If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?

Credit cards to everyplace that sells physical possessions? I kid, I kid.

First things first, a photo from my wedding, a photo of my wife, a photo of my parents, and a photo of my sister, all laminated against spills and tears.

Next, my laptop computer and wireless mouse. This covers all my entertainment needs, most of my social needs, and the vast majority of my working needs; though a printer hookup would definitely be choice. If by “from your life” you mean “forever,” well, I’m more than a little hosed; so let’s aim for a small portable printer as well.

Secondly, a selection of pens and my Leuchtturm 1917 paper journal. This keeps me sane, together, and focused. It’s my to-do list and my aspirations.

Thirdly, my cellphone and Kindle. Yeah, the tablet’s kind of redundant to the laptop, but it’s less than book-sized. Oh, and chargers for all electronics, obviously.
Two changes of underwear, one change of pants, one change of socks, and three shirts all in a gilly roll at the bottom of the backpack. Razor, soap, deodorant stone, shampoo, conditioner, hair product (my little secret) and electric trimmer. As my buddy Ben once pointed out, I believe neatly groomed facial hair is key to the Kingdom of Heaven.

I mean, there’s not much else I need. This is basically what I carry to and from the office every day.

That said, I’m assuming climate won’t be an issue. If so, a good coat is probably going to take up the rest of this backpack.

By the same token, if we’re talking serious post-apocalypse, throw out ALL the electronics, ain’t gonna need them. Replace them with the complete works of William Shakespeare and Dashiell Hammet. The rest of the backpack’s a good sized multi-knife, a mess of canned food, a can opener, mess kit and water purifier, and a tarpaulin for sleeping. Plus a guide to edible flora in the area, as I’m likely going vegetarian. I’d be a lousy hunter.