How can I carry all my stuff without jamming my pockets, or wearing a fanny pack?
June 16, 2006 10:57 PM   Subscribe

I carry too much in my jeans pockets--cell phone, keys, wallet--but it's stuff I need pretty much all the time. Is there another way to keep it all on me, without, like, wearing a fanny pack?
posted by scrawlyman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (38 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What about a man-purse / man-bag?
posted by SenshiNeko at 11:04 PM on June 16, 2006

I had this problem for a long time until I got myself a utility belt like Batman.

Actually, I didn't, I just pared down what I need. I got rid of all those useless keys on my keychain, emptied out my wallet of all the crap, traded my bulky phone for a Razr and got a pocket camera.

And I wear cargo shorts all the time. You might also want to get a holster or belt clip for your cell to get it out of your pockets, it won't disappear but you'll be surprised at how much room it opens up when it is not buried in your pocket.
posted by fenriq at 11:11 PM on June 16, 2006

You could minimize. The cellphone you're kinda stuck with, but I use a really small wallet and only carry daily essentials. If I'm going out on the town I even leave the wallet at home and take cash, debt, credit and ID cards in a money clip. Same with keys... carry only the ones you really need and ditch the fancy keyring. You still have to carry stuff, but it's less stuff.
posted by BorgLove at 11:13 PM on June 16, 2006

Unless you're carrying things of book magnitude , you could probably just use cargo pants. I've a pair in which I can comfortably stow my wallet, pretty substantial key ring, DS, digital camera, and sunglasses with room to spare. However, if you wish to wear jeans I think your options may be limited to bag, jacket, briefcase, or lunchbox.
posted by Durhey at 11:13 PM on June 16, 2006

Er, like fenriq.
posted by BorgLove at 11:13 PM on June 16, 2006

I was going to suggest a leather jacket, although judging from the profile, that might be a bit much where you live. I wear one to keep things like wallets and keys, and it works well, although I'm in an air conditioned building most of the day.
posted by zabuni at 11:19 PM on June 16, 2006

If you need something that can look professional looking, go with a man-bag. If you just need any old bag to carry some stuff, you can get a day pack. I just bought a day pack type bag from eddie bauer. If there's a store near you, you should check it out. It's a messgenger/over-the-shoulder type bag with plenty of compartments. It was a great deal, $13 on sale, and the normal price was $20, so still a good deal. Otherwise, you can just go to any outdoors store and look for day packs. Don't go to any old sporting goods store. Make sure it's one with a good selection of camping or outdoors gear. REI is a good bet. Dick's or Galyan's as well should have some.

Now of course there's the issue that man-bags or carrying around a day-pack as I do basically amounts to a (woman's) purse. I say, yeah, who cares. I usually deal with the potential jokes by beating them to the punch and (semi-)jokingly say, "hey check it out. I got a new purse." I haven't been made fun of too much (but also, I don't have very many macho friends). When anyone does try to belittle me, I just pretty much respond with, "yeah, so what?" And talk up how awesome having a purse is, because you know what? It is great. Sure, my pockets are plenty big to carry just a few necessities, but anything beyond a wallent, key's and phone is just too uncomfortable. Having a purse makes it easier to carry other things like a camera, a book, my DS, some pens, ipod, headphones, sunscreen, bug-spray, etc (not all this stuff at once, though, usually just the one or two things I'm planning on using/needing). It definitely beats having overstuffed pockets or things banging into my knees in my cargo pockets.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 11:47 PM on June 16, 2006

Turn the fanny pack around and make it a tummy pack.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:57 PM on June 16, 2006

A carabiner might help for the keys. I echo everyone else's comments about slimming down what you "need." You'd be surprised how much you can do without.
posted by tnoetz01 at 11:59 PM on June 16, 2006

Get a small courier bag. I have one made by Puma it's roughly 10x8 inches and has tons of pockets. It lets me carry everything you mention plus a notebook and a couple of other electronic gadgets.
posted by oddman at 12:01 AM on June 17, 2006

cargo pants
posted by foraneagle2 at 12:19 AM on June 17, 2006

Cargo pants, definitely, unless you need to dress up. Cards in one top pocket, cash in another, cellphone in a lower [larger] pocket and another pocket for miscellaneous largish stuff [pens, walkman, whatever.] Keys in the card-pocket or on a caribiner, although the latter jingles more. This will probably also help you pare down the stuff you carry with you every day - after all, do you really need to carry a library card, starbucks card, third credit card, defunct student id card, gym membership card and so on with you, wherever you go? It's also a lot harder to lose your pants than it is to lose a bag, which is a benefit, if you're as absent-minded as I am. Take a bookbag with you on the occasions that you need to carry larger things [or a large number of things], but for day-to-day use, it's hard to get simpler than cargo pants.
posted by ubersturm at 12:22 AM on June 17, 2006

sport coat/blazer with inside pockets?
posted by cadastral at 12:23 AM on June 17, 2006

try this:
posted by beammeup4 at 12:32 AM on June 17, 2006

Superhero utility belt?

Seriously speaking, the main problem you might find (and I find) when taking a messenger/courier bag is that it's too big a bag for the stuff you're taking (just wallet, keys, phone etc). My suggestion is to pad it up with things you don't normally need but just randomly might. A good book to read, note-pad, magazines, discman/ipod whatever. It's not like that stuff is going to slow you down at all.

Need to look professional? Move the whole bundle of stuff into a briefcase.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 12:47 AM on June 17, 2006

Wallet = Jimi

Also, my friend carries his keys on a purple carabineer, along with a tiny leatherman multitool. It is surprisingly useful. (You might choose a different colour, though).
posted by Drunken_munky at 3:51 AM on June 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd second the 'wallet = Jimi' thing. It's forced me to move from about fifteen cards down to four: and therefore the pocket-bulge from the wallet is much less.

Paring down keys is a good plan, too: in reality, I only need one key for day-to-day stuff: currently I carry five keys and a torch and a compass on my keyring. All extra, un-needed bulk: get a duplicate key cut, and leave the rest at home. Key-rings are nothing but bling, so remove those, too.

Stick the key on your Jimi: and that's one pocket.
Stick your mobile in the other pocket.

I also have an iPod Nano in a small leather wallet, and a very slim pocket camera; but then, I wear a jacket five days a week, so that's easier.
posted by jamescridland at 4:43 AM on June 17, 2006

I second the Scott eVest suggestion. And there are Scott ePants now, with tons of extra pockets which don't balloon out like cargo pants' pockets.
posted by emg at 4:52 AM on June 17, 2006

This is a great question! One query though for those in the know. The Jimi looks good, but I'm not sure about the plastic cover. Can you get something similar in aluminium or some other metal?
posted by ranglin at 5:08 AM on June 17, 2006

Small black map bag from Army/Navy = much more compact than a messenger bag.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:17 AM on June 17, 2006

My husband had the same problem (though he didn't really find it problematic himself, disaster would ensue if he changed pants without doing a thorough pants-real-estate swap) and I bought him a "man-purse" for his birthday. To my surprise, he started using it immediately and he declares it's changed his life.

[For those who don't want to look at the link, it's a small khaki paratrooper bag.]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:59 AM on June 17, 2006

Drunken_munky writes "Wallet = Jimi"

Thank you for this. I've been looking for something like that for awhile. Now (hopefully) I'll stop losing my bankcard all the time.
posted by purephase at 7:26 AM on June 17, 2006

You have a few options here, depending on just how geeky you want to look.

You can go with a Tactical Tailor Leg Platform, recently featured in Make Magazine. Some people swear by this. ScottEVest is another option, and probably the one with the least impact on your overall wardrobe. You can dress a vest up or down more or less anywhere. Cargo pants works, I guess, but I don't usually like to have all that crap weighing me down. The man purse works. Lots of people I know carry either the canvas bags, a Timbuk2 small messenger, or a backpack. Definitely minimize. You should go with a money clip, cut down on the # of keys you carry or use a carabiner as other posters have suggested. Those two things helped me out immensely. If you're against the fanny pack but want something like it, you should try a lumbar pack - Mountainsmith has some good ones.
posted by arimathea at 7:44 AM on June 17, 2006

I'll third or fourth the Jimi. Best wallet ever..I've found that after I slimmed down to the 4 cards, I never find myself using all the things I got rid of. If I need my Costco card, it's in the glove compartment of the car, which I'll be in anyway.

I even convinced my wife to start using one. Buy it!
posted by griffey at 7:47 AM on June 17, 2006

I'll second enrevanche's endorsement of the Nomadic company's Wise-Walker bags. I have one of their mid-sized black shoulder sling bags and don't leave home without it. As a Type 1 Diabetic living the Digital Lifestyle, I have twice as much stuff to carry (food, meters, injectors, cell phone, chargers, thumb drives, etc.) and can fit everything I need in my Wise-Walker.

In my neck of the woods (San Antonio, TX), you can find Wise-Walker bags at The Container Store. (off-site link to product info page here)
posted by the matching mole at 9:35 AM on June 17, 2006

Let me just say, god please not a fanny pack. This might be an ok idea for biking with your keys and wallet, but that's about it. For everyday stuff it's just... horrible. It looks horrible. Anyone that tells you otherwise is just trying not to be mean. And by being "mean" I mean being "honest". Especially if you happen to be heavy in the belly area and you wear it in the front. You want to look even heavier in the belly? Put something underneath it to emphasize it.

That said, I own one. :) Specifically for biking, which I don't do anymore, so in fact, the fanny pack is in bag waiting to get donated to Goodwill.

As goofy as all the man-purse suggestions sound, unless you are willing to ditch your stuff it's the best solution. You still get to wear your own day-to-day clothes without having to invest in either a pair pants with a bunch of pockets that you'll have to wear either every day or plan the days you do want to wear them or buy a bunch of them. And those pocketed special pants for carrying stuff are always premium priced. And they may not even be comfortable for you.

And the vest... You know, maybe the 80s ruined me for them or something, but those batvest are no better than the bat belt look to me.

Personally, I either just carry the swingaround Clive over the shoulder backpack for day-to-day work carting, or this small black Gravis shoulder bag that I can get my camera, phone, and a few other small things in (I carry a Sony DSC V3). I usually carry the little Gravis bag on the weekends.

Primarily, there no way I could get that camera in my pockets in any case at all anyway, no matter the number of pockets in the pants. And it wouldn't fit in a vest either. So, it gets a fairly stylish black bag that is slightly less snaps and catches than a regular camera bag and slightly less obnoxious than, say, the Lacoste bag listed here. Although that's a nice listing of bags nevertheless. And if you want to feel better about carrying a manbag, they even have a picture of the ultimate man bagger. ;)
posted by smallerdemon at 10:02 AM on June 17, 2006

I think I might have first seen this wallet linked somewhere a while back on AskMeFi. I got one and really like it. Much slimmer and neater than my old leather lump, works like it says, and not too expensive. Thanks AskMeFi.
posted by normy at 10:09 AM on June 17, 2006

Jean pockets are too small! Cargo pants are a great idea, but you can get away with wearing nice khaki pants too. They have at least twice the pocket size. Khakis are softer, too.

I keep a digital camera in my left pocket, and my RAZR, wallet, and car key in my right with minimal bulge (the rest of my keys stay on another key ring in the car).

With the right pocket, I stack the contents: key, wallet, phone.
posted by blahtsk at 10:54 AM on June 17, 2006

I recently finally gave up wearing a waist pouch. The All-Ett (normy's link, above; AskMe was my introduction to it, too) helped. I either carry everything in a messenger bag, or go with much less stuff stuffed in my pockets. The waist pouch was more convenient.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:33 AM on June 17, 2006

I have the all-et that normy mentions. Definitely helped reduce the bulk of my wallet.

For your keys, you might look into whether you can get any locks rekeyed to eliminate the need for multiple keys for your home.
posted by Good Brain at 11:51 AM on June 17, 2006

I use a small amenity bag (from business class, but easy to get at a drugstore; something functionally equivalent can be found at a camping store).

Thus, instead of carrying a manpurse, I find myself carrying a manclutch. I wonder if that is any better. Or worse.
posted by joeclark at 1:00 PM on June 17, 2006

I had a tailor add me two very large pockets inside my overcoat. Now I can carry a (small) laptop around inside the coat. Of course that doesn't work when you don't want an overcoat, but I find I can wear an overcoat most dayws in London, sometimes over just a shirt.
posted by londongeezer at 2:10 PM on June 17, 2006

The only problem with cargo pants is if you get them too loose your phone or palm pilot can get wacked on the edge of a doorway you brush by too quickly. Cracked a screen that way. Side pockets also suck because they feel like dead weight. The best pockets are the ones that are on the front of the thigh but they are hard to find.
posted by any major dude at 3:27 PM on June 17, 2006

I see Lifehacker picking up on this thread soon :)
posted by mordecai at 11:07 PM on June 17, 2006

Thought I would share some pictures of my weekday/weekend stuff, and a wallet comparison.

Weekday bag contents. Yeah, carry a lot of crap on the weekdays.

I carry it in this pretty small Clive bag (which unfortunately they don't make anymore - that's my second one).

Opposed to my weekend stuff. The camera bag is only a place holder. I just put the camera itself in my weekend bag.

If I am feeling like I want to sketch or do extensive writing or carry a laptop on the weekend, I just empty and carry my weekday bag.

Re wallets... Well, I have pared it down to drivers license and three credit cards and my insurance card. Compare my wallet on the right to the one on the left belong to a visiting relative. :)
posted by smallerdemon at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2006

Re: Keys
I picked a similar option to the carabiner: this flat metal clip from the hardware store key section that I bought for a few bucks. It clips to the pocket pretty securely, and keeps the keys from gathering at the bottom of the pocket and poking you in the leg/junk. I suppose you could clip it to the outside as well, but I don't know how well that works. An added advantage to the design is that you can quickly add or remove key rings from it -- I have several key sets I can add or remove on a whim.
posted by evil holiday magic at 11:35 PM on June 18, 2006

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