Camera Bag EDC the weight on my back

camera bag every day carry

I’ve done a couple of EDC posts detailing the things I carry. I’m a big fan of being prepared, although I don’t take it quite as far as “preppers” or survivalists. I do, however, take some ideas from them and adapt it to the urban life, or in my case, the weekend warrior lifestyle. I’ve done EDC posts on my range bag (which I keep in the car), Carry Bag, and personal items. As the Coast Guard says, Semper Paratus. Here’s a list detailing the times my gear has come in useful:

  • Someone came into my workplace asking if we had duct tape. We didn’t. I ended up taking some from the mini-roll I had attached to my keychain.
  • I got a flat tire driving home from San Jose to San Francisco one night. I put on my blinkers and pulled over, but could barely see because it was so dark. Thankfully, my range bag was in the truck and I used the crap out of my flashlight.
  • The titanium spork always comes in handy for when take-out places don’t give me utensils and I’m on the move.
  • My Gerber solves everything. The scissors, screwdriver, and pliers are my most used.
  • I use the camping spork on my keychain for all sorts of minor adjustments when I need a flathead screwdriver or for opening bottles. I’ve only used the spork for eating about 3 times and as a fair warning, if you try to take it into a nightclub, they classify it as a weapon.

Now onto my Camera Bag EDC:

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Swallow W100S

More notebook madness! I’m not as big of a notebook curator as most people believe me to be. I’m a utilitarian, so I don’t like to buy more notebooks than I need, although I do have a medley of notebooks that each serve different purposes. For example, I have a Rhodia Dotpad that I use as a daily to-do and planner in conjunction with the bullet journal system. I have several notebooks that are dip pen friendly – I use those to practice my calligraphy and get ready for card-making or art projects. One of my Apica notebooks is dedicated to full-blown, well-developed blog posts or thoughtful pieces. My most prized notebook: the Doane Paper Idea Journal. It’s beautiful. I can pretty much do whatever I want in it. I use it with blank cutouts of the Chronodex organizer and I have a perpetual to-do list on it as well. I even dedicate full pages to projects and ideas or split pages between work and personal tasks. The cover is so durable that I’m not worried about carrying it with me all over the place – suffice it to say, I’m a proud owner.

I recently got a new notebook. I was in San Jose visiting Kinokuniya because I really wanted to see if they carried Apica notebooks. THEY DO! However, I was specifically looking for the Apica CD-40 Wirebound 8.25 x 11.75.  They didn’t have any of those. While I was busy looking at fountain pens, my friend purchased a $9.95 notebook for me. I was hesitant to take it at first, but eventually, I conceded. I decided I would give it a try, even though it wasn’t an Apica. Secretly, I hoped it would work with my fountain pens. To my surprise, it worked beautifully! The design reminds me of Apica, so I googled the number and found out that I own the Swallow W100S.

During my ink test, I wrote a bit with my Noodler’s Ahab filled with Aurora Black. It pretty much writes like the Apica. There was no snag – just smooth sailing all the way across the paper. It did take a little longer to dry, but there was absolutely NO bleed or feathering and that’s a BIG bonus. It’s a steal for the price and after I tested it, I stowed it away. I’m keeping this one safely in my drawer until I finish my Apica. It’s precious!

Doane Paper Idea Journal

I recently put in an order for Doane paper. I really liked the look of their idea journal, which sports an awesome cardboard cover. It’s extremely durable and the Grid + Lines is definitely something that I have to work on getting used to. I’ve been through dot grids, grids, and lined paper, but never a combination of both grids and lines. I’m leaning more toward using the lines, just because I’m doing writing, and not too much drawing.

I’m also thinking about putting a few Chronodex blanks into the Grid + Line notebook and using it to schedule a few days in coordination with my bullet journal. I really like the notebook binding, which allows the book to be folded flat. I can write without having a awkward lump of book in the way of my hand. Let’s talk a bit about the paper quality of the Doane Paper Idea Journal with Grid + Lines paper.

I love the feel of the paper and since the plan is to use the book with my fountain pens, I decided to test them first. Compared with the paper on the Apica notebooks, the amount of bleeding is no good. I used the Noodler’s Ahab and Pelikan M150 and I also used a Pilot G-2 and  Bic Cristal for comparison. Even the Ahab exhibited a bit of bleed-through when I gave it a bit of a thicker line variation. Bleeding is a problem for me because bleeding on one side essentially renders the other side useless, or at least unusable. That’s no good. The paper has a smooth texture and a bit of a waxy feel to it. Even though my fountain pens didn’t work too well, I’m sure a pencil works a whole lot better. Another thing: the offset lines seem to repel ink with all of the pens I tested.

All in all, it’s a really sturdy notebook and sports plenty of pages with Grid + Lines. Not a bad deal for $16. I’ll probably keep using it with Chronodex blanks, but I’ll pick up a wire-bound Apica and see how it works. You can also download the jpg below, which is offered on the Doane website, print it out on some regular paper and give the Grid + Lines a try before you buy.Doane Notebook Paper

Apica Notebooks

I was notebook hunting the other day over at Flax and saw a bunch of options. I recognized some of them, but didn’t recognize a lot of the others. I’ve already tried Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and a few other off-brand notebooks and pads, but one brand had me wondering: Apica. Their notebooks come in all sorts of sizes and when I felt it, I was surprised by how nice the paper felt. I finally went ahead and bought one over at Green Apple Bookstore when I saw it there.

I started writing in it with my Noodler’s Ahab fountain pen and noticed that it just glided across the page with very little effort. I liked it so much that I went and bought another one just like it today, but in a different color. It’s seriously good paper and the cover is aesthetically pleasing too. I looked into the ones I have and found out that they’re the Apica CD-11, 5.8” x 8.25” with 7mm lines and sports 28 sheets. That’s all for about $2.85 each. I call that a success. I have the white and light green and I have to stop myself from getting all the other colors. It’s like Pokemon! Gotta collect all of them.

I went online to see what other products they make and it turns out they make a few different sizes and even wirebound versions. I’m really looking forward to purchasing the Apica CD-40, which is 8.25” x 11.75” with 50 sheets for about $9. Apica is coming out on top right now in terms of my notebook preferences. The paper is silky smooth to the touch and when I write in it with my fountain pen filled with Aurora Black ink, there is no bleedthrough and no feathering. It’s affordable, too! Head over and pick up a couple if your local store carries them. If not, check out Goulet Pens and their Apica section. That’s what I’ll be doing, seeing as I haven’t found the larger wirebound ones floating around in any store. They’d make nice gifts for writers during the holiday season. HINT HINT


On that note, I put in an order for a Doane Paper Large Idea Journal with 100 sheets – 60lb pages for $16. I’ll see how it works out.

A parting note: I should also head over to Japantown at some point and see what they carry over at Kinokuniya Bookstore.

A few weeks ago, I went to Kinokuniya in San Jose and found out the Kinokuniya carries almost the whole line of Apica Notebooks, including the premium versions. I went and bought a small notepad version to carry around with me. If you aren’t close to a Kunokuniya, I would highly recommend Goulet Pens.

apica small


If you ask people about when and where their best ideas come to them, a large percentage will probably answer with: the shower. This has been talked about for years. People have always wondered why the shower is such a great place for brainstorming and why ideas just pop into our heads there.

A lot of speculation circles the idea that water is culturally and metaphorically significant to us. It signifies a cleansing and brings about relaxation. Scientifically, it makes us feel good because of the major dopamine release. On top of that, when we shower, we’re pretty much on autopilot. That’s the way to go. Autopilot lets our minds wander and make abstract connections.

So, we’ve established that ideas tend to pop into our heads when we shower. Sadly, it’s kind of a passing thing. Much like our dreams, we remember bits and pieces for a short period of time. That’s where this smart idea comes into play.

Introducing AquaNotes: the waterproof notepad. It has a waterproof coating that works in water. It also comes with suction cups that mount it to your shower wall. Say hello to all of your brilliant ideas! $7.95 is a small price to pay for being able to record those thoughts before they disappear.AquaNotes

The notepad reminds me of Rite-in-the-Rain products. I would think that they could do the same thing; Rite-in-the-Rain has a whole bunch of products for writing in extreme weather, so why not a product similar to AquaNotes? Maybe they’ll come up with one of them at one point or another. Or I could buy a Rite-in-the-Rain solely for use in the shower. Either one works. I’ll have to get an AquaNote and try it out for myself.

Notebook Hunting

In my previous post, I wrote about all kinds of notebooks that I’ve owned and used. Since I’m about to run out of space in several of them, I thought I’d go browse the Internet for a few notebooks. Here are a couple that really caught my eye. I’m really leaning toward getting a leather bound notebook so I can collect things. Instead of just having notes and writings, I can stuff cards, receipts, and post-its in there. Plus, I love the feel and vibe of it. It’s very medieval, so it’ll go great with my fountain pens.

I was looking around and came across Monsieur Notebooks, which look really promising. A real leather cover in multiple colors? What more do I need? These books look amazing and I’m really tempted to get one and test it out. Fountain paper? That’s epic. Still, I have a bunch of other notebooks I’m looking into.

Guess we should move on to one of their competitors: Moleskine. The San Francisco city notebook. I’m not really sure how it works, but from the description online, it looks like something I’d definitely use: a map of the city, street index, and a map of the public transportation system. Mokeskine says it’s a guidebook to SF. I’d love to go out in the city and record everything with this notebook.

The Traditions Genuine Leather Journal by Rustic Ridge Leathergoods looks great and has a wrap tie closure. I’ve never owned a notebook with a closure like that before and I’m looking at getting one to keep all my loose papers in. With 96 pages for $34.97, it sounds like a good deal. I also found one with 200 pages for $32.97; a better deal.Traditions Genuine Leather Journal

How about the Rustic River Legends Journal at $34.95 for 96 pages? It looks beautiful but I don’t know; looks like the 200 pages is more up my alley.Genuine Leather Legends Journal

This 192 page journal is a bit more modern with lined pages and costs $29.99. It’s also a 6” x 8”, unlike the rest of the leather bound notebooks I’ve been looking at. It comes in a few colors and I think it’s between this one and the 200 pager. I’ll probably go for this one because the lines do end up coming in handy.Classic Leather Bound Journal

How about the S/O/T/O (State of the Obvious) A5 black notebook? There’s nothing wrong with, and everything right about carrying a stunning black notebook that announces itself. For £10, you get a sleek-looking notebook with acid-free paper; 92 pages worth. I’d get this purely for the irony and style. For kicks, this is the inscription: This is a 92 page, A5 Black Notebook. It can be used to write or sketch almost anything and can be taken almost anywhere.


Notebook Heaven

I have a notebook addiction. See here and here if you want to know more about my fascination with writing. Doing it all by hand is definitely the way to go. Since I write with fountain pens most of the time or fairly smooth inky gel pens like the Pilot G2, paper quality matters to me. I’m also a fan of the BIC Cristal medium gel pens. When I buy notebooks, I concentrate mainly on paper quality, followed by price, size, and aesthetics. Durability is also pretty important; brand – not so much. I love and stand by the brands that I trust, but I’m more than willing to try new brands and off-brands. Sometimes they work as well or better than brand names.

I’m in the market for a new notebook because I’m running low on pages in the large notebook I bought at Typo. It’s served me well, but I’m sad that it’s nearing the end of its lifecycle. It has only been about a month since my latest Rhodia purchase, but I’m looking for something different; a different type of notebook to serve a different purpose. But first, let me run through a few books I currently use or have run through already.

Rhodia DotPad vertical flip, 5 3/4” x 8 1/4”: My latest addition. I wanted to try out the bullet journal system in a different format. It’s working out great so far. Find out more here about the whole setup. The paper is smooth and the dots really help me out. So far, I haven’t come across any problems with it. A great cover and perforated single sheets.Rhodia

Little green memo books, 3 3/8” x 4 3/4”: I love these little green books. As a matter of fact, I carry these things with me everywhere I go. They’re a part of my EDC. The pages are all lined and they last through almost everything you can throw at them. They fit snuggly in my front left pocket.Memoranda

Moleskine, 3 5/8” x 5 1/2”: A natural-looking cardboard textured pocket-sized notebook with lined pages. I saw it over at the General Store and bought it before I noticed the Moleskine print on the back. It’s pretty tiny and doesn’t have many pages, so I don’t write in it too much. When I do, I do it in pencil. I think it fits with the cardboard. Half of the sheets are perforated and there’s a little mini folder in the back.

Off-brand white notebook, 5 3/4” x 8 1/8”: I picked this up for cheap at Daiso. The cover isn’t anything standout, but it ain’t bad either. The pages are super white and unlined, but it takes fountain pen ink very well. I use it for scratching down notes and for scrawling out diagrams of things I’m working on building.White and Blank

Eccolo world traveler, 5 1/4” x 7 5/8”: I don’t remember where I picked this book up, but I write in it all the time. The paper isn’t so great with my fountain pen – it bleeds like crazy. It comes with a little bookmark, elastic band, and a folder in the back. I carry this one in my camera bag for times when I find a nice cafe to write from.

Black unruled notebook, 5 5/8” x 8 3/4”: I’m pretty sure I picked this one up at Flax in San Francisco. I found it in the section for fountain pens. It’s unlined, so it gets hard to write long prose, but it’s manageable. I’ve tested all sorts of ink in it and it doesn’t bleed, so I keep it around to do calligraphy in.Black Blank Notebook

Clairefontaine notebook, 5 3/4” x 8”: I know I definitely bought this notebook from Flax. The binding is tight and it comes with an elastic tie to hold everything together. The first thing I noticed: the pages are extremely smooth; smoother than the pages of any other notebook I’ve seen. It takes fountain pen ink pretty well, provided that you let the ink dry before closing the book up. I’ve ripped pages out and stuffed them back in, even though they aren’t perforated.

Composition book: Yup, the kind that you use in high school science class as a lab notebook. I’ve filled it up, writing all sorts of thoughts in there. Sadly, it’s wide-ruled, so I couldn’t fit as much as I thought I would be able to. I’ve closed it up, so when these things go on sale again, I’m picking up a couple more.Composition Book

Typo notebook: I got this one at Typo when they had a sale: two notebooks for $20. Fountain pen inks will bleed through the pages, but an ordinary pen does just fine. Most of the pages are lined and there’s a handful of blank pages for sketches in the back alongside a folder, monthly calendar, and a world map. I’m almost through with this book though. Maybe Typo will have another sale on their notebooks soon.Typo Notebook