- Musician's ear plugs. These are so good. If you have any sort of trouble in loud bars you need to get yourself a pair of these. They cut out general ambient noise while mostly not filtering conversational noise. You should get these ones. I've tried 3 or 4 brands at this point and these ones are amazing and the others I've tried vary from OK to useless. Note that there are some very similar looking ones sold which lack the sticky out bits at the end. I haven't tried them, but they're reportedly less good.
- Kindle. I read probably somewhere in the region of ten million words of fiction per year. This used to be a major problem - a lot of my travel weight allowance always went on books, because otherwise I'd run out mid travel! Then I found out I could have a book store in my pocket and, well. I do not leave home without my Kindle if I can possibly help it. Note. You will probably want a case for this. I have the standard hard leather case. I don't know about the paperwhite, but my previous kindles were very non-durable without a case.
- External battery for phone and kindle. I use a RAVPower. The Kindle has a long enough battery life that this is mostly for the phone or for when I forget the Kindle. Phones running out of battery is awful. This battery is huge but lasts me probably 6 or 7 phone charges, so I only need to remember to charge it once a week.
- USB cables to go with the above. I'm using these ones, which were recommended to me as giving great charging time, though I find they don't always stay in my phone very well (other devices such as kindle and battery are fine).
- A water bottle. I have a metal Siggs which is great. I like hydration, but hate disposable plastic. The 0.4 litre size seems pretty good to me - I rarely run out of water for casual use with this size, but it also doesn't add too much to the weight.
- Nail Clippers (generic link. I don't actually have specifically these ones). My nails splinter a lot, and it's so annoying to not have these to hand and they take up basically no room.
- Ear Phones. Sometimes you just don't want to listen to your surroundings. I like the Amazon Basics ones.
- A key ring to tie things together. I'm a big fan of these ones. They're super cheap, fit a lot, and are generally very useful.
- USB flash drive. I have this one, which is great and can just go on a key chain. It's ambiguously useful because I don't think I've used it since I put it there. I thought I would use this all the time, but it turns out I just don't need a USB key.
- LED flashlight. I need to see in the dark sometimes, and the phone flashlight basically nukes the battery. Hence a flashlight. I have a tiny one which fits on my key ring but is nevertheless very bright. a tiny key ring one.
- Hip Flask. I carry this around because I have fairly specific tastes in drinks and am often in places that can't satisfy them. (Basically I don't really drink beer or wine much and am a spirits snob). So I thought carrying a hip flask of decent whiskey around would be a good idea. Problem is it turns out I hardly drink these days, and when I do it tends to be in places that will serve me good cocktails. So that's not very useful after all.
- Utili-key. Turns out I do carry a leatherman-ish around with me all the time. I've never used it, and that's not just because I'm bad at opening it.
- I'm also carrying a small Swiss Army Knife. This proved particularly useful over Christmas when there were a lot of packages to open.
I don't always carry these, but I do for work days.
- My laptop. It's a Dell XPS 13. I cautiously recommend it, but I did have to replace the WiFi card that worked correctly under Linux.
- Mini Display Port to everything adapter. My laptop only has a mini display port, but with this the only projector I've ever failed to connect to I'm pretty sure was just flat out not working.
- Targus presentation remote. Works as a USB keyboard, so plays really well with almost every computer. In particular works great with reveal.js, which is my preferred presentation tool.
I carry these only when travelling.
My travel bag is a Condor Colossus Duffle. It's much larger than the description would suggest, very easy to carry, and extremely rugged.
Other essential items include:
- Caffeine pills. I'm a caffeine addict but also a coffee snob, and I'd much rather just take the pills than get a headache or drink bad coffee. I use these ones from Deluxe Nutrition. You might want to use ones with a more reasonable level of caffeine, but one or two of these is more or less my normal daily caffeine intake.