Everyday carry for women – 5 different setups

Below, Option Gray Co-Founder Jackie Martin takes us several EDC setups while giving some gift ideas for the women in your life. In this article we feature some EDC gear that a woman can actually carry in her pockets.
pocket notebook and knife

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Just like life, my EDC changes on a regular basis depending on what’s going on, where I’m going, what I’m wearing, what I’m carrying, how permissive the environment is, etc. What I’ve done is put together some examples of different setups I’ve carried over the years to get you thinking about some of the options you have.

Women carry lots of stuff. As I write this, I chuckle because my purse is the rather large Saddleback Small Leather Tote in Tobacco. At a little under 19″ x 12″, it’s a big bag. Seemingly, the bigger the bag the more stuff I carry. It’s not unusual to go a few days to a few weeks carrying around something that I didn’t even know was in there (like one of my kid’s used applesauce pouches).

My hope is it will open your eyes a little to what’s out there while giving you some inspiration at the same time. Let’s get going…


Purse-ready EDC

A Maxpedition E.D.C. Organizer in khaki holds an Adventure Medical Kit Travel Medic, Rite in the Rain 3" x 5" Notebook in yellow, Fisher Space Pen Stowaway Pen in blue, Leatherman Juice C2 in yellow, Solo Scientific Aurora Firestarter, Vargo Titanium Folding Spork and Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash.
A Maxpedition E.D.C. Organizer in khaki holds an Adventure Medical Kit Travel MedicRite in the Rain 3″ x 5″ Notebook in yellowFisher Space Pen Stowaway Pen in blue, Leatherman Juice C2 in yellow, Solo Scientific Aurora FirestarterVargo Titanium Folding Spork and Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash.

As I’ve become more accustomed to the idea of what everyday carry is, I have sought out to become more intentional about what I carry. By being intentional and more organized, I can not only be more prepared for the unexpected, but my gear is much more useful because I can find it when I need it. 

edc organizer
This EDC setup is an example of what I actually carry in my organizer, which is thrown into my purse for easy access. 

Most men carry their essential gear in their pockets, but most women don’t. Women’s clothing is a huge limiting factor as we either have no pockets (wearing a dress) or super small pockets (most women’s jeans), which are barely big enough to comfortably hold a tube of chapstick.

Typically, this leaves us with a purse or bag of some kind, which actually gives women many more options to hold gear and prepare for the unexpected.

The gear featured in today’s carry is a representation of what you could put in a Maxpedition organizer.

Let’s take a more detailed look.

Maxpedition E.D.C. Organizer

Maxpedition E.D.C. Organizer

I’ve been carrying a Maxpedition organizer for about 18 months. In my purse, it is a great way to add organization to my EDC. I first started out with a black Maxpedition Beefy Organizer and now carry a Maxpedition E.D.C. Organizer (shown here in khaki), which is just a bit smaller than the Beefy.

I may end up going back to the Beefy in order to fit everything comfortably in my organizer, but it’s proved invaluable as I can easily transfer the contents of my purse to a backpack or the console of my car.

Adventure Medical Kit Travel Medic

Adventure Medical Kit Travel Medic

This exact Travel Medic has been carried for many years (3 or 4?) and was actually one of the first EDC items I carried. Long gone are the original medical items, but I restock it often, especially with two kids under the age of five. 

Recently, I was at the airport and didn’t notice that I had inadvertently re-opened a cut on my finger. I was able to provide basic first aid for myself. I also was stuck in a meeting and had a headache, but had ibuprofen readily available.

We’ve talked about before how the Travel Medic is an easy way to add first aid to your everyday carry.

Can’t say enough about the durability and how much this is used.

Fisher Space Pen Stowaway

Fisher Space Pen Stowaway

It isn’t practical to carry a pen in my pocket, and I never have a shirt that could hold one like many men, but this pen is so lightweight, it’s easy to store in my EDC organizer.

I always have something to write with and this Stowaway Pen has come in handy when I’m avoiding using a public pen during flu season or when I need to quickly jot a note down.

Rite in the Rain 3″ x 5″ Notebook

Rite in the Rain 3" x 5" Notebook

I love the color of this bright yellow notebook and love even more the durability of Rite in the Rain paper. 

When leaving a restaurant one time I had my kids drinks sitting on top of my stuff in my purse and sure enough, I bent over and their drinks spilled everywhere. I was frustrated that my paper notebook was essentially rendered useless, so I made the switch over to this fun, yellow Rite in the Rain 3″ x 5″ notebook and haven’t looked back since.

Leatherman Juice C2

Leatherman Juice C2

I admit it was the yellow color that initially brought me to this model of the Leatherman Juice C2 . . . But, it’s been a great addition to my EDC. 

The screwdrivers are the most used tools I find myself going back to. I keep my purse (and therefore this kit) on the bench when you first walk in my house and if I’m switching out batteries on a kids toy or having to take off the handle of a door because my 2-year old locked himself in the bathroom (yes, it has happened!) it’s easy to quickly reach for my Leatherman. 

I also carry a Leatherman Style CS on my keychain which has the scissors as the primary tool, tweezers, and a nail file, so this is a great option to have when I need a bit beefier tool. Leatherman quality is top-notch.

Solo Scientific Aurora Firestarter

Solo Scientific Aurora Firestarter

Here at Option Gray, we just began using  Solo Scientific and I made the switch to give this Aurora Firestarter a try, but have been very happy with the quality. 

It’s American-made (which is always a huge plus) and there are no plastic parts on it. I haven’t had to make a fire in an emergency situation (yet), but have practiced. It’s a good back up fire starting option.

Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash

Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash

Another item that I’ve carried for years is a pocket soap pack. 

The Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash has 50 paper-thin leaves of soap in a hard plastic case. After all these years I have only used half of them up. They got a little stuck together from the water-in-purse incident mentioned above, but have saved many instances where a public restroom or campground has been out of soap.

Extra Medical

Pocket D.A.R.K. Mini

I hope I never do have to use this, but if I ever find myself in a situation needed some extra medical supplies, the Pocket D.A.R.K. Mini is a great option when it comes to capability versus size and weight.

Bic Classic Lighter

Bic Classic Lighter

The primary way to start a fire that I carry, I picked up a Bic Classic Lighter at the grocery store and have used it a few times to singe off paracord so it didn’t unravel and to light birthday candles.

It’s always recommended to have two ways to start a fire on you at all times and a lighter is a fast and easy way to do it.


Lightweight EDC

For this setup we have a loaded keychain with a CountyComm Screw Key Set, black leather Jepsen LeatherGoods Key Cover, MARATAC Split Pea Lighter, Uncle Bill's Sliver Gripper Tweezers in black oxide, TEC Accessories PicoPen and the TEC Accessories Pixel LED Flashlight. It pairs great with a silver Victorinox Swiss Army Electrican Alox Multitool and a Classic Field Notes Notebook.
For this setup we have a loaded keychain with a CountyComm Screw Key Set, black leather Jepsen LeatherGoods Key Cover, MARATAC Split Pea LighterUncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper Tweezers in black oxideTEC Accessories PicoPen and the TEC Accessories Pixel LED Flashlight. It pairs great with a silver Victorinox Swiss Army Electrician Alox Multitool and a Classic Field Notes Notebook.

If you browse everyday carry on Instagram, you’ll see some pretty hefty setups. Beautiful, large custom knives, knucks, do-everything multitools … Great gear, but not always practical and not necessary to make sure you have what you need when you need it.

The very basics of everyday carry arguably include:

  1. Knife or multitool
  2. Notepad or notebook
  3. Writing utensil 
  4. Flashlight
  5. Ability to make fire

Everyday carry doesn’t have to be pockets full of stuff. I wanted to put together an EDC setup that is small and lightweight but still covered the basics, making it useful and intentional. 

CountyComm Screw Key Set

CountyComm Screw Key Set

Made out of heat-treated blackened steel, this Screw Key Set is as basic as it can get. It’s the simple idea of a screwdriver on your keyring.

The set includes a standard and Phillips screwdriver, both attached to a 1″ diameter satin keyring.

I use this for opening up battery covers, assembling basic furniture, tightening a loose door nob and even just to scrape or pry. Virtually indestructible, having a screwdriver easily accessible on your key ring comes in handy more than you’d think.

Jepsen LeatherGoods Key Cover in Black

Jepsen LeatherGoods Key Cover in Black

Give your keys a little bit of style with the Jepsen LeatherGoods Key Cover, available in black (shown), saddle tan, dark brown and natural leather.

As with any quality leather, these key covers get better with age. As you use your keys, they will continue to develop a unique patina that really makes them your own.

MARATAC Split Pea Lighter

MARATC Split Pea Lighter

The ability to make fire is a fundamental survival skill but also something that comes in handy in day-to-day life. Singe the raw ends of a cut piece of string, paracord, or rope to prevent fraying, melt or soften items (tape, plastic), melt ice off something you need to open or use during the winter, raise it up in the air to show your appreciation at a concert. I’ve even used my Split Pea to light birthday candles at a restaurant when no one else had a lighter or matches.

Ultimately, fire is a tool and you’d be surprised at the times you use it whereas before you had to go without.

What’s neat about MARATAC’s lighters is that you can remove the insert and the lighter quickly becomes a waterproof capsule to hold medication or other small necessities. 

Uncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper Tweezers

Uncle Bill's Sliver Gripper Tweezers in Black Oxide

Crafted from a single piece of spring-tempered stainless steel and precise in their point of contact, you can grab fine hairs, splinters, stingers, stitches, thorns and more with these tweezers.

There are countless uses for these including, hangnails, splinters, any hobby’s that include small parts, or even having a few minutes of spare time to clean up your eyebrows.

They come with a clip that allows them to be put on your keyring. Just squeeze to pull out the tweezers to remove them from the clip. To replace them, just squeeze and push the pointed end into the clip’s slot until it clicks into place.

TEC Accessories PicoPen

TEC Accessories PicoPen

Having a pen with you at all times comes in handy when you are avoiding public pens during flu season or just need to finish addressing an envelope at the Post Office or need to jot down your to-do list before you forget.

A strong magnet keeps the pen in its cap and on your keychain until you’re ready to use it.

This pen will fatigue your hand if used for an extended amount of time but does the job when filling out a form or other short paperwork.

TEC Accessories Pixel LED Flashlight

TEC Accessories Pixel LED Flashlight

Having light, especially for a woman, is critical. With the Pixel Flashlight, you have no excuse not carry one with you at all times.

Looking under seats for a lost item, finding something in the bottom of my purse, navigating your way through a dark venue are all times I’ve needed light and I was glad I had one with me.

The tiny Pixel Flashlight is surprisingly bright and having a light as you move about in dark places can mean the difference between being safe or not. Walk with more confidence knowing you have the gear to help you out. It’s a great investment.

Field Notes Classic Notebook

Field Notes Classic Notebook

It’s the notebook that started it all for us here at Option Gray. Picked it up a few years ago and realized how handy having a notebook with you at all times really is.

Don’t let your goals, thoughts, to-do’s go without writing them down. It’s amazing how taking the time to write down the important things can make a huge difference, especially if you keep your notebooks and go back and see how you were able to accomplish, do and overcome.


Defensive EDC

Write Notepads Pocket Notebook, Karas Kustoms RETRAKT in Aluminum and a Spyderco Dragonfly2.
For this featured carry, we have the Write Notepads Pocket NotebookKaras Kustoms RETRAKT in Aluminum and a Spyderco Dragonfly2.

Defensive or tactical doesn’t have to mean full SWAT gear and breaking down doors. It can also mean just being having the skills and training to take ownership of your safety.

Paired with one of my favorite concealed firearm options, the Kahr CM9 handgun, we take a look at a somewhat defensive carry that fits the everyday woman.

Spyderco Dragonfly2 PlainEdge

Spyderco Dragonfly2 PlainEdge

My favorite EDC knife, the Dragonfly2 is my first choice 90% of the time. I have fairly small hands and this extremely capable knife not only fits them perfectly but is so lightweight I don’t even notice it in my pocket.

The black FRN scales make it hardly noticeable as I move throughout my day-to-day life and it was the knife that got me moving from just carrying a knife in my purse to carrying a knife in my pocket. I didn’t realize how much I’d use one until I made the habit of having it on my person.

Spyderco Dragonfly2 PlainEdge

Throughout the day, I will reach for my knife for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Opening my plethora of Amazon Prime boxes that come to my house
  • Opening food packages 
  • Poking a hole in the impossible-to-open kids drink pouches
  • When I don’t want to get up and get a knife to cut my food 

Write Notepads Pocket Notebook

Write Notepads Pocket Notebook

We strongly believe in the power of carrying a notebook and pen with you at all times and Write Notepads made it easy with their American-made notebooks.

This small notebook is a staple in my everyday carry as it is durable but flexible enough to slip in my back pocket or throw in my purse.

write notepads pocket notebook

To showcase their American-made pride, they’ve selected a careful palette of colors including a muted red, muted blue and off-white, which is shown here. 

The cover of each notebook has a minimalist styling accentuated by a classic letterpress impression of “PROPERTY OF” and a line to make it yours. The set of three notebooks are packaged in a perfectly fitted one-piece box that’s sure to grab attention.

Karas Kustoms RETRAKT Clicky Pen

Karas Kustoms RETRAKT Clicky Pen

American-made in Phoenix, Arizona, the RETRAKT is an all-metal pen body with a classic “click” mechanism. There are no logos anywhere on the pen, which makes it simple, plain and durable.

Karas Kustoms RETRAKT Clicky Pen

Drop-in almost any of your favorite refills, making a KarasKustom pen one of the last pens you’ll need to buy. 


EDC for hobbies, interests, and journaling

Write Notepads Traditional Ruled Notebook, a Kershaw Chive and a FOURSEVENS Mini ML.
For this setup, we have the Write Notepads Traditional Ruled Notebook, a Kershaw Chive, and a FOURSEVENS Mini ML.

Everyday carry sometimes is limited in scope to what you carry on your person or in a bag or purse. But, we believe your EDC is what is important and unique to you. As you start to look at the items that make up your EDC, how essential they are to you, and how you are able to improve upon them, you create a unique collection of gear that meets your needs.

Let’s look at how you can incorporate your hobbies and interests into your everyday carry.

Write Notepads Traditional Ruled Notebook

Write Notepads Traditional Ruled Notebook

At 5.5″ wide and 8.5″ tall, the Traditional Notebook from Write Notepads & Co. embodies what a classic and durable notebook should be. Use your notebook as a journal, to keep lists and to-do’s, take notes or just doodle. With a cover made from 60pt board stock, produced from 100% post-consumer waste and solid-brass binding, this notebook will stand up to day-to-day carrying and use.

When you buy one of these notebooks, Write Notepads & Co. donates one of their notebooks to a Baltimore City public school. The reference code inside the product shows you exactly where your donation goes.

Write Notepads Traditional Ruled Notebook

One of the best things about Write Notepads is that their paper is 70# paper stock, so it’s thick enough even for notes and journaling with a fountain pen (which is what you see above).

Kershaw Chive

Kershaw Chive

Small and mighty, the Kershaw Chive is a great tool for any cutting task you come across.

It was actually my first knife and with the high-carbon blade steel, it has always had good edge retention and excellent corrosion resistance. The bead-blasted finish is easy to maintain. 

In addition to its size, which is perfect for a women’s small jeans, it has two locking systems. The frame lock secures the blade open so it can’t accidentally close during use. And to ensure that it won’t accidentally open during transport, the Chive is also equipped with a Tip-Lock slider to lock the blade closed when folded. If it’s sitting in my purse, the Tip-Lock slider makes sure young children cannot accidentally open the knife.

FOURSEVENS Mini ML

FOURSEVENS Mini ML

Made out of beautiful and durable titanium, the Mini is a perfect everyday carry light with a simple twist interface. Durable construction and ample knurling for a sure grip make this a light that’s up for any challenge, using the latest in LED technology to achieve incredible brightness for its size. There are four hidden modes, so you can have your light any way you want it.

We’ve had a great time curating these EDC setups. Hopefully, we’ve inspired both men and women to make what you carry on your person or in your bag/purse more useful.


Pocket-friendly EDC

Word. Notebook's Declan Floral Notebook, the Word. Notebooks Leather Jacket in Black/Blue, a MARATAC AAA Copper Flashlight, a Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen in black and the Spyderco Dragonfly Foliage Green G-10.
Included in this feature setup is the Word. Notebook’s Declan Floral Notebook, the Word. Notebooks Leather Jacket in Black/Blue, a MARATAC AAA Copper Flashlight, a Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen in black and the Spyderco Dragonfly Foliage Green G-10.

With women’s clothing, it’s much harder to carry your EDC in your pockets and on your person. We tend to stash our stuff away in our purse or bag, which makes it much less likely for us to use it. It’s just not as accessible.

We wanted to put together a setup that can actually be carried. Small, lightweight and useful were our requirements while ensuring we kept it classic and with a touch of feminine flair.

Word. Notebooks Declan Floral

Word. Notebooks Declan Floral

New to Word. Notebook’s collection of pocket notebooks, the Declan Floral print comes from an old and now retired “Lang” print. 

We strongly believe in the power of carrying a notebook and pen with you at all times. It’s tempting to want to just keep it tucked away in your purse, but the great thing about most of our pocket notebooks is that they even fit in the back pocket of most women’s jeans. 

Word. Notebooks Declan Floral

If you’re a list maker, Word. Notebook’s bullet point system is a great option for you. The unique bullet point system used in Word. Notebooks let you organize your tasks. Just fill in the bullet point when writing an item on that line. Trace the circle around it when it’s important and add a slash when you’ve started work on it. Once the task is complete, simply mark down an “X” and move on to the next item on your list. It’s an easy way to keep track of all your notes and to-dos.

The Declan Floral print is feminine but not obnoxiously so. Muted colors still add brightness to your day, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s one of my favorite notebooks.

Word. Notebooks Leather Jacket

Word. Notebooks Leather Jacket

It fits any 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebook and cut from a super-soft, supple leather so it’s just going to get better with age, the Leather Jacket by Word. Notebooks is a simple way to keep your notebooks looking great as you use them. 

Word. Notebooks Leather Jacket

Designed, sourced, and crafted in the USA, each Word. Notebook Leather Jacket will keep a pair of your notebooks free of nicks and scratches when you slip them inside the interior bands.

Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen

Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen

The great thing about the Bullet Pen is that it’s available in many different colors and finishes, including chrome, brushed chrome, copper, polished brass, raw brass and even a lacquered pink. The pen top fits perfectly on the back of the pen, extending it out, so it’s comfortable to write with but small enough to slip right into your pocket.

I push the mind to the far outside of my pocket which allows it to not interfere with sitting or just moving around. It’s smooth and is easy to pull out whenever I need it.

MARATAC AAA Copper Flashlight

MARATAC AAA Copper Flashlight

The MARATAC AAA flashlight is machined out of solid billet ultra conductive pure alloy 101 copper and boasts an impressive 138 lumens on high. This gives you a powerful light in your pocket so you have light when you need it.

Also, the copper gets better with age. The one here I’ve carried for a few months, so it’s turned into a beautiful deep color and will continue to change.

Spyderco Dragonfly Foliage Green G-10

Spyderco Dragonfly Foliage Green G-10

As I mentioned previously, the Dragonfly is one of my favorite EDC knives. It’s small but incredibly useful.

If you don’t like the plastic feeling of the FRN handle, the foliage green G-10 is a great upgrade.

Spyderco Dragonfly Foliage Green G-10

The foliage green surprisingly goes with anything and is still incredibly lightweight, while giving you a sold knife that will come in handy more than you think.


We’ve had a great time curating these EDC setups. Hopefully, we’ve inspired both men and women to make what you carry on your person or in your bag/purse more useful.

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