Temperatures in the DC area have been pushing past 80 this past week, often with high humidity.  Summer in the swamp is beginning, bringing with it a sartorial dilemma, namely, balancing comfort, storage, and style. 

I tend to carry quite a bit on me.  At the minimum I'll have my wallet, phone, keys, and a pocket knife.  Usually I'll also have sunglasses, a handkerchief, a pocket watch, earbud headphones and, when I'm in Virginia, a 380 pistol with a spare clip.  When I'm wearing a jacket or coat there's little trouble, as the jacket plus my pants provide enough pockets.  The wide variety of jackets available makes it easy to dress up or down in combination with various shirts, pants, sweaters, etc...  The problem comes when the climate makes wearing a jacket miserable even when I do what I can with light-weight fabrics.  This makes it hard to dress well, because if I leave the jacket at home I lose most of my pockets, but if I keep it on I'm unhappy except in air conditioning.  This can be remedied by wearing cargo shorts or pants (and if I'm wearing cargo anything I might as well go all the way to shorts when it's summer), but that results in a more casual look than I often want when going out.  However, the jacket-less slacks + dress shirt + tie look doesn't work when every pocket is bulging.  Is there anything that will enable me to dress in that gap between cargo shorts and a jacket while also providing plenty of pocket space?  The solutions I'm aware of are to carry less stuff or put things in a separate bag; but I don't like doing either.  Nor does it help that I hate putting my wallet in a back pocket. 

Any suggestions?  Or will I have to choose between being overheated but dressy in a jacket or cooler but casual in cargo shorts?

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Although opinions vary on this site, I often carry either a small back-pack or a messenger/computer bag. Let the man purse bashing begin. Again!
I'm personally not a fan, but I certainly wouldn't condemn them as "unmanly".  It has been my observation that they look only as bad as the rest of the personal appearance.  If you're decked out in cheap KMart flip-flops, baggy shorts and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off,  you could be sporting the classiest of accessories and will still look a bit slovenly.

< sarcasm > Is there something about Virginia we should be aware of?  I'm just noting the need to carry a 380 pistol and extra rounds. <end sarcasm>


I think your best option is a small computer/messenger bag.  You may find one set up for specifically carrying your pistol or be able to modify a pock to suit.

I carry an messenger bag to work.  When we are out and about we use one for our toddler.  We call it our "jump bag".  As in we can jump in the car and have everything we need till bed time for him.

I live in Northern Virginia and have a concealed carry permit for that state.  It does not allow me to carry in DC or Maryland.  If you don't like it, well, that's your opinion and I won't argue about it here.


As for a bag, I could look into the smaller Saddleback bags or something similar.  I love my large laptop bag, but I hardly want to carry it everywhere when I just want a bit more storage for small items.

Sorry if my sarcasm read like I did not approve of you having a concealed carry permit.  I figured you did it legally based on your post.  It is why I did the

"<sarcasm>" part.

I haven't, though some of the tactical cargo pants I have worn are closer to that.  Thanks for the suggestion.


Overall it seems that I either need to make my peace with some sort of bag (likely a smaller, lighter one than I normally use and am currently adverse to dumping pocket detritus into) or some pants with extra pockets.

I face the same issues as you, except I carry a Glock 32 with extra mag most days (sometimes a Ruger LCP), knife, small flashlight, wallet, keys, and now 2 cell phones (one for work, am trying to consolidate to one). I live in TN. Sometimes you just have to decide what you can do without. I always have one of the guns, one knife, wallet, flashlight and phone, and often the other items depending upon my dress. You may have to do without the ear buds and pocketwatch unless you have on a jacket, maybe just going to a wristwatch? Just a thought, but you will probably need to pare down a little.

An excellent thought, however a relative of mine carried almost as much stuff on his person back in the late 1920s & the 1930s.  He was in law enforcement, and save the personal electronics and cell phones, he carried roughly the same amount of stuff as the OP.  His solution?  Same as just about every other guy of his generation.  You wore a suit and tie or at least a jacket and long-sleeved shirt all the time.  This was in Northern California...not quite as humid as the Washington DC area, but Summer and early Autumn temperatures always in the 90's & low 100's.

Ask yourself this one question.

How did your grandfathers & great grandfathers manage wearing long sleeved shirts and coats during the Summer?

Look at the old photos, you'll see very few men who aren't wearing suits or a jacket and pants.

I personally do not like carrying a bag. I end up carrying everything in my trouser/pant pockets.  Right front - Wallet and ipod

Left front - Handkerchief, loose change, keys

Rear left - Spare handkerchief, gum.

Pockets do bulge but l would rather that than take a bag.

Utilikilt + Sporran with holster in it.

I am running into this problem, too. It's not getting hot at the high latitudes I inhabit, but it's getting warm enough to go out without a jacket and I'm taking advantage of it.

One thing that I have not seen suggested thus far is belt clips/holsters. You can get belt holsters for your cell phone, firearm & mags, and pocket knife and probably plenty of other things. It looks more pro/mature than cargos, although if you have too much gear hanging off your belt you might not dig that look either. But it could get at least one thing out of your pockets.

Maybe pack lighter; not necessarily fewer items but slimmer versions of the ones you do carry. For example, a smaller pocket knife, a money clip instead of a full-blown wallet, fewer keys on your keychain, and maybe the extra mag for your 380 isn't necessary. I'm not trying to be a douche; maybe you do need all the credit cards, keys, and ammo you can carry. But I find myself accumulating more things than I really need to get me through the day and hauling them around and occasionally benefit from a slimming-down session.

You could bite the bullet and switch to a wristwatch for summer days and hang your shades from your shirt or on top of your head. Your handkerchief or something like that (notebook, whatever) could go in your breast pocket if you have shirt pockets. 

Other than that, cave to the manpurse, or figure out what stuff you can ditch...maybe you could leave your headphones in the car/desk/whatever when they're not in your ears? 

Apologies for the random stream of consciousness, just through stuff out there to see what sticks. 


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