You’re not always hiking and backpacking, as much as you wish you were. What’s in the bag – your day bag – the one that gets you from home to work to the trail, or from kids to soccer to weekend getaway, that makes it easy to move from here to there. Here’s another in our series from SBM contributors that answers the question. So what’s in your day bag?


Tell us about your survival kit. 

The day bag I use changes from time to time, but I prefer medium sized, durable messenger bags with a couple inside pockets, and at least one outside pocket. I recently sprang for the Mercer bag from Alchemy Goods, a Seattle based company that makes their bags out of used bike tubes and old seatbelts. Each bag has a number on the logo that indicates what percentage of your bag is recycled material. My number is 75. They’re pricey, but so far it has proven durable and fully waterproof.
day bag_1
What are your 10 essentials?
  1. Keys – The carabiner helps when I am running errands and don’t want to fully stash them. I can clip it onto my pants or the strap of my bag.
  2. iPod/headphones – They aren’t used too frequently during the week, but very important for bussing on the weekend.
  3. Planner – I would never get anything done without this.
  4. Touch up kit – Personal products/chapstick/hair ties/bobby pins takes forever to find in a bigger bag. This helps keep them together and is easy to find.
  5. Bear case – I keep my Swiss Army knife in this, as well as Advil, bandaids, matches (also pictured), and other incidentals. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter. I made the picture on this one from a photo of the PCT in Oregon and an ad for Alaska featuring a grizzly bear wearing sunglasses.
  6. Phone – I haven’t leveled up to a smartphone yet. I drop my phone all the time, and this model (LG CF360) is super durable. I also dig the slide, which covers the keys when it’s shut, making it almost impossible to butt dial someone.
  7. Wallet
  8. Pocket Notebook – You never know when you need to take notes. These are great for jotting down directions, notes, doodles, anything. They’re also handy if you want to play games with friends during downtime.
  9. Book – I started carrying books with me when I was studying abroad in London. I had a ton of reading to do, and took the Tube every day to class. Mass transit is very conducive to reading, so I always bring it on the bus. Mass market books are the smallest, cheapest style available and travel well.
  10. USB drive – the little owl is a pocket USB drive. Great for bringing documents to and from the office.


What are the most frequently used items in your kit?
With my job, I find myself opening boxes a lot for clients, so I use my knife all the time. Also my pocket notebook comes in very handy for writing down reminders for work or directions to new clients, and of course my planner gets checked at least three times a day.


If you could add one more thing what would it be?
I’m still looking for a leak proof water bottle that would fit in my bag. Currently I have my Nalgene with me all day but it’s too large for most bags and tends to leak just a bit.

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