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What's in your travel bag?

I travel quite a bit and a couple of people have asked me what I bring along. So here it is. I emptied my computer knapsack onto the table at the Vancouver hotel I am in after yet another conference. Roughly from left to right:

  • Spare wireless cards - Rarely used, but sometimes it is handy to have two wireless nics in the laptop to bounce a signal along or to lend cards to people.
  • Charger for the Canon S400 travel camera (camera is taking the picture, of course)
  • S-Video cable and 8mm to audio left/right cable used for connecting the laptop to the hotel TV so I can watch movies on a screen bigger than my laptop screen.
  • USB cable for offloading the camera and also for connecting the flash mp3 player
  • Case for the camera
  • Toiletries
  • Targus Air travel power supply
  • Lightweight extension cord
  • USB memory stick which doubles as a pen
  • RSA Key to connect to the work network
  • 2-foot omni-directional wifi antenna
  • WRT54G + power supply
  • Spare AAA battery needed for both mp3 player and noise-cancelling headphones
  • Watch
  • DVI-VGA Adapter cable (critical for presentations)
  • Credit cards and ATM card
  • Passport (preferably from a non-war mongering nation)
  • Laptop + power supply
  • Network cable
  • USB Mouse (because trackpads suck)
  • mp3 player
  • Noise cancelling headphones

Nothing really out of the ordinary here except perhaps the rather large antenna. Also, make sure all your power supplies are 110-240 safe and avoid any surge-protection powerbars (they are too big anyway) since that stuff tends to blow up when you plug them into a 220V outlet.


Rasmus' Toys Page on : Updating my road warrior kit

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My wife works for APC, so APC stuff is readily available. Here are a few things that I am looking at for my road warrior kit. I'd like to get to the point where I just have 1 plug and I am almost there. The TravelPower adapter plugs into the wall/car


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thies on :

hey rasmus,

what kind of antenna are you using with your linksys (the long thingie)?

re, tc

Rasmus on :

It is a HyperlinkTech one. You can buy it here:

grants on :

which antena model?

johan on :

No one that have tryd linksys own wrt54g* antennas?

G on :

What do you do when you want to secure all this stuff (and not have to lug it around)? Lock it in a suitcase in your room? Hotel safe?

Rasmus on :

Secure it? From what? The cleaning lady stealing my antenna? That seems highly unlikely. I tend to always have the laptop with me, unless of course when I put it down at a conference and someone steals it.

G on :

Well, yeah, mainly the laptop. For those times I don't have a car to lock it in I'm loath to leave something like that in a hotel/motel room, but don't want to always carry it around either.

johan on :

is the high antenna making any difference?or should o stay sttuck with the originals+:)

Rasmus on :

It is an 8.5 dBi gain antenna, so yes, it makes a big difference. The radio in the WRT54G is also quite sensitive so I can pick up everything with this combination.

Mike on :

"preferably from a non-war mongering nation"

Like Saddam-era Iraq?

BTW, what is the big antenna for? To pick up WIFI from the nearest Starbucks?

Rasmus on :

No, I am quite sure an Iraqi passport is a hassle to travel on as well.

Thomas K. on :

> No, I am quite sure an Iraqi passport is a hassle to travel on as well.

As well? Which passport are you referring to? Hopefully you're not one of those far lefties that would prefer Saddam was still in power. And if you are, having a US passport isn't a hassle at all. One from a company like Sweden has far far less clout.

David Edmondson on :

Could you describe how you use the antenna and WRT54G? Is it to grab
a signal from a (public?) wireless network and relay it to the Mac? Do you
connect the Mac to the WRT54G using wires, wireless?

Rasmus on :

The WRT54G radio is much better than the built-in Powerbook one, so I use the WRT in client mode with the 8.5dBi gain antenna to pick up a signal. Sometimes when you are in the conference hotel and the conference has wifi the rooms tend to be just out of reach. With this combination you are back in reach. And yes, then I just use a wired connection from the laptop to the WRT. When I am extremely lucky there will be another WRT with LazyWDS enabled on the other end and then I can bounce the signal along and connect wirelessly to my WRT.

Wireless Novice on :

You seem to know quite a bit about connecting to weak wireless signals. Here's a question to which I am seeking an answer in simple terms.....I will be thankful to you. I can pick up a very weak wireless signal at some high elevation places in my house (upstairs) from an open wireless network at a nearby cofee shop. I have talked to the cofee shop people and they seem to not mind my picking up their stray signal, but will not cooperate with me to extend their signal because then their network will slow down out of overusage. According to them, I can use their weak signal because that they can't do anything about. Can you tell me how I can take this weak signal and amplify it so that I can get a strong signal everywhere in the house. I don't know what kind of a router the cofee shop can't go out and buy a repeater because they are brand specific. Your antenna and associated gadgetery seemed something like I may be needing. BTW...I have a Powerbook G4 and a PC laptop both equipped with wireless access cards that I can use for the purpose. Could you please explain in a stepwise manner. I will be really thankful!

David Rio on :

What kind of bag do you use to carry all these stuff? It has to be really really big.

Mike on :


No change of clothes?

Clark Pearson on :

Cool setup Rasmus!

It is exactly what I need to do. And since I even have a WRT54G... perfect! A couple quick questions:

-What firmware are you using to use the WRT in client mode?
-Do you hook your antenna into just one of the antenna 'ports'? The other is the stock rubber duckie? Do you use firmware antenna selection?
-Do you mess with the antenna power settings? Does this help with reception at all? Or just sending?

Thanks for the insight into what works for you.

Rasmus on :

- Sveasoft firmware.
- Antenna goes into the left plug when looking at the front of the WRT, and yes, I leave the stock antenna in the other one and let the WRT figure out which to use. It is supposed to pick the strongest signal, so you could probably just tell it to only use the left.
- I crank up the overall txpower on the radio, yes. Usually run it at around 70 or so to try to find a happy balance between power and noise. Seems to help with both transmission and reception.

Clark Pearson on :

Sveasoft Satori? Or newer?

Thanks so much!

Kolo on :

Looks like a spy's travel bag ;)

Nikolaj Nyholm on :


disappointed to see that the passport is no longer danish. ;) of course, that wouldn't you much as with regards to avoiding "war-mongering".

see you at eurooscon and next year at reboot, travel bag included!


Subarus on :

Hi Ramus,

I am trying to decide a setup very similar to yours, against a lighter setup ie. with 200mw Prism2.5 card ( ) in place of the wrt54g.

Apart from the lighter weight and additional ease of portability, the prism2.5 can do alot more than wrt54g beside kismet_drone, wl scan, wl join, wl txpwr 250 . I suspect I might be missing something, pls enlighten.

Also, I suspect one of the cards you have there is in fact a high power prism2.5, if which case I wonder why the trouble with wrt54g?

Anonymous on :


Are you suggesting you really have a working set of Orinoco gold cards? I have two in the closet, of which one is toast. What firm/software are you using right now, and .. can I have a copy? One of the firmware upgrades I got from Lucent rather toastered one of my cards, not sure which! ha ha ha.

But I found they were awesome for gating signal, and I had an old, small laptop set up specifically for that: it ran around with my big vaio and Called Home via the net (IPSec) or PPP (otherwise) so that I could have a reliable connection; otherwise it could bounce signal for me, too (don't panic: I speak iptables).

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