Monday, January 27, 2020

Man-Bag Dump, January 2020 Edition

I think it's interesting to see how my gear choices have evolved (or not). So here it is, a bag dump as we head in 2020. Much of this gear hasn't changed since I last posted on the topic, back January of 2018. Many details about the items below can be found in that snapshot.

I'm currently rocking a Finnish Gas Mask Bag to hold my stuff. It's large enough to fit a Chromebook and other extras when needed, but small enough to use as an every day carry bag. The goofy looking waist strap does a surprisingly good job of making the bag comfortable to wear for long periods. It's also been indestructible, and the snap-like closure convenient to use.

Two new items I've been carrying are a cell phone telephoto lens and a backup phone. I've experimented with carrying a number of photography accessories, but the only keeper has been the lens. It lets me capture photos that would normally be way out of reach from my cell phone. The backup phone has also served me well, especially during oh crap, I thought I grabbed my cell phone but I don't have it moments.

When you look at the list of items below you'll note that one of them is crossed out and handful of them are in italics. That's because I made this list from memory and then went back adjusted it to match the actual contents. As you can see, I could mentally recall most of the contents, but forgot a few obvious items like my car keys and headphones. Also, in my mind's eye, I carry Dayquil and yet I don't.

This little game of concentration stresses a key bit of gear philosophy: it's massively useful to know what you're actually carrying. You may have the most tricked out collection of gear, but if you don't actually know what's in your bag (not to mention, have experience using it) then your kit is far less useful.

This perspective partially explains why I typically bring the same bag, with the same stuff everywhere: I get to know what I'm carrying. I don't have to wonder if I've got a hair tie, or USB C cable or a backup credit card; because if I have my bag, I've got those items. I also know that I'm not carrying a knife or other contraband which will get me stopped by TSA. Sure, it means that at times I'm carrying gear I almost certainly won't use: an SOL Heatsheet while grocery shopping or a Bluetooth keyboard while hiking in the woods. For now, the extra weight and bulk is offset by the confidence of knowing what's in my bag.

Whether it's a photography kit, knitting kit, or any other collection of gear you depend on, I'd encourage you try this memory exercise. If you don't think you are carrying an item, then you effectively aren't. And if you think you're carrying an item and you're not, that's even a bigger recipe of disaster.


  • Carabiner
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip & Tumble Bag
  • Buff
  • TIP Flashlight
  • Kleenex
  • Sharpie
  • Everclear Spritzer
  • Hair tie
  • Binder clip
  • Cash
  • Credit Card
  • Mirror
  • Cell phone telephoto lens
  • Lens cloth
  • Clif Builder Bar
  • Fruit Strips
  • Electrolyte Tablets
  • Car keys and Res-q-Me
  • A-SPAN Street Guide
  • Extra 1 quart Ziploc bag to protect my phone from rain


  • Gloves
  • CPR Mask
  • KT Tape
  • Duct Tape
  • Gorilla Tape
  • Leukotape
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Claritin D
  • Dayquil
  • Nightquil
  • Benadryl
  • Anti-diarrhea
  • Anti-motion sickness
  • Migraine Medications
  • Ear plugs
  • Dental floss
  • Bandaids
  • SWAT Tourniquet


  • Bluetooth Keyboard
  • Battery Pack
  • USB C Cable
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Garmin Watch Cable
  • Micro USB to Audio Jack Cable
  • Micro SD Card and adapter
  • USB C Micro SD Card Reader
  • USB C Host on the Go adapter
  • Backup Phone
  • Earbud Headphones
  • USB Wall Charger


  • Heatsheet
  • Bic Lighter
  • Cordage
  • Tea
  • Water purification tabs
  • Fresnel Lens
  • Aluminum Foil
  • True Liberty Plastic Bag
  • 1x1 meter orange signal panel
  • Large sewing needle

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