do so.
Some people like to have food in their purse such as meal replacement bars, jerky, nuts, instant oatmeal etc… for their continued health and well being, but for others those items might just be “nice to have if you have room” items.
Personalize your kit to what suits you. It is ok to add items in your favorite colors or because it is cute, but try to make sure that the cute stuff is also practical for everyday use. Periodically review your kit and update it as needed.
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