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How to Build a Gray Man EDC Bag

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How to Build a Gray Man EDC BagWhile it’s common for preppers to make bug out bags, everyday carry (EDC) bags aren’t nearly as common. The thing about emergencies is you never know when they will happen, and a bug out bag won’t do you much good if it isn’t readily available when you need it.

For example, if you’re at work when disaster strikes and your bug out bag is at home. An EDC bag, on the other hand, is something you can keep nearby at all times.

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Of course, advertising that you are carrying around a bag full of survival supplies probably isn’t in your best interest. With that said, it’s important to keep in mind the gray man principles when building your EDC bag. Ultimately, your goal should be to build a bag that contains everything you need for both minor and major emergencies while still being inconspicuous.

Your EDC bag should look like any other briefcase, laptop bag, or backpack that you might see someone carrying on the streets. In other words, it shouldn’t inhibit your ability to blend in with the people around you.

As for what your EDC bag should contain, there are a number of items you may want to consider. An ideal EDC bag should contain items such as extra cash or a pocketknife which are useful in common situations, as well as items such as a tourniquet or a lighter for more extreme urban emergencies.

In this video, City Prepping shares what he thinks should be in a good gray man EDC bag. Here’s his list:

  • Nutrition bars
  • Pen
  • Mackbook Pro
  • Solar charger battery tank
  • Double plasma lighter
  • Klean Kanteen
  • A.T.S tourniquet
  • Petzl headlamp
  • Leatherman multitool
  • 128gb USB thumbdrive

For more information about these items and more tips on being a gray man in an urban disaster, watch the video below.

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13 Comments

  1. VA3ROD on September 29, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    I’m sure that a lot of people in NYC on 9/11 that had to walk home all wished that they had replacement shoes or hiking boots to replace their office dress shoes. And hiking socks. And many wud have appreciated a dust mask something like we are all wearing for COVID19. Maybe gloves, too. Bottled water, and a small pack of babywipesto cleanse their eyelids & ears & face. Back then I was carrying much of this stuff in addition to my EDC in my pants pockets, but now I carry even more. I always carry cash, too often the debit/credit card network goes down outside of big cities.

    • Jennifer Davis Allen on September 30, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      One of my cousins was in the World Trade Center on that fateful 9/11. He survived that day but has since died from cancer which his doctor said was most likely caused by what he inhaled that day. He certainly needed one of these bags that day! He told us how he had to walk so far that day in a huge crowd of people. That day I’d turned on my TV just as the first plane hit and I immediately called my parents. I asked if their TV was on and they said no, they were getting ready to leave to go to a meeting. I told them to turn it on and they asked why so I told them, and they asked me what channel and I said it was on every channel. After that and now Covid 19, seems like everyone should be preppers!

  2. peter Ludborzs on September 29, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    sooner or later in “SHTF” all electronics will be useless the basic requirements are :- shelter , fire, food, the rest depends on how strong your back is and what you are willing to carry .

  3. WillyP on September 29, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    No socks? An old SEAL friend on mine once told me, he can go anywhere and do anything, as long as he has some dry socks. He then went on to elaborate that nothing is a better use of space than two pairs of socks in a water tight plastic bag.

    If your goal is to walk back to your base, dry socks can make the difference between success, and finding yourself with blistered feet and hurting more with each step. A good pair of boots, or sneakers is also a great use of space if you normally wear dress shoes at work.

  4. DJ on November 16, 2019 at 8:40 am

    First commenter is right, but he totally hammers the author on every item. Just because you have a head lamp or a flash light doesn’t mean travel with it on at night. Light is still a useful tool. Lol

    I have:
    Two flashlight and a head lamp
    Two knives
    IFAK w/pressure dressings and tourniquet
    General first aid kit
    Lots of 550 cord
    3 lighters
    Chem lights
    Water purification system
    Glock 19 w/ three magazines
    Screw driver with 10 common attachments
    Extra batteries
    Writing gear
    Other miscellaneous items like chap stick

    This in all in a 20L bag with plenty of room to spare.

    • DJ on November 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Third commenter (one before me, sorry).
      And there is an emergency blanket in my IFAK

  5. BillH on November 15, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    An EDC bag is intended to get you from wherever you happen to be when something “goes down” to your base (presumably home, perhaps someplace else). Typical scenario would be from work to home, but since you carry it everywhere, it can help you get to your base from a shopping trip, restaurant, or wherever.

    I disagree with the overall character of the proposed list, consider many of the items useless/inappropriate, and do not believe that it really covers the scenario well.

    * Nutrition bars – good choice. But unless you are never more than a few hours on foot from home, you need a full day or two of food. And the direct root back may be blocked. Add some variety, such jerky and trail mix. Absolutely nothing that requires cooking, heating, or preparation.
    * Pen – Fine, but add a small notebook.
    * Mackbook Pro – huh? You need to walk home as quickly as you can do so safely. Looking at your MacBook does not sound that useful. And would make you a target for thievery. Use your cell, or keep walking. Fine for a BOB.
    * Solar charger battery tank – A small battery bank is a great idea, to keep your cell phone functioning. But a solar one? It takes a day or more of full sunlight to recharge one of these things. Focus on the journey, not gizmos. Great for your BOB.
    * Double plasma lighter – You want something simpler, with redundancy, for fire starting. Matches in a waterproof container is cheap, reliable, includes redundancy, and does not run down or break. And/or a couple of Bic equivalent lighters. Actually, fire is unlikely to be useful in an urban environment (nor in a non-urban if you are being the grey man), but is a survival essential, and the space required is small.
    * Klean Kanteen – Yes, you need water. But you might need a few days worth, which means that you need to be able to resupply. (Dehydration impacts your thinking and strength quickly.) Any water main break contaminates everything from that point on. And in the midst of a crisis, you will not know about that break. Add some purification tablets, or a water purification “straw”.
    * A.T.S tourniquet – A bandanna is more general purpose. Add a general first aid kit to cover more scenarios.
    * Petzl headlamp – Wearing a headlamp identifies you as a survivor. And thus a target. Best to travel by ambient light when possible. A simple small flashlight would make sense.
    * Leatherman multitool – Fine. Add a knife.
    * 128gb USB thumbdrive – Containing lots of survival publications in electronic form, is more of a BOB item. But being so small, would be worth taking as EDC anyhow.

    In addition to my changes above, I would add:
    * Mylar survival blanket. Or two. (If you can find it with a dark color on one side, that would be best.)
    * Cold weather knit cap (dark blue is the most invisible).
    * Lightweight water resistant jacket (dark blue is most invisible).

    • Alan on November 16, 2019 at 6:37 am

      You make a lot of good points. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Blade on November 16, 2019 at 8:16 am

      awesome reply, thank you!

    • MIc on September 29, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      I think you have a better handle on what should go in the EDC bag.

      Except that you should include a first aid kit or really more of a trauma kit.
      You never know if some one will start shooting and if someone in your party is hit, a trauma kit becomes a necessity. Even if there are still First Responders out there, they may be slow to arrive because of the conditions.

      That and a small flashlight or two. Headlamps are not “grey man”. No matter how handy they might be.
      I have a key chain, led, flashlight, that is surprisingly bright.
      Up to 8 hours run time. Made of aircraft grade aluminum. Powered by 4 alkaline button cells. It is only 1.5 inches long. So it is easy to carry. It was under $6,(batteries included).
      I found it on Amazon.
      So the flashlights don’t need to be big, bulky or hard to handle.

      I would add a good quality set of socks to the bag. Many women do not wear socks and if a man is dressed up, his socks may not be made for doing much walking in.

      You might also consider including a pair of tennis shoes to change into, at the beginning of your walk. Especially if you “normal” everyday shoes are not suited to taking long walks in. It is better to stand out or look a bit funny and take care of your feet, than not to.

      Definitely 2 Mylar type blankets are the minimum needed. One as a ground sheet or as a tarp( depending upon the weather conditions and one as a blanket.
      The ground is not always dry and can be cold. You don’t need to lose body heat to it.

      A Mylar type ” emergency sleeping bag” and flat one, to use as a tarp, would be best. You can get them in Camo.

  6. Mikołaj on November 15, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    In my opinion, tourniquet is something that should be used – if at all – only as last resort. Instead, I would encourage to carry personal field dressing, as it could be used to stop even severe bleeding, and is much safer. Not to mention, that if you’re planning to use tourniquet on yourself, and you have cut yourself so badly that you actually need to use it, it is unlikely you will be able to do it – with such massive bleeding (e.g. cut artery) you probably pass out faster than you can use it.

    • WillyP on September 29, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      I am kind of a first aid geek. I do carry a tourniquet but I also have celox in three forms, chest vents, and an assortment of standard bandages. All of this takes up very little space and is actually kept in a first aid kit which easily fits inside my edc bag. I keep the first aid kit outside the EDC bag simply because I am far more likely to need it that the EDC bag.

  7. Chuck on November 15, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I agree. EDC is as important as BOB, and should be ready at hand during a “normal” day, but is often overlooked or unprioritized. The purpose for your EDC is to make it safer and easier to access your BOB. The items you select to carry every day, can serve a multitude of purposes, but in event of an emergency, will hopefully enable you to hoof it to your cache of supplies. Cash (including change), flashlight and headlamp, knife and/or multitool, sustainment, water and/or filter, First Aid (basic), extra ammo (if your EDC includes a Firearm), Fire Starting materials, and so on.

    My wife and my EDC’s are set up in levels. EDC 1’s will get both of us home from anywhere in our town/county. EDC 2’s range for 75 mile radius from home. EDC 3’s range for a 150 mile radius (this is about the furthest we’ll be from home via a vehicle). Each step up in level builds from the previous level. It’s simply added to what we keep based upon where we will be. Some items are duplicated, like sustainment, but others are absent from the 2 and 3 levels because they’re in #1. 1 fits into 2 and 2 fits into 3 in size. The goal is that wherever we are, we can walk home with what we’re carrying from a distance of 150 miles (or fraction thereof). Both vehicles are equipped with a small Battery Jumper and 12V Air Compressor, tire plugs, serpentine belt, and the tools to aid in installing a belt.

    Gas tanks are never below 3/4’s full in either vehicle. To me though, the possibility that it may be safer to abandon your vehicle needs to be kept in mind.

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