August 13, 2010
Like any self-respecting geek, I'm mostly an indoor enthusiast.
But on those unfortunate occasions when I am compelled -- for reasons entirely beyond my control -- to leave the house, I do so fully armed with my crucial utility belt items. Yes, you heard me, I transform from the geeky Bruce Wayne to the gosh-darned Batman!
At least, that's how I like to think of it.
I've been talking about this every-day carry stuff for quite a while now. The 2010 edition of my personal utility belt is mostly subtle tweaks, but I daresay it's the best one yet.
The art of every-day carry must go on. What you see here is the contents of my pocket:
- Patriot 32 GB USB flash drive
Now you can have a whole freakin' hard drive worth of files in your pocket. Just in case, you know, you have an emergency need to upload a virus to an alien mothership, or something. Beware the many cheap, slow USB flash drives out there; this one is a real gem. It's inexpensive, and per my measurements, about as fast as they get. This is important because the larger the flash drive, the more important speed becomes. Hard to believe I've gone from carrying a 512 megabyte flash drive in 2005 to a 32 gigabyte flashdrive in 2010.
- Leatherman Squirt P4
Ounce for ounce, nothing beats the utility of the Leatherman Squirt. This time I opted for the plier (P) version instead of the scissors (S), and after seeing how much more generally useful the pliers are, I am now a little ashamed to admit I ever carried the wussy scissors version. Pliers all the way, baby. And yes, that is a Pulp Fiction joke you see on it.
- Fenix mini AAA LED flashlight model LD01R2
Since I've been carrying them in 2005, the average LED flashlight has gone from bright, to very bright, to amazingly bright, to ridiculously blinding laser-like bright. It's scary how bright these fancy milled aluminum AAA LED flashlights get now. What I like about this one is that it lets you trade off stupid-brightness for something practical, like greater runtime: you can twist the top to switch levels: 9 Lumens for 11 hours, 28 Lumens for 3.5 hours, or 85 Lumens for 1 hour.
- Small Nite Ize s-biner
These little nite-ize carabiners are awesome for quick attachment and detachment of your EDC items, but I'll warn you: resist the urge to put everything you carry on a carabiner, because if you do, the weight and "jangliness" goes up a lot -- and this way lies madness. Consider how many items you actually remove from your keychain regularly. For me, the only item I frequently removed to work with was the Squirt, so that's the only one I put on a carabiner.
Rest assured, everything here is carefully selected with the appropriate levels of monomaniacal attention to detail. For this weight and size, I don't think you can do better. (And don't think I've forgotten about optimizing my wallet, either. Oh no. Quite the contrary.)
However, I have to add a special category this year for the other must-have EDC utility belt item: the smartphone. What self-respecting superhero would leave the house these days without their smartphone? I'm not religious about it, but I use and rather like the iPhone 4, and I'm continually amazed how many things it does that I used to carry separate items for:
- cell phone (obviously)
- "Nintendo DSwhatever" for portable gaming
- point and shoot digital camera
- near-desktop quality mobile web browser and email client
- mp3 player with speakers
- audio and hi-def video recorder
- DVD player
- ebook reader
- watch, alarm
- emergency flashlight (via front facing LED flash control)
- level and ruler
Smartphones really are the ultimate gadget. The list of functions is already enormous, and I'm sure I'm leaving out a few other things that you can do with a modern smartphone.
In a pinch, I could conceivably drop the AAA LED flashlight and the USB flash drive from my EDC kit and substitute the smartphone. Not exactly, mind you, but it's getting closer every year. At this rate, Apple could introduce a flip-out blade on the iPhone 7 and reduce my entire EDC kit to one item.
Anyway, that's what's on my utility belt in 2010. What's on yours?
Posted by Jeff Atwood
When we had so much snow and ice that people were stuck here there and everywhere on by-roads and motorways, I was fully prepared for a night out on the road. Tent, sleeping back, billy can, fire starting equipment and stove, axe, bow saw, bushcraft knife, dehydrated food, tea bags, energy bars... I often wondered whether people stuck in their cars, freezing in the night on some bleak motorway would venture out to my tent for a hot cup of tea. I believe in being prepared. No, I never attended scouts.
Regarding carabiners: what I have done is replace the central ring with the carabiner - that way all items are easily removable.
I have a Leatherman Wave which was swag I got for trying out Windows Server 2003. Best piece of swag I've ever got. I covet your flashlight: used to have a cheap one on my keychain, bought at an auto parts place, but the swivel was cheap and broke off. Plus my Samsung Instinct, which is most of a smartphone. I can't really do apps for it or program to it, which stinks, but it doesn't lose track of the SD card and force me to format it, like my BlackBerry used to.
Why wouldn't you use your smartphone as a portable storage medium instead of carrying a separate USB flash drive? I haven't carried one of those for years.
Oh, I always carry my cell phone with me to make calls and act as a Bluetooth modem for my iPod touch, which I use to do pretty much everything else.
Although they are handy, I gave up carrying a Leatherman years ago due to the perception that carrying an obviously useful 2" blade into a club or other such establishment means you are a potential stab-happy psychopath, rather than the kind of person who might just be able to reterminate some cat5 with it and get your EFTPOS back up and running again.
Had a crap LED torch but it started playing up so I ditched it, will need to get another sometime.
Hate USB drives, would much rather just upload a file somewhere and grab it later on when I get to where I need it.
Other than that it's just keys and loyalty tabs on my keyring, but I do have a fetching tritium gas-powered keyfob that is incredibly handy for locating keys in the dark. The thing has been going for about 10 years and is still perfectly bright enough, but given the half-life of tritium I'm guessing I'll need a replacement in a few years.
I'm with you on the smartphone though. I couldn't manage without my Android buddy nowadays, much to my wife's eternal scorn.
My wife wanted to get me a wallet that said B.M.F'er on it. She contacted someone on craigslist and ended up at a retired little old man's house who made leather working items as a hobby and sold them. She said he was the sweetest old man. She was embarrassed to tell him what she wanted on it but she did. Now I constantly trying to setup situations for people to ask me which wallet is mine!
Clearly, Jeff, you don't do airtravel, or that nice Leatherman would be the property of DHS by now. I'm sure they would like it.
Mine is a lot simpler:
1. iPhone 4.
2. banking token (handy if I run out of money in the "using" account when out, and I can use the iphone to transfer cash over)
3. My Barclays Cycle Hire key, so I can use my cool MonoTouch app ( http://www.londonbikeapp.com ) to find - and USE - a bike in London
4. Actual keys. How quaint!
I use USB drives very rarely since I started using DropBox.....
When I'm actually traveling, tho, the leatherman goes with me. SO useful - in checked luggage!
Welcome back Jeff. I guess it was time to get paid?
Apart from my keys the only things on my keyring is a tiny USB flash drive (It's a PNY 2gig designed to go in digital photo frames, and appears to just be a bit of PCB shaped to fit and painted black) and my Tesco keyfob clubcard which is just a barcode on a bit of plastic.
I have a bag though, and in there I have an original Gameboy pocket with Tetris, my digital camera, iPod Touch and my mobile phone. It's also where my credit cards, money, work keys and work ID badge go and is a convenient "safe" place to empty my pockets when I visit people.
I applaud your choice to carry a flash light, those things can be very useful.
1. Leatherman Freestyle - just a really nice blade and a large fold out plyers
2. Swiss+Tech 4 in one mini screwdriver
3. Google Nexus One
4. PNY 4GB Micro Swivel Attaché USB - stored in wallet containing bit locker key
And then all kinds of stuff in my car, but that's not really a utility belt...
One more use for your smartphone -- as a replacement for the various membership cards with barcodes on them.
If you don't want to use a dedicated app, just snap a photo of the card and keep it stored as a picture.
It all depends on the scanner in use, but a lot of places will work just fine scanning your phone instead of a plastic card.
I'm hoping that in a few years, I'll finally be able to get rid of my wallet, in addition to everything else that my iPhone has gotten rid of in my pockets.
I like this. In my pockets of the jacket I wear 90% of the time:
1. A pocket line. (6' foot of 6-8 mm line with a loop tied in the end).
2. A small but bright headlamp.
3. A survival kit: Includes knife, fire steel, saw, snare wire, fishing kit, a pencil, compass, emergency whistle, sewing kit, tin opener and other stuff I've forgotten about. Packed into a waterproof box about the size of a tobacco tin. Admittedly the knife & sewing kit are used most.
4. HTC Desire.
5. Keyring with beer bottle opener and bizarrely a pewter mouse (non-functioning).
I used to carry a leather-man on my belt but don't anymore for the same reasons as Juux. I had a utilikey but lost it :-(
+1 for the Utilikey. For geeks who travel it is the only multi-tool that can get through security.
I was just talking to a coworker the other day about how amazing modern smart-phones have gotten. He had just bought an iPhone and I just got a Droid Incredible HTC.
I mused that this device would have caused my head to spontaneously explode if I could go back just to 1995 and demo it to myself.
The question has to be, what tools do you carry on your flash drive? Have you found a set of utilities that are particularly useful when visiting a friend/relative who upon your arrival suddenly remembers their computer is broken or slow and sets you the challenge of fixing it? A utility belt within a utility belt?
Totally with you on smart phones being the last gadget you'll probably need to buy. Mine's replaced a USB Skype headset too.
I don't carry a smart phone. I am a phone killer. I carry a Samsung B2100. It is water resistant and mil-spec. It even has a flashlight. It also acts as file storage via blue tooth.
I still carry a USB drive, though, because you can't boot from blue tooth. I also always have a Cowon D2+ which is a media player, USB drive, and SD card reader all in one, plus it sounds better than an iPod, and the video is gorgeous.
For tools, I carry a small lock blade knife (CRKT M16-10KZ $20)with both smooth and serrated edges, so it cuts boxes and rope. I used to carry a multi-tool, but the Phillips screwdriver died, and it eventually ended up being the property of the TSA when I forgot that it was in my backpack.
I carry a comb and a Swiss Army Midnite MiniChamp. I use the flashlight only occasionally and like that it's a red led and I use the pen surprisingly often.
On the belt:
1- Buck 110 or Buck 110 Switchblade (Can't carry the spring loaded knife in the states, but here in Iraq it's ok)
2- Gerber multitool
3- Benchmade folding half serrated knife (good for cutting cable)
In the pockets-
4- Surefire E2D - (burns through batteries like crazy, but it's bright as hell)
5- Reflective belt (No streetlights on the base)
I used to carry a Swiss Army knife, but for my uses the blade is just not big enough or thick enough to be of use.
-Sometimes a tiny box cutter. It comes in handy a lot.
-Phone. Which functions as watch and flashlight.
-Audio Recorder, for the times when someone has something important to tell me.
-PNY 8GB flash drive.
-a piece of Paper
Your EDC list looks a lot like mine at the moment, although my keychain is only for keys.
In my wallet, rarely needed but always available, is a tiny 4gb Kingmax Super Stick. It's one of those painfully slow ones, but I rarely use it for large files.
In my pocket, along with my (dumb) cell phone and keys, I've always got a knife of some sort, and a flashlight. The knife varies day-to-day, depending on my mood. It's usually a Gerber Trendy, although sometimes I'll go for the Leatherman Squirt or an old-school pocket knife.
The flashlight is a 4Sevens Quark CR2. I used to have a Fenix like yours; I've found that the short, stubby Quark fits in my pocket just as well, and its much-beefier CR2 battery allows it a lot more punch than the LD01.
"You all carry knives and USB drives? Why?
Victorinox makes a Swiss Army Knife with a built-in USB flash drive:
jdege on August 13, 2010 8:56 AM "
It's not good to have your USB UN-detachable. Remember you need to cram it into the little cramped USB slots. Plus that thing must have some weight.
On a second look at the article it turns out the USB is detachable. And also "Flash drive is USB powered, no external power supply required"!
Nothing on my belt aside from a carabiner with car keys, but in my pockets, I have:
Leatherman Skeletool - got this as a Christmas present, and damn do I love it. Light enough it's not a bother, and has all the things I need. Beats the crap out of the generic multitool I had previously.
3ft tape measure - you'd be surprised how often I use this
4 GB Corsair Flash Voyager - large enough to keep a dvd-image linux install on
and then some keys, including a drum key. I've gone through several small pens, but don't have one currently. Used to carry a mini Maglite, but that died and I haven't gotten a replacement.
My phone makes phone calls, and that's about it. As a student, I can't afford a heavy-use smart phone plan, so I keep it simple until I can.
I second the 4 Sevens lights, I just got a Quark MiNi123 in warm white (rather than the normal cool white, which is bluer, and doesn't show color as well) http://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=297_310&products_id=2292 , which about the same size as yours, but brighter on high, dimmer on low (you can use it in a room with night adapted eyes and not blind your self), a longer run time, with a tritium dongle on it (find it if I drop it when off in the dark, only $10) from http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6830 .
I also have a SOG Powerlock multi tool (you can switch out blades, and the compound leverage pliers are great), a collection of flash drivers, the best of which is a OCZ Throttle 8GB (they are out of the market now though), fastest I've used by a fair bit, and some misc USB cables.
Frankly, everything but my keys, money, bank card, and phone are in my bag most of the time.
Watch: Casio F-84W digital watch.
Keys: house and bike. Add 2 office keys on work days.
Geeky tyvek wallet with about 10 cards, $100 cash, wife & kid pic.
Victorinox Compact Swiss army knife. I carried the smaller Ambassador model for more than 15 years, but I find the larger scissors on this one more useful, and the small pen is very convenient to have. I do wish it had a Phillips blade, though.
Zebralight H51 flashlight (200 lumens on a single AAA cell, a low-low 0.2 lumen level, and several useful levels in between, plus no stupid strobe or SOS modes). I ordered this one last week and I expect it to replace my good old Arc AAA for daily carry.
Ben Nanonote handheld computer. "Is that a Debian distro in your pocket, or...".
Dead-tree pocket diary with a retractable pen.
Small dodecahedral die, just because.
When at work...
- Leatherman Wave
- LED AA Maglite (these used to be very poorly made but seem ok these days)
- HTC Desire
- 4G USB disk velcroed onto the back of my access card
- Clearcom Freespeak wireless comms unit when I'm on call, ear plug with clip on throat mike when needed, really useful in noisy server rooms!
Thanks for the link to the small carabiner. That seems a bit more practical than my "normal" sized one, considering mine is basically just an empty ring of metal taking up space in my pocket.
- Keys, house
- Keys, car
- Leatherman Wave (the old model...the new one isn't as good)
- Phone, dumb, RAZR
- AA Maglite (no not the LED kind)
- Fire or the materials with which to make fire. Usually a Zippo, or Bic Classic lighter. No human should ever be without the ability to make fire at a moment's notice. In event of societal collapse, civilization can be restarted with a knife and fire. :)
- I used to carry a nice USB drive on my keychain, but I kept breaking them. I actually still have one attached, though it doesn't work, as it makes a nice keyfob.
I use a SuperTalent Pico C USB drive. It feels much less breakable than any other USB drive I've encountered and has happily survived my pocket for over a year. Instead of being retractable or having a cover, this drive uses a somewhat nonstandard, fully exposed connector. The micro-connector has the nice advantage over standard connectors of not needing to be retractable, being immune to lint, and even some level of water resistance. However, as with every micro USB drive, this device is difficult to plug into the back of a tower by feel.
Like you, Jeff, I love my (blue) Leatherman Squirt P4.
My keychain is quite minimal - no fancy fobs or jangly giblets, save for a very handy little stainless steel pill container that carries a few days of 2 maintenance meds that I need to take mid-day when I usually nowhere near my bathroom or desk. I've carried this economical little gem (sans interior vial) for over a decade and it still keeps my pills dry:
Most of the above:
Squirt, Droid, Kahr CW9
Small CRKT pocketknife (don't even know the model now)
Fenix L1D (sometimes I swap it for my Nitecore D10)
Various and sundry handguns, when legally possible. Usually at least a Glock 19.
I also sometimes carry a tiny container of dental floss. I hate it when restaurants don't carry toothpicks.
I prefer the PM9, as a daily carry weapon.
The Utilikey looks cool, and probably would get past airline security 999 times out of 100, but seriously... are you completely bonkers? *IF* you *DO* get 'caught' (at least in the UK) you are probably going to be arrested under anti-terrorist laws which could see you sent to jail for a loooong time. (And if you think I'm exaggerating the overreactiveness of the UK police, try Googling "Paul Chambers" and "Robin Hood Airport".)
Don't have a utility belt but I do have a "keyring", which contains in addition to home, office and car keys the following:
- Ironkey S200 Personal, 4GB. Enough for stuff which I need to carry around, the rest can be usually moved via internet or direct ethernet.
- SCM SCR3500 smart card reader, because for various reasons I prefer real smart cards over (probably more convenient in a keychain) USB tokens. And a card holder which contains credit cards, drivers license, id-card and a "blank" card with personal keys and certificates used for online authentication over HTTPS, VPN, SSH etc.
So basically a digital extension of the traditional keychain (and no, they are not attached to a single big carabiner)
Where is that batman utility belt picture from? I know for a fact I used to have that exact picture on paper somewhere when I was a kid, and it's killing me that I can't place it. Did they print it in every issue of the comic book or something?
And pretty much all I carry, other than my wallet is keys and a phone. I'm not the guy you want to take on an adventure.
Kevin Horn: You're wasting a lot of space, and spending a lot of money on batteries, with the ancient technology in that MiniMag (yeah, I'm a flashlight geek). The old incandescent 2AA Mini Maglite has a maximum light output (on fresh batteries and a new bulb) of 12 lumens, and a total runtime of a bit less than an hour.
The $15 Fenix E01 has a digitally-regulated constant brightness of 10 lumens. With a runtime of 8 hours, on an alkaline, or 14 hours, on lithium (4th graph at that link). Since two AA batteries have something like 5x the energy capacity of a single AAA, that makes the Fenix about 40x as efficient as the Mag. And it costs the same. And is way smaller.
That's to say nothing of the Fenix Jeff carries, the LD01, which has the same runtime as your Mag but is seven times brighter. And still the same size as the E01.
Of course, if you meant that you have a Mag Solitaire (1xAAA) instead of a MiniMag (2xAA), then things are different. Your flashlight is about the same size as the two Fenix lights I'm talking about, but in every other way it actually fares worse.
In my immediately previous comment, the phrase "total runtime" in the first paragraph should be "useful runtime". Not sure how I missed that.
Where's the spot for shark repellent? Everyone knows that Batman carries shark repellent!
This diagram is a fraud!
My "EDC" consists of one tool: Bottle Opener.
Never needed anything else... ;)
I use a blackberry and have accessorized it mainly by way of software. The phone is a Bold 9000 and I added a 16 GB SDHC. Although I carry a 4 GB SDHC on my key chain, I use the smartphone for data storage more often that not. I also carry my bluetooth earpiece for phone and a pair of stereo headphones for podcasts.
For built-in apps I routinely use: Enterpirse Email, Email with 4 added POP3 accounts, adddress book, Password Keeper, Documents To Go, calculator, camera, video, IM, SMS, BB Maps, web browser, GPS, voicenotes, tasks, visual voicemail, Clock, Alarm Clock, and MemoPad.
I have added a few other apps: Google maps, Podtrapper, Honeydew, Google Newsreader, Bible, CacheSense (geocaching), Twitter, Repligo Reader, BiM Active (walking tracker), Bejeweled, Sudoku, Pinball Deluxe, SeaBattle, Marble Trap, and the ReverieD theme.
I think this is most everything...
- LED Flashlight
- Gerber Multitool
- Pocket Knife
- A few flash drives
- Taurus PT-99 9mm
I used to carry a lot of that stuff, but now I have cut way back.
What I don't carry anymore:
Shopping cards - What barcode? Just give them your phone number. My wife has signed up for so many of those that I just give them my number and it always works.
Leatherman - Lost a good one when forgetting about it at the airport. Don't carry mine anymore, because I rarely need tools outside the house anyway.
A unique thing I do carry:
Earphones - I carry a set of Sennheiser earphones that wind up into a flat circular case. I can plug them into my Android phone or the computer at work or a plane or wherever. Very useful.
USB drive - The real question is what is on your USB drive. I have found a ton of great utilities on PortableApps.com and PortableFreeware.com. These are the ones I use regularly:
7-zip - For unzipping. Especially 7z and rar files.
AlternateStreamView - Remove that pesky "this file was downloaded" message.
CDBurnerXP - For computers with burners but no install capability.
CPUZ - Your friend/relative wants a memory upgrade. What should they buy?
EjectUSB - Closes all programs related to the drive and readies it for removal. This is the greatest program ever.
Ethereal - Network sniffer (guess I should update to WireShark)
FileMon - Watch which files a program opens.
FileZilla - FTP
Firefox - duh
Hexplorer - Hex editor
IcoFX - Icon editor
JKDefrag - Defragger
KeePass - Password management
MagicJellybeanKeyfinder - Get Windows install codes for current machine.
OpenOffice - Mostly opening .docx and .xslx for people who don't have MS Office 2007+. Also, it's easy to turn docs into PDFs.
PhotoFiltre - Great image editor. (Old free version.)
ProcessExplorer - TaskManager on steroids.
QueryExpress - Connect to Access, SQL or Oracle databases with no programs or drivers installed. Awesome.
Recuva - Malware uninstaller.
RoadKillUnstoppableCopier - Recover your friends' mangled CDs and DVDs.
SIW - System Information for Windows
TCPOptimizer - Sets the receive window, IE max connections, etc. to optimum values.
WinDirStat - Fastest drive clutter finder.
WinMD5Sum - Great for checking the latest Linux ISO.
WinMerge - Source code diff tool.
I also had to check my backpack and found:
- Leatherman Wave
- Maglite Solitaire
- Bike fixing tool (my bike is old)
- Sport tape
In my pockets I have N81, keys and some coins. If I stay longer away from home I also take my Asus UL30VT with me.
While I to have gone through the Leatherman Squirt S and P series - I have come to love the ES4: The electrician version. The pliers are still present (mostly) as are some rudimentary cutters, as well as wire strippers in 12,14,16,18,20 gauges... all in the same loving package that the Squirt has delivered for years.
Heck, put it on an Amazon wishlist and I might even just pony up and buy you one, it's the least I could do after all the service you have done over the years.
Brilliant Jeff!! The flip out utility knife case for iPhone! Somebody get on this pronto! Particularly one with a USB connector that proxies to the iPhone data port (why Apple won't put a standard mini/micro USB connector on iPhone/iPod still puzzles me).
2. SD Ultra II Plus 1GB (SD card with USB connector built-in) in its own slim keychain case. Much better than carrying a USB stick.
I use a flashlight app on my iPhone 4.
(Correction to above post.)
I've recently found Utilikeys at Staples!
Buck Folding Hunter knife on the belt in plain sight.
Bad guys take one look and figure I'm too hard a target...
I'm all about minimizing stuff in my pockets. When doors can all be opened with an RFID chip, I'm ditching my keys and having one implanted in my arm.
Has anyone seen a droid case that also doubles as a wallet?
I've also used the carabiner approach for a long time, and can't do without it. However, I really like the one you're using, so I've added it to my Amazon shopping list!
As far as USB keys go, I also always have one, but I literally love the one that I use, which goes so far as to look like a key. the advantage is that it lies flush with the rest of my keys, and minimizes as much bulk as possible. http://amzn.to/dhskTC
The form factor of a knife in a smart phone might be problematic, but why not replace your keys with your smart phone?
It wouldn't be hard to build a door handle with bluetooth and an OTP generator. Hold your phone up to the door and it lets you in. If the idea catches on, car manufacturers could add an OTP module to the steering column.
68 comments and none mention for a condom?
Good choice with the Leatherman tool. I've gone through three in past few years.
I have a small shoulder bag. In it I keep keyring (with house keys, dont own a car), phone and wallet.
I always carry the sadly retired Leatherman Mini-Tool:
(Yes, I have "donated" at least one to the TSA when I forgot I had it on me. The last one I just gave to someone coming through security the other way rather than give it to the TSA goons.)
In the pocket is a Benchmade 527:
(I can deploy it, cut open a box and put it back in my pocket one handed in less than 2 seconds. AXIS lock is the only way to go.)
I have always wondered why Victorinox hasn't pushed a few button cells under the plastic casing on their knives and installed a decent LED for lighting. While they are at it, a refillable butane lighter with piezo ignition on the other side would be nice too.
The one thing that I DONT carry is keys, except for my car. Everything else unlocks with a code or a combo. But that Utilikey look like an interesting concept. Is it sold at any retailers?
Wow, it always amazes me how many things people carry around. Sure, when I was a teenager I actually carried bolt cutters and lots of other tools in my backpack but I had "good" reasons for it...
These days I make a distinction between what I carry on my person and what I carry in my bag (courier bag).
On me at all times is:
* Keychain with just keys
* Lighter + cigarettes
(* Wallet if going to a club or bar)
In my bag I tend to have:
* Wallet (when it's not necessary to keep it on me)
* Small sketchbook
* Pens and pencils
Anything else is stuff I bring if I think I may need it, although over many years of crazy penniless trips over long distances I seem to have learned how to survive most situations without bringing more than the bare minimum (e.g. "bare minimum" for a camping trip would be a sleeping bag, food for a day or two and the clothes on your back, not "GPS, Two tents just in case, self-inflating mattress, porta-potty, cellphone...").
I am rarely seen away from home without my backpack. This gets "packed to order". Though, the resident devices are: notebook, pen, reuseable shopping bag, phone battery booster and torch.
Thanks for sharing. After having office jobs for a while then being a programmer for many years, I decided I needed to get become more active when I'm not working so I became a search and rescue volunteer. This work requires me to be ready for an activation at all times. The gear that I carry with me me fills the back of my Durango. The benefit is that our team has saved lives. That's more exhilarating than conquering a nasty part of code can ever have.
Thanks for continuing posting here and in between posts, think about getting outside. :)
Testicles, Spectacles, Wallet and Watch.
My Swiss Army Knife with USB goes everywhere I go. The little pen comes in handy all the time. And yes, I do use the scissors ;)
I got one of those utility key things as a promo from Sony many many moons ago, it sure seems handy, but the edges of it are sharp, it's actually cut holes in some of my Levis pockets. I'm assuming the one I got was a knock-off, are the "real" ones any less sharp when closed?
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned anything about fake flash drives. If you buy a 32GB flash drive, make sure it actually holds 32GB of data by using a program (e.g. h2testw for Windows) that fills the drive with pseudorandom bytes and verifies them. If you buy flash memory from eBay (which I do not recommend), google the seller's name before placing a bid. SOSFakeFlash. Spread the word.
Also, in the interest of having a "utility belt" pen drive, make sure the one you're getting supports USB 1.1 in addition to high-speed USB. I bought a couple 16GB Super Talent pen drives a year ago, but they don't work at all on computers with USB 1.1 . If I were me, but with more money, I would probably buy a 32GB pen drive supporting all of USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 .