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DIY Mini-kit EDC: “Survival” kit for travelers in urban areas

An urban “survival” mini-kit (or EDC = Every Day Carry, a very American concept) that fits in a pants pocket, this is the challenge I set myself when I saw the list of things you should “always carry”. The list is long and scary, so you have to be clever to fit everything in a small metal box

Uh, why an EDC mini-kit when you already have a pharmacy kit?

The first aid kit, it is complete but heavy. I won’t be able to take it with me all the time, except during the treks. Most of the time, it will stay at the hotel. I don’t want to walk every day with 1kg of equipment on my back, especially in the cities where I will be, in case of absolute necessity, I will be able to find a pharmacy. Without being a “survivalist”, I especially need a mini-kit to heal the small inconveniences of nothing at all: a piece of clothing with a hole in it, a broken nail… to improve my comfort. These are things I need, on me, everywhere, even in Paris

The equipment

The Nana box has been chosen. It was widely distributed during an advertising campaign for Nana (yes, the brand of sanitary napkins). Its mini size is perfect. This isn’t surprising, as it was made to take a sanitary napkin from her bag in a discreet way. Well, if you can’t find one, that’s okay, I have other options for you that I’ll talk about at the end of the article


The contents of the mini-kit

In my little Nana box, I put all this (click on the picture to zoom)


  1. A sanitary napkin: Of course, the box is made for that. And it’s always useful to have some, especially since it’s a pain to find them in some countries. For the guys, you can replace it by PQ, always useful
  2. A piece of soap: This soap is used to disinfect a wound, or simply to wash hands.
  3. Bandages : Always very useful to have on you. I took 2 different sizes. The square-shaped bandages can also be used for heels that are in pain.
  4. Medications that we often take: in my case, they are painkillers.
  5. A sewing kit: This kit can be found in almost every hotel and is very complete.
  6. A mini nail file: Same, hotel gift. It is always useful to have a file on you, nails break so often.
  7. Tweezers: An indispensable tool for splinters. Mine is particularly small, I found it in a My Little Box, but it is also on sale on Birchbox.
  8. A dental floss holder: which also makes a brush, toothpick. Found at Carrefour, 2€ per box of 20
  9. A mini-USB key: A partner gift, but you can also find it on Amazon if you don’t have one yet. I store my passport scans and visa photos on it
  10. Two photocopies of passport (mine and JB’s)
  11. A small pencil: You can take the one from Ikea and sharpen it to make it very small.
  12. Hair accessories: One hair elastic + two clips
  13. A piece of paper with information about me, taped on the back of the box: name/name/email/emergency contact/blood group
  14. A post-it, which I will use as paper if needed.
  15. A perfume sample: Optional, but it’s for my personal comfort
  16. Optional: A rubber band around the box, to keep it tightly closed, but also to be able to use the rubber band if needed (to close a bag, tie up hair).

Yes, all this is in a 8x8cm box. Impressive, isn’t it? Yes, I must admit that I had a lot of pleasure and pride in preparing this box. I had to search the whole apartment to find these little hidden pieces

Other option, other box

If you aren’t lucky enough to own a Nana can, you can go to the supermarket and buy a can of Les Tartinables tuna, which is rectangular and slightly higher than the Nana can. It also fits in a trouser pocket. Just to show you that it’s possible to fit the same thing (or even more), I migrated the entire contents of the Nana can into the tuna can. Here is the result (click on the picture to zoom)

You can even add extra matches, or replace the napkin with the pad for even more room

mini-kit EDC pour le tour du monde

The test with “the spreads” was conclusive. I did the test with 2 other boxes that you can easily find in stores: A candy box bought at Starbucks & a box bought in a bookstore

Clearly, the Starbucks mini-box contains only the bare essentials: Photocopies of passport, sewing kit, file, soap and bandages, USB key. I think for a guy, that’s good

Exacompta’s plastic box is spacious. If there is no room for the sanitary napkin, there is still some room for a mini tampon. But the tweezers will never fit

The content of the EDC kits is personal, some also include a $20 bill, a mini Swiss Army knife, or fishing line. It’s up to you to see what you need. Personally, to make my kit, I remembered all the times I said to myself “if only I had it in my bag”!

Update September 2016

After 3 months of traveling in 7 countries, I confirm that my EDC has helped me several times: for super stupid reasons (I hurt myself breaking a glass in a restaurant) or very unpleasant (leech attack), or very funny (a parrot ate a button on my shirt), or very banal (I have a headache from time to time). After all these inconveniences, I will even say that it is INDISPENSIBLE to have an EDC on you, all the time

Update December 2016

After 6 months of traveling in 15 countries, I still confirm that my EDC is great. However, I’m still thinking about equipping my backpack (when we are in risk zones), so that I’m 100% ready for any evacuation for tsunami or earthquake. We had 3 earthquakes in 6 months (Burma, New Zealand, Chile). Yes, we travel in zones with strong seismic activities. Here’s what to bring in your backpack (click on the picture to zoom, and replace the radio by the phone; the flashlight by a portable phone charger)

Update July 2018

I always have the same kit. I just added a small Compeed bandage specially designed for heels because I find that they are much more pleasant for foot injuries

Other EDC Ideas

If you are passionate about EDC mini-kits, I invite you to watch 5 more mini-kits with a theme by One Good Thing by Jillee


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