Remote work is often equated to working from home, but in its true sense, it’s working anywhere outside of a traditional office. It can be home, but it can also be a coffee shop. Over the years because of my work as a designer and a music producer, I’ve come to have a nimble and efficient set up that at a moment’s notice I can grab my bag and take my operation with me. Whether it’s a site visit for SXSW, art directing a photo shoot, jumping on Zoom from the hotel lobby at Disneyland, or hitting the studio with an artist, I can create without skipping a beat.
So, taking cues from The Verge’s fun series What’s in your bag? I thought it would be interesting to share what gadgets and things I keep in my bag that help me get the job done. So, let’s do this.
Daily Bag — A custom bag I developed and designed with a product maker out of Washington state. A few years ago, I tweeted out that I was searching for a new bag and he reached offering to make me one. I quickly jumped on that and over the couple of weeks came up with a product we were both proud of. It’s water resistant made of durable matte black vinyl. It’s held up well after four years.
Travel Bag — Lululemon Early Embark Backpack — I picked this up for a recent trip to Tokyo and functionally it’s a great bag. One thing I did not like is that it’s a lint magnet. I keep a mini lint brush in it.
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) — This is the brains of the operation. I was nervous upgrading from the 2015 Macbook Pro, the last best Macbook, but to my surprise I haven’t had any of the issues many others have had, specifically the keyboard. I don’t hate the TouchBar and I find TouchID on it to be really convenient. Main applications: Photoshop, Illustrator, Safari.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd Gen) with Apple Pencil 2 — I primarily use the iPad for sketching on Procreate. I love that I can export projects as PSDs, seamlessly airdrop to MacBook, and continue working in Photoshop. It came in very handy while working on Vox’s Future Perfect branding. I also use the iPad as a second monitor via USB-C, as a wireless midi-controller, for some light browsing, and watching The Mandalorian while I lay in bed. We must protect baby Yoda at all costs.
Harber London Leather iPad Pro Sleeve — This sleeve is really well made with padded felt lining to keep the iPad protected while it’s in my bag or if I’m commuting with just the iPad. There’s an Apple Pencil holder, as well.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro — I use it to check Twitter. That’s it, that’s the tweet.
Apple Watch Series 4 — Quite honestly, I don’t get much from it. I’m not a wearable tech power user and I don’t use it to track any fitness benchmarks. It’s more of a fashion piece that garners the occasional notification glance. If and when it’s charged, it tells me the time. One feature I do appreciate is automatically unlocking my MacBook while I am wearing it.
Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xBT — These are the best all-around headphones, change my mind. For the past 6-years these have been my go to headphones for both leisure and intensive music production work. I recently picked up the bluetooth version and it has incredible battery life with the same rich no-frills sound as the standard version. I can go days without charging. It also comes with a 3.5mm cable as well, which is really helpful.
BeatsX — They work great. They have the same chip W1 chip as the original AirPods that allows for same instant syncing with iOS. They don’t fall out of my ears and are much easier to clean than AirPods.
Apple EarPods — I carry both lightning and 3.5mm headphone versions. These are back ups to the backs just in case nothing is charged and I need to listen to something on my phone or laptop.
Playstation 4 Dualshock Controller — For those moments I need to crank 90s and sweat a bit on Fortnite. I started carrying this around when Apple announced that console controllers would be compatible with iOS 13. It gets the job done.
Kodak FunSaver 35mm Disposable Camera — This is a great analog addition to the iPhone camera. I’ll take it out and grab a random shot throughout my travels and be delighted when I get them developed. I used to carry around a mirrorless camera, Olympus OM-D E-M10 with a 25mm Leica prime lens, but nowadays I find myself shooting mainly on the iPhone. It’s pretty unbelievable how far mobile photography has come.
Power, Cables, and Accessories
Tomtoc Easy - A01 — I must confess, at first it felt dorky carrying around an electronics accessories bag. But it’s become one of my favorite items. It meets my needs and keeps everything organized. Long live the dorks.
Anker Powercore+ 26800 PD — This thing is a rock solid. It can charge my iPhone multiple times and keep my Macbook alive for an additional 30-40 minutes when I am not near a wall outlet.
Samsung Duo Plus 32GB — This thing is amazing. It’s a USB-C flash drive that comes with a USB-A cap that provides great flexibility with transfering files to my Macbook.
Purgo USB C Hub Adapter Dongle for MacBook — The idea of a laptop with no ports other than a USB-C port triggered me greatly. I thought I wouldn’t be able to function carrying around ugly dongles. In all honesty, I’ve done fine without them. When I do need to connect a scanner or any other USB device this adapter works great and looks great while doing it.
Apple 87W USB-C Power Adapter — In addition to charging my Macbook, I use it to fast-charge my iPad and even my iPhone. Overkill, schmoverkill.
Anker USB C to Lightning Cable — The host of Vox Media’s Function podcast, Anil Dash, recommended this cable on Twitter months back. Now Apple includes one with the iPhone 11. They help to charge the iPhone really fast, I can get about 50% charge in 30 minutes. It’s especially convenient when I am out and about.
Anker Powerline Lightning Cable (4-inch) — These super cute cables are great for charging while attached to a power pack. You can carry a phone and battery without worrying about excess cable.
WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner and microfiber cloth — Gotta keep the things fresh and clean.
Misc Goods Co. Leather Wallet V.1 — My friend Tyler Deebs is an exceptional designer and product maker. I’ve had this waller for nearly 4 years and it’s held up incredibly well. The leather feels great.
Keys — “I got them keys, the keys, the keys” *Future voice*
Book – I usually carry around a book or comic with me. I still prefer reading print books over digital for longer works. I retain much more when I’m flipping through and writing on pages. I’m sure it has something to do with how our senses help to anchor memories.
Toy Story Toybox Buzz Lightyear — When I travel alone I take my son’s Buzz Lightyear with me. It’s a piece of home while I’m away. As he hands it to me he’ll say “Dad, I know you won’t lose him.” It’s another way of saying, “You better not lose it.”
Over the years pieces have been swapped in and out, but overall this has been what’s in my bag, most of the time. I love having what I need when I need it, even more so when I travel. I really hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Laura Holder and Courtney Leonard for your thoughtful feedback and edits.