The modern man is beset on all sides by challenges logistical and psychological. One who travels in groups, especially groups where he may be the only person with feasible pockets, may seek to have him carry keys, sunglasses, do-dads or what have you. In that fashion’s pendulum has yet to bring back the parachute pants, one can get overloaded, especially if he has his own cargo to keep. As always, the geek has the answer by turning to the pages of the fiction he enjoys. In this case, that means a name that always has the answers: Batman.
Batman has solved the problem of “what to do with all the crap you need to carry” with his aptly called “utility belt.” Using a series of carefully packed storage pouches, the psychopath born as Bruce Wayne is able to schlep all the Bat shark repellent or Bat tracking devices he might need in an ordinary night of wearing panties on the outside of his pants and kicking poor people in the face.
“What does this have to do with the real world?” Good question, old chum. You likely don’t have the resources to manufacture a custom made belt filled with gadgets, and honestly, more than one might be overkill. The solution for real life?
A camera bag.
For less than $20, a padded, secured extra pocket can be there for your phone, MP3 player, loose change, flash drives, SD cards or whatever other teensy things you have clogging up hands and existing pockets, giving you extra capacity when you need it most.
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
Most right handed people will benefit from getting a camera bag just a little bit bigger than the largest item you plan to carry. In the example shown, a T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide is secured in a LowePro Tahoe 30. Also secured inside is a 16GB flash drive, an iTunes gift card, several business cards, an SD card adapter for a MicroSD card (with 64GB card secured inside), and an iPad USB adapter. Not pictured: a partridge, a pear tree, one kitchen sink.
Useful stuff to have on hand, right? This frees up the left hand pocket to carry a standard USB cord for the phone (which makes it an extra storage/transfer volume in case your friend just recorded the best song in the world and you need another way to take it with you), keys in the right hand pocket, wallet or money clip in the right rear and an open slot with the rear left pocket for valet slips, receipts, phone numbers or whatever else might come up.
Southpaws can just try everything in reverse and see if it feels comfortable.
The temptation might be strong to overload — why not slide that iPod Touch in with the phone? It has a protective case. Resisting these temptations will extend the life of your gadgets. The prescription for being slightly bigger than your biggest cargo only protects if your tech isn’t banging up against something else hard all day. Field testing of multiple devices has proven deleterious to longer periods of functionality on all devices involved. Better to swap the cable for the secondary handheld device in the front left pocket.
BUT WHAT ABOUT …
Some modern men have taken a different approach using an over-the-shoulder messenger bag, derisively called a “murse” or “man purse” by some. They cite a variety of reasons, from the larger cargo capacity (big enough for tablets or laptops) and perceived similarity to Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, they end up looking much more like Zach Ganfianakis in The Hangover, lugging around something that doesn’t fit the high-speed, low drag profile of the modern dude’s lifestyle. Likewise, Indiana Jones was an archaeologist shlepping stolen artifacts from conquered cultures across continents. You’re likely not gonna do much more than head to work, down to the store or over to the comic book shop. Not exactly high adventure needing such accoutrements.
Others might suggest reclaiming the fanny pack, more commonly seen attached to the reconstructed hips of jogging suit-clad octogenarians and walker-wielding retirees waiting for the special at Sizzler. If, somehow, it was once again 1990, this might be apropos, but since Chubb Rock is nowhere on the scene, it seems like looking forward might be more advisable than looking back.
Many guys prefer tower shirts not tucked in to their waistband, especially in hotter climates. This can be made to work with your new “utility belt” by slinging the hem of your shirt over the new addition to provide access. Invariably, the shirt will come loose and fall, so readjusting and experimentation may be in order.
As noted in the photo, some phone cases (the one shown is from Body Glove) can show signs of fraying from being put in and out of the camera bag son regularly. Watch out for ones with rubbery outer surfaces in this regard.
Tablet and laptop users will still have to lug their stuff around separately, but with less drag, you might be able to make do with a sleeve or basic cover instead of an entire shoulder bag.
You may need to buy two or three bags to get the right balance for your own personal mix of style and functionality, but this small change can make a big difference in the clutter factor of your average day.
Hannibal Tabu is an author, poet, journalist, father, husband, brother and jackass living in south Los Angeles.
[Source: Komplicated @ The Good Men Project ]