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This article was published on March 27, 2011

Packing List for a Gadget Junkie

Packing List for a Gadget Junkie
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

It started with CTIA Wireless in Orlando Florida. It will continue for the next 45 days through Techstars in Boulder, Colorado. What is it? 4 trips and 3 countries in 60 days, all for the love of what we do here at The Next Web.

While some people count out precisely how many pairs of socks and underwear to take with them on a trip, I’ve never found that to be a challenge. For me, the moment of panic sets in when I realize that I’ve left a charging cable or a memory card at home. I am a gadget junkie.

Getting ready for a trip requires me to spend about 5 minutes throwing clothing into a bag. Then I will meticulously prepare all of the rest of the things that I’ll need. So what does my “go bag” consist of? Here’s my current list, and a few notes about what I wish I could do to make it better:

Kodak Playtouch

You can read a blog post about a subject time and time again and still not get the immersive feeling that a video can bring. I’ve tried a few different solutions over the years and, while I’d love to shoot my videos on a Canon 5D, both its price and its size have prevented me from making that jump.

I’ve tried a few different cameras over the past year and the Playtouch has stood out as my favorite. Though I still highly recommend Kodak’s older Zi8 model, the Playtouch is what you’ll now find in stores. It shoots up to 1080p video, saves to a standard SD card and is the only model on the market with an external microphone input. In noisy situations (like a convention floor) this is absolutely imperative.

iPod Touch + Mikey 2G

It might be more convenient for me to purchase a dedicated voice recorder, but my iPod Touch also keeps me from being bored to death on long flights. The addition of the Mikey 2G allows me to do audio interviews, but also lets me easily record TNW’s Daily Dose while I’m on the road. For the price, it’s probably the best option on the market.

Blue hasn’t yet been able to make a 3rd-generation Mikey that would work with the iPhone 4 or 4th-generation iPod Touch, but I’m told that it will be coming soon.

MacBook Pro

Here’s the part of the list where I have to mention the things I’d rather have. While my Pro is probably overpowered for what I do while on the road, it’s also the only computer that I’d take with me right now. We’ve have a handful of netbooks and even a Cr-48 sitting around, but they don’t fit the bill when I need a mobile office. The closest that I’ve found was Dell’s Vostro v13, but even it has seen its better days.

What would I rather have? A MacBook Air, of course. While my Pro is great, it’s also terribly heavy after a few hours of being slung over my shoulder in a laptop bag. Add a few ounces to the bag for the cameras, microphones and the rest and I start looking like The Hunchback of Notre Dame by the end of the day.

While the Air is notably the lighter choice, it’s also the more convenient one. TSA lines at the airport are a pain enough without having to take out my computer. The Air has been given the pass to stay in your bag (as long as it’s the 11-inch version)

Targus CitiGear Messenger Bag

It’s worth noting that my Pro is a 15-inch model, and I could step down in the size of the bag that I carry. However, about 4 years ago I purchased this Targus messenger bag and I have had a really hard time finding anything that compares to it.

Not only is it heavily padded and protective, it also has a boat load of extra space where the things that I carry seem to fit perfectly. Cables, batteries, memory cards and the devices themselves all have what seem to be custom-made pockets that keep everything handy and well-protected. I’ve beaten the life out of this bag, then turned around and used it for a pillow. It’s going to be hard to replace.

Generic Apple Earbuds

Crazy, I know. For someone who claims to be an audio geek, I should be ashamed (and I am) to use these things. They’re positively the weakest audio piece that Apple has ever sold. The problems is that I have about 4 pairs of them laying around the house, and I don’t care if anything happens to them. For the ear buds that I want, I’d care if I lost them, if they got crushed or some other horror befell them.

I used to pack my TMA-1’s with me when I traveled, but they’re far from bag-friendly. They just sound so good that it’s hard to give them up. Screaming baby? No problem! 60-year-old fighting couple? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you… And yet, for the past 3 trips, I’ve packed the Apple ear buds.

What do I want? A decent sounding pair of in-ear monitors that doesn’t break the bank. Give me something that sounds good for under $40 and I’ll buy them. If you include some sort of storage case for them, I’ll be even more happy. For now, I’ve not found a set that is worth the $40, unless they actually cost $80.

My Wish List

Every time I travel, I end up spending time looking around at things that I’d love to have. Whether it is something on the show floor, or in the possession of another traveler, I have a constantly-updating list in my head of the stuff I want or will soon have.

While I’m still lusting for my single-device solution, it’s not out there just yet. What I do want is thinner, lighter and easier, and we’re getting close. I’d absolutely love a point-and-shoot camera that was thin and could do great 720p video. I’d love to have a single device instead of switching back and forth between my Playtouch and my old, trusty Canon A560. So far, I’ve not found one that does video that’s even close to comparing.

I’m also in the market for a better bag. I don’t check bagage, ever. That means that my “suitcase” is actually a rolling backpack made by Eastpak. I might have found a better solution, in something called the JetCart Ultralight from Walkin’ Bag. But I’ve not yet done a trip with it, so the jury is still out.

I want inductive charging, that doesn’t require a heavy accessory in order to work. PowerMat has come close to what I’m looking for, but it’s still not quite right. Give me a mat and a single power adapter that I can stick in my bag, and let me forget all of my cables, please. I don’t want that moment of panic, ever again.

I’ll let you know as my search continues. I am, after all, a gadget junkie. I’m pretty sure that even if I had a 1-inch thick 5D and a MacBook Air, I’d still be looking for other options…

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