Matryoshka Hardware: Everyday Carry and Beyond

I'm fascinated with people who are far more organized that I am. Like data scientist Seth Brown, for example, who has systematically organized his gears and hardware into different levels of complexity, depending on his intended activity.

An average day may call for wallet, phones and car keys - those set of items comprise your "everyday carry" (or EDC). If you out for an extended weekend trip, you may carry additional stuff.

My EDC comprises of the stuff shown above: My smartphone (which has more computing power than all the computers from World War II-era combined - just think about that), my slim wallet (I hate carrying the fat trifolds - no George's Exploding Wallet for me), and my car fob and the NeatoHQ and my house keys (the only two keys in that keyring).

But back to Brown: He has organized his stuff into "layers" which work like a set of nesting Matryoshka dolls. Here's how he explained it:

I’ve found that most activities of the same duration and complexity share the same set of core hardware. For example, a 3 day ski adventure, scientific conference, or holiday weekend requires much of the same core hardware.

A byproduct of this division between activity-specific gear and core hardware is that core hardware naturally organizes into layers. Core hardware that I use for shorter duration activities serves as the foundation for core hardware that I carry for longer duration activities. A smaller set of core hardware integrates into the layer above it. Each layer subsumes the previous layer like a series of Matryoshka dolls.

The result is an amazingly logical step of nerdery: Need to go on a weekend trip? While the rest of us have to think and sort through our stuff to figure out what to carry, Brown only has to grab his "Extended Carry Items" and his Everyday Carry. For activities that require more hardware, he grabs his Bug-out Bag, Extended Carry Items, and Everyday Carry. Genius!

Read more over at Brown's blog.

How about you? What sort of stuff do you carry every day?


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pockets: Taxi Wallet, cell-phone, keys.
backpack: LLBean Turbo Transit backpack (black), external hard drive in case logic case (with ipod/usb connector), headphones, a couple of books, pens, 2nd gen ipod touch, pen shaped mini screwdriver, Altoid tin with extra screw tips and other effluvia, mouse, Lenovo laptop (so the kid doesn't wash this one with a bottle of water, like the last laptop).... and random parts of toys from the 5 year old (stuff i almost stepped on). I'm slowly working on creating a mobile office in a backpack. Hopefully (and slowly given my limited extra income), i'll be able to condense/add a few things to make it a small office i can carry on my back.
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Most of the time I would care less about a thief getting my cash and credit card, just as long they don't take some of the IDs and other cards I carry around. I usually don't carry too much cash, and the credit card is usually easy enough to replace. But my driver's license, work ID and keycard, and some other passes would take a lot more time and inconvenience to replace (and probably cost more in fees than the typical cash I carry). It would almost make it worth while to have a wallet for cards, and a money clip for cash and credit card.

Otherwise I just have a giant key ring, phone, pen and wallet. I have a Swiss army knife and a multitool, but don't usually carry those with me since I have a full tool set in my car, at home, and at work anyway.
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The idea is to throw the wallet one direction and run the other. It seems cowardly to me, but it's my plan, none the less. I put a $20 in it so they might be distracted by it and take longer to shoot at me as I run like a little girl.
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