Every good man should have an everyday work bag. Whether it’s a backpack, a messenger bag or even a briefcase, you should never leave your house completely empty handed—especially if you’re like us, and you’re active outside the office. You never know when an evening dinner date is going to pop up, or when someone is going to invite you out to happy hour.
You need to be able to expect the unexpected and be ready for anything. That’s a damn near impossible feat without a well-stocked work bag. But what are the essentials?
Here are 8 things you should have in your work bag at all times:
A Comb and Product
You were having a great hair day when you got to the office this morning, but now that 6 o’clock has rolled around and you’ve been working for the last 10 hours, you might look like a bit of a madman. Make sure you have everything you need to tame your mane and keep you looking presentable for round 2—a comb, product, etc.
On-The-Go Stain Removers
We’re not the type to start plugging brands, but seriously, Tide To Go Sticks are a life-saver. Of all the on-the-go stain removal pens on the market, it is far and away our favorite because it not only removes stains from almost anything you could manage to spill on yourself, but it’s also fast-drying and doesn’t leave a mark or stain after it dries. It’s practically a magic wand for stains.
Honorable mention goes out to Shout’s Wipe & Go Wipes. They come in a box of individually wrapped wipes, which means you can keep them in your bag, at your desk, in the car or wherever else you might need them in a bind.
Either way, find the stain remover you love and make sure you keep it in your bag at all times. You never know when you’re going to need it.
An Extra Charger and Portable Battery Pack
There’s no real denying at this point that we all pay more attention to our phones than we probably should. Aside from using them to communicate with friends, family and for business, we also use them to give us directions, find us restaurant suggestions and even find us a ride.
The problem is they run on batteries, and batteries die. Always make sure you have an extra charger in your bag, along with a portable battery pack. They’re inexpensive, compact and we guarantee they’ll save your ass at some point or another.
An Extra Pair of Headphones
Sometimes, we’re in a hurry. We wake up late, we’re running around trying to get ready to start the day and when we finally run out of the house to catch the 7:30 train, the last thing on our minds are our headphones. It happens to the best of us.
Don’t get caught slipping. Grab a cheap pair of headphones to keep in your bag at all times so on the rare occasion you screw up and forget your good set, you’re not left soundless. There’s no need to spend a fortune, as they’re only backups, but even a crappy pair of headphones is better than no headphones at all, right?
We actually hate umbrellas. We think they look silly, they’re cumbersome and we’d much rather wear appropriate rain gear when we know the skies are going to open up.
Unfortunately, sometimes things happen and
Luckily, there are plenty of options out there, far as quality compact umbrellas are concerned. Keep in mind, however, that the operative word there is “quality.” When you’re looking for a good umbrella, don’t buy something frail and cheap; buy something that’ll be able to keep up with the abuse of being kept in a bag for extended periods of time. Here's one we like to have close by.
Deodorant and Cologne
This one should be a lot more obvious than it is, but you should always carry an extra stick of deodorant in your bag. There’s no telling what kind of day you’re going to have, and some are definitely far more stressful than others. Nobody wants to stink, but sometimes it honestly just happens. Keeping an extra stick of deodorant in your bag means you’re prepared for the worst.
Additionally, if you can find your cologne in a mini bottle (preferably an aluminum body over glass), definitely pick it up. The average cologne only has four to six hours of staying power, which means if you’re planning on heading out after you finish up for the day, you may need to freshen up a bit. Going the extra mile and thinking of the little things may make all the difference.
If you can manage it, we obviously recommend keeping an extra toothbrush and mini tube of toothpaste in your bag, but we understand that might be asking a bit too much.
If you can’t brush the recommended three times a day, the least you can do is make sure you have breath mints on hand to ensure you’re breath is never all that funky. Especially if you insisted on the extra garlic bread with your pasta lunch this afternoon.
Remember: There’s no faster way to close a door or gross someone out than subjecting them to a mean case of hot trash can mouth breath—we promise.
These little guys are easy to carry in your work bag or pocket. Highly recommend.
An Extra T-Shirt
We absolutely swear by this one, and before you call us crazy, let us just say that you’d actually be surprised at how little room a rolled up basic t-shirt actually occupies in your bag. You’d likely never notice it until you need it—and you will need it at some point.
You might wind up on the side of the road with a flat tire, or find yourself on the business end of a soft drink spill or any variety of other reasons that might render your current shirt a total loss. Keeping a basic t-shirt on hand for those worst-case scenarios will ensure that no matter what happens, you’re walking away from it with your dignity and image at least mostly intact.
If you need some t-shirt ideas, our friends over at Esquire have you covered.