Modern Doctors Bag: My Everyday Carry

Paul Sufka

Bag contents oct 2014

“There was a time when nails were high-tech. There was a time when people had to be told how to use a telephone. Technology is just a tool. People use tools to improve their lives.” — Tom Clancy

“One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivity are also the tools of our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we’re idling in front of our computer screens.” — Joshua Foer

On episode 32 of The Rheumatology Podcast, we discussed what bags we use for work, and I had promised to disclose the contents of my work bag.

I’m always drawn to everyday carry type posts and trying to figure out the optimal set of daily tools, which should have the following set of characteristics:

1. you use in your day to day life
2. a first tier level of preparedness for an unforeseen emergency
3. they need to be functional.

My current everyday carry gear (clockwise, from top left):

  • MacBook Air (13.3-inch, Mid 2013, 1.7GHz dual i7, 8GB memory, 512GB SSD). I bought the best MacBook Air available at the time refurbished from Apple, which was an amazing deal and would suggest to anyone. With the SSD, it is strikingly fast. The only thing keeping it from being the perfect machine is lack of Retina display, but everything else makes up for that.
  • iPad mini with Retina display. (64GB, Space Gray, WiFi only) with Blue Smart Case. I primarily use this for consuming longer form content using these four apps: Kindle App, Instapaper (saved articles from web), NewsBlur (RSS reader), or Documents by Readdle (for PDFs).
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • Lacrosse ball. For keeping my tissues mobile at work using tricks from MobilityWOD, especially the feet or hamstrings.
  • Kleen Kanteen (27 oz, stainless steel). These are great because they’re dishwasher safe. I have a few of them. Stay hydrated my friends.
  • 3M Littmann Cardiology II S.E. Stethoscope. This is an older stethoscope that appears to have been replaced by the Cardiology III I have two stethoscopes: a Littmann Master Cardiology that I keep at the clinic I spend the majority of my time, and this one that I carry in my bag for when I’m seeing patients at the hospital or my weekly satellite clinic.
  • Aveeno Lotion. Because Minnesota = dry skin.
  • Small, cheap umbrella. I don’t believe in buying a big, expensive one.
  • Cocoon Grid-It. A great tool for organizing various cords and other things that end up wandering around your bag. I currently travel around with a 1 m Apple Lightning to USB cable, Apple EarPods, and a short micro-USB cable. There is also a pocket on the back that I keep a microfiber cloth.
  • Pocket size Moleskin Cahier Journal. For analog entry. Relatively cheap and widely available.
  • Uni-ball Jetstream RT Fine Point pens (black).
  • Moo.com business cards. 
  • Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
  • Apple 45W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter.
  • Kershaw Leek Knife. Highly versatile for everyday usage.
  • IntoCircuit Power Castle 11,200 mAh USB Battery Pack. Carries enough power to recharge most of your devices multiple times. For comparison purposes, the iPhone 5S has a 1570 mAh battery, the iPhone 6 has 1810 mAh, the iPhone 6 Plus has 2915 mAh, and the iPad mini with Retina display has 6471 mAh.

Not pictured:

  • Clinic ID badge.
  • Pager. The 1990s paged and wanted this back.