We should start with the bag itself. I carry a purse, really, but in form it looks like a little messenger bag. It’s from Timbuk2, and it appears to have been discontinued ((I’m chatting with Timbuk2 customer service to see if they still make one like this)). The bag has four compartments. It has an outside pocket, which is just a flat pocket with no inner features. Under the main flap, a snap cover that can flip all the way over the back, there are three more sections. The main pocket is a big empty bag thing. The zipper pocket is in there, and is also a big empty pocket, but it has a key fob on a ribbon, and, of course, the zipper to secure your stuff needing securing (security?). Finally, there is a gadget pocket, with inner sleeves sized for cell phones, gadgets, pens, etc.
Here’s what I carry inside:
The outside pocket
- Sunglasses. It is not the best place for sunglasses, as it can get squished pretty easily. But they are easily accessible here, and if you just buy the $9.99 shades at Target, not too much risk is involved.
- Car key. One of our cars does not require me to get my key out. But the other does, so I keep that key in this pocket. This is for a Volkswagen Passat station wagon, btw. I would not really recommend this car, long-term. (Sorry Denny!)
- Receipts. All my receipts get stuffed in here, which means they no longer get stuffed into my wallet! Long live the Bag!
- Binder clip. Yeah. In the summer, we go to the Farmer’s Market, where our son gets a honey stick. Invariably, he does not finish it, hands it to me to “keep for later” and runs off. I use the binder clip to fasten the honey straw closed.
- Clock. Actually, it’s a little clip-on timepiece, very cool, that I got for my birthday. I don’t wear a watch.
The main pocket
- My wallet. Also a Timbuk2 product, also discontinued. Damn. I really like this wallet. It is a burnt orange, canvas wallet with a snap and a zippered change pocket, both things that are hard to find in men’s wallets.
- Baby wipes. Because I am a father to a diapered child. I prefer the Pampers Clean’n Go package, as it can go straight from shelf to bag (via checkout, of course), and it is made of something very durable (horribly long-lasting plastic polymer, I am sure). It achieves the sweet spot in size about halfway through its contents. It’s a little bulky when full, and crumples too easily in the bag when nearly empty. More than you wanted to know.
- A diaper. ibid.
- Sundry. If I have collected it on my trip out to the Real World, I will probably put it in this pocket. For example, right now there is a packet from my bank about the business account I just opened with them.
The zippered pocket
- Car key. This is the key for the other car, the car that does not require me to take my key out.
- Novelty flashlight. I got this from DriveSavers when I gave them two thousand dollars to recover my hard drive. I keep it for the memories, and on the off chance I need a light.
- Microfiber cleaning cloth. For my glasses, or my sunglasses, or my camera lens. I wash it regularly.
- Camera battery. Extra battery, charged, for my digital camera. If you don’t have two batteries for your camera, get a second one now. Unless, of course, your camera takes AA batteries, or something. I hate you.
- Camera tripod. The little Joby GorillaPod. This thing is amazing. Light, capable, perfect. Much bulkier than my previous compact tripod, but so much more capable.
- Measuring tape. Eight feet of cloth measuring tape, in a spring release roll, from Oxo.
- Lubricant eye drops. You know, one of those half ounce, $10 bottles of tears. Because I wear contacts.
- Namits. This is a game you can play with your kids anywhere. Plastic cards with categories and examples on them, such that you can flip it open and tell the kids in line at the DMV, “Name things that… tangle!”
The gadget pocket
- Digital camera. My Canon PowerShot SD-500. I love this camera, though I am jonesing for a new one. What I could do with the face-recognition focusing! And the image stabilization. I actually use this camera as a movie camera, too. It has proven much more versatile than hauling along my DV camera.
- Cell phone. Yes, I have one. I am a Verizon slave, and I carry the Motorola E815. It is capable, and I have gone online with it once or twice when I needed to (when doing a live webcast offsite, I needed to visit our web pages back on campus for some settings).
- BIC pen. Nothing beats the old crystal BIC ballpoint pen. I favor the blue ink.
- Sharpie MINI. How do other people get along without a Sharpie at their disposal?
- Voice recorder. An Olympus digital voice recorder, the DS-2, to be exact. I use it to record the priceless utterances of my children. It works well, and fits nicely in the bottom of the gadget pocket.
In the end, the bag actually weighs a lot. But I sling it over my shoulder and all is well. I once carried the bag, the baby, the four-year-old, his coat, and his artwork, 500 feet to our car. Through a gate!
In all seriousness. I would be lost without the bag. I don’t know how I did it before. I will welcome the day I can lighten my load (and bulk) by losing the baby items, but to be honest, they are not too cumbersome right now. Missing, in my opinion, is a real source of light in an emergency, and some sort of calculator. Yes, I know, but my phone doesn’t do calculator. So I guess I am missing an iPhone, too.
Okay. So. Dare I ask? What’s in your bag? Feel free to link to your own site, or Flickr photo, or whatnot.