Mobile kit: Summer 2012 edition

I work all over the place and my mobile gear has never been smaller and lighter. It's never been so powerful and functional, either.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
JK Mobile Kit

My mobile kit is an active one and changes all the time. With my recent move into an urban setting it has changed completely. What I carry now on a daily basis is similar to my kit for more extended trips. It is all designed to keep me working no matter where I might land.

This look at what's in my gear bag is inspired by a great look back by colleague Mary Branscombe. Her detailed look at her mobile gear past and present was surprising to me in how much my own mobile kit over the years looked a lot like Mary's.

The old HP tc1100 Tablet PC followed by the HP 2710p were mainstays in my previous career as a consulting geophysicist. The pen and keyboard were both supported wonderfully by those two devices which logged tens of thousands of miles (and words) for me as they did Mary.

Today my mobile kit has shrunk a great deal but my ability to do my job has not been affected a bit. For business trips, which are becoming much rarer for me than in the past, my old MacBook comes along. It lets me do everything I need for my blogging work while remaining thin if not light.


Accompanying the MacBook on trips is the third generation iPad with one keyboard case or another. I use the iPad largely in a tablet mode but can turn on the keyboard when needed to get real work done.

Along with the MacBook and iPad my Verizon mobile hotspot (Samsung) sits in a tiny pocket in the bag to keep me with 3G/4G connectivity. My iPad also has 4G connectivity so the mobile hotspot is more for hotel connectivity with the MacBook than anything.

Living in an urban setting currently I find myself working all over the place. When I head out the door in the morning the MacBook stays behind on my desk. It's never left my apartment, matter of fact.

The iPad and keyboard case come with me now in a little gear bag. It is all I need to work anywhere, from comfy coffee shops to sidewalk cafes. I can pop out the iPad and be working with fast LTE connectivity in seconds.

Since it arrived the Nexus 7 comes along in a thin pocket on the bag just because it's so small it is no trouble to bring. I grab it instead of the iPad when I plan to go online to do research. It is comfortable to use for extended periods and works extremely well.

The mobile hotspot no longer comes along on my daily trips, as the iPad can serve as a mobile hotspot for the Nexus 7 and the iPhone should no hotspot be found. With fast 4G LTE, the iPad can serve as a mobile hotpost for up to 24 hours. That's the longest-lived mobile hotspot around.

My kit is getting smaller and smaller which is only appropriate for mobile gear. Small and light beats big and heavy every time in my book. My work is of a type that this kit serves well but it's not for everybody. I'm lucky it does, I admit.

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