NPR Training
Storytelling tips and best practices

What's in your bag, Leigh Paterson?

The tools we carry around on a daily basis can say a lot about what we do, how and where we work — even our personalities. What’s in your bag? is a new regular series about the tools used by people in public media. We all use the basics, but the way we personalize our kits is where things get interesting — and where we can learn from each other.

In our first post of the series, Inside Energy‘s Leigh Paterson opens her bag for us. Beyond the microphones and recorder are items unique to her experience working in Wyoming and Colorado: year-round sunscreen, twist ties, a big ugly coat (with a purpose) and more!

What's in your bag, Leigh Patterson?

I have two kits. The first is an Amazon Basics backpack for when I’m shooting video and collecting audio. I’ve had the backpack for five years — it isn’t fancy but is a great price and durable. I also have a brand-new Timbuktu messenger bag just big enough for radio equipment, but I haven’t put that through its paces yet.

Leigh Paterson in her “massive, ugly coat,” surprised by the -14 F reading on her car’s thermometer before stepping out to record. (Photo courtesy of Leigh Paterson)

For audio stories, I’ll take along:

  • Marantz PMD661 audio recorder (plus charging cable)
  • Sony MDR-7506 headphones
  • earbuds (because the Sony 7506 headphones don’t fit under a hardhat, which is a frequent need for me)
  • Sennheiser ME66 shotgun mic
  • Sennheiser MD46 dynamic handheld mic
  • K-Tek K-HG 6 hand grip
  • XLR cables
  • iPhone charging cable
  • rechargeable Eneloop batteries
  • regular batteries
  • Canon PowerShot G15 (plus battery charger)
  • Manfrotto 209 tabletop tripod

If I’m working with video, I’ll add:

  • Sony NXCAM camera
  • Sennheiser EW100 G3 wireless kit

Odds & Ends:

  • Toe warmers — a MUST HAVE. I work outside all year long and it can get pretty cold here. I have trouble doing my job if my feet are frozen. It’s hard to record stand-ups with chattering teeth!
  • Stick sunscreen — another MUST HAVE. The sun is strong out here, even in the winter, so I apply sunscreen all day. Stick sunscreen not only doubles as chap-stick but also doesn’t get my hands and gear all greasy.
  • My massive, ugly coat. It is warm and has big pockets for cords, cameras and granola bars. Plus, it makes a great voice booth when I have to track in the car.
  • Schumacher 750W power converter in the car for keeping phones and laptops going (see photo below).
  • Twist ties. I use these for everything from keeping my cords organized to fixing a broken shoe lace.
  • Trail mix
  • Instant coffee
  • Business cards
  • Reporter notebook & pens
  • Hat

A Schumacher 750W power converter for keeping laptops and other devices running in the car. (Photos courtesy of Leigh Patterson)

Whose bag should we open next? Let us know at trainingteam@npr.org or on Twitter!