What's in my Backpack (Travel Edition)

Date: 2023-11-05 | create | observe | travel | productivity |

I love building projects and the computers / gadgets that allow me to do so anytime, anywhere. If I don't have the ability to work on them for a few days I get a bit antsy. But I also travel a lot (I'm currently writing this from Curacao) which means having all my computers / gadgets available all the time is infeasible.

In this post we're going to explore my system for balancing these two truths.

Q: What's in my Backpack when I travel?


My backpack contains the 80/20 of my computing / gadget needs. Each item is chosen to fulfill its role such that it does its job well, doesn't take up too much space / weight, and it's not too expensive hard to get in the event my backpack gets stolen / destroyed.

My backpack only contains tech items for the most part - consider it a heavyweight tech daypack. Other things I need for travel like clothes, toiletries, etc are carried in a separate carry on.

In the rest of this post we'll explore what's in my backpack by compartment - from most commonly accessed to least.

Note: This post contains affiliate links where I get a small kickback if you choose to purchase the item.


IMO - the backpack is actually the most important thing in your backpack. This is because it is what enables (or often limits) what and how you can carry things with you.

My daily driver for the past 5 years has been a waterproof Mission Workshop backpack. I'm not quite sure which model it is but it seems most similar to the Sanction, Fitzroy, and Fraction.

I love this backpack for a few reasons:

  • Water resistant - Essentially waterproof as long as water is coming from the top / the bag is not submerged. This enables me to carry it without worry in rain, leave it on the ground, and even transport it on boats without much worry.
  • Size - The bag is large enough for me to carry my essentials while being small enough that I have to constrain extras. This is useful for me to limit my hoarding behaviors.

Front Pocket

The front pocket contains my most reached-for items. It's easily accessible anytime, anywhwere.

  • Charger - Everyone has devices and they all need to be charged. I currently have a 6 foot USBC-USBC fast charger with a wall outlet dongle. The speed is great for devices that support fast charging and the length is a must as outlets are frequently placed in non-ideal locations. Nektech 60W USBC Charger
  • Glasses Case - I wear glasses 99% of my waking time. It's important I have access to the case so I can access / store my glasses quickly and safely. I currently wear Spinoza glasses which I would highly recommend for their durability and extreme light weight.

Main Pocket

The main pocket is the largest pocket containing my most important or large items. This is the reason I have a full backpack instead of a smaller daypack.

  • Computer - My computer is the most important item as it's what allows me to build and write on the go. I currently rock a maxed-out Lenovo T14S Gen 3 AMD which has proved to be a small and extremely powerful macine. Overall I love Lenovos for their generally high durability and power, especially when compared to their relatively low prices.
  • Headphones - Headphones are important on the go both for leisure but also productivity. I most often use my noise-cancelling headphones to reduce distractions. I currently have the Bose Quiet Comfort 35s in my backpack but also own the 25s and 45s. I like Quiet Comforts because they are durable, high quality noise-cancelling headphones that also aren't too expensive. They fall in the upper-middle class of headphones which means they are running battle-hardened tech for much more mainstream prices.
  • Cord Carrier - I also carry a cord organizer with me. I don't love the current one I have but haven't found a significantly better one either. Mostly it holds cords I've found I needed at one point or another so I added it in case I needed it again: a usb dock (including sd card slot), usb to micro, usb to lightning, usbc to usbc, hdmi to hdmi, usb to usbc, power port (one to many)
  • Notebook - I am a fan of journaling and drawing to help flesh out ideas. For this I use a standard college-ruled composition book with my favorite pen - a Papermate Inkjoy
  • Extra Charger - usbc Mac Charger - long with high power. I mostly carry this to have an extra charger and because some Macbooks are a bit temperamental with the kind of power they receive (I use a Macbook at work). Sometimes it doesn't like my other chargers so I carry this just in case.
  • Filming Items - I sometimes like to film on the go, so I carry a minimal set of items to get decent quality - Camera: Sony ZV1 MK2, Microphone: Rode VideoMicro 2, Tripod: Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod

Front top pocket

This small pocket holds my small, easy-to-lose things.

  • Extra Pen - Papermate Inkjoy (my favorite)
  • Aux Cord - Aux cord for my Bose Quiet Comforts. Mostly use them on planes to watch movies but also useful to connect to my laptop if Bluetooth is acting up.
  • Ear Plugs - I carry Loop earplugs with me to handle loud noises. I sometimes bring them to concerts but mostly use them for sleeping when traveling. They don't cut out loud human voices (which is good so you are still semi-aware of surroundings) but they do cut out most other random noises.
  • Wedding Rings (x3) - Now that I'm married, I keep wedding rings on me so I remember to wear them on the go. I have 3 tungsten carbide rings in various colors. I'm a long-time fan of tungsten carbide (having rings like this for ~5 years now) due to its durability and relative cheapness so they'll rarely break and if they do are easy to replace.

Front Middle Pocket

This pocket contains items that I rarely use but are important to have available should I need them.

  • Passport
  • Keys
  • Work ID Card
  • Mask
  • Vaccination Card

Middle Big Pocket

This pocket contains random things that I rarely use but are a pain to be without / are too big for the other pockets.

  • Computer Mouse - I don't usually need a mouse but when I do (graphics programs, video games, power points, etc) it's really nice to have. I carry the Logitech MX Master 3S (my fave mouse) in a little carrying case so I can have it if I need it without worrying it'll get smashed up in my backpack.
  • Sunglasses - Again, I don't usually need sunglasses but when I do it's good to have them. I have the Oakley Deadbolt Polarized which are durable, cool-looking glasses in my favorite color way that also have good sun protection. I carry them in a carrying case so they don't get smashed up.
  • International Power Brick - Again I don't usually need international power conversion but when I do I really need it. This is something I would always forget on my trips and need to buy another so I eventually bought a small one I could carry all the time. Currently I have an Epicka Universal Travel Adapter which is great but I'm not super tied to this one - would just look up best bricks and choose that if I needed to replace it.
  • Stickers - Once upon a time I considered myself a street artist and put up hundreds of stickers around the world. That time has passed but I still keep some stickers on me just in case.
  • Locks - I carry two locks around in case I need them. I rarely do but when you need them it's good to have them. I have string lock for locking up unwieldy things (like attaching bags together / to a table) and a standard lock for regular things (like a locker in a gym)


That's everything I carry in my backpack when I'm off on a trip! Let me know if you've got any questions / suggestions / criticisms and I'll get back to you when I can.

Thanks for reading, see you in the next one.

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