Despite the pandemic and lack of long-haul travel, I’m still using my backpack almost daily when I need to leave home. As recently I embraced the MagSafe lifestyle I decided to review everything I carry in my backpack and write it up over here so that it might be also helpful to you. Here goes:
- What’s in my backpack in 2021?
- What’s in my Essentials cable pouch?
- Additional cable pouch for longer travel
- Instead of one big gadget bag… a small backpack and 1-3 pouches!
- Re-think and re-examine your backpack or bag!
What’s in my backpack in 2021?
I did a long video review of my backpack contents more than two years ago with Radek on episode 162 of The Podcast so make sure to check it out. However, since then I’ve changed, updated and simplified my setup.
New backpack - Fjällräven Ulvö 23
I’ve changed my backpack almost two years ago. Now I’m using a Fjällräven Ulvö 23 which has 3 liters more capacity than the Nomatic mentioned in podcast 162, yet feels and looks smaller when not completely full. I love this new backpack and use it daily.
This backpack is really practical, it’s got enough features that I need:
- Two side pockets for bottles with additional straps above them
- One very big back pocket
- A laptop/tablet sleeve inside the backpack
- A small wallet pocket inside as well
- Very comfortable straps with an additional small belt to join them together across my chest
Here’s a short video demo of the backpack:
The backpack is very light, durable and water-resistant. I use small carabiners to attach things or join zips for additional comfort and safety.
Backpack is always packed and ready!
The idea is that I can just put my iPad Pro in the backpack and leave and I’ve got everything I need with me:
- Essentials pouch - a handy pouch with all the cables and dongles I need day-to-day (more on that below). I keep it in the back pocket.
- Tripod/selfie stick - it’s very useful to take pictures of my family with me included in them. I keep it in one of the bottle pockets, along with spare sun glasses and:
- Power bank 10,000 mAh from Anker to never run out of juice. It’s a great balance of additional battery that is pretty small and light.
- AirPods Pro - I don’t have them in my backpack actually, I keep them in my pants pockets at all times. But I don’t leave home without them, that’s why I wanted to mention them here.
- Apple Watch Power Bank - it’s attached to back pocket zip with a carabiner. It’s got 900 mAh of charge, perfect to recharge my Apple Watch on the go.
All this hanging in the corridor of my house ready to go. I’ve got also a disinfecting gel and spare face mask attached to the backpack (covid times). Also inside the backpack in the small pocket I’ve got additional cards, home keys and a small notebook and a bunch of ball pens.
What’s in my Essentials cable pouch?
I got this Oppo pouch from iMagazine chief editor Dominik and I’ve used it for years and it’s a great way of organizing my stuff:
- Lavalier microphone to be able to vlog using the iPhone, together with a mini-jack to Lightning dongle.
- Nozbe Teams stickers, because why not?
- Hand cream in case my hands get really dry.
- USB-C cable to charge the iPad
- Short USB-A to Lightning and Micro-USB cables for the power bank
- Spare Nike Apple Watch band
- USB-C to Lightning cable
- MagSafe Duo charger
- Two dongles for iPhone: USB-A and HDMI
- Nail clipper because my nails break easily
- Tweezers, because they’re just useful
- HyperDrive USB-C hub for the iPad with HDMI, USB-A and SD card reader.
- Small ball pen (always useful!)
- 8GB USB drive from Apple
- Mini-dongles: USB-C to USB-A, USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to Lightning
- AuKey 36W 2-USB-C charger - I’m all USB-C now (or use the small dongle to adapt to it)
- UNI USB-C to HDMI cable - perfect to connect my iPad to a hotel-room TV set directly.
I’ve been trimming and re-configuring this essential pouch in many ways. I wanted to make sure I had the most important peripherals and accessories. As you can see, I’ve already switched to mainly USB-C based lifestyle.
I can only imagine how simple my setup would be if Apple finally ditched the Lightning port to USB-C. However, with the latest MagSafe Duo, AirPods Pro and other accessories using the Lightning port, I’m not holding my breath.
Additional cable pouch for longer travel
When I used to travel for business or I leave with my family for a weekend trip, I need to take more chargers and cables. Especially that my eldest daughter already has an Apple Watch and all three of my daughters have their iPads. For this I’ve got an additional pouch with a mini pouch inside, which I put in my backpack optionally.
In the family pouch I’ve got additional stuff like:
- HyperJuice GaN 100W USB-C Charger with 2 USB-C and 2 USB-A ports.
- JBL Go 2 Bluetooth speaker to enjoy music with family.
- USB-A to 3-in-1 (USB-C, Micro-USB and Lightning) retractable charging cable
- Additional USB-C to Lightning cable
- Short spare USB-C cable
- Short Apple Watch charging cable
- iPhone charging holder (a black piece of plastic that lets me hang the phone on a charger, very useful in hotel rooms)
Business travel pouch
When I’ll be back traveling for business, especially Nozbe reunions, I’d need this small yellow pouch as it consists of several necessities:
- UNI USB-C to LAN dongle
- UNI USB-C to VGA dongle (to connect the iPad to really old-school projectors)
- SD card reader for iPhone
- Legacy 9-PIN adapter to Lightning to connect to hotel room clocks or speakers
- Mini-jack splitter, with mini-jack adapters and mini-jack cable for when I take the Bose NC 700 headphones with me.
- Kenu AirFrame+ car mount with USB-A cigarette charger for when I’m renting a car.
When I take this pouch, I also take my new Bose NC 700 headphones as they provide me with great noise-cancelling on the airplane and let me connect to places using mini-jack cable if necessary.
Here’s everything laid out:
Instead of one big gadget bag… a small backpack and 1-3 pouches!
Many people like to carry everything in their backpacks. All the cables, all the dongles “just in case”. I get it and I used to do that, too.
Now I know it’s better to just have three different pouches:
- Essential pouch always in the backpack for when I leave home I can always connect to everything, exchange data between other devices and keep both the iPhone and iPad fully charged.
- Family travel pouch for when we’re going on longer family trips. Again, the key is to be able to charge all of our devices and not to worry about missing a cable.
- Business travel pouch for when I’m going on a longer business trip and might need to connect to specific places with LAN or even VGA, or connect my headphones to the in-flight entertainment system.
Re-think and re-examine your backpack or bag!
The key for me is that the backpack is always packed and ready to go. I have it hanging and ready in my corridor and I can put the iPad in and just go and I know I have everything I need.
Let me know which accessories are essential for you!