My Remote Working Travel Setup and Gear

Volume 81 - five minute read

Apr 13th, 2018

As someone who is fortunate enough to work from anywhere I’d like, figuring out the best gear and setup to bring with me on trips that doesn’t take up much room and keeps me productive has been a process to figure out. When I do travel, it’s typically to visit friends and family as well, so fitting other leisurely items like my music gear and gaming setup adds to figuring out the best way to pack.

Over time I’ve been able to consolidate everything I need (~5 days of clothing included) into just a backpack and a carry-on duffel bag. Below I made a handy chart with photos included and will be providing links and descriptions to each of the items and why I bring them. Hope this will be helpful for figuring out your own system when you travel!

Main Items and Carriers — Image 1 of 3

1. Nike Huarache (Olive/Sail/Gum)

Where to buy →

I personally don’t like to bring more than 2 pairs of shoes, one on my feet and one in my bag. These new Huaraches are a nice accent color in contrast with my monotone grays/blacks in my wardrobe.

2. Herschel Duffel Bag

Where to buy →

Finding a great duffel bag that was small enough to be a carry on but big enough to carry all my things was difficult, but this Herschel bag turned out really well at a great price. It’s easy to carry, fits more than you’d expect, and even has a separate compartment for your shoes which is nice to avoid getting clothes dirty.

3. Adidas EQT Support 1s (Black/White)

Where to buy →

On my second pair of these as I love their style and comfort so much. My go-to pair of sneakers lately that I wear and take on all my trips.

4. Incase City Travel Backpack

Where to buy →

Incase is a favorite of mine when it comes to travel bags. They have a lot of attention to detail that you easily notice for great prices. This is the second backpack I’ve picked up from them and love the setup this one has for your laptop, chargers, cables, pencils, etc.

A big thing for me about this bag as well is the comfort. I have a lot of back pain and the straps and lumbar support on this bag makes carrying all the things I need on trips much easier. Highly recommend for the price you pay for it.

My Essentials and Work Items—Image 2 of 3

5. HyperDrive USB-C Hub

Where to buy →

I’ve accepted the USB-C train that Apple has created in their new laptops. This hub allows me to get all the types of inputs I could have on old MBPs including plugging into HDMI monitors, using my OP-1 as a MIDI controller, and even getting all my photos and video files onto my laptop for editing. Really great all-in-one small package, especially for when you’re traveling.

6. Apple Magic Keyboard 2

Where to buy →

While not the most unique keyboard, Apple’s newest Magic Keyboard is amazingly small and thin; perfect for shoving in your backpack to work remotely. I personally like the new types of keys and keyboard layout from Apple, so this is perfect for what I need. Also, no batteries! Charges with a normal lightning cable that I already bring for my phone.

Extra. Logitech Master MX 2S

Where to buy →

Forgot to include this in my photo, but the Logitech Master MX 2S is an incredible mouse that I use all the time and love bringing it on trips. It’s ergonomic and very comfortable at a great price, can’t recommend it enough!

7. Field Notes Pitch Black Large Notebook

Where to buy →

As much as I love normal-sized Field Notes notebooks, they don’t really cut it for me when I need to brainstorm UI/UX ideas. Fortunately, Field Notes released a new larger size into their lineup and it has been a perfect size for me to travel with. Not large or thick enough to take up much room in my bag, but still big enough with enough pages to get me through a few weeks of brainstorming on-the-go.

8. MacBook Pro 13" (8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 2.3 GHz i5)

Where to buy →

With my last MBP purchase, I decided to test if I’d be okay with the absolute base model and it turned out really well. I won’t go into too much depth here, but I’ve written a more in-depth article and my experience that you can read here if you’d like!

9. Roost Laptop Stand

Where to buy →

Working on-the-go means I have to leave my monitor behind and rely on my laptop screen. While I wish I could bring a larger screen along with me, I do love using the Roost stand along with my keyboard and mouse while traveling. The stand gives me better posture and a better viewing angle literally anywhere I am, it’s saved me and my posture many times when working full days on trips.

10. PO-33 K.O!

Where to buy →

The PO-33 is the coolest music device in the world in my opinion. It’s likely the smallest sampler and sequencer you can buy and is so much fun to play with. Because it can fit in your pocket, it’s a great device to have and pull out while on the plane or going somewhere in a Lyft.

I personally use it in production as well as a drum machine in combination with synths or devices that don’t have a drum interface that fits my needs. Even if you aren’t into music, it’s a great device to play around with and try your hand at sampling and making small tracks for fun.

11. Nintendo Switch

Where to buy →

A must-have for travel in my opinion. So many great games you can play on-the-go with a beautiful hardware device and screen. If I’m heading to see friends or family I typically bring the dock as well to plug into a TV when I’m there since it’s small and easy to carry as well.

12. BeatsX Headphones

Where to buy →

A better sounding version of Airpods in my opinion. With very similar capabilities and connection workflows, the in-ear hardware of the BeatsX makes them a great contender for an Airpods alternative. I’ve also written an in-depth review of these if you want to learn more about them here.

13. Operator-1 (OP-1)

Where to buy →

An all-in-one music machine that fits in your lap. Probably the most music powerful machine for its size that gives you the power of a full studio. Since purchasing it earlier this year, it has come with me on every trip and has streamlined both my early exploration and finalized workflows for music work. Not to mention the great portability and beautiful hardware it provides consumers despite the price. Even if you aren’t into music, you should check out the crazy stuff it can do.

14. Nintendo 3DS (New Model)

Where to buy →

My partner-in-crime with all things Pokémon. No but really, I’ve been playing Pokémon since I was 4 years old and still play today using this bad boy. I love bringing this on trips and working on catching them all. Also generation 1 will always be the best generation. Don’t @ me.

Extras and Cases—Image 3 of 3

15. OP-1 Carrying Case by Unit Portables

Where to buy →

Although a bit pricey, I wanted the best case you can get for the OP-1 since I paid almost $900 for the damn thing. This official case has been the best one I’ve found and lets me bring my OP-1 everywhere I go and safely bring the device on trips with all the other stuff in my backpack.

16. PowerA Wired Switch Controller

Where to buy →

A cheaper version of the Switch Pro Controller. I bring this along as for some games I really don’t like using the Joycons that the Switch comes with by default. Super helpful for wrecking scrubs in Rocket League.

17. GameBoy Color

Where to buy →

A “two birds with one stone” device for me. While it’s great for playing Super Mario World and the older Pokémon games, it’s also an awesome source for retro 8bit sounds that I can sample to add some texture and accents to my music production. Also wishing my 4-year-old self would have picked the Purple Atomic version instead.

18. Nintendo Switch Mario Brothers Travel Case

Where to buy →

A case to hold my Switch and the physical game versions I own while traveling. Nothing special but I do like the discrete patterns and cool zipper accent this particular case has.


So yeah, these are all the items I travel with to work remotely on not only design and code, but also on music and keeping up with my gaming hobby. This is the system I’ve found that helps me travel the lightest while still having everything I need and even some extra nice-to-haves. Hoping this will be helpful for figuring out your own system when you travel.

Let me know if they are items you can’t travel without that you recommend!

Dennis Cortés
Product Designer at MetaLab. I also code, illustrate, write weekly articles, and produce music. Hispanic. Pokémon Master.
www.cortes.us