What's in My Bag

What’s in my bag? — Daniel Slaski

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What's in my bag? issue #29

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Dan Slaski designs products with hundreds of components that go into the world’s harshest environments. He also blogs about all things digital manufacturing. This has contributed to his vast portfolio of knowledge dealing with difficult engineering problems, and a wide repertoire of prototyping skills. Yet he still finds a way to remain humble.

About the bag
Minaal Carry-On Bag ($299)
This is a great bag. It is super functional and looks really sleek. It makes traveling seem sexy instead of the tired schlubs we probably all feel like.

What’s inside the bag
Ultralight Travel Toothbrush ($3)
A toothbrush that breaks in half and weighs just .13 ounces! It’s a fun game for me to try to find the lightest items possible for travel. Not really for practical reasons, it’s just a secret fantasy of mine to be a peripatetic traveler. This quest has led me down research paths of ultralight backpacking gear. Zpacks sells ultralight backpacking gear and they manufacture a lot of their own designs. By gamifying my travel supplies, packing doesn’t feel like a chore, I get excited to pull out my finds and put them to use. The toothbrush kit is $2.95 and shipping is reasonable but consider order batching. They make great stocking stuffers! As far as the actual teeth cleaning aspect, I use an electric at home, but this one is good for travel.

World’s Smallest Wall Charger ($30)
The Chargerito is the smallest cell phone charger I have found. It folds in on itself to be about the size of a 9-volt battery, doesn’t require an extra cable and weighs 0.96 ounces. They have a USB-C, micro-USB and lightning version. I can be an absent-minded designer type. I put systems in place to counteract my absent-mindedness. This works when I’m at home, but when I travel that all goes out the window and I’m always losing track of where I put things. The Chargerito design acts as a simple stand using the phones charging jack and wall socket for support. This becomes a feature for me because it stands out in contrast against the wall. My travel system is that as soon as I come in the room I plug it in and then I’m not trying to remember what surface I placed it on. I removed the key chain clip and added yellow electric tape to reduce weight and add visibility.

Oura ring ($300)
This smart ring has multiple sensors in it to measure your sleep phases. This means it is much more accurate than other devices that just detect motion or measure other places. It’s easy to geek out and go overboard on the quantified self stuff. I try to find the balance of ease and usefulness, and for me this ring is it. It gives you a sleep “score” through an app and I know what I need to get to be the best version of myself. Sleep is the keystone habit for me and it controls the success or failure of almost all my other habits. The app gives you personalized sleep hygiene feedback tips the more you use it. By combining the feedback with a little personal experimentation you can deduce what the major contributors to your sleep quality are, and you might be surprised. It is also a fitness tracker but I only wear mine at night for sleep tracking. They have a second-generation model out which is smaller and more sophisticated than my first gen.

Ridge Supply Cycling Socks ($16 and up)
On the Cool Tools podcast, Matt Haughey talked about cycling socks made by a company called The Athletic that he wears as his everyday socks. I really liked the idea of cycling socks as everyday socks and I tried it out. The Athletic socks were a little tight around my calves, but I found a different brand called Ridge Supply that fits me better and I love their styling. I only buy one pair of a given style to make pairing easy. They can be used for running socks also. I have a system where I use the socks I wore the previous day for my morning run to minimize on laundry and socks types I need to travel with. Also, a weird phenomenon will happen where once you get a pair and you will start noticing them on cyclists all around town.

Bonus pick
Volt the Robot Wind Up ($1.50 + shipping)
Rambling Robots make great traveling companions. They love nature, require minimal resources and are excellent listeners. You can see our travels on Instagram @dc_dapper_dan.

-- Dan Slaski 12/25/19