I’ve always been a huge fan of the “what’s in my bag” posts. Any time anyone I follow posts one of theirs, I pore over them, looking to see what kinds of cool bags are out there, what they’re stuffed with, and how I could improve my own bag setup.
Since I’ve been working remotely for nearly 3 years, my bags have gotten a bit neglected. However, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road in recent weeks, so I’ve gotten the bag re-packed and set up just how I like. I figured it’d be fun to share them with you.
(Click for a full-size image)
The backpack is a discontinued, older model North Face Big Shot. I’d been talking for years about how I wanted a different backpack with some extra compartments to carry my various devices, and my wife saw this one day on a clearance rack during Christmas vacation. It ended up being exactly what I was hoping for at the time, and while I’m always on the hunt for The Perfect Bag™, this one has done the trick for over 8 years now.
And as for what we have packed inside:
- Composition notebook, for various notes (this one is filled with notes for a D&D campaign I want to write)
- Laptop: 2021 16” M1 MacBook Pro (M1 Max, 32GB RAM, 512GB storage - easily the best computer I’ve ever used) for writing code & blog posts
- MagSafe charger + extension cord
- Warby Parker Ames glasses (I’m trying out these new glasses with blue light filtering lenses to see if they make extended computing or gaming sessions a bit easier on my eyes. So far I’m very happy with these.)
- iPad (8th gen, 32GB, mostly used as a portable TV)
Left of the bag
- Nintendo Switch + Daydayup Switch Case (Currently playing: Pokémon Violet)
- Steam Deck (Currently playing: Final Fantasy IV)
- Drawing supplies:
- A generic lined notebook for practicing
- UCreate Poly Cover Sketch Book
- Generic Target pencil case
- Paper Mate Comfort Mate Ultra mechanical pencils (my favorite pencils since college)
- Pentel AM13 mechanical pencil (1.3mm) (for heavy line work or shading)
- Superior Needle Drawing Pens (0.5mm) (Note: this link is for a full set, but I just use the 0.5mm)
- Pilot G2 rolling ball gel pens (0.7mm)
- Ticonderoga #2 wooden pencils
- Erasers, lead, a double sided Sharpie, and a pencil sharpener
- Spare pens, pencils, and lead (for when the drawing supplies aren’t with me)
- CHAFON Multi Charging Cable (I don’t remember who introduced these to me, but they’re absolute game changers until we get the USB-C standard across the board.)
- Steam Deck USB-C charger (for the Deck or Switch)
- Note cards
- USB-C to Lightning charger
- Morphie 6000 mAh power bank (Saved my bacon when I got caught in a tornado a few years back. Doesn’t get used often, but when it does, it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.)
- Hidrate Spark PRO Smart Water Bottle (Yes, it’s a smart water bottle. The bottom glows to remind you to drink, and the app tracks how much you’ve had throughout the day. A great help if you struggle to remember to drink water.)
Under the bag
- USB-C to Lightning + USB-A Apple Watch charger
- A travel grooming kit with nail clippers and tweezers (literally the only conference swag I’ve ever gotten that I actually use, and somehow never impounded by TSA)
- Tylenol & allergy meds
- Chap stick (I’m partial to Burt’s Bees)
- Batteries, both AA and AAA
- Quarters, in case I need to feed a parking meter
There are a handful of changes that I’d like to make to this setup.
- Replace the multitude of chargers w/ a 100W multi-port charger, a 3-in-1 portable MagSafe charger, some cables, and stuff everything in a Peak Design tech pouch
- Toss in a spare Apple TV - we have an extra 1080p unit sitting around, and having one for when we’re on the go would make things convenient
Additionally, I’m always looking into different bags just to see what’s out there. While the Big Shot is fine, I’d love to get something that feels a bit less “repurposed hiking bag”. I’ve always been a fan of sling bags, but most of them either a) can’t carry a water bottle without spill potential, b) doesn’t have enough compartments to keep things from sliding around, c) doesn’t stand up on its own when placed on the floor, or d) all of the above.
The Sling Bag
(Click for a full-size image)
I’ve been carrying a sling bag since my daughter was born. Having extra space to haul things, even when I’m just going on a short trip to the store, had been invaluable to making sure I remember everything when walking out the door. I’d been using a generic fanny pack as my sling for months, but I just got a Aer Day Sling last week, and I’m loving it so far. Here’s what’s loaded inside:
- A KN95 mask
- A KeySmart key organizer1 + an S-clip to quickly swap between car or van keys
- Warby Parker Barkley perscription sunglasses2
- A Ridge Wallet
- Glasses cleaning cloths
- Chap stick (doTERRA)
- Bose SoundSport wired in-ear headphones (my emergency oh-shit headphones)
- Kindle Paperwhite (The whole reason I got this sling - now I can carry my Kindle with me everywhere)
There’s a handful of changes I want to make to this setup as well.
- This is a brand new bag, so I’m still working on figuring out the best organization for everything. Right now, the front pocket is only for my keys, and that seems wasteful.
- I need to pack some Tylenol and allergy meds in this bag as well.
- A multi-cable charger + brick for emergencies wouldn’t hurt.
- Other small items, like a notebook + pencil, gum or mints, & snacks would all probably be great if they fit.
- While the headphone case I have is the official one from Bose, it’s a tad bulky, so something smaller would be ideal.
So that’s it! That’s my bag setup as of today. What do you think?
I use this key organizer out of spite - when I purchased it, someone told me “oh you’ll only use that for like 2 months”. I put a reminder in my calendar to rub it in their face 2 months later, and then brought it up any time I remembered. That was… like, 5 years ago. ↩
I was FURIOUS that it took me 32 years to discover how amazing being able to actually see properly while wearing sunglasses was. I’ve never been a contacts guy, so I’d just take off my glasses and put on sunnies, or get huge oversized sunnies to put on over the top of my glasses and look like a huge dweeb. ↩