What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. Show us your bag in this forum post. This week, we’re featuring Jacob Kastrenakes.
Not carrying three phones, lenses, and battery packs may put me in the minority at Verge HQ, but my shoulders are probably a lot better off for it. I’ve always packed about as lean and light as possible, and short of a nice pair of headphones, my bag holds everything that I could reasonably want on a day-to-day basis. It’s not quite roughing it, but I’ll make do with writing on napkins if it means not having to carry a pad of paper.
I spent a couple years on the lookout for the perfect bag as my last messenger fell to pieces. Eventually, I found a small outfit through Etsy that just happened to be located in Pittsburgh, where I was living in at the time. The company, Moop, produces some really simple, well-made bags. The messenger has a few deep and easy-to-access compartments inside and out, and its massive storage space makes it the nearest thing to a real-world Bag of Holding.
13-inch MacBook Air (mid-2011)
You have to give it to Apple products for resiliency: My last MacBook, a white plastic model from 2007, can still function with half a dozen wires and a large chunk of metal sticking out of its spine. And after a handful of collisions, my Air is still running with both of its top corners dented in and a good dark scratch like a scar across the top lid. If I could do it over again, I’d probably buy a traveling case.
There’s no chance I’d carry a big, bulky DSLR with me everywhere, but Sony’s NEX series has both the image quality and slim package to make it the perfect replacement. The 7’s electronic viewfinder is still among the best out there, and getting to see how your shot actually looks to the sensor is invaluable. I keep the kit 18-55mm lens on it in the office, but when I’m walking around the city, I’ll usually throw on an old manual prime.
The iPhone was an easy choice when it finally came time to leave my LG Chocolate 2. More than anything, I just wanted to get on Instagram, which was still iOS-only. While no rumored features of the inevitable 5S have thrilled me, it’ll be hard to resist moving to something with LTE when my next upgrade comes around.
Everyone seems to hate Apple’s earbuds, but they work just fine for listening to basic audio files, like an interview or a podcast. All of my actual music listening happens in my apartment on Grado’s SR325is headphones — which sound pretty darn good — so I’ve given up on carrying a pair for listening to an album when I’m out. The earbuds are just my way of sparing anyone around me from overhearing whatever video my laptop is playing at a given moment.
On top of my iPhone, I’ve gone through four iPods, so there are more than a few 30-pin connectors lying around my apartment. As my iPhone only seems to die on the days that I actually need to look something up (a map, without fail), I’ve taken to carrying around a spare cord. There’s almost always a USB port to lend you power, but you’re out of luck if you can’t find a cable.
8GB flash drive
In a perfect world, it’d be easy to send a file to someone sitting right beside you. Somehow, we’re still not there.
MintyBoost USB charger
I learned the basics of soldering while nearly botching this USB-charger kit from Adafruit. Though my skills are still seriously lacking, the charger was a fun and simple first project. It’s handy too: it plugs into almost anything that you’d need to charge throughout the day, and a pair of replacement batteries usually aren’t too hard to come by. Two AA batteries can fill up most of an iPhone, and that’s all you really need in a pinch.
I’ve been burning through books on my subway rides to and from the office. I’m always reading fiction, and finishing a good short story can be one of the best parts of my day. Karen Russell’s collection wasn’t my favorite, but fortunately there’s a book store just around the corner — my only real problem is figuring out what to read next.
The moisturizers probably make enough sense, but I suspect most people would choose a Swiss Army knife over nail clippers. Fair enough, but these can make it through metal detectors and have yet to be taken away at airport security.
Alongside a wallet and phone, I’ve been carrying a Bic pen in my pocket for years now. The black and white look is simple and stylish, and they’re inexpensive enough to not mind losing one or giving away one of the spares in my bag. Unfortunately, Bic switched the color to translucent gray a few years ago, and the classic design is a bit harder to come by now.