My 4 Must-Have Items for the Perfect Portable Work Station
Taking your remote-friendly job to the open road will bring so many adventures into your life, but working from a laptop can be uncomfortable and difficult. But don't let that deter you from taking your work on an adventure! You just need the right gear.
I just got back from a 10 day remote work excursion down in Southern California to take advantage of being near some of my favorite surf breaks for two weekends and worked the week between. I brought the below set up with me and it hit me that this work station really is what allows me to be able to work and travel so seamlessly so I wanted to share it!
Everything below fits in my backpack, is durable, wasn't too expensive, and is easy to take down and set up. I also use it as my everyday set up at home, so when I bring it on the road I don't stress about using unfamiliar gear. I have used all of the below items for more than two years now, so I can confidently say they are great. Read below to learn why and pick them up for yourself!
Ps. I am not paid by or affiliated with any of these brands, I just really love my work set up (-:
1. ZSCMALLS Portable Second Monitor
If you're going to get anything, get this portable second monitor, it is 100% worth the cost. A friend told me about it a few years back and so many people I know have purchased it since. Having a second monitor let's you look at two things at once, video call while taking notes or presenting, and just have more space than one tiny screen.
This one in particular is great for a few reasons. First, it is very light and thin for how large the screen is (I bought the 15.6 in one to fit in my backpack but the brand has larger options too). Second, it has it's own cover/stand attached, functioning like the Apple iPad screen cover/stand. Third, it is powered by your computer when you plug it in, aka one less power cord to worry about (I hate cords). Lastly, it is extremely durable even as I've shoved it into many backpacks over the years.
I'd say the most difficult part was figuring out which cable I needed to connect my specific computer's ports to it, so be prepared for some trial and error, or just take it with your computer to Best Buy and ask for their help. It comes with a few options, HD to Mini HD Cord, Type-C to Type-C Cord, and Type-C to Type-A Cord. Once you figure out which connector cable to use, you simply open it up and plug it in and voila you have a second monitor.
2. Logitech Keyboard and Mouse set
If you're going to get a second monitor, you really need a wireless keyboard and mouse set or you'll be reaching and craning your neck all day. Like the monitor above, this one is simple to set up as well as throw in your backpack on the go and is very durable for travel.
I'm sure there are many that would work just fine, but for the price, this one really hit it out of the park for me. A few of the features I love are, first, it's battery powered and the battery lasts forever! I don't turn either off after using for the day and I have replaced the battery once in two years. Second, it is super easy to set up. To connect it to your computer, just take off the mouse's battery cover, pull out the tiny USB connector doodad, and plug it in to your computer USB port. I leave it plugged in all the time since it's so small, but if you want to remove it you don't have to worry about losing it because it's stored inside the mouse (brilliant). Lastly, the keyboard has little feet that can fold out to raise it up which is much more comfortable on my wrists, but they fold away perfectly for storage and have never broken in all the time I've carried it around.
3. Soundance Laptop Stand
Another pain of working from a laptop is neck pain. A main tenant of ergonomics (the art of making a comfortable work space) is that the top of your screen should be at eye level and your arms at 90 degree angles. Without a computer stand those angles are impossible to achieve. (Read here for more about ergonomics if you're curious!)
Again, there are lots of computer stands out there, but this one has functioned so well for me for two reasons. First, it's super stable and strong. It doesn't wobble or feel flimsy at all. Second, and most important, the legs come apart from the base! The combination of strong and collapsible is rare from my experience, and this allows me to be able to put this in my backpack too. Just wiggle off the base piece from the two sides and stow it in your bag. It also comes in a ton of fun colors. I have gold but they also make it in lavender, teal, black, red, silver and more!
For my second monitor, I grab a stack of books or a box to raise it up since I don't absolutely need it to be as high, but you could also get two of these and it will do the job better.
4. FITUEYES Tabletop Standing Desk
The above items make up my main portable work station, but I also wanted to share one last product that has changed the work remote game for me. This standing desk does not fit in a backpack, but if you're driving it does fit easily in the trunk and I've brought it with me quite a few places, as well as use it at home everyday.
This standing desk transforms a sitting workspace into standing in two seconds flat, requires no power, and is light enough to carry but considerably studier than you would expect for the price. When I say it does not wobble at all, it literally does not wobble, even at the highest setting. To move it up, just pull the lever and it will rise up. To put it back down, pull the lever and push it down (it takes a bit of effort but I believe in you).
I got the 30 inch for more space but it also comes in 26 inch if you're looking for more portability. I put the entire work set up outlined above on it and have just the right amount of space. I'd say the main drawback for me is it doesn't quite go high enough for my screen top to be at eye level (I'm 5'7), but when I'm getting antsy, being able to stand for an hour really helps me refocus.
One last thought, if you're like me and you will soon be going back into the office a few days a week, this is also a great work set up to have since you can bring it all with you in a backpack, computer included, and know exactly how it will work. Never stress about having a second monitor available when you show up to the office again!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which help keep Pollen Travels going strong! I will only ever recommend products I have tried and love.