What's In Your Bag?

I’m always curious to see what gear other web workers take with them when they’re on the road, so I thought I’d get the WWD bloggers to share the contents of their bags, and hopefully readers can weigh in with rundowns of theirs as well.

I’ve started by laying out what I carry. The requirements I have for my gear are simple: It needs to be durable and light enough for easier lugging, but powerful enough for me to be able to get my work done on the road.

The gear I usually take to conferences

The gear I usually take to conferences

The Bag

Having a decent bag is vital. It needs to be sturdy enough to protect your gear, while at the same time being lightweight and not taking up too much space. I like backpacks, as they are more comfortable and leave your arms free.

I have two great bags for my gear; my choice of which one to use depends on whether I’m taking my camera and lenses with me or not.

Crumpler Salary Sacrifice

Crumpler Salary Sacrifice

On the rare occasions I decide not to lug my camera, my bag of choice is the excellent Crumpler Salary Sacrifice. It contains a removable laptop sleeve that perfectly fits my laptop.

Most times, though, particularly when traveling to conferences, I will take my camera and lenses, so I need a bag that can comfortably and safely store all of my photo gear. Enter the excellent CompuTrekker AW from Lowepro. It’s sturdy and has movable, velcro-secured padded inserts to make compartments for all of my photo gear. It also has a separate, padded compartment in which to store the laptop, and a big pocket on the front where I can store other travel essentials. It’s a surprisingly roomy bag — even after storing all of my gear I usually have space left over for other stuff, despite it being small enough to meet the size restrictions for carry-on luggage. The “AW” in the name means “all weather” — the bag has a nifty rain cover hidden in the bottom so you can protect your gear from the elements. I took all my equipment, including my laptop, trekking around Sri Lanka in this bag and everything came back in one piece.

The Laptop

My laptop is the no-longer-available Dell XPS M1210. It has served me very well, although it’s getting a¬†little old (the current version is the XPS M1330). It’s a great little laptop because with a 12.1-inch screen it’s small and light and therefore very portable, but it’s also reasonably powerful and can do everything that I need it to while on the road. I have two 6-cell battery packs, so can get a lot of work done without needing to find a power outlet. Even though it’s been battered quite a bit, it’s proved to be a very durable machine. The only other bit of computer equipment I take with me is the laptop’s power brick.

When I get around to replacing this machine, I will go for another small, 12- or 13-inch laptop, probably a MacBook.

The Phone

I always carry my iPhone. It’s great for those moments when I don’t want to pull the laptop out of the bag just to do some on-the-fly Twittering or quickly check my email. I always have to make an effort remember to take the USB lead, though, as the phone’s poor battery life means that it doesn’t last very long if I forget!

My photo gear inside my Lowepro bag

My photo gear inside my Lowepro bag

The Photo Gear

My camera is the Canon Digital Rebel XT. Although it’s a few years old now and the casing is quite worn, it’s still going strong. The lenses I take with me depend on what I’m planning on shooting, but typically for a conference I take my Canon 70-200mm f4 L zoom lens in order to shoot high-quality photos of speakers from a distance, and a large aperture Canon 50mm f1.8 lens for portraits and low-light photos. I have a Canon Speedlite flash for lighting. I also usually take a lightweight Manfrotto tripod that I can strap to by bag. Also essential — spare battery, charger and plenty of memory cards.

What’s in your bag?

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