It’s a bit of a running joke with my friends that I am “high-maintenance”. It may be my BSA training -- “Be prepared, prepared, prepared, the motto of a true scout” -- or maybe I’m just a little too organized, but for better or for worse, when anybody I’m traveling with suddenly needs something, guess who they ask? And more often than not, I have what they’re looking for.
So with this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share with my fellow digital sojourners, a checklist list for my iOS Ditty bag, which in my case is a black mesh, two compartment zipper job that came with my Wenger (Swiss Army) backpack.
iOS Ditty Bag Contents
2. Back-up Earbuds - Standard Apple issue here, included with every iPhone.
3. Apple SD Card Reader for iPad - This item is sold as part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit; $29 from Apple vs. $23.99 on Amazon.com. 4. Apple USB Adapter for iPad - This item is also sold as part of the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit; $29 from Apple vs. $23.99 on Amazon.com. 5. Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapter with Data Cable - $29 from Apple and as low as $15 on Amazon.com. If you standardize on the 10w adapters you can use for charging iPhones and iPads alike, and your iPhone will actually charge faster than it would using the standard iPhone power adapter. 6. Apple Dock Connector to USB Cables - $19 each from Apple and $5.18 on Amazon.com. You need at least one for every iOS devices you have, plus an extra to be safe. 7. Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Headset - $39.06 on Amazon.com. These have really come down in price. I’m pretty sure I spent in excess of $100 for mine. Jawbone has done a super job with the Noise Assassin technology, but the headset itself is poorly engineered from the standpoint of attaching to your ear. Jawbone has tried several different approaches from wire hoops (terrible) to plastic inserts they call “ear gels” (slightly better). IMHO, there is only one viable solution that equals the elegance of this headset technology. (see item #9, below). 8. Jawbone Power Adapter (included with Jawbone headset), this also doubles as an extra iPhone power adapter, if need be. 9. Jawbone Prime Custom Molded Earpiece - $69 from AverySound.com. If you understand the Jawbone technology, you know that it is critically important for the Jawbone to maintain contact with your jaw -- or it doesn’t work. None of the earpiece apparatus that Jawbone sells with the device manage to do this reliably. It’s maddening! You can hear your party, but they can’t hear you. I was actually in the process of returning my Jawbone Prime to the local Apple Store, when another customer mentioned Avery Sound Labs to me. Once you place your order, they send you a kit and detailed instructions for how to create an impression of your ear using quick set molding compound. You then send this impression to their labs, and they manufacture your earpiece. The whole thing is a bit of an arts and crafts project, but the results are stellar. You can literally go jogging with your earpiece on and it will stay in place while you run and talk.You can order your earpiece in a variety of colors. I chose clear, but I might rethink that if I were to reorder, as the clear tends to discolor over time.
10. Jawbone Charging Cable (included with Jawbone headset) 11. Japanese-style 1:3 AC Adapter - This compact gem turns one outlet into three. Unfortunately, these adapters cannot be purchased in the US because their compact design requires bypassing the third prong ground found on most electronics plugs. 12. Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter for MacBook Pro - $49 from Apple vs. $44.80 on Amazon.com. This cable is designed to power your laptop in-flight, and it works great, assuming your airline offers AC outlets throughout the cabin, and the outlets are actually in working order. The latter is surprisingly not always the case. By the way - this cable will not charge your laptop, simply power it. 13. Mophie External Battery - Mophie makes various battery packs, but I chose this one because it can actually recharge an iPad! I also wanted a model that I could keep in my pocket and tether to either my iPhone or iPad via a data cable, rather than having to attach the battery directly to the iOS device. Two other great features about the Mophie products are their LED power-level indicator lights and an on/off switch which prevents the battery from losing it’s charge over-time. The new version of my battery, will also work with DROID, HTC and Blackberry. 14. Generic Compact Camera Case - Another way to stay organized is to package certain items together in their own case or bag. It makes packing and “grabbing” the items much easier. I use this case to carry my external battery and the two pictured cables. It is made by Case Logic. Case Logic manufactures various sizes and styles. 15. USB Charging cable (included with external battery). 16. Griffin USB to Dock Connector Cable (Coiled) - $14.20 on Amazon.com. This compact cable is not only handy for use with my external battery, it doubles as my extra iPhone/iPad dock connector cable, as mentioned in # 6, above. 17. Belkin Velcro Cable Ties - These velcro straps are a great way to keep your cables organized and tangle-free. Several types are pictured, but I prefer the Belkin Velcro Cable Ties; $2.99 for a set of 6. 18. LED Flashlight - Always handy to throw in any ditty bag. The flashlight pictured is actually a trade-show trinket I picked up somewhere, but there are plenty of similar flashlights available from Amazon.com. 19. Carabiner-style Key-ring - Many uses for these; another handy item for the well-equipped ditty bag. I found this exact style and many other alternatives at Amazon.com. 20. Apple iPad VGA Adapter - $29 from Apple vs. $22.99 on Amazon.com. 21. Apple Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter - $29 from Apple and $27.55 on Amazon.com. 22. Apple iPad HDMI Adapter - $39 from Apple vs. $30.62 on Amazon.com. 23. Apple Mini Display Port to DVI Adapter - $29 from Apple and as low as $13.99, new, on Amazon.com. 24. MINI 1/8 Stereo Female to 1/4 Stereo Male Cable Adapter - Many options available. Here is a list from Amazon.com. 25. Mini 1/8 Stereo Splitter - This handy little item allows you to share your iPod, iPhone and iPad media with a friend; perhaps on a long plane ride or while waiting for a delayed flight. There are many similar products to the one pictured in the $2-$3 range on Amazon.com. 26. Monster 3.5-mm Headphone Adapter for iPhone - $2.52 on Amazon.com. This adapter is an interesting legacy from the original iPhone which had a recessed headset receptacle that would not accept many third party headsets -- coincidence, Apple? I have since used this adapter several times to get me out of a few jams with certain 3rd-party iPhone and iPad covers obstructing a proper connection with 3rd party headsets. 27. Jabra CRUISER2 Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone - $56 on Amazon.com. I love this device. The sound quality is great, plenty of volume, and it seems to run forever on a single charge! It is very lightweight and it doubles as a desktop speaker phone if I am working from a hotel room, etc. 28. BoxWave Capacitive iPad Styra (Jet Black) - $17 on Amazon.com. I’ve tried several other stylus manufactures and for my money, BoxWave is not only the best, but this model of their's also doubles as a conventional writing pen -- another ditty bag essential! 29. Targus 4 Port Ultra Mini USB 2.0 Hub - Very handy to have. I use mine on nearly every trip. Targus is definitely the leader for these mini USB hubs. The styles change often, but they all pretty much to the same thing. Here’s a link to a comparable model; $9.99 on Amazon.com. 30. Sandisk USB Memory Keys - Always smart to throw one or more of these into the ol’ ditty bag. I like SandDisk; they are reliable, and again the cost has come way down; starting as low as $4.03 for 8GB on Amazon.com. 31. Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Headset - $77 on Amazon.com. By now you may have noticed my inclination toward redundancy. Unlike the Jawbone and Jabra solutions above, this headset can be paired with both my MacBook Pro laptop and my iPhone, simultaneously; making it a great solution to handle both Skype and iPhone conversations. 32. USB to Micro-USB Cable - $1.95 on Amazon.com. This cable doubles a charging cable for both my Jabra speakerphone and my Plantronics headset. FYI - If you are ever in a pinch, I believe this is the same cable Blackberry and some Droids use for a data-cable. Good to know. ;-) 33. Wired USB Mouse - Why a “wired” mouse? Because you cannot use wireless mice in-flight; although, I did so for years before getting caught one day by a flight attendant. It never occurred to me that I was breaking the rules. What’s pictured is an old Macally clear USB mouse, that I have had for years. I still think the clear housing is pretty slick looking. There are lots of similar wired mice for under $10 on Amazon.com. 34. Logitech Wireless Mouse - $19.99 on Amazon.com. In-flight work sessions aside, I prefer a wireless mouse while working on my laptop. The Logitech mice have a great weight and balance, which make them my preferred choice. 35. Microfiber Cleaning Cloth - Package of 5, $3.99 on Amazon.com. Keep your screens clean and smudge free with a microfiber cleaning cloth. Needless to say, NEVER use tissues or paper towels to clean your screens, as you run the risk of scratching. 36. Jewelers Screwdriver Set - I’ve had my kit for years, but I recently found an updated alternative: the Silverhill 20 Piece Tool Kit for Apple Products for $12.99. Please leave a comment to let me know if you found this article helpful, and/or if you think of something that I should have included. Happy trails!
Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros.