I pack as light as possible as I can, but I still take these trusty gadgets.
As a tech writer, you'd think that my life is filled with all these cool gadgets that I carry with me all the time. In reality, the opposite is my preference. Don't misunderstand, I do have plenty of really cool gadgets that I love to use, but when I leave the house and hit the road, there are only a few tech items I carry with me. I want to talk about those gadgets.
I find comfort in the simplicity of minimalism. I don't have time for being bogged down by too many things. Thus, when I step out of the door, I only carry the essentials. This means no backpack because that will just add unnecessary bulk. I just need the things I will most likely use.
This is the gear that goes with me at all times.
The gear: Bellroy Sling, iPhone XS, and more
I've always been into a simple set-up, but as my essential tech items have increased, so has the ability to carry them. They don't fit in my jean pockets anymore. To combat that, I've been using the Bellroy Sling.
I haven't always been a fan of sling bags, but I've also discovered how useful they can be. They are slim, light and compact. It forces you to be strict with the items you can take with you.
The Sling is particularly useful because it has two compartments: a front flat one that houses easily accessible items like a wallet or phone, and the main one that holds bulkier items like water bottles and sunglasses. To continue the minimalist aesthetic, the Sling comes with a built-in compression system that flattens out the bag as much as possible.
Besides its minimal set-up, the Sling is made of a water-resistant venture-weave polyester that protects your items while still looking very stylish.
So what's in the bag?
The first two things that go into the bag are my wallet and keys. The items themselves aren't particularly interesting, but I have been using another Bellroy product—the Note Sleeve—as my main wallet which is quite useful with its smaller footprint.
Besides my wallet and keys, the main item I carry is my iPhone XS. This is the device that goes with me everywhere. I use the Silver model, which I believe is the best color.
Though I use both iOS and Android devices, I prefer an iPhone as my main device. It just fits better my needs better and since I own other Apple products, including a MacBook Pro, the seamless connectivity between them is unmatched.
I still carry an Android phone as my secondary device, though I don't carry it around as much as I used to since my editorial focus is mostly on Apple now. I'm using a OnePlus 6 in the beautiful Silk White finish as my Android phone and it too finds its way into the Sling whenever I take it with me.
As a companion to my iPhone, AirPods are always stashed inside my bag. I think enough people have sung their praises, but I'll just reaffirm that sentiment one last time—they are amazing.
One of my favorite things to do wherever I go is to pop in a pair of headphones and get lost with music or podcasts. I used to use different earbuds from Sony and OnePlus, but since getting AirPods a year ago, I've fully embraced the wireless life.
The last mainstay in my bag is a battery bank. The one I use is the Anker PowerCore II 20000. That's mostly because I don't have to charge it regularly since it's so big and it is enough to power up my iPhone or AirPods (and even a Nintendo Switch) any time I might need it. The battery pack pairs nicely with Nomad's Universal Cable that can charge any device via its Lightning, USB-C and MicroUSB connectors.
There you go, nothing too fancy. As I said, I do work in the tech world but on any given trip out the front door, my goal is to pack as light as possible. There are a few additional items that occasionally find their way into the Sling bag like a camera, Hydro Flask water bottle or my Nintendo Switch, but that's not an everyday occurrence so I excluded them from the list.
With my bag packed, the next step is getting inside the car.
The car: 2019 Mazda CX-5
I live in Southern California, so most of my time is spent driving from one place to the next. It's a side effect of living in such a beautiful place.
When I step out of the door and get inside my car, the first thing I do is hook up my phone. Not specifically to charge my phone, but to use Apple CarPlay. I thoroughly love CarPlay. I used to thumb my nose at it because it involved "connecting" my phone as opposed to the wireless convinience of Bluetooth, but after trying it out, it's miles ahead of what you find in an infotainment system from any car manufacturer.
A few manufacturers do offer wireless CarPlay, but that's a feature that still unfortunately limited.
With CarPlay, I get access to Messages, Google Maps, Spotify and Overcast—the four main apps I use—all in a simple interface that mirrors my iPhone. No need to stumble around endless menus to access the content I want to listen to.
Unlike most people, I enjoy driving. It's nice getting behind the wheel, putting the windows down, putting on my favorite podcast and cruise around. This private temple is where I go to unwind.
Right now that it's football season, my listening habits mostly comprise of football-focused podcasts, but I still make time for some tech or news podcasts like MKBHD's Waveform and The Daily. Otherwise, I'm listening to my favorite music.
The car that I've been doing most of my recent cruising in is a 2019 Mazda CX-5. Mazda graciously lent it to me to check out some of its fancy cool features and it's pretty impressive.
As a person that's driven everything from Tesla's uber minimalist Model 3 to Audi's futuristic TTRS, I know what a great interior looks like and Mazda is doing a great job of keeping pace with the trends with its cars.
As fan of cars, I'm not a picky person. As long as the car drives nicely and offers features like CarPlay, I'll be content. I'm happy to report the CX-5 crossed off those points quite easily.
Besides CarPlay support, some other tech features Mazda's SUV offers is the convenient heads-up display, extra USB ports—there are two in middle compartment for the front seats and two at the back for the backside passengers—and array of sensors that alert you to when a car is in your blind spot.
Moving on from driving cars, I also like to ride my bike and my daily carry bag works really well with this mode of transportation. I live about three miles from the beach, so it's not uncommon for my wife and I to take random afternoon trips to the beach just for fun, especially right now that it's still summer.
My daily haul of tech gadgets might surprise you, but it makes getting around much easier. I try as often as I can not to overpack or take things that I won't use. Yet it works for me and that's the best advice I can give you. If you want to pack more, then, by all means, do it. I don't, so I go with something lighter.
Mazda provided TechnoBuffalo with a 2019 Mazda CX-5 for a week.