It’s basically just sunscreen and some phones.
If there’s one thing that stuck with me after attending last year’s Google I/O, it’s to always wear sunscreen. If you’ve ever had to carry a giant bag full of things on top of sunburned shoulders, then you know the pain. And that pain is not fun to have lingering around when you’d rather be soaking up developer sessions and checking out the latest Android-based demonstrations.
This year, I’m packing a ton of sunscreen. Bottles of it. I’m bringing the spray kind, the lotion kind, and some for my face — I’ll probably slather a bunch in my scalp, for the days I forget my hat. I’m packing a couple of other neccesary things, too — a laptop, a couple of smartphones— but I’m attempting to keep it my kit as concise and as whittled down to the necessary as possible so that I’ve enough room to carry all that sunscreen.
The bag: Something I bought off of AliExpress
I couldn’t do the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger anymore. The more gear I’d cram into it, the more my back seemed to ache for days after merely an hour with it on. So, I switched to this little backpack I found on AliExpress a few months ago, though it’s quickly turned into one of my favorite carry-all. And it was pretty affordable, too!
This off-brand bag is big enough to fit my MacBook Pro and Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Insert (the link takes you to the new version of the product). There’s also a front pocket that fits my phone and my wallet perfectly, and there’s enough room inside to store rolled-up sweater, too. Google I/O will likely be in the upper digits towards the mid-afternoon but at night fall it can get pretty chilly in the South Bay.
Also inside: So much sunscreen
As a pale-skinned woman who burns considerably after only minutes in the sun, I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying some very heavy duty sunscreen. My favorite is the Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen. It smells nice and it’s water resistant, and it’s kept me protected through various hikes through the California Redwoods and beyond. It’s also available in spray form, which is convenient for quick touchups throughout the day.
On my face, I wear Tarte Guard Sunscreen, which offers all the protection without the grease. But if you’re put off by the bright pink bottle, Dr. Jart’s Every Sun Day UV Sunscreen is a great Korean-made alternative that’s also dermatologist-tested and cruelty-free.
The phone: Pixel XL
I remember last year, I was already struggling with the Nexus 6P around this time — I vividly remember pulling over while navigating around Mountain View because the phone had randomly shut down in the middle of my route. You can bet there was plenty of screaming and cursing happening that day.
I don’t expect to run into the same issue with the Pixel XL, but that’s because it’s been so consistent since I adopted it last October. I know that I can trust it to post to Twitter, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat without shutting down on me, as well as provide ample battery life for answering the barrage of Hangouts messages and emails I’ll be fielding throughout the entire week. It also takes the best photos, and it’s the only phone I have in my arsenal with the absolute latest version of Android.
The smartwatch: LG Watch Style
To be very honest with you, faithful Android users, I’ve long since ditched Android Wear 2.0 for the hybrid Fossil Q (also pictured here) because I don’t like having to charge a watch every single night. But during major event weeks, I’ll switch to the [LG Watch Style(/lg-watch-style-review), which is one of the most comfortable smartwatches for those with smaller wrists. I like to have the notifications pop up as they appear, not to mention it’s much more convenient to respond with a simple “ok” on Android Wear than it is to always have my phone in my hand.
The other computer: Samsung DeX
I’m not actually planning to use the Samsung Galaxy S8+ to cover Google I/O. I’m actually bringing it to test out the Samsung DeX, which I’ll be using in my Mountain View hotel room to decompress at the end of each day. I’m impressed with what I’m seen from Samsung’s “desktop experience” thus far, but the real test will be whether it makes sense for me to travel with a mouse, keyboard, and HDMI cable in tow, too.
Other gear and accessories
There are a couple of other necessities I’m packing with me. My battery pack this year will be the AUKEY 20,000 mAh solar-powered battery pack, which is quite dense and will certainly add a bit of weight to my bag. But it’s got multiple ports for the crew to charge along, and I never have to worry about it running out of juice as long as the sun is still shining.
I’m also bringing along a Polaroid wide-angle lens, which easily screws on to the existing 40mm lens already affixed to my Canon SL1. This makes it so that I can widen the shot of the crazy sculptures placed throughout the Shoreline and switch back to the pancake lens when I need to snap a photo of a screen, for instance.
Coming to Google I/O?
Are you making the trek to Mountain View for Google’s annual developer conference? Leave a comment and tell us what you’re packing for the event!