What’s in the Bag; Back 2 the Office

All in a Day's Work

Well we’re one step closer to normal, my friends. At least it seems so for the moment. My schedule recently switched to favor a majority of in-office days over remote and, in a shocking moment of coincidence, my daily-use notebook is finally full. What a perfect time to not only select a new notebook, but really assess the items I carry between work stations, and share some cool stuff. Let’s take a look!

The Bag(s)

There are a few layers to my current bag setup, the first being a Tumbuk2 Spire 2.0. This is my first backpack from the brand, but so far I’ve been very pleased with the quality, design, and functionality of the piece. The Spire features a vertical, open-top form factor as opposed to the 70%-zipper opening of the bags I’ve used in the past. This makes it great for stashing under the desk and still accessible without it slumping under its own weight. Much more convenient for access to a notebook, pen case, iPad, or whatever MacGuffin I’m reaching for in the moment. The bag is comfortable, and has ample space for everything I need to carry for a day out in the world.

Waterproof, and plenty of pockets.

Inside the backpack’s main compartment there is the first of two pouches. This one is the Nock Co. Burton, an A5-size waxed-canvas pouch with internal compartments for all of my office writing ephemera; My planner, my work notebook, and a fountain pen or two. The Burton has more than enough space to neatly organize the everything I use in a typical day, without giving me so much extra space that I feel obliged to carry eight pens. The waxed canvas finish is unique and great to carry around, but it’s wise to have a lint roller handy if you are considering anything in this material.

Nock Co. A5 Burton
Waxed canvas is something of a magnet for pet fur. Could I have cleaned it? Sure, but you should see what you’re getting into.

The second pouch, stashed inside the backpack’s outer pocket, is a Nock Co. Sinclair. I do also have a waxed canvas version of this pouch, but the brown/amethyst colorway is just too dang good. While I could (and have previously) fit the Sinclair with another eight fountain pens, I’ve found it incredibly useful as a catch-all for the handful of gel pens, mechanical pencils, and other miscellaneous writing tools I have to be an expert on professionally.

Timbuk2 Spire outer pocket

What’s in ’em?

The planner and notebook are a Leuchtturm1917 A6 weekly planner and a Moleskine medium double-format Classic notebook, respectively. The planner is a good size for keeping track of my Zoom schedule, office days, and whatever else comes up. I used the A5 size in the past, but found that I just wasn’t making full use of all that empty space. This planner is the perfect size for casual planners, with fantastic paper that can handle fountain pens with ease.

Burton Contents
A Moleskine and a Leuchtturm peacefully coexisting.

Similarly, the Moleskine was chosen after a brief period of deliberation once my Baron Fig notebook was finally full. While they have a checkered history with fountain pens, the Moleskine’s paper is perfect for gels, ballpoints, and pencils. What drew me to this particular notebook was the portability and comfort of the size, and the half-blank half-lined format. I’ve found both of those features to be very handy in a creative environment. Only time will tell if I get tired of having my pen options restricted by paper choice.

As for pens, I’ve turned to quality over quantity as of late, giving myself a limit of ONE fountain pen in the office kit. Right now, that pen is the Lamy 2000. I have not reviewed this one yet, but there isn’t much I can add to the general conversation around this immensely popular pen. The nib is smooth, the looks are stylish, and the makrolon material that constitutes the pen’s body and cap is unlike anything else in my collection. Fountain pen hobbyists know it is a very “feelings-based” activity. Some days I don’t feel like pulling out a Twsbi Eco, and some days I don’t feel like lugging around a Karas Pen Co. brass Fountain K, but I always feel like writing with a Lamy 2000. Even though I was able to grab on on a sale, it is still one of the more expensive pens I own. It’s difficult to say that any pen is “worth it” at that price, but I certainly love having it on the roster.

Sinclair Full-o-Pens
An average, normal amount of pens.

And in addition to the Lamy, I also have a handful of Pentel products on my person at any given moment. EnerGel Kuro, a Smash, Sharp Kerry, and whatever else I’m working with that week. With all my biases in mind, I really feel that the EnerGel (LR5/7) is the best, most consistent gel refill for every-day use. I use Pilot, I use UniBall, and I try every other thing I can get my hands on and there is always a some inconsistency from unit to unit.

Also, Technology

In addition to all that fun stuff, this bag carries my work computer, an iPad air, and usually a keyboard. Yes, I have become that guy that brings a mechanical keyboard from home into the office. I will not apologize. My current office board is the Keychron K4. I did want to use the Portico for this purpose, but the number pad turned out to be just a little too vital to the job.

All in a Day's Work
This keyboard isn’t much to look at, but once the Portico is where I want it, you’ll get the style shots

So that’s it. These are the tools I’ve chosen (and/or been assigned) to carry and use throughout my daily tasks and goings-on. I cannot say with complete confidence that this setup will be the same in two months, or even two weeks, but this covers all my bases.

But enough about me, what about you, dear reader? What are your essential tools for the day?

Disclaimer: All products shown in this article were purchased at retail price. Statements and opinions are my own.

Have Some Links

Timbuk2 Backpacks

Nock Co. Bags and Pouches

Lamy 2000 at PenChalet

Spoke Design Pens

Moleskine Notebooks

Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks

Various Pentel stuff at Jetpens

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