Mac Fallout Shelter

Preparing Yourself and Your 'Book for Time in the Field

- 2006.01.31 - Tip Jar

I just got back from "the field" today. In the Army, "the field" is going on a field exercise located in a remote wilderness area. Its mostly just grown-up Army camping. Being there gave me a great idea about writing this article on what you should bring with you when you venture into the "field" (a campout in civilian terms).

The first thing you need is a nice solid computer case or pack. There are hundreds available in all price ranges. Cases are very good because they are made of hard metal alloys or hard plastic and keep you laptop from getting crushed, smashed, or otherwise broken after a drop.

Another important factor is that some cases are watertight, so they are guaranteed to keep your laptop dry even if you drop the sealed case in water. Examples are the expensive Pelican cases that are used by the military, the SKB case (it's like the Pelican), and the Vanguard case, which is the one I own. It survived Iraq and keeps on going.

The other option is a soft case, such as a carrying case or backpack. These are a lot more mobile and comfortable to use, and they hold all your accessories and documents. I don't recommend taking your expensive laptop to the woods with a soft case due to the fact that if there is a rain storm your laptop will get wet. If you choose a soft case, you must try to keep it in your car or near the center of your tent and elevated from the ground.

Examples are Booq bags, which are very stylish, and tons of other brands - too many to mention.

Now that you have your laptop protected, there are a few things you would like to have on hand:

  • Boot disk - for fixing you Mac in critical moments
  • Backup media - always back up your data
  • Security lock - uses the security slot on your Mac so no one can run off with it while you sleep
  • Ethernet cable - a long one for when you must be wired
  • Ethernet crossover cable - for quick data transfers between 2 computers
  • Extra cables - FireWire and USB
  • Extension cords - get power closer to you comfortably
  • Mouse - a whole lot more productive than a trackpad
  • Cleaning supplies - always keep your equipment clean
  • Headphones - hear your music without disturbing nature
  • Media card reader - helps save camera battery life and fast transfers

This is the essential stuff you should bring. Extras might be speakers for sharing your movies or music with friends and a wireless access point.

You should feel almost at home with all this stuff and can enjoy a nice week or two in the field with friends watching movies and playing games. LEM

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