Top 9 Gadgets You Should Have In Your Go Bag

We share a lot of cool gadgets around here, but there are a few tech essentials we think should be in every geek's laptop bag. Here are the 9 coolest (and most useful) gadgets you should always have with you.

Photo remixed from an original by Kagaya.

9. Cable Shorteners

One of the biggest annoyances the travelling geek encounters is a tornado of tangled cables in her backpack. If you need to neatly organise your cables, grab some cable shorteners like the stylish, cheap Applecores. MacBook users will also love the Quirky PowerCurl wrapper for their AC adaptor (though make sure you're wrapping that cord correctly), and a simple binder clip makes a dandy headphone wrapper for the travelling music junkie.

8. A Space-Saving Wallet

Traditional wallets are big and bulky, and if yours is starting to (literally) burn a hole in your pocket, you have a few alternatives that can save you some space. You can go with something basic like the Storus Smart Clip or go with a wallet that combines itself with one of your other gadgets: like the wallet/notepad Pocket Briefcase, or wallet/iPhone case Cupcase. If you've got a bit more to spend, the BookBook is a very nice wallet/iPhone case combo as well.

7. A Thumb Drive For Your Key Chain

Thumb drives are great for all sorts of things. Whether you're carrying around a suite of portable apps or a full-fledged privacy toolkit, you probably carry one or two thumb drives with you at all times. Most thumb drives are pretty bulky though and can easily get lost if you don't have them on your keys. We love the LaCie iamaKey thumb drive: it's sturdy, thin, and fits right on your keychain with your other keys. Not to mention they're pretty cheap.

6. Touch Screen-Friendly Gloves

Using your smartphone or iPod can be near impossible during winter. While we're heading into summer now, consider investing in some capacitive gloves for next year. These gloves will let you use that touchscreen without sacrificing your hands to winter's bite. Many of these gloves look a little silly, but we're big fans of Agloves, and you can always make your own with a bit of conductive thread, if buying them doesn't suit you (though they're pretty inexpensive).

5. Mini USB Cables

While those cable shorteners can handle the long USB cables in your backpack, you can save yourself the hassle in a few cases by picking up these great mini cables from Griffin. They come in a few different popular flavours of USB (including one compatible with iOS devices), and are only a few inches long, so you can charge and sync on the go without any cable wrangling.

4. Lenses That Power Up Your Phone's Camera

The best camera is the one you have with you, and while you can carry an extra camera around with you, smartphone cameras have gotten good enough to use in most cases. However, if you want to make them a little better without carrying your DSLR with you everywhere, Photojojo has a trio of pretty awesome camera lenses that attach to your smartphone, including a 2x telephoto lens, a 180-degree fisheye lens and a 0.68x wide-angle lens you can also use for macro shots. And, while you're at it, you can brush up on a few tips to make sure you're getting the best possible photos out of that smartphone.

3. An Emergency Battery Charger

Nothing runs on good ol' AA batteries anymore, which means if you get caught in a bind and run out of battery, you have to plug your device into a wall. When you don't have a wall, there's the HyperJuice battery, which you can plug into your laptop, smartphone or other device to give it another charge.

You can also grab something like the Mophie case for your smartphone, which contains a built-in extended battery to keep power flowing to your device.

2. A 3G Or 4G Hotspot

Wi-Fi is nearly everywhere you go these days, but you don't want to rely on it for data connectivity — after all, there seems to be some law of physics that says it's never there when you need it most. If you've jailbroken your iPhone, you can use MyWi to tether it, or tether your Android phone with PDANet. Of course, tethering has its downsides, so be aware of those before you go that route.

1. The Grid-It Organiser

Arguably one of our favourite go bag accessories is the Grid-It organiser. It's essentially a woven grid of elastic bands that let you hold anything from cables to pens to phones to pretty much anything else on the above list. They come in all different shapes and sizes, some of which even include a little sleeve for your tablet or netbook. And, as it doesn't have any pockets designed for any one product, you can figure out a layout that works for your specific hodgepodge of cables and devices.

Many of these products can be found pretty cheaply on sites like staticICE, so be sure to do some Googling to find the best price before you buy.


    A surprising amount of existing, normal gloves work fine on a capacitive touchscreen.

    Not the really thick fleecy ones of course. But before going out and buying special ones, just test your own, just in case ;)

    Item #2 says you need to jailbreak iPhone to get WiFi tethering. That's incorrect.

    Since iOS4 came out in mid 2010 the iPhone has a setting called PERSONAL HOTSPOT that you turn on-off from the SETTINGS menu, and wha-la' instant WiFi hotspot.

    You can access the WiFi hotspot via WiFi, Bluetooth or USB cable... I use WiFi and use it most days to give easy 3G access to my MBA 11" or iPad when i"m not at home. is IDEAL when travelling and you don't want to pay $20+ per day for hotel WiFi.

      I may be mistaken, but in the US, many carriers disable the feature, thus necessitating the jailbreak.

    I like the Verbatim micro USB better, it's super small and lightweight and almost unnoticeable when plugged in the USB port.

    Android 2.2 and above also has WiFi hotspot capability built-in without requiring root access or any other software.

    I've found a solar powered charger worthwhile a couple of times, as well, when away from power points for extended periods. Mostly it just acts as a USB-rechargeable battery, but it can slowly recharge itself and give you that emergency phone call or Google Maps access when you really need it!

    #9 "in her backpack", when did LH accept copy and pasting articles word for word now?

    "Cable Shorteners & Mini Cables" are the same type of gadget where the goal is to have a short cable run. (This makes the Article a Top 8)

    #3 (A second battery makes more sense, excluding an iPhone situation)

    #2 another copy and paste, more obvious because it's such old references.

    My Tech Bag:
    1 - Key Ring USB - For storage of course.
    2 - Blank DVD/CD - For making boot disks and needing to moving data to infected computers. Cause I do not want to plug my keying USB in and get a virus.
    3 - A couple of pens - biro pen, a pencil & permanent marker
    4 - Small roll of electrical tape - with the permanent marker you can label cables or boxes, or equipment.
    5 - diary - writing down notes / configurations.
    6 - Retractable network cable - cause when you need it you will not find one.
    7 - Very short PSTN phone cable - I always have a use for one when out in the field.
    8 - blank usb keys that are cheap that can be through away or given to someone without worrying about the cost.
    9 - Iphone cable - because I always need one. Can use it for tethering my iphone or getting photos off it.
    10 - a paper clip to take the sim out of my iphone.
    11 - Leatherman or multi tool - screw driver, cutters, etc
    12 - micro usb cable, mini usb cable for hard drives and phones.

    If you pack this stuff right it does not take up much room.

    I have never had the need to whip another lense on to my camera phone or need gloves that would work with a touch device....Those two are just silly.

    I probably read it on Lifehacker but here goes anyway:

    Rather than using Applecores to shorten cables use cardboard toilet roll cores. To prevent tangles, don't wind the cable around your hand before putting it in the cardboard tube; gently fold the cable into say 120mm loops in the palm of your hand.

    Cables + Glad Bags. - Gold!!
    I have a drawers full of cables but no tangles. Plus if I need to take anything for travel just grab the appropriate bags.

    Applecores? How long before there's a lawsuit from Cupertino?

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