Artifacts: Patrick Rhone

Artifacts is a series that explores the items carried by some of my favorite creative people. It's not just about the what but also the why.

Patrick Rhone has kindly taken some time to tell me about all the items he keeps in his pocket and bag. I really dig the fact that most of them writing supplies. If you'd like to learn more about the man behind the artifacts, check out this interview I conducted with him a while back.

Enter Patrick:

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Here is what I carry most days. Most days I only leave with what is in my pockets. It is enough. That said, I bring the bag on the days I need to (like for a client appointment or such).


Patrick Rhone - Pocket

  1. Hellbrand Leatherworks Field Notes Cover — This is my main "on the go" notebook. I also keep a nice stash of 3x5 cards in here too. Also, some postage stamps and a couple of small envelopes.

  2. Uni-ball 207 Retractable Micro Point Gel Pen — My fave "don't mind if I lose it" pen. Never leave the house without paper and a pen.

  3. Jim Whittle Slim Wallet — Love this thing. Can hold ten cards and a few bills folded in thirds.

  4. iPhone 5 — This is my principle writing device. About 95% of my blog posts these days are written on this using the onscreen keyboard. I have fast thumbs.


Patrick Rhone - Bag

  1. GORUCK GR Echo Rucksack — Just enough to hold what I need and a bit more when needed. I even have packed a change of clothes along with the gear in here for an overnight trip. Can carry my MacBook Air 11" in the laptop pocket but I rarely bring along it unless really needed. Rock solid. Built to last. GORUCK Tough like me.

  2. A bunch of pens (various colors and sizes) — Can never have too many pens either.

  3. Victorinox Swiss Army CyberTool 34 — Extremely handy for a technical consultant like myself.

  4. MAGLITE Flashlight, Blue — Flashlights are handy to have around too.

  5. Hobonichi Planner 2014 — My journal. I love it. I really, really, adore it. Use it for a daily log and journal. It is in a cover from another notebook given to me years ago by a friend.

  6. Earnest Eats Energy Bars — I'm hypoglycemic so I always try to keep an energy bar or two around in case I get snacky.

  7. RHA MA750i Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones with Mic and Remote) — Fantastic earphones that I've been meaning to review. I'm no audiophile but these make everything sound better and do a great job of blocking out the rest of the world.

  8. Pelle Journal — No longer made or available. Maker seems to have just disapeared from the face of the planet. I love mine but have no idea what I'm going to do when the current refill inside is used up.

  9. Midori Traveler's Notebook Journal — Passport Size — Similar idea as the Pelle but in a much smaller size. Don't use this one as much but you can never have too many notebooks (at least that's what I tell myself).

  10. WaterField Designs Case — I use this for cables and small accessories. They don't make this specific case anymore but I have linked to something similar. Been using their stuff for years. Had this for about 10. Looks brand new.

  11. iPad mini — First generation. Black with grey Smart Cover.

Artifacts: Jamelle Bouie

Artifacts is a series that explores the items carried by some of my favorite creative people. It's not just about the what but also the why.

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer for The Daily Beast, where he writes primarily about politics and race (with a little pop culture thrown in for good measure). Some of his work has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The Magazine.

He's also a phenomenal photographer and has an excellent sense of style, which is why I wanted to invite him to talk about his artifacts.

Enter Jamelle:

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Artifacts - Jamelle Bouie

  1. Timbuk2 Messenger (Medium): My everyday bag. I also use a camera insert, both for—you know— a camera, and to carry other stuff. On weekends, when I don't have lunches or electronics to carry, I have a smaller shoulder bag.

  2. Pentax K-5 II DSLR Camera I almost always carry this. I don't always use it—especially on days when I'm commuting by bike—but it's nice to have when I see something that catches my eye, like racist protests or creepy birds. This particular camera was a Christmas gift, and replaces my much-loved Pentax K-x. I also carry three lenses, all part of Pentax's "Limited" series of primes: A 15mm, a 40mm, and a 70mm.

  3. Olloclip iPhone Lens: Or at least, the fish-eye and macro lenses. I lost the wide-angle lens while having a picnic with my partner last year. I only use the macro anyway, so it's not a big deal.

  4. USB SD card reader: Because the MacBook Air doesn't have a separate slot for it, and I don't feel like bringing a USB cable along with me, everywhere.

  5. Small bottle of lotion: Because I have dry skin. You know how it is—life is hard out here on those streets.

  6. Field Notes and Pilot G-2 .38mm pens: For note-taking and such.

  7. Sol Republic Tracks Headphones: These aren't the greatest in the world, but for my purposes—listening to bass-heavy music and podcasts—they're more than adequate.

  8. iPad mini with Retina Display

  9. iPhone 5s

  10. 2012 11-inch MacBook Air

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You can follow Jamelle in lots of places at the handle 'jbouie': Twitter,, Flickr, and Instagram.

Artifacts: Ben Brooks

Artifacts is a series that explores the items carried by some of my favorite creative people. It's not just about the what but also the why.

Ben Brooks is a commercial property manager and writer living in Lakewood, WA. You probably know him best from his site, The Brooks Review, where he's not afraid to share his opinions on technology, politics, and a host of other things. He's also someone who appreciates nice things, which made him the perfect first guest for my Artifacts series.

Here are Ben's artifacts, as told by himself:

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Artifacts - Ben Brooks

  1. Retina MacBook Pro 15": This is the first retina Mac – with the low end processor – but maxed out RAM. I bought it to last me for at least three years, I think it will make it just fine. Love this machine.

  2. Travel Kleenex: There's only like a two-month span of the year where my nose isn't runny. These little packs of tissues are crucial. I only buy Kleenex brand because every other brand I've tried isn't up to the task.

  3. Chris Reeves Small Sebenza 21: I spent over a year looking for the perfect pocket knife and found it in the small Sebenza. Fantastic knife, but fantastically expensive. I don't leave home without it (unless I am boarding a plane).

  4. Fenix E11 Flashlight: About 100 lumens from this tiny little light and powered by an easily attainable battery. It's simple, waterproof, and great to keep in your kit.

  5. Apple EarPods: I rarely listen to music while out and about, but I often watch videos from Devour and I can't stand having them play aloud.

  6. Apple Screen Cleaning Cloth: I think I got this with a Cinema Display, or maybe an iPad. I love this, best cleaning cloth I have found. I can't believe there are people in this world that go somewhere without a cleaning cloth.

  7. Hard Graft Box Card Case: I just got this from my wife for my birthday present and I love it. It looks great and holds my business cards securely. Most importantly it holds a lot of cards — I was tired of being the “sorry I just gave out my last card” guy.

  8. Patriot 32gb USB 3.0 Flash Drive: My hard drive is only 256gb so when I need to offload some stuff quickly, this is where I turn. It's fast, and large. I keep wishing for a Thunderbolt flash drive, but I probably couldn't afford it.

  9. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12mm f/2: I used to be a guy that carried around a dSLR with him everywhere. Then the iPhone camera got pretty good and the cost of carrying the huge dSLR around started to make less sense. And then I bought the Panasonic GX1 and fell in love with the micro-4/3 format. I just got the E-M5 a little while ago (and the 12mm even littler ago) but I love this camera. There’s something about shooting with the E-M5 that just evokes a response in me that I’ve only ever felt when shooting with my 5D. Something about the camera just speaks to me and says: this image is going to be great. (I wish they all were great…)

  10. Bamboo Stylus: I'm not a big stylus guy, but I loved the Cosmonaut — unfortunately it really is too cumbersome for me. This is a good little stylus that I mostly have for drawing diagrams when in meetings or for others to sign stuff on my iPad. I don't like carrying it, but I need it too frequently to not carry it.

  11. Montblanc Rollerball: I've had this pen since 9th grade. It's been with me through a lot of things in my life and signed almost every important document in my life. I love it, and even though I rarely use it, I wouldn't feel right not having it around. It writes like a dream.

  12. Blistex: Because we all hate chapped lips, or worse, cracked lips.

  13. Glif Tripod Mount: I've always carried one, but I just got the newest model. I can't say I like it better as it is much larger, but I'll stick with it a while longer. (Eventually I won't have a choice I suppose.) I keep a GorillaPod in my car to use with it.

  14. Monoprice battery pack: There's a reason it looks worn — I take it everywhere. It doesn't work wonders on your iPad, but for an iPhone it kicks ass. It's pretty light and fits in my back pocket if needed. The Lightning cable I carry is long enough to reach from my back pocket to the front so I keep the battery pack in my back pocket while I charge my iPhone in the front pocket. It looks ridiculous, I am sure, but works like a charm.

  15. Cables: I have this handy little Incase kit and I keep a longer Lightning cable with it. I find the cables in it too short for iPhone charging if you want even an outside chance of using the phone while you charge it.

  16. iPhone 5s: Constant companion that I almost forgot to include because it never leaves my pocket or my hand. (Unless I am sleeping that is, or showering I suppose.)

  17. iPad Air: This is the best iPad to-date and one of my favorite things I carry with me. I'll use just about any excuse to use the iPad over other things. Reading. Writing. Photo editing. You name it.

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You can find Ben as @benbrooks on

Introducing: the Unretrofied "Artifacts" Series

Unretrofied Artifacts Series

Image credit: Galymzhan Abdugalimov

A few months ago, National Geographic's photography blog Proof began publishing a series of posts entitled Artifacts. As they describe it:

“Artifacts is a series about physical items that have meaning to photographers in the field.”

I've come across a lot of "everyday carry" blogs over the years, but most aren't as engaging to me as this series. It's not like these photographers are doing anything fancy – in fact the posts are short and sweet – it's just that they happen to carry some very unique and personal items during their travels, and there are often interesting backstories behind them.

The only quibble I have with the series is that its focus (no pun intended) is a bit narrow. There are plenty of other people than National Geographic's photographers who own interesting things, and I want to give them a chance to shine.

With that said, I'm happy to introduce my own Artifacts series, which will take the same idea and broaden the scope of people involved. I've already invited a few of my friends and favorite creative people to share their collections with me, and I'm excited to share them with you too.

I really wanted to find a different name for my series so as not to step on National Geographic's toes, but I just couldn't find another word I liked as much. "Artifact" just feels so right, and it evokes some awesome Indiana Jones imagery in my head. (It may or may not also remind me of the old days when I played Magic: the Gathering...)

I'm hoping they don't mind too much, since a) I'm a comparative nobody, and b) I think these kinds of posts are supposed to be all in good fun, rather than something to be taken super seriously. That being said, I can always change it if they decide to make a fuss.

Anyway, I plan to start publishing some of these very soon, so stay tuned.