How To Turn Your Daypack Into A Traveling Office

No one is ever going to accuse me of being a tech junkie. But as a journalist, I’ve had to temper my Luddite proclivities so that I can earn a living while on the road.

Compounding the issue is my essential frugality and innate dirtbag tendencies. I only travel with a backpack, using a daypack in lieu of a purse. For low-maintenance or business/pleasure-combo travelers such as myself (although I recognize that not everyone has the luxury of ditching business attire and trappings; I’ve been known to stuff a nice computer bag and dress-to-impress items into my backpack), a daypack easily transforms into a portable office.

Because I also keep my passport, money, credit cards, camera, cellphone, adaptor, and other essential documents and items on my person at all times, it also means my netbook is never left behind. This serves the dual function of ensuring I have access to a computer should I need to edit a story or file a deadline, as well as alleviates theft concerns due to entrusting my valuables to my room or hotel safe. If you’re a budget traveler, I firmly believe it’s better to risk carrying anything of value on your person than entrusting them to the vagaries of youth hostels, dodgy guesthouses, or cheap hotels.

The key to creating a user-friendly portable office lies in choosing the right daypack. I’ve written before about my preference for using hydration packs, because if you remove the bladder, it creates a space to safely store documents. I’m 5’2′, so I also require a woman’s pack, and because most of my trips include some form of outdoor activity, I like having a hip belt (the zip pockets of which double as holders for my mouse and cellphone cord), and multiple exterior and interior pockets.

I highly recommend the hydration daypacks made by Osprey and Gregory. They’re incredibly durable, and have useful bells and whistles. I’m not a fan of CamelBak, as I’ve found they don’t hold up well. The brand and style are up to you, but do check to see if the pack you’re contemplating comes with a raincover. If not, it’s a wise investment, and will spare you the anguish of waterlogged gear and devices.

[Photo credit: Flickr user incase]

SkyMall Monday: Arm Exercise Weights

gadling skymall monday arm exercise weightsSkyMall Monday has a rich history of promoting fitness equipment that combines wellness and the workplace. From the Sit Fit to the Trekdesk and the Springflex UB, we’ve enjoyed showing you how to use SkyMall products to maximize your time at the office. However, we’ve only covered cardio and heavy resistance workouts. What about those of you who just want some low-impact exercise to keep yourself looking and feeling good? We’re not all gym rats who want to get huge, right? Thankfully, there’s something for the normal folks who want to exercise at work without looking like an idiot (or breaking a sweat). The next time you head into the office feeling flabby, you can battle the bulge with the Arm Exercise Weights.Working out doesn’t have to be difficult. Now, it can seamlessly become a part of your day. Are you spending hours on a spreadsheet? That’s a workout! Three-hour conference call? That’s a workout! Shaking off after peeing? That’s an intense workout! Tying exercise to mundane aspects of your day helps you sneak fitness into your routine without even realizing it. It’s like finding out that someone put broccoli in your cupcakes!

Think that the office is no place for exercise? Believe that you need to truly push your body to see results? Well, while you’re sweatin’ to the oldies, we’ll be reading the product description:

Wear your workout wherever you go with Remedy Arm Weights! Turn normal everyday activities into fat burning workouts. A must have if you don’t like to exercise, but want to lose weight. Keep in great shape!

Imagine the everyday activities that you can turn into exercise by adding extra weight to your forearms!

But I still don’t understand how effective the product is. If only it gave me some idea of how using it compared to doing real exercise. Oh, here we go:

Wearing them for just 10 Hours a Day is Equal to a 2-mile Run

So efficient! Replace twenty minutes of exercise – a pleasant and healthy escape from stress – with 10 hours of doing the things that you have to do but with some extra weight attached to your sweaty forearms. Do they make a set for my calves, too?

Finally, we can work out at the office in 10-hour intervals. Dreams, my friends, do come true! We’ll be thin in time for retirement!

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

SkyMall Monday: Sit Fit Exercise Device

skymall monday gadling sit fitNow more than ever, we all spend way too much time at our desks staring at computers. That means that we have less time for long walks, brisk jogs and other aerobic exercise. All of this leads to weight gain, diminishing health and lazy lifestyles. With winter just around the corner, exercising outdoors becomes more challenging. That means that we have to get more creative about how we find time to take care of ourselves. Longtime fans of SkyMall Monday know that we’re huge proponents of fitness equipment that can be used to build muscle at the office and increase cardiovascular health at our desks. That’s why we’re not the least bit surprised and couldn’t possibly be more excited to see that SkyMall has once again made exercising at the office easy, fun and completely normal. The next time you’re whiling away the hours at your desk, leave the snacks in your drawer and instead use the time to get into shape with the Sit Fit Exercise Device.Many people spend more time at work than they do in their homes. How are we supposed to take care of ourselves when we’re stuck at the office for hours on end? It’s time to start multitasking at work (and I’m not talking about playing Minesweeper while you’re on a conference call). Exercising while working is simply the best way to be productive and healthy.

gadling skymall monday sit fit exercise deviceThink that working out while at work is unprofessional? Believe that sweating on your TPS reports is unsanitary? Well, while you wipe down your equipment, we’ll be reading the product description:

The Sit Fit is designed to be used while sitting. Watch TV or use your computer and get a low-intensity aerobic exercise to help weight loss, burn calories and increase blood circulation.

Until you learn to type with your feet, you might as well use them to exercise while your upper body continues to be your body’s breadwinner. You should also upgrade to a transparent desk.

If you’re confused about how the Sit Fit works, the good folks at SkyMall were kind enough to post a video on their site demonstrating the device. Sadly, I have some bad news: the video cannot be embedded here on Gadling. The good news is that I found a version of the video on YouTube that can be embedded. The best news is that the only embeddable version of the video that I could find is in Spanish!

Thankfully, you only need to see the Sit Fit in action to understand that it’s the best workout that your legs could possibly get while under a desk. Stop making exasperated faces and wild gesticulations at your desk because you’re tired of sitting still.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

SkyMall Monday: Trekdesk Treadmill Desk

Things can get pretty hectic at the SkyMall Monday headquarters. Between testing SkyMall products, planning trips and spying on people using a tissue box, we never really have time to take care of ourselves. With summer bikini season right around the corner, we know that we need to start shedding the pounds and getting into shape for the beach, pool and large puddles. Finding time to exercise is a challenge, however. Like most people, we’re busy, love junk food and hate sweating. But something has to give. Compromises must be made. Time needs to be used efficiently and comically to ensure that we make you laugh and also fit into our favorite banana hammocks. How do we balance our busy work days with our need for fitness? We multitask. SkyMall knows that anyone who is only doing one thing at a time is wasting that time. That’s why they’ve combined the fun of working with the joy of exercise. The Trekdesk Treadmill Desk is two great tastes that taste great together!Combining work and exercise is not a new concept for SkyMall. We’ve been topless at our desks rocking the Springflex UB for over a year now (and we’re ripped…but our TPS reports are sweaty). But it’s time to start thinking about cardio. In order to improve our stamina and make us 78% more winded while on conferences calls, we need to run while we crunch numbers. In business, it’s all about ABC: Always Be Cardiovascularlyworkingout.

Don’t believe that you can focus on your job while also sprinting on a treadmill? Well, while you stare at you Successories poster and wait to get laid off, we’ll be hitting our stride in more ways than one. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the product description while I catch my breath:

No time for exercise? Improve your health while walking and continue to make conference calls and update spreadsheets. Lose weight, reduce stress, strengthen back/leg muscles, stay healthy, alert and energized. Includes 4-level file/phone tray, manuscript stand and two cup/utility holders.

Are there possibly two better activities to pair together than walking and updating spreadsheets? They go together like peanut butter and thumbtacks! Plus, with two cup holders, you can stay hydrated with your favorite energy drink and off-brand bourbon.

Look, you can sit at your desk all day, balloon in weight and die faxing someone else’s expense report or you can get off your ass, break a sweat and fax that expense report at the same time. Sure, dialing may be difficult while you’re running and typing will be next to impossible. But you’ll look great when you have all that free time at the beach after you’ve been fired for getting a charley horse during the big merger presentation.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.


Government Accountability Office Says Runway Accidents Still a Big Risk

Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Bureau scolded the FAA for not doing more to decrease the chances of runway collisions. According to the NTSB, runway accidents are the greatest danger facing air travelers. Near misses are almost commonplace. Just last week in Pennsylvania, a United Express jet and a 4-seat Cessna barely missed each other because of an error by an air traffic controller trainee.

This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) chimed in on the subject of runway dangers, reporting that though the number of flights dropped over the past year, the number of runway incidents (actual accidents or near misses) was slightly higher during the first three quarters of 2008 than it was in 2007. Nonetheless, a top GAO aviation expert told a House committee that it appeared that the FAA was increasingly intent on making runways safer.
With all the chatter about airport security measures, security checkpoints and the use of cell phones on planes, the chaotic runways of airports almost go unnoticed. Though, if you crunched the numbers, the chances of getting hit by another plane while taxiing down a runway are much, much higher than the chances of a plane being hijacked.