Best EDC Bags: A Slightly Different Viewpoint

When it comes to an everyday carry bag, I have a slightly different view than many other people.  My preferences for an EDC bag grew from years of experience and the opportunity to handle, use, and evaluate a lot of bags on the market.  These opportunities came when I was operating my tactical gear store.

A Look at What I Like

My list of EDC bags includes the latest version from the manufacturer of bags I have either carried in the past or have in my closet today.  Because I tend to buy quality bags, they don’t wear out or often fail, so I have several bags that are no longer in production and don’t have a comparable model available.  Let’s look at the choices.

Best Minimalist EDC Bags

If you need a bag to carry a minimal EDC loadout without a concealed carry option, these should meet your specification.  These smaller bags or pouches are easy to handle, can be attached to a belt or to another bag.  They work well for tossing in the glove compartment or console of your vehicle as well.

1. Maxpedition ERZ Everyday Organizer

Maxpedition Everyday Organizer, Black

The small pouch from Maxpedition is an easy choice for anyone building a small EDC pouch or bag.  The features are what you would expect from Maxpedition, one of the premier bag makers in the world.

  • Semi-rigid component construction protects the contents
  • Multiple internal systems including pockets, loops, key keeper, and mesh pockets
  • External contoured carry handle
  • TacTie PJC3 Polymer Joining clips for attachment to other bags.
  • YKK zippers
  • 1000 Denier water and abrasion resistant ballistic nylon fabric
  • Water-resistant coatings
  • Double-stitched stress points
  • 6” long, 8” high, 2” deep
  • Available in black, gray, or tan
Maxpedition Everyday Organizer, Black
  • The overall size is 6"l x 2"W x 8"H. Dual nylon fabric construction using 500D Hex ripstop and 1000D...
  • The exterior front face is custom molded & semi-rigid, adding extra protection to contents inside...

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 17:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Condor Draw Down Waist Pack Gen II

Condor Outdoor Draw Down Tactical Waist Pack GEN II (Coyote Brown)

Sometimes you need a bit more space but want to make carrying that small bit of extra gear as easy and as trouble-free as possible.  Gaining enough extra space to carry your concealed weapon comfortably is a bonus.  Flashback to the fanny packs that were popular in the nineties.

Condor has repurposed the notion of the fanny pack into the Draw Down Waist pack.  The bag is comfortably contoured to be worn on the hip or at the back without being cumbersome.  For a say at the park, playing disc golf, a bike ride, or a day excursion almost anywhere, the Condor Draw Down Waist Pack is a solution to both your concealed carry needs and to handle your EDC needs.

  • Front zipper pocket with pull out lap panel for easy ID mounts
  • Interchangeable belt system
  • Molle attachment points
  • Loop lined main compartment with zipper closure
  • Rear zipper pocket for concealed carry
  • 13.5 L of space
  • Available in Olive Drab, Black, and Coyote Brown
Condor Outdoor Draw Down Tactical Waist Pack GEN II (Coyote Brown)
  • Front zipper pocket with pull out lop panel for ID patch
  • Interchangeable belt system

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 17:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best General EDC Bags

There are times when I want to carry what I term and extended EDC loadout.  This usually involves more than just my usual pocket carry and a concealed handgun.  I may be on the road with the expectation that I may have to extend my time overnight.  There are times when I don’t worry about the look and style of the bag as much as I do the ability to carry what I feel is needed. 

1. Condor Outdoor E & E Bag

Condor E & E BAG, Black

I don’t think you will find a better EDC bag than the E&E bag from Condor Outdoor.  E&E stands for Escape and Evasion.  While I don’t normally expect to have to perform and E&E operation during my regular daily routine, the concept of a bag designed to support such an E&E operation allows me to get everything I need into a utility every day carry bag.

I carry a Condor E&E bag more than any other EDC bag in my collection.  It is my go-to piece of equipment when I think it is necessary to have more than my usual pocket carry loadout.  When you look at the features, you will understand why.

  • 55 L volume
  • 10.4 “ x 12” x 4.0 inches
  • Available in OD and Black
  • Includes a removable flap on one side that has a clear vinyl back.  This makes a great map case if you are so inclined but can also carry easy to access extra gear
  • Double zipper main compartment with a removable divider
  • Multiple elastic loops in the main compartment for organizing smaller items
  • Internal radio pouch with hook and loops antenna opening
  • Padded back pocket with hook and loop lining.  This is perfect for a holster to keep your concealed carry weapon at hand and protected.
  • Webbing under the removable flap pouch allows mounting MOLLE style pouches and accessories
  • Includes a removable waist belt that can turn the bag into a waist pack
  • Shoulder strap with extra padding
Condor E & E BAG, Black
  • Removable flap with clear vinyl inner layer
  • Double zipper main compartment with removable divider

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 18:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Maxpedition Skylance Tech Gear Bag

Maxpedition Skylance Tech Gear Bag, Size 28/Large, Black

Along the same size and lines as the Condor E&E bag is the Maxpedition Skylance Tech Gear Bag.  The Maxpedition Skylance is concealed carry ready and has that quality and durability of all Maxpedition bags.  This bag is large enough to accommodate a 15” laptop as well, making this bag suitable as an EDC business bag as well.  

The major downside to Maxpedition is the cost.   However, if you want a quality bag that will give you years of service, the price is well worth what you get.  My Maxpedition bags have given me years of service, and most show only minimal visible wear.

  • YKK Zippers
  • Dual fabric construction – 500D hex ripstop and 1000D Plain weave materials
  • ATLAS ladder attachment system
  • Bi-level high-grade air mesh backing
  • Lightweight anit-break durflex buckles
  • Fray-resistant Gossamer Mesh
  • Grayscale high visibility interior
  • Two front loop field for additional pouches
  • Dedicated 15” laptop compartment
  • Numerous internal pockets, sleeves, and elastic loops
  • Rear CCW compartment
  • Curves shoulder pad
  • Volume – 28 L
Maxpedition Skylance Tech Gear Bag, Size 28/Large, Black
  • The overall size is 16.5"L x 9"W x 13.5"H. Shapeshift webbing handles have been added for a more...
  • Pivoting shoulder strap connections come standard, along with a curved padded shoulder pad. There is...

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 18:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Crossbody EDC Bags

Crossbody carry is undeniably the most secure way to carry a shoulder bag.  It prevents a thief from easily snatching the bag on a hit and run style attack.  You can also carry crossbody comfortably, keeping your hands free while having everything in the bag convenient on either your strong hand stile, if you carry concealed in the bag or off-hand style if you prefer to conceal carry on your waist.

1. Rothco Advanced Tactical Bag

Rothco Advanced Tactical Bag, Black

Rothco has an extensive line of bags that are often overlooked.  Rothco is as well known a brand as some others, but their products are surprisingly versatile, durable, and affordable.  The Rothco Advanced Tactical Bag is concealed carry compatible.  Rothco hasn’t scrimped on the features either.

  • Molle compatible attachment points
  • Zippered side pouch, large drawstring side pouch, and hook and loop tie-downs on the exterior
  • Front flap closure with quick release buckle
  • Two exterior zippered pockets
  • Exterior cell phone pouch
  • 2” wide adjustable shoulder strap with quick-release buckle
  • Two inside pockets in the main compartment
  • Padding on the rear of the bag for comfort
  • Exterior zipper pocket with inside and outside pouch
  • Available in multiple color
Rothco Advanced Tactical Bag, Black
  • MOLLE Compatible Tactical Shoulder Bag Is Made Of Durable Denier Polyester
  • Small Zippered Side Pouch And Large Side Pouch With Drawstring Closure And Hook & Loop Tie Down

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 09:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. 5.11 PUSH Pack 5L

5.11 has taken some innovative design concepts and produced some of the most interesting and versatile bags on the market.  The 5.11 PUSH pack is part of this new look at bags.  The PUSH pack is a cross body style bag that is designed from the inside out with EDC in mind.  From the layout of the external pockets to the internal components, this bag is meant for EDC.

  • Six liters total capacity
  • The main compartment is 8.75” x 7.75” x 4.”
  • Expandable side pockets on each end measure 1.31” x 7.75” x 3.”
  • A top pocket is perfect for ID, cell phones, or flight tickets and boarding passes
  • Molle and Slickstick slots on the sides of the bag
  • 1050D weather-resistant nylon construction
  • Fully adjustable padded strap
  • Rear concealed carry pocket
  • Aero foam back padding for comfortable carry

Best Briefcase EDC Bags

When circumstances dictate, I need to carry a bag that can handle a larger laptop, several file folders, and perhaps even a book or two.  I cannot legitimately carry two bags around all day to accommodate my business needs and my insistence that I have an extended EDC bag as well.   This means combining the two functions and several manufacturers have met that need with their briefcase style bags.

1. Rothco MOLLE Laptop Briefcase

Rothco MOLLE Tactical Laptop Briefcase, Coyote Brown

There is nothing lowkey or gray man about the Rothco MOLLE Tactical Laptop Briefcase.  The design, look, and the concept is described perfectly by the word tactical.  Large external pocket with strap and buckle closures, lots of attachment points, and the availability to get this bag in almost any camo pattern you desire is a giveaway that this bag is meant to be used under extreme conditions.

However, it is a functional and durable bag at a reasonable cost for an EDC briefcase.  You will certainly get some looks if you carry this into a serious business meeting, but that may be your intention.

  • 600D polyester material with lining
  • Includes a removable padded sleeve for a laptop
  • Large main compartment with a flap style closer
  • Molle compatible attachment points
  • Zippered file and organizer compartment with ID holder
  • Three external ouches on the side
  • Carry handle and shoulder strap
Rothco MOLLE Tactical Laptop Briefcase, Coyote Brown
  • 600 Denier Polyester With Lining
  • Removable Padded Sleeve For Laptop

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 09:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Condor Metropolis Briefcase

Condor Elite Tactical Metropolis Briefcase 111072-002 Black

I carried one of these briefcases for years when I was operating my tactical store.  This bag served me in many ways.  It was a business bag, an overnight bag, and a courier bag at times.  With the addition of some external pouches, this bag doubled up as a short stay travel bag and an EDC bag.  I will also pass the carryon bag check at the airport.

  • Mil-spec 600D Cordura fabric construction
  • Rhino Skin synthetic material reinforcement in high abrasion zones
  • YKK zippers
  • D-rings mounted on the front and back for loose attachments
  • Main compartment with two mesh pockets and a hook and loop panel
  • Generous back compartment with padded fleece laptop compartment
  • Two external pockets on the front
  • Organizer pouch with ID panel
  • One large storage pouch in the front
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Luggage handle strap
  • Document pouch

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 18:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What I look for in an EDC bag

My criteria for an EDC bag can be broken down into several categories, each with its own requirements and needs.  The problem I have is that no one bag fits every situation I have for an EDC bag. My daily routine changes and the needs for an EDC bag change with them.

There are times when I need small light and minimalistic.  At other times I need something that I can carry that leaves both hands free and doesn’t interfere with movement.  In addition to these, there are times I need to not just carry my extended EDC loadout but also a laptop, papers, and other business gear.

Regardless of the style or type of bag I am carrying, you can be sure it has met several of my requirements for any bag I purchase and use.

  • Functionality – The bag must be functional.  I should have large, sturdy zippers that open fully to make access to the interior of the bag easy.  Depending on the purpose for which I am choosing the bag, the handles or straps should be located for the most comfortable carry with padding in the appropriate places.  The interior of the bag should be arranged for the purpose I have in mind or have adjustable dividers to make this possible.
  • Material – The material from which the bag is made should be durable and sturdy.  A bag that fails because a seam opens or a strap attachment pulls away is useless.  Some of my bags go to some extreme places and I want them to be up to the challenge.
  • Size – Size is dependent on the use.  For a minimalist EDC bag, it maybe 1 to 5 liters.  For a day trip bag or other extended EDC loadout, the bag may get as big as 12 to 15 liters.  At times I carry a briefcase which doubles as an EDC bag and may go as large as 40 liters. 
  • Style – I subscribe to the gray man theory of everyday operations.  I prefer my bag style to be low key and unremarkable.  The last thing I want is to draw attention to myself.  Loud colors, camo patterns, or bags that scream “tactical” doesn’t fit into my philosophy. 

The EDC Bag Conundrum

In my opinion, there is not one best EDC bag that will fit every situation and every need.  Conditions change as do circumstances, and you must be able to change with them.   At times, a minimalist approach is either the best solution or the one that is forced on you.  The routines of your daily life may impose the need for compromises or to adapt to the needs of your lifestyle or your job. 

I hope that the information that I have provided and my views on EDC bags help you make the choices of which bags best fit your situation.  If you have comments or experiences with EDC bags, please share them below.  Your ideas and experiences are important to help others make the best selections in an EDC bag.

Dennis Howard
Written by Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals in the preparedness community. Read his full interview here. Read more of Dennis's articles.

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