You know that Lifehacker's been doing a “What's in your Go Bag?” photo-series, right?
Pen & Paper! Always on my list. I don't have a pda, but even if I did, pen & paper would be a must. I have taken pen & paper even on dates, forcing my date to carry the pen if my bag was too elegant to be big enough for one.
water bottle, protein bars, swiss army knife, pocket camera.
Okay, I'll take it that part of the deal is that I can't plan for a *specific* adventure, because the point is I don't know what perfect adventure might come up?
So for me, it's about balance: I want the things that will make it fun and awesome and comfortable, but if I'm carrying too much, that takes away from the fun. So just the few things that I would want, that keep me feeling mobile. I'll assume that if I'm going to be over-nighting it, and need medications etc., I'll know that.... actually, as I type that, I realize I assume that all the time and maybe that's not so smart... only my meds are such that if I unexpectedly stay out some night (which hasn't happened for a very long time), I *can* skip a dose or two.
tier one things:
-wallet w/cash, ATM-card, credit card, ID, and insurance card
-sketchbook, pencil, eraser, pencil-sharpener
-bottle of/for water
-leatherman (sometimes- it's kind of bulky and heavy)
-a couple hundred calories of emergency food-bars
If I know anything about my adventure day, I might also add
-a polar fleece (this requires a bigger bag, but if I might get wet, it's great to have)
Lately I've been going out in my bathing suit with a skirt thrown over it, and had a pair of undies, a bra and a t-shirt in my bag.
I suspect my answer is pretty different in the winter, but right now I have wicked summer-brain.
Going on an adventure sometime soon?
Palm Treo (with camera and SD card), Leatherman/multi-tool, public transit pass collection, cell-phone charger, USB SD-card reader, pens, Sharpies, deck of cards, matches/lighter. Leave the iron spikes and 50' of rope for the real adventure pack.
Well, life with children is an adventure of sorts... though not necessarily conducive to traveling light. After a day at the zoo, dumping out the bag reveals:
-mini-notebook & freebie pen
-two crayons, stickers + a mini-coloring book
-eye-drops & chapstick
-band-aids & neosporin
-alcohol wipes (for dirty hands and icky picnic tables)
-bottle of water
-wallet + emergency cash in separate pocket
-mini-tube of sunscreen
-baby's hat & 'accessories'
Turns out to be a long list, but all of it's pretty small, except for the camera, so the bag I carry isn't very big.
As an undergrad, I used to keep a change of clothes on my person at all times. These days I am more flush and find that a credit card does the trick.
With me at all times: Wallet, keys, phone, handkerchief.
In my bag right now: Camera, mini tripod, sunglasses, passport, checkbook, pen, hiliter, laptop computer, power bug for laptop computer. Phone charges from USB and camera's battery life is excellent so I don't carry separate chargers for those.
Oh, and I missed it because it's so small, but my Mather House (that is, symbol that will be recognized as a Harvard symbol only by other Harvard alums) lapel pin is also in my bag.
When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in England (London, York, Edinburgh), we ended up with a 'standard pocketful' to help us. Being geeks, both having been in scouting, and both rather manic campers, our pouches ended up wtih:
flashlight (AAA or AA size maglight)
minor bits of jewelry (me -- a necklace and earrings, not sure why anymore)
camera (then a large nikon SLR)
(in a bag with film and lenses and etc)
a couple of teabags
2-10 shortbread cookies (we kept missing lunch, figuring we'd get tea, and then losing track of time, so that by 6pm we were ravenous, and were frequently where we couldn't find a restaurant before the entirie area started closing down...)
it being early november, pants/shirt/walking shoes/light jacket on each of us. On cooler days we had a daypack with a long-sleeve sweater for each of us in it, which usually ended up wtih a bit more food at the start and wahtever souvenirs we picked up at the end.
maps -- Tube map, and city map.
I pretty much carry most if not all of this with me now. (Flashlight and passport have fallen off the list; ID case with crediti cards, atm card, insurance card, and various membership cards (like, supermarket and museum), cellphone and charging cords, keyring have been added. Additionally, a packet of meds: OTC pain, OTC allergy, some prescriptions.
If I had knowledge of 'you're going off on an adventure of unknown proportion and duration' and at least a day to prepare?
Currently, I'd still be more likely to grab a film camera than a digicam, because of the battery issue. I'd have lots of OTC painmeds of various types, lots of allergy meds of various types, and a bit of an old fashioned first-aid kit: a few bandaids, a few gauze bandages, a triangular bandage (which no one uses anymore), a bottle of rubbing alcohol, strike-anywhere matches, and as large a tube of anti-bacterial ointment as I could find and fit into the container. I'd also grab any prescription painmeds I could get my hands on, just because. I'd still bring my passport, even tho it's expired, cause it's useful as governmental proof anyway. I'd make sure EVERYONE IN MY PARTY (that includes both kids if they're along) would have the EXACT same thing, and then add things that *they'd* thought of -- nothing that needed batteries tho, and nothing precious that would be utterly destroyed by random weather.
OH! HATS! doh....
Amusingly enough, one of the things we did in London was take part in a weekend 'Real Time Dungeons and Dragons' -- what would now be called LARPing, but that hadn't been invented in 1988. There was a chalk mine a bit south of London that, on weekends, had people using it to play D&D, but acting it out rather than just paper and dice. We confused them greatly by a) having already been playing for over a decade, and b) having, effectively, and adventurer's kit with us. I don't think we had any *rope*, but the blades and the flashlights consternated the roving DungeonMasters when they had the enemies throw a spell that turned out all the lights, and Husband and I suddenly pulled out our flashlighths. "What, you think dungeoneers woudl NOT carry a spare torch? Give me a break!"
Ok, I'll stop adding more now.
I'm amazed at the solitary mention of maps; they're very nearly at the top of my list. Cash, maps, perhaps a compass. Hat. Contact lenses or spare glasses. Swiss and/or leatherman, string, tape, and usually a separate knife. Water. Notepad. Book. Pretty much just that stood me very well over the last few days of mild adventuring, and volume-wise it's a tiny amount of stuff.
The book is funny; when I have one I never need it, which is why I carry it.