February 08, 2006

Portable Pack Rat-ism

[That's "pack rat", not "brat pack" or "rat pack".]

Merlin of the great 43 Folders lifehacking site blogged about the recent Washington Post article on carrying too much crap: how everyday people in this modern world feel compelled to tote around all sorts of ephemera as part of their daily routine:

Burdens of the Modern Beast

This reminds me of a coder who joined Netscape just before the fall. We'd call him the Batman, because he had a bunch of black nylon pouches hanging from his belt, filled with all the tools a real software guy needs, like a big SAK, precision screwdrivers, flashlight, numerous pens and pencils, spare glasses, etc.

And that was just the things I could see from casually checking out his rig in the hallway (Ok, enough with the innuendos). If anybody at Netscape was equipped to fight the "browser wars" it was that guy. I'm sure if those cool ThinkGeek lightsabers were available in 1997 he'd have one hanging from that utility belt.

I've resisted the temptation to load up my person with gadgetry, but a preparedness mindset and an appreciation for fault-tolerance ensures that I have at least the Ten Essentials (or the ability to procure them) at close hand. Spyderco, check. Wallet preparedness kit, check.

One way around this "don't want to look too much like a dork" problem (Ok, enough with the innuendos) is to leverage ideas from fields where people are supposed to carry around lots of stuff. Like I love my builder rig and nail pouch--I have different setups for general house maintenance vs. makin' sawdust (er, framing). That way I don't have to think before grabbing my utility knife, speed square, vise grips, pencil, etc. Family Handyman did a piece a while back titled Organizing a Tool Belt, great advice for those of us who didn't grow up on a construction site.

Another idea would be to use clothes and rigs designed for undercover cops. The great 5.11 line is a cool example. The 5.11 jackets come equipped with reinforced pockets that zip into the lining and have neato built-in cord management for that Secret Service earpiece look. But of course you could just run your iPod cables through those, I'm sure. (And if you're in a place where dudes will try to kill you for your iPod, you could get the optional holster panel and take care of matters the old-fashioned way).

Posted by jameshom at February 8, 2006 04:55 PM | TrackBack
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