What do you carry in your work / laptop bag?

For anyone who travels or works on the road, what do you make sure you have in your work bag?

After just working from home for the last few years I am going to be going on-site more. Most of the time I am driving but I like to have everything I COULD need in my laptop bag or car. This is how my work bag is currently packed. Though I would include some pictures and inventory list.

Most of the time I carry the messenger bag pictured but occasionally I’ll use a backpack which is why I started putting a Smaller tech pouch inside the bags so that’s the only thing I have to move if I am using the other bag. The cables in the main compartment stay full time in both bags

Nomatic Messenger Bag

Main Compartment
Power
Apple 95w Charging Brick
Apple Charger Extension
Apple 30w USB C Charger
USB C Charging Cable 8 foot

Cables
USB C > DisplayPort Cable
HDMI Cable
Micro USB Cable
USB Extension Cable
Ethernet Cable
USB Microphone

Dongles
Thunderbolt > Display Port Dongle
Thunderbolt > HDMI Dongle
Thunderbolt > Ethernet Dongle
Thunderbolt > USB A
Satechi USB C Hub

Bag Front Pocket
Notebook + Pen
USB Flash Drive
Utility Knife
Foldable Multi Tool
Electrical Tape
Mini Screw Driver
OXO Cleaning Brush
OXO Laptop Sweeper
Alchol Wipes

Travel Pouch BagSmart Small Travel

Cables

Lighting Cable
Lighting > USB Cable
USB C Cable
Micro USB Cable
USB A > USB C Cable
USB C Extension Cable
Thunderbolt 3 Cable

Mesh Pouch
USB C Adapter > Lightning
USB C Adapter > Micro USB
USB C Adapter > Mini USB
USB C Right Angle Adapter
USB C Adapter 90 Degree
Logitech USB Receiver

I forgot to take a picture but also in the bag is

Apple Macbook Pro 16 Inch
iPad Pro (Sometimes)
Logitech MX Master 3
Apple Bluetooth keyboard (No key pad)



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I don’t have anything substantive to add, just glad you did this post – I always enjoy seeing people’s setups so I can improve upon mine!

I always wish I could make the shoulder bag work, but always end up finding my way back to a backpack. They are much more acceptable in many business situations now, and I find I can do a lot more with it…and distribute the weight better for my back.

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I don’t know how often you use those cables simultaneously, but we get a lot of use out of these Medusa cables. We use them mainly for charging, so I’m not sure of their speed rating. (Just checked, the listing says 480Mbps.)

For your personal gear, I recommend large binder clips for holding hotel curtains closed.

Amazon link

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For the cables around my house I use these cable cozy for my adapters

I like how they add the car for scale …

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I try not to leave the house if I don’t have to anymore.

Looking at your setup, I would add an external SSD for backup. Then maybe a roll of 1” gaffer’s tape in some color besides black and a double ended Sharpie.

…and maybe an array of plastic clamps. They can come in handy if you need to secure a cable or hd to a table or something.

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@JohnAtl, hotel hangars for pants or skirts work just as well.

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I have an 1TB NVME drive with a fan enclosure I use!

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Interesting to see - it’s been a couple of years now since I used to have to do regular travel. I used to carry fairly similar tuff, though one item I used to carry was a Gl.iNet portable router, as it would allow me to connect more than one wifi device to picky hotel networks.

I believe I’m about to be forced down a hot desk route at work - not sure if it’ll be a full time thing, as the final layout hasn’t yet been decided but ultimately whilst the construction work is underway, I imagine it’ll be 6-8 weeks of hot desking (or working from home if possible!) so I’ll have to get used to carrying more stuff in to work (and having to book a desk to actually do my work at!) That’ll pose a shakeup to what I currently carry which is pretty minimal, not to mention part of my backup strategy which is to an encrypted SSD which I keep attached to my docking station at my desk.

All carried in my ULVÖ 30 which was recently purchased for me for Christmas after I wore through my old Patagonia Black Hole bag.

I don’t carry anything for my phone, as I’m usually travelling between work (which I have a Qi charger on my desk), home (full of lightning cables and my bedside MagSafe) or a charging cable in the car.

I’ve paired back my daily carry now I’m working from home at least 60% of the time. I love the combination of a MacBook Air and iPad Pro 12.9" with universal control, this is the ideal mobile portable work setup for me.

Bag
Crumpler Mantra Compact

Laptop
MacBook Air (in laptop pocket)

Tablet
iPad Pro M1 with Smart Keyboard (in main area)

Power
Volta Giga 130w (3 x USB-C & 1 x USBA) with extension (this is key)
Volta 33w (1 x USB-C + 1 x USB-A)

Portable Drive
Samsung 1TB SSD (T7)

Cables
2 x Apple USB-C (long) + 1 x Apple USB-C to Lightning
1 x Short Thunderbolt 3 + 1 x USB-A to MicroUSB (hate this last cable, one day it will go)

Dongles and Hubs
Satechi USB-C Slim Multi-Port with Ethernet Adaptor (for MacBook)
Hyperdrive 6in1 USB-C Hub (for iPad)
Moshi USB-C to HDMI Dongle
Apple USB-C to USB-A Dongle

Work wallet
My access pass and work cards live in my bag now (and in my pocket when I’m at work), so I don’t forget them

As a result of this post, I’ve thought about what I don’t need to carry, so will take out the following and see how I go:

Moshi USB-C to HDMI Dongle > use hubs instead
Apple USB-C to USB-A Dongle > use hubs instead
Samsung 1TB SSD (T7) > don’t really use, cloud sharing & backup and do a Time Machine backup at home (dock laptop each night)

I have totally removed pen and notebook from my setup / life, not sure this is for the best, but overall it is working better so far.

Key thing for me, when home, I only ever just take out my MacBook and iPad, leaving all cables/dongles/hubs in the backpack. To do anything else results in forgetting stuff.

PS - Thanks for the recommendation @BeMawr for the Nomatic Messenger bag, I think I might make an upgrade. Unless someone else has other suggestions for my daily carry.

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I also find the same thing, however I do find that people still comment on a backpack in a professional context. With the reality of hot-desking and more mobile working (I’ve never been desk-bound in my career) this is changing, however I still feel like a kid going to school some days as I pop my backpack on.

I travel frequently for work and need a handful of devices while I’m onsite with a customer. This is what I travel with:

Bag: Lowepro ViewPoint BP 250 AW

Laptop Sleeve: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)
Tablet Sleeve: A4 “Portable Light Table”

I swapped out the removeable case that came with it for the ViewPoint CS 80

Backpack Bottom Pocket (Case):

Devices:

Charging:

Dongles:

Backpack Front Pocket

I really lke this combo charger, good for meetings where one or two power adapters take up all the power slots.

It’s fun to see the expression when you unplug someone’s laptop. I like to unplug theirs first, then grab the charger from my bag.

I also have a travel Roku which I’d place firmly in the “essentials” bucket. Hotel TV interfaces are horrific and I just can’t suffer commercials. It’s nice to bring a little “home” with you.

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