Most people on their way to work carry some sort of bag. I, as a developer, am no different. Some of the stuff I carry around will be common things you’d expect someone spending most days at a 9-to-5.

But I believe I carry around a few things that only a techie or nerd would carry around. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I have kept in there. You can compare with me and see if I’m doing something different, or maybe you have some suggestions as to what I can add?

So, without further ado, let’s get it all out on the table.

The developer bag

I thought I should actually start with the bag because it’s more important than you think. It needs to be comfortable when it gets heavy. It needs to be able to fit all your gear. Compartments are important, and it also needs to look half decent. I nearly said cool, but I don’t think I ever look cool.

My current bag has two straps, which I’ve decided I prefer. My last one had one, and it quickly caused discomfort to my shoulder when it got heavy. So spreading the load is something you need to consider. I have added spring clips to the zips so that it’s easier for me to pull open when in a rush. There is also the added benefit of being able to lock it when required.

This current bag comes with two sections. The main and largest section, and the smaller secondary section at the front. The main section also has a sleeve in which I can separate items – such as my tablet and a lunch box – so that the two don’t grind together and damage each other.

The smaller front section has copious amounts of smaller sections for USB devices, cables, pens and the like. To be honest, I find them rather small and flimsy. I would prefer slightly bigger sections with a more robust material. To often, a slightly heavier item becomes easily dislodged only to fall to the bottom with the rest of the escapees. But it’s a minor grievance on an otherwise mostly reliable servant. Yes, I’m still talking about the bag.

Phone

Ok, so I don’t always keep the phone in the bag, but sometimes it gets stored there if I don’t want it in my pocket or I need to store it somewhere.

Sometimes it’s just nice to place the phone in the bag to avoid distractions. I’ve it’s out of my sight, then I’m not checking it every 10 minutes for no reason.

Tablet

My tablet easily fits into this bag with its portable keyboard. My larger laptop also somehow manages to fit, with its bulky 17-inch screen, but I rarely take that with me. A small 15-inch screen would probably be my ideal, but I consider that a lesson learnt. The tablet, running Android, with the awesome Pixel keyboard that comes with it, manages to assist me with nearly everything I need on the move.

Battery

The battery pack I got recently has been an awesome addition to the group. It managed to fully charge up my tablet and phone on a recent trip without batting an eyelid. It continued to live on and charge for a further two weeks before I had to plug it back in again. Having one that has normal USB, micro USB and USB-C ports have come in handy. Allowing me to attach iOS charging cables to it, while also being able to charge all my Android USB-C devices.

Cables

I’m not going to list every cable that I carry around with me, because they are mostly just USB type cables or charging cables. I will off a couple of tips to people who carry around cables with them like I do.

Get an old compact camera case to keep all of your cables wrapped up together and tidy. Not only will this help keep the second of your bag tidy, but if you need to quickly switch bags, or need to grab a cable, you can quickly just grab the small case that includes all of them.

The special cables I carry convert normal USB Type A receiver to USB Type C and USB Micro-B 5 pin. The reason for this is it allows me, along with some extra software, to connect any standard USB pen drive to a mobile device. This is has allowed me to keep a USB pen drive full of movies that I can plug into my table and watch without the need for the internet or take up valuable storage space.

Mobile tripod

I love photography. It’s not always easy hulking around a massive DSLR with me at all times. An anyone who has done a bit of photography knows how important a tripod is in low light. So I carry around a mini, mobile Gorillapod. It’s a scaled-down version of the Gorillapod but comes with a grip attachment at the end to hold onto a mobile phone. This has allowed me to take selfies, videos and timelapse that I use for Instagram. The one I have also come with strong magnetic tips, allowing it to stick to fridges, whiteboard, handles and metal fence posts.

Pens and notebook

Always useful to carry around some pens, maybe even a Sharpy, because they are great. I’ve always got a notebook as well because you never know when an idea will present itself. Sometimes it’s easier to draw something to demonstrate an idea or a vision.

USB Sticks and Drives

I have a couple of 1tb Samsung hard drives that I carry with me which mainly has movies and TV series on so I can watch on the go. But they also have a copy of some of my development environments, while also coming in handy when I need to quickly transfer over large files and the internet or network is not an option.

Kindle

Since I did my Kindle articles last month, I carry around my Kindle everywhere. It’s stocked with programming books for learning, and a few novels for when I want a change of pace. It’s small and light enough for it not to be noticeable in the bag, and requires very little power.

Headphones

I love my Sony Headphones. They are comfortable, light, foldable and have decent sound quality for the price. They fit snuggly in a little section of my bag and are there for listening to music, video while on trains or anywhere else, and then for listening to audiobooks on the way home from work.

I used to have a spare pair of in-ear headphones rolled up in my bag, but they broke and I haven’t got round to replacing them.

Everything else

As you may have guessed, when I use this bag for work, I tend to keep other things here which are not that interesting but I thought I would include it here anyway. There is a pair of gloves kept in here for when walking home in the cold. A Tupperware container for keeping food and lunch away from the tech. Letters for work or vouchers for money off food can sometimes be found here as well.

Conclusion

That is pretty much everything that I care to mention. I should let you know that this isn’t the contents of my bag on all occasions. My tablet isn’t there when I know I’m not going to use it, so it doesn’t get damaged. My headphones are mostly on my head, sometimes I leave my kindle at home next to my bed. I do that a lot. Lastly, I rotate my USB sticks and hard drives that I carry in my bag as I need them for different locations and depending on used storage space. A lot of the time, the ones in my bag are just the smaller, empty ones I have for emergencies.

Let me know if you are similar to me. Do you have other must-have items that you carry with you? Am I missing something?

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