I work for multiple companies, so my “office” is all over the place. I work at an office downtown, one on the northwest side of Chicago, my home office (dinner table and bed), my neighborhood Starbucks, and the list goes on…
I work all over the place. I’ve made some investments in my office and travel gear so that my stuff stays safe, can bear wear and tear of traveling, and make being a 21st century nomad as comfortable as possible.
So for you business travelers, freelancers or consultants who find yourself a good chunk of your week working at more than one place, I thought I’d share the gear that I use and love.
1. Kensington Lock
I’ve already got an acute paranoia from living in a big city for so many years — I can tell you way too many scary stories about friends getting robbed/mugged and personal close calls. I take NO chances when it comes to keep me and my stuff safe. I got a Kensington Lock to give me peace of mind when I run to the restroom after having too many cups of coffee.
2. Reliable Hardshell and Gel Cases
I’m super anal about keeping my gear protected. I have a Speck hardshell case for my MacBook Pro, and also have an InCase soft case that I put it in to ensure it’s safe traveling. I’ve had the soft case since 2007 and it is just as protective as when I first got it (especially considering the wear it’s been through the last several years). I also have an InCase iPhone 4 case that I got at TJ Maxx for $7. I trust both InCase and Speck brands greatly — they’ve never let me down.
3. SwissGear Backpack
I used to have a black JanSport book bag up until this last year that I’ve had for almost 15 years. (yes, 15!) JanSport has a lifetime warranty, so you can mail in your bag to get it repaired as needed. The last several years I spent a bit in postage to send it in to get fixed so I decided it was time to retire the old tattered thing (pictured left). I invested in a new SwissGear backpack (pictured right).
My old book bag went through hell and back… and it brought my back with it. (I also have the back of an 80-year old man) My new SwissGear backpack has really made a difference — even if I have 30 lbs of stuff in there, it feels significantly lighter due to its ergonomic straps and back padding. I keep a better posture, it’s incredibly durable, has a great warranty, and most importantly, keeps my stuff safe and secure. Highly recommend it. Investing in a good backpack is more than worth it!
4. WD My Passport 1TB HD
I recently purchased a new portable external HD. Since I do a bit of multimedia work, I have very large files I’m dealing with and can’t keep it on my Mac’s HD. I recommend LaCie portable hard drives. They are pricier than others but they are the industry’s best. I settled for a Western Digital Passport 1TB and it’s been working great! It comes with a USB port connector, so it’s not as fast with file transferring, but for its price and reliability, it’s great. I don’t get anything without a good case, and got a great hard case from Amazon for $5.
5. Portable Laptop Cushion
Every year for Christmas my Dad gets us a really practical gift, which I absolutely love. (My siblings just think it’s weird to get staplers or car emergency gifts instead of new shoes or DVDs). A few years ago he got me a laptop cushion desk — I love it. I do some work from my bed sometimes, and it’s perfect for it. Super comfortable, if my laptop is hot, it doesn’t sit on my legs, and it’s elevated so I don’t have to hunch over when on my computer.
6. Klipsch S4 Ear Buds
I’m a bit of snob when it comes to audio, and so I always invest in a good pair of headphones. I use them every day for several hours, and so it’s completely worth it for me. I always want ear phones that have a great bass/low end. I currently have Klipsch S4 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Noise-Isolating ear buds. Since I travel via public transportation primarily, it’s great for drowning out the noises of the city and weirdos you find on the CTA. They let me be in my own world on the train while crossing off items on my to-do list. Seriously love them.
I’m a bit of gadget geek, and love to hear what other gadgets and tools you use. What else do you have to add to the list?
Photo Credit: Brookstone