One Bag: Update

In early June, I wrote a short article for my blog about my idea of living out of a single bag, except for clothing and furniture. Since then, I've been relatively quiet because, aside from working on the shed project, I have been curating the items I put into my bag to find something that fits my particular lifestyle. The idea is to put the utility of the objects I include before other concerns to maximise the use-cases I can use the bag. Just to add to the simplicity, whenever there was a colour choice, I went with black.

Bag

After about a month of searching, I came up with a bag from Fjallraven, and no, it's not a Kanken! In the end, I chose the Greenland Top Large, which is a 30-litre pack with a laptop compartment, two side pockets, and a small pocket in the lid. It's the definition of simplicity. Since I'm trying to maximise the versatility of my bag, buying a dedicated bag for a camera or one with too many specialist pockets would limit what I could carry.

Seating

When I'm out and about in the UK, I'm often in the countryside, and there is nowhere to sit. I bought a £6 Compact Kumfie from Multimat, which I often use. It is essentially a foam pad that unfolds into a larger pad you can sit on. Again, it's cheap, simple and effective.

Computer

I'm slowly but surely phasing out my computer and mobile phone in favour of a tablet that takes calls, the Samsung Galaxy S7. That takes two objects out of the equation in favour of one. I have a matching pair of Bluetooth headphones for this one, which I can use for calls. The tablet can stay in the bag when someone rings me! I can read books on the go with the Kindle app, and It's even powerful enough to do the majority of my image editing as a photographer and the editing work on the newspaper I publish. It even has a pretty good camera itself for quick shots.

Camera

I use a Sony RX100 MK6 these days for most of my photography. It has an impressive focal range without the need for additional lenses, is compact, and most importantly for me, it has a viewfinder, which most compact cameras don't have. I'm definitely not one for taking photos via the rear screen. The small sensor is complemented by an array of clever features that enable it to resolve stunning images. This 'simple' sounding piece of kit is actually rather complex, and as a camera geek, I could get into the ins and outs of it for hours on end. Sufficed to say, it's good, and the only issue I ever have with Sony cameras is the short battery life. I just have two batteries for general use, but a friend of mine who liked to photograph weddings and street photography with his full-frame RX1-R had nine! If you get this one, it's a good idea to go for an extra battery(ies).

Battery

I have my Samsung 10,000 mAh battery pack, which I use when I'm out to charge anything that needs charging. This pack will charge any electronics and has more than enough power to get me through the day. It's often a week or so before I need to recharge it, which I try to do via solar power if I can.

Console

As a gamer and someone who enjoys the great outdoors, there is really only a single console available: the Nintendo Switch. I can use it wherever I am, it has a fantastic array of games, and it takes up very little space. Games can be downloaded to a microSD card (mine's 500GB), which seems compatible with the Samsung battery pack. That is to say, it hasn't bricked so far. While I may have some minor niggles with the Switch, there isn't really an alternative unless you want to play retro games. And speaking of which, the Switch allows you to play a variety of NES and SNES games with a subscription, and there are some of my favourite N64 games coming soon. My Christmas this year will undoubtedly be occupied playing Lylat Wars, just as it was when I was a teen!

Water Bottle

Chilly's Series 2 water bottles are great for the environment because instead of picking up a disposable plastic bottle, you get to fill up at home. The drinks bottle has a coating that helps to keep it clean by killing germs. If you're not the type to get home between every use of a water bottle, this one reduces the risk of nasties getting into your body. However, it's essential to clean your water bottles as often as you can (or as often as you remember, in my case).

Towel

Occasionally I require a towel. Insert Hitchhiker's Guide joke here. I use it in cars to hang in front of the sun visor in bright weather (when parked, obviously). It can be used for anything from cleaning my tablet screen to drying off after a rain shower. Sea to Summit make microfiber towels for use in places like the beach and on camping trips. I've even used mine as a small blanket to keep warm. They come in various sizes, although I have the large, and they dry very quickly with the rigid breathable pouch you can hang outside your bag when you're finished.

Ear Plugs

As someone on the autism spectrum, I'm sensitive to noise. It can be challenging to control your environs when you're outside, so I use noise-cancelling earplugs from Finland called QuietOn 3. I've been a Kickstarter customer of theirs since the very beginning, and each time they bring out a new version, they keep getting better and better. They're small, come in a case, and recharge via USB-C. I consider them to be vital in helping me maintain my sanity in this busy world. Under many circumstances, I couldn't do my work without them.

Misc

The miscellaneous bits and bobs fit into a Peak Design Field Pouch V1, which I have had for years. It usually contains (in no particular order):

The bag itself turns out to be reasonably heavy with all these items loaded in. It's certainly not what I would take with me if I were going for a long hike. I believe much of the weight comes from the electronics, and stored water isn't light either. The bag isn't entirely filled, with room for some clothing and my Dopp kit if I'm off on weekends away. It is everything enough in the way of daily essentials to live my life without the need for anything else.

I'll be curating this bag further over time, making it lighter and more functional. Eventually, I'd like to have a bag I can take anywhere without being too heavy. Watch this space for further developments!

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