Today I’m going to show you the contents of my purse. Haha, as you can see, it’s not really a purse at all, but my very sturdy, and at least moderately stylish every day carry (EDC) bag. If you ever read “prepper” blogs, you know that an EDC contains the minimum supplies a person considers essential for all their everyday needs as well as emergency situations. Some EDC bags are seriously… involved. expensive. overachieving. unrealistic. Ok, let me back up a bit here before I get too far ahead of myself.
Over the past few years, my husband and I have slowly been joining the “prepping” movement (what’s that, you ask? Here’s an article that might answer your questions). Yes, that includes the eccentric people on Doomsday Preppers, and no, not all preppers are exactly like that, or anywhere near it. My family just believes in being prepared for whatever changes come in our lives- be that natural or man made disaster, unemployment, national health or economic crisis, disability, or any number of other possibilities. In fact, our church even teaches that we should have at least a 3 month supply of food, and a year’s worth is even better. It teaches us to live providently by getting out of debt, saving money, growing a garden, and preparing spiritually.
We definitely haven’t completed all of those things yet, but we are working on them. Luckily, there are tons of resources for preppers and wanna- be- preppers all over blog land. So many, that it can be overwhelming. So today we are talking about one thing that you can do- today- with the things you have on hand already- to be a little bit more prepared for whatever life throws at you.
As I was alluding to earlier, some EDC bags you can find online are huge, intimidating, serious business kinds of bags. And that’s awesome. But I believe that your EDC needs to be realistic for you to literally carry around everywhere you go. And some people really do carry all their gear around and they are ready for anything- reflecting their values. So, for me, as a woman, a mother, and an RN, my EDC bag reflects my needs and values. You’ll see what I mean. (Btw, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, some aren’t. When you click an affiliate link and buy an item, it doesn’t change the price of the item, but I get a very small commission- thanks for supporting HSH.)
I wanted something that was comparable in size to the purse I was using previously- not too big or heavy, but big enough for what I wanted to carry. I did a ton of research. I settled on this crossbody knapsack– not high fashion, but cute enough for most outings, hands free, and lots of organization. I have been carrying it for several months now, and I am very happy with it. It is well constructed and super durable. I like that I can move the strap so that it can be worn on either side. The only thing I would change is to make it so that the strap could be shortened even more. I am 5’1” on a good day, and so even with the strap as short as it goes, it still gaps a bit. I should be able to easily fix it with my sewing machine… if I ever make the time to do it.
So, for the contents. I’m starting out with the normal purse- contents, pictured below. Gotta have ’em.
1.Wallet/ clutch (received as a birthday gift from a friend) 2. Hard shell sunglasses case and 100% UV protection sunglasses 3. Keys including car/ house/ mail and keychain library cards 4. UVPaqlite keychain (very cool reusable glow sticks) 5. Damsel in Defense Kubaton (bought a few years ago at an expo) 6. DIY Checkbook Cover 7. Galaxy 6 phone with screen protector and this adorable Caseology shock proof case (because I pretty much drop my phone every day- oops)
Below are the “normal emergency” supplies that I think you could find in many purses. These items cover many of the usual needs that might arise, and each item is pretty self-explanatory.
Likewise, these last few basic items will cover a wide range of common “emergencies” and even some survival uses, but some of the items need a little explanation.
16. Comb (probably from the dollar store) 17. Sunscreen (I have red hair, and the complexion to go with it, after all. Also invaluable for kids.) 18. Lip gloss 19. a hair band 20. the mighty bobby pin (yes, to pin hair back, pick a simple indoor lock, or make a survival fish hook) 21. norwex microfiber baby cloth (I can get it wet and wipe my kid’s hands, shopping cart handle, restaurant table etc. and not have to worry about germs) 22. tiny toy (emergency entertainment purposes for the toddler i.e. at the doctors office or parent teacher conferences) 23. hair clip 24. matchbox car (same as #22)
Let’s move on to the EDC extra tools I carry. I use these things less often, but am always glad I have them. These speak more to the survival aspect of EDC. Obviously, some of these things are not TSA compliant, so you’ll have to leave them at home when you fly.
1. Earphones (for convenience and safety when using a phone- lots of hands- free things made possible. I just use the free ones that came with my phone) 2. Paracord survival bracelet with flint and steel (obvious survival uses- enables creating heat/light, possibly shelter, safety, first aid, etc.) 3. Mini cree flashlight (love these, we have about 6 of them, they are only a few dollars and they are very bright) 4. Thumb drive (this can be for those times when you need a way to quickly copy electronic information, or it can contain copies of important documents- make sure to put sensitive information in a password protected, encrypted zip file) 5. Pocket Multi-tool (these are wonderful gadgets, with everything from a knife, to tweezers, pliers, scissors, nail file, to bottle opener) 6. Nail Clippers ( I like that these can be put on a key ring and I never lose them)
I am a registered nurse. I am trained in first aid and CPR. People come to me fairly frequently to ask if I can bandage up a minor wound, or asking for advice on whether or not to go the the doctor or the ER. I do my best to point them in the right direction. There have been a few times where my skills were needed when I was away from home, and I did the best I could, but I knew I could have done more if I had the right tools. Thus, for me, a well- stocked first aid kit is an essential, and it’s worth it to me to carry around the extra bulk because that is one of my core values, and what makes me feel prepared. Here’s a closer look at what I have in my first aid kit:
I started out with this 85-piece First aid kit; everything you see that is inside the pouch above came with it (an assortment of bandages, scissors, tweezers, tape, gloves, gauze, ointments, etc.). My additions are around it as follows: 1. a sheet of moleskin (for treating blisters or even making the pumps you’re wearing as a bridesmaid more comfortable- true story) 2. eye patch and 3. sterile artificial tears (in the case of eye injury- I have a million of these laying around since I had eye surgery a few years ago) 4. a sewing kit (not really a first aid item in most cases, at least we hope not!) 5. Neosporin spray 6. a childproof medicine bottle with my most- used OTC medications (Advil (including a few children’s chewables), Tylenol, and Benadryl, generics work just fine) 7. Hand sanitizer 8. Emery board (buy from dollar store) 9. Dental floss (dental, first aid, and survival applications) 10. a few less- used but very important OTC meds (GasX, Pepcid, and Immodium) 11. chewable Lactaid for my kids who are lactose- intolerant (I usually buy the generic brand) 12. ammonia inhalant/ smelling salts (prevention/ treatment of fainting) 13. assorted feminine hygiene (tampons would also be great to keep in here- besides their obvious use, pads and tampons can be very useful to stop bleeding in a first aid situation) 14. safety pins (for the triangle bandage, or, you know, wardrobe malfunctions, or any number of survival uses).
You may have noticed that I do not include diapers or wipes in my bag. Nor do I carry around a diaper bag, at least 95% of the time. It’s just a personal preference- I want my bag to be my bag, not full of baby stuff. Instead, I keep this perfectly sized diaper and wipes clutch stocked and it goes with us in the car, in the bottom of the stroller or baby backpack, etc. It can easily fit in our church bag, or could attach to my EDC bag if absolutely necessary. My baby is now a one year old, so there isn’t much else I need to carry for him anyway.
What I have shown you so far is what I carry around with me everyday in my bag, but I have a completely different, more inclusive set of items for my family in my car. I am excited to share those with you in another post!
What kinds of things do you always carry with you? How do you evaluate something to decide if it is essential, or just clutter? I would love to hear about your EDCs!