I’m fascinated and inspired by looking at how other people organize their days and their lives, including what they carry around with them on their persons or in their bags. There’s a whole genre of blog posts and even web sites dedicated to the concept. I like them because it sometimes gives me ideas of useful tools or gadgets that can help me more productive or just ready for what comes my way.
I prefer a carabiner as my keychain because of the ease of getting keys on and off but I had one too many cheap carabiners come apart over the years. So I decided to go with something sturdy, which is in fact an actual climbing carabiner. This is the Black Diamond Screwgate Carabiner ($11). What makes this better is the locking gate that screws up tight and doesn’t unscrew on its own, even being jostled in your pocket. It’s a bit bulky, but not too much and its size allows me to put plenty of keys on it without crowding. And, bonus, if you need to belay off a building unexpectedly, you have a carabiner.
In addition to my keys, I carry on my keychain a Verbatim TUFF ’N’ TINY 32GB USB Flash Drive ($13). I’ve carried for almost four years now in my pocket every day. It’s built to withstand dust, water, static electricity, and the constant jostle of your keyring. You never know when you will need to transfer important files from one computer to another or someone will need to give you a large file that’s too big to email. If you’re a little geeky, you could set up an encrypted disk image on it and keep a password-protected backup of your most important data, like all your passwords. Because it’s encrypted, even if you lose the drive, you’re not at risk. If I were buying today, I might look at a newer product that’s similar, the Verbatim 32GB Store ’n’ Go Micro Plus Flash Drive ($16), which has a rubberized to provide additional protection.
Also on the keychain is the True Utility TU246 TelePen ($10). This has proven itself over and over again. I’ve been in many situations where I need to sign something or write a note and there’s no pen around. Not any more. This great little pen is always handy, writes very well, and is comfortable in the hand. It has saved the day many times for me in the year I’ve owned it. You can also impress others with your preparedness when you pull it off your keychain and hand it over.
Battery and cable
Given all the gadgets we walk around with these days, staying charged can be a challenge. However, I do find that my iPhone 7 Plus keeps a pretty good charge all day for me in normal use, since I often plug it in when I’m in the car or at my desk. However, sometimes I’m out all day or we’re on vacation or I’m with someone whose phone battery is running low. That’s when having a backup battery comes in handy.
I used to carry a small “lipstick” battery until I accidentally ran it through the wash. It may have been okay, but I wasn’t taking any chances with a battery I carry in my pocket. Plus I wasn’t thrilled with the bulky shape. So now I have the Anker PowerCore Slim 5000 Portable Charger ($19). With a 5000mAh (milliamp-hour) capacity that’s almost enough to charge the 7 Plus twice and enough to charge the 7 two-and-a-half times. Plus it’s shaped like a phone and thus lays flat against my iPhone and doesn’t bulk up my pocket.
To go with the batter, I’ve been carrying a 1-foot Apple Lightning cable, but the wear-and-tear of it being folded up in my pocket has left the cable starting to fray and open up, so now I’ve ordered a replacement cable from Anker as well, the Anker Powerline+ Lightning Cable (1ft) ($14). It’s double-braided nylon so I hope it will be more durable.
I got tired of carrying a bulky wallet around with me everywhere. In my back pocket, it was messing with my sciatic nerve and in my front pocket, it was a huge bulk. Even when I cut down on all the cards and other ephemera I carried in it, the wallet itself was a bunch of bulky leather.
So I looked around at a bunch of different minimalist wallets and settled on the BASICS Men’s Slim Wallet ($20). It can hold up to 15 cards, plus a few bills in a small 3.5” x 2.2” size. The cards slide in on either side and a pull tab can make one of the sides pop up on demand (like a pop-up book) and I keep my debit card in that position. The elastic, leather, and stitching is quite durable and my only complaint is that it’s so small I sometimes get worried for a moment that I’ve left it behind when it’s really just in my pocket.
Not in my pocket per se, but on my belt every day is the Leatherman Wave Multitool. This is another indispensable tool that I use every day. Whether it’s breaking down cardboard boxes, unscrewing a screw, cutting an apple, using the pliers to grab something, or even cutting a piece of paper or string with the scissors, I’m constantly reaching for the multitool. Again, the common refrain you’ll find in most of the items I carry, is that it also makes me a useful companion for those around me.3
The other three items in my daily carry are my iPhone 7 Plus 128GB in Jet Black, a handkerchief, and an eyeglass cloth. Really, the handkerchief is a necessity for all men, whether it’s for mopping your brow or blowing your nose or even better offering (clean only!) to a lady who needs a hankie. You will be seen as a classy gentleman. Also, even if you don’t wear glasses, an eyeglass cloth is useful for wiping fingerprints off your phone’s screen. If you do wear glasses, then don’t scratch them up cleaning them on your shirt. Use the cloth.
Now I didn’t get all this gear at one time. It would have been prohibitively expensive for me. I added and changed things over the space of years. (Some of the oldest bits in my daily carry are four and five years old.) And my selection of gear is what suits my needs. Your needs will undoubtedly differ.
Finally, you may be thinking that all this gear must be weighing down my pockets and look silly. In fact, the heaviest item I carry is the Leatherman, but that’s in a belt sheath. Everything else weighs a total of 1lb. 5-7/8oz (620g) distributed across two pockets. That’s not much at all.
So what do you have in your daily carry?
- As opposed to in my computer bag or coat pockets. And while most are in my pants pockets, one item rides on my belt. ↩
- The list has changed over the years and will undoubtedly change in the future. ↩
- Obviously, this is one item I can’t carry when flying, so I will put it in my checked bag. If I’m not checking a bad, then I will sadly leave it behind. ↩