Charge and Go
One of my pet peeves is realizing halfway through my trip that I forgot a charging cable. It’s terrible, because then you have to find a solution, which becomes harder when your phone runs out of juice. I normally carried a small charging brick, but as I got back into traveling post-COVID, I found that it was hard to remember whether I had packed the required cables. Sometimes I’d travel with five more cables than I needed, and sometimes none. What a pain!
So, I decided to build “charge and go” bag, which saves me time digging for cables and keeps me organized. A traditional go bag for survivalists and preppers includes the bare essentials needed to survive three or more days and be immediately ready to carry. Thankfully, this bag will get much more use, which makes it much more practical and justifiable.
The nice thing about the bag is that it is relatively easy to purchase, compact for its size, and scales easily for your needs. You can remove components from it if you don’t need the bag, and still have it be fully functional. The small size allows it to be packed into a small travel backpack if needed.
“It’s better to have something and not need it, than need something and not have it.”
I’d estimate the entire contents should be $100 – $150 depending on how thorough you wish to be, with my fully prepped version clocking in around the $150 price point.
Disclaimer: My bag is entirely self-purchased and adjusted. No one has approached me to market any of these products, and I will not be compensated if you choose to purchase (or not) any of these things.
Two is one, one is none.
Several of items in this bag of will come in pairs (with extras stored safely for replacing if needed). It is up to you whether or not you buy pairs, but I personally recommend them for several reasons.
- You have multiple devices that use the same cables (i.e. iPhone and Airpods).
- Your travel companion needs to borrow one (and might not return it).
- You lose your first cable or leave it stuck in a wall.
- A stranger asks if they can get a charge. Use this opportunity to network if needed. If nothing else, helping a fellow traveler is a nice thing to do.
This should mostly be relegated to charging cables. There are conversion heads available that allow you to convert between outputs, but I would advise caution in these. Too short and you can potentially lose them in the seats. Too long and you end up having a cable mess.
Another decision you’ll have to make is cable length. Charging cables typically come in the 1’, 3’, 6’, and 10’ options. I would recommend 1’ cables in most cases, because the longer the cable, the harder it is to manage. If you need longer cables, an option would be to use USB extension cables. This allows you to closely marry your charger to your devices and not have them dangling, which prevents them from being yanked out or damaged easily.
Big Power Bank – I have two power banks for my bag. My larger one has a wireless charging surface, which helps me charge my devices cable-free. It’s large enough that I can’t comfortably carry it in my pocket so I typically leave this in the bag for when it’s needed. If you aren’t a fan of induction charging, there are plenty of alternatives that are similar in bulk that should cost less.
Slim Power Bank – The I-need-juice-for-myself charger. I bought this mostly for day outings where I notice I need some charge. It’s thin enough to basically be the same size as a cell phone, so I can have both it, a cable, and the phone in a pocket without discomfort.
Stylus – If you’re prone to losing a stylus, throw it in the bag where there’s a pen slot.
Pen – Sometimes you need one of these too, if you don’t EDC one.
Charging Cables – Remember to buy different colors! It’ll make telling them apart much easier.
- USB to USB-C
- USB to Lightning
- USB to Micro-USB
- USB to USB Mini B (optional, for cameraphiles)
- Extension USB cables
HDMI Cable – If you do any presentations or meetings, sometimes impromptu in a room with a TV, you can hook in with this HDMI cable solution instead and save your eyesight.
HDMI to Mini DisplayPort – If your computer has a Mini DP port and no HDMI port, this dongle is small enough to add without extra weight.
4-Port USB Multi Port – If you need USB expansion on your travel computer, or even more charging lines.
Apple Watch Travel Charger – The Apple Watch has a finicky charger. I hate how the proprietary one is long poor form fit, so I recommend getting a smaller one without cable that slides into a pocket.
Batteries – AA/AAA/AAAA, watch batteries, for anything you have that takes those (pens, mice, headsets, keyfobs, garage opener, wifi dongle, etc.)
Screwdriver/Phone Disassembly Kit – A nice toolkit in case you need to fix your glasses or swap out a SIM card.
USB Wall Charger – Pretty much necessary to keep the bag going.
Mouse – As needed.
Power Brick – This is the only thing that may be missing from your bag when you need to pack. Remember to put it in before zipping up and you’re done.
Travel Power Adapters – I recommend keeping this in your suitcase if you’re planning on international travel. No point in carrying an international adapter in the US, it just takes up space and weight. If you need it on the way back from abroad, you can move it from your suitcase to your carry-on.