What's in Your Bag, Meryl K. Evans?


I don’t travel much, mostly just going to Fort Worth, Texas, about an hour away and where I was born and bred, to visit family. If I stay overnight, I pack up my work. When I manage to get out of the Fort Worth area, I tend to end up in Austin. It’s a popular place for conferences. Though I carry more gear for these trips, I try to pack as lightly as possible.

Meryl's Bag

The Bag

Years ago, I bought an expensive backpack on a friend’s recommendation and regretted it because it offered nothing special. I now have a cheaper Samsonite backpack that’s comfortable and works just as well as the pricey one. The only complaint I have is that it doesn’t hold water bottles very well. The backpack has plenty of pockets and zippers to keep things organized.

The Laptop

I use the Fujitsu Lifebook E8210 laptop as much as my desktop. As a games reviewer, I play games on the laptop instead of my desktop. I don’t need the temptation to play games when sitting in my home office, working. I reserve game time for the afternoons and evenings when the kids are at home, as interruptions don’t affect my work.

My previous laptop, now in the hands of the 6-year-old, had a huge screen that made it feel like it weighed 20 pounds, so I’ve sacrificed the larger screen for something lighter. Alas, the battery on the Fujitsu is dead, requiring it be plugged in at all times. This sounds like no big deal, but all the boys in the family (hubby included) trip over the cord, unplugging the adapter.

The Phone

I dumped the Sidekick (it had the best keyboard, but terrible service and features) for the BlackBerry Curve (s rimm) to keep me connected with friends, clients and family. Not only does the Curve have a real keyboard (as opposed to the iPhone’s (s aapl) onscreen keyboard), but also has the best email system I’ve seen on a phone. My family has several BlackBerrys and iPhones, so I’ve tried them all. Being deaf, I depend on a phone’s instant messaging, text and email applications. The BlackBerry does a better job of providing these while allowing me to work faster. The iPhone is sleek, but not as efficient in meeting my needs.

For chatting with family, I rely on Google Talk (s goog). I use the BlackBerry’s built-in email and SMS applications. I also have the Google applications for maps and email. Although I don’t need a headset, I sort of have one in my cochlear implant. I don’t feel self-conscious about the cochlear implant thanks to the growing popularity of headsets.

The Camera

UB Card ReaderThe portable Canon PowerShot SD550 has it all: it’s lightweight, takes high-quality images and the ability to capture videos. The only complaint is it doesn’t do a great job of taking action photos, a big thing when you have kids. Otherwise, it’s a great camera for the web worker who doesn’t need to worry about shooting sporting and other fast-moving events. I bring my USB card reader when I bring a camera so I can easily download photos to the laptop.

The Tunes

Car trips were never popular with me since childhood. Then I found that an iPod was a way to ease the pain, especially when I discovered the iPod’s lyrics feature. I have a second-generation iPod Touch.

I also still have my second-generation red iPod Nano. I love the feel, color and portability of it. The iPod Nano is my companion when I do the driving since my car comes with a MP3 player connection.

The Essential Leftovers

All the charging cables come with me including the camera’s backup battery and portable charger. The lightweight Logitech VX Nano Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks is a lifesaver when it comes to playing games on the laptop. Its receiver barely sticks out of the back of the laptop’s USB port, so I never have to remove it. I also carry a USB drive with Roboform2Go installed to avoid driving myself crazy with remembering passwords.

LapdeskAnother essential is Lapworks Laptop Desk. It absorbs the heat from the laptop instead of my legs, contains an adjustable incline for comfort and comes with a cover that works great as a mouse pad. The stand folds almost flat for easy carrying in the backpack.

What’s in your bag?


Meryl Evans

@Katybeth, the things we take for granted — we don’t realize what people would like to know as it might help them. It’s not like most of us learn organization in school (aside from organizing our papers).

@Jonpeltier, lots of people have stuff like you do and much more. My daughter is one of them. That’s why I don’t go near her things. We’re the opposite in this way.


I keep hoping nobody cares what’s in my bag. When I take out the laptop, there are loads of cables and connectors of various sorts. A USB hub and a USB powered clip-on light. Pens and pencils and pads of paper and of sticky notes. Lots of binder clips. Some ear buds I’ve never used but might some day. Business cards, napkins, some old half empty packs of gum, a ruler, a couple books, some old CDs.

Man, what a mess.


I really enjoy these posts. I like seeing what others find helpful and how they organize it. Thank you.

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