What's In Your Bag, Nancy Nally?

Most of the time, I’m hauling a bag for one of two reasons. Either I’m around town and taking my computer with me to get some work done, or I’m traveling to conferences and events, something I do a couple of times a year.

Around town I carry more basic kit, of course: usually, just my computer, power cord and surge protector. But when I’m traveling, the kit gets more complicated.

The Bags


Yes, bags is plural. For flying, I use a Kata Digital Rucksack. It holds all my digital gear and still fits under the seat of a 757 for security and easy access. Once on-site, I use a rolling bag. (When flying, the backpack is my “laptop bag” and the rolling bag is my “carry on” item.) My current roller is a Targus, and will be until I find the budget for the Jill-E bag I covet. For day trips, I have a Timbuk2 Hacker bag, a vertical messenger bag that also has tuck-away backpack straps.

The Basics


The two devices that I take on the road are my 13” white MacBook (s aapl) and my 8GB iPhone 3G. I have to agree with Imran; I have also questioned my laptop choice. I was torn between the MacBook and the MacBook Air when I bought my laptop. Several times since when I’ve been toting the MacBook I’ve wondered if I should have chosen the MacBook Air instead. The iPhone has proven itself an invaluable purchase that I’ve never questioned.

The Gadgets

My bag ends up stuffed with all sorts of peripherals and extra gadgets. The line-up changes but a few are constants.

  • Surge Protector. I use a three-outlet portable surge protector by Belkin that also has USB outlets on it.
  • Portable Hard Drive. Especially if I’m taking a lot of pictures, I like to back up new files while traveling.
  • Ear Buds. Sometimes, I just want to plug in my iPhone and tune out while traveling.
  • Battery Pack. My iPhone battery pack by Kensington doesn’t get used often, but when it does, it is a lifesaver.
  • Ethernet Cable. Sometimes you get better access by plugging in (and sometimes, it’s the only kind of access available). Even in places that provide cables, I’ve encountered broken ones.

Other items (not pictured) include charging and power cables for my gadgets.

The Camera


Traveling with a dSLR really increases the amount of gear that I have to carry, as Simon described in his gear bag. My basic camera kit for traveling includes my Canon Digital Rebel XS with 18-55mm lens. Then there’s the battery charger, my SD card reader, a Spudz microfiber cloth and Nikon lens pen, and a Tamrac wallet containing extra SD cards and my back-up battery. Sometimes I’ll also carry my 75-300mm or 50mm lens.

My camera equipment is either carried in my Kata Digital Rucksack, a Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4, or in a Tamrac Aero Zoom 25, inside another bag. (Yes, bags is plural again.)

The Non-Gadgets

Nancys-NonGadgetsThere are a few non-gadget necessities in my traveling bag when I’m on the road:

  • Business Cards. Full-sized and mini Moo cards so I can make new friends and update old ones.
  • Moleskine and Pen. Sometimes nothing can replace pen and paper for scribbling quick notes. Yes, that flowery thing in the middle is really a Moleskine Cahier. I own a scrapbooking web site, so I decorated it.
  • Zip-Away Tote. It seems that I can’t go to an event without coming home with more than I started with. Hauling catalogs and swag is easy with my Timbuk2 Hidden Tote.

I’m on a never-ending quest for the perfect bag. What’s your road gear quest?