Day trips: What I carry in the gear bag

I work all over town on a regular basis, and my gear is carefully selected to work all day without compromise.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor on

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.

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