What’s In Your Bag, Tyler?

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What’s In Your Bag is a common series on technology sites and blogs where writers open their bags and their hearts to show their favorite gadgets, tools, and necessities. With that in mind, I’d like to share what I typically carry in my bag on a daily basis or on a trip.

The bag

I’m a tech nerd, so I of course carry a branded laptop bag from my company, Audible. We had nice backpacks before, but when mine started wearing through, and they upgraded to Timbuktu messenger bags, my backpack had an unfortunate accident. I also always felt like I was going to summer camp when traveling with it. It may have had better shoulder support and padding, especially when heavy, but I feel way less dorky with the swanky new bag.  It has multiple compartments, zippered pockets and velcro ones to keep my stuff separate, and a padded laptop pocket which is great for keeping my gear protected. I love the space it has as I often have 2-3 pairs of headphones and several usb chargers floating around in it at any given time.

MacBook Pro 13 inch

My company issued laptop, I upgraded from a Lenovo PC a couple of years back. I wasn’t a huge Apple fan at the time, but the difference in hardware quality is astounding. Plus I can do much of my development on the laptop without issue and sync it over when necessary. The size is also a good tradeoff between power and portability, though I could probably do with a lighter model as most of the time, I have it docked to my two big monitors at work. 

My laptop is also an expression of myself at work through my sticker collection. I’ve gone through 3 laptops in 3 years so I’ve had to move some of them over a few times and they are a bit worse for the wear, but each speaks to something personal. The big headphones wrapping the Apple logo are awesome, but also obviously speak to Audible’s work in the audio book arena as well as my love for music (mostly indie and what I call, hipster music). The AWS one is the least personal, but I do often use AWS services for work, and some personal projects, plus, it looks cool. The Amazon Instant Video was from my 2 month stint working with the AIV team in Seattle and remotely. I consider it one of the harder earned ones. Audible Hackathon 2014 was an internal hackathon I helped organize at Audible that led to many amazingly creative ideas, several of which we are now building. My team even won an award for best customer focused team and led to a patent filing. Team Audible is another cool, non-rectangular one, and is a manifest of my love for this company and the awesome work we do. The big Audible bumper sticker was cut down from a huge sticker and is largely related to the other Audible stuff. I also like how I managed to wrap the headphone cord sticker around this. The Field Trip one is from a Google sponsored Field Trip day my wife and I partook in last summer around Red Hook Brooklyn where we used the Field Trip app to explore the area’s offerings. I hope they do another this year. The Empire State Building Google map pin one is from my elite Google Local Expert status for New York City. This was earned by writing over 600 reviews on Google and continuing to write at least 5 reviews a month. This gets me into awesome contests and great community events. Plus I love eating new places and trying new things and then sharing them. 

Panasonic DMZ-FZ35

My go to big camera for long trips where I know there will be a lot of photo opportunities, and when I need something better than my phone’s camera. My HTC One m8 takes pretty good pictures, and is way more portable, but sometimes you need a real digital camera with good zoom. This has been key at Formula One races and when exploring new cities. Paired with a EyeFi X2 card which instantly transfers pictures taken to my cell phone, no wifi required, especially overseas with no data plan, this is a great way to get good pictures, and easily share them. 

Ray Ban Wayfarers

My favorite sunglasses. These are the first over $25 sunglasses I owned, and the quality is evident. I break a pair of cheapy sunglasses every summer, but these have lasted. Plus, I look super fine in them. The huge shape helps accentuate my big noggin or so I’ve been told.

Michael Kors Watch

Call me old fashioned, but the only jewelry for me is a wedding ring, sunglasses, and a nice watch. This one is a perfect balance of style and casual use so I wear it every day. Unlike my dressier watches, it stands up well to constant typing on an aluminum keyboard and hasn’t scratched. I’m also a big fan of open design watches which have a cool steam punk feel. Though my last one had a minor issue where the second hand broke off and got jammed in the gears. Luckily, thanks to Amazon, I now own a watch repair kit and was able to salvage it.

New Trent Portable Battery

My new HTC One m8 has pretty good battery life, usually lasting beyond a day. But when traveling, taking lots of pictures, uploading them with fantastic witty comments, using the map, and listening to music, I can sometimes be lucky to get 5 hours of use. This bulky but powerful beauty comes in with two usb ports that are used for charging. It also holds enough juice to recharge a phone 5 times which is great when we are both traveling and need a juice up. Due to the weight and size though, I’m considering upgrading to a slightly more portable model.

Motorola S305 Bluetooth Headphones

These light, cord free headphones are my normal daily drivers for running, dog walks, or house work. They have great sound quality, are about the cheapest bluetooth headphones you can buy, and have decent battery life. I could sometimes use more juice as they wouldn’t last a full marathon, but they are fine for dog walks or quick jogs. Audio books sound good on them, and I can answer a call on them with my phone in my pocket. I don’t wear them at work because of the battery life and also the over the ear design makes them effectively cancel most noise, and as a tunnel visioned person normally, I tend to have people throwing things at me to get my attention when I’m in the zone. At work I use the basic headphones that came with my phone.

Belkin Portable Surge Protector

Most hotel rooms have no outlets, if you are lucky, one that you can unplug a lamp from. I have several gadgets that need to be charged nightly. This fancy little power strip allows me to turn one outlet into three, plus two usb charging ports. It also protects my gear from surges like the time I plugged six devices into an outlet in a 200 year old German hotel room outlet that then shot sparks out and killed power for the whole hotel. All my devices were fine though!

Kindle Paperwhite 1st Generation

Beside my phone, my most essential device. And in bed, or outside by a pool or beach, absolutely my most necessary one. I used to have a Nook, but knew that wouldn’t fly at Amazon, so upgraded. If you have never read on an e-Ink display especially the high contrast one on the Kindle, you are missing what I see as the best way to read. No paper cuts, lighter than the lightest paperback, and lasting weeks, it is the perfect reading tool. I swear I read at least 1.5x as fast on it as a paper book as well. This is not at all comparable to reading on a phone or tablet, so you need to give it a try. Whispersync is also one of Mankind’s greatest inventions and keeps me in sync across all my devices and the audio book as well. Life altering. I have read more books in the three years I’ve had a Kindle and Audible audio books than in the rest of my life.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones

Mostly for flights, but occasionally for days I really need to narrow in and focus on something, these super comfortable headphones help me escape reality. The sound quality is great, though powered on with nothing playing, they emit a weird high pitched squeal I only notice on planes. Between the engine noise and loud classical music, I’m usually ok with regular in ear headphones on a flight, but they become very uncomfortable after any length of time for me, so these cushy over the ear headphones are great for long periods of time.

So those are my key devices and items found in my bag, but I want to know what’s in your bag that you couldn’t live without. Do you have a similar sticker collection or prefer a clean laptop? Do you also have an unnatural love for your Kindle? Leave a comment to let me know below!