What's in my Bag? Part 1

I have two travel pouches ready to go for short or long trips. One pouch has the essentials for washing and cleaning, the other, technology and miscellaneous handy items.

A short trip is going to Bristol from London for the day or stay over. A long trip is a holiday or business travel.

Nearly everything in these bags is a duplicate or near enough of something I use at home. I have tried keeping items in a travel drawer so I could use them both at home or when travelling. The goal—less is more, be minimalist. Inviability, stuff did not end up back in the drawer, which led to tiresome scrambling around the house. The joy I get from frictionless packing for trips can’t be articulated clearly enough. If you’re not employing a duplicate approach, give it a try, you’ll be liberated. Wasted time, stress, doubt, thankless decision making and on the road purchases are a thing of the past, at least for packing.

This collection of items isn’t perfect. Change is inevitable. That’ll likely come from using the pouches over time. For now though, what have I got here?

Bellroy Travel Pouch

  • Eye mask, Generic Amazon Brand: for sleeping or relaxing on transport.
  • Swappable plug USB Wall Charger, Anker: Plug can be changed for USA/UK/EU, x2 USB-A, x1 USB-C. This is the cornerstone object in the pouch, charges a laptop, phone, watch all at once and over night. Mostly removes the need for a travel adapter.
  • Passport Notebook, MUJI: doodling sketches/diagrams/notes when at a bar, coffee shop or sat waiting. Added benefit of being able to leave/give a written note.
  • Signpen, Pilot: Has ink, it’s a pen. I prefer a marker style pen, not great for page bleed in this notebook, could be swapped out.
  • Battery pack, Anker: x1 USB-A, holds ~1.5 fast phone charges. I’m on the fence if this could be swapped for a smaller unit or if the pouch get swapped for a more flexible material. There is also a case for replacing all USB-A for USB-C, however, hotels, hire cars and aeroplanes are mostly still on USB-A which makes it a tough one to call.
  • Bank Card, Revolut: This is for emergency use if my wallet/phone vanishes.
  • Micro USB: Charging Kindles, vapes, battery pack.
  • Earpods, Apple: Back-up pair if AirPods are out of action, lightning interface for phone calls and music, fitted with EarSkinz silicon covers to improve ear fit.
  • Collapsable phone stand, SFASTER: The is one of the smallest phone stands I could find at the time, folds down to credit card size, pops up so I can watch videos on trains and planes.
  • Cleaning liquid, Method – in a MUJI Clear Spray Bottle 18ml: helps keep my specs and laptop screen clean, smears and dirt on either really winds me up.
  • Microfibre cleaning cloth: It cleans things.
  • Lightning USB-A, USB-C to USB-C, USB-A to Apple Watch cables for phone, laptop and watch. All Apple brand so no funny business with chip licensing. Not the most durable on the market. All cables tied with velcro cable ties, these are a must for cable management.
  • Chewing gum, Extra. UK gum hits different and is good to have on hand post coffee/food.

Matador Wash bag

  • Toothpaste, Arm & Hammer: Can’t get enough of that baking soda. Toothbrush, Boots brand: It’s a brush.
  • Deodorant, Sanex: Could be much smaller.
  • Face Sun Creme 50SPF, Eucerin: Can’t advocate this product and brand enough. If you have any skin worries, spend a bit more than you would on high street brands.
  • Shampoo, Head & Shoulders: This gets refilled at home.
  • Soap: Wrapped in a small sealable bag with elastic band to take up less space and keep it clean.
  • Travel mirror, MUJI: It’s a mirror.
  • Nail scissors: Handy for beard trims, nose hair trims, cutting stuff.
  • Nail clippers: I hate typing with more than a few days of nail growth so carry these to keep my nails in check.
  • Tweezers: They get hairs/splinters out.
  • Moisturiser, Eucerin DermatoClean Hyaluron Cleansing Milk: Just like the suncream, this product is amazing for balancing tricky skin. Refilled into a MUJI 50ml pump bottle.
  • Face Sun Creme 50SPF, Avène: Carried in my pocket in sunny places as a top-up.
  • Sumotech, Bumble and Bumble: a hybrid clay/wax for styling short hair, very natural ingredients that was out and don’t cause irritation. Refilled into a MUJI small travel pot.
  • Washable cotton pad: Useful for removing dirt and sun creme.

What’s missing?

  • Electric beard timmer. Packed in a tote at the top of my bag for airpot secruity.
  • Kindle. Packed as leaving the house.
  • AirPods Pro. Daily carry, packed as leaving the house.
  • USB-A to C adapter for rental cars. I need to re-buy a few of these as they are now in use on USB hubs at home.

Next Up

Writing up this web post got me thinking about other pouches I already have or need to create. Brad and I had been chatting about having no phone days at the weekend. Packing a note book, a camera, iPod and a book. Going for a walk and a pint and unplugging from our devices. I really like this idea and want to encourage the activity by creating a ready-to-go bag specifically for this. I’m wrestling with the idea of buying a feature phone to go with it. Seems better to just unplug completely and use my no-phone back-up contact details to get in touch with Hollie if I ever needed to.

I carry a sling bag with me for dog park visits and walks at the weekend. This has a small zip pouch with a few bits in. We take a couple of essentials out ad-hoc for the dog in the park. In addition, we did make an emergency dog mess car pouch after a code brown poo critical incident whilst travelling down the A406. If we owned a car this would live in the boot, but it’s found its way back into a drawer, forgotten and unlikely to leave the drawer. This needs a refresh and putting in a dedicated bag that travels with the dog. A doggie bag.


  • Offline bag
  • Sling bag/Dog bag
  • Dog travel bag
  • Self catering bag


(to be edited)

Back in the day this would have been an upload to Flickr with heaps of hotspots for you to hover over, tagged #whatsinmybag. I guess that’s where a mild obsession of mine grew, the original photo sharing playground.

When I was travelling for work a lot, be it just visiting a clients office or flying to another country I got used to having some essentials ready to go to save packing headaches.

What with lockdowns, a new fully remote job and then only a bit of travel my tech and wash bag setup disbanded.

I don’t consider this to be an EDC (every day carry). My keys, phone and some dog treats are my actual EDC. These two bags are for travelling to Bristol for work or going on a holiday.

EDC has been fetishised a lot since I surfed it back in the Flickr heydays. Today it seems to be less about #whatsinmybag and more the alpha male version of the laugh, love, life Pinterest meme. Lots of tough knifes, tough watches, tough cases, tough metal wallets, tough pens and tough utility knifes (note: one knife is not enough).

The rise of tech YouTubers have also added to the pile of #whatsinmybag. Guess what they carry? Exclusively the best tech and only tech products from the last 6-12 months.

Written by
Lawrence Brown on 13th September 2022