The electronics I travel with allow me to run a business (not to mention have a lot of fun while doing it) from anywhere in the world. Being so mobile though means the gadgets I carry have to be portable, powerful, plus durable. Reliability is also important which is why I often use electronics that are one, if not more, model behind the latest version.
Frequent travelers often have to make some compromises with their technology, sometimes exchanging power for reliability, plus at the same keeping in mind that shiny scuffs fast and gravity loves to show off on hard airport floors. When I am in one place long enough, I use and test a lot of products sent to me and out of pocket, to find the travel-tech-sweet-spot for common gear so you don’t have to.
Here’s a look at all the electronics that have made it into my backpack in the photo above that yes, all fit into one ScanSmart 1900 carry-on bag.
Laptop: Macbook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015): 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7; 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 memory; 500GB SSD; AMD Radeon R9 M370X
- Recommended Laptop Cover: Incase Icon Sleeve
- Mouse: Genius Wired Optical Mouse
- Webcam Stickers: EFF Laptop Camera Cover Set
- External Hard Drive: Seagate 4TB Backup Plus
- USB Hub (To Add More Ports): HooToo Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Main Video Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds
As I mention in the video above, the main weakness of the point and shoot Lumix I carry, is the video quality. For the price, the Panasonic Lumix G85 is the best 4K camera (that records without time limits as many 4K cameras have) in a mirror-less body that’s smaller than a standard DSLR.
- Recommended SD Card: 32GB SanDisk SDHC
- Case: No link for the case, just a cheap one I grabbed at a shop somewhere.
On top of the Lumix G85, I’m using a Rode VideoMicro for recording audio and an Aputure AL-M9 Amaran LED Light when needed. When I need to use both at the same time, the Movo Photo HVA20 Dual Shoe Bracket does the job well.
- For sports, I use these extremely durable but inexpensive TaoTronics TT-BH06 BL Bluetooth Wireless Earphones.
Phone (Daily Driver): iPhone 6s (64 GB)/Space Grey
I also travel with a Nexus 5X, primarily because it’s stock Android and gets updates from Google before most other phones, making it ideal for testing development versions of my WiFox and DroneMate apps. Speaking of app development, I also carry an iPhone 5s, 5, and 4s, all for app testing.
Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
- Recommended accessories: Case for DJI Mavic Remote Controller (Altura Small Neoprene Pouch Bag); DJI Mavic Aircraft Sleeve For Drone; Soft Case to hold both Mavic and remote controller (SwissGear Hanging Toiletry Kit – I know it sounds odd but it fits the Mavic and remote with their cases on, plus the charging cables perfectly.) Storage: SanDisk 64 GB Micro SDXC UHS-I card with adapter.
Backpack: SwissGear 1900 Scansmart Laptop Bag
- All of the electronics in this list, including the DJI Mavic drone, fit into this one bag. I use two SwissGear Hanging Toiletry Kits to better organize and stack everything inside my backpack. These are the other bags and non-electronic gear I use.
Cable Organizer: Cocoon Grid-It 10.5 x 7.5-Inch Organizer
- This is a major time-saver when going through airport security because you can pull out all of your cords and adapters at once. I’ve also noticed having cables organized like this means less time waiting for additional bags checks at security – a clump of cables often means re-scanning your backpack.
Portable Batteries: PowerStick+ (2300 mAh) PowerTrip (6000 mAh).
Connectors, Converters, And Other Accessories
- OREI Safest World Travel Adapter – An all-in-one that covers my poor memory for most of the world’s outlets. Includes a 3 prong connection too for grounded plugs.
- World Travel Adapter Plug Set – Being less bulky these adapters work well for outlets that can’t support much weight from a heavy charger.
- ALFA Long Range Wi-Fi Adapter – Here’s why you might find one of these very useful, especially if you spend a lot of time online when traveling.
- iKlear Cleaning Kit – This liquid is what Apple stores around the world use to keep our eager but greasy fingers from making display models an icky version of shiny. It also comes with two microfiber cloths.
- Moleskine Classic Notebook 5 x 8.25 (Black) – An ancient but important technology for taking notes and outlining ideas.
You can see from the progression of the gadgets in my backpack from 2012, earlier this year, to now, that the larger electronic purchases are usually one or two off from the latest version. The longer a product is on the market the more time there is to see how well it was or wasn’t designed *cough, 2016 Macbook Pro* but being just behind the newest version means specs are still quite good. Most often, there aren’t major jumps in improvement between a version or two of phone or laptop these days.
Also, the cases I use are also more adapted to protecting electronics when they’re in a backpack, not from falls when they’re out and in use. This means I’m generally using sleeves and prefer a good fit (even from improvised cases like the lens case for the Mavic controller or SwissGear toiletry kits) than cases specifically designed for a given product.
When traveling, the best technology is often potent, portable, but not precious enough that your travel budget (or mental state) can’t handle a loss from damage or theft that might require a replacement. What are some of the electronics or gadgets you travel with and would recommend? I would be very interested to hear so let me know in the comments below!