What’s In My Kit Bag, 2011 edition

Back on the road as my Arab spring turns to summer. So here’s what I’ve brought with me:

  1. Timbuk2 laptop bag: tough, hard-wearing and looks pretty cool. Didn’t fancy the flourescent courier-style bag, so I got this classic canvas one instead. After more than three years though it’s showing its age and the external pockets are falling apart (they are dodgy anyway – had a Thuraya pinched from one in Sudan)
  2. NorthFace duffel bag: also showing its age. Problem is that it’s too big, so tendency to overpack. But easy to spot on luggage carousel
  3. Three mobile phones: My BlackBerry tends to pack up after three days of roaming because of useless Pakistani mobile network. So I have a UK pay as you go (expensive, but at least I can keep topping up), and a spare for a local sim card
  4. Noise cancelling earphones: means you don’t have to turn your iPod up to 10 on flights. Easy to lose though. My third set in three months
  5. iPod classic: I’m clearly behind the times as I can’t buy a case for it. IPod Touch, no problem, but nothing for this model. Ideal for Safari Soundtracks and keeping up to date with The Archers
  6. Flip camera: bought in a multimedia frenzy, but so far rarely used in anger
  7. Palm Tx: used Palm for about 10 years. These days I suppose everyone keeps all their contacts on their phone. It’s one more thing to carry, but I find its diary and address book to be easy to use – and vital
  8. Torch: have headtorch somewhere too
  9. Sony tape recorder: uses tapes and batteries. Ideal for the Third World. Noodlepie no doubt has a fusion-powered iPad app for recording interviews. But what happens if the hard drive breaks down in the middle of The Congo, eh?
  10. Thuraya: sat phone essential for comms in many places. These newer handsets are rubbish though. Battery life terrible and lots of complicated menus. It also won’t work with my Laptop (windows 7, 64 bit) so I can’t use it for email or browsing
  11. Foxes Glacier Fruits: to suck on long road trips. These have wrappers so they don’t melt into one fruity lump, making them an innovation Werthers Originals also a good option as you can find them in dusty Darfuri grocery stores
  12. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge: at 13 inches it’s a nice size to carry, but big enough to type fast. Everything else about it is rubbish though. Bought it because of its reputation for sturdy build. But the screen has developed a fault, I’m on to my second hard drive and it’s incompatible with lots of hardware – and apparently software. (Apple fans bugger off – before you get started – and get back to buying things you don’t need)
  13. Hat: for my head
  14. Lonely Planet: you’re never too cool for a guidebook. Potted histories are also more useful than any foreign correspondent will ever admit
  15. Canon PowerShot A620: tend to find that Canon cameras take the best pictures. I’d rather buy one from a camera manufacturer than a general electronics company
  16. Binoculars: essential for those, erm, celebrity stories
  17. First aid kit: The Telegraph’s standard issue kit has some frankly frightening things in it. And also a torch that clips behind your ear. Cool
  18. Leatherman: for opening beer bottles and removing stones from horses hooves etc

Next week I’ll tell you what I’ve forgotten

Posted in kit

2 thoughts on “What’s In My Kit Bag, 2011 edition

  1. Oh dear. Think I will have to reveal my kit now. I have an enormous list of stuff that allows me to report for radio from most hostile environments. I spend hours packing it. Bit obsessed by it really.

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