Briefcase Essentials: The Saddleback Leather Company Giveaway

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 20, 2009 · 1,215 comments

in Dress & Grooming


One thing I’ve noticed about men today is that they carry around too much crap in their pockets. If you need proof, take a look at these pics detailing the contents of AoM readers’ pockets. While I understand the desire to have the essentials on you at any time, stuffing our pockets until the seams are bursting probably isn’t a good idea. For starters, it just looks bad. Second, it’s bad for your clothing. The more stuff you cram in your pockets, the more wear and tear you put on your pocket seams. You can ruin a good pair of pants by doing this. Third, it can be uncomfortable. I hate that feeling when my pockets are weighed down with too much crap.

But what’s the modern man to do when he needs to carry his essential items? Enter the briefcase. If your grandfather was a corporate warrior, he probably lugged around a briefcase. While the briefcase went out of style along with gray flannel suits and hats, we at the Art of Manliness feel its high time for a briefcase renaissance. The reason the briefcase doesn’t currently enjoy more popularity is that too many men associate it with some boxy, chintzy, metal latched, 1980′s version of it. Who would want to carry around something like that? You need a briefcase as manly as you are.  A briefcase that will put so much hair on your chest that it doesn’t matter how high you’ve got that dress shirt buttoned, those tuffs are still going to show. You need a briefcase from the Saddleback Leather Company. And lucky for you, they’re giving one away to a very lucky AoM reader. To find out how you can get your hands on one, continue reading.

What a Man Should Carry in His Briefcase

So a briefcase can save our pockets from potential ruin. But in addition to your cell phone and maybe your wallet, what other essential items should a man carry in his briefcase? Below we compiled a quick list of items every man needs in his briefcase:

A Good Book

You never know when you’ll have some down time. Instead of wasting it away watching the TV in a lobby or staring at people in the subway, crack open a good book. By reading during your free time, you can easily polish off a few books a month. Your brain and soul will thank you. For suggestions on which books you should carry with you, check out our 100 Must Read Books for Men, 50 Fiction Adventure Books, and 50 Non-fiction Adventure Books.


The weather can go from sunny skies to dark and cloudy in a matter of minutes. Don’t be caught out in the rain without an umbrella. Even if you’re not a big umbrella guy, at least have one with you so you can cover the head of an unprepared lady. It’s the gentlemanly thing to do.

Extra Cash

It’s always a good idea to carry some extra cash with you. It’s good for paying for emergency roadside assistance, buying a hot dog from a street vendor, or greasing the palms of a helpful bell hop.


Been wanting to start a journal, but just can’t find the time? Or maybe you get million dollar ideas, but forget them because you don’t write them down. By keeping a durable notebook in your briefcase, you can solve both of these problems. Whenever you have a spare moment, bust out your notebook and make a quick journal entry. Or if you read or hear a memorable quote or get a killer idea for your business, write it in there, too. I also like to have my notebook handy so I can go back and read through it whenever I have a moment.

Simple Stationery

Having a set of classy, yet simple stationery in your briefcase can do wonders for your career. After a job interview, whip out a card, write a handwritten thank you note, and drop it off with the secretary. If a fellow co-worker receives an award, write a short congratulatory note. While it’s a small gesture, it can reap huge rewards professionally.

Calling Cards

A calling card can come in handy in any social situation in which you want to exchange your personal information with someone. It’s an essential networking tool. Meet a potential lead for a new job? Give them your calling card. Talk to a lady that meets your fancy? Boom! Calling card for her. Not only is the calling card an effective tool to share your email or Twitter address, they’ll set you apart from the millions of men who are still using plain old business cards.

Mixed Nuts

A man’s got to eat, so be prepared for when hunger strikes. Mixed nuts are the perfect man snack. They’ve got fiber to fill you up, are filled with protein, and have lots of good fats to help increase your testosterone.


We hear a lot about the death of the newspaper industry, how the web is the way of the future, and that we’ll be getting our news on our cell phones and other do0-hickies. But I still think good old fashioned newspapers beat digital news. First, it’s more durable. Spill water on your Blackberry, news source is gone. Spill water on newspaper, you can still read it, it will just be wet. And a newspaper never needs to be charged. Second, it’s easier to read. I don’t know what it is, but I have a hard time reading large amounts of text on a computer screen. If that screen is on a mobile phone, fah-get about it! I’m not reading. Third, you can mark it up. You can’t take a pencil to a computer screen to do a crossword puzzle. Finally, I just like how newspapers and magazines feel. What can I say? I’m a tactile guy.

Altoids Survival Kit

A manly man is a prepared man. Be prepared by stocking your briefcase with this handy survival kit you can store in an Altoids can. Field and Stream gives you a step by step guide on how to cram all your survival needs into a single Altoids can. I’m not sure when you’d need a Commando Wire Saw during a commute to the office, but I guess you never know.

USB Keychain with Your Resume on It

Imagine this scenario: You show up to a job interview. You’re dressed to kill and have your confident handshake down pat. You look into your manly Saddleback briefcase to pull out the resumes you printed off this morning and…. NO! You took your kid’s homework instead! A simple tactic you can use to avoid a situation like this is to carry a USB drive with your resume it on it. If you ever forget yours, you can always plug your USB into a computer and print a new one off.

The Prize

So we know what we need to carry in a briefcase. Now we just need to get our hands on one. The Saddleback Leather Company is giving away the uber manly dark coffee brown large leather briefcase. Just looking at this fine piece of leathermanship makes you feel more manly. Saddleback’s briefcases are the creme de la creme. When you die, your grandchildren will fight over who gets it. The large briefcase retails for $535.

How to Enter

So how can you get your hands on this awesomely manly prize? You have 3 ways to enter your name in a random drawing for a Saddleback man bag:
  1. Leave a comment under this post sharing what you think are the essential items in a man’s briefcase.
  2. Join the Art of Manliness Community’s Man Bag Group. In order to join the group, you have to be a member of the AoM Community.
  3. Share this post with your friends using the “Email Story to a Friend” button in our “Share” Box at the bottom of the post. For each friend you email this post to, you’ll receive one entry in the contest. This means the more friends you share it with, the more entries you get. You can only send 10 at a time, but feel free to come back and esend some more.

Deadline to enter is Thursday, July 30 at 11PM EST. Enter early and often.

1001 Brian July 26, 2009 at 6:39 am

- deodorant
- razor
- assorted Sharpies markers (great for all-purpose “touch ups”)
- pencil
- small moleskin address book with phone numbers, emails, etc. in case phone is kaput
- $20 in cash and coin
- multitool
- Zippo lighter (even if you don’t smoke)
- flash drive
- small bar of antibacterial soap
- harmonica (even if you can’t really play – it’s a party waiting to happen, trust me)

1002 Kenny July 26, 2009 at 6:48 am

Toothbrush + toothpaste or breathmints
Compendium to store documents, notebook, and pens
Travel snacks
A few AA batteries
A good knife and lighter/flintlock in case civilization is destroyed while you are out and about. Then you’ll be able to rebuild.

1003 John July 26, 2009 at 6:57 am

Had I a decent bag I’d transfer most of the stuff from my pockets into it, plus a few more handy bits and pieces:
- Wallet
- Sketchbook
- Pens, pencils, &c.
- Digital camera
- Spare hanky
- Small brolly (until I get a real one)
- Ipod
- Novel
- Water bottle, lunch
- Being a student, class notes
The keys, phone and knife stay in the pockets.
My next bag will definitely be leather with a shoulder strap. I feel like a right twit wearing a backpack with a coat and hat. Also, a backpack tends to make one as long as they are wide, so obstacles and crowds are harder to negotiate.

1004 Dan Middleton July 26, 2009 at 6:59 am

This case looks like a good one. I have a Tumi that i have had for probably 15 years that has been on all my travels during that time. It has gone to Europe 4 times and i have been living in Europe now for a year and it goes every where with me.. I hoe this case is as good. It looks like it is and the reviews i read seem to indicate this. It would be nice to have a new bag, but the other works.

1005 Trip July 26, 2009 at 7:21 am

not really adding anything that others haven’t contributed, but…

pocket knife
something to write on
cell phone
oh, and how could i forget? a 14 gauge angiocath, scalpel, paper clip, and (of course) a foley catheter.

never know when you’re going to need a foley catheter.


1006 ppv1 July 26, 2009 at 7:43 am

Would like to get a saddleback; just had a girl and my wife would shoot me!

1007 Michael Jue July 26, 2009 at 7:49 am

Basic Stuff:
- Butane lighter to make fire
- Knife, and Multi-Purpose Tool
- Change of socks and clean underwear

1008 Corey July 26, 2009 at 7:50 am

3 things you always carry with you in your business bag:

Leatherman Micra (scissors can double as a nail clipper, thread trimmer, etc.)
Business card holder stocked with cards
Breath freshening “stuff”

1009 Luke Henry Vanden Bosch July 26, 2009 at 7:58 am

The latest issue of GQ.
My iPod Touch.
Dental Floss.

1010 Justin July 26, 2009 at 8:03 am

i want that baggggggggg

1011 Jim July 26, 2009 at 8:37 am

As a fairly new dad, there are a few things I carry for the kids:
digital camera
small video camera
…and a few things I carry for me:
cell phone

1012 Rick de Castror July 26, 2009 at 8:58 am

In addition to the Leatherman Micra on my keychain, I also carry a Leatherman Wave tool – occasionally I actually need a larger knife blade, or serious pliers to perform a repair.

I also carry exam gloves, a CPR barrier mask, and a small first aid kit.

1013 Scott July 26, 2009 at 9:15 am

Beef jerky and a granola bar – a complete meal when you’re on the run

1014 steve musgrove July 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

I will just state that your web site is excellent for men, even men like myself who are over the age of fifty. I do not posess a high speed briefcase, as a single parent at my age does not have that kind of cash for that type of purchase. Just know that your website has made a definitive contribution and difference in my life. Keep up the excellent work and know that there is a better single dad out here because of your hard work. All the best.

1015 Jim July 26, 2009 at 9:33 am

The briefcase is truly a work of art. I would use it to carry my laptop, fountain pens, extra ink, Stadler tech pens, ruler, extra business cards, headphones, iPhone, phone charger, Airline ticket case, writing paper, envelopes, stamps, glasses cleaning cloth and solution, keys, Palmer practice pad, mechanical pencils and lead, Emerson knife, Surefire flashlight, batteries, extra loops for Jawbone, charger, Moleskine day planner, Moleskine small notebook, Line cards for my business and anything else I can think of. These briefcases are truly works of art and I’m going to save for one since there’s no way I will win one.

1016 Jason July 26, 2009 at 9:50 am

A good bottle and/or can opener can come in handy, to be sure.

1017 Chuck July 26, 2009 at 10:16 am

Along with everything else thats been said, a bag should always have some kind of food in it in case of an emergency, i.e. a powerbar or trail mix. Something that will keep for a week or so and changed at the end of the week.
He should also keep a fork and spoon for the rare occasion.

1018 Michael July 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

Kindle , space pen, almonds, cell phone,note pad/planner, business cards, aspirin, sunglasses, lip balm, knife, flash light, junk, bottle opener for BEER

1019 Jason M July 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

Robert Frost
pics of my kids
extra cash
fingernail clippers
cell charger

1020 Matt July 26, 2009 at 10:39 am

The biggest thing you are missing in my opinion is a pen, and a notepad or a moleskin. Jotting down a note or writing directions or something is very simple and requires little space.

1021 Collin Lueck July 26, 2009 at 10:51 am

–Oilcloth Notebook (Moleskine, Piccadilly, what-have-you)
–Bible/Quran/Prayer Book
–Sheet Music (if you happen to play piano; never know when you’ll find one sitting in a secluded room)
–Cheap Pen
–Expensive Pen
–Phone + Charger
–Photo of family
–The book you’re currently reading
–Resume (of course)
–Wallet and Keys (optional)

1022 John Dockall July 26, 2009 at 10:56 am

As an archeologist my bag is a backpack. I carry:

Army tri fold shovel
200 paper bags
200 plastic bags
Geological rock hammer
leather gloves
chaining pins
100 meter roll up tape measure
digital camera/batteries
GPS device, hand held
Army flashlight
Suunto Compass
Metal clipboard
Field forms….shovel test forms, survey note forms
field meal of some type
rain gear

1023 Tim Busch July 26, 2009 at 11:08 am

As a kid, I received a man’s black leather “handbag” from Italy as a gift. It was from an eccentric aunt who travelled the world. As a 10-year old, I found very little use for something so feminine as this. Yet, it seemed so cosmopolitan…and practical for carrying a wallet and pencils and such. It was too small for my Sony tape player Walkman. Now, as an adult, I find these “man bags” to be invaluable for carrying things around. My current “murse” contains:
- wallet
- Ipod
-fingernail clippers
-cell phone
-Moleskin notebook
-a Zone bar
- the latest book I’m reading

how can man in today’s world live without one??

1024 Kurt July 26, 2009 at 11:21 am

As a student, a briefcase would be the perfect alternative to the back pack. It can still carry all of the stuff you need for the day, but it adds that certain touch of class. If I wasn’t a poor student, I would definitely invest in one of these beauties.

1025 Robert Black July 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

Briefcase Essential

1) Whatever work you took home last night
2) A spare tie.
3) Extra ink for your fountain pen
4) An extra fountain pen
5) What was listed in the OP
6) An umbrella if you can attach it
7) Portable toothbrush
8) Gum/Breath Mints for those food cravings between meals
9) An extra handkerchief

1026 Lady Warwick July 26, 2009 at 11:55 am

Those bags are just amazingly good looking.

In my bag I always carry:

pen and notepad
extra handkerchief
origins peace of mind gel (great for headache, cold, stress…)
wallet with no change
a purse with change
antibacterial gel (handy if you need to grab a snack on the go with no restroom in sight)
a list of things to do that day
a piece of poetry to learn

1027 Gilbert Marlowe July 26, 2009 at 11:59 am

My list:

Day planner / organizer (with multiple colored pens)
Stationary and stamps
Spare dress shirt and tie
Sewing kit with needle and folding scissors
Small first-aid kit
Portable umbrella
Spare folders
Lighter / matches
2 energy bars
Cellphone charger

I can go from work to survival in a very short time based on these.

1028 Kurt Garcia July 26, 2009 at 12:06 pm

1. Legal Pad
2. Altoids
3. Wipes
4. Extra Pens
5. Hand Sanitizer
6. Digital Voice Recorder for quick dictation
7. Magazine, usually, New Orleans Magazine, City Business or Wired
8. Toothbrush
9. Dental Floss
10. Moleskin Notebook
11. Extra Rosary

1029 Jesse July 26, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Many of the suggestions here are great, but an absolute must is floss. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a quick snack at work and ended up with something hopelessly wedged between my teeth in a very visible location. Floss is nice and compact, and is often the only thing that will do in such a situation.

1030 Abinadi July 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

A small Laguiole pocket-knife is a handy tool to have in your bag.

1031 Josh July 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm

my favorite pen
multitool – (leatherman wave)
city map
trail mix
whatever book I”m reading at the time

1032 Michael July 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Moleskine calendar
Good pen
good book

1033 Michael Boyte July 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Lots of good advice on new stuff to carry.

I have switched to a backpack since I prefer to walk rather than drive. For work I carry,
1. Laptop
2. Cordless Mouse
3. Notebook
4. Small Write in the Rain note pad (Useful in the Pacific Northwest)
5. a monocular. These are smaller than small binoculars and quite useful in many situations.
6. PDA
7. Cell phone
8. Miscellaneous doo dads realted to connecting to work.

1034 C. Shawn Oak July 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm

There have been a number of wonderful suggestions. Most items I would carry with me with the exception of a few that would only be included as circumstances warrant. Unfortunately, I don’t have a an exquisite man bag like the Saddleback man bag. I shift back and forth from a GAP Courier bag to a Black heavy denier bag to carry all of my files, web book, and a lot of the goodies listed. I used to use a square sales catalog case. It became too cumbersome and bulky to carry, so I retired it.

Mini-web book
Survival kit
Small Sewing Kit
Tide Pen-Instant Stain Remover-essential
Ipod & Earbuds
Fountain Pen
Moleskin Notebook
Glasses Repair Kit
Contact Lens Wetting Solutin
Contact Lens Case
Extra set of Disposable Contact Lens
Business Cards
Business Pamphlets
Suicide Prevention/Hotline Cards (I’m a behavioral health professional)
Flashdrive 2 Gb (blank)
Slim External CD/DVD Writer (Great for providing therapeutic materials)
Medications Kit
Gerber Multi-tool (I’ve had it for 20 years. A Father’s Day Gift from my dauther)
Manicure Kit
Quick Shoe Shine Sponge
Collapsible Umbrella (Never know when rain will make my walk to a classroom to teach a damper)
Cellphone charger AC and DC.
Extra styli for my Palm Cell
Extra Styli for my Palm TX
Small bottle of face moisturizer and sunscreen combo
Spare Pens (2 Black, 2 Blue, 1 Red)
Thin Page Highlighters (Blue and Yellow for professional articles)
Professional Journals
Blue Tooth Earpiece for Palm Cellphone
Blue Tooth Tongle (Connect to internet through my cell when no Wifi is accessible)
LED flashlight
Small stiff brush (Useful to clean fedora)
Flash Drive with necessary documents, including resume and CV.
Presentation Remote with Laser Pointer
$100.00 bill (I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve purchased some wonderful firearms from folks who were hard-up for cash and were willing to part with it for that nice new $100.00 bill).
Small hygiene kit (folding travel toothbrush, travel toothpaste, travel shampoo/conditioner, travel deodorant, and folding brush).
Extra ammunition and magazines (for concealed carry – of course, I never carry on campus).
Couple of bags of almonds and a snack-size microwave popcorn
Small pack of tissues
Clean handkerchief
$5.00 in change
Drug Test Kit (occasionally when visiting a client with SA issues)
Fresh T-Shirt
Dryer Sheet (makes for a great freshener for a dress shirt when one hasn’t time to change before an evening – 5 minutes in a laundry mat drier does wonders).
Mechanical Pencil (my preference at times when ink is too permanent and I’m feeling noncommittal)
Small first aid kit (band aids, butterfly stips, needle, bic lighter, small tube of Neosporin, 2, 4 x 4 clings, FA tape, 2 ammonia inhalant, 2 methiolate swabs, CPR mouth guard, Ace Bandage, 4 wooden popsicle sticks, small tube of superglue, and small bottle of hand sanitizer.
Carmax lip balm
Eyeglass Cleaner Packets.
Photo of wife, kids
Photo of Fur children (3 Goldens and 1 Pitadore)
Breath mints

1035 Chris July 26, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Lets be realistic, in this day and age, everyone needs to have a way to connect to the internet, and a phone never does it, so a laptop or a palm pilot or for some a kindle. other than that just whatever your job requires as well as what you normally keep on your person.

1036 jay July 26, 2009 at 1:11 pm

WOW! Now that bag takes “man-bag” to a whole new manly level!

Awesome – I want one!

1037 Matthew Glass July 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm

A proper man needs to keep a pen and pad for notes, some mints to freshen after a meal, some secret cash (just in case), a business or proper calling card, a spare pair of socks and skivvies (if there’s room and a place to keep them discretely) and all other devices / implements that a particular man needs for his purpose in life. However, it’s best to keep it to things that will get through security – you never know when the requirement to travel will arise.

Great looking case. Thanks for the offer!`

1038 Mark July 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm

A picture of your dog. Always a man’s best friend.

1039 Michael Sena July 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

There are a few essentials I would include in a briefcase.
First and foremost should be a man’s wallet. Preferably a saddleback one (the most durable I’ve ever had), with pictures of your loving family – children first, wife second, dog third. There should only be a few other things in your wallet – The one or two credit cards you have to your name (you don’t have any more right?), a debit or bank card for cash withdrawals, a nice wad of cash for emergencies and street transactions (pretzels and churros from vendors), and your business cards.

Second, your multi-tool/pocket-knife/blade. You never know when a combination pliers/half-serrated-blade/bottle-opener will come in handy.

Third, Snacks. I like almonds and walnuts and cranberries. Sometimes a yogurt with fruit and granola on hot days. Anything will do though: a powerbar, nature’s valley granola, slim jims, so on.

Fourth, reading materials. Newspapers are good, if you can find them. I like keeping two or three small books – something inspirational, like “The Present”, something intriguing, like “The Godfather”, and something thought-provoking, like the “Bhagavad Gita”. If you have those three categories, you can be stranded on a desert island for all I care and never be bored.
A fourth “for fun” book is also good sometimes, like crosswords or Sudoku.

Fifth, you’ll need those extras that cover all kinds of situations: water bottle, aspirin, pen and paper, some change (but not so much that you’re jingling everywhere), a handkerchief for when you sneeze, a pack of gum or altoids, a small umbrella for the rain, and if your bag is big enough, a change of clothes for random occurrences. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times an extra pair of pants or a button-down shirt has saved my life at important presentations I’ve had to talk at. Of course, you’ll need to know how to fold these things correctly.
Oh, and of course, a shaving kit for those days when you’re running late and need to get rid of that stubble.

I think if you have those five groups, you’ll be fine for any occasion.

- Mike

1040 Phil July 26, 2009 at 2:56 pm

So many good suggestions. I’ll reiterate the need for a sharpie, some dental floss and a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste or bottle of mouthwash, a Tide (or equal) stain removal pen and a cell phone charger.

1041 Daryle P July 26, 2009 at 3:13 pm

A man, to be true to his being, must have those supplies that further the cause of his masculinity. A man carries a knife, to this there is no question. If he so chooses, he may choose a combination tool, such as a Leatherman, or possibly a Swiss Army knife. His inability to cut a rope to initiate a rescue from quicksand, cutting open a snake bite, or other dilemma is unforgiveable. He must have the ability to make fire, so this end he might choose from either a Zippo or Ohio Blue Tip matches. To keep up his strength our man in the field should bring nourishment, in the form of jerky, either beef, elk or moose, and a good porter to fortify him, as well as quench his thirst.
A reliable compass, of the magnetic sort, some 100’ of a strong twine, and a sturdy oilcloth to protect against harsh elements, should assist in the more out-of-doors brand of activities. For the board room, a fountain pen of good craft, a journal of quality paper and an American eagle lapel pin will display your pride and good taste. For more leisurely endeavors inclusion of Boothby’s 1934 mixological text, “World Drinks and How to Mix Them”, or possibly “Cocktails by Jimmy Late of Ciro’s” from 1930 will make an evening among friends more festive.
In these ways, a man might furnish himself with those things vitally masculine and of no minor import.

1042 Em July 26, 2009 at 3:31 pm

A few items not in the original post:
Hat and Gloves (in cold weather)
Music (from a device of your choice, or an actual instrument)
Writing implement
Internet Access via portable device

1043 Jeff S July 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Here’s the essentials I carry in a briefcase or daily bag:

* Moleskine address book
* Permanent ink pen
* Small pocket calculator
* Portable umbrella
* Notepad
* Cell-phone charger
* Hidden $20 bill (for emergencies)

1044 Ken Shrum July 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm

money, in case of emergency),a card with medication and allergies. Good first aid kit, compass,handiwipes, and breath mints in case you meet a lady.

1045 JK Hawkins July 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm

You need to have a nice pen for you to write with but even more importantly you need a crappy pen to loan out to people.

1046 danno July 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Bag looks great. i would add a small pen light.

1047 Tim July 26, 2009 at 5:41 pm

I’ve found a lot of excellent ideas in this comment thread for things I should add to mine, so I definitely need to thank all of you for your posts.

Though the contents of mine will vary by circumstance, I nearly always have the following:

Smartphone (this lets me access the Internet and even do short, basic work with office documents)
Good quality pen and mechanical pencil
Small notebook (I usually go with a less expensive alternative to a Moleskine, though I do admire them)
Leatherman tool
Legal pad
2-3 blank file folders
Small first aid kit
Water bottle (usually a SIGG aluminum one)
2-3 Shout! wipes
Car and house keys
iPod and headphones
1-2 magazines or a leisure reading book
Glasses case or contact lens case (the opposite of whichever I am wearing that day)
Small lint brush
Breath mints
Snack (granola bar, fruit, etc.)

1048 Peyton Herrington July 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm

In a bag I’d carry:
Pad (preferably Moleskine)
Pen and Pencil
Book to read
Small Bible
Professional Journal (JAMA if your an MD, etc.)
Snacks (nuts as above would be great)

1049 Peyton Herrington July 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm

In a bag I’d carry:
Pad (preferably Moleskine)
Pen and Pencil
Book to read
Small Bible
Professional Journal (JAMA if your an MD, etc.)
Snacks (nuts as above would be great)

1050 James Wigelsworth July 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm

My bag generally includes the following:

My journal
A pencil and pen
My swiss army knife (which gets a lot more taboo everyday)
My Father’s bible (I suppose it’s mine now.)
Spare cellphone battery
The book(s) I am currently reading.
Spare change
My iPod
My water bottle

All together nothing extraordinary. I’m just an average guy it seems.

1051 Ali Dhukka July 26, 2009 at 6:17 pm

-multi-tool (swiss army knife)
-business cards
-extra tie and socks
-paper, pen, etc.
-camera (What? I’m a photographer by passion)
-camera equipment
-emergency equipment (flashlight, water, seatbelt cutter)

and since I’m in Texas, a handgun. rounds separate.

1052 Dave July 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

These are my essentials:
money: small bills in a binding clip
pens: 3 different colors (red, blue, black)
3×5 cards
cell phone case w/cell phone in it
Sharpie (black)
Flip video camera (on the spot reporting can happen at any time, any place)
digital still camera (the newspaper needs love too)
business cards (yours)
business card holder (for theirs)
flash drive (with essential documents (encrypted, of course))
small grooming kit
small bottle of baby aspirin (or baby Tylenol (if allergic to aspirin))
small amount of narrow duct tape wrapped around a pencil (can be used in any situation from fixing a ruptured hose to closing a small cut)

1053 John July 26, 2009 at 6:26 pm

My briefcase is my portable office, and I do a lot of my work in coffeeshops. My work involves a fair bit of reading, so there’s always a pile (or two) of books in my briefcase, as well as some paper, a couple of pens, a pencil, and a ruler. I also keep extra business cards in the briefcase.

But now, looking over all the lists here, I’m starting to realize that I might need a larger briefcase. Or fewer books.

1054 @ngel July 26, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Some things that I carry with me and some things that I should carry but I don’t always

Car / House Keys
Matches / Lighter
Business Cards
Pen / Pencil
Extra Cash
Water Bottle
pain killer pills
USB Flash Drive
Breath fresher

1055 Mehmood July 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm

In addition to the things mentioned in the article, I always keep a small digital camera in my bag. I also keep an extra pair of glasses and my ipod, of course.

1056 dial July 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm

how about a small towel and flashlight?

1057 Joshua Centanni July 26, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Gospel Tracts

1058 RWH,JD------------>>>>..... July 26, 2009 at 7:40 pm

I would add:
a calendar or docket book,
a usb flash drive,
an extra cell phone, &
a kinko, or other copy shop card.

1059 RWH,JD------------>>>>..... July 26, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Oh, almost forgot.
A Kindle Reader.

1060 Michael D Virgin July 26, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I have been known to carry up to 3 briefcases at once. One for the laptop, one for all my lodge paperwork, and one jusr for my stuff.

1061 Alex July 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm

The only thing really missing from the list is water.
There’s nothing impressive at all about dehydration.

1062 Mark Bigham July 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Great stuff above, especially Mr. Oak.

A good, sharp folding knife from a good manufacturer.

An small LED flashlight.

A multi-tool.

1063 Shem July 26, 2009 at 9:42 pm

It would be a good idea to carry around a pack of gum, or a pocket toothbrush. Fresh breath is key!

1064 Jesus Rivera July 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm

thanks for the chance to win.

1065 Dennis Cruz July 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm

If traveling by air, the only items I disagree with in the lists above are the Leatherman tools and knives. You can tell ‘em goodbye when passing through TSA security. If not going to airport, a pocket knife at very least.

That said:

a book

extra reading glasses

notepad and pen

deck of cards

breath mints



a extra change of shorts

Ready to go! Love that Saddleback!

1066 pk July 26, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Briefcases today aren’t your grandfather’s briefcase – or for that matter – your father’s briefcase. Men now have the opportunity to not only carry all their essentials wherever they go but they also have the opportunity to do it in style.

The essentials:
- room for the laptop. gotta have computing power on the go.
- 100 pockets that seem like 10. room for everything without taking up too much space

1067 Al July 26, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Not much to say that hasn’t already been harped on about. I think body spray/deodorant and gum/mints is the most important think to have at all times. Nothing can ruin a first impression (or any sort of impression for that matter) than body odor or stinky breath.

1068 Brian July 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm

As many have said: travel toothbrush and toothpaste.

1069 Stefn777 July 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Great looking bag, it’s about time I get something a bit more mature than a beat up backpack.
Here’s wnat I would put in my bag:
Bible,Gospel tracts, varied styles and ink colors of pens, pencils; legal pad, leather-covered journal,calling cards,at least two spare hankerchiefs, Swiss Army knife, small package of Wet Ones, Spanish phrase book, dictionary; mints or breath strips, cellphone (goes into the bag whenever I cannot be bothered), small packages of snacks: nuts, jerky, dried fruit, ganola bars; sturdy bottle for water, small first-aid kit, hand cranked LED flashlight, ShamWow in a resealable bag (takes care of the towel “requirement”)

Whenever I travel, the Swiss Army knife goes into checked baggage and in goes:
3-1-1 bag: (eyedrops, saline nose spray, toothpaste, tiny sample vial of cologne), toothbrush, stick deodorant, tiny bar of soap, small container of GoldBond powder, change of socks, boxerbriefs, t-shirt; passport, e-ticket, hotel reservation info, guide and phrase book to the place I’m going; small Rubiks’ cube, small book of Sudoku puzzles (can share these last two with anyone, especially those who can’t speak English)

Anything else I might need for the day!

1070 peter July 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm

i suggest aspirin

there are few things that it cannot cure.

1071 labrat_333 July 26, 2009 at 11:24 pm

A few things I always like to carry with me are

roll quarters
reloadable money card with $50 (less likely to spend it than cash)
list of emergency numbers includeing local cabs
spare key

1072 John July 26, 2009 at 11:44 pm

knife, calculator, book, quality pen, graph paper

1073 Matt July 26, 2009 at 11:51 pm

i’m a student so my briefcase is lacking the business essentials
keep my knife, wallet, and kerchief in my pockets

everything else i keep in my briefcase:
i keep my phone in my briefcase because they have to cause cancer and i want it as far away from my boys as possible
small moleskin pda
large moleskin notebooks for sketches and/or class notes
legal pad for scrap notes or to-do lists
my laptop
a book for pleasure reading
ipod and headphones
extra undershirt
pack of gum
pens, pencils
reusable water bottle

1074 Jason Bussey July 26, 2009 at 11:53 pm

in a bag this rugged & classic, I might carry my soul~
Seems adequate protection for the life I lead~

1075 Alex July 27, 2009 at 12:29 am

I usually think of my travel bad as my bail out bag. I should be able to throw a change of clothes in it and depart for a weekend trip instantly. Usually I have:

Cell Phone
Small notepad and pen
Grooming kit w/ shaving kit, soap, deoderant, tissues, toothpaste, etc
REI “daypack” first aid kit
Small Gerber led flashlight
Two spare garbage bags
A film canister full of Alieve
Two 32 oz nalegenes usually only half full to balance the weight
Several climbing grade carabiners clipped to the outside
50 ft of 550 paracord
Small pocketknife
Wallet and checkbook

I keep everything in a North Face Recon daypack. Best backpack I have owned my entire life (so far).

1076 Jim July 27, 2009 at 12:49 am

A briefcase is a survival kit, a moving office from home to work. Many thinks I used to care I can’t due to TSA – no pocket knives. Carrying a book to read and some spare papers, a pad of paper (lined or quad), a flair, my fountain pen, highlighter and post-its. While I have a computer backpack – a good briefcase says – take me seriously, I’m not a kid.

1077 Kyle Smith July 27, 2009 at 1:46 am

I think it has already been mentioned but I always include a travel-sized deodorant for when your Right Guard takes a left turn somewhere.

Additionally, as a guy with a beard I carry a small brush ( actually a nail brush) to brush it out and keep it neat.

1078 Craig July 27, 2009 at 2:36 am

What I need:
- cash/change
- pen
- business cards
- computer
- flashlight
- ear plugs
- ear buds for
- phone
- ultralight umbrella
- matches
- breath mints

1079 Patxi July 27, 2009 at 3:35 am

Very interesting to read through other people’s list. Here are my basics:

* Kindle book reader – Everything I will need to read
* Small notebook (A5 size) and 4-color pen, bic preferred
* Pack of 10 cleenex – A gentleman not only looks nice, but can offer help. Plus I have a kid, so these always come in handy.
* Swiss knife, except when flying, always useful.
* Mino HD camera (small, but powerful to capture memories, my son’s musings)
* Water bottle
* The fundamental trio: Wallet, mobile, keys

1080 Harper July 27, 2009 at 5:12 am

- Leather bound legal pad
- High quality pen and pencil set
- Calling cards
- Day planner
- Daily newspaper
- Gum or mints
- Paperclips, small stapler (if possible)
- Extra pair of reading glasses
- Calculator
- White-out (for any corrections that need be made)
- Leisure reading material (magazine, crossword puzzle, etc.)
- Handkerchief

1081 Carlos July 27, 2009 at 6:11 am

Well…there comes a time when a man must leave childish things behind him and embrace and adapt to the adult world called MANHOOD. Here are a few things that I
believe a real man should have readily available to him at all times…..even if one or two of these things are a bit childish, they have sentimental value.

*A good book
*LED Flash light
*Picture of my mother/siblings
*Decorated (Beaded) Cowrie shell
*Emergency Shaving kit
*lip balm
*pencils from 9H all the way to 9B
*White chalk/ pastel
*Sketch pad
*Gerber tool
*Erasers gum/kneaded
*Condoms….I don’t sleep around but I like to be prepared
*kenwood headphones HS 5
*Mouth Piece….I’m a boxer : P
*Tiger Balm
*Athletic Tape
*Clean handkerchief
*daily planner
*Emergency Money….about $100.00 or so.
*Passport (never know when you gotta go somewhere)

1082 Clint July 27, 2009 at 6:37 am

MP3 player
Spare cash
reading glasses
sun glasses
thumb drive
spanish-english dictionary
cigar case
cigar cutter
calling cards
usb cable

1083 Keith July 27, 2009 at 8:02 am

In addition to the items in the article:
- Spare Handkerchief
- Netbook (small and useful)

1084 Kevin Yanowski July 27, 2009 at 9:56 am

In addition to all the things mentioned in this list, I would also carry…

-A small eye-glasses repair kit (If you wear glasses)
-Contact lens re-wetting drops (If you wear contacts)
-A small sewing kit (Always handy in a button related fiasco)
-A spare pocket handkerchief (Clean, for the ladies)
-Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
-Hand Lotion

A great list has already been compiled and I felt hard pressed to add on to it, but these are the few extra items I would make room for in my brief case.

1085 David R. July 27, 2009 at 10:05 am

A man could do worse than to have a nip or two tucked away in his briefcase. And a spare Benjamin or two.

1086 Brian July 27, 2009 at 10:07 am

*Pen and paper
*reading material
*extra handkerchief
*a snack
*floss and toothbrush (toothpaste optional)
*business cards
*stain removal pen
*pocket knife (if not in pocket)

1087 Ryan July 27, 2009 at 10:09 am

Solar charger for cell phone/ipod, and a small travel bag (size of a pencil bag) with a travel tube of proraso cream, travel brush, and merkur travel safety razor.

1088 Dan July 27, 2009 at 10:34 am

Safety pins, phone charger, pens, train schedule (for commuters), chewing gum, toothbrush, fifty dollars in cash, a roll of quarters, a good book, wooden matches, small umbrella, extra undershirt, deodorant. At least, that’s what I have in mine. This saddleback bag is AWESOME!

1089 Chance July 27, 2009 at 10:43 am

As an engineering student in college, I make sure I always carry plenty of engineering paper, a graphing calculator, pencils, erasors, etc. Also, one item that has saved me on many occasions is a mini stapler. I can’t even count how many times I’ve needed to staple papers together at the last minute.

1090 George Fraser July 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

Very nice bag!


1091 EdG July 27, 2009 at 10:52 am

Great looking bag.

Assorted cables
USB drive
Business cards
Handheld GPS receiver

1092 billy July 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

Rain gear!

1093 MikeG July 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

Without a doubt, a good notebook and pen set are truly essential

1094 MikeG July 27, 2009 at 11:11 am

I’ve also been taken with Scot-E-Vest rain poncho. Makes a nice rain coat/windbreaker and packs up very small.

1095 Daniel M July 27, 2009 at 11:18 am

small stack of business cards
gum or breath mints
deoderant (you never know)
small first aid kit
pocket knife
windproof lighter

1096 MPR July 27, 2009 at 11:46 am

Pen (preferably a solid fountain pen)
Mechanical pencil (mistakes are inevitable)
Small college ruled notebook
A current non-fiction book
Portable umbrella
Contact information (business cards, etc.)
Portable recording device
Men’s compact grooming kit (moisturizers, lip balm, brush, mirror, etc.)
Copy of The Week or Mental Floss magazine
Sun glasses

1097 John July 27, 2009 at 11:52 am

Using the bag as an office away from the desk: pencil.pen,USB , medications and of course current pictures of wife & kids, or grandchildren.

1098 Neil July 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Everything I need to get through the day:

- keys
- wallet
- moleskine notebook
- two or three fine pens
- a book (currently reading “Total Leadership” by Stewart Friedman on advise from the Personal MBA reading list)
- my lunch and snacks for the day (a much healthier, cheaper, and less wasteful way to get your meals)
- Leatherman multi-tool (my version of the pocket knife – in this case it’s a briefcase knife)
- breath mints

And if I’ve got any stops besides work on the agenda, then I’ll carry around whatever else I need. The most important thing is that my pocket are relatively empty. All I carry are my blackberry and my bus pass. The rest goes in the bag!

1099 kevin d winter July 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Everyone has their own essentials list but here’s a few of mine…

Breath mints- because I like onions and garlic.
Aspirin- seems to fix everything- swelling, fever, headache, heart attack. Buy Bayer or they crumble to dust.
Small Knife- not for killing a charging rhino but cheese, string, letters and whatnot. About 3-4 inches, foldable. I love my elegant, simple, cheap Opinel. Carbon steel so you can sharpen it on a rock.
Granola bar- often saves the day. Kashi Trail Mix or Almond Mocha recommended. Also throw in a bag of mixed nuts, cashews, peanuts.
Notebook and Pens/Pencils- sure, my pda has a calendar and i can im them from my iphone. it just feels good to scratch out a to-do list. And passing notes is still sexy. Golf pencils never leak and ruin your stuff.
Lighter- man needs fire. birthday candles, rock concerts, evidence. bic’s always work, but matches are cooler.
Stamps- 3 or 4, first-class forever stamps so they always work.
Cash- keep a little something hidden. tape it to the inside bottom of your bag. flea markets, burger joints, honky-tonks. some places cash is king.

And it all fits neatly into a small inside pocket so it’s always there, just in case. And you have plenty of room for whatever else you have to carry for the day.

1100 Garrett July 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Essential, let’s see -

I agree with the book and the notebook. However, a newspaper can easily be had on other pocket devices these days, like the iPhone, or even a Kindle.

As a graduate student, I always keep around a foldable book holder. It simply holds books up right and open to a certain page. Completely invaluable when working between a text and a computer. I also always keep pocket tissue paper. The week I began carrying it around I found daily occasion for it for myself, and at least one other sniffly, helpless person.

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