Everything that I need for my business is either in this backpack or available online. The backpack goes everywhere with me meaning that assuming I have an internet connection, I can literally work from anywhere.
Here are all of the things that are in my backpack. These things work for me and for what I do but have a read through and then make your own list of contents. For a list of software and online resources, see my Resources page.
I chose an Apple MacBook Pro for various reasons. They have an excellent battery life meaning that I can usually have my main six applications running at once and get 4-5 hours of battery life. This gives me the flexibility to work anywhere for half a day before needing to find a power socket.
When I’m at home, I have a Matrox DualHead2Go which allows me to plug the laptop in and split the screen to my dual monitors. Along with a bluetooth mouse and keyboard, this set up gives me the flexibility of having a proper desktop experience with the option to just grab the laptop at any point, head out the door and still have all of my files and software with me.
There are seemingly minor benefits as well such as the operating system layout remaning fairly consistent in the 10 years since I’ve been using Macs, unlike Windows where things are continually moved and changes to the GUI are made just for the sake of it.
Most of my blog writing is done on my iPad. It’s small, has great battery life and has a Bluetooth keyboard integrated into the case. When working, it is usually sat next to me with music playing and pop-ups from various pieces of software that I use, making sure I’m kept up-to-date with customer requests.
Anyone with children will appreciate how difficult it is to get work done at home when they are around. Even working out and about like in a coffee shop, as I do sometimes, it can be difficult to focus with all of the background noise and that’s why these are one of my best investments, allowing me to sit almost anywhere, free from distraction. They are an expensive addition to the backpack but they allow you to block out the noise and focus, no matter where you are.
I decided on a set of Bose wired headphones which use a standard AAA battery. My thinking was that a wired pair of headphones will require less power than bluetooth ones so the battery will last longer and having a set which use standard batteries, rather than the set that use the built-in battery, is that I can carry a spare battery with me meaning I can work longer without find a power source.
I’ve recently bought two UNBREAKable USB cables, one which stays on my desk and one extra long (two meter) one for my backpack. They are extremely strudy compared to the usual Apple leads and because they look different to everyone else’s cables, it’s not easy to get confused and have someone else accidentally walk off with them.
The two meter cable is useful for travelling as sockets in airports, trains and hotels are never quite in the right place so having a longer lead means you don’t have to struggle to keep your devices plugged in whilst also trying to use them.
I carry two power banks in my backpack. The first is a full NOVOO pack which has an AC outlet so that you can plug any device into it. It also has a couple of USB ports, too. Generally I can get 1.5 charges of my laptop so combined with my laptop battery, if both are fully charged I can go out working all day without the need to find a power socket. I also carry a smaller, pocket sized battery which I use mainly to give my phone a boost. I often use my phone as an internet hotspot to get internet access on my laptop. This quickly drains the phone battery so I plug it into this to keep it going for as long as possible. I don’t really need two battery packs but this smaller one has saved me on more than one occassion and for the amount of space it takes up, it seems sensible to keep it around.
Every bit of space counts when travelling so even the little bit of extra space that Mu portable chargers give you can make a difference. They also just look great and operate really well. I’ve been using one for the last three years and it’s still going strong.
Having decided to work out of my backpack, it made sense to invest in a good one. I’ve been a big fan of Crumpler’s backpacks for years and still have the first one that I bought, 15 years ago. It is still going strong and although in perfect condition, has been relegated to ‘gym bag’.
I’ve currently using a Crumpler Jackpack Half backpack although these do not seem to be in production any more. Regardless, Crumpler make a huge selection of bags, each built to last and full of useful features and pockets to keep everything stowed away neatly.