That's "possibles kit" to mountain men, pardner. These are smallish, handy places to stash stuff so it doesn't jam pockets, so you look cool. Yet you want to avoid the cellphone on the belt syndrome, and modern shapeless, hightech fanny packs are lame. There are better ways.
There are a few options out there, but nothing that was thrifty and really met my small-bag needs, so I developed my own! It's the one-of-a-kind 5-Way OYB Bag! It's the world's only shoulderbag, handlebarbag, saddlebag, pannier, backpack combo unit! Cool! Check it out at this link: OYB Manpurse! At 10"x8"x4" These are great for day-use, with waist-strap and 3 extra leather small straps for bike-use. They sport a semi-classy "distressed" look---high quality canvas and leather via military-surplus. Only $39!
Now, a small bag is great for a day, but for books or overnights 15x10x6 is your minimum size. So I also sell one of these for $19 at the OYB giftshop! It holds a few books and mags but is getting a mite big for day-carry. It's groovy yellow nylon with a groovy OYB logo.
Here's a pic of the OYB 5-in-1 Shoulderbag:
And here's a pic of the bigger OYB bookbag and overnighter:
Here's a pic and link to an OYB report on a great "all'n'everything" daybag and overnighter: the Gear Bag from Duluth Trading. $50. I love the open top. I often just toss my man bag into it and haul em both around. It's basically the same thing as the fancy Territory Ahead bag, but less lawyerly. Here it is:
I finally ID'ed a bag I saw a pal using. That's it in the main photo to the upper left---a Territory Ahead Guy Bag---$148. Holy smokes, but it's nice. Check it out. Here are similar bags: here. It's a size that qualifies for overnights by my formula:
For more ideas, check out: Danish Schoolbags, Bohemian Bags, Riv, Filson, Duluth, Domke. The folks who put it all together best are the medievalists, but scabbards aren't so practical.
A Man-Purse Update
I've been testing the man-purse or man-bag concept for awhile now. Of course ladies can use them, too---the idea is that they're a carry-bag with robust vibes so guys can be comfy with them, too. And it's funny. They're ideal replacements for stuffing all your pockets full of junk which then falls out when you bend over or just gets annoying and pokey. So here's the scoop... A 10x8x6 purse is fine for day-use. 15x10x6 is your minimum overnight size and also holds a few books and mags but is getting a mite big for day-carry. A large bike messenger bag is 20x12x8 which works for nonsporting weekends and groceries, but is annoying to carry everywhere. A hockey duffle works for everything else, on out to moving away for a season (I lived out of my hockey duffle on and off for a few years).
I saw a guy had an almost perfect solution at a meeting the other day. Canvas, slouchy, wide open top, pockets, leather points. I'll track it down.
A Super Solution, possibly for the brave...
My wife carries a Baggalini shoulder bag. That thing is super. I'm jealous. It's got it all. It's smaller than a standard messenger bag, so it's unobtrusive, but it can still hold a mag or book or two, and the rest (it's more tapered-looking than the Amazon image shows). But it's bigger than my current mil-sur OYB bag. Yet it's very light. It has slippery, cool zip-pulls. It's also sold as a Lady's Bag... But it comes in all kinds of colors including darker ones, so guys could use em, too. My wife looked for years for the right bag and this was it. $35. Check it out via my Amazon store link.
What I Carry...and Why
The cool thing about a man purse is that it can be kept loaded and ready to rescue any man in need when he's out and about, being hassled by errands or waiting around. Have an annoying outing you can't say no to? Just grab the bag and join the fracas...but feel half as trapped as before. I think the ladies keep their purses always loaded for action, so that's what I'm learning to do as well.
Here's a list of things that can easily be kept in a small, light man purse, ready for action:
swiss army knife
See how prepared you'll be? Panic begone!