Apparently, it’s all about the EDC (everyday carry) these days, and people are getting out of control. According to the internets, some folks are carrying bags of ready-mix concrete in case they have to build an emergency birdbath, and everybody (everybody!) carries multi-tools, knives (all kinds of knives!) and bottle openers (why?) — such as one might use to open a bottle of whatever beverage one might enjoy with a bacon and lettuce and tomato sandwich.
I carry stuff, too. And I carry too much.
That realization led to an amazing series of actions:
- I got two chairs
- I put my 900-pound backpack in one chair, and a small briefcase in the other
- Out of the backpack, I pulled only those things which I actually use (no “just in case” stuff), and put them on a table
- Then I attempted to fit those items into the small briefcase… and succeeded
Because this genius technique is so incredibly ingenious, I have decided not to patent it, but instead am “open sourcing” it to the world in the hope that we all can get along and lead better, more productive and — above all — happier lives.
Tom Bihn Cadet 13.5-liter briefcase, with optional neoprene laptop Cache, Absolute Shoulder Strap, three Halcyon Organizer Pouches (one small and two minis) and a Key Strap, which I think came with the Cadet. The briefcase ships with a standard shoulder strap, but you’ll want to upgrade to the “Absolute” model for an additional $20.
I don’t remember how I learned about Tom Bihn, but I’m a convert. In addition to the Cadet, I own two of their backpacks and the insanely great Aeronaut 45 carry-on bag. Tom Bihn products are thoughtfully designed, handmade in Seattle, tough as nails and guaranteed for life. I’ve owned Hartmann (when it was good), Tumi (when it was good) and Briggs & Riley — which still is good, but not always as thoughtfully designed as Tom Bihn.
Believe me now and thank me later.
Here’s what I have in my Cadet main compartment:
- Early 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina (current version)
- Nalgene On The Fly water bottle when I carry water; a Teakwood or Onyx S’well Bottle when I carry iced coffee (I have too many beverage bottles)
- Gallery Leather large monthly planner
- Maruman Mnemosyne N195A – A5 notebook
- Repel Windproof Easy-Touch collapsible umbrella
- MacBook charger in small Tom Bihn Halcyon Organizer Pouch, clipped to O-ring in the Cadet
- thin file folder
- Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pen 0.4 mm black
- Zebra Sarasa Push-Clip Gel Pen 0.5 mm red
- Fisher Zero-Gravity Matte Black Space Pen
- Kanex foldable iDevice stand
- Baggu standard nylon shopping bag – red
- bid’ness cards
- Jackery Bolt portable phone charger
- ThruNite Archer 1A V3 200 lumens tactical flashlight
- First-generation Focal Sphear earphones; AudioQuest DragonFly Black USB D-to-A converter/headphone amp; AudioQuest Jitterbug USB Data and Power Noise Filter (in a mini Tom Bihn Halcyon Organizer Pouch, clipped to an O-ring)
- Advil, nail clippers and dental floss in a mini Tom Bihn Halcyon Organizer Pouch, clipped to an O-ring and key strap
- REI microfiber multi-towel
- a Tom Bihn key strap attached to an O-ring on one end, and a Nite Ize S-Biner dual carabiner on the other end for my house keys
- Two HumanGear GoBites Unos (one for me; one for a friend) in a small Ziploc storage bag (for cleanliness)
- I also might add two pair of chopsticks if I can find a collapsible “tactical” model made from aircraft aluminum and carbon fiber, and endorsed by Japan’s Special Forces Group
Tiny “cellphone” compartment:
- hand sanitizer
- key to my office filing cabinet
Backpack items not included in the Cadet:
- a two-inch thick Redweld folder of printouts of online articles about….
- two empty file folders waiting to be filled up
- a heavy-duty (and heavy), bomb-proof laptop case
- a foam insert organizer sheet thing full of things that had to be organized
- two different types of 3×5 index cards (100 count)
- a marine whistle, in case I found myself adrift at sea
- two velcro reflective tags to attach to the backpack for when walking home from the train station at night; I drive home from the train station
- a Tom Bihn Snake Charmer organizer pouch in which I had my MacBook charger and Focal earphones, but also a miniature tripod and iPhone clamp for taking still photos or videos with the iPhone, and… a Lightning-port powered auxiliary speakerphone for those times when… jeezuz
- several additional pens and mechanical pencils; I don’t use pencils
- a small, climbing-grade carabiner for my keys and other “clip” items
- a heavy-duty, steel luggage tag, attached (inside) with a steel cord
- two round aluminum caribiners — one in each shoulder-strap thumb loop — to ease tightening the straps after heaving the backpack on
- noise-canceling headphones in a hardshell case; no longer needed, as I’ve moved to a quieter work environment
- the occasional “research” book; I read e-books
Hope this helps!