What’s in my Bag – GeekSkills

My carry revolves around the iPad Pro. It’s the only gadget I actually need, with a few complementary accessories. Any extra items are in there to add personality or calm my nerves.

Amazon Basics Laptop Backpack (15 Inch)

I bought this during the good ol’ days when 15 inch Windows enterprise laptops were standard issue for work. It’s outdated, bloated, and unattractive. But it’s also comfortable, durable, and versatile. That works for me.

Amazon Basics makes great gear for low prices and this backpack is no exception. I’ve switched bags a few times, but kept coming back to this one because it’s held up so well.

9.7-inch iPad Pro, 128GB

The iPad Pro replaced my laptop (and journals). I bought the 9.7 because I found it used for less than half the price of the new 10.5 one. I use it for journalling and note-taking (OneNote), blogging and writing (Bear), video editing (LumaFusion), illustrating (Paper and Procreate), reading (Instapaper and Kindle) and normal iPad stuff like web browsing and YouTubing. It’s thin, light, and the battery lasts all day. Laptops do some things better, but I prefer having one device that does everything reasonably well.

Attached is the RooCase Origami-style 9.7 iPad Pro Case. It adds minimal bulk and weight to the iPad, but protects the back and front well. The magnetic clasp activates the sleep/wake function and holds the iPad in Portrait and Landscape mode. The landscape drawing mode provides a comfortable angle for writing and illustrating. Overall, this case has more utility than a normal Smart Cover.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

Yes, I’m using a Microsoft bluetooth keyboard on an Apple iPad Pro. I tried Apple’s Smart Keyboard a few times and the key travel and clickiness was severely lacking. Plus, being stuck with one viewing angle is very annoying! Thin and light matters to me, but not at the cost of flexibility.

This keyboard is thin, light, and flexible. The magnetic cover doubles as an iPad stand with two viewing angles for desk and lap use. You can also write in Portrait or Landscape mode! Typing in Portrait mode is an immersive writing experience that you can’t get by using a laptop.

Battery lasts a month on a single charge, it comes with shortcut keys, and when you flip open the cover the keyboard automatically pairs with your iPad. The keyboard is almost full-size and larger than the 9.7 Smart Keyboard. It took me a few hours to get used to the smaller size, but I’ve gotten comfortable using this for typing hours at a time.

Apple Pencil, Pencil by Fiftythree, and Chapstick

The Apple Pencil is hands down the best stylus for the iPad Pro. I mostly use it to jot down notes in OneNote. Handwriting helps me slow down and process things better, so it’s ideal for journalling and keeping all my thoughts and ideas in one digital space.

Pencil by Fiftythree was the first bluetooth stylus I owned and works well on any iPad—not just the Pro. I still use it when I draw in Fiftythree’s Paper app, since the integration is better than with the Apple Pencil. I really appreciate the creative design and walnut build, as opposed to the Apple Pencil’s stale, white plastic.

And I keep chapstick in my bag because I always lose my chapstick.

Lightning SD Card adapter

This handy little adapter easily offloads video files from an SD or MicroSD card onto my iPad. I record videos on a Canon G7x, plug the SD card into the adapter, edit the video with Lumafusion, and upload the video onto YouTube. It also takes audio recorded on a Zoom H1  recorder via MicroSD so I can get high quality sound on my videos.

Using the adapter is much faster and more reliable than transferring video over my camera’s wifi function. A must-have for iPad video editors!

Power Bank

Thin. Light. 3000mAh. Just enough to charge an iPhone or add a little juice to my iPad. Honestly, I rarely use this, but it usually comes in handy when a friend or stranger needs a quick charge.

Field Notes + Cross Pen, Charger and Cable

Sometimes you don’t want to whip out your iPad/Pencil and open OneNote just to write something down. Or you don’t want to take out your phone because you’re tired of using it so much.

Sometimes you just need a pen and paper. A real pen and paper.

Besides, you can always take a photo of what you wrote down later and save it to your OneNote journal. Oh, technology!

I think the charger and cable is self-explanatory. Since the iPad Pro gets 10 hours of battery life you probably won’t need to charge while you’re out.


I don’t really need this, but I like having it. Most of my reading is done on the iOS Kindle app during downtime (AKA bathroom breaks).

I used to have a Paperwhite. 300 ppi. Gorgeous screen and text. Perfect for reading in daylight. I hardly used it. I gave it to my wife. She gave me her basic Kindle. I hardly use it.

Kindle is for the reading purist. It’s nice reading from an unlit e-ink screen that won’t distract you with apps and notifications. So I carry one in hopes of being a better reader. But I’m not a reading purist. I’m a gadget geek. So I carry one because I’m a geek.

ESV Heirloom Bible (Calfskin)

I tried replacing my physical Bible with my iPad. It’s definitely possible.

There are 254363 Bible apps in the App Store. You can copy and paste dozens of verses at a time. You can highlight, underline, and save your notes! Study Bibles, commentaries, and Greek/Hebrew resources abound. You only have to carry a single device. The iPad is thinner, lighter, and more advanced than a paper book wrapped in cowhide!

But it’s not the same. I tried carrying just an iPad, in hopes of having the lightest, minimal carry ever. But I’m not a true minimalist. I’m a Bible purist. So I carry a Bible, because I feel unarmed without the Word of God.

And that’s okay. Minimalism, efficiency, and gear aren’t ultimate goods or gods. They serve a purpose. So I carry a little extra because those things are important to me.

Isn’t that why we carry bags in the first place?

What do you use and carry on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments below, as I’d love to check out some of your recommendations.

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