EDC storage for women: no pockets, no purse, no problem!

I have seen a couple of ‘What’s in your EDC?’ threads pop up in this forum but wanted to make a thread about EDC storage options for women since EDC can look different for us for the following reasons:

 1. Women’s clothing isn’t usually made with functional pockets, and outside of carrying a purse, options for carrying multiple EDC items can seem limited. 

 2. If I am carrying a traditional purse, I often set the purse I’m carrying down when I arrive at my destination (which isn’t useful in case of emergency when you want an item on you, not discarded somewhere at your feet or shoved in a locker or coatroom). I wanted to compile a list of EDC storage options that I could always leave on and that I wouldn’t set down like I might a traditional backpack or purse. 

 3. Finding EDC storage options that are functional and that also allow one to blend in can be difficult. I think it is important to like the EDC storage option used because I’m not going to wear it everywhere if it doesn’t look cohesive with what I normally wear/isn’t comfortable/ doesn’t blend in and if it’s not worn everywhere, then its value in terms of preparedness decreases.


Most of the options I am listing tend towards the dressier end of the spectrum and this is because no one has ever so much as blinked at me touting something dressy, but I’d probably get more looks for wearing something ‘tactical’. My goal is to blend in with an EDC, not stand out. On to the list, in no particular order:


1. GirlyGoGarter : Useful to carry items if you prefer wearing dresses and skirts – included because sure I can carry a clutch, but I always set it down thus ruining the point of carrying the items since they aren’t immediately on hand in case of emergency – this garter with patented grips was designed to carry a phone, insulin pump and other small items like keys and a passport or an EpiPen.

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2. Concealed Carry Drop Leg Bag : I recently bought this drop leg bag and I think it looks sharp enough to blend in and be dismissed. I like that there are multiple ways to wear it and it is not just a typical crossbody bag that digs into the shoulder, and I think many drop leg or motorcycle bags could be good options for women who don’t want to carry typical purses. I feel I can always leave it clipped around my leg with the belt and leg strap unlike a purse or backpack that I might unsling and set down. This bag holds my version of the ‘Urban Altoids Tin’ that has been listed in the other EDC threads and also accommodates the medical supplies I like to keep on-hand.

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 3. Ankle Wrap : Easily concealed by pants that aren’t cut in a skinny style, another hands-free option like the garter that could store EDC basics.

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4. Pocket Belt : Smaller capacity than the drop leg bag in this list but could potentially be worn in more scenarios because it doesn’t have a leg strap. I also like that one could choose to clip more to the belt for easy access.

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5. Boot Pockets : Tucks inside tall boots and can carry small items, could be a good addition to combine with other items on this list.

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Anyone else have EDC storage options or ideas they want to share that may be useful for women?


  • Comments (19)

    • 9

      I know ladies including my wife who wear cargo shorts UNDER their skirts to carry essential EDC,  accessed via slash pockets in the skirt / dress.

    • 8

      Thanks for the suggestions Camille! 

      Right now i’m just sticking with my purse and keep it on me at all times when out of the house, but i’ll have to think about what to do in situations where I can’t have my purse on me. I liked that boot pocket idea, better than just sticking things into my socks.

    • 5

      Just watched some young ladies discussing the lifting of the ban on pop and rock festivals, and how they take stuff they dare not leave in the tent in case of theft.   Cargo pants covered  with wrap around skirts appear popular, fanny packs, money belt / garter, neck purse and neck knives  . Those close fitting horse riding type wellington boots with stuff tucked into them were also popular. and multi coloured paracord bracelets and necklaces with useful items attached appear popular.

    • 5

      Ref the pictured jeans with purse/bag and belt loops empty; There’s versions of actual belts with zipper attaching 2 sides of leather into a “money belt”.  This leather money belt can hold keys attached in flat configuration on a slotted card inside belt. Some folding money can be placed in the … if I may … money belt. Waterproof card with emergency points of contact, map, small tweezers, can fit into belt.

      Aforesaid frees up space on the Girl Go Gater.  

      Ref the green and red shoulder strap and other pictured strap;  Seek a substitute made with folded/stiched material (leather or fabric) for inside space.  Thread inside with ~ 100 feet of fabric fishing line.  This is a semi-decent substitute for the bulky para cord.

      Belts and straps are available that can hold small stuff ranging from Chapstick, a small tube of cream, balm, a small tweezers, the small Victornox knife, flat whistle, flat pack of waterproof matches, a D-I-Y made sewing kit.  Ages ago, Avon brand cosmetics company provided their sales reps with product samples in very small unbreakable bottles.  I bought out my reps samples.  Still have those bottles. They are ideal for loading into a money belt or hollow shoulder strap.


      Of course prior to packing away the keys into money belt, double fabric fishing line to attach all keys together for ease of removal.


      I am now in need of aromatic therapy featuring Avon Wild Country cologne.  Those were the days.

      • 5

        Bob – I have a cotton zippered travel money belt to wear below jeans/skirts that was hard to detect, but it wasn’t RFID protected. 

        Good thinking on repurposing thos Avon containers. I do it with many things – free and very useful storage.

    • 6

      I find the lack of pockets and functionality in women’s clothing so irritating.  And the type of festival/concert limits on bags feels pretty sexist to me.

      My go to is generally a waist bag from State bags 

      Lorimer Fanny Pack

      But across my body instead of around my waist.  If I need something a bit bigger I have a one strap backpack (same company) that works well.  

      Also, I try to only buys clothes that have serviceable pockets, and sometimes just go for men’s jeans or pants if I can get them to fit, as they have nice deep pockets that hold a lot.

      • 2

        I also am frustrated by the lack of functional pockets on women’s clothing.  I am hoping that restrictions from bags at event would make designers/manufacturers step up and actually change their practice.  

    • 8

      Several items in the women’s clothing line from 5.11 tactical are pretty good. Their Stryke pants have oodles of pockets and are not too tactical looking, and with some creative planning could probably hold all of your EDC stuff. Their shirts can be good, too, with a surprising number of pockets, but be careful of the ones that snap vs. buttons. (I find the snaps a bit annoying and don’t trust they’ll stay put). Their advertising does rub me the wrong way – I’ve been buying women’s clothing from them for years but they insist on sending me ads and coupons only for men’s items, and with super-“macho” advertising. But hey their pants last forever so what are you gonna do?

      The activewear line from J Jill also has surprisingly handy pockets – you can’t really see them in the photos on their site, but they’re on the side of the thighs, about two inches above the knee (vs at the hip) and I love that because they don’t interfere with movement. The pockets stretch, and I carry a LOT of stuff in them when I go for long hikes.

      Finally, ScottEVest seems to have expanded their women’s line. I for one plan to try out their Dorothy dress, which seems to have very large, hidden pockets in the hemline. As I mentioned in another thread I bought one of their jackets years ago and found it a bit too bulky and awkward. But it seems they’ve really improved their designs and expanded their offers (their ball cap with hidden pockets is very cool, even if like 5.11 they market it only toward men.)  

      I’m very grateful to you for posting about that garter idea – I’m going to order several, not only for EDC stuff but also just for practical things when this pandemic is over and we can finally wear dresses and go to parties again!

      I would love it if The Prepared could get one of their writers to review some of these women’s clothing lines for their suitability for EDC stuff. I bet some of the vendors would be willing to give you samples to try them out and I’d reviews from The Prepared over anyone else’s. 

      • 5

        Thanks, M.E. – will check them out.

    • 7

      I am working on a way to disguise EDC and other things against hands on encounters. If someone touches our garments, be it pick pocket or aggressor, I want a way to disguise the “feel” of what is underneath the garment by constructing a type of layered shell covering that would cover the items, but feel like touching muscle or body parts. 

      I viewed news footage recently of a young man walking his dog who was murdered on the street. His assailants attacked with one in front and the other behind him. He had a gun aimed at his chest while the other assailant patted his pockets down.

      His murder was horrible. The lesson is if you are carrying anything on your person and an assailant can find it easily by patting you down, they will find it. Make them work for it.

      My choice is an ankle or boot stash (beware of footwear theft if stashing inside your boots). It has to be zippered so it can’t come undone (like velcro or a snap if you hit it the right way). I don’t trust open pouches to hold anything if one is running or fighting for your life.

      Pockets can be modified to be deeper by aligning a second security pocket behind the first visible pocket, but if you are patted down like the person who was murdered above, that won’t matter. If thieves, pick pockets or assailants can feel what you are carrying, there is almost no point in hiding it.

      I haven’t carried a purse forever. I prefer hands free to defend myself if necessary. Plus purses are carriers of a lot of bacteria. (Imagine setting them down repeatedly and most people don’t sanitize the bottom of the purse).

      • 5

        Ubique, would not the danger still be present ? If those in the mentioned incident didn’t steal anything they would leave and seek another source. Yet, if these 2 armed robbers were 5% alcohol, 55% phenabarbartol, they could still be a lethal threat.

        Can’t elaborate on the web but know of a woman down here who carries “fake” items as decoys for an easy theft/robbery. The fake items are bank cash pouches with the red dye.

      • 2

        Agreed, Bob – Definitely, it is a good idea to carry decoy items, especially in an urban setting. The red dye pouches are a good idea alsol

        I can’t understand carjackings where people have their doors unlocked. That’s one I can’t figure.

        I guess what got me about the young man being murdered is that they took his few items and shot him.

        On another note, neoprene (sp?) could work as an overlay to a pocket vest or carry. The feel of neoprene could disguise what is underneath. If the overlay was made to look like a simple vest with a couple of pockets, it wouldn’t look out of the ordinary.

      • 3

        Car jackings are in the best of circumstances: “psychological denial” (It can’t happen to ,,, ).

        Whether neoprene or even a deep sea divers brass helmet to camoflage items is not the philosophical approach I’d use. To me, it’s a bod’s predetermined radius/perimeter protection that must be addressed and protected. Sometimes this perimeter is called a “bubble”. The bubble is a sacrosanct area getting the protection. Someone approaching you within eg two thirds of a meter inside your predetermined bubble is a threat of utmost danger. 

        It’s difficult to make suggestions not knowing the socio – political (includes legal) environment of southern Manatoba. It might be worth researching with the area’s law enforcement community outreach officers if irritant gas is both lawful and successful. Down here, everything is considered … to include locations.  Some locations will not be visited by some.  

        Remember that the human species is not necessarily a rational creature. Some do not have a super ego.  Shooting someone could be just as routine as changing radio stations.

        Footnote: The “bubble” concept entered our political lexicon from 2 seperate environments. Someone going to an abortion clinic has the bubble protection. She cannot be talked to, interfered with, … it’s an area off limits to all … as this was explained to me. The other environment was US Navy vessels. Swimmers trying to swim to the boat in US waters could not be charged with anything until warning given and they were at some certain proximity to boat. There’s now a bubble protection zone.  No one allowed to enter the bubble. Overseas, it’s always dangerous for the vessels.

      • 3

        Hi Bob – I understand what you mean about bubble or radius. There is much limitation here and bill c-21 is closing the door further. Highly recommend a read on that bill as it will give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. Gas is not allowed, although criminals use bear spray liberally.

        It’s why I practice a lot of avoidance and time my travel to the city carefully.

        Actually, I was thinking why not leave my EDC in the Altoid’s can and have a dummy can with a few coins rattling around in another one. If push came to shove, it could work.

        The problem is if I’m attacked, my training kicks in and I don’t play nice. Lots of knives in the city and I’m not letting anyone get that close to me.

        Thats why I live in the country.

      • 4

        Ubique, Understand the basics of Canada but not specifics. Was just sent C-7  (MAID bill re disabled) and C-21 in envelope also. 

        There are initial discussions around here about never leaving home unless in a group. It’s the frontier mentality … for the same original frontier requirement.

        My view is absolute in re ANY avoidable physical contact. Besides the basic danger of getting stabbed or shot, our criminal element is disease-laden from tuberculosis to HIV. 

      • 6

        Hi Bob, Groups can be safer if done right. Predators want the easy target.

        That why EDC is a bit different for me. I don’t want anything visible and on me that can be grabbed like a bag with a strap, even wrapped around my waist or a vest with bunch of pockets.

        In the city for groceries etc, I don’t like wearing bulky items that can be grabbed and controlled by attacker. In winter, I wear an old parka that no one will break into my vehicle for and leave it behind the drivers’ seat.

        I agree that avoidance and escape are the first line of self defense. It was the first thing I was taught when I trained. It was also the first thing I learned the hard way from childhood on when I discovered how many predators exist in this world.

        Contracting a disease from an assailant is a possibility and another good reason to shore up our self-defense skills. Number One: Avoid and Escape.

      • 8

        Ubique, well received.

    • 4


      Camille, all … A follow-up / addendum;  Spent some time thinking about a leather money belt loaded with mini gear “just in case”.  I have access to these types of belts but here in Virginia they are few (not big sellers) and costly.  Just to generate thoughts for a permanent survival tool belt;

      A standard cotton web belt is 1 and one forth inches. A standard riggers nylon web belt is 1 and three quarters (might not be appropriate attire for some women’s jeans – relatively heavy belt). Belt loops on jeans are 2 inches access space plus or minus depending on brand of jeans. Belt loops on jeans can be “made larger” with some sewing labor.

      A fabric belt can be D-I-Y made with a second belt sewn together less the top section having a nylon zipper – or just a sturdy piece of fabric to sew to belt with same zipper requirement.

      There are replacement type of web belt buckles but not for rigger’s belt.  The features are more than for opening beer bottles….just make sure legal in your area.

      At above link, surf around the sections for key chains, gadgets,multitool. Note: the pill capsule not for RX medicines in many areas. Many places require original container unless arranged otherwise with health care prescriber. 

      Waterproof matches or small lighter for list. Thread belt w/ ~100 ft fabric braided fishing line for multiple uses.

      Click on //www.lifesystems.co.uk/products/outdoor-survival/echo-whistle for an example of a small, flat whistle.  Thre split ring gets removed and fishing line serves as a lanyard.

      A pocket magnifying glass ? A small mirror ? Chapstick, a small squeeze tube of something, a couple of coins, tweezers,mini sewing kit ……