I have really grown fond of the Air Chart Systems VFR Sectional Atlas because it is small, all of the charts are in one place, and it reduces the amount of time I spend zooming in and out on the Garmin 496 screen to see what is coming up next. In other words, it helps me keep my eyes out the window better. The only downside is the $140 price for the two books covering the US. You get regular updates to keep it valid for a year. I can also highlight airports and make comments that won't be lost when I throw out an old chart.
Some of you will note my messy cockpit, sorry dude! Most items are in the blue bag beside me but I keep the beef jerky, snacks, water, and Gatorade in easy reach. I put everything in the blue bag and buckle it in for take offs and landings.