Over the years, I’ve added and removed multiple things from a travel kit. When I got my tactical bag, I started to think of minimal carry. In fact, it’s starting to bleed into my regular life as well. But that’s a post for another time.
At the start of the year, I started thinking of an all-USB-C charging setup. I’ve had other power bricks and cables, but as I move towards devices which can accept more from higher-output chargers, the idea of using USB-C only is really appealing. My iPad Pro 11″ and iPhone Xs are both capable of faster charging speeds, which is really why I started my journey.
Here’s what I’m doing for my regular travel setup. And by travel, I mean trips, back and forth to work, etc. Keep in mind that I (barely) use a PC for my day job, and I don’t carry a MacBook of any kind. This setup is really for my 4 devices: iPad Pro 11″, now with a Cover Buddy case, Moshi iVisor AG screen protector, and the Smart Keyboard Folio; iPhone Xs; Apple Watch Series 4; and AirPods Pro with modified foam tips for extra comfort. I’m not always charging these devices at the same time. In fact, I’m normally charging my Apple Watch before bed, and my iPhone and iPad Pro overnight. At most, I would need 3 USB-C ports to charge. At the time of me writing this, there are zero options for a 3-port single charger, but it’s something I hope comes in the future.
The main source of power in my setup is the AUKEY 63W PD wall charger with dual USB-C ports. This is about the same size as my previous wall charger, but with a lot more power. The top port is an 18W PD port, and the bottom is a 60W PD port1 meant more for a MacBook than an iPad. But, thanks to the technology in the iPad Pro, it can accept the maximum charging and quickly power the device.
For the cables, I have a single 6′ Anker USB-C to USB-C cable cable to power my iPad Pro and my AUKEY PD Power Bank 10000mAh. There are no dual USB-C battery packs available right now that I can find; but when the technology is there, I’ll replace this with a 2-port USB-C battery pack with double the capacity; that way I can charge both the iPhone and iPad to 100%. For the AirPods Pro and my iPhones, I use the 1m USB-C to Lightning cable which came with the AirPods Pro, along with a 6′ Anker USB-C to Lightning cable. I travel with 2 iPhones, one for work and one for travel, and might need to charge both at any given time. And given that my day job requires road trips in vehicles for testing, I recently purchased a Anker 2-Port USB-C Car Charger to dual charge devices at 18W each; this has proven very useful on the road. I also carry my HyperDrive USB-C Hub 6-in-1 Adapter2 along with a USB-A male to USB-C female adapter, which does allow me to utilize either the HyperDrive’s USB-A port or a port in the car when I’m testing and want to use CarPlay.3
To facilitate the watch charging during travel, I was faced with a couple of options: keep the watch charger I have and bring another charing brick with me, buy a USB-C version of the watch charger, or try something new. I voted for the last option, and I picked up a Satechi USB-C Apple Watch Charger. This device plugs into my iPad Pro while I’m winding down for the day, pulling from the battery of the iPad itself. If I find that my iPad Pro is too low on power, I can simply plug this directly into the small Aukey 18W USB-C wall charger I carry; it’s a little bigger than a standard iPhone 5W charging brick, but delivers 18W of power over USB-C and has a folding plug. It is a small device, which is great for travel, but I will need to be mindful about where I might leave it.
I’ve been enjoying this setup. It’s not quite the ideal setup that I’m looking to achieve – a future where I have a 3-port USB wall charger and a 2-port USB-C battery pack – but it’s what I have available now. With this setup, it’s compact and fairly light, and I have charging for all of my devices no matter what the scenario. As the future moves forward to USB-C for everything, I feel like I’m ready to embrace that future, and not much on my end will need to change. Being ahead of the game isn’t a bad thing.
- The 60W charging is if nothing else is plugged in. If another device is plugged in, it’s 18W PD for the top port and 45W PD for the bottom port. In my specific use case, this is more than enough for what I need. ↩
- I did completely remove the two pieces that come with it so that it can sit flush with the Cover Buddy case installed. It works just fine, and might actually be a bit more stable this way. But it’s something to keep in mind. ↩
- For now. USB-C is coming to more vehicles from everything I can see in the industry. I like that eventual future too. ↩