What’s in my bag 15 Feb 2014 - Timbuk2 custom XS - all wool on Flickr.
On my road to scale down the number of items in my daily bag and its overall weight, I have come to reduce even what you saw from my last bag (www.flickr.com/photos/beorn_ours/9489882942/). The reduction was more in matters of weight, not that much of absolute number of items.
I had planned to order a new custom messenger from Timbuk2 for a while and the main motivation was not that my previous was already worn out, those bags can last you a lifetime, nor that I was bored with the design/colours - the previous x-small messenger bag was as well a custom one. The requirements were: something which is suitable to be worn when I am in a suit and tie, all the while not being un-personal like going for an all black or some other universal colour pattern.
Then I saw an add in one of Timbuk2’s newsletters about them releasing wool fabric for their custom bags. The quality of the fabric is great and while it is obviously not as durable as the ballistic nylon and you will see some problems with stuff sticking to your bag, the style and feel effects outweigh the problems many times.
The size of a bag often means more than just what you would or would not be able to fit in it. To me, this is almost a statement to what you are or aren’t willing to take on with you on your travel, commute or wherever you need to take something more than what you have in your pockets.
My back and neck started to pay the toll of years (starting at 6 when I started school, up until now at the age of 40) of fully loaded backpacks and messenger bags. Then I took the decision that marked my going from the take-everything-that-you-might-need attitude to take-what-you-can’t-go-without.
In general the former meant to go heavily on the stationary and entertainment, the latter, facilitated by the iPad, meant focus on note-taking and personal care.
Here is the short description and explanation of the items in the bag:
1. The Bag:
Custom Classic Messenger Bag
wool black heather / wool charcoal / wool black heather
binding: pacific blue zig zag
This bag fits more than it looks like it could all the while limiting me to not overload it and my bag. It is not the most flexible in matters of pockets, but the models from Timbuk2 that do have more pockets are not customisable, which is why I make the compromise. It’s light on its own. This one I have ordered with a grab strap, even though it might seem overkill on a bag that small, but this is one of those things that you come to appreciate when you need to move quickly in an out of vehicles on your commute.
The so-called “accessory case” on the strap pad is really useful to hear one’s phone in a loud environment if you don’t want or cannot have your headphones on.
2. The Herschel iPad case/pouch: Durable, good looking, well padded, lined with a material that is soft on your screen. The price is not as high as one might expect from a hipster accessory. Yes, I called it hipster - because it is - their backpacks are not functional at all, albeit very good looking. And how do we call people who are more preoccupied with the looks than the function? OK, I admit, their messenger bags are
3. The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover: No one can convince me that he would love to type on the iPad mini. I was quite good and quite fast typing on my full-sized iPad 4. The mini, though, is limited to thumb typing, which is a disaster for me. Not as much in speed as in accuracy. This keyboard improves the things a lot and even if you would not type a novel on it, it is amazingly useful for work on the go. Numerous times when I have had to finish some work or type a longer email on the go, this keyboard has saved me.
When I know that I am not going to work on the go, I leave it home.
On the facts side it is light and the iPad mini with it is still lighter than a full size WiFi+Cellular iPad. It holds the charge very well, given that you will not be typing that awful lot on it. Mine is more than 3 months old and is still on its second charge (first being the one that it came with, which lasted me for a month or so). You can control audio with it, select text really easily and yes, copy/paste is possible with it.
For a long time I was only using Logitech’s mice, trackballs and when it came to keyboards, I was Microsoft all the way. There was a cheap feeling about the keys and typing experience on Logitech keyboards before that made me ignore all of their versatility and good design. Now I can say that the K811 (www.logitech.com/en-ch/product/illuminated-keyboard-for-m…) being my main keyboard and this being my third-most used keyboard, I am switching to Logitech as well for typing.
4. iPad mini with Retina display: There are enough reviews of this wonder of personal computing. I plan on describing how this replaced my MacBookPro and my 27” iMac for most of the tasks for work and entertainment. For now, suffice to say that there is nothing aside from Screencast editing and iTunes playlist creation, that I cannot do on this device, that I could have done otherwise on my laptop.
- iPad mini with Retina display, white,
- 128 GB
- WiFi+Cellular with a 3 GB subscription shared between my iPhone and the iPad
- Holds my:
- whole iTunes Music library (HD movies are definitely too big even for this capacity)
- my whole iPhoto library
- my whole iBooks and Kindle libraries
5. Charging cables: The long one is the K811 keyboard’s cable and has since the picture been taken moved to a stationary service at my office. The others are:
- the longer one: an Apple Lightning standard issue charging cable for the iPad and the iPhone, soon to be removed from the bag
- the shorter one: the charging cable for the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover - regular micro-USB. This cable is eventually going to be the only one that will stay in my bag given the fact that I have a micro-USB to Lightning adapter and that every other piece of electronics I use has a micro-USB socket. I simply cannot get myself to do it just yet, I still have the going-out-of-charging-cable fear.
- the small black one (horizontal): The charging cable for the Mophie Juice Pack Helium. A goner as well.
6. Camel Active Vegas Wallet Landscape format: Small, very high-quality real leather. Fits 6 credit cards, has a transparent ID holder, coins compartment and the in the bills section there is a zippered long pocket for additional receipts, etc. storage.
7. RayBan Clubmaster glasses case: removed from the bag since the picture was taken, but really useful if ones switches to sun or 3D cinema glasses.
8. Moleskine Evernote edition pocket format: I have had several comments against Evernote on my pictures before. I disagree completely. Have not done it in the comments section because I have started a detailed description of how I use Evernote and will post it rather soon on my Tumblr. For now: this small notebook is what keeps my brain from overload. Durable PostIt tabs are visible from the side (a couple of non-durables as well, but not as well visible).
Really poor quality paper - thin, wrinkles easily and don’t get me started on how every possible ink is a see-through on those pages. No matter how much I love Evernote, when I finish my stash of 3 additional Molsekine Evernotes, I will be switching to the Rhodia pocket sized with elastic band, the ones they call Webnotebook A6 format (www.bloc-rhodia.com/en/page-boutique-webnotebook-collecti…). At the office I use as an event-log one of their wired-top-bound A6 pads - the paper is the best that one could wish for.
9. Tic tac Liberty: bigger and as far as I’m concerned better in taste candy. What started as the habit to have breath-mints (I work with a lot of people whom I have close interactions with - training and brainstorming sessions) became a matter of just having some kind of “taste entertainment”
10. European Apple iPad charger
11. Apple in-ear headphones: I don’t think that those are the best sounding headphones, but they isolate well enough some blabber on the train that I don’t necessarily want to hear.
12. Griffin headphones pouch with Apple EarPods in it, on one side and on the other - Sony MDR-EX100IP-BLACK. The Sony earphones are one of the best cheap phones I’ve ever had. I have left my Bose around ear headphones because of the place they take in the bag and have been using those as my main headphones while on the go. Picked them up at the airport in Rhodes, Greece because by BOSE where already packed and sealed - a very good buy (on Amazon you can have them about 25% cheaper than what I paid).
14. Absinthe Flavoured Candies Tin with pills in it: The candy was disgusting (not the taste, but the consistency), but I looooove the tin, which is why I bought the candy in the first place. Contains mainly Advil.
15. Glasses cleaning liquid.
16. Hand and surfaces sanitiser spray
17. Keychain with various keys (home, drawers and cabinets at work), my office badge, my bike chain: My Victorinox Explorer Plus fell victim of the reorganisation of my bag (only to land in my coat or pants pocket a couple of weeks after the picture was shot). The knife you see here is maybe the most usefully thing in an urban environment for everyday needs if you work in an office - the Swiss MiniChamp with Alox scales. Those scales do not scratch when you attach the knife to your keychain as the red scales one would.
18. Burt’s Bees Lip balm
19. Solar-powered thin profile pocket torch
20. uni-ball Vision Elite Green - for emphasis in the notebook (dates, section headers, etc.): Those pens have incredible ink with a good flow and quick to dry, nice colour. The best plastic gel pens in the world in my opinion and you just need to go a bit back through my Flickr stream to see that is have tried quite a few pens.
21. iPhone 5 in a Mophie Juice Pack Helium: I cannot say that I was ever a huge fan of iPhones, but the iPhone 5 without a case is, aside from flip phones, the one that lies best in my hand.
The Mophie Juice Pack: I used to put it on the phone only when I needed the additional charge, but after I had a horror episode with my phone which smashed my screen to smithereens, this case stays always on it. It’s light, adds only a reasonable amount of bulk and is unarguably practical for someone who often is too busy to leave his phone on the charger during the whole day and looks nervously at the power bar’s percentage at the end of the day. Bought it from the Apple store in my favourite city in the world - Chicago.
22. LAMY Scribble Ballpoint pen: Not the pen with which you would be writing for hours as its short body tires the hand for long periods. Nevertheless this is a great pen that is both casual and elegant. Quick scribbles are what this pen was made for and you can only enjoy the flow of the ink and the pleasant weight (a bit on the heavy side, but gives a feeling of quality to the instrument). The refill is a compact M22, which does not have the most amazing colour in the world, but has a perfect flow to it and lasts surprisingly long for its size.
A very impressive touch of design with attention to detail is that if you clip the pen and the pencil to a pocket in your bag without seeing which one is which, the button at the top is convex for the pen and concave for the pencil.
23. LAMY scribble pall 3.15 Mechanical pencil: This sketching pencil is great for mind mapping, workflow/flowchart sketches and is the most frequent victim of the office pen stealing bunch. “Keep it hidden! Keep it safe!” is something that you might be tempted to do after the first time this happens to your pencil, but I say that you should proudly exhibit this token of good taste in writing instruments, just don’t leave it on the table where it might not be visible at all times.
24. LAMY AL-star AL fountain pen/fine steel nib: a noble looking version of a pen which is legendary even in its plastic form. Ease of writing and the pleasure of a fountain pen at a prince that does not make you cringe just thinking of it.
25. Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition: I could write for hours about the advantages and benefits of writing on your iPad. Maybe half of this time I would spend in an eulogy for this stylus. The fact that I have to remind myself every time not to say pen, but stylus when referring to it should be enough of a proof of how good this instrument is.
There are three iPad applications in which this pen is a priceless in the quality and ease of use: Penultimate - the app for which this pen was created and where the ink flow and use is identical to this of a very good gel ink pen; then comes Noteshelf which is a note-taking app with lots of advantages, but where the too many options are hampering the proper use (which did not prevent me from buying every single in-app purchase they offer); and third is the Adobe Ideas app - I am not and never have been an Adobe fan, but this app is the illustration that there are many and very talented software engineers working at Adobe - this app with it’s ability to extract a colour palette from a picture and its bigger than a simple notebook page canvas, with its layers and discrete line-straightening algorithms is the reference for me for visual note taking.
26. Livescribe Echo 4 GB pen: Go over my previous bag shots and read through the notes for something about this pen. Priceless for anyone who is at school or has often meetings where one would prefer to listen/participate more than write
27. Clairefontaine fine leather pen case: small beautiful, very pleasant to the touch.
28. Livescribe Flip Notepad: again, the description of this item can be found in the notes of my previous notes
29. Interdental brush: again, the description of this item can be found in the notes of my previous notes
30. Dental floss: again, the description of this item can be found in the notes of my previous notes
31. Hollywood Chewing Gum: Echo from my childhood. The fact that a French Chewing Gum is called Hollywood is another illustration of the attraction this spot has all over the world.
Yes, it’s pink and it’s strawberry flavoured. I don’t have a problem with that (40 year-old, grey-bearded male, as I am), do you?
32. The big pouch contains my mass transit card and the smaller one the one for my daughter - a special card that entitles her to travel at very low prices when with me.