Andrew Maxwell-Parish spends most of his time wandering through the realm between art and engineering. He likes to explore playful ways to make technology development more accessible to non-engineers.
I always enjoying finding out about other people’s methods in making their way through life. Maybe it makes me feel less self conscious about my own quirks.
These are the items I deem necessary to have with me at all times.
In my pockets or on my belt:
Keys – I’ve moved to the carabiner method. I don’t regret it.
Wallet – I made this about a year ago with some scrap of canvas that I had laying around. It’s a simple design for carrying a few cards and cash.
Leatherman Squirt E4 – I love this tool. It’s the Squirt with dedicated wire strippers at various sizes. I probably use it about 20 times a day at a minimum and I feel naked without it. It might be one of the least aggressive of the Leathermans but this is by far my most cherished tool.
Leatherman Squirt case – I made this a few years ago to carry the Leatherman on my belt. It has held up nicely.
In my jacket pockets:
Nexus 4 – I have a love/hate relationship with smartphones. Sometimes it feels like an abusive relationship. I’ve learned to remove nearly all notifications that are pushed to the phone.
Lip balm – Burt’s Bees. Sometimes my lips get chapped.
Headphones – Some cheap ones to carry with me at all times. I tend to listen to music all day, every day.
Moleskine Cahier Journal (3.5″X5.5″) – I have yet to find a design notebook that I prefer to this one. The cover is flexible, pages are blank, the size allows you to carry it with you everywhere. Yes, Moleskine is trendy but they happen to make a notebook that is very functional for me.
Uni-Ball Onyx Micro pen – This is my preferred pen. It gives a nice crisp and dark line.
In my bag:
The bag – I’ve been making my own messenger bags for about ten years now. My first bag was a modification of a canvas U.S. mail bag that I found at the amazing Ax-Man in St. Paul, MN. Ax-man is probably one of the greatest surplus stores in the world and walking into this shop is what made me want to work with electronics. After that bag wore out, I started using scrap pieces of canvas from outlet fabric shops. This is probably bag number five for me. I find myself wanting to make a new bag every couple of years and usually end up giving the old ones away.
MacBook Air – Unfortunately, Macintosh is the only OS that will allow me to use all the software I need on one OS. As soon as there is a high quality and intuitive CAD package compatible for Linux Mint (come on Fusion 360!), I will be moving back over. Until then, Mac it shall be.
Kryptonite U-Lock – I bike everywhere. This lock is absolutely necessary. Sometimes I have a cable lock with me as well to lock up all the wheels.
Sunglasses – My brother found some Ray Bans on the street after a parade in Detroit. He gave them to me because he is an outstanding guy.
3D printed Nexus 4 Camera mount – This is a device to mount my phone to a tripod. I connect it to a Giottos mini ball head mount to have 360 degree rotation. I got really into making photo spheres of environments and this setup works really well to get decent quality captures.
Flexible tripod stand – This was a couple of bucks on Amazon and it nice to carry around with you. Nothing amazing but definitely better than trying to balance your camera on a ledge.
Leatherman Wingman – I bought it cheap and it is nice to have these tools with you. My brother (see my note from earlier) bought me my first Leatherman for Christmas when I was 13. I’ve been a fan of their tools ever since.
3D printed bike light to tripod adapter – I bike everywhere and there are quite a few times that I regret not having a larger sized tripod. I figured I could have an attachment on my bike to be able to mount a camera to it. At the time I had access to high quality Objet printers and I made and printed this design one afternoon. It allows me to disassemble my bike light and connect this device into the mount. It works well enough but the design could be refined.
Pens and Sharpies – Allows need to have a few extra with me.
Anker USB Battery – Compact and nice to have when I need some extra power.
1/8″ audio jack – Certain car share vehicles don’t have the audio jack inside. I carry this one with me for the rare times I use one of these cars.
USB drive – I don’t use these very often anymore but it still comes up.
USB to Ethernet connector – The MacBook Air doesn’t have one to my occasional frustration.
USB charger – For powering up!
USB Hub – In case I need a little extra something something.
Bike tire patch kit – There is a lot of broken glass in the areas I’m biking. I have a mental map of bike pumps I can use in the areas I bike but having a patch kit with me is pretty essential.
That’s how I roll. Please don’t mug me.
[[Cool Tools Readers! We will pay you $100 if we run your "What's in My Bag" story. Send photos of the things in your bag (and of the bag itself, if you love it), along with a description of the items and why they are useful. Make sure the photos are large (1200 pixels wide, at least) and clear. Use a free file sharing service to upload the photos, and email the text to email@example.com. -- Mark Frauenfelder]]