Ben the PC Guy: What’s in my bag?

This is a guest post from Ben Rudolph, The PC Guy.

I travel. A lot.

That means that the gear I carry – and how I carry it – is really important to my sanity and productivity on the road. In my bag is a mix of high-tech and low-tech gear, most of which I use each and every day I’m away from the office. Check it out:


I alternate between two different PCs, both running Windows 8. The first is an Acer S7. It’s crazy light (under 3lbs) and razor thin, and packs a 1080p capacitive touchscreen that make Windows 8 gestures a breeze. It’s what I carry on short trips when I’m doing light work like keeping up on email.

If I know I’m going to be knee-deep in writing or need to stay unplugged for hours at a time, I carry a Lenovo ThinkPad X220, set up with two SSDs (a 120GB in the WWAN slot, and a 180GB Intel 520 in the main bay). It’s not a touch machine but the matte display is easy to read in any condition, the 9-cell battery lasts for upwards of 9 hours – 18+ if you snap on the sheet battery – and it has Lenovo’s unbeatable keyboard. Despite being almost 18 months old it’s still an amazing device. Lenovo has since upgraded the X220 to the X230, if you’re interested in checking one out.


Given that the bulk of my work is with Windows Phone, I go heavy on handheld devices. I always carry at least three Windows Phones with me at any given time. Right now, there’s a Cyan Lumia 920 in my pocket, along with a Yellow Lumia 920 and California Blue Windows Phone 8X in my bag. I mostly use the Lumia 920 as my “daily driver” since you simply cannot beat the camera on that thing.

Along with my Windows Phones I carry a Samsung Galaxy SIII and a 64GB iPhone 5, which I use to test competitive features and apps. They’re both pretty good phones and have given me a much better understanding of what’s good, what’s bad, what works, and what doesn’t.


On a single-day trip my Surface RT is all I bring with me. Mine is a 32GB model with a 64GB micro SD card in the slot. I typically use a Magenta TouchCover but swap it out for a TypeCover if I know I’ll be doing more typing than usual.


  • My headphones are a set of Nokia Purity earbuds by Monster. They deliver great sound and work beautifully as a headset for both Nokia and HTC Windows Phones.
  • To stay powered up I usually bring two microUSB chargers (HTC makes my favorite as they take up the least space on an outlet) and a Scosche 5000mAh battery pack. The latter is a lifesaver if you’re an event like CES where outlets are scarce and you’re doing a ton of work on your phone. 
  • I also never, ever leave home without a golf ball. After a long day on your feet, rubbing them with a golf ball make them feel like new and help loosen up stiffness in your legs and lower back. Trust me on this.
  • Other stuff I keep handy include a pair of polarized Ray-Bans, a PC-repair multitool (which I got from kick-ass PC maker MAINGEAR), a screen cleaning cloth by Toddy, business cards in a Slim by Suprgood, and a few Zone bars.


I carry all of my stuff around in a RUSH 24 backpack by 5.11 Tactical. I’m a big 5.11 fan; I discovered their stuff from some of the soldiers and police I trained in self-defense when I was living in DC and have always found their gear to be tough, reliable, and pretty good looking. The RUSH 24 is a mid-size pack with pockets and pouches galore – plenty of places to stash phones, accessories, and whatever else you need to carry. And the rear compartment, which is actually designed for a hydration system, is perfectly sized to fit a 14” or smaller laptop. It’s not padded, though, so I modded the bottom with a shoulder strap pad from Timbuk2.

That’s my setup. What’s yours?