I’m going through a lull in my international travel at the moment (thankfully), but I still spend a lot of the time out of the house. Being the kind of overthinker that I am, I have evolved what to me is the perfect EDC productivity kit. You folks tend to like the behind-the-scenes posts, so I thought I’d share a bit about what’s in my bag, and why I think it’s so good.
For true authenticity, I wrote most of this post in my local pub.
The bag: Topo Designs Quick Pack
It’s not the biggest. It’s a bit crazy looking. It doesn’t have as many pockets as my Chio. But right now I love this little thing. Most of the time it’s just big enough.
What do I like about it? The colours. Removable seatbelt strap. Waist strap for when I don’t mind looking like a dork and want to avoid sweaty shoulder syndrome. Bright liners so I can find stuff. Bulletproof construction.
Writing kit: Nock Sinclair
I must have about twenty pen cases. But the Sinclair remains, after years, my go-to, and the only thing it won’t hold is my Nakaya Long Cigar. I put three pens (sometimes five) and a Tomoe River notebook in there and I’m in heaven. Right now, mine is home to a Nakaya Decapod, Conid Regular and Aurora Nettuno. Envious? I hope so.
Tablet: Surface Go
Sod tablets. I love my Surface Go. I love it more than anything. I’m writing this post on it, and even now I’m giddy with excitement at how good it is. I was hesitant about getting one — I have a laptop and a phone, why would I need a tiny laptop? — but this thing is amazing. I blog on it. I browse on it. I can type on it. Edit photos. Mount USB sticks. Run proper application. Yet it disappears in my bag in a way my other work/personal laptops never could. It’s built great, battery is good, key cover is great, display is lovely… it’s literally perfect for me. If you’ve ever wanted a proper laptop that’s the size of an iPad, here you are. Even if you don’t think you need one, you probably do.
And in case there’s no Wi-Fi:
Headphones: Jabra 65t
When I really want audio quality I take my Nuraphones, but the Jabras are the size of, well, a small thing. They’re intensely comfortable for hours at a time, never fall out, have proper controls, sound good, have excellent battery life, and the Bluetooth connection is rock solid. Honestly, I can’t recommend these things enough. The only thing they’re missing is active noise cancellation.
Torch: HDS Rotary
A torch is mandatory carry for me, even in the long days of summer. I carry a 10180 on a chain around my neck, I have a small CR123 (often an Eagtac D25c clicky or a Zebralight H32) in my coin pocket, and I keep one in my bag too. Yes, I’m paranoid, and you ALWAYS need light.
I ummed and ahhhed over getting an HDS for at least five years. When I did, I wished I’d got one earlier. Mine is the ‘high noon’ special edition, which means it’s the colour temperature of the sun, 93+ CRI, and basically perfect quality light. Of course, being an HDS, it has terrible lumens (200!), but punches above that due to its spot beam. It’s huge (the size of an 18650 light for a 16340 battery!) but utterly bulletproof and ergonomic. I put it in my bag and forget it’s there. Exactly what I need.
Multitool: 58mm SAK
Most people just carry a Swiss Army Knife. I commissioned a custom one. 58mm, based on a Rambler, blacked tools, Spyderco Bug blade, Titanium scales, G10 liners, tritium insert, pocket clip, and about $200. I leave it in my bag and know I’ve always got what I need. It’s a ludicrous excess, but it makes me happy — and it’s a lot lighter than carrying the Gerbers, SOGs or Leathermans I used to lug around.
Mug: Contigo West Loop
Coffee is very important to me. I have a Zojirushi travel mug that keeps it nuclear hot for about a decade, but it’s the Contigo that I keep coming back to. It’s easy to clean. It has a push-button, autosealing opening. It holds a lot of coffee. It’s built like a brick shithouse. I love this thing — it’s honestly one of my favourite possessions, and I use it at home instead of normal mugs, because I’m a crazy man.
Camera: Fuji X-T20
I don’t always carry my “proper” camera, but I carry it more since I got the Fuji, to replace the Sony NEX-6 that I used to own. The Fuji and its prime lenses suck so much at close focus, and I’m not convinced that the image quality is that much better than my Sony, but the shooting experience is wonderful. You can tell that this was designed by people who love to take pictures. Great manual controls — including exposure compensation! — robust bodies, great feeling detents on the aperture rings, superfast autofocus… the Fuji has got it where it counts. I usually leave mine with the 35mm f/2 installed, as a complement to my iPhone X. Mine has a ludicrously expensive thumbrest and walnut grip installed for extra comfort.
OK, I know it’s unpopular these days to carry a knife, especially in the UK. But remember: for centuries, people carried knives as a matter of course, as tools. Today I use mine for opening boxes, cutting back plants, cutting food, and a million other activities. I have about a dozen UK-legal (sub-3 inch blade, nonlocking) knives, but I normally carry a Spyderco Ti PITS, Spyderco Ti Pingo, or Spyderco carbon fiber T-mag. I guess I like Spydercos. I also often carry a Viper Dan 1, which is nice but a bit stiffer than the Spydies. I also periodically use a Northwoods Fremont Jack, but every time I do I’m sad that I only managed to snag the G10 scales rather than the camel bone. The Spydercos are sharp, extremely ergonomic, and have great deep-carry pocket clips.
Watch: Tudor GMT
I sold my Seiko Presage. I sold my Speedie (yes, shock horror!). I stuck with the Tudor GMT. It ticks all the boxes: sapphire, date, 200m WR, automatic, GMT, COSC accuracy, 72-hour power reserve, big second hand, good lume. I struggle to wear anything else (although I am wearing the Hamilton Murph today, I admit). The only downside? It’s thick, and it’s heavy.
Lighter: Douglass Field-L Lighter L
I don’t smoke, but I like having a lighter on my person just in case. This has better build quality than a Zippo, and doesn’t dry out as fast (although it does still dry out eventually). The machining is great, and the combination of brass and steel I find very attractive.
Keyring: Cogent Designs HangKey
I’m not big on putting loads of things on my keys. The only concession to EDC on here any more is the titanium “dangler” I use to clip the keys to my pocket and stop them clumping into a sharp ball at the bottom. It’s the first generation HangKey from Cogent Designs (now “Magnus”). It’s simple, light and works well.
Entertainment: Kindle Paperwhite and Nintendo Switch
Stick me in jail for a year and I’ll be alright as long as I’ve got these. And a power socket. I don’t always carry them — certainly they won’t fit in the same bag with camera etc — but I often carry at least the Kindle.
Sounds like a lot? It doesn’t feel it, honestly. And it means I have computer, games, reading, music, photography, writing, light, tools and more, all at once. I feel like a modern day boy scout.