Disclaimer:, The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and I’m not getting paid or compensated for anything.
A number of friends having been posting about what they pack into their work travel backpack lately. Since I started traveling frequently with Microsoft I’ve been slowly gathering various pieces of equipment for my own backpack. I’m at a fairly stable point and felt ready to share my list. Note that my backpack is intended for a heavy amount of week long travel with a somewhat hefty laptop (below) and versatile equipment for numerous scenarios I can’t always predict. If you travel frequently feel free to borrow any ideas or leave your recommendations in the comments below.
|Swiss Gear Legacy Notebook Backpack (up to 15.6” laptop)
I debated between a number of different bags but decided on this one as it is TSA approved (no need to take laptop out, saves me time and hassle in airport security line) and I have a number of other Swiss Gear, made by Wenger, travel cases or luggage. After months of use this is the best purchase I’ve made in past year. I would call this a must buy!
|Lenovo w520 Laptop
Company provided. It sports an i7, 16 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, 15.6” screen, smart card reader, Bluetooth, built-in webcam / microphone, extended battery (5-10 hrs depending on usage), and keyboard light. I’ve also replaced the DVD drive with a 2nd hard drive: Momentus XT hybrid drive 1st gen (thanks Dan Usher for recommend). It packs a good punch for its size but is still heavier than most.
This nifty little device plugs into an outlet and claims to store up to 4 full phone recharges. It has 2 USB plugs to charge whatever devices you need. I’ve found it useful a couple of times so far with the only downside being how large it is and the need to remember to plug it in ahead of time.
|Plantronics Voyageur Pro UC
One of the best Bluetooth earpieces I’ve used. It is compatible with Microsoft Lync (which I use regularly) and has an optional USB dongle (shown) in case your laptop doesn’t support Bluetooth. Lasts a good 6+ hrs of talk time and much longer in standby.
|iHome Rechargeable Mini Speakers
A fellow PFE pointed me to these. They recharge through a USB cable and pump out great, clear sound despite their small size. Many times when I need to play video with sound a training room won’t have speakers (or poor quality ones). These more than make up for that. Picked mine up at Target for fairly cheap.
|Microsoft Arc Mouse
My trusty Microsoft Arc Mouse is compact (folds up), light, and lasts for months before needing to change batteries. It’s also one of the few travel mice that fits my larger hands. I don’t yet have a “presenter” mouse / pointer but this fills that role as necessary.
|3M Privacy Filter 15.6”
I’m in airports and public places frequently. It’s an added feeling of security not having nosey people looking over my shoulder at what I’m working on, especially if it is sensitive internal or customer information.
I actually repurposed a neoprene case that a set of headphones came in for my cable bag. It has a zipper, is compact, and stretches slightly due to the neoprene. Simple and perfect for the job.
I carry a couple different cables to be prepared when customer / conference doesn’t have them. VGA to VGA, 7ft Cat-5, DisplayPort to HDMI (Lenovo w520 has DisplayPort out), USB to mini-USB (2 of them), USB 3.0, and backup USB smart card reader.
|Skullcandy 2011 Ink’d Green/Black
Best set of in-ear headphones I’ve bought for under $25. They have decent amount of passive noise cancellation that helps for sleeping on planes, are quite comfortable, and produce great sound. Even come with 3 sets of rubber tips for different size ears. Make sure to try out each as you’ll notice big difference between them.
|External HD & USB thumb drives
I have a spare USB 3.0 external hard drive that I carry. It’s for time when I need to transfer large amounts of data from one machine to another locally but that hasn’t been a need recently. As for the thumb drives these things are so cheap I carry 4 or 5 I’ve collected over the years. Some are BitLocker-ed and some not.
|Snacks, gum, etc..
Too many times I’ve missed meals while in a mad rush during travel or working late. I carry nutritious snacks like fruit strips, granola bars, and protein bars to tide me over until next meal.
I did leave off a couple of things, notably my phone which you can read about here along with my Windows Phone 7 app recommendations.
Thanks for reading. Safe and enjoyable travels to you as well.