What’s in my Backpack: CES 2024 Edition

A photo of my backpack trolley

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Every year I attend CES, I often regret leaving something behind. The thing is, I’m not a heavy packer; I’ve been at this work travel game long enough that I figured out how to fit a week’s worth of clothing, amenities, and comforts in a suitcase that fits in the overhead bin. But I need a ton of stuff to make the six or so odd days I’m covering the show as smooth sailing as possible. That means packing not only the right kind of gadgets and other tech stuff that helps me do my job but also what I might need in my vicinity to keep me grounded so I can face each day.

This year, I became hyper-focused about packing. I started weeks before by making lists in a notebook to figure out the proper combination of things to bring. I bought a couple of travel gadgets to help me maintain a morning routine in my hotel room, and I switched to lighter accessories so that I wouldn’t carry such a load on my back. Here’s what I’m packing to cover CES 2024 for Gizmodo.

A photo of the backpack

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Let me introduce you to the new backpack I’m carrying with me at CES 2024. This is Incase’s Facet 20L backpack in aged pink. It’s $70, has all the bells and whistles, and even more features than my previous $40 Amazon Basics backpack. That includes extra slots for all the little things right in front, plus adequate padding for the main area where I’ll be storing my Sony camera. I also like that it has a quick-release strap in the front, which helps take it off in compact spaces. It has dual water bottle storage, which means I can carry a tripod on one side and my thermos of coffee on the other.

A photo of my backpack trolley

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I have some stuff going on in the spinal area, so this year, I’m helping myself out with assistive accessories. I’m bringing this stowable backpack trolley to help wheel around my laptop and camera bag through the airport and on long days. If I don’t need it, I can take it apart, wheels and all, and stow it in my carry-on.

A photo of coffee things

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Instead of a ziplock back of instant coffee powder, I’m bringing a travel-size French press and a water kettle. The kettle heats 13 ounces of water, with adjustable temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s lightweight, and it fits easily between rolled-up clothes.

A photo of the power bank

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I do all my filing via a 2021-era Dell XPS 15. My laptop excels at what I need for work and play, but the battery leaves much to be desired—that’s what I get for loading it with specs. This 20,000mAh, 100W Baseus laptop power bank has been a savior in my times of need. It charges my laptop, camera, and any of the few smartphones I always carry (of which I brought many to CES).

A photo of the Anker

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

For the phones, I love this 5,000mAh Anker portable power bank. I bought it because it’s small enough to fit into a pocket for nights out on the town. It comes in clutch whenever a phone needs a boost, and since it’s USB-C, it works for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the Pixel 8, and the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

A photo of three phones

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I like to travel with an array of smartphones when headed on a work trip—it’s the best time to compare and contrast, plus test the devices in environments outside of the home office. This year, I’m packing the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 for the wide-angle typing experience; I am so much faster responding to an email with that phone folded out than I am with a regular smartphone in horizontal mode. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will be critical in taking videos for social media and will serve as an additional cellular network when I need to tether. The smaller Google Pixel 8 is my primary smartphone because of its size; it’s paired with my smartwatch, and I have all non-vital notifications turned off so that I only see pings from my spouse and coworkers.

A photo of the galaxy smart tag

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I always toss one of these trackers in my suitcase before getting on the plane and then into my backpack when I head to the show floor. At CES 2024, I’ll test the second-generation Galaxy Smart Tag, the Smart Tag 2. The main difference is the design and added durability. The Smart Tag 2 is IP67-rated for water and dust resistance.

A photo of my smartwatch

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel Watch 2 is a significant improvement over its predecessor. I haven’t taken it off since I reviewed it a few months ago, save for the six weeks I gathered data for the Fitbit Charge 6 (review coming soon). But my other motivation for bringing Google’s Pixel Watch 2 with me is to test its efficacy in a seriously tiring environment. Will the battery hold up with all the Slack pings and voice-dictated replies I’ll make from the watch? I’ll let you know.

A photo of the Logitech G Mouse

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Logitech sent me this mouse for review a few years back when it debuted its Aurora gaming collection. The G705 wireless mouse is my favorite little traveling companion. It has a sweet color band around the edge, a lovely aesthetic when working late at night. There are navigation buttons on the left side and a satisfying scroll wheel. I also like that this mouse charges with USB-C so that I can juice it up while on the show floor.

A photo of a mask

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The wastewater data has been a little concerning lately. I always say that it’s better to be safe than sorry. The evolvetogether KN95 masks are my favorite to wear. They’re stylish and comfortable for all day around the ears, though your mileage may vary.