What’s In Your Laptop Bag?

Last summer I followed Jeff Blankenburg’s lead and asked What’s In Your Computer Bag?, and then I posted what was in my bag at the time.  As I get ready for my trip to Europe and the UK, it seems like a good time to take a new inventory. 

The Bag

First, the bag.  I switched bags recently in anticipation of this trip. I was looking for BackPack something big enough to carry everything I need, but that won’t kill my back.  I ended up with the BBP Hamptons Hybrid bag ($79).  It rides low on your back and does feel like it is doing less harm. 

It has a lot of pockets, and the computer rides in the back (next to your body) where it belongs. 

The Computers

Inside the bag I will be bringing two computers because I’m terrified of being in Europe and not being able to present due to a glitch of one kind or another.  These two are light enough that it is realistic to bring both.

The first is the prototype Ultrabook from Intel that I wrote about here.  That will be my first choice for presenting and certainly for email.  slate

The second computer is a Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A-A02US 11.6 inch slate.  The slate is fantastic; fast and very light.  I’ll bring the docking station, the Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse and I’ll be all set with a virtual laptop.

The only problem is that the screen is pretty small for presentations, but it can be done and I’ve done it.


Each of the computers also needs an HDMI converter, the Ultrabook a mini-HDMI to VGA and the slate a micro-HDMI to VGA.  I’ll bring my whole set of converters Convertersjust in case; you never quite know what you’ll need. 


The Mouse Mice

I’ll be bringing two mice with me (that really is overkill), one is a traditional arc mouse by Microsoft which has been my favorite kind of mouse for quite a while. Mouse 

The other is the new Arc Touch Mouse recently released by Microsoft, that has some very nifty improvements such as a connector that is held magnetically in place on the mouse when you’re not using it, and the mouse lies flat to turn it off and to pack it.  It also has a touch strip rather than a wheel.  Sweet.

Thumb Drive

I discovered this 16GB La Cie USB 2.0 thumb drive that goes on my key ring a couple Key years ago and it has been my go-to backup for presentations ever since.  I really like that it isn’t in my bag; it is in my pocket safe and sound.

Power Pointer

The Logitech Professional Presenter R800 has a green laser pointer and buttons to move your presentation ahead or back, or to turn off the presentation (blank the screen). Pointer

In addition, it has a silent timer that vibrates at your pre-determined count-down time; giving you the signal to finish up, because if an audience hates anything more than watching you walk back to the computer to advance your slides, it is having you run over your allotted time.

Cell Phone

My Windows Phone broke and I’m not going to replace it until the new Windows 8 phones are out. So, at least for now, I’m happily toting my iPhone 4S – which I don’t think I’ll iPhone bother upgrading to the iPhone 5 as I don’t see enough advantage.  The iPhone has all the apps I need, and Siri is a hoot. 

Me: Open the pod bay doors, Hal
Siri: Will we never live that down?

I did set up 300MB of international roaming data and 50 text messages for my trip, but I intend to depend much more on Skype than on cellular service.



I read about 150 books a year, and I’m typically in the middle of 3-5 books at a time. The Kindle has been a life saver.  Kindle

I currently have over 350 books in my archive (and I do go back and reread some or all of books I’ve finished) and 10 books that are on my “current” screen.

I love the ability to change the font size (I bump it up late at night) and to synchronize the book I’m reading across devices. I read the Kindle when I have it with me, but I’ll read on my Windows Phone when I’m out and about, and I’ll even read on my PC from time to time. Amazon keeps them all synchronized.

I have my eye on the Paperwhite, which I’ll probably invest in when I get back.


It happens every trip; I go to the airport and all the wall outlets are taken. I walk over and politely ask if I can share, showing my four outlet adapter (which folds up and takes very Adapter little room in my bag). It’s great; I often end up hosting other folks who were locked out as well. I could make a living selling these things in airports.

Amazon sells these for $11. That is too cheap to leave home without one.

I’ll also bring two outlet converters so that I can plug in in Europe and the UK


Just like the four outlet electric adapter, I also carry a USB hub. Never have too many USB outlets. Small, light-weight and inexpensive.


For the want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. For the want of a pair of AAA batteries…. batteries

I don’t go anywhere without six triple-A and six double-A batteries. I also make sure that I put fresh batteries into my mouse and laser pointer before I leave on a trip. You can buy batteries on any street corner; unless you need them, in which case there are none to be had.

Notebook and Pen

I’m a big fan of Moleskine notebooks, and the great folks at CodeMash gave imagethem away a couple years ago to every attendee, so I’m stocked.

I keep one in my bag with a pen to jot down notes, thoughts, names, etc. All of this is typically transferred into EverNote (see my write-up on getting organized), but it is faster and easier to start by writing it down.

Tea and Advil

Tea because I won’t drink Lipton if I can avoid it, and Advil because no one ever has Advil when that killer headache is coming on.  tea

I also carry business cards and various sundries.  The trick is to travel light but to be prepared for whatever comes along.


Power-cords and Chargers

Just make sure you have all you need, or the rest is for naught.

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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