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  • "What's In Your Gear Bag?" Citrix Synergy 2017 Edition


    bradrnd.jpg by Brad Hornback, CUGC HQ

    Citrix Synergy 2017 is upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about one of the most important aspects of attending – getting your gear bag ready. There are those out there who might laugh at the notion, but you and I both know how vital it is to have the right stuff with you throughout the day. Here’s the gear I’m planning on hauling around with me throughout the week to keep me connected while on the move.


    All too often overlooked, the gear bag itself is extremely important. A good bag will help you stay organized with easy access to everything you need. Like you, I’ve owned a lot of gear bags, but I’m currently rocking my favorite so far, the eBags Professional Slim. It’s got it all – comfort, durability, easy access, and a plethora of pockets (including an awesome removable hard shell compartment at the bottom that’s perfect for power cables and bricks). And to top it all off, it’s pretty darn slick looking.

    Tip: A lot of bags look the same, so if yours doesn’t stand out from the crowd on it’s own, consider adding something to it that differentiates it from the rest. You don't want to set it down somewhere around other bags and risk an awkward mix-up. I use an orange wraparound luggage tag on the handle to make mine easy to spot (Go Bears!).


    Of everything in your gear bag, your phone is probably the most important. You’ll be on it all day using the Citrix Synergy app, social media, calls/texts, email, snapping photos, and finding the best place to grab a drink for happy hour…or breakfast (no one is judging). Our phones are extremely personal devices that are extensions of ourselves. I’m loving the Google Pixel XL right now. I’ll share a secret – I have a bit of a smartphone addiction. I have a habit of needing the latest and greatest, changing phones every other month or so (even hopping between iOS and Android). But over the past six months, I keep coming back to the Pixel XL. Sure it’s not the prettiest looking thing, but the functionality is tough to beat.


    It's always nice to know what time it is with a glance so you don't miss your next session or happy hour. Much like our phones, watches are a personal piece of tech that we almost always have with us. I go back and forth between a few traditional watches and a couple of smartwatches. For Synergy, I’ll be bringing my second generation Moto 360 smartwatch along. I gravitate towards the Moto 360 2nd gen because it looks the most like a traditional watch with its round face and thin body. At first I thought the modern crop of smartwatches would just be fun toys, but I’ve found them to be incredibly useful day-to-day, especially at work. You’re not always able to check your phone – and sometimes you just don’t want to – so a smartwatch makes it easier to quickly access notifications and a wide range of other actions. The slight vibration on my wrist also makes sure I don't miss an important call, text or calendar notification if my phone is on a table or in my bag. 


    It’s a fact we’ll have to face at some point during Synergy – work is going to have to get done. You never know when you’re going to get that call or text from the office, so you’ve got to keep a computer with you. For work I’m using a 2014 Macbook Pro dual booting with Windows 10. Sturdy and reliable with solid battery life.

    I'll be limiting my computer accessories to a flash drive and the Citrix X1 mouse. Even though I’m not bringing my iPad, the X1 does a great job as a traditional mouse with the Macbook.

    Battery Packs

    A battery pack is going to be your best friend. As Synergy veterans know, you’re going to be on your devices a lot each day, especially your phone. You’ll find charging stations throughout the conference center, but sometimes you’re not going to have access to them. That's where a battery pack can save the day. I carry a couple with me, both of which support fast charging for my Pixel XL. Why carry two? In case I forget to charge the one I used the night before (which I have a habit of doing).

    Cables, Chargers, & Adapters

    Long cables, short cables. USB-C, microUSB, lightning.  Phone chargers, computer chargers. Depending on the gear you’re hauling around, you’re likely going to need multiple cables and chargers. I’ve found having a charger with multiple USB ports to be invaluable when traveling and when attending conferences. Makes it much easier to charge multiple devices at once or to let a friend charge as well while you chat.

    You also might need to throw some adapters into your bag. Whether it’s for your computer or to use your headphones with your iPhone 7 (#LongLiveTheHeadphoneJack), we’re all living that dongle life in one way or another. I’m lucky to not need many adapters these days, but there’s one I use regularly: USB-C to USB-A OTG. Whether I’m transferring files from/to a USB flash drive or grabbing some shots off my Sony NEX-3 camera (more on that later), it’s great to have quick access to files on my phone from multiple devices.

    Come on USB-C. Please quickly achieve your goal of world domination and make this whole thing so much easier.


    Most of you will be using your phone to take pictures throughout Citrix Synergy. That’s what I’ll be doing too. But I’m also going to be snapping some better quality pictures for CUGC throughout the week, and for that I’ll be using my trusty Sony NEX-3 mirrorless camera with a couple of lenses (wide angle and zoom). Sure it’s almost 7 years old, and it’s a little nicked up from traveling the world, but I love the combination of quality and size it provides.


    Sometimes you just want to shut out the world around you and get lost in some tunes. When I travel, I like to have some that are comfortable for long periods of time, that do a good job of keeping the noise around me out, and that minimize the sound leakage coming from them to others around me.

    Business Cards

    Synergy is a great event for many different reasons, but networking is one of the most important. You’re going to meet a lot of people, so make sure you’ve got plenty of cards at the ready.


    Three things are certain in life – death, taxes, and drinking at Synergy. Whether it’s water, juice, soda pop or a refreshing adult beverage, you’ll be throwing back your fair share of drinks throughout the week, including at the CUGC Pregame. If you’ve got a can or a bottle, you’re going to want it stay cool for as long as possible. That’s where your koozie comes in. You might call them can coolers or something entirely different, but they’re useful accessories for thirsty people.

    Open Space

    There’s a lot of swag to be had at Synergy, so make sure to leave some room in your bag to carry it around. Make the Community Hub in Synergy Park one of your first stops to get your CUGC items, including our 2017 member-designed t-shirt, stickers and an exclusive minifig mug.

    I’m sure I’ll add a few last minute items, but this will get me pretty well set for Citrix Synergy 2017. Synergy veterans, what are the items you can’t live without in your gear bag? What tips do you have for first time attendees that are prepping for the week ahead? Head to the "What’s In Your Gear Bag?" Citrix Synergy 2017 Edition thread in the CUGC Hub Forum and let us know!

    Brad Hornback


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    […] to have the right things with you along the way. In 2017, I published a blog on myCUGC.org called “What’s In Your Gear Bag? Citrix Synergy 2017 Edition.” I’m not going to reinvent the wheel with an entirely new blog for 2019, but I will provide a few […]
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