Packing an EDC kit for a kid can be trickier than packing your own.
Every parent should ask these questions when packing an everyday carry kit for kids.
In this blog, we list down everyday carry items for children of all ages. Read on for an exhaustive list of what to pack for your child’s EDC kit.
But First, Take These Into Consideration
Packing an EDC kit for youngsters can be daunting. Before tossing all sorts of contraptions into your child’s everyday carry kit, here are some things to consider:
- Age – A preschooler won’t have the same everyday carry items as a teenager. A 5-year-old kid might not have the faculties to tell time or use a compass the same way an 18-year-old can. Your child’s kit will grow in proportion to them as they age, so adjust accordingly when deciding which items to add to their EDC kit and which ones to leave out.
- Maturity – Age aside, different kids mature at different paces. Ultimately, it’s your discretion as the parent or guardian to decide which everyday carry items your kid may or may not be ready for.
- Training – Most kids get a head start at learning all about survival in camp. The earlier you introduce them to the concept of an EDC kit, the sooner they’ll take an interest in the prepping lifestyle. From there, it’ll be a cakewalk transitioning to more advanced EDC items.
- Weight of the Gear – Listen. We get it. You wanna prep your kid for every possible crisis out there, but unless they’re slated for an NFL scholarship, they won’t have the stamina to carry a pack that’s half their weight. Don’t make the rookie mistake of overpacking, especially for younger kids. It’ll just slow them down in an emergency.
- Likelihood of Risks – Determine which risks and inconveniences your child is most susceptible to daily. Pack within reason according to the ones most likely to happen. As preppers, we’re used to having backup plans for our backup plans. But when we’re talking about everyday carry items, you don’t need to be packing for TEOTWAWKI.
- School Safe – Some schools can be stricter than others and prohibit pocket knives or multitools with a blade edge. Like it or not, you’ll have to work around those rules if your kid isn’t homeschooled. Opt for child-friendly and TSA-approved tools to save yourself a call from an unhappy principal.
Everyday Carry Items for Your Kid’s EDC Kit
Each child has different needs, so we’ve sorted this list into appropriate everyday carry items for kids aged 5-8 (middle childhood), preteens aged 9-12 (young adolescence), and teenagers aged 13-18 (pre-adulthood).
EDC kits for middle childhood contain only essential everyday carry items, while more advanced tools are added for young adolescence and pre-adulthood years.
Let’s go through each one:
Middle Childhood (Ages 5-8)
Don’t expect a kid’s EDC kit to be anywhere near a proper survivalist’s kit. But if you wanna get them interested in all things survival, middle childhood should be the best time to start.
At ages 5-8, children absorb information like sponges. Introduce one or two basic survival tools to their everyday carry kit to pique their curiosity. Other than that, pack as you would for minor inconveniences they might encounter throughout the day.
The following items are essentials that should be included in EDC kits for kids of all ages. As we move up in age, we’ll add more advanced items to round out these basics. Specifically, these everyday carry items are good starters for kids aged 5-8:
You wouldn’t want your kid to be caught anywhere without water. Water bottles usually take up the most real estate in an EDC kit, so choosing a collapsible cup can keep your kid hydrated on a hot day without overstuffing their kit. Tiny preschoolers also benefit from a lighter pack.
Upgrade to a metal water bottle when your kid has grown enough to carry heavier items in their pack. A metal container is better for insulation and can be useful for boiling water during outdoor trips.
Some chips and a candy bar should do the trick, but if you wanna go the healthier route, try preparing some trail mix in a small lunchbox or resealable baggie. Add some raisins and an assortment of nuts like cashews, almonds, and pecans for a good mix of fibers and protein. The variety also helps keep your kiddos from growing into picky eaters.
Tissue or Wet Wipes
Whether or not you wanna admit it, small kids can be dirty little squirts. With their snot-filled noses and crusty fingernails, they won’t hesitate to put anything into their mouths. Pack tissues and wet wipes in their kit to introduce the concept of hygiene at an early age.
Plus, they might come in handy for the lucky grown-up who has to take them to go potty.
As preppers, teaching the younger generation survival skills is a top priority. But as they start to explore the outdoors and get rowdy during playtime, they’ll inevitably earn some scrapes and cuts in the process. Include band-aids in their EDC kit to temporarily patch up their wounds before you can thoroughly treat them at home.
Your child’s first flashlight doesn’t have to be a tactical one. A basic flashlight can be their first introduction to everyday carry. Tuck a small flashlight into their EDC kit or fasten them into their pack as a keychain for easy access.
Whistles are another basic survival tool you can incorporate into your child’s first EDC kit. Preschoolers typically don’t have the physical strength or sensibility to use self defense weapons, so a whistle should do the trick when they need to signal for help. They can use it to alert bystanders or call grown-ups’ attention if they’re ever lost in the mall or left behind at camp.
Often overlooked as an everyday carry item, bug sprays don’t only come in handy during camping trips, but also if you’re traveling through hot and humid areas. Protect your kids from pesky mosquito bites and mosquito-related illnesses, like dengue and malaria, with a good bug spray.
We all know weather reports can’t be trusted. One moment it’s warm and sunny, and the next, it’ll be pouring rain. Depending on the climate in your area, it might be best to pack a raincoat or a small sun hat so little Lucy doesn’t bear the consequences of a faulty weather app.
Here are other types of seasonal outerwear you can add to your child’s everyday carry:
- Jacket or Sweater
- Rain Poncho
- Extra Socks
Keep the medication for your child’s unique needs inside an airtight container in their pack. Check the expiration date of their meds regularly or keep tabs on your phone’s notes app.
To cover your bases, tape a piece of paper onto the container with instructions on the correct intake and dosage per medication. This can be vital for serious situations when you’re not around.
Laminated Contact and Medical Info
A laminated card containing your contact number and your child’s medical information helps ensure that someone can reach you in an emergency. This is especially useful if your kid doesn’t have a cell phone. Once alerted, you can assist in your child’s care until you arrive to assess the situation.
Young Adolescence (Ages 9-12)
Around ages 9-12, you’ll notice your child outgrowing their shoes and clothes as they enter young adolescence. They’ll begin to navigate the world independently at this stage.
With this growth in maturity, you can start copying items from your own EDC kit to add to their personal kits.
Incorporate the following elevated everyday carry items into your child’s EDC kit:
A radio, flashlight, camera, watch, and a messaging device—these are all tools packed into a single mobile phone. Imagine having one of each item in your EDC kit. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb! One more thing and your kit might as well double as a bug out bag.
But with just a cellular phone, your child can have all those tools minus the baggage. We know not all parents consent to giving their kids a phone, but it’s hard to deny that giving them a personal phone is the practical choice.
Plus, we know you geek out over your high-tech survival gizmos too, so maybe you can cut your kid some slack.
Though, that’s not to say you can’t take any precautions. You can pre-install some apps on your kid’s phone to monitor their Internet usage and confirm that they’re not browsing sketchy websites.
Google Family Link comes free of charge, but some apps require a subscription fee for more advanced features like location tracking and real-time alerts. Look through these parental control apps to see what works best for you and your family.
We’ve mentioned that a phone can also double as a watch, but what if its battery is low? Ultimately, nothing is as reliable as a good old wristwatch for telling time. Plus, it’s a neat little accessory that doesn’t take up space in an EDC kit. And if you find one with a creative design, your kiddo just might make a new buddy at school.
Extra Batteries and Powerbank
EDC tools can be nifty, but some do need recharging every now and then. Pack fresh batteries for your kid’s flashlight and a powerbank to give their phones extra juice in an emergency. A powerbank’s also neat for recharging devices like headphones and laptops.
Experienced preppers would say a pocket knife’s the best EDC gear in their kit. Though they’re not wrong, the same can’t be said for an adolescent’s everyday carry kit. A multitool might be the next best option for parents concerned about safety issues with pocket knives.
The Leatherman Leap can be a good starter for a kid’s first multitool. This multitool comes in three colors and has a variety of tools, including pliers, scissors, tweezers, a bottle opener, and a detachable blade.
If you think that’s still too heavy-duty for a kid, check out TAC9ER’s credit card multitool. Only the size of a credit card, it boasts 22 superb tools and is much more inconspicuous than a Leatherman. It’s also heat-treated for optimum durability and has a five-year no questions asked warranty.
Mini First Aid Kit
At ages 9-12, a young adolescent should be able to do with more than just band-aids. Don’t go overboard with medical supplies, though. A preteen can only do so much. A mini first aid kit to treat cuts, scrapes, and the common cold should suffice.
Here are items you should include in your preteen’s mini first aid kit:
- OTC meds
- Cotton Pads
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Topical Ointments
- Sore Throat Lozenges
Some folks frown upon the idea of giving children cash, but we’re not talking a hundred bucks here—just enough for your kid to get by in an emergency. Say the school bus left without them, and they need a taxi ride home, or some school bullies stole their lunch. They’re gonna need cash at some point.
Learning to get by with a limited amount of cash can also teach them how to budget their expenses at a young age.
Anyone who’s anyone in the prepping community loves a good paracord. Long before they became a fashion statement, paracord bracelets on the wrist were once good indicators of other fellows who loved prepping.
We can’t deny it. The patterns they come in today are pretty cool, and your kid would probably love to sport one too. Besides their snazzy appearance, they have a ton of uses. Here are some ways your kid can make use of a paracord bracelet:
- Fastening items together
- Making a tourniquet
Pre-Adulthood (Ages 13-18)
At ages 13-18, kids stop being obedient little lambs and grow into their own persons with goals, desires, and inclinations separate from their parents. Don’t worry too much, though. That rebellious teen phase is gonna pass.
They’ll make mistakes along the way, but they’ll also develop physical strength and mental fortitude. This should give you more confidence to let them handle bigger things and upgrade the items in their EDC kits.
As they ease into their teens, their EDC kits will eventually resemble and rival yours. With enough guidance, they should be able to manage the addition of the following advanced everyday carry items to their EDC kits:
Pepper spray is a cheap and effective self defense weapon perfect for anyone. As a matter of fact, this would be our top pick for non-lethal self defense weapons.
Pepper spray can allow your teen to fire a spicy irritant from a distance, potent enough to temporarily incapacitate their attacker and give them enough time to escape.
Just make sure to acquaint your kid with the pepper spray’s mechanism at home, so they don’t accidentally fire off at themselves.
This is where things get dicey. While we understand possible safety concerns around a pocket knife, we can’t deny its utility. At the end of the day, it’s your call to decide whether or not your teenager has the training and maturity required to own one.
If you’ve decided you’re comfortable giving your teen a pocket knife, gift them a fixed-blade knife for an EDC tool. Spring-loaded knives are pretty neat, but a blade that’s not fully seated can end up hurting an inexperienced user.
A parent introducing their kids to knives firsthand can also be healthier than having the child learn about knives elsewhere in an unsafe environment. For your teen’s EDC kit, we’re not suggesting the addition of a pocket knife as a self defense weapon but more as a practical tool for quick fixes throughout the day.
Pocket knives can be handy for slicing fruit, opening packages, cutting loose threads, and removing splinters.
Upgraded First Aid Kit
We started off with just band-aids for preschoolers, but teens can surely handle more complex medical tools like disposable syringes, surgical tapes, and needles. Read here for a list of basic medical supplies, or if you want to be extra thorough, here’s a guide on the ultimate prepper first aid kit.
Tweak if your child has any medical conditions, and add specialized items like an EpiPen, an insulin pen, diabetes test strips, or a blood pressure monitor if necessary.
Optional Everyday Carry Items for Kids
Still got room? Here are some more optional items to pack in your child’s EDC kit:
- Compass or Map
- Mylar Blanket
- Tactical Pen
EDC gear aside, the best tool you can take with you anywhere is your presence of mind. Following this principle, the most vital thing parents can do for their kids is to foster an interest in prepping and survival early on.
After all, a mind that’s well-primed for survival always gets ahead, with or without an EDC kit.
The kit certainly helps, though; if you manage to get the kiddos interested, they’ll be smart enough not to leave the house without it.
So which items will you be packing in your kid’s everyday carry kit? Let us know in the comments!