Business travelers used to have serious panache: Vasco da Gama traveled in a fleet of ships accompanied a few hundred men; Benjamin Franklin allegedly wore a rustic fur hat while serving as an ambassador to France; in the 1960s men wore three-piece suits in Economy. Today’s business traveler is less ostentatious but dangerously effective: he’s creative, flexible, mobile, well-connected and never, ever sick at sea. Working all the time? Sure, but that’s a small price to pay for a life without borders. If that sounds like you, this is the gear you need.
Blue Lounge Kii
If space saving on the road is key, then Kii is the key, literally and figuratively. Bluelounge’s dual-sided charger-connector has an Apple connector on one side (available in 30-pin and Lightning) and a USB on the other. Slip it onto your keychain and you’ll be charging or syncing Apple devices without the mess and hassle of chargers and cable connectors, whether you’re cruising on Amtrak Cascades en route to a meeting in Vancouver or taking the redeye to Stockholm to meet a new client.
Macbook Air 2013
The most important part of your mobile office is your computer, and for our money and carry-on space the best one is the 2013 version of the Macbook Air. It was already a great computer, but with the new Haswell-generation CPU, the battery (in the 13-inch model) runs for a productivity-friendly 12 hours. Couple that with the Intel HD5000 graphics and 128GB of all-flash storage in the base model, and you’ve got a computer that might outperform you — even after your third Stumptown Americano.
Satechi 10,000mAh Portable Energy Station
Running out of power can pull the plug on a business trip, and while the Kii and a new Macbook will get you through a long day, extended business trips require more cavalry. So what makes a good portable power supply? In short, a high power-to-volume ratio, which the Satechi has. It’s roughly the size of an iPhone and packs 10,000mAh of power — enough to juice up your smart phone, camera or tablet several times.
That Montblanc Timewalker may drop a few jaws in Business Class (and, okay, keep time in 24 cities), but it won’t screen your incoming calls and get email. For that you’ll want the Qualcomm Toq, a smart watch that uses Mirasol reflective display technology so it’s visible in bright sunlight and lasts for several days on one wireless charge. Your Android phone pushes information to the Toq so you can check calls, texts, email, weather, calendar data and send music to the optional wireless in-ear Bluetooth buds — all without pulling out your phone during a meeting.
Killspencer Dopp/Folio 2.0
We’ll go out on a limb and assume you’ve never wittingly stored your toothbrush in the same case as your tablet. That’s about to change: the Dopp/Folio 2.0 from LA-based Killspencer transforms from a handsome leather toiletries case to an elegant folio that fits an iPad or Macbook Air 11-inch plus a copy of The Economist with a few snaps and loops. Just remember to double-bag your toothpaste.
Outlier Blazed Dress Pivot Shirt
Traveling for work means looking sharp even if you took the redeye and then cycled to a meeting. Outlier is the king of fashion and function, and their Blazed Dress Pivot is a leaner, sharper version of the Blazed Cotton Pivot, providing the latter’s freedom of movement but looking impeccable with a slim tie. A Nano-Tex treatment means it’s water resistant, breathable and quick drying, unlike most dress shirts.
Malin + Goetz Pill Towels
It’s one thing to be prepared to work on the plane; it’s another to be the James Bond of business travel. For that you’ll want Malin + Goetz pill towels, eight hydraulically-compressed towels that look like a sheet of nondescript meds. Just pop out, add water and wipe. You may not stop a supervillain, but your fresh face might make a new friend on the plane.
Second to having a reliable source of power, wi-fi anywhere is the key to a mobile office — particularly if most of your work life lives in Google Drive. The solution lies in the Verizon Jetpack, a mobile hotspot that’ll keep you connected on up to 10 devices in more than 205 countries. It’s roughly the size and weight of a flask; you can leave the Scotch at home and set up your mobile office at any cocktail bar you please.
Muji Aluminum Card Case
Antiquated as it seems to carry small rectangles of paper in the Digital Age, we all appreciate the ceremonial exchange of business cards (you should see ours). The ritual is less enjoyable if your card is scuffed and rounded at the corners. A simple matte-finish aluminum card case from Muji is light, sleek and utilitarian — just the right fit for a briefcase or a shirt pocket.
Lexdray London Garment Bag
The right bag should provide protection for your belongings and convenient access to the same. The Lexdray London is that bag, a light and rugged piece with an ultra-efficient packing system: a removable garment bag holds your suit, a fleece-lined pocket protects your laptop, and shelf-like pockets fold out to accept clothes and shoes. Got a quick overnight? Don’t unpack. Hang the pack up and use it as a portable armoire.