The Ultimate Laptop Bag Packing Guide

If you’re work in tech like me, you’re often always on the go. With so much to do and places to go, you can find yourself working from coffee shops, airport lounges and even the back of taxi cabs. You do not need to be tied to an office to get things done.

Here is how I carry my office with me…

Buy a good laptop backpack

Having a stylish and functional rucksack to carry your computer and other possessions can really make your day easier. If you are travelling around a lot for work, a cheap low quality bag is going to frustrate you very quickly. We spend so much on our PCs, it makes sense to spend a little more on a case to carry it in. Expect to spend $50 – $200, buy from a reputable brand that offers a good level of warranty and one that has good reviews.

Here are some common features that you can find in modern laptop backpacks:

  • Multiple compartments for organising storage.
  • Water resistant or water proof.
  • Comfortable straps.
  • Secret pockets for stashing valuables.
  • Mesh / ventilated back.
  • Inconspicuous design (that doesn’t scream “expensive laptop in here”).
  • Padded, dedicated laptop compartment.
  • Fits within airline carry-on luggage requirements.
  • Reputable brand with a good warranty.
  • Audio port for headphones.
  • Lightweight but sturdy design.
  • Lockable zips to prevent pickpocketing.
  • Security loop for attaching to padlock and cable.

Work Digitally

Instead of carrying around heavy papers and folders, try to use digital solutions. This ensures you always have the data you need with you. Be wary of cloud apps though and their reliance on a connection. Sync cloud data to your laptop for offline use if possible.

May Laptop Back Pack Checklist

Here is a list of things that I carry in my laptop bag:

Productivity Tools

  • Gadget Chargers – Electricity is essential for the digital entrepreneur! Carry a charger for all your gadgets. I also recommend purchasing a car charger for your laptop and even a mobile solar panel if you know that access to mains supply is going to limited.
  • Smartphone – You can carry out most business tasks on a smartphone. They are great for checking emails and social media on the go.
  • Laptop – Go for something that has a reasonable sized screen, good battery life and plenty of storage.
  • Mouse – Laptop touch pads are ok but I am much more productive with a dedicated wireless mouse.
  • USB Hard drive – The cloud still has a long way to go before it replaces hard drives. Make sure it is backed up regularly.
  • Camera – I always need it the most when I least expect it. Never miss an opportunity by simply carrying it out of habit.
  • Pen and paper pad – Sometimes a laptop cannot replace a paper pad and pen for jotting down ideas.
  • Business cards – You never know when a networking opportunity arises. It could be in a bar or a family social gathering, a good entrepreneur always keeps them to hand.
  • Screen cleaners – For wiping down gadget screens of course.
  • Kindle or eBook – For when I have some spare time and need a break from gadget screens.
  • Files and Folders – I try to go digital where possible but these are essential for loose paperwork and important documents.
  • Headphones – Noise cancelling, over ear headphones for drowning out background noise and letting you work in harmony.

Personal Items

  • Water bottle – Hydration is important for productivity, always carry a bottle of water.
  • Snacks –Keep a few snacks in your bag in case you don’t have time to eat. Some carbohydrates such as oat bars are a good source of energy.
  • Emergency contact info tag – Many bags have a tag or card to put your name and contact details on. If you lose your backpack, somebody might just be good enough to return it.
  • Multi-tool – This always proves useful. Go for one with screwdriver and Allen key bits on. Unfortunately airports don’t allow them in carry-on luggage.
  • Mini flashlight – They are so small and compact that you may as well carry one – just in case.
  • Toiletries – deodorant, razor, spare blade, shaving stick, toothbrush, toothpaste and baby wipes.
  • Jacket – A versatile, waterproof jacket with zip-out insulation layer.
  • Umbrella – Mini, telescopic version for when the rain catches you out.
  • Cash – Emergency stash for when plastic isn’t a payment option.
  • Travelling eye covers – An eye mask is great for blocking out the cabin lights. Sleep is always a bonus!
  • Neck support – These make a real difference and help to reduce fatigue. I have an inflatable version.
  • Coffee cup – Great for the morning rush when you haven’t got time to sit down and enjoy it!
  • Sunglasses – Good laptop backpacks come with a protective pouch for them.
  • Padlock and cable – For securing your laptop and bag when necessary.

I use this checklist as a packing list to make sure I always have everything I need with me. By getting into a habit of keeping my daysack up to date and ready to go, I can be productive (almost) anywhere in the world.

What have I missed?

I still have plenty of room in my backpack! What items do you carry that benefit your daily work? Please share in the comments.

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