Review – Muji Bunkobon Notebooks (Thin/Regular)

I’ve had a couple Muji notebooks in the queue to review for quite some time now, and ironically it’s the product that I have most recently purchased that’s making its way to my metaphorical “review table” first. Muji has a reputation of being both minimalist and high quality, and Japan in general is often seen as being more focused on a good writing experience, but do Muji’s inexpensive Bunkobon notebooks live up to the expectations?

When looking at aesthetics, the exterior is about as minimal as one can get: a brown “craft” paper cover with a smooth (not glossy, but definitely coated) finish wraps the whole book, only interrupted by a barcode sticker on the back. Inside, the pages are blank with no additional features (no name page or back pocket) save a red ribbon bookmark.

The paper is a pleasant off-white with a very smooth texture. For how thin it is, it does a very good job of holding up. Almost any mark you make has “show through” where it can be seen from the other side of the paper, and with pens this quickly renders the reverse side unusable (I never use it anyway), but in most cases this doesn’t result in “bleedthrough” where marks appear on the next page. Gel and fountain pens work fine, but Sharpies and calligraphic pens are too much for it to bear (though only barely, it seems). The actual experience of writing on the paper is also quite pleasant, it’s got just a little bit of tooth to remind you that you are indeed writing, but most pens just glide across. For me personally, it sometimes feels a bit slippy or like I’m losing control, however, I have the same problem with the gel pens that everyone else in the world loves.

The book comes in two (very reasonably {but not proportionally} priced) sizes, regular with 144 sheets, and slim with 50. And the larger size would excite me more if I didn’t have a few issues with durability. These 4 1/8 x 5 ¾ book’s covers are only a piece of slightly thicker paper, and on the top this overhangs a sixteenth of an inch beyond the one side of the book with a deckled edge. This quickly creates bent corners and a curled-in top area (I unsuccessfully tried cutting this excess off my slim, and it now looks like I’d imagine it would after a little while of constant use), which might be overlooked if the cover itself wasn’t so fragile and easily bent. Even I, a man who is very careful with all of his possessions (because he doesn’t like them to look worn) bent and tore the cover while the bookmark unraveled itself. While the binding is very solid I don’t feel like the cover of this book will adequately protect it over a longer period of time or through rigorous use (so it’s out for frequent traveling), and I think that this problem will get worse with the larger size.

For the price of a couple dollars this is a very good notebook to write in. While there are some problems with cover and bookmark it makes a fine office or school notebook, or, if you aren’t a stickler for aesthetics, it’s a nice convenient size to carry around (though larger than that average pocket). If you’re looking for an inexpensive notebook upgrade or are just tired of people putting words or logos on your writing area these are nice, minimal and well crafted books.

Review – Field Notes Pitch Black (Focused on Large)

Field Notes are pretty much my go-to notebook brand. I carry an Expedition Edition with me every day (throughout my life that constantly reaffirms I don’t need a notebook that hardcore), and I have many of their regular books set up for individual projects. But I always find pocket books slightly too small for really working with, and “full-sized” books are just a bit large and cumbersome. When Field Notes announced they were making a larger book with their “Arts and Sciences” edition I snatched a set up, but I’m always reluctant to use limited editions, and I was a bit late to the party when they released an updated version of their “Pitch Black” book in the same larger size. Does it fill the position I was hoping for?

The book is a nicely hand-sized 4¾ x 7½, with a simple black cover containing the minimum of necessary information. Inside that cover they improved on their previous Pitch Black design by adding a craft-paper layer to print on so the user can actually read it. As always, this inside cover has space for one to put their contact information, and a lot of interesting and/or funny information (mostly related to black or nighttime in this case).

64 pages are saddle stitched inside with a single signature (as is typically the case when one staples something together). Both the paper and the cover are quite durable, and I haven’t had any problem with wear (on the spine or at the {thankfully rounded} corners), but they are just paper and cardstock, so you can’t be too rough with it. It’s all thick enough to feel like a “proper” notebook (and maybe provide some support when in the field) while still being super thin (less than a quarter inch). It’ll fit in almost any bag and still provide ample writing real estate. I always felt like it was hard to do more than write a list in pocket-sized notebook, but with the room to stretch out here I can get almost 300 words on a page, and with the dot-grid (which is the version I chose and what I believe to be the superior page-ruling) I can easily incorporate diagrams or sketches. The paper is a stark white and the dots an un-intrusive grey. Standard pencils, ballpoints, and highlighters all work great on the fairly smooth but mildly toothy paper and the it’s thick enough that I use both sides (which is rare for me {it also has something to do with the book’s thickness}); wetter pens like markers, rollerballs, and fountain pens do start to show/bleed-through though.

For someone like me this book is basically all I could ask for, and I plan to use them more frequently in the future as I change around my main notebooks. It’s a little bit harder to carry around than a pocket book, yet the added space more than makes up for it in my mind, and it stops just short of being bulky (and it just shy of the page-count where the cardstock cover would start looking ratty before one finished it). Even the paper’s a little bit of an upgrade. It’s just a winner all-round for me, and if you’re feeling a little cramped by your pocket book, or that sketchbook is weighing you down, it might be a winner for you too.

Review – Daler-Rowney Simply Pocket Sketchbook (3.5×5.5) Hardback

Every time I have the time, I foolishly look in the notebook section at Walmart (both the office and/or crafts). I don’t know why, I always know that the notebooks won’t be great but I’ll be swayed to buy one anyway. In this case it was a hardback pocket sketchbook that I thought was only a dollar (it’s about 5 times that). The book basically has the same dimensions and look as a Moleskine Pocket notebook, but with 72 sheets of 100 gsm (65lb) “sketch” paper (heavier than the Moleskine notebook, lighter than their sketchbook, and with fewer sheets than either) at a discounted price. But is it a worthy “replacement”?

The cover is very Moleskine reminiscent, being a black sort-of faux leather wrapped around cardboard, but in this case much more shiny and plastic-y. There are visible creases on both the front and back because the spine has been stiffened to remain flat, meaning the covers more or less “hinge” open. There is an elastic band attached to the back cover that does its job of holding the book together when wrapped around and warps the covers a little bit. Also on the back cover, stamped slightly off-center is the Daler-Rowney logo.

Inside there is no strict “this book belongs to:” or logo page before getting right into the 72 sheets of “ivory” sketching paper, augmented by a very cheap looking/feeling black ribbon bookmark. Inside the back cover is a page-size pocket with cloth folds for strength, and I never use these so I can’t tell you much more than that.

The paper itself is good. It is indeed fairly thick and heavy, with a grain that is smoother than most sketchbooks I’ve encountered but more toothy than any “notebooks” I’ve used. Aside from telling you that it’s “acid free”, the sticker on the front cover also has a picture of a pencil and a nib (I assume standing in for all ink pens) and it handles these two quite well. If you use pencil, there is a little bit of show-through if you go looking for it, but you could easily use all 144 “pages” of the book. The show-through becomes much more prominent with ink, especially from felt tip, brush, or fountain pens. There is also some minimal bleed-through with the more intense ink pens, but I never got it to actually mark on the next sheet. Still, it reduces the usable space of the sketchbook to 72 pages when using inks. Feathering is also a bit of an issue. There isn’t much of it, but when it happens (mostly with fountain pens) there are long thin lines of ink stretching away from your mark that almost look like little hairs. They’re pretty hard to see from far away, but when you notice them it’s hard to un-see.

For the price it’s a nice little sketchbook (even if it cost more than I thought). It’s held up to a few months of moderate use from me with virtually no battle-damage, and while I suspect it to be less durable than a Leuchtturm or Moleskine it is short enough that it’ll probably last until you finish with it. The paper is good quality and pleasant to write on, and the handy pocket is there with an elastic band closure to keep every thing tidy. It’s a pretty good, if unrefined, option if you want a black pocket sketchbook.

Review – Piccadilly Sketch Book

There are quite a few sketchbooks out there, and it can be hard to choose. If one isn’t the “pick one and stick with it forever”, or the “grab the nearest one off the shelf when a new one is needed” type of person, it can be overwhelming. Which ones on the shelf are worth it? Piccadilly is a brand of notebooks that has been making inexpensive Moleskine-type books for some time. Are their sketchbooks any good?


The books have a super-plain brown cardboard cover with only the word sketch thinly lettered on the front. This cover is more of a wrapping, as it’s only attached at one point on the back, wrapping around and folding in the front like a dust jacket would. The binding is a series of small, sewn signatures glued together on the spine. It’s similar to most other binding methods; the spine cover just isn’t glued to the actual spine. At 120 sheets it’s a nice length, and isn’t too bulky or heavy. The construction, while sturdy, wouldn’t, I suspect, hold up to more than its complete page count if heavily used, and the cover-cover might even fall off or be rendered unusable before then. For a non-spiral it’s good, but it won’t last forever.


The paper is blank 100gsm, textured and acid-free. It’s quite thick, almost seeming like card stock, but this provides a stable writing service even deep into the book. The texture isn’t great, in my opinion, but isn’t intrusive either. It holds graphite and pigmented ink well. If one is using wet, dye-based inks, though, feathering can be quite severe. The thickness leads to very little bleed-through (although it couldn’t stand, say, sharpies) and almost no show-through in most cases. It’s very well behaved and makes writing and drawing a pleasure, especially with pencil.


It’s a good sketchbook, quite a good one, if you’re not going to put it in extreme conditions. It’s on the lower price side of average sketchbooks and does the part. Most people won’t have a problem with it and I certainly haven’t. If you’re looking for something to beat up, a different book might be needed. But if you’re looking for a minimal, handsome medium-use sketchbook, I’d have a look.

EDC January/February 2015 (Combined Article Parts/Tiers 1-5)

Well, it’s the New Year, and what better way to start off than by looking at the system I’ve developed for carrying around things that I need, and describing what the things that I need are? (I could’ve just made a resolution, but I don’t like to do those).

I’ve divided my system up in to what amounts to tiers. And while sometimes these change, based on my needs when I leave the house, for the most part they remain the same.

In the first part, I’m going to be talking about what is always with me in my pockets. I’ve also included the belt pouch here for two reasons: first, is that it doesn’t have many items, so making it its own post would be silly; and second, because I have it on me almost every day. Since, for the most part, the lower tiers will be placed inside the higher tiers of my EDC, many of the things I would normally have in my pockets are simply kept in my belt pouch, allowing me to easily access them and to free up my pockets for other things. (When I was a kid I thought pockets were for carrying back home the things you found or bought, not carrying around things you already had, and I prefer that function.)
Here’s the list of what I carry, with a little bit about the more important items:

Taken with my iPhone, so that's not pictured.

Taken with my iPhone, so that’s not pictured.


  • Phone/wallet: iPhone 4s. (I really like this phone, and have liked the later models less and less. This model, and a slim leather wallet case, have held up for me almost since the phone’s release. There’s nothing special about the wallet, except that it has very little room for cash or band aids.)
  • Knife (Sanrenmu 7010: A cheap Chinese knife that works very well and I’m not afraid of losing. I do occasionally swap out the knife I carry.)
  • Altoids Smalls Tin. (This is more of an emergency McGyver kit, and has all of the things that I want on me, but won’t use very often. It fits nicely in a watch pocket or a change pocket in jeans and slacks.)
    • Knife (Opinel No. 2:  Soooo Small).
    • Matches and striker.
    • Cotton Ball.
    • String.
    • Nail (A small, finishing-type nail.)
    • Paperclip.
    • Electrical Tape.
    • Migraine Medication. (For me this is one of the most important things, hinted at by the fact I have it everywhere!)
    • Band-Aid.
    • Cash $10 American.
  • Keys
    • Key Pouch (a very nice, handmade thing I found on Etsy, from Bulgaria. I hate keys rattling around and possibly scratching things. The screws in this will still scratch, but more predictably. And it does make the keys quite a bit larger so it’s not for everyone)
    • Multi-tool (Leatherman Micra) (I considered the Leatherman Style CS or PS, but the scissors were the most important part for me, and in the “other tools” department the Micra is more robust than the CS {and I certainly don’t need the knife on the CS}, plus I like the look of the Micra more.)
    • Whistle (Nothing special. I’m looking for a more flat whistle as the irregular size of mine makes it hard to fit in most places.)
    • Flashlight (Maglite Solitaire) (This one I found broken in a drawer in my house and fixed it. Other than that, the only reason I use it is because it is completely flat and round, with no protruding mirror, grip, or button. It’s great at fitting anywhere, and being easily retrievable. Next, I need an LED one.)
    • Tape Measure (This is the first extra item I carried on my keys. I have no idea why!)
  • Pocket Book (Field Notes/Rhodia).  I always wear shirts with a breast pocket, so a notebook is always a nice, useful thing to put in there.
  • Pen (Zebra f-301) (A good pen. I use a lot of pens, but usually this one if I’m going outside, just because it’s both sturdy and unassuming.)
  • Watch (Cheap Armitron, Walmart Band). I hate stretching watch bands, so I replaced the one that came with my watch. (Also, this is not technically in a pocket.)
  • EDC Altoids tin. (Sometimes, see later post.  It depends on how large my pockets are.)


  • Keychain and Altoids tin (For the sake of pocket space).
  • Second (work) phone (Samsung Tracphone). (The minutes cost more than this phone did. The only problem is texting {unless you need apps}, but since I only use it for work calls it’s great, and really robust for how cheap it was)
  • Bic Mini Lighter (I don’t smoke, but fire is useful, and sometimes I’m unfortunately around people who smoke.)
  • Bandages (More of these to come).
  • Alcohol Swabs.
  • Electrolyte Tablets (dehydration is a real problem in Texas, less so where I live now, but when I visit my family back in the desert, having these with a large amount of water could save quite a bit of trouble.

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Most people find that the pocket EDC is the most important part of their systems, and I am no exception. What you always leave the house with is the only thing that will matter in many situations. And while I usually leave with one of my higher tiers of EDC equipment, I can say that I never leave without my pocket EDC. Since I developed it, I haven’t left without my belt pouch, either. I put this stuff in my pockets every day, and while I don’t always need to use it (phone wallet is the most used thing, for sure) it’s great to have it there. Just today I needed my knife to cut some rope, the lighter to burn the ends and prevent fraying, and my Micra scissors to cut paper.

I’ve used almost every item in this set, and what I haven’t is stuff that I know I will be super glad I have when I need it. These are things that most people carry around because they are so handy, and I would recommend that most people carry around such things, though perhaps not as extensive an array as mine (I have three blades and two ways to make fire just here). Pocket EDC is super important, and it’s great to have an organized one.

The second, and likely the least worn, tier of my EDC is the fanny pack, though the items contained in it are still used quite often as they are moved into my satchel and backpack as I go to larger EDC carry cases. The fanny pack is a problem in some ways. I use a Custom LeatherCraft bag to store the items inside the pack, and there is little room for both those items and the lower tiers of my EDC. My phone, pocket book, and knife generally stay in my pockets. But the items in my belt pouch might be more difficult to store in the pack and may have to stay on my belt or be attached to the belt of the pack. For this reason, and the stigma attached to fanny packs in general, I tend not to use this system very much. It is still very handy, but I find slightly smaller and/or slightly larger containers to be a bit more handy.

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    • Coleman Poncho (Sometimes rain surprises me, and I don’t want to be caught out in it if I can help it, or to have all my stuff get wet. This doesn’t take up much space and would work in a pinch.)
    • Stylus Pen (Bic Tech. With all this technology I get tired of using my thumb to operate screens all the time. So a stylus is nice for me, though not something I use that often. I have a few combo stylus/pens, and swap them out. I find there isn’t much in the way of difference.)
    • Notebook (Moleskine. it’s always nice to have something to write on so you don’t forget what you’re shopping for, or what you should be doing. If I don’t have my pocket book I like having one in the fanny pack. Moleskines are just what I happened to have, I could also use a Rhodia or Field Notes book.)
    • Business card holder.
    • Bic Lighter (I have another in the Altoids tin for when I’m just carrying that in my pocket, but this one is larger and easier to use.)
    • Multi-tool (Leatherman Juice S2 – The most stripped down multi-tool I could find, and no one beats Leatherman quality. I use the scissors most, so it’s slightly frustrating to have to lift up the can opener every time, but for the amount of function that’s a minor complaint.)
    • Glowstick (Just in case I might need some extra light, this one is a “take it or leave it” item.)
    • Chapstick (Lots of uses there, but I almost never use it because I find Lip balm more uncomfortable than chapped lips unless I have some specific reason.)
    • Tape (Scotch brand red tape.)
    • Bear Grylls Survival Guide (Just for a bit of fun!)
    • EDC Altoids Tin (This is sometimes carried on its own in my pocket with the lower EDC tier.)
      • Tissue
      • Toothpicks
      • Bic Mini Lighter
      • Knife (Victorinox Midnite Manager – I like the red LED for preserving night vision, and the pen as a backup is useful if not comfortable. I think overall this is such a good toolset that it could replace quite a few other things here, but for the moment I haven’t streamlined it.)
      • Light (Maglite Solitaire – Same things as in the last post, but this one I got fairly new.)
      • Container (I have no idea what this thing was or where it came from, but it’s a small cylinder and is handy for liquids. I use fountain pens a lot, so it’s good for ink and such.)
      • AAA battery (New, for replacement.)
      • Electrical tape
      • Eyeglass repair kit (A combination of several kits, and a mini screwdriver that was compact enough to fit inside. The driver used to be on my keys.)
      • Paper Clips (Super Tools.)
      • Twine
      • Alcohol swabs
      • Migraine medication (can’t have too many!)
      • Electrolyte tablets
      • Headache pills
      • Band Aids
      • Cash $20 (For those miscalculations.)

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I really do like the amount of things that can be carried in a fanny pack, and the robustness of some of the larger tools like the Leatherman Juice. But there is something that is just a bit off about carrying them. It never feels like it’s in the right place, and everything feels more like a compromise. I love having these items with me and find uses for them all the time, but I find having them in a different case works out better for me.

The satchel tier of my EDC was once the most carried tier in my EDC. That has likely been replaced by either my belt pouch or backpack tiers, depending on how you look at it. I like the ease of carry, as well as the relative security, the satchel provided for my items. They are close to me at all times, and as long as the strap is good, they won’t likely fall or get snagged. Even with a filled satchel, it is easy to slip by people in tight spaces, whereas a backpack is more bulky and easier to steal.

Still, I just didn’t get the feeling that I was carrying all I wanted to, and what really killed it for me was the fact that there was no more room. I wanted to be able to bring home things I bought at the store, etc. And since I don’t use a car, something more substantial than the small satchel was necessary. I still do bust it out upon occasion, as it is a great little bag, but it just doesn’t hold up for me.

All of the items in both the belt pouch and the fanny pack are contained in the satchel as well as…

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  • Coleman Poncho (a second one, in case the first fails or I’m with another person.)
  • Checkbook (Sometimes a check is a handy thing. I don’t use them very often, though,
    due to time)
  • Bandana(In Texas, the main use is sweat clearance, but it has a thousand other functions)
  • Survival Tin (Bear Grylls kit minus some stuff. This is just for fun, I have no intention of “surviving” with this stuff. But it could help me get out of a bad situation, or even a mildly unpleasant one)
    • Knife (Gerber Mini Paraframe, partially serrated)
    • Cord
    • Waterproof Matches + Striker
    • Cotton balls
    • Whistle
    • Flint + Steel
    • Copper Wire (Snare Wire)
  • Small First Aid Kit
    • Bear Grylls Water resistant Bag/ziplock (With a red cross added)
    • Forceps (I have a problem with splinters)
    • Medical Gloves
    • Tissue (For nosebleeds and such)
    • Johnson and Johnson first aid guide
    • Waterproof Ziplock (I think most of the items in this bag are fairly self explanatory in their uses, this is really just a boo-boo kit, and has very little expanded capabilities. But I have been stranded an unfortunate amount of times away from home with a bleeding finger, and I guess I have thin blood because I bleed a lot.)
      • Paper medical tape
      • Electrolyte Tablets
      • Single Use Neosporin packet
      • Motrin
      • Hand Cleansing Wipes
      • Butterfly Closures
      • Small Gauze Dressing
      • Medium Non-Stick Pad
      • Band Aids

photo 3-4photo 4-4

The satchel is still my favorite method of carry, but not the most practical. I like what it brings to the table in my system by way of emergency items. However, not much of necessity is contained within. More survival-y items are in the lower tiers, and more first aid is in the higher. It would appear that It’s just the wrong size, and people keep calling it a purse, which I’m fine with, but it still feels weird.

And now I’m up to either the 4th or 5th tier of my EDC (depending on how one looks at it). And that is my backpack. I do live in an urban environment, so none of these items are directed at a survival situation. It seems slightly less modern than it should, and that’s more because I don’t feel the need to carry as many of the more modern tools of the world with me. That’s just my problem.

Fully loaded with all of the items from the lower tiers (which unfortunately or fortunately often create redundancies) it’s about 10 pounds, which I would consider a good middle ground between what should be carried at maximum, and what must be carried at minimum. It is still heavy enough to get tiresome, but not too bad, in my opinion. I can carry on a lengthy conversation while wearing it before my shoulders get sore.

It is also a bit bulky when filled, though I don’t fill it all the way in case I need to get groceries or something. It adds about a “me” again in depth to my person, and when fully filled, it ends up being “me and a half again”, and is quite silly looking. I try and keep it at a reasonably fashionable size, though I don’t end up doing that all of the time.

While I have organized the lower tiers of my EDC for convenience of carry, it seems that I prefer having all of my tools at the same time. So instead of carrying the lower tiers, I am much more likely to just carry around my backpack, even in social settings. I just don’t like only having the satchel or the fanny pack and the fewer flexible options they provide. Of course, my pockets and belt pouch are with me at all times, so my tiers end up being that, and then adding the backpack. So it is definitely my most important tier in that regard.

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  • First Aid Kit (most of this is fairly ordinary, but important stuff, so I won’t go into too much depth. A lot of this is from an off-the-shelf first aid kit, so I’ll mostly talk about what I added.)
    • Over 100 Various Adhesive Bandages(Plastic and Woven)
    • Butterfly Closures
    • Gauze Pads of Various Sizes (nonwoven and/or nonstick)
    • Eye Pads
    • Bandage roll
    • Medical Gloves
    • Moleskin (for blisters)
    • Burn Cream Single-use pouches
    • Insect Bite relief cloths
    • Tweezers
    • Cotton Swabs (applicators)
    • Finger Splints
    • Triangular bandage
    • Safety Pins
    • Paper Medical Tape
    • Instant Cold Pack
    • CPR barrier (surprisingly, this is from an off-the-shelf kit. I keep it right by the zipper so it can be accessed quickly.  It’s one of those items that only matters if you can get it out quickly.)
    • American Red Cross First Aid Guide
    • Space Blanket
    • Emergency Scissors (the crooked kind)
    • Antiseptic Towelettes
    • Antibiotic Ointment (Single Packs)
    • Alcohol Pads
    • Thermometer
    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen
    • Non-aspirin pain killer
    • Neosporin (tube) (Lots of that can be needed, and it’ll last for a long time)
    • Electrolyte Tablets
    • Pill Fob
      • Migraine Medication (more of those)
      • Pain Killers
    • Bandanna (always handy)
    • Israeli Bandage (for something slightly more serious than the rest of the kit will handle. I’m not thinking I’ll be good enough with any of the tools to be the greatest help ever, but I do want something for the “oh my God, the blood” situations.  I’d really hate to have absolutely nothing in that situation. It still wouldn’t help with the “Oh God, there are parts of you everywhere!” situations…)
    • Tampons (for nosebleeds, something I have far too often)
    • Snake Bite Kit (This one’s a bit controversial. I really have it to keep someone uneducated in the workings of snakebites calm. Having someone say “this will help you” is quite a calming thing. And the non-suction cup parts of the kit could be useful in other things. I’d never consider incisions or restricting blood flow to be an option)
      • Suction Cups
      • Scalpel
      • Constriction Band
      • Antiseptic
  • Camera Bag Strap (For my belt pouch, and for the camera bag with a camera in here. In case I want to carry either on my shoulder for a time)
  • Cord (Some inexpensive stuff, just in case)
  • Poncho (This is a much heavier poncho than the other small ones I have. As you can tell, I hate to be stranded in the rain)
  • Gloves (It’s cold out now, but even in the summer I carry some work gloves most of the time. I can never tell when I’m going to be called off to work on something. And in the winter I’ve taken to carrying both work and warm gloves. Some hand warmers are good things to carry too, but I’m not entirely convinced of their effectiveness.)
  • Heavy-duty grocery store Bag (My city has outlawed disposable grocery bags. So I’m forced to carry a reusable plastic one. It’s not like I never re-used the disposable ones, so I guess it isn’t much of a hassle)
  • GermX (The world is covered in Germs, especially cities. I always want to sanitize my hands before a snack or an appetizer, hopefully when I’m eating a meal I can wash them)
  • Leatherman Pouch (It was what I could affix to the pack strap)
    • Sabre Red Pepper Spray (Just in case I’m in a scenario where escape is difficult. Dissuading pursuit is at least an option. And with my pack on, using a knife for defense would be difficult. And since I can’t carry a firearm at the moment, something in between the two seemed necessary)
  • Glasses Case (Self explanatory)
    • Glasses
    • Cleaning Cloth
  • Cash Wallet (sometimes a Flex by Filofax) (My phone wallet doesn’t have much room. if I know I’m going to be spending money, I bring along some cash in another wallet, so that I won’t lose my phone and ID card if my wallet gets lost or taken. I’ve also experimented with using it to carry cards and notebooks, which is fun)
  • Change Purse (I don’t like clanky, scratchy change)
  • Fixed Blade Knife (Mossy Oak) (cheap, but better than a folder in some situations)
  • Map of the local area (Austin TX) (my phone works as a map, but a backup is nice)
  • Bandanas (can never have to many)
  • Monocular (Golf Rangefinder) (just for some fun, bird-watching etc. Easier to carry than binoculars, and if someone’s golfing I’m the guy to talk to)
  • Camera Pouch (Extra camera just in case something goes wrong with my phone {storage used up} and I want to take a picture, or someone else does)
    • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1
    • AA Batteries
  • Game Pouch (I like games, and I feel weird in some situations where people are looking for something to do without them. I vary the card games sometimes)
  • Multi-tool (Leatherman Juice CS4) (I keep the heavier corkscrew and saw model in an easy-to-access compartment at all times.  It’s so handy I almost wouldn’t believe, except for those added tools, that a Juice S2 would work just as well here)

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So that’s (almost) the end of my EDC. My backpack contains quite a few items, and many of them have been used (thankfully, not the first aid kit). Many of them are more emergency items, though, and could be pared down considering how infrequently they are accessed. Still, I don’t want to be unprepared. I do enjoy having all of the tiers will me at all times, and tend to not find them too cumbersome, though there are times when they definitely need to be pared down to a level below. I’m still quite happy with the setup of my pack at the moment, though it is always in flux.

While I have been making this EDC series of blog posts and videos, it usually only occurred to me to put in things that I carry a majority of the time. For me, while other people carry iPods or notebooks, or candy or something else to eat, I like to just keep things down to the basics. I usually find the places I’m going to be more engaging than whatever I bring with me. iPods and iPhones might be great for listening to music and watching videos, but for me they are temporary distractions. Even on long car trips when I’m alone in the back I prefer to shout up front than sit and listen to music. That’s not to say I don’t carry them. But they are far from the things I would like to have with me at all times. It can also be noted that I carry card games in my EDC backpack. I find these more useful than a music player or such. If I’m by myself I usually have a notebook I can doodle in, but if I’m with other people and perhaps we’re bored, everyone knows at least a few card games.

Still, it was certainly an oversight to not include some of the items that are quite important to me in the last articles, but I usually pick and choose which I carry at what time, varying wildly on the situation. Here are a few of the items I carry sometimes that I really like having when I need/want them.


  • Phone Charger (many people seem to carry a charging cable, and backup battery. I find that even with heavy use, my old iPhone 4s can easily get through several days without being charged, and my small phone even longer). So I only carry around a cable when I’m on trips, but when I am, it’s always at hand.
  • Fountain Pens (I love fountain pens, mainly for the writing experience they provide. They’re just fun for me to use. I have a couple of cases that hold 3 or 4 pens that I stick in my bag every once in a while when I’m going out for some time. It’s great to pull out a nice pen and write with it from time to time.)
  • Notebooks (These go with pens for the most part. I carry around a small and large Moleskine book quite often to write my ideas down in, and I try to create one drawing a day. I also carry around more fountain-pen-friendly notebooks sometimes, like Rhodia, or Leuchtturm)
  • Sketchbooks (These are rarer. Strathmore or Picadilly are what I usually go with. These are thicker and generally only for the days where I’ve already been drawing or am trying specifically to create something new. They’re rare enough that I thought they needed their own category.)
  • Pencils (A similar deal to the pens. Having a few pencils around is nice, as I prefer to write/draw with them to ballpoints. But if I forget them it’s no big deal)
  • Flash drive (This used to be an occasional thing, though now I have a dedicated EDC flash drive. I have yet to use it. I’ve just never been in a situation where I’ve thought, “man I need a flash drive right now” or “Man I would have stored that info on an emergency flash drive”, but I suppose when I need it there’s no replacement)
  • Altoids/gum/candies (these seem obvious to me, just for a bit of appetite suppression/ breath freshening/ though provoking. I like mint flavor and can eat what I want)
  • iPod (This is something many people {not in the EDC crowd} carry around that I absolutely loathe. I have never once ever felt it appropriate to use an iPod in public. Perhaps on a plane or bus, but even then I haven’t. That’s just me. I’m not a fan of this as out-in-the-world technology. Despite that, I do carry it sometimes, especially on trips. Mine being the classic model it is quite large and often relegated to a secondary bag.
  • Laptop and Accessories (This is one that a massive number of people have, and that I understand much more. Many people EDC a tablet of some kind, especially in an urban environment. I don’t own a tablet, nor do I want to, so that’s not an option for me. I’ve never really found places outside of my home a good place to work or browse on a laptop, but I suppose they work in a pinch. It’s never something that I want, but again, mainly on trips, I do sometimes carry around my laptop for general use.)

And that’s it. The last part of my EDC (the sometimes/maybe part). I hope you enjoyed reading this series if you have, and that you maybe got some ideas from it. It was fun to write, and I’ll likely be updating in the future with more recent developments. EDC always changes. Until then, I hope you have a good time.