Essentials to Carry in Your Laptop Bag

Essentials to Carry in Your Laptop Bag.

Tech-Tip# 313 By Bryan Lambert - May 01, 2011

“…Whatever bag you get, be sure that it fits your needs.”

For the Geek on the go, there are essentials that you need! Last year Tech Tips covered some of these essentials with “Must-Have Tech Gear To Maximize Productivity Outside The Office”. In this week’s Tech Tip, we are going to cover some of the essentials to carry in your laptop bag as well as offering some guidance for picking the right laptop bag for your life on the go.

The most basic essential

Laptop Bag EssentialsChoosing just the right laptop carrying case could be called getting the most basic essential accessory for your laptop. While there is a wide array to choose from, you can narrow down your search by thinking about how you’ll use your bag. If you are a student, then perhaps a laptop backpack would be your style. Is it essential to protect your laptop from unforeseen accidents, then maybe an aluminum notebook case would be your style. Do you just need your laptop lightly protected but easy to carry? Then look at one of the sleeve options. There is also the basic laptop bag – inexpensive, easy to carry and stow away, but that gives your laptop good protection. These come in a variety of materials, from simple nylon to nicely appointed leather. For the traveling set, there are upgraded luggage type bags – complete with wheels and travel handle as well as TSA approved bags for the jet setting Geek.

Laptop Bag Essentials

Whatever bag you get, be sure that it fits your needs. Is it large enough for your laptop (or perhaps too big?). Will it fit all the extra goodies that you want to bring along? If you have an eBook reader or tablet, does it have a special compartment that can easily accommodate and protect this device as well? Does it include accessories such as a shoulder strap, or it is lockable? All these need to be considered for getting “just the right bag.”

Some more obvious essentials

Some of the more obvious essentials to have include three mentioned in the Must-Have Tech Tip as well as a few others:

  1. Mouse with nano receiver.
  2. USB flash drive.
  3. Power strip.

In addition to those essentials, some others would be:

  1. Laptop Bag EssentialsPresentation pointer (some mice, such as HP Bluetooth credit card mouse, have a built in presenter).
  2. Mini Bluetooth module (if your laptop doesn’t already have Bluetooth).
  3. 3G or 4G modem (if your laptop doesn’t have built in 3G) or in lieu of that:
  4. A cell phone device that acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot (such as Verizon’s MiFi service). This is a great service to have on long road trips where there may be multiple devices that can connect to the Internet.
  5. Noise canceling headphones – be sure that you get one that easily folds down for traveling.

Some less obvious essentials to have in your laptop bag are:

  1. Identification (like a business card) in case your bag is lost.
  2. Some kind of tracking software on your laptop (much like BlackBerry’s Protect or Apple’s Location services for iPhone/iPad). There are software options that can be used to help locate a misplaced or stolen laptop (such as Lojack for Laptops).
  3. Spare battery (but not if you are planning to fly).
  4. Laptop Bag EssentialsAutomobile cigarette lighter DC power cable for laptops or automobile power inverter (also great for long trips).
  5. Laptop travel mat – some kind of surface that allows the laptop to stay put but keep the fans clear and the heat away from you.
  6. Essential cables. Think how you are going to use your laptop – are you going to need a cable to connect to a projector or HDTV. Will you need a cable to connect your camcorder or cell phone? Will you be staying at a hotel that only offers wired Internet, and need an Ethernet cable? All things to think about when looking for items to include in your case.
  7. Cleaning cloth for the screen (even if it is not a touchscreen). Be sure that you get one that is safe for LCD screens.

In conclusion

There are a myriad of essentials and must-haves that you can get for your laptop bag. With this Tech Tip we have looked at the bag itself, some of the must-have essentials to the not so obvious essentials. We encourage you to plan ahead when traveling with it and we hope that this Tech Tip helps gives you some good ideas on what essentials you’d most like to have in your laptop bag.

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