Keeping all of our devices powered and ready to go isn’t the easiest of tasks. Do I have all the proper cables? Was it Lightning, 30-pin, mini or micro? Do I have enough AC adapters to power all my devices? What if there isn’t power easily available? How will I connect everything to a network?
These things are difficult enough to figure out under the pressures of daily life. But what about when the unexpected happens? When the phone rings at 2:00 a.m. and you have only a few minutes to collect a few things and run out the door how confident are you that you’ll remember all your gadgets and accessories? Over the years I’ve put together a “Tech Go Bag” that I can grab on a routine day or when the unexpected strikes. Here’s a look at what’s inside.
Almost all my devices need power and the fewer AC adapters I can carry the better. The Anker 36W 4-Port USB Wall Charger is in my Go Bag because it’s fairy compact (about the size of two Apple iPhone chargers) and will let you charge up to four devices simultaneously, and two of the outlets support up to 2.4 amps (required to charge an iPad). While this doesn’t pack as much power or offer as many ports as Anker’s desktop class charger (a device I regularly throw in my larger bag when I travel) it’s small size makes it ideal for my Go Bag.
I also keep an external battery pack in my Go Bag. Battery packs come in all kinds of sizes and capacities. I’ve opted to carry a larger battery pack in my bag because I’ve found many times I’ll need to be in a position to provide power for multiple people and their devices. Although a bit larger and heavier than most battery packs, I opt to carry the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 16000mAh Portable Charger. This charger has enough capacity to charge an iPhone 6 six times and will fully charge an iPad Air. It also features 2 Amp charging capacity and can simultaneously charge two devices. According to my pal David Sparks, with the proper cable, this charger should also be able to power the new MacBook.
A fairly recent addition to my bag is the Edimax N150 Wireless Personal Hotspot and Travel Router. After taking a few trips with this travel router I can’t imagine traveling without it. This devices serves several purposes. First, it adds Ethernet connectivity to devices that otherwise don’t have an Ethernet port, such as just about every model of Apple notebook. Second, this device will join any wired or wireless network (such as in a hotel or other public place) and then acting as a router with it’s own IP address, it will then rebroadcast that network creating your own private wireless network allowing you to connect multiple devices.
This makes it easy to connect multiple devices to a single network connection (many times saving you money for networks that require you to pay per connection). I’ve named the network it rebroadcasts the same as my home guest network so that my friends and family traveling with me (presumably who already log into my home guest network) as well as my devices will automatically connect to the device without hassle.
Of course with all these devices we need proper cables to connect them. I keep in my go back two pairs of Apple EarPods and a small headphone splitter. Any small set of headphones will work, but I like the Apple EarPods because they are compact in size and easy to throw in a bag. I’ve found that when I’m stuck somewhere with a friend or family member, I’m hesitant to pull up a movie on my iPad unless they can enjoy it too. The second pair of headphones and the splitter solves this problem and doesn’t take up much space. (Don’t even get me started on people who watch movies or play noisy games in crowded public places without headphones!)
You’ll also need cables for your various devices. While your cable needs may vary, I’ve found the most common cables I need are Lightning and Micro-USB. I try to carry as few cables as necessary so at least one of the cables in my Go Bag is a multipurpose Lighting and Mirro-USB cable. Skiva makes a combination cable in a variety of sizes and Scosche makes a retractable version. You can also purchase a small Micro USB to Lightning Adapter to adapt your current Micro USB cables.. I try to carry at least two Lightning cables so I can simultaneously charge two devices. Generally for my second cable I opt to carry a smaller cable. Amazon Basics sells inexpensive Lightning cables in a variety of sizes, including a 4" model that is great for a Go Bag.
Lastly, Apple Watch owners may want to carry one more cable since the Apple Watch requires a specialized inductive charing cable. Apple Watch charing cables in 1m or 2m sizes. For a Go Bag, I opt for the shorter version.
I carry all of the above items in a Tom Bihn 3D Mesh Organizing Cube. I choose to keep everything together in this bag because it’s small and can be grabbed and thrown in whatever bag I choose to carry that day. If I’m taking my laptop then the Go Bag goes with me in my backpack. If I’m just taking an iPad, then generally I’ll throw the Go Bag and my iPad in a shoulder bag and go.
This article first appeared in the July Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly via Newsstand on the iPad. You can find out more at http://www.screencastsonline.com/magazine