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What’s in my bag? Brad Coates edition


I’m Brad, a product manager on the Ting team.

I’m pretty into this whole ‘minimal’ thing. My phone home screen (Nexus 5x) is a study in serenity. The contents of my bag may not seem super minimal but if you take minimal to mean carrying just the things you need and use and that bring value to your life, I’m covered. Still, my bag clearly doesn’t adhere to the standard as set by /r/minimalism on reddit which, as best I can tell, is defined as a picture of a single tree or a flat terrain on a cloudy day.

That intro wasn’t very minimal. Onward!

1. Kaban Transit Backpack

I researched the heck out of backpacks before deciding on this one from The North Face. I commute everyday which involves a bike ride, a train ride, and walk to work. I wanted something comfortable, waterproof, and of course, minimal. It has a layflat zipper in the backpack which is great for keeping your laptop from moving around, it also has a bigger storage area, a front pocket for smaller items, and a smaller pocket on top which can only be opened when the bag is off your back (good for things like wallets, cash, keys, etc…).

2. Bose QC 35

I’m a big Bose fan, my previous headphones were the E02s which lasted me six years (they are still working, I just wanted to upgrade). The Bose Quiet Comfort 35s are hands down the best headphones I’ve ever used. They’re wireless but do come with a cord so you can use if your battery were to run out, although it’s hard to achieve given that they come with an eight hour battery life… even though I’m pretty sure I get more like 12 hours out of the things. They are noise canceling ‘phones, which is great for my train commute and for working in our open concept office where the dB level is sometimes a hot topic.

3. RainStoppers Auto Open Auto Close Deluxe Mini Umbrella

It’s an umbrella. It keeps the rain off me. It’s small and fits in the side pocket of my backpack. It’s also matte black and matches my bag. Decision made. I picked it up from Amazon.

4. Inateck 13-13.3 Inch Macbook Air/ Macbook Pro Sleeve Case

Don’t be fooled. Just because this 13-13.5 inch case only mentions Apple products (at length, if you read the full product title on Amazon) it also works with other 13-13.5 inch laptops. Who’dve thunk it.

I use this case to carry my laptop every day, it keeps it well protected. It’s got a nice handle and also has a side pocket. It’s great for air travel; it holds my laptop as well as passport, SIM cards, phones, wallet, etc.

5. Microsoft SurfaceBook

The main event: I got my work-issued SurfaceBook about three weeks ago and am in love with it. Even though I’m constantly berated by my boss and fellow employees (we primarily use MacBooks on the product and marketing teams) it’s worth the abuse. The screen detaches from the base to use as a tablet. The tablet mode is a little to big if I’m being honest, it’s pretty hard to hold onto. The Pen is super cool, I don’t think using it to hand write notes make sense for me but I love using it for wire framing or explaining something in a meeting since I’m more of a visual learner/explainer. I was previously using a Mac so there are obviously things I was used to and that I miss now. That said, I will not give into any of my coworkers the satisfaction. This is a great machine and I made the right decision.

Oh, I should add, I have a skin on laptop to make it matte black. Shine isn’t minimal in my books. Perhaps I have a problem.

It’s from dbrand and while I didn’t align things perfectly (I’m convinced it’s impossible) I’m pretty happy with the result.

6. Aukey PB-N15

I picked up this battery pack a couple of months ago and have no complaints. The 20,000 mAh capacity is insane and the $30 price tag is ridiculous. The only thing I’d point out as a miss is the fact that there’s no USB type C port. I was looking for something to charge my phone, tablet, and e-reader on the go, and it’s been working out great.

7. Nexus 5X 16GB

I love this phone. It has a great finish and I find the finger print scanner at the back so much easier than using my thumb. It’s a perfect size for me, I prefer the smaller phone, well, the smaller phone according to the 2016-2017 lineup as it seems phones just won’t stop growing. It has front facing speakers and a great battery life. I’ve got it well organized with Nova Launcher and some icon packs, I wrote about my top 5 apps here on the Ting blog back when I had the HTC One M7.

The one place my 5x is lacking is in its capacity. I download most my music for offline and I have to constantly move things in and and out with the 16GB storage capacity, it’s not the end of the world but a 32 or 64GB storage (or removable storage) would have made things easier. Lesson learned.

8. Kindle Paper White

I got the Kindle Paper White 6-inch a few years ago as a gift. I thought I would use it more than I do, but I would be lying if I said it’s a daily or even weekly routine for me. Despite being one of those written off social media, tech saavy, advocado eating, unable to speak to a human in person, millenials that I keep reading about, I still enjoy reading things on paper.

I find myself still going to the library to take out books even though I have the ereader (Damn hipster millenials – Ed). With that being said it’s still a terrific product, the paper white backlight and screen is close to paper and the battery life is amazing… since the update that fixed some previous battery life issued. Word to the wise: Always update!

9. A pencil and sketchpad

I’m a big pencil guy, in fact this guy is my hero. I cannot tell whether or not it’s a joke. Part of me hopes it is, a perhaps bigger part of me hopes it’s not. Either way he’s done some great work.

I do woodworking as a hobby and I use this to map out my next project or renovation, I also just like to draw 3D cubes and Super S Stussys.

10. Rolling Stone Magazine

I subscribe to a few magazines but the Rolling Stone is the one I never skip. I love it for the longform articles on featured artists and for discovering new music. The beauty of having Spotify for me is listening to the song they are talking about as I read the article, it really helps me build out an appreciation for what these artists do.

Thanks for reading, assuming you made it this far. It was fun!

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