Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

What’s in my backpack? 🎒


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?

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.

Update in 2024: There is a new backpack and updated travel pouch.

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:

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.

What’s in my backpack? 🎒 2

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

What’s in my backpack? 🎒 3

What’s in my backpack? 🎒 4

To me, these are the most necessary things I want to have with me at all times. Together with the iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. And iPhone mini in my pocket.

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.

What’s in my backpack? 🎒 5

Family pouch

In the family pouch I’ve got additional stuff like:

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:

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:

What’s in my backpack? 🎒 6

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:

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!

What’s in my backpack? 🎒

Monday, March 1, 2021 /backpack/