Thoughts from Steven B. Combs as he goes combsing through the minutia and shares his thoughts on tech, gadgets, Google, higher education, physical computing, and military topics.
2 February 2020
What's in my technology travel bag?
by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
tags: gadgets - bluetooth - pixelbook - pixelslate - technology - monitor - usb-c - mouse - productivity - entertainment - roku
Because of my love of technology, and especially Chrome OS devices, I’ve been asked what technology I take on the road. That question was the perfect opportunity for a short blog post and picture. First, here’s an image of a recent setup in a hotel room. This is the same setup up I use in coffee houses or other remote locations.
In the image above you will notice a dual-monitor setup. This configuration is the key to mobile office productivity. I highly recommend anyone trying to get things done on the road, pack one of a new crop of inexpensive USB-C LCD external monitors (I recommend my favorite below).
Let’s see what devices I capture in the image above. After my list of those items, I also share the other accessories I throw in my bag before heading out the door. Let’s get started:
Pixel Slate - The Pixel Slate is my favorite Chrome OS device to carry. The versatility of using it in laptop mode for serious work or tablet mode for content consumption make it the best single device to pack. The Pixel Slate folio case keyboard has become a favorite as I become more accustomed to its layout and keyboard feel. I appreciate that the folio case/keyboard allows me to angle my screen anywhere from 0 to 90°. For a complete hassle free and reliable experience, Chrome OS is the ONLY way to go.
Logitech M557 Bluetooth Mouse - The slate blue color of the mouse matches the Pixel Slate nicely and Bluetooth means I don’t have to schlepp around more cables or plug in a dongle receiver. I’m fond of the audible click when I press the mouse buttons.
Anker SoundCore 2 - Another Bluetooth hardware device that provides great sound, in a small package, from YouTube Music (displayed on the external monitor in the image above) while I work. Since I also carry a Pixel 4 XL, I also use this speaker and the White Noise app to provide soothing noise cancellation in loud hotel rooms while I sleep.
LePow 15.6” USB-C External Monitor - I purchased this monitor on a whim during Black Friday 2019 for under $100. This external monitor plugs into the right-side USB-C port of the Pixel Slate (it has one USB-C on each side). This single cable provides HD video out and power. The monitor folds up into its own folio case (provided) and is as thin as the Pixel Slate but about 2 inches longer. As a plus, I can rotate the monitor 90° into portrait mode when I want to review longer web pages or write long prose. However, you cannot use the folio case as a stand for this configuration. I recommend you also throw this stand in your bag.
That’s the primary “tech” I take with me on trips. In addition to these devices, I also throw the following into my technology bag:
Lysol ToGo and travel wipes - I also wipe down the hotel remote (you must do this FIRST!) and spray the room and pillows.
And finally, all of this goes into the extremely lightweight and fuctional Eddie Bauer Unisex-Adult Stowaway Daypack. This bag is inexpensive, water resistant, easy to clean, includes outside mesh pockets, and can be folded down flat when empty.
That’s the entire list. My wife often comments that my technology bag is larger and heavier than my suitcase. I can’t argue with her, especially for overnight trips; however, each item plays a part in keeping me more productive, entertained, and worry-free during my travels.
What do you include in your traveling technology bag? Drop a comment below and let’s discuss!