Click thumbnails to view images

I change my bag depending on whether it's likely I'll be riding a bike, snowmobile, etc. I also sometimes carry an iPad. The amount and type of dive gear and camera(s) changes with where I'm traveling to as well. (Click here for full-size photo.)

However, this is a pretty good sample of what is typically in my bag these days.

Joichi Ito is the Chairman and CEO of Creative Commons. He is a co-founder and board member of Digital Garage JSD:4819.

Click the thumbnails above to see images and captions.

The Chrome messenger bag is an old favorite. It work fairly well in the airport and is super on bicycles, snowmobiles and other fast moving vehicles. Downside is that the buckle is a bit bulky and cheeky people can hit it and the bag falls from you back.

I use my Galileo Sol as my main dive computer and the ScubaPro XtenderV3 as my backup. The Xtender is only available in Japan and is small enough to be used as my primary watch.

I carry rope and a knot guide and practice knots during landing and takeoff sometimes.

The oxygen analyzer is necessary to test Nitrox diving cylinders.

The first aid kit is obvious.

The "barrier" is a plastic thing you put over someone's face to protect you from cooties when giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during CPR.

I carry various dive certification cards and insurance cards with a few dive log pages and leave the rest of my logbook at home.

When I am on the plane, I load up my wallet with the credit cards, metro cards, ID cards, membership cards, currency and other local things I will need in the place that I will land and stash the other cards and currency in a big wallet thingie.

I keep various crypto keys on a keyring together.

I used to have at least one hard disk failure on my MacBook Pro each year until I switched to SSDs. I removed the DVD and put in another SSD which is RAID mirrored because I'm not paranoid. I carry a full backup on an external hard disk and put all of my images on a separate external hard disk.

I have a Blackberry Bold with an etisalat SIM with a global data and email roaming plan. The iPhone 4 is unlocked and I swap SIMs on the plane based on where I'm going. The Nexus One also gets a local SIM. The Nokia 1200 is for when I need 390 hours of standby battery time and up to 7 hours talk time. I have USB data modems from Etisalat in the UAE, Verison in the US and emobile in Japan.

I carry a Leica M9 with a 35mm Sumliux. I used to carry the 50mm f/1 Noctilux, but I decided it was too heavy and airports tended to scrutinize it more than my 35mm.

I use the Flip MinoHD for video although sometimes I use a GoPro HD HERO.

I carry a universal power supply adapter that I restock at Narita airport since I often give them away.

I found that the hand sanitizer in the United Airlines amenity kit to be exactly the right size so that airport security don't notice it in your pocket.

I carry a Livescribe pen and notebook that allows me to upload the notes to my computer which does handwriting recognition and search against my notes as well as link sound recordings to the notes.

I still sometimes use my HP12C because I like the way it feels.

I carry backup batteries for my Leica and my Blackberry.

I have various earbuds and headphones and switch between them depending on how long my flight is and how much space I have in my bag.

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40 Responses to “Joi Ito: What's in my bag”

  1. nixiebunny says:

    I think you need a couple more phones.

  2. SonOfSamSeaborn says:


  3. muteboy says:

    This is cool and very interesting, but some explanation of your lifestyle and why you need a lot of this would be good. You’re clearly a “road warrior”.

    • tarabrown says:

      Wow @muteboy, you FAIL. Joi Ito *IS* the Internet. I would call you totally clueless, but that would be rude of me.

      Here’s a little free help:

      • Halloween Jack says:

        Uh, no. He’s a venture capitalist who’s on the board of a lot of organizations, but he’s not the internet. And his recent move to, and defense of, Dubai suggest that he’s not infallible. But maybe you could explain why someone needs four phones as basic equipment.

      • SamSam says:

        Um, are you 13? There’s no need for such a ridiculous comment. I’m sure he’s a Very Important Guy, but he’s well-known only to those whose work or interests relate to the kinds of things he does. Frankly, the Wikipedia article you linked to doesn’t even say much, except that he’s on the boards of a couple well-known companies and a few lesser known companies (tucows still exists?), and he’s invested in a bunch of other companies.

  4. bpratt says:

    Man, I miss my HP12C (stolen years ago, boohoo). I have an iPhone app that emulates it but I do miss the feel of the buttons.

  5. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Hmm. I have a towel, a bottle of water, a tube of vaseline, a Do Not Disturb sign, a Sharpie, a couple of suction cups and three CDs of trance music.

  6. jeffy says:

    Dude, gorgeous table.

    What’s going on in the pelican case up there?

  7. Anonymous says:

    You have great taste in cameras! I always carry a Leica M8 with a Voigtlander 28mm Ultron f/1.9. One day, I’ll get a Summilux. However, you don’t seem to have an underwater camera.

  8. wigg1es says:

    I see a Blizzard authenticator. For the Horde!

  9. egoVirus says:

    Walking around with a Leica and an iPad? I should totally mug you >:)

  10. Chris Tucker says:

    A calculator? Why would anyone spend money for a calculator when there are FOSS options?

    Like, download and print out a slide rule on paper, cut out the parts and glue them to some cardboard!

    There you go, a free Open Sores slide rule.

    (REF: Diverse wankers, Macintosh iHaters, and linux hippies on Mark’s essential Mac apps comments who know far better than Mark what he NEEDS on his iMac.)

  11. Julian says:

    The following is written as though Joi will read it :-/ (Who knows, he may!)

    That’s a really nice collection of gear! Since you travel a lot, a knife is probably out of the question, but a nice small LED flashlight is certainly worth considering. Also, although many have knives, there are multi-tools such as the Gerber Shard (a one-piece airline safe prybar, bottle opener, screw driver, etc) or various Leatherman tools built without knives, or the Gerber Artifact, which is very similar to the Shard, but with a foldable holder for an Exacto-style razor which can be removed and purchased at your destination.
    In case you’re interested and haven’t yet come across it, (no affiliation) is a nice place to find out about useful things and see what some other people carry.

  12. Mark Crummett says:

    Jeez, my back hurts just looking at the bag.

  13. Stefan Jones says:

    Last year there was a “what is in your bag?” thread on Warren Ellis’s Whitechapel blog.

    I decided to take a look in my messenger bag. I photographed it:

    And then took an inventory:

    Community College course catalog
    Portable Umbrella, in case.
    Two empty ziploc bags.
    Ziplock bag with disposable razor, lip balm, pain killers and allergy meds, wet-naps, breath mints.
    Black nylon . . . I’m not sure. I’ts like a little wallet, with a belt clip. Maybe it is for business cards. I don’t have business cards. I’m getting rid of it.
    Not shown above: Aiptek camera and case.
    Postcard from my mother, postmarked 2003.
    Disposable wrist strap for working on electronics.
    Sample of Colgate toothpaste, opened.
    Eyeglass repair kit from an insurance company.
    Foil packet with Glide dental floss sample.
    Aquafresh toothpaste sample.
    Reciept from Stark Vacuums from two years ago.
    Portfolio with looseleaf pads with random doodles and notes, dried up label stock, rental car map of Colorado.
    Scientific calculator.
    Dental floss sample.
    Scrap of note paper with notes on a automated haunted house I was going to build.
    Luggage tag.
    Post-It with new work phone number.
    Year-old coupon from Micheal’s hobby and craft shop.
    Multi-head screwdriver.
    Handle from broken photo tripod.
    “Declaration for Dangerous Goods” for model rocket order, dated 12-08-2008
    Safeway grocery receipt, too faded to read date
    Notice of change in blackout period for retirement plan for my last employer.
    Cable tie.
    Yellow note pad. It has the titles of a dozen graphic novels written on it, including Reload by Warren Ellis.
    Empty “Memo Book” that looks positively antique. Cover price fifteen cents.
    Note paper with the address of my widowed uncle; I never sent the card. He’s since moved and remarried.
    Another expired Micheal’s craft coupon.
    Ziploc bag with screws and “mollies.”
    Plastic dispenser for Post-It bookmark stickers.
    Coffee stirrer, wooden. Two of them.
    Loose wet-nap.
    Ethernet loopback plug.
    Adaptor to use stereo mini-plug earphones with two-plug airplane seat jacks.
    Pens, pencils of no distinction.
    Pocket dictionary.
    Two packets of tissues
    Small stapler
    Two notepads from charities.
    A piece of what appears to be jerky. Very, very old jerky.
    Rubber bands.
    Aluminum fork and spoon.
    Eyeglass cleaning cloth.
    Small tape measure.
    Adaptor to allow two-prong airplane headsets with stereo mini-plug equipment. Really.
    Plastic business card holder from the 1989 American International Toy Fair.
    Old drinking straw.
    Bits of a plastic knife.
    Yellow plastic ruler.
    Tiny spiral-bound book, “Mini-Manual for WordStar,” copyright 1985.
    Scrap of coarse sand paper.
    Loose screw with “star” head.
    Several twist-ties.
    Loose zipper closure ring for bag.

  14. nixiebunny says:

    Come to think of it, I don’t carry anywhere near that much stuff. A few pocket tools (very useful ones), keyring, Nixie watch, computer-prescription glasses and a flash USB card in my wallet.

    But I’m rarely more than 10 minutes from my landline.

  15. Quothz says:

    I can’t really understand why one would pack four cell phones, SIMs for various countries, and extra batteries, but not one pair of clean underwear. Don’t sit next to me on the plane, okay?

    • toyg says:

      You don’t need clean underwear when you can buy it on the spot and just chuck it later. The man is loaded, these are trivialities.

  16. TimDrew says:

    Obviously an pro-level diver, and good on you for being a DAN member as well! One question, though: do you trust your regs to baggage?

  17. DieFem says:

    Nice Leica!!!!.

  18. plainsaman says:

    Yikes, this would rate a huge FAIL with one-baggers.

  19. penguinchris says:

    Put me in with the “who is this obviously loaded guy and why do I care about all the fancy stuff he can afford, and all of the travel he’s able to do” camp. Sure, I like to look through other people’s stuff – there’s a whole Flickr group dedicated to this that I browse sometimes. And yes, it’s more interesting to look through a bag like this rather than a random woman’s purse.

    But why is this on boingboing exactly? I just wish there was some additional information/explanation given at the beginning. Will this be a series, showing the bags of various internet personalities (hopefully ones more people care about, unlike this guy – Creative Commons aside, few people are going to link this guy to CC)? I just don’t know what to make of this.

    • Mark Frauenfelder says:

      I am testing the waters to see if this should be a series on Boing Boing, Chris. I’m asking people I like, respect, and find interesting to tell me about their travel gear. Nothing more, really. I hope you enjoy it. If you think there should be additional information about the bags’ owners, please let me know and I will try to include it in subsequent “What’s in my bag” posts.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        “What’s in my bag?” could be a whole blog. In fact, I’m surprised that the domain hasn’t been claimed. I would definitely include a picture of the bag owner with the contents.

      • muteboy says:

        More information about the person would be vital. Yes, there were links to the career, but nothing to immediately tell me, “This is why this guy carries this”.
        As others have said, there is a huge Flickr pool of stuff like this, and I’m sure Lifehacker (amongst others) have had ongoing features. It’s like the workspace images you get as well – Desks of the Interesting And/Or Famous.
        One problem with this is that if the person is allowed to carefully curate what is in their bag before the photos are taken, you may not necessarily get a true picture of what the person actually carries around – you might get elements of wishful thinking or showing off. I want to see chewed gum wrapped in receipts, loose Bic lids and fluff.
        It’s like the old DAP Wars game – two or more people hit ‘Shuffle All’ on their iPods, and compare the songs that pop up. It’s more revealing than someone telling you their favourite tracks.

  20. seadigs says:

    He carries a Leica but these are the best pics he can take of his kit?

  21. a_user says:

    so is this like therapy where I’m supposed to empty out my bag/pockets and post a pic of it?

  22. Anonymous says:

    EDC is cool. Thanks Julian.

    I have a checked back of diving gear and have my flashlight in there, but you’re right. I think I should probably carry it on.

    I used to not check bags, but since I started diving, I’ve ended up having to.

    For those who ask about why so many phones or why a calculator… I guess the answer is, “if you have to ask…” ;-)

  23. Anonymous says:

    What are “Crypto Keys?” What do they do? Where can I get one?

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