Do you miss attending those big tech conferences where you learn about all the latest products — while schmoozing over cocktails or beer? Maybe you miss doing all those exciting PowerPoint presentations for your customers or visiting their remote sites to troubleshoot problems.
COVID-19 has shut down a lot of traveling that IT decision makers and support workers used to frequently do — and enjoy. Okay, maybe not everyone enjoys staying in a backwoods motel so they can fix a server used by a company with three employees. But Vegas, hey Vegas! I'm coming baby!
As the pandemic wanes, travel will be in the cards again for many of us that hunger to attend conferences and events — or just want to get on the road again to sell and support. When techies like us go on the road though, we need good bags to keep all our tech gear safe and secure during transport. Below are some recommendations from myself and some colleagues about tech bags that could meet your needs when you travel again. Good bags are especially critical when the job you're doing — or the event where you're presenting — necessitates carrying a lot of gear, such as laptops, cables, tools, a projector, a coffee machine, a Swiss Knife, a portable air conditioner, or whatever.
And remember, gift giving (or gift getting) is never out of season, so it's time for us IT professionals to engage in our favorite hobby. Let's go shopping!
Tradesman Pro™ Backpack / Tool Bag
This amazing little wonder had one of my colleagues drooling before he bought it. It has storage space for cables and adapters, as well as places for your cellphone, pens and notebooks. It also has a padded pocket that can hold a 17-inch laptop or tablet up to one inch thick. Additionally, it has a hard, molded front pocket where you can store your glasses. Its orange interior lets you quickly find your tools inside the bag. Overall, this bag is great for the techie who has to go troubleshooting while carrying around everything except the kitchen sink.
5.11 RUSH 72 2.0 Backpack from Tactical Gear
If you really need to hike in to a remote site to restore their backup, then this bag from Tactical Gear will meet your requirements. It has a padded laptop compartment, a tech compartment, a concealed carry compartment (for storing your iPhone, I suppose), and a hydration pocket. You never know when you'll need to carry three liters of water (or beer) to keep you going on your all-nighter as you wait for the restore to finish.
Do you want to organize your tools, adapters, and other miscellaneous stuff so they don't get mixed up (dang! gotta remember to label 'em!)? Try subdividing the available space in your backpack with some soft padded cases like this Mid Size APX Multi - Purpose Dual Zip Case by Maratac or these from Cases By Source.
If you need to climb mountains to reach the remote site where you'll be giving your PowerPoint presentation, then you'll probably need some tough rucking gear like the GR1 from GORUCK. One of my colleagues swears by this one as he travels the world doing what techies love. Truthfully, he hasn't been able to travel for a while, but that will hopefully soon change. The GR1 opens flat which makes it easy to pack, unpack and organize. It also has a so-called "Bombproof Laptop Compartment." The compartment is extra reinforced, lies next to your back, and has a false bottom so when you put your rucksack down your laptop doesn't get bumped. There are large pockets inside with zippers and mesh. It also has a slant pocket on the outside where you can stick your PowerBar (the kind you eat, not for powering tech gear). GR1 is totally rainproof and is TSA Compliant, so it will fit under the seat in front of you on the plane.
Brain Bag from Tom Bihn
The Brain Bag is so popular that it's currently out of stock. Let's hope they restock them soon! This one is great if you need to carry two laptops somewhere, or a laptop and a tablet. It's not your military-grade-special-forces-heavy-jungle-type of bag like some backpacks we've previously described. The Brain Bag is more like what a business person or student might want to use, with two main compartments and four external pockets. One of my IT colleagues finds it perfect for the work she has to do when she travels. Tom Bihn also sells a padded hip belt to make their backpack easier to carry when it's fully loaded with tech gear.
TOOLMARK TOOL CASE No.6
And finally, for those who don't like to wear backpacks because they're just not cool, this more traditional bag-with-handles from ToolMark is terrific if you need to carry around fiber optic measurement/maintenance gear, electronic maintenance equipment, and similar sorts of uber-geeky tech stuff. A datacenter engineer I know swears by it when traveling because he can spend his hotel evenings rearranging his tools in the plethora of running loops in the bag. I suppose after finding the perfect tool arrangement he plays video games until the wee hours — like all of us in the IT profession.