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Getting out the house in time to catch the bus is critical when the bus only comes every hour. When I went back to a car-free life, I knew it would be imperative to keep most of the things I needed in one bag, that I could just grab & go.
As someone who wears many hats, this setup had to be versatile and flexible enough for my needs while also not breaking the bank. As a minimalist, this setup also had to be lean enough to carry only the things I needed to perform all of my tasks. While there's still plenty of room for tweaks and upgrades down the line, here is my current everyday carry (EDC) load out.
Tom Bihn Medium Cafe Bag
Starting with the most important item on this list, the bag itself or my "dad" bag. This workhorse of a bag is made locally in the United States, more specifically Seattle, Washington. Colorways can come and go but plenty are offered. I went with the Beaver Camo which has now since been "retired". Tom Bihn is known to bring back retired styles and color ways from time to time so if you love this specific look be on the lookout for it. I have a pretty neutral wardrobe so it goes well with everything and not as serious as a briefcase.
Three sizes are offered but I went with the medium. It fits my 13" M1 MacBook Air but also can hold a water bottle, diapers, toys and other essentials when I need this for parenting. There's a bit of organization on the inside, a zippered pocket on the front and a slip pocket on the back. Adjustable strap and the ability to attach a messenger stabilizer makes it perfect for commuting via bike as well.
Anker Magsafe Foldable Wireless Portable Charger
I spend a lot of time on calls as a journalist and business owner. Relying on public transit also means, relying on your phone for bus arrivals. This buddy is small enough for a pocket with the ability to also be used at my final destination as a phone stand. I can use the phone while it's on the charger without the need of dangling cables. It's actually a bigger battery than my iPhone 13 mini so I never have to worry about not having enough juice for a normal day. However, if I have a rather long day it can be charged via USB-C and pass-through to charge my iPhone at the same time. Now isn't that sweet?
Koss On-Ear Headphones
You may have heard, I'm a bit of a music buff. Commonly available for less than $30, these on-ear headphones from Koss punches way above their price point. They are toned down and comfy enough to wear for extended periods of time. I wouldn't take calls on these per se but the microphone is available when in a pinch.
I have broken a pair but there's a limited lifetime warranty for just $9 for a replacement set, not bad. They fit in a bag and sound best with lofi, jazz, hip hop and soul.
Apple 5th Generation iPod Classic
I was on the hunt for an iPod Classic again as I've shifted back to purchasing audio and stepping away from streaming platforms. My mother-in-law recalled that she may still have my wife's sitting around the house somewhere. They can be found rather cheap through Facebook Marketplace or thrift stores but condition does vary. Other sites and apps like eBay they tend to get rather expensive. Low & behold, this puppy sat in a case for a long time with very little usage. I was able to also use the cable with an adapter and we are all set! Pairs well with my headset and I don't have to use critical battery life from my phone to enjoy long listening sessions.
Apple 13" M1 MacBook Air
Not much to say here as it's my daily driver for personal and business. I may upgrade to the 14" MacBook Pro for more screen real estate and the ports that I find myself using more often nowadays but for now this will do. Fast and reliable for my needs and slim and small enough to fit inside of my dad bag.
Again, not much to see here but I like to keep a few to write down my thoughts, notes and to-do tasks. I keep the pocket size in black. Still working on a centralized way to keep everything together but for now this will do.
My Gratitude Journal
Lumping my gratitude journal here with writing portion as well as there's no better time to reflect on what you're thankful for than when you are on the bus. The bus in Richmond, Virginia is free until June 2025. You see so many people from different walks of life heading towards different destinations in different stages in their lives. I take this time to be thankful for where I am. I also like to write things down on my way home so I don't forget.
Keeping all of these things in my bag make for one less thing I have to think about on a day-to-basis. Transit riders, do you have a similar set up?