The carpenter prefers to use the right tools. The surgeon won’t perform an operation without the right instrument, and a professional road warrior makes sure that his/her gear is going to hold up for the long haul. Its important to make sure you have the right equipment for the right circumstances. I don’t mind spending a little more when I know I’m going to get my money’s worth and hate to have to buy something twice. Now I’m not being compensated by any of the companies who manufacture the gear I use (nor am I particularly loyal to a brand) but I don’t mind sharing my experiences with the gear that I’ve found has worked well for me.

LuggageWorks Stealth22Traveling a lot takes its toll on a person but the brunt of the abuse really is taken out on the gear you bring with you. I went through 4 rolling suitcases before I found one that worked for me. I ended up going with the choice of professional flight crews with a Stealth 22″ suitcase from LuggageWorks. This suitcase has a professional grade nylon shell, a steel frame, wheels like roller blades and is certified to fit in the overhead compartment of the 737 (that means that its perfect for carry on). Definitely not cheap, but I’ve been dragging it around for 4 years now and it still looks new.

SpecOpsBrand T.H.E. PackSpecOpsBrand Pack-RatMy second challenge has been finding a backpack that can last as long as I can while carrying a laptop inside, a headset, iPod, my accessory pouch and more. I went through about 5 backpacks (most of them gave up the ghost when it came to the straps not being able to handle any decent amount of weight) before I found the one I currently use. Its called T.H.E. PACK by SpecOpsBrand. Not only has it been tough, but its expandable with pouches that can be connected to the loops outside. (I’ve got a couple small pouches I use to carry things I need frequently like chewing gum, lip balm, or to carry pocket change). Inside I use another SpecOps Brand product called the Pack-Rat to organize all my portable electronics, accessories, Japanese cell phone, memory sticks for my camera, etc. This also makes going through airport security much less problematic since everything is organized for the tech’s to view with the scanning machine.

Bose Quiet Comfort 2 and uFlyMike adapterMy last recommendation is more of a luxury than a requirement but leaves me feeling much more relaxed after long flights but also serves a dual purpose in my role for the Navy. I carry a set of noise canceling headphones from Bose called the Quiet Comfort 2. These are fantastic headphones for long flights where I’m flying as a passenger and want to listen to my iPod without having to crank up the volume over the constant drone of the engines and wind noise (hearing protection is important). But they serve a dual purpose. Thanks to a nifty invention from a retired SWA pilot called the uFlyMike, they can be quickly adapted to a aviation headset for when I’m in the cockpit doing my job.

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