Why You Should Have a Gas Mask in Your EDC Backpack Loadout

Why You Should Have a Gas Mask in Your EDC Backpack Loadout

by Samantha Biggers

Having the best everyday carry gear on you at all times is a challenging task, no matter who you are.

Deciding what to include in your EDC bag and what to leave out can be difficult. After all, your everyday carry, or EDC bag, needs to be portable, and the weight needs to be manageable

Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a respirator or gas mask is an often overlooked yet critical item for EDC loadout. Just looking back on 2020, during a time of a global COVID-19 pandemic, mass rioting, and forest fires, should make it abundantly clear how necessary PPE is.

One should also bear in mind that although COVID-19 continues to be a threat, the potential for an even more contagious and fatal virus is a real possibility.

But fear not, as It is entirely possible to have a decent gas mask in your EDC bag without adding excessive weight and bulk.

This article explores how to add PPE and CBRN gear to your everyday carry kit on any budget.


  • 01

    Half-Face Respirators

  • 02

    Full-Face Respirators

  • 03


  • 04


  • 05

    Basic Low-Level Threat Kit

  • 06

    Expanded Kit for Low to Moderate Level Threats

  • 07

    Moderate Threat CBRN Kit

  • 08

    High Threat CBRN EDC Gear

  • 09


Half-Face Respirators

During COVID-19, a mask was required practically everywhere. Even now, there are plenty of places where you have to wear one to enter or do business.

But a simply cloth over your mouth and nose is hardly a robust solution against biological or particulate threats. A true half-face respirator is ideal for these situations. There are various levels of half-face respirators, from disposable to military-grade masks.

N95 Disposable Mask

(Image source: Image Courtesy of USA Today)

The N95 is the most basic disposable mask you should consider carrying, as they are lightweight, easy to use, and properly rated to filter out particulates. The N95 is often used for construction or carpentry tasks as well as within hospitals to prevent the spread of viruses. Some higher-end disposable N95 masks feature a valve that helps keep things cool for a more comfortable experience. These masks are designed for a single use, but if you are in an area with many particulates in the air, you may need to change them frequently.

3M Half-Face Respirator with Replaceable Cartridges

(Image source: Image Courtesy of Freedom Stencils)

These readily available respirators allow you to use the cartridge that is best suited for a specific threat. However, they are not meant for major threats. You can get P-100 cartridges that will protect you from small particulates. VOC (volatile organic compound) cartridges provide more comprehensive protection but are no match for mustard gas or radioactive particles.

When you choose a respirator designed for construction or industrial use, be aware that you will be stuck buying the manufacturer’s proprietary filters. They do not accept the 40mm threaded NATO cartridges used on military-grade gas masks. Although half-face respirators look similar, these differences are critical and important to know before purchasing these for your EDC bag.


(Image source: Image Courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)

The MIRA Safety TAPR is unique because it provides the comfort of a half-face respirator with the ability to use standard 40mm NATO filter cartridges. This mask is perfect for those who want the most protection possible in a lightweight, compact configuration. It is designed to withstand light chemical agents and particles, as often experienced by the Czech Republic Special Operations who currently deploy this in combat.

The TAPR comes with a compact MOLLE compatible pouch for easy carry and compatibility with the rest of your gear in your EDC bag.

Full-Face Respirators

A full-face respirator provides the most comprehensive and complete protection against threats when combined with the right filters. Some take a single cartridge, while others, like the MIRA Safety CM-6M or 7M, allow wearers to breathe easily through two cartridges. Although two cartridges mean more weight, they provide more airflow with less effort and twice the time until the filters clog. Ultimately, these respirators offer

MIRA Safety CM-6M

(Image source: Image Courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)

The CM-6M is a fully CBRN-rated mask, featuring special bromobutyl rubber that protects the user from a whole host of deadly agents like mustard gas and radioactive dust. Having personally trained with this gas mask, I have found it to be incredibly comfortable and accessible. Its unobstructed, wide panoramic view is ideal for situational awareness and general-purpose use. As someone who wears glasses, a pair of MIRA Safety Spectacle Kit lenses is essential gear. As an added bonus, the visor will not fog up as long as it fits your face.

The CM-6M is compatible with all 40mm NATO threaded filters. For major threats, the MIRA Safety NBC SOF-77 filter is a rugged military-grade choice. This is one of the best possible filters on the market today, offering comprehensive protection against toxic industrial chemicals, chemical warfare agents, biological threats and nuclear fallout. For more details on gas mask filters, check out our Gas Mask Filter Guide.

MIRA Safety CM-7M

(Image source: Image Courtesy of T. Rex Arms)

The CM-7M offers the same features and level of protection as the CM-6M, differing only with its dual recessed visor. While the CM-7M has a more limited field of view than the CM-6M, its tapered design makes it suitable for those who want to be able to use it with optics or shoot long guns while wearing it.


Any set of EDC gear or preparedness kit should include some kind of gloves. For PPE, you ideally want gloves that provide a waterproof, impermeable barrier. But ultimately, any gloves are better than none at all. With gloves, your first decision is whether you want disposables or longer-lasting gloves for more severe threats.

For most people, the answer is both. In fact, disposable gloves should be part of any medical kit, so you may already have some in your EDC bag. If you do, check how many pairs you have. A single pair is a good start, but disposables tear easily, so a backup pair is a good idea.

Here are a few gloves to consider for your EDC loadout.

Nitrile or Latex Disposable Gloves

During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical-grade nitrile or latex gloves were most people's go-to if they were carrying or using gloves regularly. Nitrile is more expensive than latex, but it has become the standard because some people are allergic to latex. In the medical world or any situation in which you’re working with the public, this is a concern.

Both types of gloves come in a range of sizes, and they stretch to provide a good fit. Their disadvantages are that they are for one-time use, do not protect against some threats, and have become costly over the last few years.

Latex gloves, in particular, break down quickly if exposed to petroleum products. Both latex and nitrile gloves are prone to tearing and punctures.

Butyl Gloves

A pair of butyl gloves offers protection against serious threats, and they are also thick enough to be puncture and abrasion resistant. That makes them ideal for extended events.

MIRA Safety HAZ-Gloves

The MIRA Safety HAZ-Gloves come as a four-piece set. You get a set of liners that make the gloves as comfortable as possible to wear. The outer glove is made of 32 mm thick butyl rubber rated to withstand direct contact with corrosive agents for at least 150 minutes. Their longer length allows them to be worn with a hazmat suit. The gloves are fitted, so it is essential to measure your hand and get the correct size. The HAZ-Gloves go above and beyond military requirements, so you know you are getting the best protection the situation calls for. https://www.mirasafety.com/products/haz-gloves-butyl-gloves

In a cold climate? These gloves are designed to remain flexible in cold conditions, so you won't experience any loss of dexterity.


Anything you can do to protect your skin from debris and chemical irritants is far better than nothing. Ponchos are a great addition to your EDC loadout and offer the advantage of fitting over backpacks and other gear, so you have protection from the weather and some camouflage as well. 

Disposable Poncho

These are lightweight and affordable, so you can stash them in various bags and vehicles without straining your budget. Quality and thickness vary a lot. Some disposables are basically like a good trash bag, so you may want to upgrade to a poncho that, while disposable, is a little thicker.

MIRA Safety M4 Poncho

(Image source: Image Courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)

Unlike most disposable ponchos, the MIRA Safety M4 Poncho is a fantastic protective garment against CBRN threats, including mustard gas. It comes in three sizes, so they fit practically anyone while leaving room to protect gear or even another person, such as a child.

The M4 is tested to withstand at least 120 minutes of exposure to blistering agents. The three color patterns let you blend seamlessly into your surroundings. That allows you to remain undetected in serious situations when standing out could be a death sentence.

All of this protection comes at just 23 ounces of weight. Not bad for a piece of rain gear and camo that provides that much CBRN protection.

Now, let’s put this all together to design a kit to add to your EDC loadout that fits your budget and the level of protection you want. Remember, you might want two kits, one for low-level threats and one for major CBRN events. You can buy your gear one piece at a time if your budget doesn't allow for building a major kit in one go. Like all aspects of preparedness, little steps add up to big results.

Basic Low-Level Threat Kit

(Image source: Image Courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)

This kit will easily fit into a fanny pack or purse. It is suitable for threats such as light smoke, particulates, and viral threats. If you work in an office, it is helpful to keep a kit on hand there because it can offer some protection while you get to your vehicle and thus your car bag that should contain more robust equipment. Having PPE on hand can also allow you to shelter in place until you can safely make a move or help arrives.

  • 2 disposable N95 masks or a set of MIRA Safety Reusable Cloth Masks

  • Three pair nitrile or latex disposable gloves

  • Small hand sanitizer

  • Goggles (even swimming goggles will do)

Disposable masks are one-time use, and numerous studies have shown that cloth masks can harbor a lot of bacteria and disease if reused without being properly sanitized. MIRA Safety makes a reusable cloth mask with silver in the fabric that can eliminate bacteria and be used for longer periods. After 100 washes, these masks still provide excellent protection without any bacterial build-up.

Expanded Kit for Low to Moderate Level Threats

This EDC loadout is small enough to fit into purses or small backpacks, but it provides increased protection against chemicals, gases, and viruses. For example, this kit would protect your lungs and eyes from tear gas. Half-face respirators are often used during times of civil unrest. During the yellow vest protests in France, it was common to see people, especially the press, with half-face respirators because of tear gas.

  • Half-face respirator with VOC cartridges

  • Goggles (remember to purchase goggles that will fit over your glasses if needed)

  • Three pairs of nitrile or latex disposable gloves or one pair of butyl gloves

  • Small hand sanitizer

This kit can be further improved by adding a MIRA Safety TAPR half-face respirator with P-100 cartridges. The TAPR exceeds military specs, and it will accept any standard NATO 40mm threaded filter cartridge, so you can even use CBRN filters if the situation calls for it. It just takes a minute to change filters.

A kit for low to moderate threats can protect you on your commute. Millions of people use the subway, railroads, and buses to get to work, shop, go to appointments, etc. Unfortunately, terrorists know that they can make a huge impact by attacking transit systems. A recent example is the attack on the Brooklyn subway in early April 2022, when ten people were shot. The perpetrator used smoke bombs to create confusion and cover so he could do as much damage as possible. Luckily, his gun jammed, or the carnage would have been much worse.

Those unlucky enough to be in the subway at the time would have benefited from some PPE. Goggles would have protected their eyes from the smoke, and a good mask would have protected their lungs from the smoke or anything else that might have been released. During the attack, no one knew that the smoke was just from smoke bombs. The vapor could have been highly hazardous.

Attacks in densely populated areas will always be a risk factor, which further necessitates the need for an urban EDC loadout.

Moderate Threat CBRN Kit

  • MIRA Safety TAPR with SOF-77 CBRN Filters

  • Butyl Gloves

  • Goggles

  • MIRA Safety MDG-1 Personal CBRN Decontamination Glove

  • Rain Suit or MIRA Safety M4 Poncho

While this kit is very similar to the low-to-moderate threat kit, there are some important differences. The MIRA Safety MDG-1 Personal CBRN Decontamination Glove allows you to remove harmful substances from exposed skin. Butyl gloves offer a much higher level of protection against chemical and biological agents. Rain suits provide an extra layer of protection for most of your body. A poncho designed to offer protection against blister agents, like the M4, is a step up and doesn’t add a ton of weight to your bag.

High Threat CBRN EDC Gear

(Image source: Image Courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)

This kit is appropriate for those seeking protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical agents. For example, this is ideal if you live or work near a nuclear reactor or want to be prepared in case someone releases a chemical warfare agent.

  • MIRA Safety CM-6M or CM7 Full Face Respirator and SOF-77 CBRN Filters

  • MIRA Safety MDG-1 Personal CBRN Decontamination Glove

  • HazMat Butyl Gloves (these are fitted, so be sure to measure your hands)

  • Thyrosafe Potassium Iodide Pills

  • MIRA Safety M4 Poncho or HAZ- Suit

  • Dosimeter

The weight of a high-threat CBRN kit should be relatively light despite how comprehensive it is. A dosimeter weighs just a few ounces, but it allows you to monitor radiation levels, so you can know when to start taking Thyrosafe tablets.

The MIRA Safety M4 Poncho weighs just 23 ounces, so it is a great lightweight alternative to a full HAZ-Suit.

(Image source: Image Courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)


Without question, PPE should be part of your EDC bag. Given the times we are living in, the likelihood of being exposed to gases, viruses, or worse is an unfortunate reality. Even a small PPE kit with basic disposable, emergency gear can protect you and reduce your odds of being exposed to deadly chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threats.

Threat levels vary over time, so many people invest in a wide range of PPE. Remember, you can add survival gear and emergency equipment over time to make it easier on your budget, especially for high-end items.

The need for PPE is likely to increase in the future. The increasing threat of wars and terror attacks will further the need to keep life-saving equipment on your person at all times, making an emergency kit vital. 

Give yourself and your family some peace of mind during these uncertain times by being prepared and embracing an EDC lifestyle. 


Can kids wear a gas mask?

Some masks can be worn by children, but guidelines must be followed. For example, a child cannot wear a stand-alone full-face gas mask unless they have the lung capacity to blow up a balloon on their own. Kids also need to be able to keep the mask on. It should be noted that young children may remove a mask when it becomes too uncomfortable, exposing them to danger.

Paper masks, like small N95 or cloth masks, can be worn by kids more than two years old if they will keep them on. It is critical for parents or the supervising adult to pay attention to how they are doing with the mask. Kids should not be made to wear a mask when it isn’t strictly necessary.

For a more comprehensive solution, the CM-3M mask from MIRA Safety includes a PAPR system that allows for much easier breathing and is much more comfortable to wear than traditional gas masks.

How long do gas mask filters last?
Can I wear a gas mask if I have a medical condition?
How should I pack a CBRN Kit?
What else should I take with me if there is a CBRN event?