All the cool people are doing it (Brent Ozar, Daniel Hutmacher) so I felt compelled to do the same – a quick run-down of the bag (and the contents) that has been travelling with me to 11 countries so far this year. When going speaking in Europe, I never check a bag. There are several reasons for that – it’s more expensive, it takes more time, and I simply don’t need it. I’m away for anything between two and five days and I’ve found that I can comfortably fit all the clothes I need plus computer and various electronic gizmos that goes with it. The bag I chose after *very* careful research was the Tom Bihn Western Flyer. It might not look like much, but it is versatile, perfectly sized for everything I need, it is built like a tank *and* it fits perfectly underneath the seat in front of me on most aircraft (most notable exception was an Embraer 145).
In the beginning I wasn’t sure I could fit everything in it, but after finding the concept of bundle packing everything started to come together. Using this technique I can easily fit one pair of pants, a t-shirt or a dress shirt for every day of travel plus underwear – all without very many wrinkles. I put all the underwear and smaller items in a generic small packing cube and use that as the “plug” in the bundle packing and – voilá! it all fits. I put the resulting bundle in a Tom Bihn mesh bag that fits perfectly in the back compartment of the bag. I’ve also started to include a pair of five-finger shoes to have proper clothing for exercise at hotels – they really don’t take up any space, and it looks way less conspicuous going to gym in them than in my dress shoes…
The other compartment is taken up by my computer. I sport a Microsoft Surface Laptop, and it travels in a laptop sleeve by the Finnish company Mozo, meaning I (almost) never have to take the computer out of the sleeve at airport security. Together with said computer I *always* bring my Bose QC35 series 1 (if you’re thinking of buying them, get the series 2) noise-cancelling headset. These are ABSOLUTELY KEY for me to get *anything* done at either the airport or on the plane.
All the bits and bobs go into an organizer of similar kind to Daniel and Brent that I managed to win(!) at a raffle at this year’s MCT Zero Day at Ignite in Orlando. In here the usual toys can be found – laptop charger, mini displayport-> VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort adapters, power plug adapter, a Microsoft Surface Arc mouse, an iPhone charger, and cable, a Jackery Bolt powerbank as well as my trusty Logitech Spotlight presentation remote. The computer sleeve sits in the back of the front compartment towards the middle of the bag and the cable organizer and headphones sit towards the front. This means that I can put my small, clear toiletry bag on top of the headphones and still have a fully packed bag not be very thick, like so:
My passport lives in one of the front zippered pockets.
Going through airport security is a breeze: remove belt and watch (might be unnecessary, your mileage may vary) and put them in either the back compartment on top of the clothing bundle or in the front leftmost pocket, unzip the front main compartment and pull out the computer and the toiletries and put everything in the plastic tubs heading for the X-ray machine. It literally takes me seconds to get the stuff I need OUT of the bag and ever so slightly longer to stuff it back in – all in all, security is dead simple with this setup.