- Buyer's Guide
How to Pack an Everyday Carry (EDC) Bag
Most of us carry an EDC bag, or ‘everyday carry’ bag (for those not acquainted with the acronym). It’s the bag we carry most. But how do we pack an EDC bag properly? Well, I’m here to help.
The world of Everyday Carry has it’s roots in being prepared, and wanting to have items with you during your day that will cover your basic needs, and anything within reason that might pop up.
In serious EDC circles, folks might pack things like a medical kit in case of injury, or a compass if they find themselves off-grid with a need to navigate to safety. Whilst on the other hand, your everyday urban commuter might pack an extra jacket in case they’re caught in an unexpected downpour. We all pack and prepare for different things at different levels.
And it’s worth noting, EDC is a very slippery slope, you can really end up knee-deep in a bunch of useless crap if you’re not careful – I’ve been there. My EDC has evolved throughout the years and if you’re interested, you can read more about that journey here – but right now we’re going to get in to how to handle your EDC bag, in my case: it’s a backpack.
Layout – Where do I put X?
The best way to pick a layout is simply by thinking about when, and how often you’ll need to use the thing. Ideally you don’t want to be reaching in to depths of the Mariana Trench each time you want a pen – the pen you use 35 times a day to jot down notes. Bulky stuff like drink bottles and laptops can prove difficult, luckily most bags these days offer a dedicated spot for a laptop, and if you carry a water bottle each day I’d definitely recommend external bottle pockets.
This is purely my experiences, but I can’t even look at a roll top or top loading bags for EDC – function comes before fashion for my packing.
A rule of thumb is simply pack by need, quick access stuff up top and less likely to be needed stuff down below. Rain jacket? Probably stuff that in the bottom. Transit pass and earphones? Nice and high.
Pouches – get some
No bag comes with perfect organisation, despite how awesome it might seem – there will always be something you can do better. I take my organisation to a pretty insane level by most standards, which include custom made organisation panels, and a lot more pouches – I like pouches. Basically, anything your bag can’t organise properly, a pouch almost definitely can.
No dedicated admin compartment for pens, multi tools etc? Pouch.
No space for your power bank? Portable HDD? Pouch.
I was lucky enough to get in on the BOgear EDC Pouch before BOgear ceased production operations, it completely changed my carry game and is one of the best bag related decisions I’ve ever made.
I even picked up some pouches from IKEA, for $3.99 – perfect for snacks and toiletries.
This one’s easy, just don’t fill your bag up! You need the ability to stuff a couple things in there on an ad hoc basis, whether it be a cheeky 6-pack on the way home or that sneaky piece of cake left over from Sandra’s birthday that’s been sitting in the work fridge.
I find myself unpacking my bag somewhat often, looking at things I haven’t used and things I can switch out. If I haven’t used something in a while, I’ll usually ditch it. I charge batteries, make sure things work and pack everything back in – sometimes changing the organisation to make everything easier to access.
Packing an EDC bag is not a one-time deal, you really do need to take a look every now and then and make sure you’re not carrying stuff that just doesn’t make sense anymore. Carrying a sweater in winter makes sense, carrying one in the blistering summer heat really doesn’t – don’t forget to evaluate your packing.
Obviously there are different courses for different horses, but really, why not make your carry efficient? Lay out your gear properly, organise your small stuff, don’t overpack and evaluate your carry regularly – simple.
*And hey, if you’ve got any insights of your own, we’d love to hear them in the comments!