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  • Writer's pictureChris Reed

The Travel Life, And The Bag To Go With It

I'm a traveling engineer. It's not my actual title, but I live in a relatively remote area so when work comes along, I'm on a plane to do it. This poses some challenges since I've got a great desk setup at home and want to bring that same functionality and efficiency with me when I travel. The travel life and carry on only means you have to make some compromises but you can do a lot with the right kit.

The Bag

It all has to fit in something, and my bag of choice for the past few years has been a Goruck GR1 in a 26l size. it isn't the most professional looking bag, and the style gurus probably look at me funny, but it's a great blend of sleek and not too tactical that I appreciate. it's got a killer warranty and was constructed so well, if you were wearing it during a warranty inducing event, there wouldn't be much of you left to contact support.

I jumped around from bag to bag for a long time, I had an ebags slimline pro for a while which had great organization, but it came at a cost of not having much space for larger items. I also had a nice corporate branded TUMI bag from work too that fell by the wayside due to the same problem, it was built and designed for someone that carried papers and files around and that just wasn't me.

What drew me to the GR1 was it's almost complete lack of organization, save a tablet pouch, a mesh pouch, a front pouch, and a top access pouch. The interior is open which lets me organize my kit into smaller modular gear bags. Got a wireless gig? Wireless kit goes in, wired kit comes out. Meetings only? All of it comes out. Seeing the sites while i'm away? Work kit bags stay at the hotel and my bag is unburdened to wander a city with me.

The other benefit of the GR1 is I also get to pester @heyeddie with photos of my bag due to his excellent taste in bags as well. Any chance you have to annoy Eddie, you gotta take it.

The Desk

I can't exactly drag my dual monitor + laptop + mic home desk setup along with me, but I can come close and it starts with the monitor. I’ve been using my MacBook Pro along with my iPad Pro for a one two punch of laptop + second monitor using the Sidecar feature built into macOS Catalina. Asus has it's MB line of portable monitors that I was using for a long time as a windows user, but the iPad + second monitor in a single package is excellent. Whatever you bring, dual monitor functionality is joyous when you're traveling and I immediately miss it even for quick work sessions at the airport while I'm waiting.

Next up is the mouse, and while I can't drag my desk around, I sure do drag my mouse with me. The same Logitech MX Master 2S that's on my desk at home gets dropped in my laptop organizer bag when I travel. Working from a trackpad with spreadsheets is frustrating at best and travel mice just don't cut it. I'm willing to make the sacrifice on the size of the mouse due to the extended use it gets on larger wireless projects.

The microphone setup at home is gets replaced with my Bose QC35. They have noise cancelling, a decent microphone, some nice sound. While a little bit, their comfort level is worth the extra bulk in the bag vs in ears smaller form factors.

The Conclusion

When you travel, wherever you are is your desk. You can't bring it all with you, but you sure don't want to be taking a productivity hit just because you are on the road. Your desk setup is just as important as your wireless tools. Invest accordingly

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