Architect on the Go

Packed Bag

I recently put my briefcase on a diet.  It had to be done.  It was too big to travel well.  So this is my new one.  I’m not doing an advertisement here but it is the 15.6″ Samsonite Classic Toploader computer bag. My main criteria were that it fit under the seat in front of me on the plane (I like to sit on the aisle so this space is sometimes cramped under that seat), and it had to be able to carry all my stuff.  I need my stuff when I go to meetings, whether they be cross town or cross country.  Okay, I may not need all the stuff all the time, but the Boy Scout in me likes to be prepared.  I have been gearing up for a series of trips to Oregon recently, so making sure I have everything has been on my mind.  So here it is above, in the packed position.  Never mind that it is on a soapbox.  I’ve used this bag a couple of times already on long trips and I have been happy with it so far.  When not air traveling, it is also working well.

Unpacked Bag

And here it is unpacked.  The following is a list of all my stuff, and believe me, it all fits.  This is not trick photography.

A.    Samsonite Classic Two Gusset 15.6 Briefcase.  Holds my laptop and all my stuff.
B.    Trace Paper.  I look for a used up roll, it fits better.
C.    Mini Optical Mouse
D.    Halo portable battery.  I haven’t used it yet, but having been stranded in an airport before, I may.
E.    LED flashlight.  For looking above ceilings for fireproofing and smoke barriers.
F.    Dental floss.  Yeah, I do.
G.    Catch-all zip top bag of stuff.  Advil, Stain Stick, Band-Aid, sleeping pills (for red eyes), lens cleaner, and alcohol swaps (because you can’t carry hand sanitizer on planes), and zip-ties (just because).
H.    Disposable toothbrush.
J.     Black pen.
K.    Red pens.
L.    10 foot tape measure.  I have a 25-footer in my car.  This one travels.
M.   Binder clips.  Always can hang a drawing up.
N.   Post-It Notes.  
P.    Three extra AAA batteries.
Q.   64 GB thumb drive.  I have all my music and books on tape on this thing.
R.    Business Cards in a real silver Frank Lloyd Wright holder.  Graduation gift.
S.    Leather Pencil Case.  My latest acquisition.  Holds a few valuable implements to always have.  Includes a lead holder, 0.7 mm mechanical pencil, green Sharpie pen, highlighter, lead tube with red, blue and HB leads, drafting dots and a mini-lead pointer.  This is like an architect’s Swiss Army knife.
T.    6 inch architect’s and engineer’s scale.  They travel better, sometimes in the trace paper tube.
U.    iPhone.  With sweet Han Solo in Carbonite case.  Replaced a camera at version 4.  Missing is my charger chord…I will need that.  I think my son stole it.
V.    Leather Coach folio.  Pretty awesome gift from my mentor.
W.   Laptop.  I don’t think they come any bigger.
X.    Earbuds.  Cheap because I lose them.
Y.    My wallet.  From my last trip (11 years ago) to Florence.  Holds everything.
Z.    Prescription sunglasses.  Because I have to drive the rental car when I get there.  In microfiber sack.
AA. Powerbrick.  I sometimes throw this into my roller bag (that is another episode).
So there we have it.  My portable office.  If I can, I mail sets of drawings to the site before I leave.  Way cheaper than extra baggage fees at the airport.  Full disclosure, I got the idea to do this post from a much more popular (and very good) blog “Life of an Architect” by Bob Borson.  But I thought my bag was special.  There are many like it but this one is mine.