Always Be Ready: How to Choose a Basic EDC Backpack

How to Choose an EDC Backpack

Your everyday carry backpack is more than baggage – it’s your go-to when you need something while you’re out, and it has to be tough enough, big enough and reliable enough to tote your must-have gear. When you choose an EDC backpack for work or everyday adventures, the most important thing you can do is plan your bag around your essential items.

5.11 Tip: Never pick a bag and hope it’s a good fit for your gear. Choose your gear first. Then find a bag that can handle it.

The Right EDC Backpack for Work

Military personnel, law enforcement pros and first responders have different EDC items than civilians do, so if you fall into this category, map out your gear before you look at backpacks that fall under your uniform regulations.

The Right EDC Backpack for Everyday Adventures

Choosing an EDC backpack for everyday adventures or for civilian work also hinges on your essential gear. The most necessary items depend on where you’re headed – so if you’re trekking through the woods, zipping around the city on errands or going to your buddy’s house, the things you want to tote need to fit inside.

What to Carry

Always keep emergency supplies with you wherever you go – even if you just know you won’t need them (because that’s exactly when you’ll need them). At minimum, your EDC backpack should include the things you can’t leave the house without, like keys, your phone and your wallet.

Your unit or department most likely has an SOP, where you’ll find required EDC gear. That’s your base – but you can usually add to (and never take away from) your packing list. Even if your organization doesn’t have an SOP, you can plan smart by packing the following items:

  • EDC knife
  • Extra cash
  • Extra socks and uniform items
  • Fire starting kit
  • Flashlight
  • IFAK
  • Medication
  • Multi-tool
  • Pens and notepads
  • High-protein snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • USB storage

What Size Tactical Backpack Do You Need for EDC?

The interior compartment of a tactical backpack is measured in cubic inches and liters. You can get even more from your bag when it’s outfitted with a MOLLE or 5.11® RUSH Tier System that allows you to add attachments. A bag ranging between 1,525 cubic inches, like the AMP12™ Backpack 25L, and 2,275 cubic inches, like the RUSH24™ Backpack 37L, is the perfect fit for most people. The LV18 29L and DART24 Pack 30L fall right between those sizes.

5.11 Tip: Most airlines allow carry-on luggage measuring up to 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches, so keep that in mind if you’re a frequent flier.

Features to Look for in Any EDC Backpack

Here’s a list of features you should look for in a basic EDC backpack:

  • CCW compartment
  • Chest straps (particularly for larger bags)
  • Drainage grommets
  • Grab-and-go handle
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Media pocket
  • MOLLE or RUSH Tier System compatibility
  • Removable accessory board
  • Side stretch pockets
  • Top-loading main compartment
  • Water-repellent coating
  • Yoke shoulder straps

Your EDC backpack should help keep you ready for anything, so Goal Number 1 is to figure out what you need to carry. Once that’s done, you can choose the right backpack for your daily use.

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