Heading off to a tech conference? Maybe you’re hoping to land a job in the industry, are attending on behalf of your company, or want to network with others in the field. Whatever your purpose for being there, you’ll need to bring along a tech bag that provides enough room for everything. Here are a few options to keep in mind.
For a traditional conference packed with wall-to-wall attendees, a backpack is easily one of the most practical choices of all. Make it a point to select a style that prioritizes form and function. This style makes it easy to move from one area of the venue to another without lugging around serious weight on your shoulder and eventually growing too tired to keep going. By transferring that burden to your back, you’re free to move around more comfortably, shake hands with new connections, and keep everything that you need in a secure place.
Of course, there are dozens of great backpack styles out there. Styles that are full of pockets and compartments are best for this purpose. They’ll help you stay organized in a chaotic environment, and you can find what you need much more easily and efficiently. At a bare minimum, you will likely want to bring your laptop or tablet and charger if you plan to attend any seminars or workshops that require you to take notes or follow along remotely. Other conference essentials include a notebook and pens, your phone and charger, and a stack of business cards to share.
That’s not all, though. Some tech conferences go on for hours. You may find yourself caught up in the excitement with little time to go for a break. Make sure that you have a water bottle and a snack so that you can stay fueled and energized for everything that the day brings. Consider whether you may need extra space for a change of shoes, too. Some conferences are very casual, but others may suggest business-casual attire, like a comfortable women’s blouse and a pair of relaxed pants. You might choose to forgo the heels and wear ballet flats or pack a pair of flats to slip into later in the day.
A rolling backpack is a more practical choice if you prefer some flexibility in your options. You can wear it like a standard backpack, of course, but you can just as easily roll it around all over the conference floor if you prefer. The advantage of that option is that it’s easier to support heavier loads. Maybe you’ve accumulated a lot of swag and promotional material during the event and don’t want to carry it on your back for long. Pulling a bag on wheels is a much simpler alternative.
Another key advantage of a rolling bag is the ability to quickly switch from one style to another and back again. That can come in handy if you’re moving up and down narrow stairways or traveling via crowded public transportation. As with a standard bag, however, be mindful of its size and organizational features. The addition of wheels and a handle shouldn’t take away from additional elements that help you stay in control throughout the day. Look for styles with exterior pockets, spacious interior compartments, and dividers. All of these will make it easy to find precisely what you need.
Not all tech conferences require you to bring everything that you own with you! You might actually feel more comfortable bringing along only the bare minimum, especially if you plan to be seated in seminars or presentations for most of the day or already know that your itinerary doesn’t require you to bring along your laptop. In that case, consider a canvas bag.
While you may not need as much room, you should still look for supportive features that make it easy to reach in and grab what you need without a lot of effort. An exterior pocket comes in handy for holding items like pens, business cards, and identification. A bag with an open-top might be convenient if you’re seated for most of the day and don’t want to fiddle with a zipper, but you should opt for a style with closure if you plan to walk around a lot. There are even totes with crossbody straps attached, making it easier to relieve the strain on one arm while you’re on the go.
The best way to select the most appropriate bag is to determine what you plan to take beforehand. That can make it much simpler to choose a style that will easily hold what you need. Keep in mind that you might need a little bit of extra wiggle room to hold items like business cards, flyers, and marketing materials that you collect during the event. Make a list if it helps you get a clearer picture of what you need to bring along. That will help you make the most informed possible choice.