What’s in your geek bag?

I travel quite a bit for geek work. I spend way too much time on Alaska Airlines planes and in Marriott hotel rooms. Over the years, lots of very smart co-workers (and fellow travelers) have taught me a lot about what to pack in my geek bag.

I try to be very prepared for travel drama: the 3-day trip that turns into a 5-day trip; the random Spring blizzard; the bored waiting for a delayed flight hellscape; the back of the Uber presentation/demo to a key customer; you get the idea.

I like to pack quality gear and I like to pack it the same way every time in my geek bag. I want to be able to quickly find my cable or device without having to dig around in my bag. Sometimes when I’m super tired, I just don’t have the energy to dig around in my geek bag. Also, I find that when I pack everything the same way every time, I tend to lose less gear!

Here’s my typical bag contents:

  • EBags model 5808, laptop backpack
  • Cocoon Grid (for cable management) – https://tinyurl.com/y56rqdtf
  • Laptop (MBP 13”)
  • Apple iPad Pro
  • Anker Portable Battery – https://tinyurl.com/y24bggzm
  • Google Pixel Buds Pro
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise-canceling headphones (amazing)
  • Logitech Spotlight Remote – https://tinyurl.com/y6qtg6nf
  • Compact Travel Surge Protector with USB ports – https://tinyurl.com/3p5pdhrt
  • Small cloth bag with 4 different colors of dry-erase markers (for whiteboards)
  • HDMI display adapter for my laptop
  • 2 charge cables for IPAD (1 usb, 1 usb-c)
  • 2 charge cables for phone (1 usb, 1 usb-c)
  • 12V cigarette lighter USB for rental car
  • 2 x 256 thumb drives (usb, usb-c)
  • Laptop power supply
  • Lens cleaning cloth
  • Sunglasses
  • Small LED headlamp
  • Wallet
  • Corporate Badge (as needed)
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Business cards
  • Tile Pro – hidden in my bag (small insurance policy for stolen bag)
  • Cliff Bar or Kind Bar (never know when you’re going to miss breakfast or lunch)
  • 2 packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee (b/c you never know)
  • Optional / I don’t always bring:
  • Microsoft Bluetooth Arc Mouse (I don’t bring this often, but it is pretty sweet)
  • Pill bottle with (Ibuprofen, immodium, tums, pepto)
  • Double wall water bottle

About bags for work travel:

If you travel for work regularly and especially if you travel by air and/or train – make sure to invest in the highest quality luggage that you can afford. Cheap bags will fail on you when you need them the most. Look for luggage sales, especially during holiday sales at major department stores. Read as many bag reviews as you can.