Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

Summary: I work all over town on a regular basis, and my gear is carefully selected to work all day without compromise.


The Gear of ZDNet series was a good opportunity to find out what mobile gear the tech-savvy folks at ZDNet use regularly. It has prompted a lot of questioning about the mobile gear I am using currently, especially for short day trips. That means it is time for me to open my gear bag and spill the contents.

I work mobile frequently, and the fact no one can tell where I am at a given moment is a testament to how well my mobile gear works. My philosophy with trips, especially short ones during the day, is to keep is simple. That philosophy starts with the gear bag and extends to the accessories I carry to get the job done.

1. The gear bag I use (photo at right) for day trips is the iPad Travel Express bag from Waterfield Designs. It is the smallest, thinnest and lightest bag I have, yet it carries exactly what I need in an organized way that facilitates getting at my gear. I reviewed this bag earlier this year, although I have changed tablets since that review.

2. The primary computer, and yes it is a computer, that comes with me on day trips is the iPad 2. The iPad is a serious writing machine as I have recently detailed, and I give up nothing by bringing it and leaving the laptop at home. I am currently using the Logitech Keyboard Case with the iPad to turn it into a workhorse, but will soon be trying the Logitech Fold-up Keyboard case and the ZAGGfolio. Any of these keyboard/cases should fit easily in the Waterfield bag for transport. While some folks give me a hard time for carrying a keyboard that is a "second piece", the fact is the iPad 2 transports as a single piece with any one of these keyboards.

3. The iPad 2 is a Wi-Fi model, so to make sure I have high-speed connectivity around town I carry the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot from Verizon in one of the bag's pockets. This gives me broadband speeds no matter where I work around town, as the Verizon LTE coverage is quite good. I can get 4 - 5 hours out of the hotspot on LTE, so if I plan longer work sessions than that I throw the little power adapter in the bag. I rarely have to do that.

4. I also throw a Bluetooth stereo headset in the bag, and that is now the Motorola S10-HD. I often listen to music when working in noisy venues to block noise, and the S10-HD also works as a phone headset with my iPhone 4S. I make sure to step outside when I make a call in coffee shops so I don't disturb others working.

That's all I carry for these short day trips. The battery life on the iPad 2 can go all day so I don't carry any power adapters in the bag. Just the one piece iPad/keyboard, the hotspot and the headset, which I often just wear. It's simple, small and weighs next to nothing. Never before has my total kit been so small, so light, and so capable.

Topics: iPad, Hardware, iPhone, Laptops, Tablets, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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  • Sounds similar to mine

    WiFi iPad 2 with Logitech Zagg keyboard
    iPhone 4
    eInk Kindle (since iPad is such a horrifically bad eReader)

    Everything fits in a very small bag. Works great for me.
    • ZDNet: your forum software is so bad

      When I add the following line to my post above, the entire post gets deleted:
      Ear bud wired headphones (I'm still not convinced that good portable stereo bluetooth headphones have been manufactured by anybody yet)
  • RE: Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

    That's a sweet setup James - I especially like the thin and small gear bag. My work requirements are somewhat more meaty, however, requiring the full PC experience:

    My mobile "kit" consists first of the Solo TCA 511-4 netbook case. Aimed squarely at 10.1" netbooks, but big enough to take a 11.6", this bag fits my HP 210 Mini perfectly, holds a ton of accessories thanks to multiple compartments, and folds flat for TSA screening. It's the smallest yet most roomy bag I've even seen, barely bigger than what some would consider a traditional camera case.

    My workhorse comes in the form of HP's 10" 210 Mini netbook. Useful in more than 101 undeniable ways, this $400 full-PC platform gives me the total productivity and entertainment experience, without compromising mobility.

    Rounding out my accessory selection I have Logitech's m570 wireless trackball. Better than any trackpad or trackstick, this device provides an unparalleled level of comfort, ergonomics, performance and precision, never mind letting me fly through my work faster than using any mouse.

    Connectivity for me would come from an Apollo hotspot courtesy of Clearwire. $50/month for unlimited 4G, without data caps or overage charges, is an unbeatable deal. Considering that I tether a netbook/notebook daily, and can easily eat through 30GB in any given month, this alternative to antique DSL makes the most sense.
    • RE: Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

      @lgpOnTheMove Very nice setup. What's your next netbook going to be, you think?
      • RE: Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

        @JamesKendrick Thanks! You pose the million dollar question, though - I'm having such a blast with the Atom N570 right now you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands...

        I've always focused towards performance and mobility, making the 10" form-factor my personal favorite over the bigger dm1. I'm not looking to trade up for a good while yet, but I do plan to swap the hard drive for a SSD in 2012.

        If I had to recommend a 10", it would be a refresh HP 210 Mini with Cedar Trail N2800. A 400% boost in GPU performance while maintaining that 10" footprint is good.
        If I had to recommend a 11.6", I'd go for a HP dm1 with ULV Sandy Bridge. Quick sync functionality alone is worth it.
  • RE: Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

    carry similar set up ipad2 and verizon 4g hotspot

    also have rite in rain field notebook and cover, stylus, fine pen for forms, writing pen for signing, pencil for notes, lead, three flashe drives, 4sevens quark tactical 208 lumen led flash light, emergency confort kit containg some small insant coffee, gatorade, alka setlzer, and various over counter remedies, micro swiss army knife

    also my jframe airweight s&w .38 revolver

    guess my hood rougher than yours...