CES Gadget Go Bag

Mari Silbey —  January 3, 2013

CES gadget go bag


After skipping the “International CES”* last year, both Dave and I are headed back to Vegas for the consumer electronics show in 2013. And that means it’s time once again to look into the gadget go bag. For next week’s trip I’m packing up the laptop and smartphone, but also a few accessories that should hopefully make my rounds at the show a little easier. First, despite Dave’s insistence that I use my phone to take all photos, I’ve acquired another point-and-shoot camera. The quality of my smartphone photos is seriously lacking, and while I have no aspirations to be an award-winning photographer, it would be nice if a few of my gadget pics were recognizable as such, even in low light and among jostling conference-goers.

Second, I’ve added a critical new piece of hardware to boost my phone’s naturally crappy battery life. The Anker Astro 3 external charger may be overkill given that I only need one of the one thousand enclosed adapter tips, but it promises to power my phone at least six times on a single charge. And that is invaluable while traipsing around Vegas roughly 20 out of every 24 hours each day.

Finally, I’ve included a small Skooba case for organizing my various gadget cables, and a set of cheap but worthwhile Panasonic earphones so I can safely ignore my fellows anytime and anywhere. Remember, just because we bloggers want to learn more about this year’s gadgets doesn’t mean we actually want to talk to other people while doing it.

Interestingly, while pulling this post together, I happened across a photo of my gadget bag from CES 2010. There have been a few changes since then.

CES travel gear shot 3

Aside from the color scheme shift, I’ve ditched the separate video camera, upgraded from netbook to full-powered laptop, and given up on my WiMAX 4g USB stick. Regarding the 4G access, I’d love to set up my phone as a hotspot at CES to spread the LTE love to my laptop. But unfortunately, I’m not willing to pay $30/month for the feature, nor am I willing to knock out my unlimited data plan from Verizon, which I’m still clinging to as long as Big Red lets me keep it. Wi-Fi access is supremely limited at CES, but I’ll just have to make do. Maybe I can beg/borrow/steal access to somebody else’s hotspot.

*Editor’s Note: CES organizers have impressed upon us that the official name of the annual gadget show is “International CES” and that only secondary references should be shortened to CES. We are also instructed not to call the event the “Consumer Electronics Show.” Instead I have simply described it here as the consumer electronics show, all lowercase. Good that we’ve got that sorted.

9 responses to CES Gadget Go Bag

  1. I was not aware of Skooba. I must have one.

  2. Yeah, the rolly organizer thing looks quite handy. Ironically, I’ve been most concerned about analog CES accessories… getting new business cards and tracking down a good notepad.

  3. I almost included a notepad in the pic. As for business cards, I’ve given up.

  4. I got the cheapie but “premium” Vistaprint cards. And they’re not much better than I could have done at home. Eh. I love Moo cards, but considering these things end up lost or in the trash, I didn’t case to invest.

  5. Yeah, I’m interested in that Scuba thing. Looks a bit thick once rolled up though…

    My personal favorite addition to my bag last year is probably just the Nite Ize ties:


    which are really just fancy plastic/wire ties you wrap around your cords to keep them together. Tried a lot of different things, and these are the keepers.

    Given the quality of the video my point and shoot takes I don’t see taking a dedicated video camera on trips much any more. Other than maybe some kind of underwater shooter maybe.

  6. Given the amount of laptops and cell phones, I’d imagine that all 3G and 4G networks will get heavily congested. As such, WiMax 4G might actually be the best option there. Well, let us know how good cell reception is there.

  7. I love the Skooba bags, I have the larger one that isn’t rolly and it allows me to bring everything I can imagine. Chargers, SD cards, USB cords, readers. I always seem to need something while traveling / visiting tech challenged relatives.

  8. I was wondering which items you actually ended up using and what you wished you had brought with you?

    Same Q to Dave as well.

  9. The Anker Astro charger was awesome. It charged my phone, and the phones of several friends. Love it.

    Skooba bag was sadly useless. USB plug wouldn’t stay in place, and the only other thing I needed it for was a USB cable. Laptop power brick is far too big to fit, and my camera doesn’t use a cable.

    I still hate Canon’s camera charging system (removable battery that has to be charged in a special plug-in module), but I was very glad to have the new camera. Cheap though it may be, the photos are significantly better than what I can get with my HTC phone.

    I love my Panasonic earphones, but didn’t use them much on this trip.

    And finally, it would have been nice to have a 4G hotspot or USB stick, but it wasn’t absolutely critical. Surprisingly, Verizon’s LTE network held up pretty well under the CES strain, and I was able to get access to much of what I needed on my phone. Laptop usage had to hold off until I could park myself in a free Wi-Fi zone.