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:
Compact Hand Pencil Sharpener
Paper Clips (small number, loose)
Small, thin plastic Straight-Edge/Ruler
Optional packing items for L-COP:
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.