Being close to home and a bike commuter helps keep things simple. If it were winter time I'd have a slightly larger bag with room for a hat, gloves, and a chemical hand warmer or two. But, seeing how it's summer, I can keep things simple. If I need to bring a bunch of stuff with me I use panniers or strap it to the top of the front rack.
My bag's a small Tom Bihn Cafe Bag. It has a waist strap on it that holds it against your back while you ride. Nothing's worse than having a bag decide to slide around to your front while you're riding. Tom Bihn's stuff works really well for me.
In the bag: Keys, Swiss Army Knife, Flashlight (Protac 1L from Streamlight) Wallet, Bike Lock (also good for clobbering people), iPad Mini in heavy plastic sleeve-which seems to be all the protection it needs, I used to carry a first aid kit- now I just carry a little dental floss, allergy pills, Ibuprofen, two bandaids, and extra contact lenses. I'm new to the upper midwest and haven't figured the weather here out yet, so a NOAA weather radio comes with me most days. I can check the weather about everywhere, but I still like the radios best. Add a book or some snacks and that's about it.
Thanks for the entry!
The selecting the right size of bag is a tough one - having room for your daily items, plus some excess room for contingency kit and then some overflow is what I look for in an EDC bag.
I use maybe 50% of my bag on a daily basis, which gives me plenty of flex space if I need to carry more - change of clothes for an overnight trip, stuff for a trip to the range, packing layers if with weather looks bad, etc.
With a 'murse' you're more limited. I've gone through this in a couple of the previous entries.
The size constraints are less of a big deal if you've got a truck parked 50 feet away, loaded up with first aid kits, spare food, water and survival gear. If you're commuting to work on a bike, the need to carry more stuff becomes more important.
Brain storm some of the plausible risks of bike commuting - bike breaks down, you wreck the bike, you get caught in a craptacular storm. That would lead me to consider things like:
- Repair kit for the bike
- More/better tools
- First aid kit - more than just bandaids - something that could deal large cut/scrape, something to sling or stabilize a broken arm
- Clothes repair kit
- Good rain jacket (pop over to REI - lots of good and very compressible choices at around $100)
- Headlamp - better for making repairs, treating a wound or riding the bike at night
Look at areas where you can use technology to lighten your load - for example, there are several apps that can and will do what the NOAA radio does, and do a better job of it.
And, since you're in tornado country, consider what could happen if a twister were to hit while you were away from home. Building collapse? Stuck in the building? Chemical leak? Fire?
Not saying that everyone needs to carry around a giant bag full of stuff to get through their day or to prepare for every possible scenario. Just assess the inconveniences and risks you might face, and work from there.