The Things I Take With My On My Daily Commute To Work
Like many of us, I commute to work by train. The journey roughly takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on whether I have to catch a connecting train. Having been using various modes of public transport over the years, I know that the journeys can sometimes be rough.
That’s why I decided to share the items I take with me to make the journey more enjoyable. At this point, you’re probably wondering why I don’t just drive to work. Well, the truth is that I never really had the need. Working in large towns with a lack of parking spaces and where the traffic can be horrendous, you’d be silly not to utilise public transport, particularly if you have access to it practically from your doorstep.
If you ever plan to commute regularly, having appropriate gear is important. For example, as the train station is around a 10-minute drive or 25-minute walk, I like to hire an e-scooter which I drop off at the station. It makes life so much easier because not only do I not have to pay for parking at the station, but I don’t need to carry an e-scooter onto the train. To be honest, here in the UK, I can’t even legally ride a personal e-scooter. It has to be a rental scooter that is part of the government’s trial.
Either way, it’s a very convenient mode of transport, now the reason I’m mentioning this is that I couldn’t imagine using a messenger bag on an e-scooter or even a bike, instead, I prefer taking a decent backpack. It would likely be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
At present, I use the Port Designs Courchevel, a bag that may not win any awards for style, but is very practical for daily use, especially during the autumn and winter months. Here in the UK, these months can get particularly wet and windy, therefore I need a bag that can withstand rain, wind and even snow when we finally see it that is.
The Port Designs Courchevel copes with this kind of weather really well, especially with its built-in waterproof cover. If the weather gets too treacherous, I simply unzip the compartment at the bottom of the bag and pull out a waterproof neon cover which I use to cover the bag. The manufacturer, claims that this cover will protect your belongings from rain and even moisture! On top of that, that bright neon colour is ideal for walking and riding an e-scooter in poor weather conditions as the bright colour gives drivers a better chance of seeing you.
Now I have a confession to make, this isn’t a new bag whatsoever, Initially I purchased this bag around 5 years ago to use as my student backpack. Back then, I used to ride a motorbike to campus. The journey would take me around 15 to 20 minutes but sometimes the conditions got so bad that I needed to get a robust backpack so that I don’t water damage my laptop or any of my paper-based notebooks. This bag worked like a dream, especially during poor weather conditions. I mean I used the neon-based waterproof cover for when the visibility was low too. The fact that the bag is still in a good condition after 5 years proves how robust it is!
The bag comes with several useful compartments which allow you to safely store all of your gadgets and accessories. The front pocket is relatively large and ideal for storing things like laptop chargers and other cables. Above that, you also get a much smaller compartment which can be used for quick access. I don’t really use that compartment much but it’s just nice to have. The second compartment provides you with several pockets to put your pens in as well as smaller gadgets and accessories. It’s also a great place to store notepads. The main compartment has a pocket for your laptop and tablet and has a lot of room for other stuff too. I tend to hold my cable organiser and umbrella in there.
Overall, the Port Designs Courchevel is a very good backpack that not only offers high quality but is also a very practical solution for commuters.
My iPad Pro
The iPad Pro is one of those devices that I simply cannot live without. Not only is it my notetaking device, but it’s also my diary, planner, e-book reader, and the list just goes on. I could effectively call it my main computer because I use it so much more compared to my laptop and desktop gaming rig.
The iPad or any tablet for that matter is ideal for taking with you on your travels and it doesn’t really matter what mode of transport you use. The truth of the matter is that their portability makes them the perfect travel companion, no matter where you go. At present, I am using the 2nd generation 11-inch iPad pro which was released in 2020. Unfortunately, it’s not the one with the one with the M1 chip, but it still performs really, really well.
When travelling by train, my iPad proves to be extremely useful and helps keep me productive. The 1-hour trip I take actually provides me with a lot of valuable time which I mainly use to write blog posts. I recently discovered Ulysses, a brilliant app for writing blog posts. With the use of Ulysses, I can publish articles on my blog from the actual app. It also has a very useful built-in grammar and spell checker. However, the app isn’t cheap and costs around $39.99 annually.
Huawei MateBook D15
Ok, I admit, this is a bit of a cheat as I don’t always take my personal laptop with me, particularly as I’m already carrying my work laptop. But from time to time I also take my own laptop, particularly for video editing on the go.
The laptop I decided to buy was the Huawei MateBook D15, which at the time of purchase cost me £499.99 which considering the fact that it comes with an 11th-generation i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 512 GB Solid State Drive and Intel Iris graphics is actually a good price.
When commuting, I tend to use the laptop for editing videos on the go. I mainly use Wondershare Filmora which is a great piece of software, particularly for beginners like me. I edit both 4K and Full HD footage and never really have any serious issues. Although it’s worth mentioning that I only edit basic videos on the laptop. For the more advanced ones, I use my gaming rig.
One of my favourite things about the Huawei MateBook D15 is the fact that it uses USB-C to charge meaning that I can charge it with a portable power bank should I have the need to. However, it’s not common that I have to rely on my power bank with this laptop because not only is the battery relatively good, most trains I catch have 3-pin mains connectors at every seat meaning I can just use the default power cable it comes with.
Logitech MX Anywhere 2
While the Huawei MateBook D15 has a pretty decent trackpad, I’m still not a huge fan of them, that’s why I always carry a wireless mouse with me. Now, I’ve used many wireless mice over the years but none compare to the Logitech MX Series.
The main mouse I use at my desk at home happens to be the Logitech MX Master 3, a mouse popular amongst YouTubers and other content creators. One of my favourite features of the mouse is the ultra-fast scroll wheel which proves to be great for browsing long documents and spreadsheets. The second feature I like is the side scroll feature which makes it easier to scroll to the side, particularly when video editing.
The Logitech MX Anywhere 2 is effectively the smaller version of the MX Master series. Whilst it doesn’t have the fancy side scroll wheel, it still has the ultra-speedy main scroll wheel combined with side scroll. The mouse is very portable and comfortable to use. My only complaint is the fact that it still uses micro-USB. Then again, this is a slightly older model, but it does mean that I still have to carry the charger with me just in case.
Pixel Buds Pro
If you plan to use any form of public transport, I highly recommend investing in an active noise-cancelling set of headphones, or even earbuds. It will help block out all sorts of noises, from that loud personal conversations to kids shouting. Ok, they may not entirely block everything out, but you’ll definitely be able to hear less of it. I’ve used many active noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds over the years and I don’t think I can go back to ones without active noise-cancelling.
At present, I use the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which I honestly love more and more every day. Not only do the earbuds sound great they also feature multipoint technology which allows me to connect to my iPad and my phone at the same time. So if a phone call comes in on my phone while I’m watching a video on my iPad, I don’t need to reconnect my earbuds with my phone.
The Pixel Buds Pro are comfortable to wear and due to the fact that they are so light, I often forget that I’m wearing earbuds. That’s the way it should be!
Apart from the items listed above, I also carry a handful of accessories with me. Not all of these accessories can be classed as technology exclusively but I wanted to keep them in. Let’s start with the cables and tech accessories. I store all of my cables in the Amazon Basics Travel case for electronic devices. The case offers a great place to store my cables, charging block as well as other small accessories such as SD Cards.
As I live in the UK, I also take an umbrella with me just in case the rain gets heavy. At present I use an umbrella I picked up at M&S when it started raining and I didn’t have a coat or hoodie with me. The umbrella is made from recycled polyester and copes pretty well in windy conditions.
I also carry a water bottle with me, at present, I use the LTT Store water bottle which is honestly one of the best water bottles I ever had. Not only does it offer great quality, but it also keeps water cool for a long time. In the winter months, I also like to take coffee with me, that’s why I needed a decent flask, but when I saw this insulated travel flask at Tesco, I just had to get it. The flask keeps my coffee warm throughout the day and the best part is that you don’t have to unscrew it as you do with a traditional flask. The cap is even lockable making it safe to carry in your bag without worrying that it may leak.
In summary, commuting can definitely be a hassle. That’s why I always ensure that I carry the correct gear with me. The products I featured in this article are just some of my favourite products I carry with me on my commute and that I honestly believe make a difference to my commute.
If you commute using public transport, what things do you take with you that you honestly cannot live without?