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Thread: Large Clear Organizer Pouch becomes a "micro-brief"

  1. #1
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    Large Clear Organizer Pouch becomes a "micro-brief"

    A thread in the sub-forum "Questions about bags or accessories" entitled "How do you use your Large Organizer Pouch?" inspired this thread.

    In this thread, I will talk about my large Clear Organizer Pouch (L-COP) and also the much smaller Pen/Pencil Clear Organizer Pouch (PP-COP) and how I use them. To all of my fellow L-COP owners and those considering buying an L-COP, I hope you find this versatile pouch to be as useful and ingenious as I have. I hope you find this essay helpful.

    A few years ago, I put together a special rig I call a "micro-brief". This rig is meant to be a very simple, compact minimalist setup for taking business notes while on-the-move. It has interesting advantages and dis-advantages, so you've have to look closely and consider if it is right for you. Here is a photo of my improvised "micro-brief":




    As you can see, it is a work in progress. It is crude and simple. But that's the whole point…

    In 2009, when I ordered a Super Ego briefcase from Tom Bihn, I thought carefully about some mobile situations when lugging around full-size "mobile office" briefcase would be overkill and probably also cumbersome. There are times when it's great to be able to carry lots of goodies with you, but the ability to pack lots of goodies implies you will have/need time and a place to unpack lots of goodies at your destination. If you have to move about frequently at an event or on some kind of business campus or project site, you want something simple you can quickly assemble, grab and rush from place-to-place with. For quick business meetings/interviews, this tiny rig can be really effective.

    Here is my typical packing list for the "micro-brief":

    Tom Bihn large Clear Organizer Pouch packing list:

    One Letter-size Clipboard with low-profile clip
    One standard Letter-size rip-off Writing Tablet
    Tom Bihn PP-COP packing list:
    Pens
    Pencils
    Compact Hand Pencil Sharpener
    Eraser
    Paper Clips (small number, loose)
    Mechanical Pencil
    Small, thin plastic Straight-Edge/Ruler

    Optional packing items for L-COP:
    Calculator
    Foot-long plastic Ruler
    Smaller rip-off Tablet

    I sometimes carry this rig within another bag, such as my Super Ego. This smaller rig is obviously more mobile and simpler to access. Ocassionally, this smaller rig will help me circulate about to take care of business while the Super Ego can serve as a "mothership".

    This "micro-brief" rig is simple and easy to dismantle. If you're in business like I am, it's often handy to carry a clipboard with you, with or without the pouch. But a clipboard will add weight and its rigid structure can make it seem bulky in some situations. One significant consideration when assembling a "micro-brief" rig: the clipboard must have a low-profile clip. If it has the kind that constantly sticks out, it will not fit in the L-COP.

    The smaller PP-COP is a handy way to keep pens/pencils from sloshing around in the L-COP. If you use the smaller pouch to bundle your writing utensils, be advised that you will have to fish said utensils out of the smaller pouch and put them back again every time you use them. Either way, if you use the L-COP and PP-COP enough in this kind of application, the clear windows in these pouches will eventually get marks or otherwise "look dirty". For those who prize their Bihn bags and pouches for snazzy looks, this utilitarian approach isn't for you. Also be advised that the clipboard/tablet arrangement does require a little bit of care when inserting or removing from the L-COP. It is just bulky enough that it barely fits through the L-COP's zippered opening. It would be easy to just discard the clipboard and use only the tablet, but an un-reinforced tablet will quickly become "dog-eared" and loose its usefulness. In my opinion, the "micro-brief" rig requires the clipboard. Also be advised, clipboard or no, you have to test this rig to see if it will fit in whatever larger "mothership" bag you may want to haul it around in. A Super Ego has no trouble swallowing this tiny rig, but when I inquired with Tom Bihn's crew about the Synapse 19, they doubted it would fit nicely. (That having been said, I would love to hear how this rig would fit in Bihn's larger backpacks.)

    The "micro-brief" rig suits me well… in certain situations.

    I imagine that, outside of the thread I linked at the top of this entry, this is probably the first time an L-COP has been "packed" as a "bag" unto itself. The only thing I think it's missing would probably be a Tom Bihn Handle Loop strap for limited carrying purposes.

    I would love to see someone try to create a similar rig for a smaller clipboard-and-tablet arrangement (like maybe a 5-inch-by-8-inch). Some may say this smaller rig is already done by a Tom Bihn Field Journal Notebook. Maybe you could say that; of course, the FJN offers more extensive amenities at a higher pricetag. In a sense, though, my larger "micro-brief" is a response to my desire to see Mr. Bihn design a larger version of the Field Journal Notebook for Letter-size business applications. I proposed such an idea in the 2014 Wish List thread, and received a smack-down for envisioning an elaborate "Trapper Keeper". I had to laugh at that. I see the "micro-brief", with its high-quality construction and see-through window, as being far more durable and useful; my idea for a Letter-size Field Notebook Extra would no-doubt be useful for many on-the-go personal and business applications. I would buy an FNE is Mr. Bihn made one.

    If you have an L-COP, I would invite you to contribute your "packing list" to this thread. If you are thinking about buying one, I hope you find uses for it as interesting as I have. It's an impressive item.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
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    Very nice picture and explanation for the setup!

    I too would love a letter size/A4 Journal Notebook because sometimes it is easier to take extensive notes in a larger paper size and most handouts, business forms and the like are printed in letter size paper and nice to be able to consult in their original size.

    I have looked at all the alternative in this size, leather ones are expensive and heavy and fake leather ones are just as heavy but cheaply made and expensive if they happen to have a brand name associated with them.

    Parapack with its toughness and nice business color palette should be a winner for the A4 Journal Notebook.

  3. #3
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    I bought a large clear organizer pouch in the last year, thinking it was a useful size and that it would get lots of use. But it has gotten none. This thread has inspired me to think about similar applications in my life...like packing my Spanish class materials in it and using it as a minimalist briefcase. I like it. In it would easily fit my 2-pocket folio for homework sheets, my pencil pouch with writing goodies, my 5x8 notebook (paper), and Ipad mini. This is much better than schlepping a big, fancy bag.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  4. #4
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    I'm currently using an A5 plastic wallet to store some half-letter Day Timer pads whilst I await my FJN, but at some point I might want to put together an A5 micro-brief for other purposes. For example I use an A5 microdot pad and smartpen at work, and it would be helpful to have something I could carry that around in.

    Darn, now I need to add a medium COP (or maybe dyneema) to my next order...
    Collections:
    Work EDC: SE + S19 (summer); SE + SA (winter)
    Leisure: some combination of SE/SCB/MCB/Swift/LS/FJN/DLBC/Imago/SSB
    Travel: WF + Pilot/DLBP + SE/SCB or SA + SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini + Moleskine; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

  5. #5
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    How did I miss is thread - I am doing something similar. But a have a couple of these and they are project specific. I have a few projects I'm working on and each of the big one gets its own color coded pouch. It seems to be working well for me right now and let's me pick a project for the day / trip to the coffee shop.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Update: I inquired with Tom Bihn Customer Service:

    This arrangement will not fit in a Synapse 19, but they said they tried it in a Synpase 25 and it fits okay. Does anyone have a Smart Alec or Brain Bag? If so, can you comment on this?

    This "micro-brief" arrangement fits easily into my SuperEgo briefcase.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    This arrangement will not fit in a Synapse 19, but they said they tried it in a Synpase 25 and it fits okay. Does anyone have a Smart Alec or Brain Bag? If so, can you comment on this?
    It fits fine in a Smart Alec.

    I'd hazard a guess that it would fit in any bag that can take a 15" laptop.

  8. #8
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeylady View Post
    I bought a large clear organizer pouch in the last year, thinking it was a useful size and that it would get lots of use. But it has gotten none. This thread has inspired me to think about similar applications in my life...like packing my Spanish class materials in it and using it as a minimalist briefcase. I like it. In it would easily fit my 2-pocket folio for homework sheets, my pencil pouch with writing goodies, my 5x8 notebook (paper), and Ipad mini. This is much better than schlepping a big, fancy bag.
    Funny to be quoting myself....but, an Update. Tried this out with the above carry. All fit just fine, but.....I missed having my hands free. Back to using my CoPilot.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scribe View Post
    I'm currently using an A5 plastic wallet to store some half-letter Day Timer pads whilst I await my FJN, but at some point I might want to put together an A5 micro-brief for other purposes. For example I use an A5 microdot pad and smartpen at work, and it would be helpful to have something I could carry that around in.
    My medium dyneema pouch came today, but alas it's slightly too shallow for my notebook, which I forgot is A5 tear-out pages + a spiral binding. It's also a very tight fit for a standard Moleskine, so I'll have to either find a new use for it or put it up for swapsies...
    Collections:
    Work EDC: SE + S19 (summer); SE + SA (winter)
    Leisure: some combination of SE/SCB/MCB/Swift/LS/FJN/DLBC/Imago/SSB
    Travel: WF + Pilot/DLBP + SE/SCB or SA + SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini + Moleskine; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

  10. #10
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    @ scribe thanks for posting this. Living in the DIN world like you I would have wanted to test this at some point. Now I do not have to. Which color is it? Tell me if you find a good use for it.

  11. #11
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    It's steel - not very exciting, but then I bought it for work so I didn't want it to be too fancy.

    As it happens, it fits very nicely inside the PCSB, clipped to the o-ring, so if I decide I need any extra pockets beyond the exterior one, that could be a good use for it.

    ETA: the medium pouch will take small amounts of A5 paper, but again it's a close fit. Fine for leaflets or letters, but not thick books.
    Collections:
    Work EDC: SE + S19 (summer); SE + SA (winter)
    Leisure: some combination of SE/SCB/MCB/Swift/LS/FJN/DLBC/Imago/SSB
    Travel: WF + Pilot/DLBP + SE/SCB or SA + SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini + Moleskine; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

  12. #12
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Are there o-rings in the PCSB? I understood that this was not the case? Can not wait for mine to arrive!

  13. #13
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    There's one, on the inside opposite the exterior pocket. I was surprised but happy to find it!

    Correction: there are two - I just found one inside the exterior pocket as well
    Collections:
    Work EDC: SE + S19 (summer); SE + SA (winter)
    Leisure: some combination of SE/SCB/MCB/Swift/LS/FJN/DLBC/Imago/SSB
    Travel: WF + Pilot/DLBP + SE/SCB or SA + SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini + Moleskine; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by scribe View Post
    There's one, on the inside opposite the exterior pocket. I was surprised but happy to find it!

    Correction: there are two - I just found one inside the exterior pocket as well
    The original Packing Cube Shoulder Bags did not have o-Rings inside. This was a late addition, and I didn't realize this was a feature until I read about the o-Rings in someone's forum posts. I have a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag in Iberian which does not have the o-Rings.

    moriond
    eWalker likes this.

  15. #15
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    Ah, that makes sense! Tom tweaking his designs again
    Collections:
    Work EDC: SE + S19 (summer); SE + SA (winter)
    Leisure: some combination of SE/SCB/MCB/Swift/LS/FJN/DLBC/Imago/SSB
    Travel: WF + Pilot/DLBP + SE/SCB or SA + SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini + Moleskine; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

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