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Portable Culture Portrait: Perseffect

Our Portable Culture Portrait blog series features TOM BIHN Forum members, the bags they carry, and what items they carry in their bags. It's inspired by our Portable Culture tagline. This edition features Forum member Perseffect. The previous editions featured Forum member jujigatame and bchaplin.

What’s the most useful item that you carry?
The most useful item I carry is a Qliplet, which I learned about through the TOM BIHN forum. I have four and one is permanently attached to each of my most used bags. They are so useful, especially when I am out with the kids. Being able to hang my bag off the wet ground is a lifesaver. And living in the UK, it's wet a lot.

Portable Culture Portrait: Perseffect

What’s your most treasured item?
My Fiio X5ii high resolution music player. I have always loved music but listening to it on a phone, although convenient, constantly bombards you with other notifications and distractions. This music player goes everywhere with me. No internet connection, no apps, no games, it's just all about the music.

Portable Culture Portrait: Perseffect

Which item do you use more often than you thought you would?
Two things share equal footing here: my various-sized Freudian Slips and Matador lightweight picnic mats. I also heard about Matador Picnic Mats through the TB forum and have a pocket blanket and mini pocket blanket constantly in my bag. They are so lightweight and useful wherever I am—park, beach, festival, or picnic.

Portable Culture Portrait: Perseffect

Portable Culture Portrait: Perseffect

And the Freudian Slips just keep delivering—especially the Synapse 25 FS. It's the one Freudian Slip I have that has big enough mesh pockets to swallow anything and I find the zip pockets with O-Rings at the top essential to keeping items safe and hidden. And for bonus points, it also fits in my Burnt Orange Daylight Backpack and also into my Tri-star if I'm one bagging it.

Portable Culture Portrait: Perseffect

Grey Synapse 25

  • All Rolled Up Game/Dice Pouch. I always carry some dice for playing if the kids get bored. I carry both standard dice and Story Cubes. Can you guess the theme of the fabric?
  • Doodle book and fineliner pens. Again, a healthier distraction for the kids rather than staring at an iDevice.
  • My trusty Converse All Star cap (for the occasional sunny day).
  • Small Organizer Pouch with Swiss Army knife, small flashlight and spare paracord.
  • Clear Organizer Wallet with membership cards and emergency cash.
  • iPhone 6S+ and thick case, which fits nicely into the Freudian Slip's rear middle pocket.
  • Fiio X5ii music player (accompanying headphones not shown).
  • An iPad Air 2 would also normally be "naked" in one of the lower suspended document pockets.
  • Original Halcyon Small Shop Bag and Eagle Creek small Spectre pouch in the bottom pocket for accessories.
  • Matador Picnic mats.

Black Synapse 25

  • Laptop in Vertical Cache hanging from rails in rear of bag
  • Leather pen wallet for fountain pens
  • Tissues
  • Amazing French Blue seasonal TOM BIHN gift from a year or two ago—a Small Organizer Pouch with Portable Culture label, which has my phone and USB charging cables.
  • Security Key Fob ID token on Wasabi Key Strap so it doesn't get lost.
  • Paperwork in the rear pocket of the Freudian Slip.
  • Medium Clear Organizer Pouch for receipts and paperwork when I travel.

I have three typical carry scenarios: day out with the kids, personal out and about, and work/travel. To cover all those needs I have a number of TOM BIHN bags, but one bag that serves many purposes is the Synapse 25—so much so that I have two of them.

Both are in Cordura as I love just how substantial the material feels and it looks great. No pets in our house to worry about pet hair. One is in a more formal Black/Iberian for work/travel and one in the absolutely amazing Grey/Ultraviolet for personal use. I've seriously considered an even bolder color such as Burnt Orange or French Blue, but love the Grey/UV.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Perseffect is my forum name and it's short for Personal Effectiveness, the name of a blog I wrote before my current one. My one-bag travel needs led me to TOM BIHN about 4 years ago, originally to buy an Absolute Strap for a Patagonia MLC.

I live on the South Coast of the UK and travel extensively with work for an Multinational U.S. engineering firm. I work in learning, talent and organizational effectiveness so there is never a dull moment. I'm passionate about young people starting their career and write a blog with work tips at or on Twitter @careertosuccess.

When I'm not working, I spend all of my time with the family out and about as much as possible, hence the need for lots of bags!


TB Crew

We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.

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  • BethC

    Nice post! And Qliplets — win, win!

  • Antonia

    I love reading about what people have in their bags, and how they use them! I’ve just ordered a Qliplet – a ‘hot rod red’ one, the only colour I think I can get in the UK (via Amazon). It does look useful, and I’ve never heard of it before! Thanks for sharing your bags and goodies!

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