Prepping has gained a lot of traction in recent times, especially given the rather “interesting” times we live in. I thought it might therefore interest some people to have a look inside my everyday carry (EDC) pouch. EDC pouches and kits are an increasingly common concept, with the idea being that this pouch will contain the absolute basics you need to survive or to get to your main kit. Pre packaged EDC kits are starting to appear on places like Wish and Aliexpress, but for the bargain price of £20, I don’t know how much of it I’d trust to work. So I made my own…
First off, this isn’t strictly an EDC kit, because I simply don’t carry it around with me every day. Most days, I rarely travel far from the house anyway, and it’s only a 20 minute walk from work, so if the shit were to hit the fan, I’d just go home. Being a keen camper, and of course an airsoft player, the house is full of useful kit should any such need arise, so I just need to get back to stock up on kit. This pouch is instead my “utilities” pouch for camping or airsoft weekenders, so that in a full rucksack or kit bag I have all the important stuff handy; it’s easy to pick up and seperate. Could it double up as an EDC kit? Yeah, probably. In the UK, we don’t have huge wildernesses and there’s probably not going to be an immediate need to fish or hunt, as civilisation is never far away. Having said that, it’s definitely a useful item to have.
Note that everything in here goes inside plastic food bags to keep it dry. Having so many food bags can be useful too, if you need a container or a bit of plastic sheet for anything, like water.
Here’s the choice of pouch. It’s an old style British Army medic/trauma pouch. As with all old surplus gear, it’s tough and comes in a lovely shade of DPM because I love me some camouflage. What appealed to me most though was the fact it split down into three different compartments, a decent sized main one (think utility or water bottle size), with an optional divider, and two small square pouches that velcro off the front, though stay attached to the main pouch. It just allows you to split the kit up whatever way you need to. It also comes with two long side pockets and a couple of loops, though at the moment I can’t find a use for them. Sadly the DPM ones are becoming increasingly rare, but Marauder Tactical make the same design in MTP pattern, link to buy here.
First thing going in the bag, is knowledge. Now, although I enjoy camping and the outdoors, and I probably know a few of the basics, I haven’t passed SAS survival school, and there’s still a lot I don’t know. Rather than memorising it all, I just pack the SAS survival guide. It’s by Lofty Wiseman, an SAS legend who set up the SAS Survival School and this book is pretty much the survival bible. It’s only a small book, a bit larger than a deck of cards, but will get you safe in any situation. And if you’re lost in the wild, I guess it’s something to read to pass the time. Link to buy here.
Next up, a Victorinox multi tool, a gift from my late father, which is handy for so many things. Multi tools come in so many shapes and sizes, and also from the far-too-cheap to the ridiculously expensive. I don’t do ridiculously expensive, the Victorinox is pretty cheap but decent. Never know when you might need something, especially screwdrivers to open stuff. Link to buy here. My main bushcrafty knife is also nothing expensive, but is renowned for being excellent quality. If you ask for knife recommendations to any camping or bushcraft community, this is the one you’ll get back. It’s a Mora Companion, which is lightweight and comes with a handy moulded sheath with a clip on that sits very securely on your belt. Stainless steel, so you can use the straight edge to get a spark off your flint, and therefore needs less looking after when it gets wet. The rubberised handle is great in all conditions and it has a good edge for a multitude of uses. It’s also very very cheap, link to buy here.
Next into the pouch is my fire starting kit. Warmth is important all year round in the UK, and with all the rain, we need to dry stuff off. In the bottom left are some emergency matches I salvaged from British Army ration packs. They come bagged to keep them dry, though are waterproof and windproof, and have a little striker included. Alternatively, you could look at the BCB equivalent (link here), for something more reliable than regular matches. In addition, I have a lighter because it’s easier, and if that fails and I’m out of matches, the ultimate solution is a firestarter. Old school cool flint and steel, you get a couple of thousand uses and that epic caveman feel, link here. The vaseline, mixed with whatever fibres you might find, is a great way to get the fire going with some petroleum jelly. The pencil sharpener is also a key bit of kit – use it to sharpen twigs, and use the shavings as tinder for your fire. It’s a very quick and easy way to do it.
There’s no shelter inside this little pouch, obviously, but in case of emergencies, there’s a foil blanket, which is wafer thin and packs very small. Not much bigger than the SAS book, and as thick as matchstick, it takes up no real space in the pouch but has a multitude of uses. Obviously to regulate temperature, but also a handy sheet to keep the rain off as part of a shelter construct, as a solar water still (it’s all in the book) or as a massive sheet of foil to cook a potato in. You can get a pack of 10 for less than £8 here, and pack a couple if you need to. Many uses.
There aren’t many airsoft players I know that go anywhere without a roll of black electrical tape. It can be used to fix all sorts of things, and as an airsofter I’m no exception, so it goes in the pouch. In addition, I found some thin 2mm diameter cord from Decathlon, which is staying in the packaging to stop it getting tangled up, but for the life of me haven’t seen in there since to get more, though 10 metres is enough for what may well just be an overnight stay. I wear a couple of paracord bracelets every day anyway, but cord is always good to have. The closest I’ve found is this 30m roll of 2mm cord, but take what you can get hold of. Why not the massive thick stuff? yes I know you can split it into individual strands, but that takes time, and I’m not going to be using it to abseil. It’s just for tying stuff together and being able to thread through smaller holes helps.
Next up, electrical stuff. I don’t like to rely on phones, but they have many uses, so I’ve got a powerbank to give an extra charge. Easily picked up from most shops, and most people will have on around the house. But what if you want an extra extra charge? Well, there are a couple of options in case you’re in for an extended stay outdoors. Firstly, the solar power banks like this one can add a bit of extra power depending on the lighting conditions. Or, as I have, a hand crank charger (the blue plastic thing, link to buy here) is a cheaper option. It’s not amazing, but might do do get you a life saving phone call. Try to conserve phone battery whenever possible, or at least keep the powerbank topped up for when you need it. In addition, I have a small metal torch because it’s dark half the time, and some batteries for that torch. Nothing fancy, just gives a light when needed. I know from airsoft that a lot of the gun mounted torches can cost upwards of £50 and I really can’t see why, here’s a cheaper alternative (for airsoft or your EDC to be fair). That’s it really, with phones being able to do a lot, it’s just a case of keeping that going where possible, and being able to see safely in the dark.
As mentioned at the start, this isn’t an all encompassing EDC kit. Certainly, to cope with many different situations you’d need a backpack and possibly more. For food and drink, I always pack my Crusader cook kit, which I’ve covered in The Camping Guide before. It’s a simple but I think stunning piece of kit, packing very neatly into another water bottle/utility sized pouch. Inside, you’ve got a stove, steel cooking pot/mug, a plastic mug so you don’t burn your face, and a water bottle (which will be filled with water obviously). So that’s your entire cooking solution, without worrying about gas refills. The gas bottles are bulky, and if need be, the crusader can run on solid fuel or I can at least use the parts to make something that works over a fire. A belt order with the Crusader cook kit (link here before I forget) and the EDC pouch on should have you well covered for most situations. To complete the setup, a small backpack with a sleeping bag, mat and tarp and you’ll be surviving in 5* luxury compared to Bear Grylls.
Having said that, in the EDC pouch anyway goes a small Hexi stove (link here, only £2!) with 16 fuel tablets (link here), and some foil folded up to keep it tidy. 2 tablets boils a litre of water, so there’s enough there for a couple of days. There’s no cooking pot, that’s in the other pouch, but it’s a very cheap, lightweight and compact solution and with the foil could be used to make a small fire to keep warm, or you could use the foil to cook in or on, or attach meat to skewers and cook over it. You could take a metal water canteen such as this one and use that both as a water carrier and to place on the stove, remember you can survive three weeks without food but water is a necessity. With that in mind, also salvaged from British Army ration packs, I have a few water purification tablets. You can get a pack of 50 here for less than £3. Doesn’t produce the tastiest water, but sometimes needs must…
To finish off, a small first aid bag with paracetamol, a bandage, and some plasters. Nothing major, not planning on doing any surgery in the field, and space is limited anyway.
And that’s it. Fairly simple, partly reliant on the Crusader pack too but very usable on its own, my sort of EDC pack.If anyone has any suggestions for anything to add to it, please drop it in the comments. Always looking out for useful bits of kit to add.