Day trips: What's in my gear bag (2012 edition)

Summary:The end of the year is nigh and that means it is time to share what I carry with me on my frequent day trips. This year has seen a complete change over the gear I used last year.

JK Kit 1

As one who works at home I make it a priority to frequently get out of the home office and out in the real world. It keeps me from being too isolated, a common problem for those who work at home.

Making day trips productive means carrying the right mix of gear in the bag. I have to be able to get everything done no matter what may arise, and without compromise. I also insist that my gear last all day away from a power outlet as I hate to weigh the bag down with chargers. Since I often head out in the morning and don't get back home until late in the day I need to trust my gadgets to last.

Before I get into describing the gear, it's worth taking a look at my gear bag from a year ago. It gives an indication of how the mobile space as evolved as my current mobile kit has completely changed from last year. Even the bag has changed to fit the new gear.

indy-bag-front

1. The bag I use on day trips is the Indy Bag (reviewed here) from SFBags. Everything fits in this little bag with no extra space at all, which I like. I want my total kit to be as small as possible while having everything conveniently at hand, and the Indy Bag does that perfectly.

samsung-chromebook-v1

2. My mobile work system is the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook ( reviewed here ). I spend all of my time in the Chrome browser and this Chromebook is perfect. It gets phenomenal battery life, offers great performance, and allows me to do everything I need. There is a newer Samsung Chromebook ( reviewed here ) which would also work well but I own the 550 so that's what I use every day.

iPad mni

3. I often work in places that don't have a comfortable place to use a laptop, so a tablet makes more sense for doing online research and similar tasks. The iPad mini ( reviewed here ) goes in the gear bag due to its small size and integrated 4G LTE on the Verizon network. It fits in a pocket on the Indy Bag and adds little bulk to the daily kit. I can use it anywhere due to the 4G, and just as importantly I use it as a mobile hotspot for the Chromebook if Wi-Fi is not available. The battery life of the iPad mini is outstanding and I can leave it in the bag and easily get over 15 hours of LTE hotspot usage. It serves double duty well: tablet for online research and hotspot for all the other gear when required.

That's the total kit I use on a daily basis. It's small and light yet powerful enough to do everything all day. Of course I carry one smartphone or another with me, either the iPhone 4S or the Nexus S 4G Android phone. I don't use the phone for work stuff, since getting the iPad mini I pretty much just use the smartphone for phone calls and occassional email.

It's worth noting that while this is my daily mobile gear it's also what I take on short business trips. In years past I used different gear on day trips than I took on extended trips. I wanted to keep the day bag as light as possible so I used devices that weren't powerful enough to serve on trips. That made it necessary to have other gadgets that served for business trips.

My current kit serves all of my needs in town and on longer trips, a sign of how much better mobile devices are getting each year.

As is always the case with mobile technology, this kit is not for everyone. It works well for me but each individual must find the best gear to do what needs to be done on a daily basis.

Topics: Mobility, iPad, iPhone, Laptops

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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